Roxborough wins National Parent Group of the Year
A business-like approach and sustained support from the school’s community have placed Roxborough Primary and Intermediate on the front page of PTO Today website. The school’s Parent Teacher Involvement Committee (PTIC) was selected as the magazine’s 2015 National Parent Group of the Year.
“It is a testament to everyone who has been a part of the organization's past, present and future,” said Niki Cannon, who served as the president of the PTIC last year and now is its co-secretary.
She says the school had applied for the award for the past eight years, but until now had only received honorable mention.
“It seems like we were always the bridesmaid, never the bride,” Cannon said.
The school received word of the award this summer, which comes with $3,000 grant, a spread in this month’s PTO Today Magazine and website, and, of course, bragging rights.
“I was joking around at my Back to School Night and said, ‘this is the point when I tell you that I’m pretty sure that we have the best organization all of the county, if not the entire state. This time, however, I can tell you that we have the best organization in the entire nation’” said Roxborough Primary Principal Rick Kendall. “We are the only organization to ever win in Colorado.”
It is hard to believe that only a decade ago, the organization was on the verge of collapse.
“About ten years ago everyone quit,” explained former PTIC president Barbra Chase. That is pretty typical in parent-teacher groups.”
A neighbor approached Chase and her husband, Sean Burke, to restart the PTO. At the time, the couple was extremely busy with jobs in the tech industry, as well as two children, one in preschool and the other in kindergarten. After some reluctance, they agreed to take on the project.
“I think ignorance is really bliss. We really did not understand what we had said yes to,” Chase said. “The previous president and vice president literally left us a milk crate on our front door step with some folders and binders of some past things they had done.”
The couple and a small group of parents rebuilt the PTIC, integrating strong business sense and the best practices from successful PTOs. In the first year, the organization doubled its revenue from $20,000 to $43,000.
Today, the group raises about $135,000. Approximately $80,000 of that is reinvested in the school to pay for supplies, so Roxborough Primary and Intermediate can bring more support to its classrooms.
While Cannon and the rest of the PTIC are proud of their fundraising efforts and its results, they prefer to focus on what they call memory making events, like the school’s daddy-daughter dances, Space Day and much more.
“All of these parents that have these talents are allowed to work with the school to make Roxborough even better,” Cannon explained. “We have someone who works at Lockheed, who has kids. They’ve never attended a Roxborough or a Douglas County school, but he believes in what we are providing with our Space Day program, so he has been a chair of Space Day for the past seven years.”
The school also encourages parents and community members to share their expertise with students through after school clubs and enrichment activities.
“No idea is off limits. It really is whatever people are passionate about,” Cannon said. “They’ve set up a robotics team, a Destination Imagination team, an art club and Theatre Rocks.”
While Roxborough’s PTIC might be the first organization in Colorado to earn the PTO Today’s National Parent Group of the Year Award, they are hoping their example can help other DCSD schools.
“Really, anyone can do this. We do not have some secret that we do not want to share with others. We want all PTOs in Douglas County to be super successful,” Cannon said. “We are happy to share our successes with everybody.”