DEAR RICHMOND STREET FAMILIES:
As I reflect on this, my second year in the role of PTA President, I feel such a sense of pride or all that we have accomplished at RSS. After being thrust into the role for my first year, I feel that we reached a really nice stride this past school year. Below is a portion of the "year in review" speech I presented to our School Board and Superintendent at the May 22nd School Board Meeting:
Richmond Street continued encouraging PTA Council’s philosophy of a kinder, gentler and easier PTA. For starters, we limited our Association meetings to just 4 evening meetings and we were able to achieve all of our business no problem!
The 2017-2018 school year began a few days before the first day of school, on Friday August 25th with RSS PTA’s first ever “Back to School Picnic” at Library Park. We had a live band, food trucks, showcased various programs and events at the school and for the Ed! Foundation and sold Spirit Wear. Mark your calendars for Monday, August 27th 2018 as we plan to do it all again!
The arrival of PTA’s gift of Water Filling Stations to our school inspired the theme for the year – WATER (We Activate Transform and Empower at Richmond Street School) and inspired the first selection for Dr. Lee’s book club – How full is your bucket? Additionally, the WATER theme was incorporated into the 7-part student, teacher and parent training on Diversity and Inclusion that Dr. Lee created with Richmond parent Farzana Nayani (a multicultural educator and intercultural trainer), which was funded and supported by PTA. This program was honored by the 33rd District PTA with a “Recognition Award” for diversity and inclusion in April 2018 and our school was chosen to provide a brief presentation to the entire 33rd district at their Annual Meeting, which Farzana and Dr. Lee attended with me.
In September, RSS and CSS teamed up for a joint Parents Night Out at El Gringo’s AFTER back to school night! This was such a huge success that later in the month both elementary schools co-hosted a Welcome New Parents Night to our Schools at Beach Mex.
October 13th brought the beloved Fall Festival – with a new twist – NO CANDY & wristbands allowing for “all you can play” games and the chance to win bigger and better prizes aka – less junk food and less junk laying around the house – and more fun!!! And despite our “less is more” approach, the Fall Festival was able to bring in over $50,000 to our PTA.
Our running program, Richmond Street Runners meets every Thursday morning before school and offered incentives for various events throughout the year. For example, PTA offered additional “toe tags” for students who registered for the Sketchers Pier to Pier Friendship Walk & we gave all Students who signed up for PTA Council Fundraiser – Run for Education. We also participated in ROAD’s red ribbon week that last week of October.
Another amazing year-long program is the Richmond Street Learning Garden. It has been said, “To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.” Again, with Dr. Lee’s support and her providing “Farmer Matt” as a weekly garden educator (each class receives a lesson once a month), our PTA Garden Docent and parents helped grow our garden even more. A beautiful shed was installed over the summer as well as pea-gravel pathways and additional plants, as well as a welcoming entrance. Our 5th grade students wanted even more garden time and created a garden club that meets once a week and received a write up in the El Segundo Herald. Our Learning Garden was also chosen by 33rd District PTA for a “Recognition Award” for student achievement and involvement. Out of 11 categories of award recipients, RSS was again chosen to present our garden program the entire 33rd District at the Annual Meeting in April and Dr. Lee helped me present that award as our garden chair was unavailable.
Our growing great parent docents also incorporated garden items into their year long nutritional program.
January began with the Reflections Art Contest Awards Ceremony where several RSS Students placed first at the Council level and moved on to compete at PTA’s 33rd District Level.
February brought our first ever P.S. Arts Family Night and PTA looks forward to collaborating more for next year’s event.
Also in February, was the joint CSS/RSS Daddy Daughter Dance, held once again at the High School, right before Valentine’s Day with a lovely sweetheart theme. And in April, we joined forces with CSS again for the Sons take out Mom’s party with a ‘50’s sock hop theme this year.
The growing partnership with Center Street has been one of my favorite achievements as PTA President. I never met Tracey before we were President’s together and I can truly say I’ve made a lifelong friend in her.
In late February/early March we had our Book Fair – this year Scholastic named our Book Fair one of their “Signature Fairs” which means we are one of the top grossing book fairs in the country. The signature fair status provided us with a scholastic liaison who was present every day of our fair and assisted our amazing co-chairs by replenishing stock faster, etc….And the signature fair allowed us to sell higher level/better quality books. All of this led to our most successful book fair to date and we are proud to say we have retained our Signature Fair status for next year. And to point out another way that the school and PTA provide amazing events for our students – our fair allowed Dr. Lee was able to attend a Scholastic University program in Orlando, Florida. At that event, Dr. Lee requested an author visit and none other than famed children’s author David Shannon came to our school in April, read his newest book to our students, taught them how to draw David and signed books for EVERY SINGLE student. It was the highlight of my children’s year and probably the highlight of their RSS tenure.
Of course, our Dance-A-Thon took our students to a tropical paradise and managed to raise the largest amount of money to-date – over $72,000. These funds will be given directly back to the school to help with field trips, assemblies, replacing classroom libraries, PE and music equipment and so much more.
I’ve tried to be that liaison between the parents, teachers, school administration and the district. I’ve encouraged following the chain of command and communication in person, and I’ve been reminded, that you cannot always please everybody. As a leader, I constantly repeat my mantra of: we are all volunteers doing our best.”
I am so thankful for the support our PTA has received from the parents, teachers, administration and district. Again, we received the 100% teacher participation award from the 33rd District PTA. The teachers are the T in PTA.
RSS & all of the school’s PTA’s are part of a community working together to enhance all students’ educational experiences and helping them learn life long skills and practices that they will carry with them long after they leave RSS.
RSS PTA Association meetings are open to the public. However, only paid RSS PTA members are eligible to vote on any motions presented at the meeting. There will be an opportunity to become a RSS PTA member at the beginning of each meeting. The agenda for the meetings will be made available prior to each meeting and will be posted here. We welcome all parents, grandparents and interested parties to the meetings and look forward to an open discussion of school related topics.