Friday, May 3, 2013

The ABC's of PTA's

Parent Teacher Associations - PTAs - have been on a mission to be a vital link between parents, teachers, school communities, school administrators and principals for more than 115 years! PTA is largely responsible for dramatic improvements in the educational experience for America's children. PTA's mission continues. As parents we want the very best for our children; through PTA we extend that passion and concern to all children -PTA is "Every Child, One Voice."

Research shows students do better when their families are involved at home and at school.  PTA is a 501(c)(3) organization unlike any other, where more than 5 million volunteers get involved to improve the lives of all children. Unlike other well-meaning parent organized groups, only PTA has a national and state network to support and further local efforts.  Janesville Area Council of PTAs is organized under the authority of the Wisconsin PTA. JAC-PTA provides leadership training and coordination of the efforts of the locally run units.

Janesville PTAs have a strong connection to the State PTA.  Former Edison Middle School and JAC-PTA officer, Heather Leckey, is now President of Wisconsin PTA!  Mary Orley, current Edison Middle School PTA President, and former Jackson and JAC-PTA officer, is the Secretary of Wisconsin PTA. They are pictured with Otha Thornton, National PTA President, at the Wisconsin PTA Convention held April 19 -20, 2013. Mr. Thornton is a senior operations analyst with General Dynamics in Fort Stewart, Georgia. He is a retired United States Army Lieutenant Colonel and his last two assignments were with the White House Communications Agency and United States Forces-Iraq in Baghdad. Otha Thornton is a man on a mission and thankfully he is on our side! Robin Anderson, Roosevelt PTA Treasurer said regarding her Convention experience, "It was an honor meeting the National PTA President. I am proud to be a part of one of the longest standing PTAs serving Janesville. I am also grateful to be involved in JAC-PTA where we work on important issues facing our students."

Janesville School Board Commissioner and long-time PTA member Kristin Hesselbacher knows PTA makes a difference, "Our school district, like others across the state and the U.S., is asking our schools to do more and more with fewer staff and reduced budgets.  Fortunately, thirteen of our schools in Janesville have PTAs that can provide assistance.  PTAs support schools with volunteers in the classroom and at school events.  PTAs also raise funds that are used to support field trips, family events, the Reflections arts program, and even classroom materials.  These opportunities wouldn’t be possible within building budgets, so we are very grateful to our PTAs and our wonderful volunteers." For more than 40 years, PTA has recognized that arts education is critical for academic success and promoted it through the Reflections program, Hesselbacher mentioned. We know that children involved in arts score higher on SAT exams, have better attendance and higher graduation rates. An outstanding 12 students from Janesville won Reflections awards at the State level! Congratulations to them and a debt of appreciation and gratitude to Jefferson PTA Reflections Chairperson Suzanne Guilliom, and Roosevelt PTA Reflections Chairperson Jessica May. They really succeeded in their mission to promote and support arts education!

The mission of PTA in Janesville is focused on the future. The ever changing face of our community means that we need to provide an environment that is welcoming and inclusive to be relevant - in order to engage families, the PTA experience needs to be meaningful.  For example; PTA believes it is vital that parents understand the Common Core State Standards. PTA helps engage parents in supporting at home what their children are learning in school. Since 2000, the number of Wisconsin residents who are Hispanic has increased by more than 48%. Therefore, National PTA has produced Parent Guides in both English and Spanish to let parents know what their children will learn in each grade level, kindergarten all the way to high school. They are available for free at

Janesville PTAs invite you to join them to be a part of creating a legacy. Simply contact your neighborhood school PTA, tell them "I want to bestow a better tomorrow for the next generation - that is my mission - that is PTA."


The Janesville Education Foundation partnered with the JAC-PTA to provide a $100 check ($400 total) to the JAC-PTA Award winners' Local PTA Unit to be announced at the May 23 Banquet for Volunteer of the Year, Staff Person of the Year, Teacher of the Year, and Unity Award. JEA bequests these gifts to further the mission of local PTAs. These gifts were very generous and greatly appreciated.

Jefferson Elementary PTA: Chairperson Suzanne Guilliom
Visual Arts, Primary Division -
Taleah Sandoval
Madison Borst

Roosevelt Elementary PTA; Chairperson Jessica May
Visual Arts, Intermediate Division -
Autumn Tullar

Photography, Intermediate Division -
Owen Jenson
Julia Masterson

Dance Choreography, Intermediate Division
Juliana Eno
Kerington Sauser
Taytum Adkins

Film Production, Intermediate Division
Eddie May
Cecilia Harold

Literature, Intermediate Division
Jessa Alderman

Music Composition, Intermediate Division
Eddie May

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