The award honors one state (The Colorado PTA), one district/council/region (the Durham Council of PTAs in Durham, North Carolina) and one local PTA (Sherman PTA) for achievement in the areas of diversity and inclusion.
According to the National PTA, Roger Sherman’s PTA has focused on diversifying its leadership and membership by identifying obstacles that impact family engagement, brainstorming ways to overcome the obstacles and revising its outreach efforts. These efforts have included shifting PTA meetings from mid-day to evenings and livestreaming meetings; creating scholarships for PTA membership and for admission to events; offering programs to accommodate families facing socioeconomic barriers; and expanding Roger Sherman PTA Diversity Day to Diversity Week, focusing on kindness and inclusion (anti-bullying), learning abilities (empathy training for physical and mental disabilities/differences), and family, cultural and gender diversity. Roger Sherman PTA (the Sherman Sharks!) also created a new program called JAWS (Just Ask, We Serve), which matches new families with senior families to serve as a contact and ensure new families feel welcome.
Sherman PTA Co-President Marney White said, "Sherman has a long history and reputation as a welcoming community, which makes us a very cohesive neighborhood school. This year we expanded our diversity education program and implemented multiple policies to promote an even more inclusive atmosphere. Dozens of parent volunteers helped in this effort. We are thrilled that Sherman's efforts to focus on diversity education and inclusion are being recognized by this national award!"
First Selectman Tetreau stated, “On behalf of the entire town, I want to congratulate the Sherman PTA for earning this distinguished award! My special thanks to the all the PTA members, Dr. Ian Banner and Sherman’s teachers, administrators and others who, together, have created a most inviting, diverse and inclusive school community that has garnered national attention and serves as a model for others.”
The Jan Harp Domene Diversity and Inclusion Award is named after past National PTA President (2007-2009) Jan Harp Domene, who was dedicated to ensuring that families of all backgrounds felt welcomed in PTA and their school communities.
Colorado PTA, Durham Council of PTAs and Roger Sherman PTA will be honored with the award during the 2019 National PTA Convention & Expo in Columbus, Ohio. The PTAs will also receive a $1,000 grant to further their efforts.
“Our school communities are incredibly diverse, and it is essential that all families feel welcomed and that the perspectives and needs of all families are represented and supported,” said Jim Accomando, president of National PTA. “The efforts of Colorado PTA, Durham Council of PTAs and Roger Sherman PTA in the areas of diversity and inclusion have resulted in positive change. We are thrilled to recognize them with the 2019 Jan Harp Domene Diversity and Inclusion Award.”
“It is critical that we recognize, value and embrace the diversity of our communities to create inclusive school environments and ensure that all families feel welcomed, engaged and supported,” added Nathan R. Monell, CAE, National PTA executive director. “We are looking forward to recognizing achievement in diversity and inclusion and celebrating Colorado PTA, Durham Council of PTAs and Roger Sherman PTA’s efforts at our annual convention.”
About National PTA
National PTA® comprises millions of families, students, teachers, administrators, and business and community leaders devoted to the educational success of children and the promotion of family engagement in schools. PTA is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit association that prides itself on being a powerful voice for all children, a relevant resource for families and communities, and a strong advocate for public education. Membership in PTA is open to anyone who wants to be involved and make a difference for the education, health and welfare of children and youth.
The photo, taken at yesterday’s Board of Selectmen meeting where the First Selectman and Selectmen honored the Sherman PTA, shows l:r Alexis Donovan (Diversity Chair), Marney White (Co-President), Dr. Ian Banner (Principal), Kate Garin (Co-President-Elect), and Melanie Ross (Co-President).