Hello Eakin friends,
This is Matt, PTO president for one last week with the last Eagle Flyer until August. This message is too long, agreed. It summarizes our entire PTO breadth for those who have any questions. The more who understand and pass on this information, the more kids succeed.
We welcome our new board, Edwin Willmore (president), Asa Mt. Mimms (vp), Anitra Fuller (secretary), Maria Amado (treasurer), and Nikki King (fundraising) + 22 more coordinators. Each one could run the show alone. We are in excellent hands.
At Eakin, PTO is not the old stereotype: bake sales, balloons, and bored moms with free time. Everyone working here, a wonderful variety, has a plan for each minute of their day -- families, careers, civic duty, health. We do like balloons.
What we are is a full-blown, registered non-profit organization of volunteers for at least 1300 students, caregivers, and staff from every place. The structure is a tripod of teachers, admin, and active parents. Without these three working hard together, Eakin is good, but not "a great school." The fact that our school has no tuition is surreal to me. Our own family is grateful. [Divide the MNPS annual budget by the enrolled and it is well over $10,000 per student. Personal opinion, not that of Eakin or Eakin PTO: two hours working at our school earns you $5000/hr.] Throw out old notions and come have fun with us. You'll always end up ahead.
This PTO is not a clique. If you haven't met people and seen the walks of life we represent at our 25 events below, be here next year. The richness we have is special and can't be bought. This took decades to build. We are proving that real public education is vibrant, effective, and necessary.
Our school is incredibly welcoming, I promise. Shara and I have been here daily for 8 months. Not once were we made to feel unwelcome. Volunteers are loved. We have a unique opportunity, thanks to our admin and teachers, to be involved in a directly effective way, to solve problems and improve because we are not perfect. All that is required is showing up. None of us regret time spent at our children's school.
Through volunteerism this year, we have engaged nearly 200 people from our 400 family base (approx. 700 caregivers). Twenty families gave from ten hours to hundreds of hours of their time for our students. Over 100 volunteers at one event (carnival) is unprecedented. We need this from everyone. At least 150 families donated (from $10 up). Let's get 250 to donate at least $10 next year. Twenty families gave over $300. Fifteen more gave over $800. Let's get 50 donors over $500 next year as we have pre-Covid.
Through these efforts, three hundred families enjoyed our events; all 400 families benefited from our programs. Our community is machine for building good humans.
When we combine our ideas with an action, our complaints with a solution, and our questions with a search, this PTO will succeed every year, always.
What did the Eakin PTO do this year?
25+ events, 14 programs, 14+ teacher/staff appreciation events, 16+ other initiatives
EVENTS - Small and Large. 38 different days of fun and education. Events pay for themselves but require everyone to Do Two (hours per year). Donations go to classes and programs.
-9 first Tuesday PTO meetings - attendance of 30-50 at each. One hour, easy, crucial. Free stuff.
-August Roster Party
-Orientation - Come this August. Build classroom community. Meet your teacher.
-Boo Hoo Yahoo Breakfast
-Dragon Park grade popsicle parties
-Coffee with Principal. Very approachable.
-Invest Celebration - Two carnivals this year. Lucky!
-Fun Run - Proof of how many parents can get away from work!
-Walk to School Day
-5th Grade Coffee with West End principal
-Literacy Night - Puppet truck! Thanks, Ms Bulbulkaya. [sniff]
-Preschool Parent Preview tour event - packed with people.
-Holiday Food Boxes - 72 boxes bought, assembled, delivered. Thanks, Julia.
-Fitness Night - lots of parents running events.
-3rd Grade Town Hall. Eakin performed well on TCAP.
-International Potluck - a packed party of unbelievable food. The pride of Eakin. Live music, too!
-Talent Show - You had to be there, really. 35 acts. Tears, laughter, life-affirming fun. Thanks, Olga, Ed.
-Belmont Basketball game
-Math Night - Mathnasium!
-Book Character Parade - Legendary.
-Dance - By popular demand. Parents cleaned up luau bits by hand. Sweet. Thanks, Tanya and family.
-Art Night - Wow, lot's of cool stuff.
-Counselor-led forum - We love you all.
-Carnival - Just huge. Bouncies, baked goods, brass bands, bizza and botton bandy. Thanks, Maria, Trip, committee.
-Auction - Over $20,000 worth of stuff donated. New online platform. Quite a program. Thanks, Rachel, Jerry, committee and donors.
-Music Nights - A series where 530 kids perform? Impressive. Thanks, Mr Ross.
-Field Day - Thank you parent volunteers! Put elementary tug-of-war on ESPN.
Teacher events where we only advertised and pitched in money: Jump for Heart (and donations), class projects, reward parties, holiday program, end of year picnics, wax museum, room parent created class parties, and other P.E. related events, opportunities. The amount of action at our school is just unbelievable. Keep reading...
PROGRAMS. Enrichment work we do all year.
-Sustainability. New! We rerouted (since Jan.) 14,000+ unopened cartons of milk, 17,000 food packs to Union Mission and Catholic Charities from breakfast in the classroom. Thank you, principals for your patience, Asa, Ed, Kristin. We are sharing the process with other schools. USDA requirements are horribly wasteful. Get involved.
-Facilities: Planning, ordering two $8k shade canopies (from one specific donation). June install! Thanks, Margaret. Thanks, Jaclyn. More to come with some restricted playground funds. Stage reclamation, bathroom improvements (concerted effort), lost and found sorting, Watchdog projects, tidying up, repairing many things. Cleaning classes and carpets. June 1. 9a-3p. Be there!
