PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Donna Clifton virtually single-handedly saved the Parent Teacher Association in Portsmouth.
“I’m a pusher. I don’t go away simple,” said Clifton. “I am here to remain and I am here to fight for our children.”
Clifton started later realizing there were no members of this PTA in Brighton Elementary, asking questions. She learned a vast majority of the 19 schools of the district didn’t have a group.
“There’s something wrong,” she thought. “I am trying to comprehend what’s the disconnect? Why is it that we can’t get our parents involved in our colleges to really make a gap in our schools?”
Clifton states, in the moment, parents complained the schools weren’t welcoming and there wasn’t anything to them.
She got to work. Clifton says she spent countless hours over the next year recruitment officers, going to colleges, PTA meetings and assisting chapters.
As of January, all 19 schools are currently in good position with the Virginia PTA.
Membership has grown to 2,000, however, Clifton considers more parents of those 14,000-plus children need to sign-on as urges.
“We are trying to advocate for funding for the children,” said Clifton. “They’re our future, and if we don’t do that which we need to perform for them to make sure they have what they need then our planet will be in trouble.”
Superintendent Dr. Elie Bracy credits Clifton together with saving the PTA.
“She definitely revamped the whole structure of the PTA, and that I owe her a great deal for this,” said Dr. Bracy.
Eight of the city’s 19 schools are fully licensed by the state. Clifton considers a PTA can help by placing volunteers in the classroom.
“We need mentors. We are in need of folks coming in reading to our children. We are in need of people coming in educating our children,” said Clifton.
She says it her enthusiasm to have the community connected.