(Scott Welton, Staff)
Local members of the Missouri State Teachers Association are joining thousands of teachers, students and educational organizations throughout the nation in observing American Education Week.
American Education Week runs through Friday.
"It's a week that we celebrate having the ability to have an education, to thank a teacher, thank people in the school system for all they do -- secretaries, cooks, janitors. It's a way for the community to say thank you for what they do," said Nancy Williams, public relations committee member at the Sikeston R-6 Seventh and Eighth Grade Center.
"This is the first year ever we have had T-shirts made district-wide," said Debbie Balmer, a teacher at Sikeston Senior High School serving as chair for the week's public relations committee. "We designed the T-shirt for all employees of the Sikeston School District. Those will be worn Friday."
Pam Lowe, president of the Sikeston Community Teachers Association, said a variety of activities have been planned for the week.
"We're doing dress up days with an education theme like 'Put Your Thinking Cap On.' Another one is 'Career Day' where students dress up for the career they want to be when they grow up and students on Friday are wearing red and black," said Katie Lape, a third-grade teacher at Matthews Elementary in Sikeston. "We're doing 'Stop, Drop and Read' every day to stress the importance of reading."
Lape explained students will carry reading books with them throughout the day in readiness for school-wide announcements to 'Stop, Drop and Read' at random times.
Parents and other members of the community will also be participating in American Education Week events.
"I think the most important thing to remember is that the first teacher every child has is a parent," Balmer said. "We're really working on establishing that link between the community and the school."
Monday evening members of the public relations committee for American Education Week will be visiting the Kiwanis Club and making a presentation.
"Tuesday is 'Invite Parents to School Day.' Parents have been encouraged to come visit their children during their reading block," Lape said. "Mayor Mike Marshall is coming to read to our kids on Friday."
"A lot of the businesses in town are putting something on their signs about American Education Week," said Nancy Williams, public relations committee member and a teacher at the Seventh and Eighth Grade Center.
"The Parents as Teachers Organization is going to be providing breakfast to all teachers and staff on Monday," Balmer said.
The PTO will also be providing teachers with snacks and refreshments throughout the week at Sikeston Public Schools.
Williams said participating school systems will receive points for each of their activities. The Community Teachers Association will then award a certificate to the school district with the most points.
Established in 1856, the Missouri State Teachers Association is the state's largest and oldest education association with more than 44,000 members. Other local school districts have also planned activities for the week.
MSTA headquarters are in Columbia with regional offices in Cape Girardeau, Kansas City, Jefferson City and Springfield.