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Sunday, May 13, 2012

we 'preciate you!

My duties as part of the PTO at Ella's school are to be in charge of the Valentine's Dance and I am co-chair of Teacher Support with another first grade mom, Marilyn.  The Teacher Support team organizes ongoing things for the staff- like "Friday Baking" wherein every Friday of the year the teacher's room is filled with snacks and homemade treats donated by parents.  We also head two "events" a year- a supply drive in the fall to help fill the wishlists of the teachers and Teacher Appreciation Week in May.

At our school we celebrate Staff Appreciation Week (52 total) and we rather spoil the staff rotten for an entire week.  It is a PERFECT post for me and I love it.

This was the week as we had planned it: everyday the staff would get a little treat in their mailbox.  On Monday they were also to have a flower delivered to them.  Tuesday we provided breakfast (parent donated) and I provided chair massage during lunch.  Wednesday was smoothie afternoon.  Thursday we had a staff luncheon.  Friday was decadent dessert day and we raffled off 16 gifts from candles and plants to gift cards.  We also had a goody basket in the teacher's room full of things staff could help themselves to: candles, lotion, candy, granola bars, tea, microwave popcorn, $5 gift cards for coffee, Ibuprofen (my personal favorite), gum, pens, highlighters, and more which were almost all donated by parents.  We had such an outpouring from the parents leading up to and during this week we felt as spoiled as the teachers.  We had a $600 budget for the event and we came in at half that.  My spare room looked liked Santa's Teacher's workshop.
There was a ton of prep work to do at home and Marilyn's grandmother had just passed away so I took on most of it and put my kids to work.  I was really proud of them. They truly got the spirit of what we were doing and never complained but rather offered help at every turn.  Maya spent a lot of time running around the school with me, dropping things here and there, filling baskets, handing out items and going to and from the car.  She kept saying, "Is this for the teachers?" and on she would march.

There was so much I didn't get to photograph and the camera is taking such horrible inside pictures but here is a general sense of the week.
Peeling bananas to freeze ahead for smoothies:

One of the 5 daily tokens to put in staff mailboxes.  "We don't stand a lick of a chance without you."

Every morning the girls helped stuff these bags and stick the labels on.  Yes, I paid them in candy.

Marilyn, my co-chair, on smoothie afternoon. 

Honestly, we had SO much fun doing this.

Jessica, the mom who climbed the giant ladder and nearly climbed through the suspended ceiling to help figure out how to hang the mirror ball for Valentine's Dance.  A Leo and youngest of three girls like me, we are kindred spirits with an appreciation for the need to talk a lot and laugh at everything.  She is the person you want at every event you plan.

The kids loved handing out the smoothies to their teachers and giving them leis.

For the Thursday luncheon we put table clothes and flowers on the tables in the teacher's room and the mom volunteers served the staff from behind the tables.  All of the food was donated by parents.

We had hot food:

Salads and breads:

I mean, look at this beautiful bread basket one mom made:

And of course there was a table dedicated to dessert:

And yes, because I am that kind of crazy, I had to make food for every event.  For Tuesday's breakfast:  chocolate filled buns from Cooking Light.  For the luncheon: homemade crescent rolls and braided bread.  For decadent dessert day: a mocha chocolate tart.

We sent home flowers for the kids to write what they appreciate about their teachers and created this wall display.  It was both really pretty and incredibly sweet.

Above all, this past week has made ME appreciate our school's strong PTO and all that goes with it.  Because we have such active parents, we can plan great events to help fund the PTO which in turn can then fund things for the school, such as Staff Appreciation Week, field trips and even a new floor cleaner for our janitor.  And because we take such good care of our school and our staff, they take incredible care of our kids.  We appreciate them and they appreciate us.  The staff fell all over themselves thanking us for this week. Win. Win.

This week was incredibly fun, totally full filling and entirely exhausting. I am learning that equation well in my life as a mom. I was up before 5 AM every day last week. Plus after being at the school all day Thursday setting up for and cleaning up after the luncheon, I spent the afternoon and early evening volunteering at the Book Fair.  But it is all completely worth it to have a face in the school and be known.  "Oh, you're Ella Carver's mom!"  Know my child.  Treat her well please. 

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