The Benefits of PTA/ PTSA Membership
By Jennifer Ersalesi
As summer ends and the 2019/2020 school year begins, students and parents will be provided with lots of information during the first week of school. PTA, which stands for Parent Teacher Association, can be found in the Kindergarten Center, Washington, Lincoln, Pierrepont and Union Schools. PTSA, which stands for Parent Teacher Student Association can be found at Rutherford High School. All of these groups rely on the many volunteer hours that PTA Board Members, parents and guardians spend working towards the same goal: to make each child’s school year enjoyable and successful.
This is Rutherford interviewed the current Presidents of the PTAs and PTSA to give our readers a better understanding of the PTA/ PTSA paperwork that will be sent home or emailed so that parents and guardians can become members. Only PTA/PTSA members in good standing can participate PTA sponsored activities such as field trips, Field Days, in-classroom holiday activities and more.
TIR interviewed Presidents of PTA from Rutherford schools: Jasmine Forsyth (Kindergarten Center), Kerry Goldsack (Lincoln School), Alyssa Dimitroff (Washington School), Gina Smith (Union School) and Laurie Corizzo (Rutherford High School).
TIR: With a new school year beginning, why do you strongly encourage parents to join the PTA/ PTSA?
Jasmine Forsyth: I strongly encourage parents, grandparents and anyone involved in the students’ lives to join the PTA, because it’s a great way to be a part of the solution. It’s the PTA’s job to help raise money for the things the school needs such as assemblies, classroom supplies and extracurricular activities (to name a few). Without parent involvement we are not able to achieve these goals. Not to mention that if you would like to participate in school activities or help out in the classroom, you must first be a member of the PTA.
Kerry Goldsack: Research shows that when a parent is involved in their children’s education, they do better. Not only do the children benefit educationally and socially, but they see parents volunteering their time and being a contributing member of the school community. It is important to instill the idea of giving and helping others at an early age, so there really is no downside to joining.
Alyssa Dimitroff: The PTA is involved with so many activities that happen at Washington School and we also pay for Raz-Kids, an online educational program that both our teachers and children love. The PTA hosts fun and educational programs and events for our students and we raise money to support the specific needs of our school. The more people we have involved, both through volunteering their time and sharing their ideas and talents, the more programs and activities we will be able to provide to our children.
Gina Smith: I strongly recommend parents join the PTA at Union school, because this will be the first School that the kids no longer bring home documents through a Friday folder. All information is sent via email and the only way to receive the distribution is to be a part of the PTA.
Laurie Corizzo: At the High School level, membership traditionally tends to fall off. Our executive board is going to work tirelessly to increase the number of parent and student members. As our children become older, it becomes more imperative for parents to be involved in their lives as they are facing transition into adulthood. We, at RHS PTSA, want to help support families and students as these new stages become ever more important to their success.
TIR: What are some of the benefits of being a member of the PTA/ PTSA?
JF: Some benefits of being a part of the PTA are being able to be a part of your child's school experience, such as when a class parent is needed for an activity or there is a field trip that needs chaperoned.
KG: The PTA allows you to volunteer in your child’s classroom and be present in their education regardless of what your daily schedule entails. The involvement keeps you in the know of what events and fundraisers are going on and allows for the making of memories that your child will take with them throughout their lives. The PTA can also be super helpful in your busy day-to-day routine as we send reminders about events, lunches, and school activities for that day. The Lincoln PTA prides itself on being inclusive and it is very beneficial to get to know other parents in your community; parents that will travel these same steps with you for the next decade.
AD: I feel there are so many! Your own children enjoy seeing you at school (especially in the younger grades) whether it's while you're serving lunch, hanging art in the hallways for the art show or volunteering to help change the window decorations in the classroom windows. You will be able to see them interact with their peers in ways you may not have in other settings. I have met so many people through being a member of the PTA - other parents who I may not necessarily have met because their children are in different grades than mine.
