The Poplarville School District PTO (Parent Teacher Organization) was re-established 3 years ago with a mission to help enhance the education experience of each child, district staff, and facilitate more communication efforts with parents.
The PTO is made up of a four member board and over 80 members that include parents, teachers and administrators. We are a constant presence in the schools providing volunteer services and facilitating fundraising efforts. Our organization has a long list of projects some done annually and some done on an as needed basis. We volunteer our time by providing things like teacher meals, chaperones, uniform closet organization, Fall Festival booths, Field day activities, labor for beautification projects, activities for student reward celebrations and much more. We fundraise in the schools with various projects such as: pumpkin sales, snowball sales, pictures with the mascot, santa pictures, Little Hornet Christmas gift shop, awards day roses, school dances, pickle sales, football game lemonade sales, bumble grams, and membership drives.
With the money raised we developed guidelines that made it fair to each school in which the money was raised but also kept money coming into the general fund to help the district as a whole. Our policy is that the administrators have discretionary use of 70% of the funds raised in their school. The remaining 30% stays in the general fund for expenses and district wide projects. The funds raised by the PTO have been used in a variety of ways, some of which include backpacks for kids, graduation gowns for less fortunate seniors, teacher t-shirts, teacher of the year awards, teacher appreciation luncheons, leap pads for students, student of the month awards, Student Hall of Fame awards, employee of the month awards, gifts for seniors, plants for landscaping, gift cards for student achievement, and many more rewards and incentives for teachers and students. We have even raised funds for other organizations like “BackPack Buddies” donating all of our pumpkin sales to them this year.
Our biggest purchase was the school mascot “Buzz” costume in 2016. The PTO owns the costume and works in conjunction with the district to make appearances at each school and throughout the community. He has been a huge hit with the community spreading school spirit to everyone. Students need only apply to be the mascot and to date we have had 9 middle school and high school students who have made appearances at football games, basketball games, awards days, chorus concerts and the nursing home just to name a few.
The PTO has generated over $19,000 in funds during the first semester through its efforts with teachers, administrators and parents. Together we have provided a tremendous resource for our schools made up entirely of volunteers. As volunteers go, we believe we have the best! In some cases our volunteers have spent 8 hours a day two weeks in a row volunteering (plus, countless after hours project volunteers)! The Poplarville PTO volunteers work tirelessly to contribute to the best possible education experience Poplarville can offer.
Kristi Harris, President; Mona Martin, Vice President; Lori Larkin, Secretary; Jennifer Shaw, Treasurer