With most great accomplishments, there are many behind the scenes that contribute to making it happen.
Education in the Platteville School District is no exception.
I wanted to showcase a few of our outstanding volunteers that assist us with a myriad of activities, each making the day a little brighter, a little easier, a little more exciting, and a lot more fulfilling. Although I am including just a few, there are many, every day, that volunteer in our schools and we greatly appreciate the efforts of all of them.
Amber Scaife recently moved to Platteville and has a son in 4K. She recalls that when she was in Ohio, she would leave for work early in the morning and return at night, having had very little time to spend with her child. When she moved to Wisconsin, that changed. She feels privileged to be able to stay at home raising her child and, as a result, wants to support his school and be a part of his daytime world. She is the treasurer with the PTO and has been involved in the book fair. Through her involvement in the book fair, she connected with the library and now comes in every Thursday to shelve books.
Janelle Davis serves on the Neal Wilkins PTO and because of her science background, really enjoys the annual K–3 science fair. She also helps coordinate the spring and fall book fairs as well as other PTO fundraisers and has been a member of the playground project committee. She has a third-grader and a kindergartener in the district and volunteers weekly in the classroom.
When asked why, Davis reminisced about how she had grown up in a tight knit community where everyone supported each other. “I want the same for my kids! My parents raised me to understand the importance of volunteerism and giving back to the community. As far as volunteering in the schools, I truly believe parental involvement is a key component to student success.” It seems as if it is not really unpaid, as she did share that “the smiles and hugs I receive from the kids make my efforts worthwhile!”
Interestingly, quite a few retired teachers volunteer in our schools. Many readers may remember Joyce Jones, who taught in the district for 39 years and volunteers because she still enjoys teaching. She works with some of our students who are ahead of their class in reading through the Junior Great Books program. She has worked with first-, second-, and third-grade students recently, but in the past worked with sixth-grade students on developing good study habits.
Mary Anne Anderson was a first-grade teacher and taught reading for 35 years in another district. She helps out with readers at Westview by talking through with them what they have read. She has been a presence at Westview for 14 years and now has seen some of her students graduate. She said “teaching is like breathing” to her. She loved it and appreciates the opportunity to continue … that and she enjoys the books that the kids are reading.
Frank Evans, another retired educator, helps out with some of our middle school aspiring musicians. He plays bassoon and clarinet and helps students develop their skills with these instruments and others, helps tune up instruments, does small instrument repairs, and tries to serve as Mr. Sefton’s right hand. As a former educator, he says he has a “keen sense of how important education is to a community.”
Lisa Riedle, a parent of a seventh-grader and a third-grader, tutors students in Math, especially those who need extra challenges. She also helps out with field trips and the marching band. She recently returned from Oman and has come in to share her experience with the middle school students. She likes getting to know the other parents and the teachers and remarked how creative the teachers were, but that they did not always have the time to carry out their great ideas and she felt that she could help with that.
At Platteville High School, Sharon Pink is the treasurer of Music Boosters and helped rewrite the bylaws for the organization. She assists with fundraising for classroom supplies and for scholarships that cover student participation in the various honor groups, music camps, and for graduating seniors. In Sports Boosters, she helps with more fundraising through concessions and the golf outing. She had three boys go through our system, with the last in his junior year at PHS. When asked why, she replied that volunteering in the schools was ingrained in her by her parents. She points out that she wants to help make what is already a very good school system, even better.
Carolyn Kroll is the treasurer for Platteville Sports Boosters, has been involved in Junior Great Books, has tutored students in reading and math, chaperoned field trips, and raised funds for Music Boosters, Sports Boosters, and Scholarships. Although she seems to be a constant presence at the high school, her oldest child graduated and her other child is in the sixth grade. She volunteers because, simply stated, there is a need for it. There is a lot on teachers’ plates and she wants to help out as much as she can. She enjoys being actively involved in those things that are important to her children since the time spent during the school years is short and goes fast. She shares how there are many parents out there willing to help, but they don’t always know how to approach the schools to offer, nor what is needed. She sees part of her role as a volunteer to raise awareness with other parents as to how they can help.
Lastly, I would be remiss during this election season, if I did not mention our school board members. The Platteville School Board is an unpaid board … a.k.a. voluntary. There are very few school boards left in Wisconsin that do not get a least some sort of stipend for their service. I am very appreciative of the work they do. They give up many evenings, make tough decisions, and answer to their constituents. They are very focused on making sure the funds that are dedicated to the district are used wisely and in the best interest of our students.
I want to especially thank Tim Murphy, who is retiring from the board this spring. You would go far to find someone with his patience, sense of humor, and quiet commitment to serving the Platteville School District. Thank you for volunteering for ten years, guiding the district in providing an excellent education to students.
Thank you to all of our volunteers. We are better because of your efforts.
The Community Corner is a weekly column of opinion written by guest columnists UW–Platteville Chancellor Dennis Shields; Platteville School District Superintendent Connie Valenza; Platteville Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Kathy Kopp; Main Street Program Director Jack Luedtke; State Rep. Travis Tranel, Platteville City Manager Larry Bierke and Police Chief Doug McKinley.