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Meet Grandma Jo

Jo Anne Phillips
Volunteers Daily at Beck Elementary

Two granchildren in Utica Community Schools

- Emma - 3rd Grade
- Katherine - 6th Grade

Graduate of Utica High School


"Grandma" Jo's Story

I believe that the children in our schools are our link to the future. I know that a child is never going to get lost in Utica Community Schools. Our teachers are always there to help the children, and they will do whatever is necessary to find support for a student. We put these students on a path for success.

My story with Utica Community Schools really started four years ago when Principal Sally Klatt asked me to help read to students at Beck Centennial. I was able to devote the time because I helped care for my grandchildren during the day, and they were at the school. I started volunteering in what was supposed to be a few hours each day. Now, I'm at the school from about 8 a.m. to 4:30 pm. doing whatever needs to get done. All of the teachers have my cell phone and they call to ask "Grandma, if you are not doing anything, can you come down to help?"

Our staff members care so much for our students. I think that if people who don't have kids in schools would just walk the halls they would see how hard our staff members work and the hours that they are here. Everyone needs to help to keep the success going into the future.

The kids are so appreciative of the time you spend with them. It is amazing how they can absorb something so quickly. Even the older kids will say to me "grandma, thank you for reading to me. You helped me through something that was really difficult for me."

I love spending time at the school. My granddaughter said to me the other day - "you know Grandma, you are Grandma to the kids in the school, but you are the mother to all of the teachers." That meant so much to me because I see how hard everyone works. If we can continue to support our schools and that success continues to grow, we are going to have a great future in this community. I truly believe that.

Click play below for a short video on Grandma Jo's story

Utica Community Schools Board of Education

Dr. Carol Klenow, President / Gene L. Klida, Vice President / Michele Templeton, Secretary / Dr. Robert A. Ross, Treasurer
Jennifer L. Prybys, Trustee / Ken Krolczyk, Trustee / Dr. Mary K. Thomas, Trustee
Dr. Christine Johns, Superintendent of Schools
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