Get Involved in the PTA

By | April 11, 2016

Help the PTA and your kidsHillcrest is a great school! We offer so many really fun experiences for our children through the PTA and we have wonderful parent support to make everything happen. But as the circle of elementary school life goes, we always need new parents to carry on the torch. We can’t do all these amazing programs without you! Board positions and committee co-chair positions are opening up.

Volunteer now for Hillcrest Kids Club, Literature Night, Math and Science Night, Boxtops, and so much more!

We will also be taking nominations for Board positions, including 1st VP and Corresponding Secretary.

Executive summary: sorry for the long email but we need nominations – this Wednesday, April 13th – for key PTA positions. Please email us or come to the meeting with names. Read below for details.

Time to step up to the plate, folks. For last 8+ years, Hillcrest has been fortunate to have stable leadership in the PTA. From Jen Parker’s ability and willingness to repeatedly take the helm to Erica Mah’s versatility in so many roles and persistence in being my Gepetto, our children and our community have benefited immeasurably. I mention those two names but they are really signifiers for an incredible group of a few dozen people who have done so much for the thousands of children who have passed through Hillcrest’s halls in recent years.

Now, however, many folks in key positions are moving on – either this year or next. Additionally, we are very much interested in providing a year of transition, so that the next team can hit the ground running. The Executive Committee positions that are open are 1st Vice President, Corresponding Secretary and Member at Large. The positions crucial to keeping a PTA alive are President, 1st Vice President and Treasurer.

In addition to all the qualities you can imagine you would want in these positions, those three folks really need to be able to work together. We’ve also learned that – spread throughout those three positions in no particular order – you will need: a) attention to detail; b) ability to joyfully persist in driving the day-to-day operations and c) time to be in the school at least a few times a week. So, it would be great if you (yes, I’m talking to YOU!) and two of your best friends would stand for election for the three open positions, with an eye toward serving in the President, 1st VP and Treasurer positions for a couple/few years thereafter. That way, we can show you the ropes over the next year.

Am I talking about a sizeable commitment? Yes. But I can tell you from experience that it is eminently doable. And, in terms of bang for the buck, you’re not going to find many other volunteer jobs where you can have such a direct impact on the school and your child’s experience there. Finally, there are many fringe benefits. I guarantee that you will have fun and get to know a ton of people, in addition to learning a great deal about how Baltimore County and it schools work. Finally, as many of you have heard me say, I have never been in an organization where so many people are trying not only to do their best but also to *be* their best.

In addition to Executive Committee positions, there are a number of key committee chairs open:

Healthy Kids is a committee that has a specific joint partnership with the school, to improve the health of our kids at school. They have been instrumental in helping the school win national recognition. They sponsor fun and effective curriculum-integrated nutrition assemblies and events such as Bike/Walk to School Day.

Hillcrest Kids Club (HKC) organizes all the great afterschool programs – from foreign language study to chess club to drama – that hundreds of children participate in every year. HKC is one of the most widely used PTA programs and the kind of direct additional enrichment so crucial to the Hillcrest experience.

International Night is a premier Hillcrest diversity showcase, and one of the triumvirates of “Nights” for which our community’s dedication to enrichment is justly famous. Children get the opportunity to learn about dozens of countries, from folks who are either from there or who have worked and lived extensively abroad.

Math and Science Night – April 20th, this year, from 6:30-8:30 pm – is another of the Nights, and one of the most fun, exciting ways that Hillcrest sparks kids’ interest in STEM. Fostering an early interest in STEM has been shown to be crucial for later, sustained involvement. This year, we are fortunate to have Star Lab ( at MSN.

School Supplies/Rewards Program/Box Tops – this is a perfect committee for someone who wants to contribute across the entire school but who prefers to work behind the scenes or who has more time outside the regular school day. This program contributes thousands of dollars directly to the school budget every year, and provides a convenient service for Hillcrest families.

In closing, I urge each and every one of you to consider either volunteering for these positions – and for the PTA in general – or nominating someone to serve. We in the current leadership certainly feel that we are standing on the shoulders of giants. Regardless, all of us can be justly proud of the Hillcrest PTA. By all accounts, we have one of the premier programs in the state, which benefits our children and community in ways ranging from direct educational achievement to property values. But a PTA is not something that can be sustained simply by making a financial donation. A PTA – and our children – need PEOPLE to VOLUNTEER their DEDICATION, EXPERTISE and TIME. Thank-you.

Jim Kitchel