701 S. Highland St.
Arlington, VA 22204
Fax: 703-486-8971
Sunday, August 31, 2014

Patrick Henry PTA Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

1.     What is the purpose of a PTA? 

PTA stands for Parent-Teacher Association. The PTA is made up of parents/guardians and teachers of students at Patrick Henry. The PTA works to build a strong support system for its students. Parent involvement in their child’s school is a critical part of the student’s education.     Any parent/guardian or caregiver of a Patrick Henry student can belong to the PTA and any teacher at Patrick Henry may join the PTA.

 2.    When does the PTA meet?

For the 2012-2013 school year, the PTA will meet on September 11, 2012, January 8, 2013 and May 7, 2013 from 7:00 – 8:00 pm. We are very respectful of everyone’s busy schedules and limit our meetings to 1 hour. Childcare is provided free of charge. The children go to one of the Kindergarten rooms to play during the meeting.  

 3.    What does the PTA do? 

Patrick Henry PTA is involved in a wide variety of functions around Henry. Our primary goal is to build a sense of community among Patrick Henry families and promote a positive learning experience at Henry by encouraging parental involvement in the school. Fundraising is also a function of the PTA.

 4.     How can I participate in the PTA?

There are many different ways to participate in the PTA. One easy way is to attend the meetings.   Additionally, on your PTA registration form, you can indicate Henry activities you would be interested in assisting with throughout the year. You can run for the PTA Executive Board. The Executive Board is comprised of 5 officers, President, 2 Vice Presidents, Treasurer and Secretary. Elections are held in the late spring of each year.   Names are submitted to a nominating committee and elections are held at the May PTA meeting. 

 5.    What are the fundraisers?

The PTA conducts several fundraisers throughout the school year. Budgets are provided at each PTA meeting.

·         Fall Fundraiser - A Fall Fundraiser is done in the first month or two of the school year.   For the past two years, the PTA has worked with a group called Lavenders to provide fundraising products, like wrapping paper, flower bulbs, holiday gifts, etc. Patrick Henry PTA receives 50% of the total sold.   The Fall Fundraiser begins with a kick-off assembly. Students receive prizes for the products sold and students who sell the most are eligible for a larger prize (e.g. limousine ride to lunch at a local eatery). Information will be sent home in students’ Thursday Packets.   The fundraiser is completely VOLUNTARY. No family should feel compelled to participate. If you would prefer rather than sell products, you may make a tax deductible donation to the PTA. The Fall 2010 fundraiser brought in approximately $6,600.

·         Silver Diner Night –Silver Diner Night is a Henry institution. Normally held in October each year, the PTA organizes an evening when Henry families go to Silver Diner for dinner and 20% of the profits from that evening go to the PTA. This is quite a fun evening. Teachers join in the fun by seating families and serving food. The PTA sponsors a raffle. Kids have fun seeing their friends and each year we take over more and more of the restaurant. In 2011 the PTA raised $1,698 from Silver Diner Night.

·         Book Fair – In December each year Patrick Henry PTA sponsors a Book Fair. For the past two years, the PTA has worked with Bedford Falls to host a book fair in the library. This vendor sends a variety of books which are set up in the Henry Library. On the first day of the fair, students go through the fair with their classes and make out wish lists which they will bring home. Should you decide to purchase books, you may send money in with your child, or visit the book fair yourself. The fair is open throughout the school days, various mornings prior to school and after school as well as one evening in conjunction with the Winter Concert. A schedule will be sent out in Thursday packets in December. Proceeds from the Book Fair go to the Henry Library for Ms. Stacy to update the library.   The Library gets 25% of the profits; additionally Ms. Stacy can take her profit in books and she receives an additional 40% off any books she purchases for the library.    

·         School Photos – School photos are taken in the Fall and Spring each year.   The PTA does earn money from the pictures. In the Fall you will order your pictures beforehand. In the Spring, class pictures are taken and you will receive a packet of pictures; keep those you want and return any unwanted pictures. The PTA earns approximately $2,500 from picture revenues.

·         Box Tops for Education– This is an informal fundraiser. Throughout the year parents clip Box Tops from products, like Kleenex, Cheerios, Ziploc, etc. In the spring, information will be sent out and students bring their box tops to school for prizes. In 2010 the winning class got extra recess time. In 2011/2012 Box Tops brought in approximately $1,000.

·         Silent Auction – In the Spring the PTA conducts its other main fundraiser. In the past, each class has been assigned a theme and parents are able to donate items in the theme (e.g., home and garden, dining, recreation). The PTA assembles baskets around the donated items for a Silent Auction. In addition, local businesses donate items and many teachers donate items or “experiences,” like a sleepover in the library, a trip to the zoo, and a picnic on the playground. In the past the most popular items have been those provided by teachers! In 2011/2012 the Silent Auction made approximately $6,000.

