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Auction "Pros" Raise Big Dollars - PTO Today

...Just last year, the PTA married a two-week online auction with an upscale auction party to net $268,000. The K-4, 650-student school found it needed a way to raise money after the Texas Legislature passed a “Robin Hood” school funding law in 1993. The law requires affluent school districts to share property tax revenues with less wealthy districts. To help compensate for funds that the school district gives up, the Bradfield PTA decided to hold an auction that could directly benefit the school. The PTA taps into parent contacts and local businesses to obtain auction items and in-kind donations. Some of the hottest items are trips, playhouses, and experiences such as ice-cream socials. Classroom creations and lower-priced items are usually reserved for the silent auction. Parents put some ingenuity into the auction by creating an online category called “Teacher Treasures,” which brought in more than $17,000. “Kids love to spend time with teachers and staff outside the classro...

20 Fun Family Night Ideas - PTO Today

...Billed as a Get Connected “block party” , the event provided imaginative play for all with minimal time commitment from parents. 6. Rockin’ Through the Ages AGCuesta/Shutterstock If you envision a dance party that gets everyone out on the dance floor, have the DJ spin tunes from different eras. A dance party at Vine Hill Elementary in Scotts Valley, Calif., included music from the ’50s through the present day. Parents and students wore costumes from their favorite decades. Work with the DJ to identify the songs guaranteed to get everybody grooving. Or let parents and kids make requests in advance of the event. 7. Count Day Attendance on Oct. 1 determines funding in Colorado schools. At Rocky Mountain Classical Academy in Colorado Springs, the parent group turned Count Day into a fun day no student would want to miss. Teachers wore silly outfits and kids wore their pajamas. Much of the day was spent reading for pleasure. Among the highlights, students watched their teachers com...

Carnival Success Story - PTO Today

...Before theme parks, this was the only way for kids to enjoy the thrill of carnival rides and the excitement of games, flashing lights, and a little independence from their parents. At St. Philip the Apostle School in Pasadena, Calif., a similar event comes to life each fall. Take away the rides and focus on stage talent, and it's just the right mix for a great family night out and a phenomenal fundraiser. Safe, Simple, and Fun Host a talent show featuring the likes of a Lucille Ball impersonator, an American Idol contestant, and a chimp used in movies. Add a healthy dose of musical acts, a haunted house, games, and party food. That's what St. Philip's fall festival is all about. "We work hard to keep the festival interesting," says Scott Dopke, festival chairman. "Over the years, we've tried different games, such as a pingpong tournament, soccer-kicking contest, bingo, and karaoke. We've rented inflatables—moonwalk, giant slide, mountain climb, and bungee jump—to see what the kids...

Room Parents Dish: Don't Do These Crafts - PTO Today

...Construction projects like catapults, while great for science nights, can become machines of destruction in the frenzy of a class party. And, at all costs, don’t break the golden rule of class parties and use glitter (it never goes away!). So let’s hear from our room parents, who are on the front lines of classroom crafts and willing to share these cautionary tales: Anything that involves multiple foam pieces that need to be stuck together with GLUE! I learned that in my first Valentine’s party as a room parent…I was new and didn't realize the pieces in the cute little picture frame kits I'd ordered were not stickers!! —Riki F. We tried slime for the end-of-the-year party . It doesn't work as well in 100°. It was a mess! —Gina M. We did a painted handprint craft . We made bats, so black paint on both hands of twenty 5-year-olds! Not only was getting them to wash all the paint off without getting it all over a nightmare, but they use SO much paint that they were impossible...

Kids Are (Still) Key to Fundraising - PTO Today

...Students could also earn a chance to play field games like Booger Wars (dodgeball with bean bags). “They went crazy when they saw that video,” says PTO president Caressa Baker. “I heard students saying, ‘I want to go home and sell so I can go to the truck.’” To engage students at a rally, Nick Kukta, vice president of fundraising company Great Western Reserve, suggests asking questions to make sure they’re paying attention and explaining how much of the money raised goes back to benefit them directly. Announcements about prizes are more effective when made near the end of a rally. “Wait until the last five to seven minutes to cover all the prizes so they leave excited,” Kukta says. Build Momentum It’s important to let parents know why you’re fundraising. If you have some specific programs or events you’ll fund or something that you’ll purchase for the school, communicate that to parents. Those kinds of specifics are much more motivating than communicating the...

