The finish line of the 2020-21 school year is in sight! Throughout this entire year, Park parents and guardians rallied together to bring a sense of normalcy and continue to build community through our children and families. We are so proud of the many efforts of the Parents’ Association that maintained our tradition of connecting, collaborating, and contributing.
Beginning last summer, various Parents’ Association committees started the process of reimagining their work for the year. From our Zoom New Parent Gatherings, to the Springfest Auction and Kids Raffle, to the Faculty/Staff Breakfasts and Birthday Cakes, the PA co-chairs were open to new ideas and found ways to celebrate milestones and introduce parents and guardians to one another. Because we could not gather for Yule Festival, the PA helped families create their own yule logs — and the photos families supplied evidenced much creativity and ambition at play! The family photos and introductions at Bingo Night were a delightful surprise as were the PA Pop-Ups, Springfest-At-Home T-Shirts and the PA Auction’s Ice Cream Truck Party.
Park families were eager to participate in PA activities this year. Eighty families wrote letters to new families entering next fall as well as to each Park employee at the start of the new year. Active participants filled both Wee the People’s Anti-Racism workshops. Families nearly doubled the amount of pumpkin bread loaves baked this year, which were enormously appreciated. The Chop-A-Thon turned Welcome Home Basket Project supplied thirty newly-housed individuals with the vital supplies they need to settle into their new homes. This final project gained so much Park family support that we hope it will become a lasting tradition at Park.
In addition, the Parents’ Association committed to using a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion lens at the start of the year. This led to working with new Asian, Black, Lantinx, and LGBTQIA-owned businesses across committees and throughout the year. We continued our partnership with the school in Parent SEED. Our speaker series hosted “Building Anti-Racist School Communities” with Amber Coleman-Mortley.
One major addition to the PA offerings this year was the launching of parent/guardian affinity groups. The affinity group program sought to engage families across the Park community in thoughtful conversation and connection, and to bring together community members who share common backgrounds and lived experiences. This year’s early efforts, discussed here in The Park Parent, represent tremendous opportunity for ongoing growth as more families participate next year. Please reach out if you would like to facilitate a group we do not currently have or have suggestions for new affinity groups.
The PA’s strong support of the amazing hardworking faculty and staff continued this year. In addition to funding tools that helped support this year’s virtual Drama endeavors, the PA grants committee funded a project on Spheros for Grade 3, Microbits for Grade 4, and Mindfulness Training for one of our faculty members.
Faculty/Staff Appreciation Day — which, in a normal year, treats Park’s employees to a wonderful, relaxing afternoon lunch following the traditional early dismissal on May Day — is one of the many traditions Park families look forward to making possible, and one of the traditions that just wasn’t possible in its usual form this year. Volunteers rallied to find ways to show our appreciation, transforming Appreciation Day to “Appreciation Week” — with morning treats delivered by local businesses, signs, a colorful, spirited car parade, flowers, and the annual raffle, capped off by a gourmet meal prepackaged to travel home with each employee. We are grateful to all for the creativity and thoughtfulness that sustained our desire to appreciate all that Park’s faculty and staff do for our children.
Springfest, another PA-led tradition, also saw a creative makeover due to gathering restrictions, but the annual auction drew great participation. Over the course of the year, the PA raised over $60,000 through its various initiatives, all of which goes to support ongoing PA programming. The PA’s fundraising events make the larger community building efforts possible, and we are grateful to all who help us keep this important work going.
Whether through the work of family affinity groups or by way of the necessary fact of Zoom meetings, the PA was extraordinarily pleased to find more and more people engaging in various ways this year. The PA is here for all of Park’s families — we welcome your input and ideas, your participation and your leadership. Together we build the kind of community we are proud to belong to. Thank you for your many contributions of time, expertise, and other support this year!