PTA FUNDS AND VOLUNTEER HOURS SUPPORT:
Field Trip Funding
Landscaping & Litter Removal
PTA Listserv & Website for sharing information and staying connected
New Books & Technology
Staff Development & Training
Staff Appreciation Events
5th Grade Graduation
YOUR PASSION MAKES IT HAPPEN
There are endless opportunities to help our kids and school community grow stronger. Scroll through our current committees to find out how we're applying our talents and resources - maybe you'll find one that speaks to you. It only takes a little to make a big difference. And if you see an area of need that we've overlooked, we welcome fresh ideas and perspectives.
This committee raises the majority of funds that support the PTA’s programs and initiatives that enrich our children’s academic experience and help build community in our school. Funds are used in a wide variety of ways, from supporting our community's diverse heritage, to funding cultural activities during the school-day for all students, to purchasing library books and computers for the media center, to playground improvements and more.
Annual Fundraisers include:
Annual Fund Drive
Family Portrait fundraiser
Dine Out for Watts
The George Watts Book Fair
Spring Carnival & Evening Auction
If you are interested in learning more about the Fundraising committee, please contact Kristin Heery at kristinheery (at) gmail.com or Brandy Kmiec at brandy.kmiec (at) dpsnc.net
This committee works to beautify the school grounds, bringing together a team of parents, students and staff several times a year for volunteer Grounds Work Days. Volunteers do a wide range of work on these days, such as weeding, tilling, planting, raking, trimming, sweeping and picking up litter. Helpers of all ages are welcome and encouraged to join in!
The PTA Grounds Committee applies for grants to continue improving our spaces, successfully winning a major grant in 2006 from the Durham Open Spaces & Trails Commission valued at over $50,000. We have also been awarded thousands of plants and shrubs and a variety of stone materials and benches from NC Beautiful, Keep Durham Beautiful and Durham's Urban Forestry Division.
A combined effort in 2010 from various PTA committees led to improvements such as a walking trail, erosion-controlling boulders and vegetable and fruit gardens.
If you are interested in learning more about the Grounds Committee, please contact Esteban Bortiri at ebortiri (at) gmail.com.
EDIBLE GARDEN COMMITTEE
The George Watts Edible Garden is a place for students to get their hands dirty and learn where their food really comes from. The Edible Garden Committee works with teachers in all grades to plan student-led garden work days. The committee also works to care for and improve the gardens throughout the entire year.
A sampling of the Edible Garden's Fruits & Vegetables:
If you are interested in learning more about the Edible Garden Committee, please contact Joe Egger at joseph.egger (at) gmail.com.
FAMILY INVOLVEMENT COMMITTEE
This committee is focused on encouraging and supporting all families at Georege Watts in their efforts to engage with our school community in positive and impactful ways. From developing new opportunities for parent-teacher cooperation, to providing childcare & food for school meetings, to staff morale building initiatives, the Family Involvement Committee gives George Watt's diverse collection of families the tools and opportunities to forge meaningful connections to our school.
If you are interested in learning more about the Family Involvement Committee, please contact Saskia Ziolkowski at saskia.ziolkowski (at) duke.edu
ARTS & CULTURE COMMITTEE
This committee supports and organizes events that celebrate our school’s rich div ersity and complement the arts and culture-related curricula organized by George Watts teachers and staff.
Example activities include:
Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations with Latin potluck dinner, tables featuring food and crafts from Latin American countries, traditional dance performance and cultural exchange between Spanish and non-Spanish speaking Watts community members.
African American History Month celebrations with African diaspora potluck dinner, slideshow, drum and dance performances, Pauli Murray Project speaker, mural scavenger hunt and dining at The Palace International restaurant.
Art collaborations with The Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Fab Labs Carolinas and others.
Classroom and assembly speakers on diverse countries and cultures.
Cultural exchanges with students in other countries.
If you are interested in joining the Arts & Culture Committee, please contact Emily Daly at emily.daly (at) duke.edu. The Chair for this Committee is vacant, so we could really use your help.
EXCEPTIONAL CHILDREN COMMITTEE
The Exceptional Children’s (EC) Committee of the PTA at George Watts is a collection of parents and teachers working to advocate for all students regardless of learning differences.
The two founding principles of Montessori pedagogy support our approach:
* The universal characteristics of the human child.
* The child as a unique, unrepeatable, respectable, and admirable individual to be unconditionally accepted as one of life’s most marvelous expressions.
Our efforts are focused primarily on three areas:
1) Provide support to all George Watts teachers and support staff.
2) Provide consistent, ongoing school-wide disability awareness.
3) Provide support and education for parents of children receiving services through the EC program.
Raising awareness and providing support is not something that can be done by or targeted to a small, easily-identified sub-set of our community. Therefore we invite all parents and staff to participate in the EC Committee of the PTA.
If you want to learn more about the Exceptional Children's Committee, please contact Kristen Dismukes at basiclibrarian (at) gmail.com or Bob Pleasants at bob.pleasants (at) gmail.com.
More information about Exceptional Children's classrooms at George Watts is available here:
You can find out more information on the Durham Public Schools’ Exceptional Children website here.
PARENTS OF AFRICAN AMERICAN CHILDREN COMMITTEE
Parents of African American Children (PAAC) works to create an equitable education environment at George Watts.
Our vision is to be the village in order to reduce the opportunity gaps and achievement disparities at our school and to improve the overall education experience for all children at Watts.
The committee invites parents of children of any racial background to join us in this important work.
To contact the committee chair, send a message to: firstname.lastname@example.org
To subscribe to the PAAC listserv, send a message to email@example.com
PLAYGROUND IMPROVEMENT PROJECT
On October 25, 2016 we completed a massive playground redesign project and were thrilled to re-open the outdoor space for the children and community to enjoy.
The project started after the tragic death of a beloved student and neighbor, Leo, in December 2013. Rachel and Esteban, Leo’s parents, dedicated their Memorial Fund to the PTA, which worked over the course of several months to identify improvements to the playground as the best use of the funds. With the Memorial Fund as a seed, the PTA raised additional grants and donations to support new playground elements that honor Leo and benefit all the children.
In 2015, the PTA hired landscape architect Katherine Gill, of Tributary Land Design and Build, to create a master plan. In 2016, Durham Public Schools (DPS) partnered with Katherine and the PTA, bringing funds from a past capital campaign and project management.
Together, we installed a new play and soccer field, half-basketball court, multiple rain gardens and a paved track.
Together with matching funds from the PTA, we raised over $100,000 for this project. We are so grateful to our generous funders:
City of Durham
Durham County’s Open Spaces and Trails Commission
Durham County’s Soil and Water Conservation District
Durham Public Schools
Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association
Trinity Park Neighborhood Association
and many, many parents, neighbors, and friends!