PTLA Celebrates 2022 Program Graduates

  • May 4th, 2022
  • in News

by Sophia Xiong
CCBP Graduate Assistant

On April 7, parents and teachers gathered at the Bryant Conference Center for this year’s Parent Teacher Leadership Academy (PTLA) graduation. After meeting virtually for the entire 2020–2021 academic year, 2021–2022 offered an opportunity to meet in person as well as online.

Andrea Ziegler, director for Community Education, welcomed everyone. “We are delighted to have each of you with us here tonight to celebrate our graduates and their accomplishments. This evening, we are proud to recognize more than one hundred graduates from our four participating districts. Graduates, we are pleased to honor you this evening,” she said.

Ziegler recognized school district superintendents Dr. Wayne Vickers, Alabaster City Schools; Vance Herron, Lamar County School District; Dr. Michael Daria, Tuscaloosa City Schools; and Dr. Keri Johnson, Tuscaloosa County School System.

Dr. Jim McLean, Community Affairs vice president and executive director of the Center for Community-Based Partnerships, gave the opening remarks. “Please let me congratulate this years’ parents and teachers for your achievements. I was especially excited that we could finally be in person again this year. It’s been really nice to see people in these sessions interacting,” said McLean. “This program intends to build the relationship between home and school, and we hope that took place during the year. This is one of the reasons I’ve been so supportive of the program. It really makes a difference.”

In 2020–2021, PTLA began a pilot academy, during which Tuscaloosa City Schools’ Paul W. Bryant High became the first high school to join the program. This year, two more high schools joined: Holt High from Tuscaloosa County School System and Thompson High from Alabaster City Schools.

Jake Peterson, program coordinator for Community Education, announced awards of certificates and plaques. Three school teams were declared Social Media winners. They are Sipsey Valley Middle School, Thompson High School and Tuscaloosa Magnet Schools-Elementary. Twelve school teams’ projects won grants — Arcadia Elementary, Big Sandy Elementary, Central Elementary, Collins-Riverside Intermediate, Creek View Elementary, Davis-Emerson Middle, Hillcrest Middle, Matthews Elementary, Meadow View Elementary, Skyland Elementary, The Alberta School of Performing Arts and Tuscaloosa Magnet Schools-Elementary.

In closing, Dr. Samory Pruitt, Community Affairs vice president, said. “I never miss one of these programs. I always enjoy hearing participants talking about their experiences, what it means to them to use what they learned to help the community and support each other. I also want to thank those superintendents. During the pandemic, we often see signs outside the hospital saying, ‘heroes are here.’ I would say heroes are also in these school buildings. We wouldn’t' be who we are without education. If you all didn’t continue to do your job and give our young generation a good education, the consequences would be devastating. I know it wasn’t easy, but you all did it anyway. I really want to say thank you to the group of teachers and parents who joined PTLA during the pandemic, and to this group of teachers and parents here tonight.”

The Math in Motion grant winner was Tuscaloosa Magnet Schools – Elementary (TMS-E), an ongoing collaboration between TMS-E and UA’s Honors College. Alice Stallworth, 2nd-grade teacher at TMS-E, said, “About two years ago, there was a student who always wanted to be a professional basketball player, and he told everyone that he would grow up to be a professional basketball player. But it only took one time for the students from the Honors College to come, and this student saw them doing a robotic project. After that, this student expressed an interest in engineering. This project really shifted our students’ thinking about what they can accomplish in their lives. And it is so important to lead them to see those entrances at a young age so that these ideas can grow with them.”