Matoaka PTA Award

Left to right: Ruth Larson, School Board chair; Dan Fitzpatrick, Matoaka Dads Chair; Karen Talley, PTA Board Member; Andy Jacobs, Principal; Michelle Alexander, PTA President; Fran Metzger, PTA Board Member; Sandy Vanleliveld, Assistant Principal; Stacey Long, PTA Board Member; Jim Kelly, School Board Vice Chair. (Submitted photo / / September 4, 2014)

JAMES CITY – Matoaka Elementary's Parent Teacher Association is one of 23 groups in Virginia and one of 169 in the U.S. to receive the National PTA School of Excellence Award, the group announced Tuesday.

According to the PTA's announcement, the award recognizes "demonstrated improvement in the family-school partnership and significant progress toward their goal."

"We are incredibly honored to receive the designation of a National PTA School of Excellence", Michelle Alexander, Matoaka's PTA president, said in a statement. "The Matoaka PTA takes great pride in the partnership that we have built with the school administration, teachers, and staff at Matoaka. This strong relationship, along with our engaged parent population, a key factors in our ability to provide programs and activities that support our school, our students, and our families."

Among the group's recent efforts is a push to get more fathers and male role models involved in PTA activities, with successful events like a "Mystery Reader Program" for K-2 classes, a "Dads Count" Program in which fathers got involved in math and science activities in grades 3-5, a "Fire and a Flick" Dads Campout in May, and more. The Matoaka PTA also recently helped revamp the school's "Living Wedge," an area inside the school where students learn about animals and their habitats in a hands-on way.

Sampson can be reached at 757-345-2345.