Sunday, April 5, 2009

Pay to Play

Interesting to see the way the Hoops Madness played out, wouldn't you say?

There was a belief that the older kids weren't interested in the "Race for Education", so an alternative was attempted, but apparently fell short of expectations. In a letter that seemed to indicate someone was really pissed off, the whole thing was scuttled and replaced with only those turning in fund raising sheets getting to play....and there weren't that many of them, either. Certainly not the intent of one of the major spring fund raisers.

Sometimes when you reinvent the wheel it doesn't come out quite as good as the original, and this was a perfect example. What made the "Race for Education", or any fund raiser in any group successful is making it more than a tin cup shake-down for money. BJ (Before Jacono) the race wasn't the focus, but rather the end of a celebration/educational process of the need for physical fitness. Everybody participated, regardless of whether or not they raised enough to ante up to play, and getting the parents to participate was part of how the money got raised.

Another hint...what makes fund raisers successful at elementary schools is NOT as much what the kids want to do as much as how the parents feel about the event, and the purpose of the fund raiser. I overhead someone (a Jacono loyalist) bemoaning the lack of spirit in the school...and as active as this person is it is proof positive that sometimes you can't see the forest from the trees. The lack of participation in this, and other events, means that you are getting more and more people who are simply less excited about the school. They may hang around for a while, but it becomes more of a duty, something to be tolerated but not enjoyed.


Anonymous said...

I guess with no secret meetings to organize you (thankfully) have plenty of time to bestow your wonderful knowledge and insights to the rest of the world. Whew!

Just to give you some needed facts to stew on and consider, the junior high teachers and students were involved in the choice for the activity they would engage in. They chose the basketball. When all was said and done, the teachers and parents all pretty much said the same thing - the kids don't want to be involved.

Word spread that it wasn't "cool" and, kids being kids, peer pressure got the better of them and they opted out. The decision to only include those that had gotten pledges is certainly fair and understandable. Why be removed from class and watch an event that you have no interest in participating in...?

No one was trying to "reinvent the wheel". A genuine attempt was made by the PTO Board to include MORE students, not fewer...

The Quizzinator said...

I think sometimes one can worry too much about what is "cool" or not, especially if one tries too hard to tell 12, 13, or 14 year olds what IS cool. If you are not a 12, 13, or 14 year old, you don't know what is cool to them. 45, 35, or even 25 year olds look silly when trying to play "cool" to this group.

I also don't think the problem was "word spreading" as much as word NOT spreading about it. Ther was no real emphasis this year, and there certainly was no build up for it, and as stated, it was nothing but a fund raiser. Talk about "nickle and diming" the parents...

As for the reinventing the wheel...meh.* Sayings can mean what you mean, and as literal (or not) as you want them to be.

I know they tried, but the problem is groups keep trying to ignore the 800 pound gorilla in the room. What gets the kids interested in these things are the parents, and if the parents have luke warm feelings about the school because there are not ways to get involved, there is no push by the kids, either.

Do you REALLY think that the kids are signing up more than a fraction of those, or is like girl scout cookies or boy scout wreaths where it is the parents doing the majority of the hustling?

As for the secret meetings-of course they are still going on. It is a measure of how good our internal security has bcome that you haven't heard about them.

Anonymous said...

I have often, and loudly, disagreed with you on this blog. I suppose I am one of the administration loyalists. But this time, I agree. This event was poorly handled. The letter that went out last week addressed to the Jr. High students and their families should have been sent ONLY to them. There was no reason to send it to everyone in the school, other than to show that the PTO was in a snit and they were taking no prisioners.

We are in THE WORST economic crisis since the Great Depression. Hello!!!! Wake up to reality people. Some of us simply cannot give to e v e r y thing.

In my opinion that letter shows between the lines much of what is wrong in the current environment in the school. I, for one, will not be browbeaten or bullied into giving more than what our budget can handle. We are trying to do the responsible thing in our family in balancing and meeting all of our responsibilities in light of the financial crisis. It is a true shame that the CHILDREN- for whom we are doing all of this- especially those whose families cannot afford to participate are the ones being shamed.

All this during Lent and directly preceeding Holy Week. It truly saddens me.

Anonymous said...

It's going to be difficult to get a lot of support or excitement about anything when the delivery coming from the administrator is sooo poor.

The Quizzinator said...

I don't blame the PTO or their attempt to change things around. They do a good and sometimes thankless job, and I am grateful that there are women (and in the past 12 years, I don't believe there has only been women on the PTO) who are willing to step forward to fill these job.

However, the failure of the Hoops event isn't a reflection of the PTO's ability as much as something a bit deeper. In the past the event was a success because it wasn't measured by dollars as much as it was the participative nature of it. Kids walked or ran for both the fitness and the money aspect of it. It was the inclusiveness of the teachers, parents, and teachers that nurtured the school spirit - and it is this point, that it is the PARENTS who are involved that generate the fund raising dollars that seems to be missed.