Revived PTAs Put a Positive Spin on DeSoto ISD

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group of ladies standing outside
The entire Desoto ISD PTA Council along with Desoto Mayor Rachel Proctor attended the first annual superintendents golf tournament in November 202 at The Golf Club of Dallas. (L to R) Wendy Johnson, Eboney Drain, Erica Williams, Velisha Mosby, Reniqua Spellman, Michelle Carter-pope, Juanita Inniss, and mayor Rachel Proctor, Photo by Morris Pope.

Rebuilding The DeSoto PTA

Michelle Pope is working toward a rebirth of the DeSoto PTA (Parent-Teacher Association) and is asking for your help.

 

She’s the current President of the DeSoto PTA and said, “PTA IS the medium that DeSoto ISD should use!”

 

She notes that often there are new groups that pop up to address a situation or problem, but points out: “We have a 100-year-old organization that is nationally recognized – completely organized – and why can’t we just use that? There’s no reason to reinvent a group.”

 

Ms. Pope says, “PTAs across the country are how parents are engaged in their children’s schools. They assist with parents and student programming and its how funds are raised on local campuses for students and teachers.”

 

DeSoto has recently been in the news for some poor behavior by a few students, and Ms. Pope points out that it’s not a true picture of how great the Independent School District is. “There is so much good going on, but all you hear about is when something bad happens. Nobody talks about the good kids – the band – or the Acapella Choir at the high school which is spectacular!”

 

PTAs have Power

 

President Pope says, “If we could all get on board! We need parents to get involved. (And) We need a parent liaison at all our schools. We don’t need another group to be formed.”

 

She went on to explain, “In 2020 all but three of the 11 campuses in DeSoto had all but dissolved. This year, with the help of seven dedicated board members, the PTAs have been revived and reformed. Now we need the help of the community to keep them alive for the betterment of DeSoto ISD.”

 

Local PTA meeting dates vary depending on the school. They are typically around the 2nd Tuesday or Thursday of each month. Parents of a school can check their child’s campus website to clarify when to attend. Due to Covid most meetings were held by Zoom last year. But as schools open back up to visitors the goal is to transition to offer in-person meetings as well.

 

The local Campus Executive Board sets up the monthly agenda based off current needs, events, or activities. Board positions are determined based off the local PTAs bylaws.

 

Ms. Pope admits she’s been at it a long time. “I’m a parent of adults now, but I’ve been willing this past year to serve on the District Board to makes sure things get done.” She was president of the DeSoto High School PTA before becoming the president of the DeSoto PTA’s Executive board. She says each time she thought of stepping out of the PTA, she’d find herself pulled back in: “I’d see a smile on a kids’ face when we’re giving a scholarship, or something else truly awesome and it drives me back to why I’m doing it.”

 

New Leadership Coming

 

She’s finally ready to step down because she has a friend and co-volunteer on the PTA ready to step up and into that role. The next Executive Board meeting will include a vote for the new board, and a new president will be voted in, and current President Pope is thrilled.

 

Reniqua Spellman is the future President of the DeSoto PTA unless there is a nomination from the floor.

 

“The Ironic part,” Ms. Spelman says, “is I begged Michelle to become the Council President! She’s so amazing. It needs to be said she is a game changer – she has gone above and beyond what I dreamed she could do. She has helped us become a family.”

 

Ms. Spellman points out that she worked closely with Ms. Pope to turn things around because all the campuses did not have a PTA two years ago. Now in 2022, every campus has a legal PTA.

 

But how did they get it done?

 

“A lot of talking on the phone!” Ms. Pope said. “Tirelessly calling on the phones over the summer. And social media. We had to engage people through Facebook, text messages, you name it.” She added, “The previous superintendent supported us, believed in us, branded us by helping us with our first Annual Superintendent Golf Tournament which raised thousands of dollars. And then Walmart came and gave us another $5,000!”

 

Still, there is work to be done.

 

“Are all the school PTAs strong? No – but with us coming out of Covid, people are estranged, and there was virtual learning,” says Ms. Pope. “The Good news is, now if we can get parents to step up, and be willing to serve, we will grow. And we need community members to help us – buy a box of popcorn or a snow cone.”

 

The list of the things accomplished in the past year is impressive, says Ms. Pope. It will be a highlight of the next Executive Board meeting.

 

“And there will be scholarships for deserving seniors graduating from DeSoto high School too,” she adds proudly.

 

Stay tuned & Get Involved!

 

Want to learn more about the PTA? Contact your child’s school to learn when the next meeting is or See: National Parent Teacher Association | National PTA

You can also see more photos on the Desoto ISD PTA Facebook page.
Or contact President Michelle Pope:

mopope75115@gmail.com

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