-Sports - New! An elementary with so many teams? Thanks Ed and coaches.
-Watchdogs - Back by admin request. 28 men came on a Friday for a few hours doing so many things. Great feedback. GET INVOLVED. Dogs are cool.
-Room Parent Program - Classroom community is crucial. In August, we make it better.
-Spirit Store - Packed with apparel, bags, bottles. See EakinPTO.org. We ordered $12,000 in products including Fun Run shirts for 530 students. Multiple blowout sales this year generated $1200 from lots of discontinued items. Thanks, Romy.
-Clubs - A perennial favorite. We even consult for other schools on this. Get involved, we need parents.
-Yearbook - First since 2019-20. Sold at cost (first time). No one who met extended deadlines was turned away. Expensive! Pre-orders required, free or not.
-Tours - Signs across the neighborhood. Flyers to preschools. Principal-led tours are rare among schools. Thank you, Mr Hartfelder.
-Invest in Your Child - $27,000 raised for family support, extra copy machines, teacher appreciation, curriculum support ($8k), insurance, etc. See EakinPTO.org.
-Carnival / Auction - $20,000. For extra class materials, software, technology, training, reward parties, more.
-Vanderbilt Football parking - $5000. Come help. EASY money.
-Kroger / Publix cards - A free $2000 IF YOU UPDATE YOUR CARD TO EAKIN PTO. (Let's go from 100 to 300 Kroger cards. An easy $5000.)
-Giving Tuesday - Over 100, $10 donors in one day (after Black Friday). Awesome. Tell your grandparents.
-Spirit Nights - Many choices. Support local business and earn money for Eakin.
-Other partners include HWEN, Vanderbilt, Wilson Bank, HCA. Ask your company to match for our Invest! We need your help with this.
TEACHER / STAFF APPRECIATION ($9,000 budget). Food, gifts, coffee, and sweetness from students.
-Two sit down lunches for 73 staff. (10 parents each time.)
-Coffee carts. Now in flight attendant costumes!
-Quarterly work room snacks ($200 each time).
-Two teacher / staff only receptions at 5 Points Diner. 2 hours hanging out for free. Lots of fun.
-Holiday mailbox treats, survival kits. Thanks, Shana.
-Special teacher / staff tshirt for 73 people. ($1000).
-Appreciation week activities, treats, Friday lunch.
-Paraprofessional, EE lunch and gift cards.
-Pizza, donuts, muffins several times.
CLASSROOM SUPPORT. Our priority, over $30,000 in support.
-Materials. 103 different items are in our Amazon "buy again." Headphones, shelving, art supplies, paints, ink, tape, magnets, sharpeners, tools, craft items. We buy something for a teacher a few times a week.
-Software. Generation Genius($1800). ESGI Kindergarten progress tracking software ($1000), Brain Pop Jr. ($1830), and more.
-Training. Any teacher who had an idea, a class, or a conference they wanted to attend got a "yes." Fingerspelling training for deaf ed ($3000). Ms Rusk-Carter and Asbell to a Toronto IB conference. Ms Brooks to a cultural inventory training. We love to offer these.
-Planning. We work with staff on curriculum, IB, budgets, communication, security, TCAP, facilities, equipment, enrollment, calendar, and class communication.
OTHER TASKS COMPLETED. Improving our communication, facilities, and engagement are key.
-Creation of Eakin PTO handbook. 45 pgs. (Shorter than this email.) Sharing our system with Harris Hillman, other schools.
-Starting DoTwo. So many did!
-Creating a plan for increased inclusion and engagement. Thank you, Ms Brooks and Dr Reynolds.
-Clearing the air on the (old) new playground question. Parent donations support classrooms and teachers. The end. Covid raised prices, killed grants.
-Separating permanent staffing position ideas from questions of salaries from PTO donations (language, interventionists, etc.) PTO has a one year budget. District hires permanent employees.
-Communication: The Eagle Flyer (new), room parent emails (revived), streamlining socials (FB argh!), callouts, folder flyers, marquee, physical signs, posters, internal communication system. If you want the info, it's all right there.
-Great new website, calendar, sign up portal. Thanks, Clay.
-Organizing PTO closet, again. Days!
-Simple income/outflow pie charts to clarify donation usage. See EakinPTO.org.
-Investing $80,000 PTO savings for $3000+ return next year.
-Doubling our PTO role number and filling the positions, training ahead of time.
and I forgot things and left things out. Wouldn't want to bore you!
The following parents and guardians gave thousands of dollars worth of time and energy -- It's not thankless if we thank them:
The Dubois Montgomery Family, Maria Amado, Nikki King, Romy Frank, Kim Yandell, Lena Anthony, Shana Dowell, Edwin Willmore, Taylor Brown, Shara Davidson, Ms Tharpe, and Dan Krause for his previous hundreds of hours.
(Does not include non-PTO help like Muriel Wasby's church/Friday food bags, team coaches, class/library help, all that Ms Hippel does and more.)
All donations mean a lot, but I personally want to mention these multi-thousand dollar donations:
New PTO website (time / money) - The Skartvedt Haynes family
Two Shade Canopies ($16,000) - The Mann Family
Condo week donations - The Greenstein Family and The Tatoms
As for our own family, we love all the friends we made and the things we accomplished together. The school staff is lovely. We are so thankful for Eakin. To any of you who might lead us, I personally place the president experience very high on the list of life endeavors.
Sousaphone - The Watchdogs Brass Band