The Daniel Island School (DIS) opened its doors to a new school year with in-person learning on Aug. 17. Teachers donned black shirts and sparkly bead necklaces that incorporated the theme of the year: “Together We Shine.”
Festive pop-ups, provided by Sassy Signs, created fun photo-ops placed around the campus entrances. New parents and parents of students in grades kindergarten through third grade were given a rare opportunity to escort children to their classrooms for one more hug and goodbye.
Emphasizing teamwork is the goal of the “Together We Shine” program. Principal Nancy Leigh said, “We are focusing on togetherness among our students through our character education program and modeling that we are better together than as individuals. This means supporting each other through all avenues of our journey at DIS.”
One of the collaborative support systems at the school is the Parent Teacher Association (PTA). The volunteer organization serves as a vital partner that helps keep all the wheels in motion, connecting families, teachers, and the community.
“Our PTA works with a variety of parents and organizations to enhance the educational success of students,” Leigh said. “They provide our staff with instructional supplies, incentives, and encouragement. Their participation in school improvement and teacher appreciation is very beneficial to the success of our school.”
At this time of the year, the PTA turns its efforts to helping families transition back to school.
Lauren Barber, vice president of events, commented, “Daniel Island School and the DIS PTA have enjoyed welcoming our students back for the 2021-22 school year with several back-to-school events. With over 100 new families, the PTA sponsored events were a great way to raise awareness, educate and connect our new families, and offer chances for meet and greets.”
PTA sponsored events included a “New Parent Orientation” held on Aug. 5. Attendees had an opportunity to meet Principal Leigh and learn about her vision for the new school year. The PTA sponsored a membership drive with shirts designed by Island Haus Company.
“Meet the Teacher” night was organized by the PTA and was held on Aug. 12. Families could meet teachers, staff members, the school nurse, and visit with vendors and PTA representatives.
Because kindergarteners likely experience first day jitters, PTA volunteers hosted a “Meet-Up in Center Park” on Aug. 14 to calm the fears of young students and parents alike. Special guests included Principal Leigh and the school mascot, the osprey. To encourage classmates to connect, each class was given bracelets of a certain
color to easily identify parents and students who have the same teachers. Children were given a bag of materials to help ease the back-to-school nerves. Attendees were treated to ice cream.
“I attended the kindergarten meet-up with my daughter, Olivia,” remarked Ursula Keating. “We really appreciated having an opportunity to meet her classmates and other parents before school started. Seeing some familiar faces on her first day definitely helped her feel more at ease and excited to start the year at her ‘big kid school.’ ”
After the first day drop off, a “Coffee Meet-Up for Parents” was offered in the multi-purpose room. Parents gathered for Starbucks coffee to socialize and to become educated on back-to-school programs being offered.
Michelle Carlin, vice president of communications, remarked, “As a new member of the PTA executive committee this year, I am so impressed by the planning, time, and thoughtfulness that has gone into making the start of the year such a success. The partnership between the PTA and Daniel Island School is amazing to be part of.”
For more information about the PTA, visit dispta.org.