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PTO Leaders Inspired by Special Holiday Moments - PTO Today

...Giving Back to a Special Teacher  We hold bingo games throughout the school year, as a fundraiser and a fun family night out. This December our big raffle item was a giant stuffed dog. We raised nearly $150 on the raffle, but what warmed my heart was not one, but several parents and students who said if they win, they would give it to a certain favorite teacher who would love it as a reading buddy in the classroom for her students. - Jenn T. Grandfather’s Generosity At the Santa Shop, a little girl was over budget by a lot. I was trying to help her figure out how to reduce/exchange. A grandfather who was there helping his grandson shop overheard and asked how much she was over. When I told him, he said, “I’ll take care of it. Just add it onto my grandson’s gifts.” All of us volunteers were so moved by this gesture. That man showed the true meaning of Christmas, and the adults who witnessed it felt it, too.  - Courtney M. Caring for Kids in Need  For years, our school did...

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...

How Your PTO Can Help Raise Test Scores - PTO Today

...Fortunately, students were happy with dollar-store prizes, inexpensive trophies, and a pizza party. A plan to have a traveling trophy for the class with the most points each week didn’t work out because volunteers were busy grading worksheets and tracking progress—but that was OK. “You can go big if you have the volunteers and resources to do so, but you can also make a difference without getting too complicated,” she says, adding that the parent group plans to enlist middle school math club members to help grade worksheets. “My kids loved the program, and they were thrilled with their small prizes.” Reading Ideas Incentive Programs Children improve their reading skills through practice, and many parent groups have pulled off successful reading incentive programs. Parents as Reading Partners is sponsored by the National PTA and encourages students to track the minutes they spend reading. At Titusville Intermediate School in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., the parent group motivated st...

Carnivals & Fairs Archive - PTO Today

...Classic School Carnival Activities Need ideas for your school carnival? Choose from this collection of crowd-pleasing games and activities. Summer Crafts Fest Brings Community Together A two-day “Christmas in July” street fair brings together more than 20,000 attendees. Big Trucks Raise PTO Bucks Cars and trucks galore drove the enjoyment at a communitywide fair. Family Event: Fun and Eco-games PTO Today’s 2008 Outstanding Family Event was a green festival that combined learning and fun, included a large number of parent volunteers, and helped strengthen the connection between the middle school and home. Halloween Festival Builds Community Every October, a 140-student school in Michigan throws a party for a thousand people. Create a School Tradition Ambitious events build excitement and involvement. They make your PTO look great, too. Carnival Success Story One school's longtime carnival tradition brings the right blend of fundraising and family fun to the entire community. Spri...

Don't Do It! - PTO Today

...Principals can often serve as a sounding board to evaluate ideas or as a neutral party in disagreements. Show your principal you value his perspective. Don’t give the impression that your group is just about fundraising. Although fundraising is essential for parent groups, it’s not the main focus. Make your first communication with parents about involvement, not fundraising. Hold a free family event during the first few weeks of school, like a kickoff picnic or ice-cream social, to put the focus on having fun and building friendships. Plan some curriculum-related events, like a math and science night or a reading challenge. Try to keep the number of fundraisers you run to a minimum, and be sure to communicate to parents how the profits benefit students. Challenge accepted! Concrete steps for a great start to the school year GET FREE GUIDE Don’t get off on the wrong foot with teachers. Teachers are supportive of most parent group efforts, but PTOs often ask a lot from them (like...

More 2016 Parent Group of the Year Winners - PTO Today

...Annual budget $20,000, 186 students Despite being at a small school, the Riverdale Elementary PTO organizes an impressive number of events, including a winter dance (top), a pizza party on the playground, an ice cream social, a meeting for 1st grade parents, a rummage sale, and a spring carnival. Outstanding Academics & Enrichment Mount Hebron Middle School PTA, Montclair, N.J. Annual budget $7,000 to $10,000, 640 students The STEM magnet school pushed students to get creative with a Poetry Slam. A poet-in-residence taught the entire school about the history of poetry and the tradition of poetry slams, and each student wrote poems in class. 45-minute assemblies for each classroom on poetry and poetry readings 3 workshops where students worked on their performances 40-plus student poets giving spoken-word performances 16 prizes awarded by a panel of judges Outstanding Outreach to a Diverse School Community Thomas Edison Language Institute PTA, Sacramento, Calif. Annual budget $25,000,...

