District: 9 Council: East Cobb County Council Submitted by

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Best Ideas 2014-15

School Name: Kincaid Elementary PTA

District: 9

Council: East Cobb County Council

Submitted by:

Beth Freeman and Cathy Batterton

Submission 1: Carpool

Kincaid’s PTA began a Carpool program for the school. This is a new committee, with a chair to coordinate other parent volunteers for Friday morning carpool duty. The goal of this program is to give the Kincaid staff a day off to stay inside and prepare for their day. Our carpool committee is also called upon to help the staff on inclement weather days, especially the ones with freezing temperatures!

Another component we have added to the carpool committee is the addition of our FBI (Fellas Being Involved). These are a group of men volunteers. They have caps labeled FBI, as well as a special carpool t-shirt that encourages others to volunteer. The volunteers love the morning carpool hours, because this allows many of our working families a volunteer opportunity. On cold days we provide hand warmers and hot beverages.

Submission 2: Character Education Breakfast - Kincaid’s PTA worked with our school counselors to “shake-up” our Character Education Program. In past years, the program was driven by classroom teachers. They chose a monthly character winner and created a student profile. Our PTA discovered this was a lot of work for the teachers and did not allow other staff members to recognize students.

The new program allows for all staff members to award a COUGAR (die-cut cougar) to students that they witness demonstrating the character trait of the quarter (four character words per year). These COUGARS, with the student’s name and good deed, are put on a bulletin board to be seen by the entire school and visitors. Each quarter, students that receive a COUGAR are celebrated by our Principal and School Counselors at a student-only breakfast.

Submission 3: Reading and Writing Program- Kincaid PTA has a wonderful Reading and Writing program. This is an after-school program that supports unique reading and writing lessons for our students. It also engages some of our teaching staff as they ensure its academic integrity.

The main purpose of this program is to teach the students to learn how to follow and create basic written directions. Steps are given that involve processing information as well as having the students give cues to their peers. Each class is academically age appropriate in the skills that are taught.

These workshops are for K thru 3rd grade students. The grade levels are split into two different sessions and take place after school. There are several classrooms in which the students engage with parent volunteers and participating Kincaid teachers.

School: Garrison Mill Elementary PTA

District: 9

Council: East Cobb County Council

Submitted by: Laura Borchelt

Submission 1: Garrison Mill PTA provides our school as well as our sister school with a giving tree over the holidays. This allows families that are struggling financially to have the opportunity to receive help with gifts for the holidays. This year we were overwhelmed with the number of applicants and it seemed we would be unable to meet the demand. A meeting was set; we put our heads together, and eureka! We called a local partner and asked them to sell snowflakes with customer’s names to support the cause. In the end we were able to fill all of the requests and the thank you notes that came pouring in made our year.

School: Tritt Elementary PTA

District: 9

Council: East Cobb County Council

Submitted by: Ginny Tunnell and McKensey Cantando

Submission 1: This year Tritt PTA Community Outreach Committee and the Tritt School Counselors formed the student run Service Council. Service Council is a group of teacher selected students from 4th and 5th grade who meet once a month and decide on community outreach projects to be carried out by each grade level. The Service Council is responsible for all logistics of each of the outreach projects, including morning announcements, flyers were sent home, posters created, seeing each project through to completion. This year we have had tulip a bulb drive, a clinic supply drive, a school supply drive for our sister school, Project Mail Call, (would be nice to have an explanation of what this is and Valentines for our local Assisted Living center.

Submission 2: This year Tritt held its third annual in house fundraiser, called the “Tritt Tiger Dash.” The students raised money for 2 weeks and completed their efforts by tackling an obstacle course similar to the well-known Warrior Dash. The obstacles consisted of sandbag relay, tire run, army crawl, balance beam, scooter race, an inflatable wall climb, and the STEM challenge. This year a 3rd grade class won the opportunity to create the STEM obstacle with only the following tools, buckets, rope and duct tape. Along with teacher selected classroom incentives, we created school wide incentives; such as a dance party, a tailgate party, and sleepover with the principals for students who met the goals. We raised $86,000 for the PTA by encouraging students to work together as a team to complete the course and meet class goals.

