What a busy few weeks! Back-to-school night was September 4th, and was a flood of information. Here is the president’s letter about this year’s plans for the Foothill Elementary PTA:

September 3, 2014

Dear Foothill families,

We’ve had a fun and very busy first few weeks at school. Hopefully, all of us are settling in to a pleasant school year schedule!

On Back-to-School Night, the Foothill teachers get a chance to shine. My first year at Foothill Elementary was just last year, and I was so impressed by the care and thought that the teachers put into showing me what my child had been doing in the first weeks, and also laying out the curriculum for the rest of the year. I’ve had a chance to look a bit ‘backstage’ at what some of the teachers are setting up, and I’m sure I’ll be just as inspired this year.

First and foremost, I hope you will consider spending some time in your child’s classroom this year. Last year, my husband and I both rearranged our work schedules in order to spend some time at Foothill, and it was one of the best decisions we ever made. Our child loved having us at school, we loved getting to know his classmates and his teacher, and I walked away from every hour spent thinking that I was contributing to a valuable and vibrant community. Most importantly, I think that we modeled community building for our son. If you can spare the time, there are opportunities both for regular and committed classroom visits, and also for more occasional special events. If you can’t make time during the classroom day, there are still lots of ways you can help. Please talk to your teacher or visit www.saratogafoothillpta.org and click on ‘How to Help’.

Next, I would encourage you to attend and participate at our first PTA General Association Meeting. It will be October 2nd at 6pm, and Ms. Roberta Zarea, the Director of Education for the Saratoga Unified School District, will be a guest speaker. Last year, Ms. Zarea did a fantastic job explaining the district’s implementation of the new standards, and also talked a bit about the district’s plans and vision. Do you wonder what the staff has been doing on Wednesday afternoons? You should attend Ms. Zarea’s talk! The LGS Clubhouse has agreed to provide childcare during our meeting—please stop by and pick up their flyer.

Our childrens’ educational opportunities are provided by a partnership between the Saratoga Unified School District (SUSD), the Saratoga Education Foundation (SEF), and the Foothill Elementary Parent Teacher Association (PTA). At our October 2nd meeting, Ms. Zarea and our own Mr. Bosco will talk about some of the efforts that SUSD has put in place for our children. I encourage you to also visit the SEF webpage at http://www.saratoga-sef.org/ — the SEF funds district-wide art, computer, library, music, physical education, and science staff.

At Foothill, many of our educational partnerships and programs are supported by the PTA.
For example, while our art teacher is funded by SEF, the art materials are funded by the annual gifts that Foothill families give to the PTA. There is an overview and a calendar for this years’ PTA programs and events in the packet with this letter. Please feel free to ask any of us if you have questions about these activities! We will officially vote in our program and budget at our October 2nd meeting – all PTA members that attend this meeting will be able to vote.

Our expected 2014-2015 spending breakdown.

Our PTA is a collaboration between Foothill families and Foothill teachers and staff. As you can see, our largest expense from the Annual Gift Fund is the teacher grants. This grant lets the teachers buy equipment and supplies for the classroom. Every teacher at Foothill elementary receives these grants. This year, the Foothill PTA also bought all of the school supplies. In previous years, parents were asked to make individual donations of these supplies. Our remaining spending for this year is expected to be split between need-based field trip scholarships, our Science Day, Art Docent materials, school-wide assemblies, and the other programs that you see listed on the attached page. If you haven’t yet given to the Annual Gift Fund, I encourage you to do so. You can give at www.saratogafoothillpta.org or you can find paper forms in the Foothill office. Foothill PTA is a nonprofit that exists entirely to benefit our children, and you will receive a reminder of your tax-deductible gift in January. We suggest a total $145 gift per child this year for programs and school supplies, but please contribute at any level. Every child at Foothill Elementary benefits from your gift.

Finally, if you haven’t yet become a PTA member, I’d like to ask you to do so. Your $5 membership fee gives you the right to vote at our local Foothill PTA, and also makes you a member of the California State and National PTA organizations. PTA membership has immediate tangible perks: see http://www.capta.org/sections/membership/perks.cfm. At the state and national levels, the PTA acts as an advocate for legislative efforts involving education. They also provide educational materials for families. The Common Core excerpt that we have included in this packet is one example of the types of materials the PTA provides; I hope you find it useful.

Best wishes for a bright and happy school year,
Misty Davies, Foothill PTA President

Back-to-School Night Letter