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It Takes A Village! A Message From Your PTO President


I want to take a minute to discuss a topic near and dear to all of us, the future. Let me first start by clarifying something…each and everyone one of you are members of the Haisley PTO, Parent-Teacher Organization. Yes, there is also a governing board, but each and every parent and teacher is automatically included in the ranks. Really! So, what does that entail?

Many new parents (and alarmingly many tenured parents) often ask, “What does the PTO do?” And while we do many things, like advocate for our students and build community, the majority of our activity boils down to two very critical issues…1) fund raising and 2) volunteer management.

Perhaps the more talked-about of these items is fund-raising. We all dutifully pay our taxes. In return we expect an exceptional education. And while that sounds great, the state and district budgets are very lean. Often, supplying the learning we demand requires a supplemental investment. Bring on the auction, and Walk-a-Thon, and Box-Tops, and…you get the point.

This school year the Haisley PTO will raise nearly $50,000. That may sound like a staggering number. In practicality, it’s only about $110 per student. The majority goes directly to classroom learning: field trips, guest instructors, summer learning books and classroom instructional equipment. Let me be very clear, these are not common luxuries at every Ann Arbor elementary school. We are blessed to have a generous community.

Now lets shift to the more challenging topic…volunteerism. None of these fund-raising events would happen without an even greater investment of time from many parents. Haisley has come to expect and rely upon three major annual events: the Silent Auction, the Walk-a-Thon and the Ice Cream Social. Nearly three quarters of all PTO revenue is generated by those three events. Each event requires an army of volunteers, and more importantly as it relates to this discussion, a few brave champions to lead the activity.

Here’s the good news…we have a generous community. Every time we put out the call for help, crowds show up. Almost every class has multiple room parents. Every parent event is well attended. You are all actively engaged.

Here’s the bad news…By the very nature of our community, families come and go. As we look forward to the 2015-16 school year we anticipate a few vacancies in critical leadership roles. We are currently without a team to lead the auction. Many of the current PTO board members will be cycling out of their current position including President, Vice President, Parent Volunteer Coordinators and Fund-Raising Chair.

So now I need a favor…I need you, yes you, to step forward. I need a few parents – ideally with lower-el students – to raise their hands and take the torch. The current PTO has done an amazing job of building infrastructure. There are processes in place, notes and templates. 90% of the PTO activities run themselves. We need you to be the magic 10%.

SO, what say you? If you’re curious, check us out. PTO meetings are the first Thursday of each month. All are welcome. Perhaps your room parent or neighbor is a board member. Chat them up. And know that we all started just like you, innocently thinking it was too hard, or that someone else would do it. Please act. Help us ensure future classes of Haisley Huskies continue to receive the best education possible.

Jimmy Simonte, PTO President, jimmy.simonte@gmail.com

http://www.haisleypto.org/  haisleyPTO@gmail.com


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