There are so many reasons to move to Ponte Vedra Beach in St. Johns County. It’s not just a cozy seaside resort community but it is also located in the St. Johns County School District, a top rated district in the state of Florida. Whether moving to a small town or big city, it can be intimidating for both parents and children especially when it comes time to meet new people and gain a sense of community. Becoming part of the community is essential when it comes to making a huge change for your family, especially ensuring the kids are going to love their new school where they can thrive. One such way to find out more about your school is by getting involved in your child’s Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) as well as getting to know your PTO President. We’re excited to introduce you to the Ponte Vedra Beach Landrum Middle School PTO President, Kristin Glunt. We caught up with Kristin for a few questions about her school and the PTO at Landrum.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how/why you became involved in the PTO?
I’m originally from California and I moved here with my family in the summer of 2015. We were so impressed with the St. John’s County Schools, our kids jumped right in and loved it and so I really wanted to get involved. I served on the PTO at PVPV Rawlings with volunteers and then membership, for four years, before coming to Landrum.
What’s the most impressive thing about your school that you would like others to know?
It’s so hard to pick just one. I’ll try to narrow it down! I think we have the most talented and caring staff, administration and teachers. They work so hard in an increasingly challenging environment, and they’re so devoted to the kids. Together with our incredible and generous parent community, we are all able to work together to enable Landrum to be the rich academic environment that it is.
What areas would you consider for improvement?
One of the most important initiatives we have on the PTO is to link our local businesses in the community to Landrum. Everyone benefits when local organizations take an interest in our public schools! Through our Community Partners program, we are rebuilding that connection coming out of Covid. When we were unable to have in person events during the school year, it became difficult to offer company-sponsored events! Last year we brought in three community partners, and this year we have seven, thanks to our Community Partners board chair Tina Brletich. We are so thrilled, and we plan to continue enhancing this program even more.
What can we do as a PTO to make our families feel like family and a real community?
I think middle school is a more challenging environment (than Elementary School) to foster community and the home-school connection. As a parent, I would take every opportunity I could to see the inside of the school, attend Open House and Meet the Teacher, introduce myself to a teacher via email if needed, attend a School Advisory Committee meeting, attend a Principal Breakfast, etc. to learn about what’s happening within! Without weekly opportunities to read in a rocking chair, or attending fun runs like we would for the littles, it requires a lot of trust on the part of the parents to leave the educating up to the experts in the building, but it’s a tremendous partnership when you can.
Do you have a particular fundraising goal and area to use the money in mind this year for PTO dollars?
Thanks to the incredible support of our seven Community Partners and the generous parent community, we’ve gotten underway with plans to renovate the Landrum Staff Lounge this summer, and have been able to hold several staff support events, like our holiday luncheon in December and upcoming Staff Appreciation Week. We love partnering with the school on enrichment events as well, like a Theatre Works production brought in-house as well as ongoing guest speakers, and support of our after school clubs and activities, just to name a few!
What’s one thing a new parent in the community should know about your school?
Landrum is an incredible place! Our administration and staff GENUINELY care for your kids. I am always amazed at the different learning styles our teachers use to meet kids where they are, as different as the students are from one another. Our core subject teachers work so hard to prepare the kids for high school, and our elective teachers provide such an enriching experience for the kids to enjoy being at school and interacting with one another.
If you could ask one thing of each parent at our school, what would it be?
As parents who genuinely care about the quality of our schools in St. Johns County, I’d love to see more parents pretending every day is thank-a-teacher day. Did your child mention something interesting they’re learning about while at the dinner table? Did they repeat something funny the teacher said or an interesting way new information was taught? It takes less than five minutes to send that teacher an email and tell them how they made a difference. If you don’t know their email, you can send a note through Schoology or send a handwritten one in with your student. Tell them you’re grateful for the way your child is engaged in their class. Not unique to Landrum or St. Johns County, teachers are leaving the industry in record numbers. Chances are your Landrum student has a combination of seasoned teachers who need sustenance, as well as brand new teachers who love to know when they’re on the right track.
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About the Author
Jenn Heller is the Operations Manager for The Volen Group, Keller Williams Luxury International, a top real estate team in Ponte Vedra Beach. Jenn over 18 years experience in Real Estate all in Ponte Vedra Beach, she is an Atlantic Beach resident via Long Island, NY since 1991, a book worm, and loves sports, dogs and the beach.