Submission 3: The Tritt PTA started a new tradition of encouraging our students to reach outside their circle of friends and engage in conversations with people that they don’t know very well. We call this Mix It Up Day at Tritt. The PTA hosts 3 Mix It Up Days a school year. We decorate the cafeteria with a banner and different colored balloons. Each student is given a different colored sticker by their teacher prior to lunch and when they enter the cafeteria they sit at the coordinating balloon color. There is a slideshow of conversation starters on the screen in the café, which the students are encouraged to use to help prompt a conversation with a new friend.

School: Mt. Bethel Elementary PTA

District: 9

Council: East Cobb County Council

Submitted by: Michelle Ferrogiaro and Shawn Leith

Submission 1: This year we brought most of our school-related transactions online to the Mt. Bethel “Toolkit” and began accepting credit card payments. Parents purchase all pre-sale items online through the Toolkit, including PTA memberships, spirit wear, workbooks, directories, calendars, etc. Parent contact and directory information is stored on the Toolkit, making it easy for parents to update information. Parents indicate volunteer preferences on the Toolkit, which has increased parent engagement and better matched volunteer needs with interest. RSVPs for numerous PTA events are handled through the Toolkit, enabling accurate planning for appropriate attendance levels. The toolkit has streamlined our pre-sale process, improved record keeping, saved many volunteer man-hours, and made our Meet and Greet event run smoother, which maximizes parents’ time with teachers.

School: Burruss Elementary PTA

District: 9

Council: Marietta City Council

Submitted by: Erin Etheredge

Submission 1: Lunch Lady Hero Day – Fun activities for students, staff and lunch ladies to show how much they are appreciated and how important they are to the health and well-being of our children.

School: Clark Creek Elementary PTA

District: 13

Council: Cherokee County Council

Submitted by: Jennifer Callaway

Submission 1: Partnering with Heritage Presbyterian Church’s food pantry, Andrea Dean, 2013-2014 Exec Comm. member opened a food pantry within Clark Creek to provide students in need. Bags of food were sent home weekly. Administration has strongly supported Andrea’s efforts, including providing space for the on-site food pantry. Food donation bins are set up throughout the school and are picked up by Student Council and our Watch DOG volunteers. PTA is going to coordinate a food drive with in some of our events. Parent volunteers assist in the distribution of the food which is often self-serve items such as crackers, pop tarts, apple sauce, etc. Note: Andrea has a long history of food pantry coordination and this was a large endeavor to organize.

Submission 2: At Clark Creek, we believe that showing heartfelt appreciation is key to making our teachers and staff feels at home, appreciated, and loved. We showered the teachers and staff with 12 Days of Appreciation (based on the 12 Days of Christmas). The 12 days of school before the holiday break feature a little treat for the staff each day. First a letter is put in their boxes so they know what to expect each day and it is also announced daily. 1st – Ornament Exchange, 2nd – Holiday Hand soaps in staff bathrooms, 3rd – Chocolate morsels, 4th – Coffee and Cocoa Bar, 5th – 5 Raffle Tickets to try to win little gifts, etc. On the last day is a staff lunch. We had a baked potato bar and parents brought in deserts.

Submission 3: This year for all events, not only did we send home flyers and make announcements, we also made sticker reminders to be given to each student to wear on their shirt or put in their agenda. This served as a great reminder to parents about family events or fundraising deadlines. We knew we had success when our own students would come home pointing out the sticker reminder to us. We also saw an increase in attendance at events. We are always racking our brains for how to be more efficient in communicating with our student’s families. This saved paper and time because we didn’t have to send out the same flyer multiple times.

School: Dean Rusk Middle PTSA

District: 13

Council: Cherokee County Council

Submitted by: Lisa Shellenbarger and Maggie Laughlin

Submission 1: While planning the Dean Rusk Holiday Staff Luncheon we decided that since we needed to find someone to provide us with the food; we in turn might be able to help out some students. We reached out to Molly Peterson, who is the Family and Consumer Science teacher at Sequoyah High School, to see if her culinary students would be interested in helping us. These incredible students were able to provide their former teachers at Dean Rusk with an incredible lunch! They were able to get hands on experience about what it is like to plan, prepare and execute a menu for a large group of people. We are not separate schools, we are one community and we are honored that we were able to work with these students. Collaboration between schools by utilizing each other’s resources can only benefit and help our students grow.

