New early-childhood PTAs formed for parents of Stonewall and Lee students-to-be

Relationships among the parents of elementary-school age children can’t start too early, says Paula Turicchi.

That’s why the mother of a 2-year-old has taken on the job of running a PTA.

“We wanted to create a neighborhood group where people could get to know each other,” she says. “The school issues are kind of secondary.”

So parents in the attendance boundaries of Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee elementary schools formed the Greater White Rock Lake Area Early Childhood PTA.

The group wants to be a place where neighborhood parents can meet one another and establish friendships for themselves and their children, Turicchi says.

“Once your kids go to even pre-school or play sports at the Y, you start making those connections,” she says. “But when you have a baby, it’s not as easy.”

Turicchi’s 6-year-old son, Alex, attends Jackson. Daughter Mia is 2.

Membership is open to anyone living in the East Dallas and the White Rock Lake Area. Interest grew quickly, Turicchi says. The organization’s Yahoo group has 47 members.

“It’s more of a social organization at this point,” she says.

The initial drive to form the new group started because of Dallas school board discussions about changing attendance boundaries for Jackson and Lee, Turicchi says.

While the school district made no changes, the possibility of future boundary changes inspired the organizers to think collectively about the two schools rather than independently.

“We wanted to start forming a relationship between those two schools,” Turicchi says.

Group members continue to monitor the attendance boundary issue. Volunteers monitor the district’s meeting agendas and attend school board and committee meetings so they can report news to the members.

Meanwhile, group members are focused on forging bonds with one another and getting involved at the schools their children will attend. Members are encouraged to volunteer at the schools, even if they don’t have children there.

Julie Walter, the chairwoman of children’s activities, plans gatherings for member parents and their children such as play groups and field trips. She also alerts members to family-friendly events throughout the Metroplex. Annual dues are $22 for one parent or $25 for both parents (which includes Dads’ Club membership)

Greater White Rock Lake Area PTA

The group meets the third Monday of each month at 10 a.m. in odd months and 7 p.m. in even months.

Upcoming meetings are:

April 18 — 7 p.m. at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, 6306 Kenwood. Featuring Lakewood residents Kim Radtke Bannister and Kelli Strobel Chabria, who recently published “littleDallas: The Definitive Guide to Life with Little Ones in the Dallas Area.”

May 16 — 10 a.m. at Robert E. Lee Elementary, 2911 Delmar. Featuring principal Alicia Zapata.

For information visit or call Turicchi at 214-827-2245.

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