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
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.