Ponte Vedra Schools: PTO Spotlight

    Education Money If you read yesterday’s post, you know that St Johns County Schools only have around $6900 per child to spend annually, which is well below the national per student average of $12,000.

    Here’s another staggering data point. The state of Florida spends an average of over $20,000 per prisoner annually in our state prisons*. Say what?! That hurts my head.

    St Johns County has a per student expenditure of around $6900 annually  The state of Florida spends an average of over $20,000 per prisoner annually. 

    It is remarkable that the teachers, staff and administrators in Ponte Vedra schools are able to do such a phenomenal job educating our children and keeping St Johns County the #1 county in all of Florida. How do they do it?

    PTOs Supplement State Dollars

    One of the biggest ways area schools can function the way they do is because of their Parent Teacher Organizations (PTO). Each school in Ponte Vedra has a hard-working group of men and women who volunteer their time to make our schools a better place. The biggest job of the PTO – fundraising.

    What You Can Do to Help

    So, when your PTO asks for your membership in the next few weeks, throw them, or your child or grandchild a bone and JOIN (or offer a donation)! Membership donations go directly back into your school – zero overhead with PTOs.

    And there is no requirement to be involved. Though welcome and encouraged, volunteerism is NOT required to be a member of the PTO. They just need your money. WHY? Please refer to paragraphs one and two.

    With that, please meet some of your PTO Presidents for 2015-2016 and see links to all of Ponte Vedra’s PTOs. They all welcome your PTO donations.

    Elementary Schools:

    Ocean Palms Elementary PTO

    Sheila Rice
    Sheila Rice, Ocean Palms PTO President

    Sheila Rice, Ocean Palms Elementary

    Do you have a particular goal as this year’s PTO Board President?

    1. My personal goal as PTO President is to achieve 100% participation in PTO memberships.  If every family that attended Ocean Palms joined the PTO, we would dramatically increase PTO revenues which would allow us to further bridge the gap in funding between what the district allocates to the school and the needs of our teachers and students
    What is your favorite thing about Ocean Palms?
    1. Ocean Palms is an amazing school that is welcoming and inviting.  Walking through the doors at Ocean Palms you can’t help but feel the overall sense of community where the staff, students and families work together to create a family like environment.
    What should people know about you principal?
    Mrs. Richardson is a passionate, dedicated educator who cares about the needs of every child and staff member.
    One thing everyone should know about their public school?
    One thing that everyone should know is that your public school needs your support.  Whether it is through a  monetary donation, your time or talents there is an opportunity for you to make a positive impact in your community school.
    How much money did the OPE PTO raise last year?
    $140,000

    PVPV/Rawlings Elementary PTO

    Emily Stephens, PVPV/Rawlings PTO President
    Emily Stephens, PVPV/Rawlings PTO President

    Emily Stephens, PVPV/Rawlings Elementary

    Do you have a particular goal as this year’s PTO Board President?

    Increase membership, use open communication with teachers and staff to meet their direct needs, and increase a sense of community with families.

    What is your favorite thing about PVPV/Rawlings?

    The school has the most compassionate and talented staff.

    What should people know about you principal?

    This is Mrs. Furness’s 17th year at our school.  She was principal at PVPV and then was named principal of both PVPV and Rawlings when the two school combined in 2006  She has a wealth of experience and fairly treats students with their best interests in mind.  She has high expectations for her staff.

    One thing everyone should know about their public school?

    What safety measures and policies are in place for students.

    Any other interesting tidbit you’d like to share?

    I am a former teacher and currently a small business owner that focusses on education.  Being PTO president allows me to share my true passion for education with our school.

    How much money did you raise?

    $140,000

    Valley Ridge Elementary PTO

    Jennifer Murphy, Valley Ridge Elementary

    At publish time, I wasn’t able to get in touch with Jennifer. She’s likely organizing the back to school luncheon, organizing a classroom or setting up for meet the teacher!

