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November 05, 2004

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Publication Date: Friday, November 05, 2004

Theuerkauf forms its first PTA Theuerkauf forms its first PTA (November 05, 2004)

Parents plan to hold potluck, raise more funds

By Julie O'Shea

For the first time ever, Theuerkauf Elementary School has formed a PTA and is looking to boost its membership with an all-school potluck on Nov. 17.

"We'd like to strengthen the community at the school and strengthen connections with other schools," said PTA President Gabriella Safran, who has a second grader at Theuerkauf.

Up until this year, the San Luis Avenue school had a Parent Teacher Organization (PTO), which, like Parent Teacher Associations (PTA), did a lot of fund-raising.

However PTOs, unlike PTAs, are not part of the national education circuit, which parents at Theuerkauf said they want to be a part of. The national PTA lobbies on behalf of children and schools, among other things.

Safran said both parents work full-time in most Theuerkauf families and don't have time to attend PTA meetings. But with many PTO parents graduating to middle school along with their children, Theuerkauf parents thought it was time to pull together and form a PTA, Safran added.

The entire school is invited to a potluck Nov. 17, starting at 6 p.m. on the school campus. Bylaws of the new PTA will be discussed then.

"We are really excited. It is the first time that the Theuerkauf parents have chosen to form a PTA," Principal Connie Sawdey said. "They are really excited about doing things."

Safran said the PTA, which has seven parents, wants to continue doing the same work the school's PTO was doing, such as raising funds for chorus, science camp and school field trips. And the group would like to eventually raise enough money to install a water fountain in the kindergarten yard, Safran added.

The Theuerkauf PTA has raised about $300 so far. Safran said the PTO is looking to hand over about $10,000 to the group as soon as the paperwork goes through.

"I got invited to this," said Angie Cervantes, who has children in the first and second grades. "I like to be involved. I want to be involved as much as possible."

Cervantes, who is a new parent to the district, said she hopes more bilingual parents will participate in the new PTA. Theuerkauf has a large Latino population in particular.

Helen Jennings, the mother of twin boys in the fourth grade and a daughter in first grade, said she feels the new PTA is a good chance for students to see their parents getting actively involved with their education.

"We would be happy if the majority of the parents would join us," she said.

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