Dear Spicewood Families,
On behalf of the Spicewood Parent Teacher Association (PTA), it is our pleasure to welcome you back to our wonderful community. After an abrupt end to our school year mid-March and with the uncertainty of what lies ahead, we go into this school year with both excitement for a type of normalcy and recognition that this normalcy is different. We move forward as a community of neighbors, friends, and parents. We will set an example of resiliency and strong community for our children. We ARE Spicewood Strong. We look forward to a great year filled with fantastic community-building events, wonderful support for clubs, and most importantly encouraging and assisting our teachers and learners so they can continue to attain excellence within their International Baccalaureate (IB) education.
The Spicewood board and staff thank you for your continued support of the PTA and involvement in such a wonderful community. The upcoming year will be a challenging one for PTA, especially when it comes to fundraising, but if there is a community that knows how to come together, it is Spicewood parents. With drive, dedication, and perseverance, we can make this a successful year during this challenging time.
Unlike many other PTAs across Texas, Spicewood PTA is heavily involved with our school’s budget. Various programs, including our IB accreditation, rely on the funds that PTA provides to Spicewood. Teacher trainings, substitutes, additional days off after training, technology, various equipment, dyslexia instructional tools, emotional development programs, phonics kits, and many other programs, clubs, etc. all rely on the funding we provide to keep them up to the Spicewood and community standards. And, while our parents are always incredibly generous, we should be transparent so everyone knows how and where money is being spent.
Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 last school year, we have had to make budget cuts. While not preventing us from meeting our minimal expectations of excellence, these cuts have caused us to hone in on funneling money to what is most important for our students, staff, and teachers. These funding decisions were made after many deliberations with our administration, staff, and teachers. We still need your help to raise funds for different programs, events, etc.
Our total annual PTA budget is typically about $152,000. This year we have cut wherever possible without sacrificing the quality of student learning. This year our functioning budget is $100,000. Without our spring fundraisers last year, we have carried forward $40,000. PTA spends approximately $40,000 to maintain our IB Primary Years Program (PYP) status, make school improvements, and help to enhance the school’s curriculum. This amount represents 40.3% of our overall budget. Included in the budget is money allotted for programs, quality of education, clubs, competitions, and school events.
Even with the changes currently in place and synchronous classes, the funding needs for these programs have not changed. Our expectations of educational excellence have not lowered because of the pandemic. If we want Spicewood to continue to be the Spicewood we love when we get back to it, we need your help.
What does this mean moving forward into the new school year? We know it is a trying time – jobs have been lost, finances are stretched, and uncertainty brings anxiety and fear. We want our members to know we understand, and, while we must continue to fundraise, we will be transparent in how we utilize funds. We will continue to be cognizant of our school’s specific needs. We are also extremely grateful for the money our community has generously donated and continues to donate during this unprecedented time.
Fundraising across the country has entered into unknown and unchartered territory. While establishing our 2020-21 budget, we kept this in mind and prepared for the changes and challenges. We had to make many decisions about what could be cut and what must be maintained. We were mindful of the economic climate while continuing to keep Spicewood’s excellence at the forefront of our planning. We did carry over more money than we typically do, but we will still need to raise money in the fall and spring semesters to perform services for our students, teachers, staff, and administration. Our goals for each fundraiser are significantly lower than usual, but if we meet them, we will fund our minimal budget.
All of this year’s fundraisers focus on building good will and community. The PTA board knows that our school, along with our global community, is experiencing a life-altering event, and we feel it is imperative to concentrate on maintaining everyone’s morale. Therefore, the board has committed to building community among our school’s staff, students, and parents.
This year we have four wonderful ways to donate to Spicewood PTA. You can decide where you would like your money to go and in which events you would like to participate. You will be receiving a letter “Four Ways to Fundraise” that describes each fundraiser, including when it will occur, its budget, and its monetary goal. We enter this year with mindfulness and consideration for our community, school, and students and want to offer transparency, opportunity, and options to our PTA members.
We have scheduled more of the fundraisers in the fall (due to necessary budget considerations). Here’s a brief description of each one:
- We kick off the year with Raise Craze, a wonderful virtual fundraiser that has each student set a goal for Random Acts of Kindness to perform throughout the three-week campaign. This fundraiser is all online, and the good deeds can be accomplished by children in grades kindergarten through fifth grade. They include reading a book to a sibling, taking out the trash, helping a neighbor rake leaves, etc. All acts can be done in a socially distanced way to ensure students’ safety.
Our established check-writing campaign will continue. The check writing campaign is the easiest and least involved. Each family writes a check donation to Spicewood PTA in any amount. This ensures 100% of their PTA donation goes directly to our Spicewood PTA in an amount that fits within their budget. We also have Panther Partnerships, which currently has eight spots available for interested businesses to post vinyl signs along Anderson Mill/Olson Drive. This year we will offer a la carte advertising for business as well as packages. This is a great way to promote businesses within our community to folks driving along Anderson Mill. Contact Natalie Dean at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in renewing your spot or would like to pay for a new spot.
- Another fundraiser is the Fall Carnival in October in hopes that social distancing will be more relaxed by then. We ask our members to be understanding and flexible, as the PTA may need toadjust schedules and make changes due to the uncertainty of what lies ahead. We will always abide by RRISD, CDC, city, PTA, and TEA guidelines and ordinances.
- We hope the long-standing tradition of auction will continue while also being heavily modified. This year’s auction will be more family oriented and will be hosted at the school as a “Sock Hop and Virtual Auction”. We will solicit businesses minimally for donations and instead will rely on social experiences and other creative auction items. During auction, we will host food trucks and allow them to profit without donating back to the school, which is atypical. Again, we ask for patience and understanding throughout this process as we try to work out safe ways to build community and fundraise through these events.
We are working to continue our clubs and programs that make Spicewood unique, but we ask for patience as we work out the logistics of how that will look going forward. We want to offer as much stability, continuity, and familiarity as possible to our Spicewood children and will continue to work hard to make this happen.
If no one has extended a personal invitation to join PTA, please let us do that now. We are only as diverse as our wonderful membership and want diversity to prevail in our school, community, and PTA. Again, thank you for your time, commitment, and dedication not only to our school, fundraising, and PTA, but also to our Spicewood students. You are the reason our PTA functions with the excellence that Spicewood is known for. You are the reason our school and community thrive.
Jen Cook-Mishkin Olivia Kendall Gary Wang
President President Elect VP of Membership
Natalie Dean Rebecca Grimaldi Lena Teffer
VP of Fundraising VP of Communication VP of Programs
Thea Woodruff Larissa Bradford Alicia Rodriguez
VP of Educational Clubs VP of Service and Outreach Treasurer
Melissa Hadlock Melissa Rachal