Dr. Vazquez discusses partnership with OCCPTA
Posted on 04/03/2023
Mondays with Maria Banner



Dr. Maria Vazquez: Hello everyone. I'm Maria Vazquez, Superintendent of Orange County Public Schools, and welcome to Mondays with Maria. I have a new guest, Kelly Crumbaker, to introduce you to. She is the President of the Orange County Council of the Parent Teacher Association, also known as the Orange County PTA. Welcome, Kelly. It's good to have you with us.

Kelly Crumbaker: Thank you. Thank you for inviting me and we love this new segment on families.

Dr. Maria Vazquez: Well it's been a lot of fun doing these segments, and PTA has been such an important part of my entire career when I was a Teacher, a Principal, Principal Supervisor, and now as Superintendent. So, could you tell us the purpose of PTA?

Kelly Crumbaker: Yes. So PTA is much more than fundraising. We have five purposes. All PTAs have the same purpose to promote the child welfare at home and in schools and in the community, to raise the standard of home life, to advocate for adequate laws that protect and care for children, to bridge the gap between home and school, and to develop a sense of shared responsibility between educators and the public to educate our children

Dr. Maria Vazquez: Well, that's certainly a lot more than fundraising. So could you tell us why it's important to have PTA? Why it's vital to our schools and our community?

Kelly Crumbaker: Yes. Well, first we know that there is a direct link between the level of engagement in a school and student achievement. So the more that families are engaged, the better students perform and the better students behave. And then more than that, our schools are the heart and soul of our community. And so we want them to be places that people want to be, especially children because when they want to go to school, they're more likely to attend. They learn, they grow, they have access to lots of resources that help them thrive, and they can participate in activities that enrich their lives. And so when PTA is engaging families and communities, we're really providing opportunities for all of us to be involved in raising the next generation.

Dr. Maria Vazquez: So could you share with us some of the unique examples of the activities between the school and their PTA?

Kelly Crumbaker: Yes, I would love to. At our PTA at Southwood Elementary, they have a literacy night where they do a book swap. And that's really cool because that connects learning to fun and family. And then over at Lake Nona High School, they created a peer mentoring program, which is amazing, and that gives students ownership of their education. And then over at, I'll give you one more example, over at Ocoee High School, they arranged for a charter bus of students to go to Tallahassee to participate and learn about the legislative process, which really empowers them to use their voice to advocate for things that matter to them.

Dr. Maria Vazquez: So I'm so glad to hear you give examples, both at an elementary and at high schools, because sometimes I hear, oh, when we, we get into the high school, the PTA, there's, there's not a lot for us to do. So those are some great examples. Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>. So if we have families out there that want to get involved, how do they go about doing that?

Kelly Crumbaker: Well, so like I said, PTA is for everyone. So you don't have to be a parent or a teacher to join. And on our website, we have all of the schools listed that will link directly to that local unit's site, and you can join there. And then if the school's not listed, you can just reach out to me from the website and we will get a PTA started in that school.

Dr. Maria Vazquez: Well, it's so nice to have you join us and thank you for reaffirming the value of having our parents, our community, collaborating with our schools so that they can be fun places to learn and for, like you said, the, the heart and soul of the community. And thank you all for watching. As promised, we will continue to keep you updated on all the news and information you need to know right here. I'll see you next week.