Photos by Fuyan Zhang
CCBP Student Assistant
The Parent Teacher Leadership Academy (PTLA) culminated its year-long program in a celebration dinner and graduation ceremony on Thursday, April 21 at the Embassy Suites Hotel in downtown Tuscaloosa.
Graduates received certificates that signified their completion of the two-semester program that began in fall 2015. Parents and teachers from Tuscaloosa city and county, Alabaster city, and Lamar county schools, along with their family and friends, attended the event.
Dr. Rosianna Gray, community education director in the Center for Community-Based Partnerships (CCBP), congratulated the graduates for their successes and praised their “inspiring dedication” to being more active in their schools. “This year’s PTLA cohort is an amazing group of parents and teachers who are extremely enthusiastic and compassionate about their roles in school involvement. I am exceptionally proud of each and every one of you and we look forward to next year’s cohort,” she said.
Rose Bryant, a 2015-2016 graduate of the Elementary Parent Leadership Academy and parent of Aaron Bryant from Central Elementary School, thanked the leaders and participants for their commitment to excellence and diversity. “At these sessions, I met parents from all walks of life, and from different schools. I learned that it didn’t matter where your child went to school, but that every child matters,” she said.
Bryant, a special education major at Stillman College, also said she appreciated the program’s emphasis on building parent leaders and mentors at the participants’ host schools. Many of the parents in the program created leadership projects and displayed their work on posters at the event.
All PTLA projects addressed key areas parents thought would improve the lives of students, teachers and the administrative staff of their perspective schools. Among them were the following projects acknowledged at the luncheon:
— An Evening of Etiquette, by Stephanie Mixon and Tyeishia Davis from Big Sandy Elementary of Tuscaloosa county schools, recognized for its promotion of positive social interaction in a social setting.
— Moms on Board, by Malaya M. Johnson of Matthews Elementary School of Tuscaloosa County Schools for helping in and around the school and for adding a “motherly touch.”
Parent and teacher involvement in the Elementary Parent Leadership Academy (EPLA), Hispanic Parent Leadership Academy (HPLA), and Pre-K Parent Leadership Academy (PKLA), and the Teacher Leadership Academy (TLA) resulted in 78 graduates from the 2015-2016 cohort.
TLA graduates are as follows:
Tuscaloosa county schools: Laura Barnes, Morice Bowden, Stephanie Chess, Melissa Coleman, Brenda Davis, Jessica Heron, Dr. Nicole Hill, Vicky Hoggle, Amy McCown, Beatrice Nichols, Caitlin Parker, Kylie Phillips, Angela Pinion, Chelsey Summerrow and Alison Wright.
Tuscaloosa city schools: Teresa Bryant, Cyrinthia Burrell, Katy Busby, Tiffany Craig, Taylor Crawford, Racheal Goggins, Sylvia Hollins, Kantrele King, Cheryl Lewis, Sara Beth McCartney, Sara Ogonowski, Julia Sanders, Tracey Sanders, Juerette Thomas, Shamikka Walker-Dudley, and Susie Wheat.
Alabaster city schools: Holly Alverson, Amanda Burks, Cheryl Dominguez, Mandy Heatherly, Kathryn Owensby, Kelly Preveaux, Laura Reina, and Kathy Savage
Lamar county schools: LoriAnn Butler
The graduating parents across EPLA, HPLA, and PKLA are as follows:
Tuscaloosa county schools: Amy Beasley, Kim Bryant, Heather Corder, Tyeishia Davis, Shawnee Franklin, Shelley Gregory, Charity Guyton, Melissa Holt, Malaya Johnson, Stephanie Mixon, Melissa Mott, Lisa Robertson, DeAngle Scott, Megan Steen, Felicia Taylor, Leslie Thomas, Brenda Wells, and Judith Zambrano.
Tuscaloosa city cchools: Johnna Arabi, Yuridia Arizmendi, Rose Bryant, Gladys Fabian, David Gay, Maria Orozco Hernandez, Molly Ingram, Jessica Jenkins, Sharon Jenkins, Anallely Lopez, Patricia Lopez, Alma Saenz, and Sharon Thomas.
Alabaster city schools: Deanna Bess, Shannon Carden, Regan Hasenbein, Candi Nichols, Jamila Shaw, Juanita Sims, and Jamia Alexander-Williams.
In closing remarks, Dr. Samory Pruitt, vice president of the Division of Community Affairs, announced the possibility of adding a new parent/teacher program in the future. “Some of the Alabaster teachers suggested that we create an academy that focuses on middle schools. We’re possibly piloting something very soon,” he said.
PTLA is a joint initiative of Tuscaloosa city and county school systems, CCBP, and the faculty in the University of Alabama’s College of Education and Human Environmental Sciences. The organization utilizes research–based practices to provide professional development to parent and teacher leaders who use their knowledge to support student achievement through strong family-school partnerships.