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Raise School Spirit and Keep It There! - PTO Today

..., held a 50th birthday party in conjunction with its annual community fiesta. About 120 former students, including one who flew in from New Hampshire, were among the 800 attendees at the event. The guests included the school’s first principal, who talked about its early days, including the fact that so many people wanted to attend this new school that overflow classes had to be taught in two local churches. “The idea that the school’s been around a long time and has come a long way—that was the message,” says Lynne Karle Hostetler, PTA media and marketing chairwoman. “Kids were excited about that.” Outstanding alumni are inducted into a Hall of Fame at Kennedy Middle School in Redwood City, Calif. Started by physical education teacher Bret Baird in 2000-01, the Hall of Fame inducts one or two individuals each year. Selected by a committee, these people are role models in various professions; all that’s asked of them is that they come to the school and share their experi...

Picking the Best Fundraiser for Your Group - PTO Today

...If you need $2,000 for the graduation party, then a dedicated product sale with a just-right product for the time (think wreaths at Christmas or flowers for Mother’s Day or chocolate for Easter) can be a strategic choice and relatively easy to execute and promote. You should also consistently take the “mood” of your parent community into account. If there’s a loud murmur about being tired of sales or there’s a huge movement around healthy habits, then maybe a walkathon or road race should be on your radar. It’s all about the right choice at the right time for the right goals, just for your group. You’ll have the same questions about give-back nights at local restaurants and home parties that will return 15 percent of sales to your school or even box tops and labels. All are good fits for some groups and not such good fits for others. Are your parents burned out because you’re asking for their help and attention every week? In that case, even these seemingly no-brainer...

Negotiating With the Principal - PTO Today

...This step involves discussing what each party really wants, as opposed to the specific proposals or positions on the table. In the case we’ve been using, it seems obvious that both the principal and the PTO leader each want what they think is best for the children’s education. There may be other interests in play as well. Perhaps the principal also wants the school to be on the cutting edge technologically, adding to the school’s reputation as a community asset. Maybe the parent group leader feels distributing assets equitably so that all children benefit from PTO activities is pivotal. Getting ideas on the table and then finding the underlying interests in common is crucial. Sometimes these are called “superordinate” or “overarching” goals. Spread the word—schools thrive because of hard-working parent groups LEARN MORE The third step involves widening the vision of what is possible that may solve the problem and satisfy differing interests. Setting aside time for this...

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...

Collection Programs: Tips To Pile Up Profits - PTO Today

...At the end of the year, the class with the most donations gets a pizza party, and their teacher is given a gift card. Regardless of school size, "don't offer a ton of prizes. You really don't have to," Stewart advises. "The kids enjoy cutting the box tops and having them neatly wrapped" because they feel like they are doing something important. And, she adds, remember to include the faculty and thank them afterward for participating; they shop as much as the parents do. Stewart also suggests contacting local businesses and organizations to ask for donations of used items. Fast Track to Fun Many kids love a little healthy competition, so April McFall, the technology facilitator at BF Kitchen Elementary in Loveland, Colo., uses it to encourage students to bring in larger recyclables—ink-jet, laser, fax, and copier cartridges, cell phones, and PDAs to support the group's participation in the Cartridges for Kids program. She has created a mock racetrack on a bulletin board in the comput...

A Play's the Thing - PTO Today

...Fiddler on the Roof , The Sound of Music , and The King and I have multiple family and party scenes with lots of youngsters. And children make ideal munchkins for The Wizard of Oz . Choosing a family-friendly story also makes the evening suitable for all ages to attend. Planning Is Key The Amherst PTA began with smaller productions, but its current musicals demand more financial and logistical organization from everyone involved. Because the producer organizes key elements—props, costumes, and sets—the PTA splits the role among several people. “We also encourage job-sharing if people feel overwhelmed or simply can’t commit the time needed to a specific role,” Desborough adds. Amherst volunteers typically start working on a show more than a year ahead of time, but they’ve found that productions follow the same general schedule year to year. A rough timeline for performances held the first week of April looks something like this: 15 months in advance: Choose play and secure...

National Runner-up: Diverse Community Shows Strong Bonds - PTO Today

...A summertime popsicle party is another way to spread the sense of community among the entire student body and their families, as are math and science family nights, book fairs, an open house, and conference day activities. The PTO makes a special effort to include faculty and staff, celebrating them with a back-to-school brunch, a conference day dinner, an appreciation luncheon, and snacks for the teachers’ lounge. PTO members invite teachers and the principal to periodic one-on-one lunches. To help teachers get to know the PTO further, group leaders’ photos, names, and job titles are posted in the teachers’ lounge. Staff are included in the weekly emails sent by the PTO to parents. And a teacher representative sits on the PTO board while the parent group is represented on the faculty communication committee. Encouraging fellowship among parent volunteers is also key to the PTO’s mission. After the school’s one and only annual fundraiser, the Winter Festival (which is held o...

My Foolproof Escape Route - PTO Today

...I put my name down for the Halloween party. Oh, and the holiday shop (cash register again). And I signed up for a bunch more. Then life crowded in. I accepted a new job. I had a major family function to plan, and I took on a challenge that involved weekly classes and a year’s study. My dog was edging toward the end of her days, which made me realize that 15 years of my own life had flashed by. I spent most of the year inside my own head, mulling, worrying, looking back, and preparing for what was to come. Every once in awhile, I’d emerge, look around, and be surprised to find myself in the present. Then the thoughts would start again, drawing my attention back inward. Meanwhile, the volunteer requests kept popping into my email box. My head was so cluttered, I couldn’t bear to take on one more thing. So I turned down—or worse, ignored—most of them. Had I made room for the book fair or the holiday shop, I would have found what I was craving: a brief vacation from myself. When...

Cookie Dough Raises Sweet Profit - PTO Today

...Five classes that reached 100 percent participation were rewarded with a pizza-and-movie party. Children in the same family sold the cookie dough as a team, but each child received credit for total sales. The family with the highest sales could choose between tickets to an amusement park or a Cleveland Indians or Cleveland Cavaliers game. In addition, families that sold 50 or more tubs won lunch with the principal at Pizza Hut. Students rode there in a limousine donated by a family that owns a local car dealership. The top two sellers in each class received passes to a local water park, and students reaching a set sales level received music-download cards. PATHS also awarded cash prizes and gift certificates totaling $350 in a drawing during an awards assembly. Students could be entered into the drawing multiple times based on the number of units they sold. On top of that, sixth and eighth graders selling cookie dough could earn credit toward class trips. With such a driven sales forc...

6 Simple Fall Events - PTO Today

...Tailgating Party Fall means football! Get in on the fun by holding a tail­gating party at school. Set up a few grills and encourage families to bring side dishes. Add a contest (best team spirit, best sign, etc.) that encourages people to dress in team colors. Digital citizenship FTW! Teach kids and parents what really matters for online safety DOWNLOAD FREE PROGRAM Originally posted in 2016 and updated regularly The best PTO advice, ideas, and inspiration delivered weekly. Don’t miss it! Plus Power Pack: Next Year’s Events The School Events You Love Most Field Day Makeover 10 Easy STEM Activities for Kids To Try at Your Next Family Night Trying Out Taekwondo Makerspace Basics Comments (0) Add comment... Name (required) E-mail (required, but will not display) Send Cancel Weekly Newsletter It's never too early to start planning a (safe) holiday shop. Get Your Free Updated Guide Along with your free guide, you will also be registered for our weekly newsletter. By downloading this f...

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