The Annual Fund is happening NOW. This is the largest fundraiser for the year. To contribute, see instructions below!
The PTO meets a critical need by funding programs, initiatives and supplies not covered in Newton’s School Budget. We support curriculum needs, fund enrichment programs such as the city-mandated Creative Arts and Sciences, and hold community-building events.
Our annual operating budget is close to $60,000, which is approximately $135 per student. The breakdown of our annual expenses is shown in the chart, below.
We are able to meet most of our costs through two main fundraisers: the Annual Fund and the Rockin’ Raffle.
What is the Annual Fund?
The Annual Fund is the Countryside PTO’s biggest fundraiser. It runs from the start of the school year until October 31st and accounts for approximately 40% of our annual budget. It is voluntary and tax-deductible. Contributions to the Annual Fund help to reduce the amount of fundraising necessary later in the year. The greater your generosity each September, the sooner we can turn to the more important work of making our children’s school the best it can be!
How much should I give?
The PTO budget for the school year is the equivalent of approximately $135 per student. Each family has its own obligations and expenses. Please contribute an amount that is comfortable for you!
How do I make a donation?
- Complete the form on the Annual Fund brochure [PDF], attach a personal check, and either send it in your child’s folder or put it in the PTO box outside the school office OR
- Donate by credit or debit card using the PayPal donate button below.
What about matching gifts?
Double or triple your gift at no additional cost to you! See our list of Massachusetts employers that match donations [PDF] or check with your company’s HR department to see if they offer a matching program. If you need to register the PTO with your company, our official name is “Countryside Elementary School PTO Inc.,” and our tax ID number is 201-936-829. Countryside PTO is a 501(c)(3) organization.
How are PTO contributions used?
The PTO works directly with the Countryside principal and faculty to determine what our school needs. Every dollar funds projects that benefit Countryside students, faculty, and staff. In addition to our yearly expenditures, the PTO made significant investments last year to improve the school grounds, and to purchase equipment, technology, and curriculum-related supplies. Some investments that were a direct result of your contributions to our fundraisers include:
- A mini-grants program for teachers to pay for innovative curriculum-related initiatives
- Library books, including a comprehensive graphic novel collection and children’s magazines
- Laptops to replace aging computers
- New, larger outdoor soccer goals
- Environmentally-friendly gym mats
- An additional bike rack to encourage riding to school
- Landscaping to improve and beautify the school grounds
Creative Arts and Sciences
Creative Arts and Sciences accounts for one-third of the PTO’s budget. This city-mandated enrichment program brings three curriculum and standards-based arts and sciences programs to every grade. Last year programs included a visit for 5th graders to a weather observatory, a presentation from a beekeeper for 2nd graders, an “Native American Perspectives” interactive classroom experience for 3rd graders, ocean exploration at Countryside for kindergartners and a visit from an origami master for 4th graders. Highlights from previous years include a visit from Wingmasters, complete with birds of prey in-class!
Now in it’s 3rd year, the PTO has been offering mini grants to Countryside teachers and specialists. Teachers may apply for a grant to fund a project or learning opportunity that would enhance learning. Funding for these projects is otherwise unavailable. The projects benefit multiple students and have long-lasting benefits. In 2016, the following mini grants were awarded, thanks to your PTO annual fund donations:
- In first grade, Ms. Restivo will be building a Sensory Toolkit to help those students who require a little extra help sitting and focusing on work, including therapy stress balls, theraband resistance bands, ball chairs, and Back Jack chairs.
- The 4th grade team will be attending a Mindfulness Training designed specifically for teachers and will also include activities to teach students mindfulness techniques.
- The ELA and first grade team will be purchasing support materials to encourage and enhance independent readers.
- Lori Franzella, the speech and language specialist, will be purchasing syntax and grammar materials to support students who struggle to learn and use correct grammar in their oral language and written language skills.
- Trisha Poirier, the Occupational Therapist, will be purchasing games and tools to assist students build their hand skills.
- The 5th grade will be purchasing books building their in-class libraries, to help encourage students to read more for fun!
- Ms. Machen, in 5th grade, will be purchasing alternative seating. Students have different needs at different points in the day, and providing them with the opportunity to make a choice of where they do work allows them to be successful during both independent and small group work times.