Low-Cost Student Incentives for Your Next Fundraiser - PTO Today

...Pizza or ice cream party:  Offer the chance for a pizza or ice cream sundae party to the top-performing class. (Alternatively, if a teacher or principal prefers to avoid the distraction, offer coupons for those treats at lunchtime.) Classroom or All-School Incentives Teacher gift:  Offer the class with the highest participation a modest gift for the teacher (for example, an Amazon gift card) in addition to the students’ incentive. Extra recess:  Check with the principal on what she’d allow (one extra period, every day for a week, or some other arrangement). Pick a theme day:  The class that performs the best gets to choose a dress-up or spirit theme for the school, like Hawaiian day, sports day, or silly hair day. Game afternoon:  Check whether the principal would allow the winning class to spend an afternoon playing board games or whether students can bring personal gaming devices from home (or a mix of both). via Walden School Blog Movie time at school:  Let the class...

A Year of Great Ideas - PTO Today

...Ask high school students needing volunteer hours to lead younger students in games. Provide materials for kids to make their own holiday cards. Show an age-appropriate movie. Breakfast with Santa Round up volunteers to take charge of a pancake breakfast. Children take photos with Santa. Families can shop for gifts from local businesses that rent booths or at a holiday shop sponsored by the PTO. Breakfast With Santa Flyer   January Roller-skating night: Families enjoy a night at the roller rink with discounted fees. Ease parents and students back into the school routine after the holiday break. The PTO builds its reputation as a fun group. Mid-year review: Try to connect with more families. Look through volunteer sign-up forms and parent interest surveys again. Follow up with any potential new volutneers. PTO meeting Invite a speaker to talk about preparing for college or another topic of interest to parents.   February Multicultural night: A community-building and educational family...

Build Your Volunteer Base: 11 Ideas - PTO Today

...I follow this with an ice cream sundae party as a small incentive for the little ones. Having children count and bundle elastics around tickets might not seem like much, but to them it is real work, and they and their moms are always delighted to help. When it is time to actually swing the carnival into action, it feels like the whole town shows up to help. Our family helps set up the ticket booths, and every able body drags tables, puts up posters, tears duct tape—it is a great example of community work in action. It feels like a setting right out of a Master Card commercial: Massage for stiff back, $65. Pizza for dinner, $20. The look in our daughters' eyes when we rush around setting up the tables, knowing that we care about their school, priceless! Parent volunteers send the message to their children that they care—about them and about their schools. Every time you come in for reading hour, you build your child's self-esteem. Besides, you're taking advantage of all the years w...

PTO Insurance: What You Should Know - PTO Today

...General liability policy: This policy should cover third-party bodily injury and property damage claims that occur during activities both on and off school property. “Third party” means non-participant, such as if someone who is walking by a magic show gets hurt by one of the tricks. If you have an unusual or large event, such as a festival or fun run, make sure that the general liability policy covers all activities at the event. For example, if your school PTO is planning a fundraising festival that includes a ring toss, fortune-telling, magic shows, and an auction, check that the PTO’s liability policy covers any accidents or claims related to all these activities. Plus Members get discounts, expert guides, personalized support, and more! LEARN MORE Excess accident medical: Excess accident medical insurance provides excess medical coverage to participants at PTO-sponsored events. If an injury at one of your events results in significant medical costs (such as surgery or a hos...

Family Night Builds Connections With Blocks - PTO Today

..., hosted one of their best family events ever—a huge “Get Connected” block party. Surprisingly, though, this block party wasn’t held outdoors and didn’t have the flashy fanfare of giant inflatables, loud music, or a DJ. Instead, entertainment for the 150 attendees came by way of some 25,000 Lego brick blocks that the PTA provided for the night. The gathering provided fun and imaginative play for kids of all ages; it was also a snap for PTA leaders to put together. “A lot of times it’s stressful to plan these events....Usually, we parents are running around,” says former PTA board member Wendy Worden. But at the Get Connected gathering, she says, “We were able to relax.” There was no formal committee established to plan the event. To gather supplies, PTA president Lisa Mandara had little to do but push an industrial cart full of Legos through a checkout register; a second volunteer was tasked with purchasing snacks. According to Worden, the idea for the block party c...