Deerfield council collaborates for District 109
Often, the PTOs pool funds and coordinate schedules so that authors visit multiple District 109 schools. Last year, the Caruso, Shepard and Wilmot PTOs sponsored a visit from author Godron Korman, author of 64 books for young readers. - Photo submitted.
Updated: September 6, 2012 12:04PM
DEERFIELD — School District 109 brings the traditional Parent-Teacher Organization to a new level.
The District 109 PTO Presidents’ Council brings together PTO presidents from the district’s six schools to meet with district Superintendent Renee Goier and School Board President Ellen London once a month. Sharing ideas, getting the latest school district news to bring back to their schools and collaborating on projects are just some of the council’s functions, London said.
“It’s multi-faceted,” London said of the benefits of having the council. “The primary purpose is to share information. There’s a lot of ‘How are you handling this situation?’ that goes on. It’s always nice not to have to reinvent the wheel if someone’s already dealt with something.’’
For the 3,100 students and their families, it means stronger PTOs that make sure the correct information is getting out with collaborative efforts to provide better programs in each building.
For example, London said, all four elementary school PTOs share the cost of providing special needs assistants to children in the after-school programs that require that service. The elementary school PTOs also coordinate how they run the before-school programs, she said.
And a major effort undertaken recently by the President’s Council was to design and offer an online school store to order lunches, London said. With no cafeterias in any of the District 109 schools, lunches provided by local restaurants can be pre-ordered online, with payment made online.
“It’s a service we provide for the parents and the kids. It was a joint effort by the PTOs to computerize it,’’ London said.
Getting the latest news on everything from curriculum changes to parking lot procedures, the monthly meetings are an effective way for the PTO presidents to learn what’s happening in the district so they can bring it back to their schools, said council member Cathy Kedjidjian, coordinator of communications for District 109.
“It’s a really valuable meeting each month,’’ Kedjidjian said. “These are some of the smartest people in Deerfield. When you get those minds together in one room it is so dynamic. It’s for the PTOs to connect, to share ideas, to make sure there’s parity in what they’re doing.’’
With three children in District 109 schools, PTO Co-President of Kipling Elementary School Melina Dworsky said the council helps build stronger programs in the schools.
“We get information on how to run certain programs. There’s a lot of collaboration going on,’’ Dworsky said.
And getting the information at the same time from the school board president and superintendent ensures that she and the other presidents are aware of what’s happening in the district, she said.
“We want to have uniform information–getting like information so we can disseminate it to our schools,’’ she said.
With the onset of co-PTO presidents at each school — except for Caruso Middle School where there is just one PTO president this year — the council has expanded with 11 PTO presidents this year, said London, a former PTO president in the district. The monthly Presidents Council meetings are closed to the public.