180 Days - Get Involved!

180 Days - Get Involved!

American Education Week salutes parents and their role in helping children be successful in school and encouraging them to be lifelong learners.

Horace Mann Parent Teacher Association (PTA) co-presidents, Dani Grace and Emilee Morrow, feel it is important to volunteer and be involved in their children’s education. Both work, both have children of different ages. But both make time to stay active to support education. “Horace Mann is one of the few schools in Ottumwa with a PTA,” said Grace.

Morrow is the mother of a student at Horace Mann. She works full-time as an operating room nurse at Jefferson County Hospital. “I volunteer because it’s a good way to get involved in my son’s school,” she said. “It’s nice to know about events in advance and it’s fun, we do a lot of things he enjoys.”

She is not only involved in after school activities but supports classroom instruction. As a third grader, he has homework every night. “We work on homework together,” she said. “He also works on a writing and art journal for additional practice. He reads at fifth grade reading level but writing is a weaker area so I encourage, alternating art and writing. The journals have prompts to give him ideas to write about.” They also participate in reading programs, and set reading goals. Her son enjoys reading to his younger sister.

She hopes her efforts help him succeed. “I hope he goes to college,” she said. “I hope he does whatever he wants to do. I don’t want there to be any educational deterrents.”

Grace has four children between the ages of 9 and 21. She is an associate at Evans Middle School.
“I think parents and teachers should work together,” she said of her involvement with PTA. “After all, teachers have your children eight hours a day. We need to work together to raise our children.”

PTA strives to promote more family time. “The activities we do at PTA strive to support that – family-friendly events.” She slowly became involved with PTA. Starting out helping with a few activities, then attending meetings, and now serving in a leadership role.

“Parents need to be involved and working on the other side,” she said. Grace knows the importance of education first hand. “I didn’t go to school, I waitressed all my life,” she said.  “I don’t want my kids to do that.”

She understands why few schools can support a PTA. “It’s hard to get parents involved,” she said. “I can’t stress enough to get involved in every aspect of your kid’s education.”