GS: One benefit of being part of the PTA is getting up-to-date information as quickly as possible. Also parents can only participate in activities at school if you are a member of the PTA.
LC: The single, most highlighted benefit I can speak to is that graduating seniors will be eligible for college scholarships only if they are members of the RHS PTSA. Therefore, it behooves the student and their families to become members. In addition, we will do our best to keep parents informed of school events, important dates, and try to provide a link between the school and home.
TIR: As President, what are some of your goals for the upcoming school year?
JF: Some of my goals for this year are to get parents more involved. As President of the Kindergarten Center it is important to have parents involved early on to start a good foundation. Research shows that when parents are involved in their child’s learning at school or at home, it has a positive effect on their growth.
KG: This year, I feel we have a fantastic, involved board and I have already met some current amazing members. I look forward to working with them on new and exciting fundraising ideas both for the parents and children. Fundraising is how we raise money for assemblies and experiences for the children and so the more fun we have, the more we can contribute to our children’s school experience. I also look forward to working with Dr. Velechko on some exciting upcoming programs. I have heard such amazing things about Lincoln School and I am excited, as a fellow educator, to learn from one of the best! As a community, we all have so much to offer one another and so another goal of the PTA in general is to get to know as many parents as possible and learn from one another.
AD: My primary goal is to raise enough money to continue funding all the events and activities we sponsor at the school that the students enjoy so much.
GS: To get as many parents as possible to join the PTA.
LC: Our primary goal for the 2019-2020 school year is to inform. The executive board is going to try and increase PTSA enrollment, dispense information via a variety of media, and educate all families about our scholarship offerings.
TIR: What is the PTA/ PTSA responsible for in your school?
JF: At the Kindergarten Center, the PTA is responsible for fundraising for the school year and helping school activities run smoothly. It is the PTA’s job to be the liaison between parents and teachers and to ensure that through fundraising we are able to get the students and teachers the activities, supplies and programs that they need.
KG: At Lincoln School, the PTA plays a huge role in your child’s day to day school experience. When your child comes home talking about an assembly, the PTA has funded that assembly. If your child discusses a class celebration, the PTA members are the ones aiding the teachers to make that day the best it can be. Who is chaperoning a field trip? You guessed it, a PTA member. The PTA is also responsible for setting up after school activities such as socials, maintenance of the Lincoln Woods, parent nights out, and fundraisers to allow us to fund all of these. The PTA also funds things like your child’s planners, water bottles, school improvements such as refillable water stations, third grade moving up activities, field day, and we are always brainstorming to make each experience the best it can be. The PTA also helps to run a hot school lunch program, which includes Pizza Mondays and Fridays, and additionally other hot lunch options through our partnership with No Fuss Lunch. When you contribute to our fundraisers such as Walk-A-Thon, Spirit Wear sales, plant sales, ice pop Fridays, and the many other activities throughout the year, you are helping to give the children of Lincoln School the best educational experience.
AD: The Washington School PTA pays for the Raz Kids online reading program, various assemblies throughout the year and Discovery Day, which is a special event we have each spring where the children are immersed in a theme for a day. This past spring's theme was Growth Mindset and Mindfulness. The students rotated through the school for different activities such as Zumba and yoga. We sponsor big events that the children enjoy such as Field Day, the Holiday Boutique, the Halloween Social and the Book Fair. Lunches such as pizza and Simply Gourmet are ongoing fundraisers for us that help fund the above events.
GS: Union schools PTA is responsible for all school activities which include dances, field days, eighth grade end of year activities, and assemblies, to name a few. We also try to subsidize the students class trips, but we are only able to do so if everybody joins the PTA and participates in our fundraisers.
LC: The primary goal of the RHS PTSA is fundraising so that we can provide scholarships for our graduating seniors. Parents can look forward to detailed information regarding the scholarship process. Often times, I hear parents say, "I didn't know...". We are going to try and ensure that they do!