School: W.C. Abney Elementary PTA

District: 9

Council: Paulding County Council

Name of person submitting:

Submission 1: This year we wanted to be more welcoming to families that have come from other countries. We have students from 15 different countries. We worked with our principal to find out what countries they are from. Once we had that information, we purchased flags from each of the countries and researched their spoken language. We displayed the flags in the front entry with the name of the country and “welcome” in their native language. We thought that this would accomplish two things: make the families feel more at home seeing something that is familiar and teach the kids at the school that there is a diverse culture within our school even though it may not be as obvious to them on a day to day basis.

Submission 2: To try to have as many kids involved in our Reflections program as possible, we offer an after school workshop to get them excited about the event. Since we have a larger school, we have two days of workshops- one day for K-2nd and one day 3rd-5th. We start by explaining to the kids what the theme is and giving them all the supplies they need to be able to create as many visual arts entries as they would like. This is our change to captivate the kids and help them understand the program and get excited to enter other categories. In the past, we have had a saxophone player, a painter, a photographer at the workshop to give the kids some tips to help them create the piece they want to submit.

School: Bascomb Elementary PTA

District: 13

Council: Cherokee County Council

Submitted by: Michele Doss

Submission 1: We offered VIP membership package deliveries to the student’s classrooms for meet and greet if they registered online 24 hours prior to the event. We had over 300 PTA members before meet and greet. The letter went out with teacher announcements.

School: Moore Middle PTSA

District: 12

Council: Area 3 Gwinnett County Council

Name of person submitting: Essie Davison

Submission 1: On August 14, 2014, the Moore Middle School PTSA executed the perfect way to kick off the school year and boost our membership drive at the same time by hosting our first annual “Back-to-School Bash.” This event was the collaborative effort of school staff, parents, students, and community. Over 10 entertainment, food, product, and service vendors, as well as a DJ donated their time to help Moore provide a fun evening for everyone. The price of admission to this great event was none other than the purchase of a PTSA membership. This event garnered 216 members and everyone enjoyed food, music, games and fun.

School: Macedonia Elementary PTA District: 13

Council: Cherokee County Council

Submitted by: Tara Nalley and Heather Parenteau

Submission 1: We had a “Movie Night” in the fall and offered free admission with each PTA membership purchased. Food vendors were on hand to provide dinner options and snacks. We had over 300 people attend this event.

Submission 2: To assist committee chairs in the planning and organization of their events, we created a PTA Pinterest page. The Macedonia PTA Board page consists of a board for each committee and/or activity we host. Each chair has access to the page whether to just view or to add their own pins to their respective boards. This provides each chair a starting point for their activity and allows them to save and share their favorites. Other members may follow Macedonia PTA Board as well. We also regularly share pins on our Facebook page to spark interest in our activities and events as well. For example, for our Turkey Trot 5K and Fun Run, we have been posting costume ideas in an effort to encourage participation.

Submission 3: To increase parent involvement and membership, each year we hold our Sneak-A-Peek in the gym. Families may only enter the school via the gym. Once inside, they are able to obtain their child’s teacher and room number and visit PTA information tables including membership, spirit wear, committee information and sign ups, in addition to learning bus routes, ASP information, etc. Families are locked inside for around 20 minutes before they access to the school building is allowed. They are a captive audience which greatly increases their PTA membership.

Submission 4: To improve our 5K, and reach a larger audience, we partnered with our zone middle school, Creekland Middle School PTA, to host our annual 5K and Fun Run. This partnership not only allowed us to share expenses and keep costs down, but also allowed us to reach out to a larger audience and continue our focus on achieving our health and wellness goals.

Submission 5: To continually meet our health and wellness goals, we have extended our efforts throughout various PTA activities. While we always offer healthy food options at events, this year we have encouraged participation in other PTA events by both our Health and Wellness and 5K committees. Both committees were encouraged to sponsor vendor tables at our Fall Festival this month and the H and W committee will do so again at our 5K next month. This not only facilitates committee cooperation on events but also provides a community outreach to let our parents know that the health and wellness of their child is important to their PTA.

