State PTA convention comes to town

Published 12:25 am Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The 89th Convention of the Mississippi Congress of Parents and Teachers, Inc. (also known as Mississippi PTA) will meet in Natchez Friday and Saturday at the Natchez Convention Center.

Mississippi PTA is a vital part of the largest and most effective grassroots child advocacy group in the nation. For more than 100 years National PTA has been the premiere advocacy group for America’s children. The Mississippi PTA was organized in 1909 and has worked to make a positive difference in the lives of all children

Parental involvement is a key ingredient in Mississippi’s efforts to improve our public schools and our students’ academic performance. The MS PTA Convention will provide tools needed to make the difference. Mississippi PTA has encouraged parent leadership on the local and state level since its inception.

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Following the opening ceremony, nationally recognized school leadership trainer Ako Kambon will kick off the convention at 9 a.m. Friday morning Mr. Kambon is president of Visionary Leaders Institute and is known as a leader in the field of educational consulting, designing and conducting leadership seminars for public and private school systems, and cultural sensitivity training.

Other morning speakers include Sen. Bob Dearing, Rep. Robert Johnson, Adams County Supervisor Darryl Grennell, Susan Gerrard of the Mississippi Children’s Museum, Joyce McCants of the Mississippi Federal Bureau of Investigations and Kim Whitt of the Mississippi Arts Commission.

Mississippi Parent Information and Resource Center will conduct workshops designed to empower parents to identify and secure resources needed to help their children succeed in school; representatives of UniPerk, Inc. will conduct Web site design workshops for interested PTA units; Dr. John Jordan of the Bailey Education Group will lead the discussion on Effecting Changes in Education; Natchez High graduates and current college students Ashleigh K. Irving and Carita Winn will facilitate the first statewide youth involvement workshop titled “Introduction to College Life.”

National PTA representatives Ms. Nore Hare and Ms. Linda Sterling will join Dr. Samuel White, Mrs. Charm Powell, Mr. Thaddues Peters, Mr. Charles Orr, Bishop Melvin Jackson and other presenters to make this Convention instructional, motivational and informative.

The scheduled Friday afternoon workshops include grant writing, dropout prevention, closing the achievement gap, cyber bullying, obesity and health related issues, parental involvement, mentoring, new officer training, developing leadership skills and arts education, to name a few.

On Friday evening at 6:30, the membership and awards banquet speaker will be Miss Mississippi 2008 — Ms. Kimberly Morgan. Awards include the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Service to Children Award which recognizes one extraordinary state advocate for children; and the Sandra McCall Education Scholarship Award which was established for the purpose of promoting teacher recruitment for the state of Mississippi. PTA units and individuals will also be recognized in the areas of citizenship, outstanding legislative advocacy, outstanding PTA Councils, outstanding educators, membership and grandparent participation (a partial list).

At 9 a.m. Saturday, the Reflections program will showcase and recognize students from across the state in the cultural arts. Everyone is invited to enjoy this program and there is no charge.

The 89th Convention of the Mississippi Congress of Parents and Teachers, Inc. is an opportunity to celebrate the hard work PTAers have done all school year to strengthen Mississippi’s public schools. Your continued support of the children of our great state is appreciated.

Come out to this historic event and bring a child.

If you have any questions, please contact me at 601-445-4679 or the MS PTA office at 1-800-795-6123.

Deloris Irving is the PTA convention chair for 2008.