Kids Talk: If I Were Principal - PTO Today

..."There would be lots of things to do like playing games, sharing what your parents do for a job, telling how cool your parents are, and much more activities. The best part is kids shouldn't be embarrassed by there parents because all of the other kids parents would be there. This is also a perfect day for parents to see what there children do in school. They could see the cool work their kids do, find out if they are in a bad crowd or not, see if they pay attention in class, take teachers seriously EXT. Some teachers could even throw a party with pizza, Chinese food, subs, or whatever food kids like. This day could also be like a parent teacher conference but without people getting in trouble."   Kayleigh Parravicini, Grade 5 Marlborough (Mass.) Intermediate Elementary School What Kayleigh would do: Start the "P.I. Pledge." "Parents would be asked to sign a parent involvement, or 'P.I.' pledge, stating they will spend at least fifteen minutes everyday helping their child with homewor...

26 Ways for Your PTO To Rock a Star Wars Family Night  - PTO Today

...It’s always best to have a few quick games at the ready. via Children's Ministry Deals 18. Throw in an egg relay race... via Sweet Benannasam on Pinterest 19. ...or a quick game of Pin the Lightsaber on Yoda. via Penny’s Parties 20. Keep the little kids busy by making Chewbacca puppets out of brown lunch bags. via JDaniel4’s Mom 21. Serve up popcorn, Star Wars-style. via Hello, Society 22. Put a fun twist on your concession stand with Hutt Dogs. via Catch My Party 23. Decorations don’t have to be fancy. A few strands of star garland will do the trick! via Etsy 24. Kick things off with a bit of trivia. via Play Buzz 25. Set up a fun photo booth for families. Smile! (Or don’t.) via Lemon Squeezy Home 26. Families will have a blast at your event—we promise! And when all’s said and done, give your PTO a well-deserved pat on the back. You all rock! via imgflip (created by PTO Today) Originally posted in 2016 and updated regularly. Family Movie Night® is a trademark of School...

Winter Holidays Event Planning Guide - PTO Today

...Use the theme in your decorations, assign fun names to snacks (crisped rice treats could become iceberg chunks, for example), and add a couple of games to entertain families. Here are a few ideas to add winter spirit to an existing event: Snowball relay: Children carry “snowballs” (cotton balls) on a spoon and drop them into buckets. The team with the most snowballs in a bucket wins. Indoor ice-skating relay: Set up an area to race; kids slide on paper plates along the track. Or set it up as an obstacle course to make it more challenging. Pin the nose on the snowman: Like pin the tail on the donkey, but you’ll be pinning a carrot nose made from orange construction paper. Freeze dance (get it??): Dancers must freeze like statues whenever the music stops. Snowflake hunt: Hide paper snowflakes at your event. Add a value for a small prize on each one. Snowflakes can be traded in for a prize after they’re found. Project snowman: Team members must dress each other as snowmen using t...

When Parent Group Leaders #ptoprep for Events, They Don’t Mess Around - PTO Today

...#ptokids   What Do You Mean, You Took the Truck?!? “This is what happens when your husband forgets to leave you the truck on fall festival day and you have to deliver hay to the party!” —Alicia D.   Minivans FTW “My van was full of bagged popcorn from the movie theater to hand out to our entire school. Over a thousand bags!!” —Sara M. #ptolife   Let’s Go Out to the Movies... “Any guess what day tomorrow is??? There are three more bags [of popcorn] just like this!!” —Laurie O.‎     I Wasn’t Using That Living Room Anyway “Mine was taken over by book fair inventory!” —Mary H.   Mom vs. Machine “Cotton candy is brutal...500 down today and 215 more to go come morning...Calgon, take me away....” —Tara B.   Rain, Rain, Go Away “Our PTO had to postpone our fundraiser picnic because of excessive rain in our area that caused some flooding. We visited the park that we are holding it at and this is what we found. Glad we have a rain date planned.” â€...