Submission 6: To facilitate communication and cooperation among committee chairs and increase meeting attendance, we play an ice breaker type game at each of our meetings. This fun outlet allows a time for chairs to get to know one another in a different way and allow them to be more comfortable sharing ideas and providing feedback on ideas and events. Each month, we offer a prize to the winner of the game such as a gift card donated by our business sponsors. Examples of games have included a purse scavenger hunt and cell phone app hunt. Our committee chairs not only enjoy the games, and even get very competitive, but they also enjoy attending the meetings, allowing us to be a more productive unit.

School: Kelly Mill Elementary PTA

District: 13

Council: Forsyth County Council

Submitted by: Jennie Jones

Submission 1: Spirit Sticks were introduced this year in an effort to create positive reinforcement as rewards for academic and behavioral success and as fundraisers. Each student received a Spirit Ring, to hold their collection, and a COLTS PRIDE stick. Throughout the year, each child received a BIRTHDAY stick and the sticks were distributed at various events, including the Mother/Son Event and Father/Daughter Dance. Spirit Sticks are also rewarded for achievement, such as participation in Reflections or for the monthly Extraordinary Student recipients. For behavior, teachers distributed CHARACRER IS MY SUPER POWER during their character trait lessons. Clubs used them to promote participation, including Fitness And Nutrition Club, Science Olympiad, Choir, Lego Robotics and Battle of the Books. The 5th Grade Committee also used them as a fundraiser and sold them as “Friendship Grams.” The students have enjoyed collecting them and teachers love the idea. It’s something that can stay with a student throughout their time at Kelly Mill.

School: Lost Mountain Middle PTSA

District: 9

Council: Tom Mathis, Sr. Council

Submitted by: Robin Rohrbach

Submission 1: We wanted to increase our parent involvement at LMMS so we developed “Hot Topic” parent seminars to provide informational talks to parents at our school by qualified speakers in our community. We realized there was great value in assisting our parents to be well informed and to develop skills helpful to parenting this particular age group. We opened up these seminars to other schools in our community so that many parents would benefit from the information presented. We were able to provide Edmodo training, a College Financial Planning talk, a session on Youth Culture: Alcohol, Drugs and Other Dangerous Behaviors, and “Teens and Social Media: Tips for Parents.” We collaborated with our counselors by identifying topics, and they helped us advertise the seminars to other schools. We have seen great success from close to ten parents at our first talk with an increase to over 25 at our last talk.

School: K.E. Taylor Elementary PTA

District: 12

Council: Area 2 Gwinnett County Council

Submitted by: Marian C. Richards

Submission 1: To ensure inclusion of all families in our tremendously diverse student population, we created a back to school welcome sign which contained the word “Welcome” in all of the languages that are spoken by our students and their families. We used the information that was provided at the time of registration. Several parents expressed how thrilled they were to see that we had thought enough to do something as simple as welcoming everyone back in their spoken language. It also provided a great visual of how ethnically diverse our school is. We also provided updates on our PTA bulletin boards in both English and Spanish (as Spanish is the second highest language spoken among Taylor Elementary families).

Submission 2: In an effort to ensure that all of our new Taylor Elementary families feel welcome when they become part of our Taylor Elementary family, we implemented a welcome letter kit. Each month, we received a list of new students from our school administrator. A welcome letter and a spirit wear item (i.e. school car magnet, school water bottle, etc.) was sent home to each family in their child’s book bag. A sample of the welcome letter is attached. This idea enabled us to reach out to families that we did not get a chance to welcome at the beginning of the year.

School: Moses Middle PTSA

District: 9

Council: Paulding County Council

Submitted by: Tracey Bean

Submission 1: Building a better Moses by involving our community! This year we actively engaged our business community in our membership goals. We offered local businesses in the community a chance to join our PTSA and make a difference. Businesses were included in a business directory that was distributed electronically to our families. Businesses were also encouraged to find a way to volunteer at the school. Representatives from local businesses helped our counselor by assisting with the GA411 enrollment, volunteered at events, and contributed donations for staff relations. These activities help build our school and community relationship.

School: River Ridge High PTSA

District: 13

Council: Cherokee County Council

Submitted by: Debbie Rabjohn

Submission 1: Every individual who “Joined Our Kingdom” was entered into the drawing. One father, one mother, one male student, and one female student were drawn to win a Golden Ticket. That ticket awarded them entrance into all at-home high school athletic, arts and drama events and activities throughout the 2014-2015 school year at the Ridge.

