Chartwell’s Chefs in Schools Program

chartwell-chefWe have a few different formats that we can use for a Chefs 2 Schools visit. The most common is our more interactive visit, in which our Chef and dietician prepare a sample of a healthy dish utilizing a fruit or vegetable that is our food focus of the month. We typically try to tie this back in to something that is offered on our menus. This is our most popular version of the Chefs 2 School event. Typically, we host around 30-50 students at these visits. Students get the opportunity to see the chef in action, the chef uses a few student volunteers to assist him, the dietician reviews nutrition education facts regarding the dish, and students get to take home a recipe card.

We can also provide a Chefs 2 School event for the whole school, set during lunch service. This is less interactive, and really focuses on the students simply sampling the item and taking a recipe card home.

Our third option, is called Food Art Friday. During this event, one of our chefs will provide the selected students with fresh fruits/vegetables, and allow them to create artwork with it. We usually reserve this for younger elementary students. They are able to touch, taste, and learn about healthy fruits/veggies. This is typically around 30-40 students due to the interactive nature of the visit.

For more information contact Louisa Alderson, Chartwells Marketing & Communication Manager, Office phone:  904-732-5117,


National PTA Family Reading Experience

Reading Together In Favorite Places

reading-familyJuliet sits down with her child, Kakii to talk about learning how to read and their favorite place to read at home.  National PTA and Kindle celebrate the Family Reading Experience – a campaign that inspires families to keep learning alive by reading great books together. National PTA empowers families with tips and activities that encourage ongoing reading, while challenging them to share photos, videos and memories that demonstrate how and why reading together is a fun and treasured family activity.

Find out more about how your PTA can bring this national program to your school  #FamiliesRead

Electronic PTA Meeting Planning Committee

office-1701161_1920pixabay-wall3At the September DCCPTA General Meeting there were several people interested in learning more about holding an electronic PTA meeting or committee meeting.  If you are interested in helping prepare for an electronic PTA meeting Please send your email address to to get involved.  Our first online meeting will be Saturday Nov 5 11:00 am.

Before-School Running and Walking Program – Holiday Hill Elementary

Before-School Running and Walking Program Brings Multiple Benefits to Holiday Hillrun-sign-in Elementary

As schools across Florida reduce time devoted to recess and physical education, the rates of childhood obesity1, attention-deficit / hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)2, and other health concerns increase annually. Allowing time for exercise and unstructured activity is one treatment, among others, that is commonly recommended.

At Holiday Hill Elementary, we offer a before-school running and walking program to help all students add more activity to their day. Holiday Hill is in the Southside between Beach and Atlantic near University. We are a K through 5 with an enrollment of about 650, and 71% economically disadvantaged. Our PTA membership is about 300.

In fall 2014 I worked with our PTA board to start the Morning Mile running program at our school after hearing about it from a friend in Gainesville. My daughter sometimes has trouble focusing in class so my hope in starting this was that she and other students could arrive at least at their first class more settled and ready to learn.

We had no idea how popular and impactful this program would be! Each day at 7:45 am, an average of 75 students and about 4 parents or grandparents come to the P.E. field. We play music and they run or walk laps around the field for 20 to 30 minutes.

During this time, the kids are free—to chat with their friends, race against each other if they choose, or play tag—while they do laps. The kids love it because it’s a period of fun in the school day, and because it’s an activity that they have chosen. It’s not a competition; they decide whether to walk, run, go with a group or just beat their personal best. For some, the only exercise they get is at school.

They also love receiving their mileage charms at our 9-week awards ceremonies. This has made the program an important part of our school’s culture.

Both parents and teachers have told me that these students are indeed much better able to focus when they arrive at class—and that’s only the short-term effect. We hope this helps them establish the habit of being active and healthy in the long term.

Here are the best things about this program:

  • It’s free.
  • Any student can participate any time. Every participant can earn mileage awards.
  • Family members and community members can join in. In addition to parents, grandparents, and siblings, we’ve had Mayor Curry, Ashley Juarez Smith, Fire Station No. 1, and even Santa Claus run with us.
  • The funding is donated by local businesses or corporations.
  • It’s simple to maintain once it is started, since it only requires two adult volunteers per day.

In the first two years of Morning Mile at Holiday Hill, our school grade went from a D to a B, more than half of our student body came out to run, and we collectively logged more than 20,000 miles. This program has turned out to be a great way to match up with PTA’s mission: it engages our families, strengthens our school community, and helps make every child’s potential a reality.

If you are interested in starting a running/walking program at your school, feel free to contact me and I will help you get it started.

Amy Mitchell

Holiday Hill Elementary PTA

(904) 504-0618


  1. Childhood Obesity Facts, Centers for Disease Control,
  2. ADHD Data & Statistics, Centers for Disease Control,


Fall Leadership Workshops Presentation Summaries 10-01-2016

Here is a list of workshop; PowerPoint, summaries, and web-links to subjects that were covered at the worksheet Fall Leadership Workshops Presentations References 10-01-2016.



Arts croped

Cultural Arts Education In Schools

Involvement in the arts increases academic achievement.  Studies have shown that eighth graders who are highly involved in the arts get better grades, are less likely to drop out and are more likely to attend college. Yet fewer U.S. students report receiving any arts education today than 25 years ago-and the declines are steepest among African-American and Hispanic students. PTA supports a well-rounded education for all students, including the arts as a core academic subject.

DCCPTA is proud to run the largest Reflections Program in Florida, with approximately 300 student participants each year from around Duval County.  In 2016-2017 Duval had three students that won Awards of Excellence at the National level.  Way to go, Duval!!!  Reflections is an easy, low-cost program to add to your local PTA this year.  Contact our Cultural Arts Chair at if you need help getting started.

Students may create entries in any or all of these categories: Dance Choreography, Film Production, Literature, Music Composition, and Photography, Visual Arts (2-dimensional or 3-dimensional).  Remember that the successful students relate there artwork to the theme is worth 50% of the total judges’ score.  The specific rules for each category are available on

Congratulations to Duval County Reflections winners for the 2018-2019 school year.  This year’s theme was “Heroes Around Me.”  Three entries in each age group/art category are chosen as an “Award of Excellence” and are forwarded to compete at the State level.  A special ‘thank you’ to all of this year’s participants for sharing your heroes with us!

Duval County Winners 2018-2019

Florida Winners from Duval County 2018-2019


Reflections Links:

Florida PTA Reflections Facebook Page

Florida PTA Reflections Page

  • Rules
  • Student Entry Forms
  • Training Materials

National PTA Reflections Page

  • Local Unit Toolkit
  • Register your local unit
  • Upload school winners proceeding to County


Reflections Program Annual Theme Search

Another great way for students to get involved in the Reflections Program is the annual Theme Search.  Encourage your student to brainstorm and imagine a theme that will appeal to other students. For submitting the award-winning theme, the student receives $100 and recognition at the National PTA convention in June. To submit a student’s suggestions for a Reflections Program theme, complete the entry form at and send it to Florida PTA by October30.


Past Reflections Award Winners

2017-2018 Theme “Within Reach”

County Winners Announced 2018


2016-2017 “What Is Your Story?”

2015-16 “Let Your Imagination Fly”

2014-2015 “The World Would Be a Better Place If…”