This year's back to school season was one to remember, for sure. From starting back fully online for the first two weeks, to navigating the first few days of Hybrid learning, we all experienced some bumps along the way. Luckily, the Irvington community came together in some really great and unexpected ways to help support one another and help make things as smooth as they could possibly be. Here are some highlights we're excited to share:
As you can probably guess, fundraising for the PTSA is going to look a lot different this year given that we can’t safely run many of our regular events. That’s why we’re asking families to make their full tax deductible donation now, at the beginning of the year, using our online donation site .
But donating in cash is not the only way you can support our work in the community. We’ve partnered with a number of local and national partners -- including Amazon, Stop and Shop and DeCicco’s -- who’ve pledged to make donations on your behalf to the PTSA whenever you shop with them. You can even set the Bulldog Family Fund as your preferred charity when you are using Share your Wish. Getting set-up is quick and easy. Read on to learn more.
As an all-volunteer organization, the PTSA's strength comes from our members; that’s why we’re so excited to have you join our ranks. This guide includes some important information about your membership, as well as some ideas on how to make the most of what comes next.
So what is the PTSA anyway?
Parent Teacher Associations (PTAs) began in the early part of the last century as a way to facilitate community support for and participation in schools. In recent years, many PTAs -- including Irvington's -- have expanded their missions to more actively include the voices of students in their work, changing their names to Parent Teacher Student Associations (PTSAs).
The Irvington NY PTSA is a chapter of the broader New York State PTA, and by extension the National PTA. By becoming a member of our chapter, you’ve joined millions of families and school staff across the country who come together to support and sustain strong school communities. Just like other membership organizations you might be familiar with -- from your university’s alumni association to the ACLU -- PTSAs like ours rely on on our members to do our work and achieve our goals.
How is the PTSA organized?
Organizational Leadership: The PTSA is governed by our Executive Committee (EC), a group of members who've volunteered to take on expanded leadership roles. The EC meets monthly to conduct the business of the PTSA and is committed to representing our membership's needs and concerns in all we do.
School Leadership: Each school has 2-3 Vice Presidents and a number of Grade and Class Parents who meet regularly with the school administration via our Parent Advisory Council (PAC) program. The school VPs sit on the Executive Committee, along with the Presidents, Executive Vice President, Development VP and Treasurers.
Committee and Program Leadership: Our strategic advocacy committees, programs and events are all run by volunteer chairs whose job it is to engage general members and prospective members in the work of supporting our schools. Each chair is supported by an EC representative to help set them up for success.
General Membership: The base of the PTSA organization is made up of our members. We rely on our members to power the rest of our work and help us have impact in our schools and community.
What is my official role as a member of the PTSA?
Our members are responsible for voting on and approving our annual budgets and other official matters related to the running of our chapter. We'll be inviting you to join General Membership meetings a few times a year, during which you'll have the opportunity to review issues on the table, ask questions and vote. In this way, we ensure that we stay aligned with the needs of our membership.
What can I expect from the PTSA as a member? What does the PTSA expect from me?
The PTSA is committed to representing the concerns of our membership in everything we do. You can count on us to solicit your input when designing our programs and amplify your voices in our interactions with school and district leadership. You can expect to hear from us regularly through our email newsletter and social media accounts with updates on what we're planning, what we've achieved, and how you can get involved.
Our expectations for our members are very flexible. All members of the PTSA are encouraged to participate in the committees, programs and events that resonate most for them throughout the year. This might include attending an event, volunteering for a program, contributing a donation, or leading a strategic initiative. Simply filling out a survey or sending us an email with your concerns once in awhile helps us do better work.
Where do my membership dues go?
The membership dues you paid break down as follows:
How long does my membership last?
Each year, we ask our community to opt-in to supporting our mission by becoming a member. There are two membership options available, but both are good for one school year. We ask you to renew each year to ensure you're still interested in being part of our work. Your 2020-21 membership is good through the end of this school year.
Now that I've become a member, what should I do next?
Here are some suggested next steps for new members:
Tell your friends: Your decision to join the PTSA shows your strong commitment to our schools. Communicate your commitment to your friends and family by sharing the suggested message and one of the social badges below. PRO TIP: Right-click on the image of your choice below, then save it to your device.
Follow us on social: We post updates and announcements to our Facebook and Instagram accounts regularly.
Check your email: As a member, you will automatically receive our monthly email newsletters and occasional blasts regarding important news, events and announcements. Not getting our emails? Send a message to email@example.com to troubleshoot.
Volunteer: Most years, we run a wide variety of programs and events that require volunteers. This year, with so much up in the air, we're surveying our members to understand your volunteering preferences to help inform our planning. Fill out the volunteer form on our website, and we'll reach out when matching opportunities become available.
Join a Committee: We have a number of strategic committees that are driving real change in our district. Take a look at the options available and join one or two that interest you.
Donate: When you became a member, a portion of your dues went towards our general fund. But membership dues alone cannot cover all of our costs each year. That's why we suggest our members make an annual donation of $75 per child per year. You can make your annual donation here, or learn about other ways to fund our work such as our Amazon Smile and SpiritWear programs here.
I have additional questions / concerns / thoughts.
Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org anytime. Our members are our priority; we'll get back to you just as soon as we can.
