Dawson County resident Karen Armstrong knows the importance of a solid education for the county’s children, as well as the importance of parent and community involvement within the school system.
Her oldest son entered ninth grade at Dawson County High School this year, and Armstrong approached principal Wayne Chelf about becoming involved with the parent/teacher organization before the school year began.
“Unfortunately, the school has not had an organization for teachers, students and parents for several years and it is something that needs to be established here,” Chelf said.
Currently the president of the Dawson County Middle School PTSO, or Parent Teacher Student Organization, Armstrong has taken on the challenge of getting a PTSO started at Dawson County High School.
“It’s a good organization that I would like to see made available to high school students, as well as their parents and teachers,” Armstrong said. “Our county currently has similar organizations at the elementary and middle school levels, but nothing for the high school. This is a great organization that will allow parents, as well as the community to have an active role in the school.”
Chelf agrees that the organization would be an asset to the school, adding that its sole purpose will be to serve as a communication tool between the students, parents, teachers and community.
“I am glad to see this organization coming about again, one that will provide parents and community members an avenue to get involved with the school beyond booster clubs and fundraisers,” Chelf said. “Those involved will provide support for academics, extracurricular activities as well as act as a key input group for new ideas and school improvement.”
He noted that the organization will be locally run and will operate similar to the national Parent Teacher Association, one that he says most people are familiar with.
“Some schools have expressed getting lost or losing focus when involved with the PTA due to national and state affiliate levels, so by establishing a PTSO here, it ensures that efforts of the group will stay at the local level,” Chelf said.
The group will also bridge the gap between parents and students, keeping both parties fully informed of what is going on within the school. According to Chelf, it will increase the parental support that students need during their high school years.
Chelf said that currently, organizing members are working on getting by-laws and a constitution in place, as well as applying to obtain 501-c3 nonprofit status.
Looking ahead, Armstrong says meetings for the group are scheduled at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 29 and Dec. 3 in the commons area of the high school.
For more information or to get involved, call Armstrong at (678) 943-0516.