·         White House Christmas Ornament sale – In the fall, White House Christmas Ornaments are for sale through the PTA. The PTA is able to buy the ornaments at a discount rate and then earns approximately $2 per ornament sold.  It’s a great holiday gift and the PTA earned $262 in 2011. 

·         Labels for Education – This is an informal fundraiser. Throughout the year parents clip labels from Campbell’s and other participating products. Labels are redeemed for points for the school to receive various physical fitness items to augment the Physical Training equipment for the school. You will note a Campbell’s can in the lobby near the hallway to the art room. Simply drop your labels in this receptacle. 

·         Grocery Store School Rewards Programs – Giant, Harris Teeter & Safeway have school rewards programs.   Please look for messages on the Henry Listserv on how you can link your customer number to rewards for Henry.

 6.    What does the money raised at fundraisers go toward?

The money raised during fundraisers goes to a variety of school and community building expenses. The PTA pays for the Back to School Picnic; provides teachers with a small fund at the beginning of school to help defray costs to stock their classrooms for the year; hosts Teacher and Staff appreciation weeks; contributes to Henry Challenge and Field Day; supplements costs for the International Dinner; purchases yearbooks for all 5th Graders; and provides funds for the 4th Grade Williamsburg Trip. Henry places an emphasis on getting technology into the hands of our students.   In the 2009/2010 school year the PTA provided funds to purchase a Smart Board for the school, which helped complete the goal of having a Smart Board for each classroom. In the 2010/2011 school year, the PTA provided funds to purchase 3 iPads. 

 7.    What is the Back-to-School picnic?

The Back-to-School picnic is held on the first Friday after school starts and is free and open to all Patrick Henry families. A simple picnic of hot dogs, sides, beverages and dessert are served. It’s a great way to catch-up and/or meet new Henry families. 

 8.    What is After-School Enrichment?

After-school enrichment programs are offered in the Fall, Winter and Spring. They are classes offered once a week for Henry students. A volunteer puts together a selection of courses for each semester and then students may sign up a class that interests them. In the past courses have included: Kid Fitness; Kid Yoga; Little Chefs; Beading; Knitting; Karate. A list of classes available and a sign-up form will be sent home in the students’ Thursday packets. There is a fee for the classes that is paid directly to the organization or person offering the class. The PTA does not make any money off of these activities. 

 9.    What are Parent/Teacher Conferences?

Parent/Teacher Conferences are held at the beginning of October and March. Teachers will schedule times to meet with parents to discuss their child’s progress. There is no school on these days; however, the PTA hosts a teacher luncheon where families provide food for the teachers on conference days. Conference typically last approximately 15 minutes; childcare is not provided. 

 10. What are teacher work days?

Teacher work days are in-service days where the teachers have meetings, work on grades and attend workshops and classes. There will be NO SCHOOL on Teacher workdays.

 11. What are early release days? 

Early release days occur periodically throughout the year. On these days, students will be released at 1:26 pm. Extended day will still occur. Because Henry is a FLES school, we do not observe all Early Release days other schools in the county do.    Please consult your Henry school calendar for our Early Release days. 

 12. What is FLES? 

FLES stands for the Spanish Foreign Language Elementary School Program. The Spanish FLES Program is a proficiency oriented program designed to develop novice level Spanish language skills in listening, speaking, reading and writing and to develop an openness, understanding and

appreciation for cultures of Spanish-speaking countries.

 13. What is International Night?

International Night is a community building event that celebrates Henry’s cultural diversity. Families volunteer to set up tables/displays that showcases their heritage. 

 14. What is the Fine Arts Festival?

The Fine Arts Festival is usually scheduled for a Saturday afternoon in the Spring. Our wonderful art teachers organize hands-on exhibits around a central theme. All students are welcome to participate and create wonderful masterpieces. The festival concludes with an informal concert.

 15. What is Fourth Grade Trip to Williamsburg?

Henry offers its 4th Graders the unique experience of an overnight field trip to Williamsburg, Yorktown and Jamestown, Virginia. The 4th Grade history curriculum covers Virginia history. No 4th grade student is asked to pay for her/his trip. Throughout the year the 4th grade holds several fundraisers, like Bingo & movie night, to help defray costs for the trip. Additionally, the PTA contributes to the trip to help cover transportation expenses. This trip is an important part of our students’ learning experience and valued program at Henry.

 16. What is a Thursday packet?

Each Thursday, a white envelope containing important information will be sent home with your child. Important information will be included in these packets, including a weekly newsletter with information on upcoming events and announcements. You will be asked to review, sign and return the envelope. 

What is the Henry listserv and how can I join?

The PTA has established a listserv for communication with Henry families. When you join the PTA and complete the registration form, there is a field asking for your email address. You will automatically be added to the listserv.