School: Indian Knoll Elementary PTA

District: 13

Council: Cherokee County Council

Submitted by: Christy Bennett and Beth Thompson

Submission 1: Indian Knoll PTA hosted their 1st Annual Family Pumpkin Run fundraising event on October 17, 2014. 350 pre-registered for this 1st time event and another 100 participants showed up that night to run. We designed a fall-themed 1 mile obstacle course around the entire school. At the finish line we played a movie on an outdoor screen and also had an activities village with carnival games, food, drinks and music. We held a costume contest that the families really enjoyed. We teamed up with some local business sponsors to help with the initial expenses. Our All Pro dads group help construct several of the obstacles and the ROTC cadets manned all of the obstacles and games the night of the event. This was one of our most successful family/community events!!

School: Sixes Elementary PTA

District: 13

Council: Cherokee County Council

Submitted by: Amy Bramblett and Amanda Garrett

Submission 1: To encourage all of the Sixes teachers, staff, cafeteria workers, and custodians to purchase a PTA membership, we offered them 1 raffle ticket per membership they purchased during our back to school luncheon, which was held in the pre-planning week. We had many great raffle items donated by local businesses and artists. PTA allowed the teachers and staff the opportunity to put their raffle ticket(s) into the bucket of item(s) they wanted to win. Many staff members purchased numerous memberships so they had a greater chance of winning the prize they desired. This allowed us to start the year off with extra memberships!

Submission 2: Sixes PTA is proud to support the Positive Behavior Intervention and Support plan, or PBIS, that Sixes Elementary implemented this year. As part of the plan, students have the opportunity to earn “Star Tickets” from teachers, staff members, bus drivers, and in the After School Program by showing exceptional behavior. Expectations for behavior have been clearly defined and posted around the school. The Star Tickets are saved for the day the mobile PBIS store visits class! Students can use their tickets earned by good behavior to purchase small toys and school supplies. Not every item is priced the same, so some students choose to save their tickets for another time after they have earned more tickets.

School: Eastvalley Elementary PTA

Council: East Cobb County Council

Submitted by: Sarah Kirwan and Stephanie Wheeler

Submission 1: The PTA hosts a Back to School lunch for the staff before the first day of school. The staff is encouraged to join the PTA before entering the cafeteria and their membership forms are used when drawing names for door prizes.

Submission 2: Due to limited parking at the school, most parents must park in a lot down the street during events and programs. The PTA draws from the membership list to reward two members reserved parking spots per event.

Submission 3: All PTA members received a coupon for a free popcorn and drink at our Fall Festival. Our membership chair manned a table at the festival to sign up new members.

Submission 4: Art Appreciation/Art Print. This PTA program introduces students to visual arts. Monthly, a parent volunteer gathers the Art print lesson from the PTA room and teachers this lesson to the class. Materials are provided by the PTA and each class is encouraged to have an Art Print Coordinator volunteer.

School: Nicholson Elementary PTA

District: 9th

Council: East Cobb County Council

Submitted by: S. Monique Guildord

Submission 1: Adding the ‘Square’ to allow credit charges during Fall Carnival. Most people tend to carry plastic in their wallets over cash. To accommodate our families during Fall Carnival this year, we added the option of using debit and/or credit cards. Parents could also use their debit and/or credit cards to make bids during our Silent Auction. Overall sales for the Auction and Carnival increased. Our families had a great time and were pleased with the new option for purchases this year.

School: South Cobb High PTSA

District: 9

Council: South Cobb Council

Submitted by: Brigette Thompson

Submission 1: This year we wanted to focus on getting parents more involved. Since most parents work, we decided to offer the parents another way to attend meetings. On December 16th we offered our first Virtual Roundtable from 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. The parents were able to login to their desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone from wherever they were. The webinar format allowed the parents to hear information about South Cobb High School, ask questions, and interact with our principal without leaving their home or office.

