By Kristen Miller
DASSEL,COKATO, MN John F. Kennedy once said, “Our progress as a nation can be no swifter than our progress in education. The human mind is our fundamental resource.”
American Education Week was created 90 years ago as a way to raise public awareness of the importance of education.
Co-sponsored by the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Legion, the idea was derived in 1919 from the fact that 25 percent of the country’s World War I draftees were illiterate and 9 percent were physically unfit.
Both organizations adopted resolutions of support for a national effort to raise public awareness of the importance of education.
In 1921, the NEA Representative Assembly in Des Moines, IA, called for designation of one week each year to spotlight education.
In its resolution, the NEA called for: “An educational week . . . observed in all communities annually for the purpose of informing the public of the accomplishments and needs of the public schools and to secure the cooperation and support of the public in meeting those needs.”
Cokato American Legion Post 209 and Auxiliary has kept the tradition of recognizing the dedication of the teachers and administrators throughout the Dassel-Cokato School District by delivering apples and cookies during the week.
Also a co-sponsor of American Education Week is PTA.
The Dassel-Cokato Schools will recognize American Education Week in such ways as giving treats to teachers and staff, sending e-mail quotes, and students writing thank you notes to teachers.
The focus of the Dassel-Cokato PTA is advocating for students educating parents.
The PTA hosts bi-monthly meetings from 6:30 to 8 p.m. the first Thursday of every other month at the high school media center.
Various topics are addressed and typically, there is a speaker.
The next meeting is Thursday, Dec. 1. Bernie Reinke, food service director for the DC, Hutchinson, and Litchfield school districts, will be on hand.
Reinke will present information regarding the guidelines and process the district follows to purchase nutritious meal offerings for students.
PTA meetings also offer a chance to get to know the school board members and administrators, who are oftentimes present at meetings.
The meetings allow for networking for parents of school-age children, who are invited to bring any issues they may have, explained DC PTA President Sandy Stertz.
“[PTA] is an informal, easy way to express concerns,” she added.
Registration is $8 a year for an individual, or $15 for a couple; most of which goes toward resources provided by the national and state PTA.
The 2011-12 officers are: Sandy Stertz, president; Mike Seaberg, treasurer; Kelly Jo Hillmann, secretary; Krista Cates, communications and fund development coordinator; and Melissa Weckwerth, past president.
The PTA is currently working on preparing for the DC Charger Fun Run Saturday, Nov. 19 to support PTA National Healthy Lifestyles month.
In January, the PTA will be sponsoring “Bingo for Books” at Dassel Elementary to support literacy in schools.
In the spring, it sponsors teacher appreciation week at all the schools, as well as bike safety programs at both Dassel and Cokato elementary schools.
Why join PTA?
Krista Cates is a mother of four; with a child in all three of the schools, and has been involved in PTA for five years.
She joined to become more involved in the schools and become more informed as to what’s going on there, Cates said.
Through it, she has enjoyed getting to know the other parents involved, as well as the school board members and administration.
The meetings are also very informative, she said, with various topics discussed that pertain to the students and schools. She particularly found the discussion on cell phone safety to be beneficial.
One of the big misconceptions about PTA is that it’s all about fundraising and volunteering.
The PTA hosts one major fundraiser each year, which is selling Charger apparel.
“It’s mostly about becoming more informed,” Cates said.
For further information, contact one of the officers or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.