    Middle School:

    Landrum Middle School PTO

    Katrina Geevers-Collins, Landrum PTO President
    Katrina Geevers-Collins, Landrum PTO President

    Katrina Geevers-Collins, Landrum Middle School

    Do you have a particular goal as this year’s PTO Board President?
    One of this years goals, as a liaison between the school and parents, is to be more proactive when it comes to communication. We’ve added a Public Relations person, Adrienne Brannam, who will be responsible for the PTO website, emails and contacting various newspapers with LMS news.
    What is your favorite thing about Alice B. Landrum Middle School?
    My favorite thing about Alice B. Landrum Middle School would be our school community. We have supportive families and strong administration/facility. We work together to create a safe and desirable learning environment.
    What should people know about your principal?
    Our school principal, Ms Jewel Johnson, comes from a family of educators. She loves what she does and you can tell.
    One thing everyone should know about their public school.
    Alice B. Landrum Middle School was named after Alice Landrum, a store owner who also provided the neighborhood postal services. She noticed the growth in Palm Valley and began the necessary fundraising to build our Middle School.
    Any other interesting tidbit you’d like to share? 
    The Landrum mascot is the Lion. Last year a Lion statue was placed in front of the school. It’s nickname is ABL (pronounced Abel) which comes from the schools initials. Go Lions!!

    High Schools:

    Ponte Vedra High School PTO

    Tricia Cannan, PVHS PTO President
    Tricia Cannan, PVHS PTO President

    Tricia Cannan, Ponte Vedra High School

    Do you have a particular goal as this year’s PTO Board President?

    The PTO is there to support teachers. We strive to give them things they don’t have the budget for, but would like to do.

    Additionally, we like to take on one big special project that will benefit all students. We meet with Mr. McCormick (Principal) and say “what do you need.” Last year it was security. It was between computers and security.  Whatever special project, he has, we support. We haven’t met this year to go over the school’s needs.

    What is your favorite thing about Ponte Vedra High School?

    All of the staff is outstanding and the academics are top-notch. I have three daughters, with the oldest in college. I love the staff, the excellent teachers and the administration.

    What should people know about you principal?

    Mr. McCormick is a very good leader. He has a strong quiet way of leading, and he seems respected by his staff and teachers. Though quiet and collected, he gets things done.

    One thing everyone should know about their public school?

    Volunteerism is critical to making our schools a success.

    Any other interesting tidbit you’d like to share?

    Our public schools are very high quality. They provide a real sense of community, help area business and foster lifelong frienships. Each school is unique, and we are so blessed to have them.

    Annual amount raised and put back into the school annually?

    Last year, we raised approximately $70,000.

    Nease High School

    Alexis McDaniel, PTO President Nease High School
    Alexis McDaniel, PTO President Nease High School

    Alexis McDaniel, Nease High School

    Do you have a particular goal as this year’s PTO Board President?

    1. We have really been working on improved communication in the past year so I hope to continue that.  We’ve been sending out articles monthly to several publications. We have a new electronic newsletter and a Facebook page. Our county schools are in a unique position as the growth of the student population is tremendous and that poses some problems. New families move into the area and want access to what’s happening at school. Our PTO has been trying to find different avenues of communication to keep us all connected. We share our monthly principal’s report and other issues that busy parents, who can’t make it in person to a meeting, would want to know.

    2. Boost our membership and volunteerism. We have 2,000 students so we would like to get more parents on board. Testing season is a strain as the school seeks out people to help.

    3. Another goal is to increase the budget line items for Staff Events. We enjoy showing our teachers they are appreciated with three events throughout the year. Often, we ask PTSO parents to send in food items or raffle items and we will continue to do this. But because our parents have already paid their membership fees, we are hoping to reduce the amount of “asking” for additional items from the same people over and over. PTSO should be fun — not a chore.

    What is your favorite thing about Allen D. Nease High School?

    It’s a positive atmosphere. The employees are very friendly and helpful. The students are also kind. For example, if I am unloading items for a PTO event and students see me at my car, there is usually someone asking me if I need help or holding a door.

    What should people know about you principal?

    He is extremely polite! I would describe him as a gentleman with traditional values on how you treat others. There is a high level of respect. That’s what I’ve found during my three years helping with PTO.

    One thing everyone should know about their public school?
    The St. Johns County School system is top notch. And because of that, we’ve had an explosion of housing and families moving to the area over the past decade. That is straining our schools and it will take time for even the best schools to transition. This unfortunately translates into crowding, portables and teachers moving from position to position. Expect bumps in the road. Nease is undergoing a $1.3 million renovation and adding a $8.7 million building over the next two years. These are growing pains. Be patient! Jump in there and get involved and make the school a better place.

    Any other interesting tidbit you’d like to share?

    Please join our Facebook page — Nease High School PTSO. And come to our meetings. They are open and we’d love to have a few new faces.

    *Vera.org: http://www.vera.org/files/price-of-prisons-florida-fact-sheet.pdf

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