School: Archer High PTSA

District: 12

Council: Area 3 Gwinnett County Council

Submitted by: Janice Jenkins and Vandy Dixon

Submission 1: The Archer High School PTSA partnered with a Broadway producer (Stepp Stewart) and local community members to sponsor a Black History Play and Harlem Renaissance Festival. The mission was to bring awareness to the community about the need for inclusiveness of all races and students by partnering to recognize the heritage of all people. The school does not have events for Black History and it was our goal to involve the community through partnerships with local businesses (Lowe’s, Home Depot, Publix, Sam’s, Snellville Arts Council, students, parents and school administration) to bring an event that would be a collaborative effort to strengthen race relations in the community and school. The event was held over a 3 day period. The Harlem Renaissance Festival was open for community vendors and businesses to setup to advertise their products and was a free event. The purpose for having the play was to allow students to showcase their singing, dancing and acting talents.

School: Hickory Flat Elementary PTA

District: 13

Council: Cherokee County Council

Submitted by: Shannon Coughanour

Submission 1: Hickory Flat Elementary PTA made national news headlines this year for our #BeKind initiative. It was our positive spin on anti-bullying. Our mission was to spread kindness by modeling the behavior – showing kids how it looks, how it sounds, and how it feels. Then we engaged parents and business partners to do the same. We personalized it with a video, printed 1,200 #BeKind t-shirts, and launched Kindness activities at school. Our story was featured on Fox 5 News, Good Day Atlanta, and various radio stations. We have fielded requests from seven states! #BeKind was a simple idea that went viral and is making a positive impact!

School: Shallowford Falls Elementary PTA

District: 9

Council: East Cobb County Council

Submitted by: Kimberly Lassiter

Submission 1: Our “Best Idea” at Shallowford Falls this year was that our PTA Family Engagement/Parent Involvement Chairpersons, Jane Russell and Traci Lavelle, organized a volunteer survey that went out to all parents prior to Meet and Greet. This survey allowed us to share with all of our Fox families the many volunteer opportunities that our PTA, Foundation and school would have to offer throughout the school year. More importantly, it gave everyone an opportunity to sign up to volunteer. Jane and Traci even had the innovative idea to create a QR (Quick Response) code link for easy parent access. Once Jane and Traci received the responses from parents, they shared the volunteer information with our Board of Directors/Committee Chairs. This database of volunteers proved to be extremely valuable throughout our entire year!

School: Murdock Elementary PTA

District: 9

Council: East Cobb County Council

Name of person submitting: Elli Heaton

Submission 1: Our best idea on the advocacy/legislative committee this year was how we tried to keep our community informed. We revised and refreshed our PTA website’s sub-page for advocacy to include direct feeds from the GA PTA and Capitol Watch and regularly included information from the East Cobb Council Legislative team, helping to stay abreast of issues. In addition, we made it a regular practice to write short articles encouraging involvement and advocacy on the part of our whole community in our weekly PTA school wide newsletter. While we don’t have numbers to back it up, to us it feels like there has been more interest and engagement building within our community.

Submission 2: Spring Membership Drive – The Murdock Elementary School PTA initiated a Spring Membership Drive in April 2014 for the 2014-2015 school year. Families were able to join PTA and purchase donor packages prior to the start of school, enabling families to “prepay” for their PTA membership and spread out their back-to-school spending. Families were able to join by returning a paper form, online at the PTA website (linked to the school site) and at the annual PTA ‘Spring Fling.’ PayPal was accepted as a form of payment online and at the membership table at Spring Fling. Marketing included special contests and drawings for those joining in the spring, send-home flyers, advertising in weekly PTA e-blasts, and appearances on the in-school morning broadcast.

Submission 3: This fall, two new kindergarten parents asked PTA about hosting a K Playdate to welcome and bring together the K families. This evolved into a new committee – “The Welcome Committee,” which would not only serve to make new families feel welcome but would begin having greeters at all PTA events to ensure that the PTA is welcoming of all families. This year, the committee has hosted two breakfasts for families new to Murdock (beyond the K playdate) and is planning to host a “MOMS ONLY” lunch in April as well as an evening event at some point for working moms. Also, this committee plans to place greeters at school events next year such as the back to school events (Meet and Greet, Open House, etc.) K Sneak-a-peak and registration, etc.

Submission 4: We wanted to increase our Reflections participation and with the help of our art, music teachers, and dance team coach, Murdock was able to impressively increase Reflections participation, tripling it, with a targeted effort to inform both students and parents about the program. Some approaches taken were an informational meeting held for interested students and their parents, multiple ads presented to students on closed circuit television by the art teachers; a promotional slideshow shown to students during lunch, and frequent reminders about deadlines on the morning announcements.

