Robin and Kim explained the current volunteer philosophy: We have a small pool of volunteers, and we have been doing a lot of events that we inherited. Many of these events have bare-bones volunteers running them and therefore don’t go very well. We feel it makes more sense to do fewer events well than a lot of events not so well. No event can be run well without leadership; therefore we will be canceling events where we don’t have anyone who volunteers to lead the event. We want to make sure our volunteers feel good about volunteering with us and that they feel their time was well spent and organized. The best way to thank a volunteer is by running a well-thought-out and well-organized event. That is how we would like to do business.
There are a number of PTA committees that need leadership. They include: Ramsey Rendezvous, Battle of the Bands, Pi Day, Conference Dinner, Movie Night, Kowalski’s, Marathon Cheer Stations, Arts Boosters, Landscaping, and Yearbook (unless this becomes an after-school class). There is also a need to build-in successors to committees that may have outgoing leadership after this year.
Robin and other committee leads gave brief descriptions of each committee’s purpose. Some committees are being revamped, like the Ramsey Arts Boosters. Wendy Williams is planning a kickoff meeting for early October to discuss ways we can better support the visual arts, music programs, and the musical at Ramsey. There is a need for more volunteers and more organized arts fundraising for items such as risers in the auditorium.
We want to make it easier for new incoming volunteers to take on a leadership role, and we are in the process of making sure that every committee has an Event Planning Worksheet. There is also a need for current volunteers to fill out an After-Event form so that we know details of the event, what worked, and what could be changed in the future. Kelly Taschler is in charge of the PTA website and calendar. She will be putting all forms and fund and reimbursement request info there for easy access. She is also in charge of the Sign-Up Genius platform, so committee leads who need volunteers will be able to request a sign-up for any event they are planning.
Beth Gyllstrom discussed PTA fundraising. The purpose of the PTA fundraising is to supplement and enrich Ramsey, but we are not funding projects, academics, or staffing that should be paid for by the district.
- In 2014-15, we earned about $23,000. In 2015-16, we earned about $21,000. (The drop is likely due to the fact that we stopped requesting donations at some community building events.)
- Our biggest fundraisers have been the Ramsey Rendezvous, the Battle of the Bands, and Give to the Max Day. We’ve had a decreased presence at marathons (where in the past we’ve had cheer or water stations), but if someone would step up to coordinate them, they are easy money makers.
- Our main expenditures have been event expenses, teacher support, dances (including 8th-grade promotion and dance), guest speakers, landscaping, and field trips.
- We’d like to be able to target a specific need for Give to the Max Day in November. With a little publicity and communication, we could hopefully bolster our fundraising amounts for this day, which typically come in around $6,000.
- The Scholastic Book Sale has not been a moneymaker for us in the past because we need to sell a certain amount to earn the kickback. We are doing the event this year because the wheels are already in motion, but if we want to do it again in the future, we’d need leadership to make it a true Book Fair—an event that draws on the presence of family and the community. Right now, students are not excited about it, and the timing isn’t convenient for families.
- The fundraising committee is in need of a co-chair, as well as 2-3 Ramsey Rendezvous coordinators. We also need a new lead for Give to the Max Day as well as Battle of the Bands (no tickets to purchase for this event—our money comes from donations, T-shirt sales, and a cut of the food purchases for the evening at the Junction). Anyone interested in these opportunities or other fundraiser volunteering should contact Beth Gyllstrom.
- There will be a new process for fund requests this year. There will be set dates for fund request voting, and teachers or event coordinators will need to fill out a fund request form in advance.
- Evan Hermodson made a request at this meeting for a Project Success event. Project Success is in its first year at Ramsey and will be meeting monthly with students in their ELA classrooms to work on goal setting, decision making, and planning for the future. This event will be a workshop night for families on October 11. Project Success facilitators will work with both kids and parents on how to set goals and navigate this time in their lives. $500 was requested and approved by the PTA for the facilitators. It was suggested that anyone planning a big event talk to the District Office of Student, Family, and Community Engagement to request interpreters and childcare.
- It was suggested that we always have a "soft-ask" donation bucket at every event because there are always individuals willing to support the school. This will be considered and decided upon as we plan future events.
- Dena McDonald-Watschke suggested connecting with the school social workers to determine how we can best help Ramsey families in need, in addition to the already existing food shelf.
Ramsey ELA teacher Hayley Wender has taken on the role of Family Engagement Liaison. She’s happy to communicate our needs to the Ramsey staff. One of the big events she’s working on is Arabic Night on Tuesday, February 14. This will be a great community building night with food, dancers, a fashion show, and henna artists. Ramsey has also received a grant to host the STEAM festival on Saturday, May 20, along with Washburn, which will feature student group performers, music, art, food, and more. Details to come.
Robin thanked everyone for attending and went over the PTA calendar for the year. We always meet Tuesdays at 6:30 pm, but this year, there will be different venues each month:
- Tuesday, October 25: Meet at Turtle Bread Bakery on Chicago Ave. to discuss the book "Middle School Makeover" by Michelle Icard (please note that this is a new book selection).
- Tuesday, November 15: Meet at Gigi’s on 36th and Bryant for a parent mingler
- No Meeting in December
- Tuesday, January 17: Meet in the Ramsey Media Center for a regular meeting
- Tuesday, February 21: Meet in the Ramsey Media Center for a speaker on Teen Sexuality
- Tuesday, March 21: Meet at Butter on Nicollet and 37th for a Family Night
- Tuesday, April 18: Meet at Turtle Bread Bakery on Chicago Ave. to discuss the book "Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain" by Daniel J. Siegel
- Tuesday, May 16: Meet at the Ramsey Media Center for the Year-End Wrap-Up