Tyrone’s PTO gears up for 2005-06 school year

The Tyrone Area Elementary School Parent-Teacher Organization is gearing up for the 2005-06 school year.
New president Kim Capenos and treasurer Jo Lynn Baran recently visited with The Daily Herald to discuss some of the group’s goals and objectives for the upcoming school year.
“We are looking for new membership,” said Capenos. “Out of 12 officers or committee heads, we’re it.”
She said the organization is made up of a cross-section of parents of the 800-plus students in elementary school and teachers. She indicated the group is looking for more support from the community. In other words, those who are not parents or teachers. However, she said the group also needs more parents to get involved.
“All the fun things at the (elementary) school is PTO,” said Capenos. “All the field trips are paid 100 percent by the PTO. The school does none of that. We pay for all the buses, for all the trips (and) admissions, for instance, the Pittsburgh Zoo.”
The PTO had a budget last year of $36,000. The group uses fund raisers to meet their budget, according to Capenos.
She said the group is getting involved in a new initiative this year called “Three for Me.” She explained the idea is to ask people to give three hours during the school year to help the PTO.
Information on the “Three for Me” website outlined the mission of the program. It explained Three for Me is designed to improve the well-being of children by inspiring and equipping parents/families to be effectively involved in their children’s education. In response to a lack of parent involvement in schools nationwide, Three for Me was founded in 2003 by Dee Keywood and Kris Thompson to challenge parents to volunteer in schools, be active in school-decision making and provide resources to motivate parents to be actively involved in their child’s education.
Capenos said, “Instead of just sending a form home saying ‘we need volunteers for the PTO’, which we are not getting, (instead we are saying) hi, we’d like three hours from you sometime this school year.”
She said the group would like people to volunteer as much as they can but they are asking for a three-hour commitment from people. She said the volunteer time could be done at home through collecting boxtops. She explained PTOs raise money through such collections.
“Working parents don’t have to take off a day to come into school,” said Capenos. “We have activities on evenings.”
She said elementary students will be involved with selling school spirit items before football games this season. Later in the year, the group is holding a Christmas Bazaar.
The PTO is also going to hold “popcorn Fridays” throughout the year. Capenos said “popcorn Fridays” will be a reward program for the elementary students who have received a good grade or shown improvement.
“Each one of our PTO meetings this year has a theme,” said Capenos. “We start off with a meet the teacher night, that’s the big kickoff.”
Capenos said the group has secured a computer that it will raffle off on the elementary school’s “meet the teacher” night on Sept. 6. The winner will be an elementary school student.
The group can be contacted through the Tyrone Area Elementary School at 801 Clay Avenue. The phone number at the elementary school is 684-1342.