Part of the Irvington NY PTSA’s mission is to improve students’ educational experiences, connect our community, ensure equal access to education, and advocate for change. This includes working at the local district level, as well as advocacy efforts at both the State and Federal levels as well, especially regarding funding and resources.
The PTSA’s Executive Committee has developed this guide to help our members discover ways in which they can get involved in ensuring a successful, equitable and safe re-opening of schools this fall. Get involved with those options below that speak to you. Make your voice heard.
Get the Facts
Federal, state and local agencies have put out guidelines that dictate the rules behind the plan for re-opening Irvington schools. You can read more about those guidelines and plans here:
Join an Upcoming Meeting with Local Decision Makers
The District and School Leadership teams are offering a number of open community forums in the next few weeks to answer questions and solicit feedback on re-opening plans. Consider joining one or more of these events to hear directly from your local leaders.
Reach Out Directly to Decision Makers
Decisions about IUFSD, our school budget, schedules and instructional models happen at several levels. Any given decision you want to influence or understand more deeply may require that you reach out to a number of decision makers. Below is a list of individuals or groups who you can contact via email to express your opinions and amplify your voice.
Irvington Unified Free School District-Level Leadership
Here are some organizations that advocate on behalf of their members with decision makers:
Irvington NY PTSA Leadership
Irvington Faculty Association, our local teacher's union
NY State PTA Leadership
Connect with Your Parent Advisory Council (PAC)
Not sure you want to reach out directly to decision makers? The PTSA’s Parent Advisory Council (PAC) meets monthly at each school where representatives from the PTSA discuss current issues with the principals. If you have a question or concern you can contact your grade parent or school VP. You can choose to remain anonymous and meeting minutes are published on the PTSA website.
Influence State and Federal Policy Makers
Local school decision making is influenced by state and federal policy. Here are some ways you can influence that policy today and in the future:
Organize for Change Locally
The PTSA sponsors a number of committees, each focused on advocating for a better future for Irvington schools. Each committee has been tackling a variety of issues related to re-opening. To learn more about upcoming opportunities to attend committee meetings or volunteer to support active initiatives, visit each Committee’s page on our website.
Volunteer in Our Schools
Did you know that the Irvington NY PTSA is the largest volunteer organization in the village? While many of our typical volunteering opportunities are on hold while reopening plans are finalized, we have created a new form where you can opt-in to future volunteering opportunities. Fill it out now, and we’ll reach out as our plans finalize. Even if we don’t manage to hold any events this year, we want to get to know you!
One initiative we’re going to be working hard on is expanding the Walking School Bus. Walking School Bus volunteers walk Dows Lane students to school. Typically, parent volunteers have students at Dows Lane, but if we don’t have enough who can volunteer, we’ll be looking to parents of older children to help out. By participating in the Walking School Bus, children cut down on potential contact points, learn to walk safely, and get exercise before school. Please click here to learn more or sign up to help with Walking School Bus.
Donate to Support Programs and Initiatives
The PTSA funds a number of programs and initiatives in our schools in normal years. This year is not normal; now more than ever we need your support. General donations to the PTSA go straight back to supporting your children in school through grants. Donations to the Bulldog Family Fund go directly to support families with financial need. Your donations are the lifeblood of our organization and anything you can give is greatly appreciated. Please consider donating today by clicking here.
Become a PTSA Member
Becoming a member of the Irvington NY PTSA is a great way to show your support for our local community. We offer membership options for families and staff. Members receive a copy of our annual Directory, featuring contact information for students and families. This makes it easy to stay in touch, even if your child is not attending class on the same day as their friend.
Stay in the Know
As plans for the 2020-21 school year evolve, you can count on the PTSA to share updates, announcements and important news to our community. You can stay in the know by bookmarking our blog, subscribing to our email newsletter, and following us on Facebook and Instagram.
It is also a great idea to sign up for the newsletters sent by the Village, the District, and your child's school if you don't already receive them.
With so much uncertainty going into the new school year, it's hard to predict what's ahead. But one thing is certain: the strong connection between schools and homes that the PTSA cultivates is more important than ever.
The PTSA's role has always been to help foster conversations and connection between families and decision makers within our schools and districts. Through our advocacy committees, our Parent Advisory Councils, and our grant making, we're set up to take action and help make parent voices heard. When it comes to planning for re-opening, we have a real opportunity to bring forth ideas, questions and concerns from the community, and we want to hear from you.
Now is the time to support the PTSA.
Become a member, donate or volunteer today to help ensure we can act on all the great ideas and suggestions we're fielding from the community.
We are excited to announce our continued partnership with 1st Day School Supplies and are happy to once again offer a way for students to receive the supplies their teachers hand-selected in a more convenient and hassle-free way. Like last year, the kits will be delivered straight to your door!
We encourage you to participate in our school supplies program this year and order your kits with 1st Day School Supplies. All of our grade kits are currently available for sale on their website.
New, this year we are offering 2 choices of School Supply boxes:
1. Deluxe box: Everything your teacher requests!
2. Standard Box: Just order the items that are essential and reuse items from the previous year!
Please click on links below to review what is in each box and to order.
Join us in our work to bring out the best in Irvington schools.
IRVINGTON NY PTSA | P.O. BOX 245 | IRVINGTON, NY 10533