Marley Middle PTA president keeps up momentum


September 01, 1999|By Donna Koros Stramella | Donna Koros Stramella,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

TERESA STEGER takes her commitments seriously.

Last year, she served as president of the PTA at Marley Middle School, and she didn't have a child in the school.

Stepping into the leadership position was not her idea. In 1997, she was elected vice president. Although she had never held a PTA office before, she was enthusiastic about the school. Her oldest daughter, Kelly, now beginning her sophomore year at Glen Burnie High, came to Marley Middle from a private school.

"I was a little hesitant about putting her in public school," Steger said. "But it worked out wonderfully."

At the time, she was serving also on the School Improvement Team and the Citizens Advisory Council at Freetown Elementary, as well as on the board of directors for the Association of Retarded Citizens of Anne Arundel County.

But she wanted to do her part. Just as she was getting a handle on the vice president's position, the president resigned during the term. Steger not only stepped up to the plate, she turned a curve ball into a home run.

For at least 20 years, parents have been lobbying for a new or renovated building to replace the existing brick structure, which was built in 1958. But the project never got off the ground.

Steger revived the project and began moving forward. As a full-time community organizer for the New Southwest Community Association in Baltimore, she had been involved in mobilizing grass roots efforts. At Marley Middle, she talked to parents, set up subcommittees, worked with the administration and garnered support from local politicians.

By September of 1998, she decided to continue serving as Marley Middle's PTA president, despite the fact that her children were attending other schools.

"There were probably two reasons why I decided to stay on," she said. "I had a really good experience the first year working with the other officers, parents and the administration and staff at the school. And second, I was real happy about the school itself."

Now starting her third term, and with a daughter, Katie, entering sixth grade at Marley Middle this year, Steger says she would continue to push hard for a new or renovated school.

With the support of all three delegates from District 31, and Daniel E. Klosterman Jr. and Shirley Murphy of the County Council, Steger wants to bring in community associations. Tonight at 6: 30 in the school's media center, the Renovation Committee will meet to prepare for the next school board meeting. Parents, staff and members of the community are encouraged to attend, even if they've never attended a meeting.

"We need to make our voices heard," Steger said. "This is our chance to finalize our plans for the school board meeting, which is scheduled for Sept. 15 at 7 p.m. That's our critical date."

Steger lives in Pasadena with her husband, David, and daughters Kelly, Katie and Hannah, a third-grader at Point Pleasant Elementary School.

Pupils as mediators

The Peace Patrol, a new way to resolve conflict, is coming to Point Pleasant Elementary School.

This month, teachers will select a dozen pupils for the patrol. By the end of September, the patrol members will have had 15 hours of training. Whenever trouble occurs, they will work in pairs to mediate the situation; an adult will be present also.

Guidance counselor Gayle Cicero says she believes in peer mediation. "I think they respond better to their peers," she said. "I think there is less resistance because the other students are not seen as authority figures."

In addition to the peer mediation sessions, all fourth-grade classes will hear a series of classroom lectures on problem solving.

The program has been funded for one year through a Governor's Neighborhood Crime and Substance Abuse Prevention grant.

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