The phrase “It takes a village to raise a child” has African origins and means it takes many people to achieve a goal. For Nancy Leigh, principal of Daniel Island School, this proverb rings true, especially when faced with the added challenge of operating during a worldwide pandemic.
Leigh said that the support the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) has provided to the school has been vital, “Our PTA works with a variety of parents and organizations to enhance the educational success of students. They provide our staff with instructional supplies, incentives, and encouragement. Their participation in school improvement and teacher appreciation is very beneficial to the success of our school.”
The PTA wears many hats. This year, the group provided signage around the campus to promote Social Emotional Learning (SEL), a national educational movement that encourages students to manage emotions, make good decisions, and build relationships. The PTA purchased a new playground structure for the intermediate playground, participated in the school’s Leukemia & Lymphoma Society fundraiser, donated dividers for the nurse’s clinic and supported teachers in a variety of ways.
PTA volunteers regularly take on projects to enhance the school, organize eighth grade celebrations, facilitate communication from room moms to parents, and are active members of the School Improvement Council.
Additionally, the PTA spearheaded the school’s participation in The Green Heart Project, a local nonprofit that provides educational gardening programs and gives students the hands on experience of growing plants and harvesting food.
Staci Bailey, a first grade teacher and Daniel Island School’s Teacher of the Year, said, “Our PTA is really amazing and extremely supportive of our school.” She added, “The PTA teacher grant has helped many of us get flexible seating, needed supplies, or resources for our classrooms. They organize a monthly staff breakfast by having a different grade level host each month. This is a welcome treat that we look forward to.”
Bailey said that the group tirelessly supports the staff through little, thoughtful gestures that accumulate to mean a lot. The PTA provides teachers with treats on random days, meals during Teacher Appreciation Week, gift cards, holiday luncheons, and even order school supply kits for the beginning of the school year.
As principal, Leigh noted that PTA support is a key to success. “It is important to have a well-established PTA in order to work as a team to align efforts toward the school goals and achievements. Working in the same direction allows us to produce more benefits to students, parents and staff members.”
Leigh continued, “I envision PTA’s role being a continued partnership in the future as we hope to move to in-person meetings and events. During this year we could not include volunteers in the building or hold schoolwide events, so we have had to be creative in our communications and initiatives. We share a common theme of high expectations while instilling a growth mindset with our student Ospreys!”
The PTA board at Daniel Island School includes: Melissa Bosse, Melynda Toth, Halina Miller, Becky Maher, Julie Hubert, Erica Hamiliton, Emma Martin, Courtenay Fisher, Stephanie Yeagle, and Kate Altum.