Twin Echo Elementary School has been named a National PTA School of Excellence for the 2018-2020 school years. The school community celebrated with a special event on September 6, 2018 at the school.
Twin Echo joins an elite group of schools recognized by the National PTA for its partnership with families through PTA to enrich the educational experience and overall well-being for all students.
National PTA’s School of Excellence program supports and celebrates partnerships between PTAs and schools that work to improve the educational experience and school environment for every child.
Twin Echo is one of only three schools in Illinois to receive recognition this year. The other two Illinois schools are located in the Chicago area. (Click here for a full list of 2018-2020 schools.)
Twin Echo has worked diligently with the community to engage families in student success. They enlisted support from local businesses and widened the PTA’s focus to include new groups, such as grandparents and neighbors.
“We wanted to build a sense of community where everybody is welcome,” said Twin Echo PTA Past President Lisa Brennan.
“PTA is NOT just parents and teachers — a strong school impacts the community. Twin Echo PTA builds relationships in the Collinsville area. Strong public schools make a community better, safer, stronger and more successful,” added Brennan.
The goal was to be as inclusive as possible. All school fliers also featured the PTA, so stakeholders identified the group as being an integral part of the school. “We let families know how much PTA contributes,” said Brennan.
The National PTA School of Excellence program provides guidance to assist schools in engaging families in school decision-making, and helps the school build inclusive policies related to education, health, safety or the arts.
At Twin Echo, families feel welcomed and empowered to support student success. The PTA is a key partner for continuous school improvement.
“Every child deserves an excellent education and school community, says Principal Dr. Julie Haake, “We are so proud that Twin Echo is a National PTA School of Excellence!”
Carolyn McCarty, vice president of Illinois PTA, attended the Twin Echo celebration along with Greg Hobbs, Southern Region Director of Illinois PTA, to present the honor. McCarty read a special congratulatory letter from Brian Minsker, Illinois PTA President. McCarty also mentioned only FIVE Illinois schools have earned this designation since its inception and TWO are in CUSD 10. (Kreitner Elementary was a 2016-18 designee.)
CUSD 10 Superintendent Dr. Robert Green and Collinsville Mayor John Miller spoke about the importance of strong public schools in a community. Miller also shared remembrances of when his children attended Twin Echo in the early years of the school.
A highlight of the celebration was when four alumni of Twin Echo shared their memories of being a student at the school and what they are doing today:
Cade Juenger (Twin Echo 4th Grade Class 2010-11): Cade just completed military training and is a senior at CHS.
Brandon Robbers (Twin Echo 4th Grade Class 2004-05): Brandon graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a degree in hospitality management and marketing. He works for Expedia.
Jane Steible (Twin Echo 6th Grade Class of 2002-03): Jane graduated from SIUE with a degree psychology. She works at Washington University in St. Louis.
Josie Wright (Twin Echo 4th Grade Class of 2005-06): Josie is attending SIUE majoring in psychology and Spanish. She plans to get a master’s degree in child psychology.
Much of the evening focused on the how the process of becoming a National PTA School of Excellence strengthened the school community and how those lessons will continue going forward.
Carolyn McCarty from Illinois PTA said, “This is not an end — it is a milestone on a path that continues to engage and empower the community to advocate for children so that EVERY child has resources and support to reach full potential.”
Former PTA President Lisa Brennan said although the year-long process ended in a noteworthy honor, “Now we look ahead to: what’s next? where do we go from here? ” She encouraged the community to continue to support PTA fundraisers and membership.
The Twin Echo National PTA School of Excellence committee was Lisa Brennan, Zach Bonebrake, Olivia Schubert and Paul Gimple.
The evening also included the debut of a celebratory video: “What Makes Twin Echo Excellent” —