Pops Are Tops

Dads got a special thank-you from the James H. Boyd Intermediate School PTA in Huntington, N.Y.—at an assembly attended by the entire student body, volunteer dads each received a trophy presented by their own children. The PTA also has another unique volunteer appreciation approach: Children of volunteers receive a thank-you note and a small token of appreciation for “lending us a parent.”

Going, Going, Gone

San Marcos (Calif.) High School PTA
The PTA holds a “dessert rush” at its annual auction, where delectable homemade desserts are presented for bid. The table with the lowest bid is “awarded” a dessert decorated with Twinkies and Ding Dongs!

Good Shepherd School PTG, Pacifica, Calif.
The Parent Teacher Group gala auction event featured a Pirates of the Caribbean theme, and the PTG hired an actor in full pirate garb to entertain the crowd during the event. VIP seating at a higher ticket price allowed for a quick checkout privilege.

Lab School for Creative Learning FOL, Fort Collins, Colo.
Friends of the Lab holds an annual school carnival fun night combined with a silent auction. Among the creative prizes attendees can purchase: massages, horseback riding lessons, canoe rides, and a snowball fight.

Welcome to the Family

Stoner Creek PTO, Mount Juliet, Tenn.
The PTO holds “Popsicles at the Park Day” for kindergartners and their parents before schools starts. Leaders give out T-shirts that read “I am proud to be an SCE kindergartner.”

San Gabriel (Calif.) Christian School
After it revamped and renamed its parent group to be called Volunteers in Partnership (VIP), the group sent “birth announcements” to the school’s 1,200 parents to emphasize that there had been a dramatic change.

A Strong Start

At a start-of-year breakfast, Fairgrove Academy PTO in Ontario, Calif., gave each teacher a folder with information about the PTO plus all the forms they would need for the year, and gave away a basket of classroom tools.

Parent Groups That Care

Every year, parent groups do extraordinary service projects to help people in need. Here are just a few.

Kate Sessions Elementary PTO, San Diego
PTO leaders coordinated Team Sam to raise funds and awareness for a kindergartner battling cancer.

Grove City (Ohio) Christian School PTO
In just two months, PTO leaders put together an auction that raised $25,000 for the family of two children, both diagnosed with a rare bone cancer.

Thurgood Marshall School PTC, Chula Vista, Calif.
Leaders held the March for Micah, a walkathon that raised $33,000 for a former student with leukemia. More than 800 walkers turned out for the event.

Resourceful Reading

The Springfield Middle School PTO in Fort Mill, S.C., organized a parent-teacher book club. The club focuses on books that will help parents and teachers better understand adolescents.

Simple but Successful

Solvang (Calif.) School PTO
The Event: A dad’s volunteer day
Made Better: PTO leaders printed nametags for kids that read “My Dad [or uncle, or grandpa] is volunteering today.”

Webber Elementary PTO, Lake Orion, Mich.
The Event: An annual luncheon for grandparents held at the school.
Made Better: Volunteers offered valet parking for their senior guests.

Sierra View Elementary PTC, Oakdale, Calif.
The Event: A beach party-themed book fair combined with a build-a-book night.
Made Better: Leaders gave out sand dollars (reward points used for books) to teachers who got students in their classrooms to RSVP for the event on time.

Leaders In Literacy

These groups are aiding literacy in their communities through unique initiatives and reading programs.

B. Bernice Young Elementary PTO, Burlington Township, N.J.
The PTO organized a districtwide book drive, collecting 3,000 books that were donated to two children’s hospitals in Philadelphia.

Tolland (Conn.) Elementary PTO
A total of 3,500 books were donated to the Sweeney School in nearby Windham, Conn., where 88 percent of students are on the free and reduced-price lunch program and a large percentage are English-language learners.

Morrisonville (N.Y.) Elementary MFSO
The Morrisonville Family School Organization ran a “books at birth” program for neighborhood families. New parents received a letter from the principal and a gift bag with three children’s books and information about literacy.

Let’s Get Together

Each quarter, the Sharon Elementary PTO in Statesville, N.C., hosts a PTO Parent Night. Among the features: dinner in the cafeteria, displays of student projects, and a book fair or health and safety fair. The evening ends with a student performance and a “special event”—such as the principal taking a pie in the face. The nights have become so popular that extra chairs have to be brought from another school.

Mom Time

The Saturday before Mother’s Day featured a mother-son bike ride sponsored by Hammond Hill Elementary PTO in North Augusta, S.C. Afterward, the riders gathered at the school for lunch. The event was free, and food for the lunch was donated. The group also held a father-daughter square dance earlier in the year.

Take a Pass

Our Lady of Mount Carmel School PTO in Newport News, Va., has unique incentives for its annual sales fundraiser. Rather than giving out toys or other products, the group has children draw cards from a basket. Each card is a pass good for extended recess, permission to skip homework for a night, or—a favorite at the Catholic school—“no uniform for a day.” Children loved the approach, and sales rose.