Chloe Clark Elementary school is located in the small town of Dupont in Pierce County, and provides education for grades kindergarten through third grade. With a high rate of 65% military, families, teachers and parents sometimes find that it’s difficult to develop a strong community relationship. Recently, Kelly Leggett, co-treasurer of the Chloe Clark Elementary Parent-Teacher Association (CCPTA), applied for a math activity grant through the STEM + Families Initiative. Kelly applied for the grant with the idea of bringing the community closer together through interaction between the students, parents and teachers. With this grant, students at the school will be able to learn math activities through a fun and educational outlet.

The members of the PTA and other parents gather together for a board meeting. Photo credit: Dana-Lynn Ballou

CCPTA is comprised of parents from many different backgrounds. Collectively, the members have degrees and backgrounds in science, math, medicine, art and more. The current CCPTA members include Hannah Jones (president), Halley Lorati (vice president), Erica Pampkin (secretary and grant writer), Kelley Leggett (co-treasurer), Keyontay Lashley (co-treasurer), Catherine Ford (volunteer coordinator and Math Night Team) and Kristin Eaten (Math Night Team).

Kelly explains, “Most of us are new to PTA this year. We all have a very unique set of skills we bring to the group. We all have a niche area we can work on. The president likes to make a strong connection between the parents and the teachers to make sure the parents and teachers both have a strong voice.”

The talented group of parents who volunteer their time for the CCPTA is honored to contribute to the community through PTA involvement. Being the only school in Washington chosen for this grant, the members are surprised and feel blessed to be able to provide such a wonderful opportunity for the parents, students and community as a whole. Kelly explains, “We directly recognize the privilege that our PTA has regarding our backgrounds. Not all communities will have the same opportunities afforded to them and higher education certainly isn’t the only talent and tool that PTA volunteers can bring to the table that will contribute to the success of their organization. The biggest skill that volunteers can bring is a desire to work hard at improving the situation at their neighborhood school. Consistently demonstrating respect and kindness to others while volunteering is also one of the most important things that we can do to affect change within and for our youth.”

Chloe Clark Elementary School
The front entrance of Dupont’s Chloe Clark Elementary School. Photo credit: Guy Claudy

With the help of Kelly Leggett, the CCPTA was recently awarded a $1,000.00 grant through the STEM + Families initiative. This grant is sponsored by Mathnasium: The Math Learning Center. Mathnasium has many offices across Western Washington where they provide tutoring for students in elementary school to high school. Mathnasium takes a unique approach to math with an intent on making it a fun experience while learning. With the STEM grant, Chloe Clark Elementary will be able to hold a math night at the school with materials provided by Mathnasium. At this math night, families will be able to participate in math-related activities in the form of stations. These stations will all have different, fun activities for parents and children to work through while attending the event.

Math Night Planning
Catherine Ford, Kristin Eaton, Hannah Jones and Kelly Leggett meet at a coffee shop to plan the math night activities with the Olympia Mathnasium representative, Jennifer Chevalier. Photo credit: Jennifer Chevalier

Although this grant is intended to utilize Mathnasium’s methods to get kids excited about math, Kelly explains, “The overall purpose isn’t really the math. The focus is STEM + Families, so it’s a community event. The grant is written [for math], but it was more about ‘why does your community need this event?’ You can replace math with art or science or basketball or whatever event, but it was about ‘what does your community need?’ And being 65% military, we have lots of people who are deploying or getting back from deployment or just moved. Even the kids who are not military are watching their friends move and they’re staying here; it’s affecting them, too. So, having a community event where that’s really the focus and bringing in the families and getting the families to participate – that is a really good thing for us. Family participation – that’s what it’s really all about.”

Kelly and the rest of the board members are ecstatic to be able to provide a fun and educational experience for the students who attend Chloe Clark Elementary. The CCPTA is planning the Mathnasium STEM + Families grant math activity night in the Chloe Clark Community Room. With the help of parents, teachers and volunteers, students will be able to expand their math ability and will quickly find the fun in the art of mathematics.

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