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Rio Norte PTSA named best in state

Posted: April 26, 2008 2:58 a.m.
Updated: June 27, 2008 5:02 a.m.

The Rio Norte Junior High School Parent Teacher Student Association will be presented an award May 2 in Long Beach for being the best PTSA in California. Rio Norte officers include (front to back): Michelle Piepers, secretary; Wendy Heffernan, vice president of membership; Dee Dee Jacobson, president; Anna Stonefield, newsletter chairwoman; and ...

 
In recognition of its outstanding creativity, outreach and parent involvement, the Rio Norte Junior High School PTSA has been named the best in the state.

The school's Parent Teacher Student Association, which boasts 1,450 members, has several programs that set it apart from other organizations, according to President Dee Dee Jacobson. For instance, the WINGS - Welcoming In Newcomers and Giving Support - program is designed to ease the transition into junior high school.

"Starting junior high can be a very stressful time, so we have our students contact incoming students and our parents contact incoming parents," Jacobson said. "It's really nice to hear a welcoming voice before you start a new school."

There are not as many opportunities for parents to volunteer at the junior high level, so the Lunch Helpers program invites groups of parents to come in at lunch time and assist the campus supervisors, Jacobson said.

"We try to be a bridge, so that parents can continue to volunteer at school and be involved," she said.

A PTSA differs from a PTA in that students are welcome to join and hold offices. The Rio Norte PTSA makes sure its students take leadership roles by putting one seventh grader and one eighth grader in charge of the school's Red Ribbon Week program.

"It's all on them - that way they get some leadership experience," Jacobson said.

The award will be presented May 2 at the state PTA convention at the Long Beach Convention Center.

"I was overjoyed when I found out we had won, because of the fact that it is so difficult to win as a secondary school," Jacobson said. "My two predecessors worked very hard, and now everything has come together and it's nice to be recognized for our hard work."

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