PTA strengthens education through fundraising, volunteerism

by Bob Gaetjens | Editor Published:

The Streetsboro Community PTA strives to provide the best possible educational experience for Streetsboro students, and, over the past three years, it's raised $86,000 toward that end.

The organization is led by President Tracy Campbell and Vice President Kelly Butler, who have a lot of help from an 18-member board, which includes Treasurer Melody Puleo, Secretary Debbie Teitel, vice presidents acting as liaisons to each of the district's five school buildings and chairs of various committees.

"We have a really good board," said Butler.

The organization works hard to provide direct support in classrooms, via an army of volunteers, said Campbell.

"We have a volunteer in every building almost every day of the school year," she said.

The PTA assigns a parent to each classroom from preschool to fifth grade, she added.

Last year's total membership was around 300, which is where many of those volunteers come from, she explained.

"Our time doing PTA does take away from our family time," she said. "The more people we can have involved, the less time that core group has to be away from family."

Volunteers help with a variety of activities in the schools, from holiday parties to assisting during visits from COSI to volunteering as chaperones for homecoming and after prom.

"Anything the schools needs bodies for, they call us to coordinate," said Campbell.

Butler said the strength of the organization and the schools rests on parent volunteers.

"The more parental involvement there is, the more success there is," she said.

In addition to providing countless hours of volunteer support to teachers and administers in the classroom and during extracurricular activities like prom, the PTA also works each year to provide material support to educators, said Campbell.

"We're very well-received in all the buildings," she said. "We distribute wish lists to all the teachers at the beginning of the year, and we encourage them to fill them out."

For example, Campbell said the PTA recently donated $1,000 in books to Henry Defer Intermediate School.

Also, each grade is given $250 to spend as it sees fit.

"We've been able to gradually increase our funds per grade," said Campbell.

For the past couple of years, Campus Elementary School has pooled the second- and third-grade money to bring COSI on Wheels to the school in the spring, she said.

At the high school, the PTA has provided breakfast for sophomores taking the OGT.

"In September or October, depending on when conferences are, we also provide dinner for the staff," said Campbell.

The third component of the PTA's activities, is hosting community events to help parents and children connect to each other and the school district more.

The PTA hosts monthly "Dine and Donate" events at several restaurants in the community, which help raise money for the PTA and also provide parents a venue for a family dinner, said Campbell. A portion of each bill is donated by the restaurant to the PTA.

Another major community event organized by the PTA is the annual Tailgate Party, which takes place before the first football game. The event this year is set for Aug. 29 in high school parking lot. The event runs from 5-7 p.m.

The Tailgate Party will feature a Chinese auction, bounce house, balloon bending, tattoos, corn hole and Streetsboro police, service and fire departments, along with some of their vehicles. A variety of school organizations also will have tables at the party.

The Rockets take on Champion High School that evening.

A trip to Kalahari, an indoor waterpark near Sandusky, is planned for Sept. 18. A portion of each room charge will benefit the PTA. For more information, call 877-525-2427.

Butler and Campbell have headed the PTA for four years now and keep coming back for more.

"I wanted to be part of my children's education. I wanted to be involved and know the staff and the parents well," said Butler. "Now, what keeps me going is the people."

Campbell said she's excited to be involved in a district that's "moving forward."

"We are making a difference; I believe we are making a difference every day," she said.

For more on the Streetsboro Community PTA, visit the organization's Facebook page or website, www.streetsboropta.org.

Email: bgaetjens@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9440

Twitter: @thegatewaynews

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