Mississippi PTA convention in Natchez this weekend

Published 11:53 pm Friday, April 28, 2017

By Christian Coffman

NATCHEZ — Teachers, parents and community members gathered at Alcorn State University’s Natchez campus for the annual Mississippi PTA convention.

The 98th Annual Convention of the Mississippi Congress of Parents and Teachers has been taking place Thursday and ends today.

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Convention Chair Deloris Irving, of Natchez, said the National and Mississippi PTA act as one voice for every child.

“We are the voice of the young people before any group for the promotion and well-being of children,” Irving said. “We are attempting to be the connector between the family, children and community.”

Irving said the conference attempts to bring parents, teachers, students and community members together to promote and foster education.

Irving realizes that our children are no longer just competing with adjacent communities, but competing globally.

“We know we have the best and brightest minds and we’re making sure they have a level playing field,” Irving said.

Irving said she was excited to have 100 percent support from the Adams and Claiborne County school boards.

“The Natchez-Adams school board under the supervision of Fred Butcher has been very supportive,” Irving said.

Three representatives from the national PTA have been attending the conference to talk about subjects such as multiculturalism and child individuality.

Advisor Anita Smith, who has been involved in PTA since 2005, said the conventions are important because helping children will make the world a better place.

“Our meeting is where we come to identify areas of opportunity and come up with a game plan to give every student a high-quality education, regardless of their ZIP code,” Smith said.

Smith said she believes when a student leaves a school in Mississippi, he or she should be able to go to college anywhere in the world and compete.

Charles Scott, who has been involved in PTA since 2004 and is a business advisor at FedEx, said he believes people should recognize the PTA as “the light over education.”

“The PTA is the nation’s largest child’s advocacy group, but more importantly the PTA’s biggest power is in its advocacy,” Scott said.

Scott said PTA educates teachers and parents on how talk with their students to help and advocate for them.

One way PTA advocates for students is by going before school boards and government officials and asking for funding for public education.

“That is the significance of this convention,” Scott said. “It’s empowered delegates to go out and support our community, to tell our community that we care.”

The National PTA Convention will be in Las Vegas and is scheduled on June 22-25 at the Paris Las Vegas Hotel.