PTO revamps EHES teachers’ lounge

By SASHA JOHNS / Community Columnist

It all started with a Facebook post. One PTO member saw a post that a teacher shared with her fellow co-workers about ways to fix up a teachers’ lounge.

That post began a secret summer mission by the Elvin Hill Elementary School PTO to surprise their faculty and staff before they came back to school to prepare for the new year.

The teachers’ lounge at EHES, while adequate, had not been updated since sometime in the 1980s. A group of parents went into the lounge to survey the current situation and take inventory of what they had to work with and put a plan into action.

Elvin Hill Elementary teachers in Columbiana relax in their new updated teacher’s lounge. (Contributed)

In an effort to be good stewards of their funds, they elected to paint and update several items that already existed.

“It’s amazing what a little paint will do to items you already have to work with,” said one PTO member.

Slipcovers for older furniture and a fresh coat of white paint on the walls were a big part of the renovation.

Then came the new. Through generous supply donations from Brown Lumber in Columbiana, one dad was able to build a bar-style table across the back windows of the room that look into the beautiful courtyard but had been previously blocked by a set of dated curtains.

By rearranging cabinets and with another generous Keurig donation, the PTO also managed to provide teachers with a coffee station backed by a large chalkboard that will be covered with encouraging messages throughout the year.

“I think it’s important for the teachers to have a place to unwind,” PTO member Amanda Jones said of giving the teachers an updated space. “When duty-free lunches happen, we want them to go to their new lounge and enjoy a grownup lunch in a beautiful space. It was our way to give back to the teachers at the Hill. We appreciate them so much, and they deserve the best because they are some of the best in the county here at Elvin Hill.”

While there was no one moment for a big reveal, teachers were continually surprised as they began arriving to prepare their classrooms the week before school started.

“We love our new lounge,” third grade teacher Patricia Aaron said. “It really is so beautiful, and most importantly, it made us feel loved and appreciated.”

The teachers’ lounge was only the beginning. Every year the PTO takes on a new a project, and this year, after seeing this project, the recommendation of new principal Courtney Madison was to continue updating the school in small areas for much of the 2019-20 project.

For instance, a new restriped parking lot greeted car riders on the first day of school, and a heavy power washing of the building is underway.

Students and parents can expect to see more improvements throughout the year.

PTO president Amy Dixon is excited about what’s in store for this school year.

“Mrs. Madison has some great ideas for things that the PTO will tackle this year,” she said. “There are many ways to get involved. Join the PTO and invest in EHES.”