Submission 5: To increase participation in the Birthday Book program (BBP) we decided to make it easier to enroll. In addition to our past efforts of handing out the BBP enrollment flyers at the Posting Part and Meet and Greet, we added a second way to sign up for the program. This was to provide an option to enroll in the BBP directly on the PTA membership form (both online and the hard copy) so that there was one-stop shopping. This helped to increase participation in the BBP from 107 last year to almost 200 students this year!

Submission 6: Having a less than strong membership donation drive in the fall of 2013, we began rethinking a lot of the way our PTA was operating. Besides cutting our budget and focusing our PTA’s spending on what truly could touch each child, we realized we needed to look outside of our families for funding. With that focus, we have created and developed a Business Sponsorship program. We have put together three different levels of “sponsorship” for our PTA, each with varying exposure at our school and at our events – all in ways that we can freely manage with no cost. No one is more surprised than we are of the success! In our first year, we have signed 8 Platinum ($1000) Sponsors, no Gold ($500) and 8 Silver ($250).

Submission 7: After launching our Business Sponsorship program, we realized that though it included our traditional means of working with business (ads in our school directory and added ads in the calendar), some businesses weren’t able to partner at that level – some businesses wanted to advertise briefly in our e-newsletter – for free. So, because some companies seemed to be taking advantage of that free resource and no longer even advertising in our Directory, we devised a Business Membership program. Companies who may not want to sponsor our PTA all year long and just want to place an occasional ad in our newsletter can now become Business Members.

School: Pope High PTSA

District: 9

Council: East Cobb County Council

Submitted by: Cassie Rogers

Submission 1: Pope PTSA’s best idea for 2014-2015 was the creation of the Character Counts student recognition program. This program was created to provide an avenue for students and teachers to anonymously nominate a student for doing a kind action at school such as holding a door open, carrying something for a teacher, helping out another student, or similar good deeds. Twice monthly, PTSA selects winners from the nomination box in the Counseling Department, and the students receive a nominal prize such as a Chick-fil-A biscuit on Friday morning, or a Pope spirit item. Our “best idea” benefits all members of P-T-S-A: parents, teachers/administrators and students because the program promotes and encourages random kindness around the school which then permeates to other areas of the student’s life. Recognizing our kind students who have been anonymously nominated by their peers and teachers has shown an increase in self-esteem and positive behavior and performance in the classroom.

School: Sope Creek Elementary PTA

District: 9

Council: East Cobb County Council

Submitted by: Janet Goolsby and Melane Landers

Submission 1: We expanded the recognition of Exceptional Children from 1 day to 1 week in order to build a greater awareness and understanding of their unique talents. We purchased books based on themes for each class. The teachers read the books and followed up with an activity to high light an exceptional talent in the story. Additionally, students wrote about their understanding of the book and were asked to extend the conversation at home. We also collaborated with administration to create a brochure for parents to explain the many acronyms used by Cobb County Schools. Finally, we highlighted various success stories on the bulletin board entitled “From Exceptional Children to Exceptional People.” To culminate the week, we provided gift cards to the special education teachers.

Submission 2: Our PTA and Foundation hosted the first ever “Popsicle Party and Picnic” for our incoming Kindergarten students and their families before school started. We opened the school playground and field for the families and welcomed them with a frozen treat! The Administration posted the class lists so families were able to learn their teachers and classmates during the event (which was a big draw). All of the teachers came and were able to have a causal and fun meeting with their students, while the children were able to play in a relaxing environment at their new “big school.” We had an overwhelmingly positive response, and we look forward to making this event an annual tradition for our Kindergartners at Sope Creek!

Submission 3: Our theme for the year is “We are Family.” We felt this theme helps foster a united group that helps on another and communicates openly. We kicked off the year by decorating a bulletin board with pictures of teachers, administration, PTA and Foundation families for our Meet and Greet. We also added an additional hour (6-7) to our M&G to accommodate our working parents. Next, we created an online directory so new families can easily be added and information is always up to date. We have also started having regular, open communication between the PTA and Foundation Presidents to ensure that our efforts and resources are used in the most efficient way for our students and school. We will continue to build upon this year’s idea in the future.

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