WHETHER YOU’RE NEW to Buckland-Shelburne Elementary School or are an old hand, one thing you’ll notice is that the community is blessed with a wealth of talented people who make things happen. Well, we have the people. We need more of them to get involved, to help run the events everyone agrees are so much fun, and so good for the kids, and such a strong reason why many of us moved here or never wanted to leave.
That’s according to this year’s PTO president, Karen Hicks. Here is an excerpt from a conversation we had earlier this fall about the PTO and what more parents and teachers can do to strengthen this remarkable community.
KARA: How would you describe how the PTO works?
KAREN: This organization is composed of parents and teachers and staff working to support and enrich student life at BSE. Every parent, teacher, and staff member at BSE is automatically a part of the PTO.
KARA: How did you come to be president?
KAREN: I came into this position last year when during a shifting of officer roles. I was excited to get involved with the PTO and take on the responsibility.
KARA: How are PTO members elected or how do PTO members volunteer?
KAREN: PTO members are elected yearly. We meet monthly to discuss and plan activities such as fundraisers and family activities that support and enrich the students and school community.
Anyone can help. Coming to meetings is a great way to learn about what’s being planned and how to help. The PTO welcomes everyone to participate in whatever way they can. We love having people attend meetings and share ideas but even if you can’t come to a meeting, we always appreciate help with activities such as organizing fundraisers, offering to bake for special events, helping serve MCAS breakfast in the spring, staffing dances and family events, etc. The PTO recognizes everyone is busy and we appreciate any time and energy you can donate to help our school community.
KARA: What are your favorite past PTO events or fundraisers?
KAREN: The Original Art fundraiser is always great. The students work with Ms. Silverman, our art teacher, to create a special piece of art that will be used with this fundraiser. We’ve been doing this fundraiser for years. It’s a great way to share your child’s art with family and friends. We do this fundraiser around the holidays, and these make great gifts.
My favorite activity was the spring “Back to the 80s” dance. This was a great family activity, with kids and parents out on the dance floor.
After the success of the 80s dance, I’d love to have a 70s disco dance.
Think of the possibilities! I think families really enjoy these types of activities, where they can share in the fun with their children. It brings out the kid in all of us.
KARA: How are teachers involved?
KAREN: We are fortunate to have Principal Joanne Giguere and one or two staff members in attendance at most meetings. The PTO greatly appreciates the wonderful staff at BSE. We recognize the importance of maintaining a strong partnership between parents and staff to help best support our students.
We strive to maintain close communication with staff to support staff and students. In addition to the $150 the PTO provides for each teacher during the year for field trips and classroom supplies, the PTO is responsive to staff requests throughout the year.
KARA: What if somebody wants to volunteer but feels they don’t have enough time to do everything they want?
KAREN: We would love to see the room filled with parents and staff at all our meetings but we realize this is not feasible for everyone. There’s always a need for people to help, from baking to organizing a fundraiser.
Meetings are always posted on the PTO bulletin board at the school entrance and we send out a notice in the Thursday folder as well as on our Facebook page.
[Our thanks to Kylie Lowell, Aeria Heilman, Avery DuPree, Joy Bohonowicz, Mirra Girard, and Madeline Lily.]
Kara Bohonowicz is a BSE parent and an adviser at The BSE Flow.