At the December meeting of the Dalton Board of Education, Dalton Public Schools graduated its first class of District Ambassadors. Twenty-eight business leaders, parents and staff members completed the semester-long Ambassadors Program, and received a certificate of completion and a small token of appreciation on Monday night.
The development of the Ambassadors Program began with the district’s four-year Strategic Plan as an initiative under the goal to strengthen family and community engagement. The program provides members of the community with an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the day-to-day operations of the school district. Individuals who complete the program become Dalton Ambassadors in the community, which leads to better communication and understanding of the Dalton Public Schools.
The program consisted of four sessions spread over the course of a semester. Each session was designed around the four goal areas of the district’s strategic plan: district leadership and communications, finance and operations, curriculum and assessment, and human resources and school safety. Participants were also asked to complete homework assignments including attending school or district meetings, meeting with school principals and volunteering in a school building.
“Our first cohort of ambassadors exceeded our expectations with their interest and willingness to get involved,” said Pat Holloway, chief of staff of Dalton Public Schools. The program not only gives us an opportunity to share information with the participants, but we also get the benefit of hearing their perceptions and ideas about our district.”
All who participated felt that they learned something new about the many things going on in the district. One participant, a parent, said they didn’t realize just how much was going on in Dalton Public Schools every day.
“I have been a DPS parent for 8 years now,” said one program graduate. “I am actively involved in each of my kids’ schools. I thought I knew almost everything but after attending the sessions in this program, WOW, I didn't realize how much of what was happening in DPS that I was missing out on. I am so thankful to be picked for this opportunity.”
“Our vision is to create a cadre of invested and engaged community ambassadors who are passionate about our students and staff and want to actively advocate for our schools,” Holloway said. “Dalton Public Schools has always benefited from a strong tradition of investment in our schools, and this is just another way for our stakeholders to get involved.”
Members of the class of 2022 were Allyson Coker, Andrew Parker, Ashlyn Waits, Joni Mederios, Lindsay Lofty, Lynsey Bethel, Mariela Vazquez, Marisa Kelley, Mauricio Jacobo, Molly Chitwood, Pam Massingale, Sarah Lavender, Stephani Womack, Zab Mendez, Adan Amaro, Bekah List, Brian Cooksey, Charlotte Mattson, Elizbeth Mitchell, Jason Mock, Julie Fischer, Mallory Safley, Maria Torres, Mary Ellen Pierce, Mathew Sane, Pablo Perez and Yolonda Jefferson-Perry.
The district plans on continuing the Ambassadors Program and opening up to another cohort of participants in 2023. If you would be interested in more information about joining the next class of Ambassadors, please visit our website at https://www.daltonpublicschools.com/about/ambassador-program. Complete the interest form available at that link, and we will be in touch as soon as plans are finalized.