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Heathcote PTA Celebrates Tradition and Diversity

SCARSDALE, N.Y. –  With changes in funding for some programs at Scarsdale’s Heathcote Elementary School by the school district, the school’s Parent Teacher Association is stepping up to fill the fiscal gaps and ensure traditional programs at the school continue, PTA President Amy Frank said.

“Money is tight and certain things that were covered by the school board in the past are not being covered anymore,” Frank noted. “From hands-on science experiments conducted by visiting scientists to visual literacy through films, many teachers and classrooms are applying for grants from us.”

The 2011-2012 school year has seen requests for instruction of second graders in balance, motion, magnetism and weather for the “High Touch, High Tech” learning unit. Third grade teachers are seeking support for an outing to the Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville to view the “See, Hear, Feel” film that teaches viewing skills and how to tell a story through film. Graduating fifth graders, meanwhile, are hoping there are no cuts in traditional events scheduled just for them throughout the school year, Frank said.

Decisions on the grants are pending, she added.

The PTA plans to continue many of the past programs, including the experience of Colonial Days by fourth graders who dress up as settlers and tackle tasks, such as butter churning and cloth weaving as in olden days. Family fun nights, a book fair in October, a teacher appreciation lunch, year-end carnival with bouncy castles, games and slides and a pot luck luncheon to celebrate the diversity of the community are all upcoming school events, she added.

“We have a growing number of international families and we look forward each year to celebrating our multi-cultural community,” Frank noted.

She said she decided to step into the leadership role of PTA president when the second of her three daughters, Drew, entered kindergarten this year. Her oldest daughter, Sydney, attends second grade at Heathcote, while youngest Lindsey is still in elementary school.

“I felt that it was an obligation to my community and kids, and I wanted to bring enthusiasm and excitement to the school,” Frank said. “I always urge other parents to get involved because the school is only as good as the volunteers who help out.”

Winning an additional $10,000 from Main Street Connect and Entergy in the Better Schools Bonanza sweepstakes would allow the Heathcote PTA to address several of the items on their wish list.

“There are always many, many needs that need to be addressed, and discussions with and direction from our principal will help us decide how to best use the additional funds,” Frank said.

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