TIR: How long have you been involved in the PTA? Have you held other leadership positions?
JF: This will be my third year involved in the PTA. I am also the VP of the PTA at Lincoln School and help chair and run other committees.
KG: This is my second consecutive year holding a position on a PTA board. My first position was as the Corresponding Secretary at the K Center. I will also begin my fifth year as a board member on the Rutherford Education Foundation (REF) which donates a great deal of money back to the amazing teachers of our fantastic school system. We have amazing schools here and it shows through in the community.
AD: I have been involved with the PTA since my oldest child was in Kindergarten and she is entering 6th grade this year. I have been Vice President at the Kindergarten Center as well as at Washington School.
GS: I’ve been involved with the PTA since my daughter started in Washington school in first grade back in 2004. At Pierrepont school I was the Corresponding Secretary for three years. This is my first year as President of Union School.
LC: I have been involved in Rutherford PTA's since my son was in Kindergarten in Lincoln School way back in 2008. I held an executive position in Union School in 2017 serving as Recording Secretary. Other than that, I have been involved in many committees as well as chairing committees.
TIR: Who are your Board members this year?
JF: The board members at The Kindergarten Center are: President: Jasmine Forsyth, Vice President: Kim Wilton, Treasurer: Devon Soriano, Recording Secretary: Jennifer Byrne, and Corresponding Secretary: Kim Bogosian.
KG: I am beyond thrilled and honored to work alongside these amazing women. They are veteran PTA leaders and I cannot thank them enough for their guidance and assistance. In addition to the listed board members, I would be remiss if I didn’t thank the many parents that serve as chairs to our various committees, and so thank you current chairs. Our board is as follows: President: Kerry Goldsack, Vice Presidents: Jasmine Forsyth & Devon Soriano, Treasurer: Jennifer O’Rourke, Corresponding Secretary and former President: Kathryn Sein, Recording Secretary: Carissa Cokeley, and Parliamentarian: Jennifer Byrne.
AD: We are going to have a successful year with some of our seasoned board members as well as some new faces. President: Alyssa Dimitroff, Vice President: Tracy Leigh, Treasurer: Tara Giacalone, Corresponding Secretary: Jaimie Genovesi, Recording Secretary: Kelly Lancaster , and Parliamentarian: Kitt Allan.
GS: President: Gina Smith, Vice President: Jennifer Mazone, Treasurer: Melissa Else, Corresponding Secretary: Kelly Lancaster, Recording Secretary: Alexandra Tamayo, and Chairman of the 8th Grade Committee: Roe Paolazzi.
LC: We are fortunate to have an AMAZING BOARD!!!! President: Laurie Corizzo, Vice President: Melissa McHugh, Treasurer: Maria Schymko, and Secretary: Sabrina Pisciotta. We have a TON of experience and ideas to help make this year a smashing success!!!
TIR: What else would you like TIR readers to know about PTA/ PTSA?
JF: One thing I would like to let the readers know is how important it is to be involved. I know a lot of school activities are during the day and limit the involvement of working parents. However, we occasionally have nighttime events and also encourage everyone to come to our PTA meetings. We will do our best to communicate through email and Facebook, but you can stay informed and ask questions at our actual meetings. We look forward to a great year.
KG: We need you! There is a place for you in PTA regardless of how much time and energy you can contribute. The majority of our board and members are full time working parents of multiple children. There are evening and daytime events along with other creative ways for you to get involved. What better way to spend some quality time with your child and meet some fellow parents and neighbors? We hope to see you!
AD: We realize that everyone is pressed for time, but if you find yourself with some and want to volunteer at any time, we would love to hear from you. We are always looking for new ideas and helping hands!
GS: The only way for our PTAs to be successful is if everybody contributes, even if it’s only one day to serve lunch or supporting one fundraiser. When everybody comes together and supports us we can be a successful PTA for our schools. I strongly urge everybody to support their PTAs. Thank you.