PTA provides plenty of ways to get involved

Mary A. Castillo

It might be a month away, but before students and parents know it

the school year will be here.

Starting Sept. 5, students will have to haul out their new


backpacks and parents will have a variety of opportunities to get


“Volunteering with your school’s PTA gives you the ability to make

a positive difference in a child’s education,” said Kirsten Thomas


who will begin her first year as a Parent Teacher Assn. Council

president. “Because we’re such a small district it’s easier to know

what is happening and get involved.”

With two children at Top of the World Elementary school and a

seventh-grader at Thurston Middle School, Thomas is an eight-year

veteran of Boo-Blasts, jog-a-thons and magazine sales. However in her

current role, Thomas will meet with all the school PTA presidents to

ensure that everyone is working toward the common goal of getting a


better education for their children.

“The school PTAs fill in the gaps when we see a need,” she said.

Some of the victories scored include the after-school honors music

program, the chess clubs and computers in each of the elementary

school classrooms. Although the PTAs are quite active and there

always seems to be the same parents contributing their time and

efforts to each event, there is definitely room for more volunteers.

“Not everyone can make the meetings,” said Sarah Pearlman,


president of Thurston PTA. “But there are things you can do at home

like the newsletter, ordering for fund-raisers or being part of the

phone tree.”

Pearlman added that simply staying in tune with her children about

their daily activities at school, helps her know what is happening.

“We have parents who contribute materials from their job to

supplement what is being studied in the classroom,” she said. “There

are always ways to help out.”

“We also encourage parents that they can give money,” said Kathy

Dawson, president of El Morro PTA. “Or just giving an hour here or

there is great. Being involved is the best thing.”

The PTA presidents, said Thomas, will be gathering their teams to

start pre-planning before the meetings scheduled for the week of

Sept. 9. However, she foresees one of the biggest challenges for the

upcoming school year is the construction at Top of the World,

Thurston and Laguna Beach High School.

“We’re going to have to figure out how we’re going to continue our

after school programs around it,” Thomas said.

PTA meetings take place the second week of each month but times

vary. Top of the World PTA meets at 8:30 a.m. on Monday, El Morro PTA

at 8:15 a.m., Tuesday, Thurston PTA on Wednesday (time to be

determined) and Laguna Beach High School at 8:30 a.m., Thursday.

There is also a Community Learning Center PTA that meets every six

weeks on Wednesday at Top of the World.