By Lily Belcher
On July 19, the Apollo Beach Elementary Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) was awarded the 2019-2020 Safety Award at the Florida PTA Leadership Conference. The honor was bestowed for the school’s programs focusing on students’ physical and mental safety.
Tami Gustafson, the PTA president from 2018 to 2020, said, “We were awarded the Safety Award because of our school community’s focus on the safety and emotional well-being of our students. Kindness and exhibiting good character are some of the cornerstones of our school.”
Apollo Beach Elementary, led by Principal Kelly McMillan, participated in and hosted a variety of community programs that focused on student and staff safety, such as guest speakers and activities that made safety both fun and informative.
Through their safety program, Apollo Beach educators met with parents to teach them how to help their students with bullying and other safety issues they may face at school or at home. They also explained the importance of “thinking of others first” and “exhibiting good character” to their approximately 600 students.
While mental and emotional health is a primary concern for Apollo Beach Elementary, the physical safety of students is the foundation of the program. Safety guards play an important role in delivering students to the classrooms. The PTA and students “showed support to their safety guards and student safety by making posters and sharing snacks,” according to the PTA’s press release.
In early 2020, Apollo Beach Elementary hosted a fun run for students and teachers to promote “exercise, teamwork and good character as it raised funds for programs,” according to the press release. The money raised was used for books and supplies that teachers could use to teach about kindness and character.
Apollo Beach Elementary has twice been recognized as a National School of Character because of its programs that focus on bullying and human connection.