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franklin county times
PHOTO BY ALISON JAMES Parent Teacher Partnership officers, pictured with West Elementary Principal Deanna Hollimon, include treasurer Monica Moon, secretary Channing Wright, vice president Addie Harbin and president Laura Horton. The PTP hosted their first activity last week, a homemade ice cream party for faculty and staff.

West Elementary launches Parent Teacher Partnership

Teachers and school faculty are well-aware of the importance of having parents involved in their children’s education. As school resumes for another year of learning, administrators at West Elementary School in Russellville have developed a new group that will serve to bridge the gap between the classroom and home.

WES Principal Deanna Hollimon announced the new Parent Teacher Partnership last week.

“We are thrilled about this partnership. I can’t begin to tell you how excited my faculty is,” Hollimon said. “We have not had an active parent-teacher organization of any kind for many years, and we have heard a lot of feedback from stakeholders who want that relationship fostered. We just believe that together we can do so many good things for our students.”

Hollimon said the PTP will consist of four officers – two parents and two teachers – who will work with other parents to plan events and activities throughout the year that will get parents more involved at the school.

Laura Horton, whose son Case is entering kindergarten at WES this year, will serve as the PTP president. She said she’s excited about what this group can accomplish in the upcoming school year.

“The PTP will be an organization to encourage interaction between family and school, serve as a source of support, and work with teachers, staff, and the community to improve our children’s educational experience,” Horton said. “We hope to provide more family-centered activities. We have several ideas on different things we want to do each month.”

WES kindergarten teacher Channing Wright will serve as secretary for the PTP. She said the group has the potential to have a huge impact on student learning.

“Parents are a vital part of their child’s education,” Wright said. “I believe by having parents involved in various ways, it increases student motivation while also providing a chance for parents and their children to work together. Being a part of your child’s education is a special opportunity. They are only little once.”

Horton said PTP activities will run the gamut, from fundraisers to appreciation events. Membership cost is $10 for parents to join, and the PTP is incentivizing participation with the promise of a pizza and ice cream party for the class that is first to reach 100 percent parent participation. Subsequent classes with 100 percent parent participation will also be treated to an ice cream-only celebration.

Horton said she knew when Hollimon presented the idea for the PTP that it was something she definitely wanted to participate in. More than 50 parents have already committed to the effort.

“We encourage families to sign up and share any ideas they may have for the Parent Teacher Partnership and ways we can invest in WES and become more involved with our students and teachers,” she said.

Wright said from a teacher’s perspective, the group will serve as a great tool for effective communication.

“I think this group will allow parents to find their niche and where they can plug in,” Wright said. “Our parents have many different talents, skills and strengths, and this group will be able to give parents a chance to put all of that to good use in a way that helps the students, the teachers, and the school in fun and educational ways.”

Addie Harbin will serve as vice president for the group. “We’re excited to get started,” Harbin said. “We’ve had a lot of parents approach us about helping … We love the teachers here and the staff and students of course, so we can’t wait to give back to our schools.”

Instructional technology coordinator Monica Moon will serve as treasurer for the group. “It’s something that has definitely been needed,” Moon said. “It’s great for our students to let them know, ‘My family is involved. My family cares. My teacher cares.’ It’s all about partnership.”

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