Parent Teacher Organizations (PTO’s) are vital to student achievement. They contribute to school culture, help create a sense of community, facilitate events and raise funds for “extras” that help students, teachers and staff. One of Flagstaff Unified School District’s many active PTO’s is at Sechrist Elementary School. As Sechrist prepares for their 50th Year Celebration we would like to highlight the fantastic work that this group of dedicated parents and teachers has given to the school every year.
PTO’s concentrate a lot of their effort on fundraising and determining how those funds are spent. Sechrist PTO typically holds one major fundraiser in the fall and some smaller events throughout the year. Their largest fundraiser is the Fun Run. The students raise money for completing laps on a running course. The event has been very successful in raising money as well as promoting fitness and sportsmanship. Through the event this year they were able to give funds directly to the teachers for needs in classrooms, and to replace 10 computers in the library.
In the past several years the PTO has purchased playground equipment, computers, document cameras and smart boards for every classroom. The PTO has also supplied the funding for a running track around the playground and a greenhouse in the courtyard area. In addition, funds raised are also used to support the Accelerated Reader program, provide supplies for various school clubs, update science kits and pay for social/fun events.
Throughout the year they facilitate several events that are mainly about fun and promoting family involvement/connection with the school. These events include a Fall Carnival, Ice Cream Social, Grandparents/Special Friend Day, Cupcake Bingo and a breakfast called Muffins for Moms/Donuts for Dads. The PTO has also helped with a Family Science Night. For the past 5 years they have had a Garden Club that involves the students in planting vegetables and planting bulbs for beautification.
Other fundraising events include: olive oil tastings, participation in the School Cents program and various “Sechrist Night” events through local businesses. Sechrist parents, PTO members and Chi Omega Sorority members at NAU have been helpful in volunteering at the Sechrist Fall Scholastic Book Fair, which has put thousands of dollars’ worth of new/current books in the library.
The Giving Tree was started over 20 years ago by a teaching sorority at Sechrist called Alpha Delta Kappa. A letter is sent out to Sechrist families in mid-November asking for donations of new or gently used coats, hats, mittens, sweaters and sweatpants to be placed on a “Giving Tree” that is set up in the lobby. The response to this effort has been impressive. This year they were able to donate about 5 large garbage bags full of winter wear to the Flagstaff community.
Thank you to all FUSD parents and PTO’s for your dedication and support of the schools, students, teachers and staff!