Q: How do I find out about PTA functions?
The best way to keep up with PTA updates is through the eNews weekly email updates — SIGN UP HERE. You can also subscribe to updates to this website through our RSS feed. At school, you’ll find major dates posted the marquee boards at both school entrances, and you’ll also see posters around the school as events approach. Finally, don’t forget to check out the PTA display boards next to the MP room!
Q: How do I get involved?
First, just attend an event — we want new families to feel welcome! You don’t need to be a PTA member to attend and you don’t need to volunteer — just show up and have fun. Second, don’t feel like it’s a huge commitment — most volunteer jobs are just a few hours. Third, go to our volunteering page to learn more, or just talk to anyone on the PTA board.
Q: How does the Juana Briones PTA differ from PiE or PTAC?
One way to think about the funding is that PiE supports staff and the PTA supports stuff. Palo Alto PiE (Partners in Education) pays for the Briones art teachers, science teacher, and all classroom aides. The PTA supports a wide range of programs that pay for items including curriculum materials, classroom supplies, library books, and musical instruments. (Learn more about what the PTA supports here.)
In addition, PiE funds support all PAUSD schools from K-12. The PTA is focused solely on supporting the students at Juana Briones. That means that your donation to the Juana Briones PTA goes only to support Juana Briones.
PTAC refers to the Palo Alto Council of PTAs, sometimes also called the PTA Site Council. PTAC works with the district staff, the Board of Education, community partners and the PTAs at the 17 schools in the Palo Alto Unified School District. For PTAs like ours, this allows us to learn from other schools and to take advantage of shared resources (like this website).
Q: Where do my PTA membership fees go?
The majority of the fee goes to the California State PTA. The CA PTA is part of the national PTA, the largest children’s advocacy organization in the country. The support of the CA PTA is crucial to the Juana Briones PTA’s operations: in addition to giving us officer training and the guidelines to ensure good fiscal management, the CA PTA also provides the necessary insurance services we need to sponsor events. Beyond that, by becoming part of your local PTA, you are supporting advocacy efforts that benefit all children in California.
Q: If I donate money to the PTA, where does it go?
Money donated to the Juana Briones PTA stays at Juana Briones. As a member of the PTA, you will have the opportunity to review and vote on our budget at the PTA general meetings, which take place 4 times a year. (We are required by PTA rules to not to post our budget online.)
Q: What are the Great Gatherings? And can I attend an event even if I don’t know the host?
To take the second question first, yes! In fact, Great Gatherings are meant to help bring the Briones community together and give people opportunities to make new friends.
Great Gatherings are events hosted by families in the Briones community, run for the benefit of the PTA. Some popular events for adults include Poker Night, Mani-Pedi Spa Night, and the Cook, Eat, Share potluck brunch. There are events for kids and families as well, including Laser Tag, Family Picnic in the park, and the Dr. Seuss Party. The host of each event covers the expenses for running it. Tickets sold for each event go 100% to the Juana Briones PTA.
Tickets to Great Gatherings events are sold at the Harvest Festival, held every October. (In 2017, it will take place on Saturday, October 21st.) This is a great reason to visit the Harvest Festival as a family. The kids can enjoy the games, activities, and snacks, while the adults check out the Great Gatherings events!