News and Update on Initiative to Form a PTO at East High School

Please share this information with others who may be interested in helping to
create a revitalized PTO at East.
March 30, 2005
Upcoming meetings:
Thursday, April 14
Thursday, May 12
All meetings are held at East High School and begin at 7 p.m., with time for
informal conversation from 6:30 to 7:00.

Upcoming East Events:
Strings festival, Saturday April 2
Taste of East (yum) International Night, Friday April 15
East High School
All That Jazz Dinner and Dance (and silent auction), Friday April 22
Madison Masonic Temple
Fund raiser for Madison East Bands
(from Capital Times March 30, 2005)
Madison East’s Kiah Howard has been awarded a National Achievement Scholarship
for academic excellence.
The program rewards 700 black high school seniors with a $2,500 grant; another
100 students will receive a renewable corporate-sponsored scholarship that can
range from $500 to $2,000 annually. Howard received an award sponsored by the
Walgreen Co.
Howard, the daughter of Kate and James Howard, was one of seven Wisconsin
students to receive an award.
Summary of first organizational meeting held Monday, March 7, 2005:
Results: Agreement to set standing meetings the second Thursday of the month,
Jeff Leverich and others to work on proposals for a mission and governance
structure to be presented/discussed at the April meeting.
Welcomes and introductions:
Interim Principal Loren Rathert gave an update on the principal search, which
was re-opened after the first search did not produce enough qualified
applicants to move forward.
Welcomes from Teresa Calderon, School Improvement Coordinator, Kathie Nichols,
Parent Network Coordinator, and Lucy Mathiak, East High parent.
Lawrie Kobza, president of the Sherman Middle School PTO and David Cohen,
president of the Blackhawk Middle School PTO were welcomed to the meeting.
Over 50 people attended the meeting. After the introductions and welcomes, we
divided into small groups to exchange ideas about: 1) Issues that we would like
to address through a PTO, and 2) goals that a PTO might work toward in the
coming year.
We then shared the small group lists with the group as a whole. The ideas,
which are summarized below, will be used to shape the mission statement for the
organization and identify action items for future meetings. In some areas,
notably public relations, people announced existing informal groups that
already are working on projects and welcome others who want to help. The
preliminary themes that emerged from this process (presented in random order)
Constituent relations: who can we build partnerships with to support and
strengthen East as a school and as a school community? (E.g. distinct groups
of parents in the East community; East teachers, staff, and students; other
high school PTOs and PTOs in the East attendance area; volunteers and potential
volunteers; alumni; existing East organizations such as Band Parents and the
Booster Club; area businesses; community centers and organizations in the East
attendance area; UW-Madison and MATC)
Communications: how can we improve communications between East and parents,
among members of the East community, and East and the larger Madison community
(e.g. how can we improve basic information sharing, announcements, etc. through
the newsletter, e-mail, the Web, and other tools? How can we disseminate
information about pressing issues facing East, and advocate for East with the
school board, the press, and other community institutions?)
Media Relations: how can we improve East?s presence and image in the Madison
media? How can we improve and enhance Purgolder pride among students, staff,
and alumni?
Parent concerns: What are the issues facing the East community (e.g. the
principal search and transition to a new principal, student alcohol and other
substance abuse, safety, gangs, policing)? What do we need to know? What can we
do as parents and as a PTO to create more positive outcomes for all members of
the community?
Finances: how can we make sure that East has the resources that it needs to
have the highest level of academic and extracurricular programs? (e.g. what do
we need to know about state and district budgets, and how can we advocate for
East?s interests in school funding debates? How can we help develop resources
for East through fund raising events, through the Foundation for Madison
Schools, through grant proposals to the Madison Community Foundation, Madison
organizations, and other funding sources, and through fund raising events? What
are specific areas ? sports, theatre renovation, music programs – for which
East groups are raising funds?)
East Academic Programs: How can we ensure high standards and diversity in
academic achievement at East? (e.g. building a diverse staff, fostering parent
and community volunteer opportunities, strategies for closing the achievement
gap and diversifying upper level courses, engaging parents in the School
Improvement Process, and building strong parent and community support for the
staff and principals)