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Parents on the job
Murdock group helping school reach higher
WHAT: Murdock Parent Teacher Organization.
MEETS: 6 p.m. first Monday of each month at Round Table. Parents welcome.
INFORMATION: 934-6640, Pto4Murdock@yahoo.com., or visit Pto Murdock on Facebook.
UPCOMING EVENTS: Family Science Night, 6:30 p.m. March 18; Scholastic Book Fair, April 22-26.
It's just a small group, but what the Parent Teacher Organization does for Murdock Elementary School is immeasurable.
From painting a giant map of the United State on the playground blacktop — a work in progress — to purchasing a portable sound system so students can do Zumba at recess, the Murdock PTO is doing what it can to pick up the slack as school budgets dwindle.
"The money for these things are not going to come from anywhere else," said PTO President Corey Richards. "It's really nice that we are able to help."
The goal of the PTO is to promote a closer relationship between parents and teachers in order to cooperate meaningfully for the welfare of the children, Richards said.
As a fundraising vehicle, the PTO has become a force to be reckoned with.
The organization raised about $4,000 Thursday at its annual spaghetti feed, which was held in the school's cafeteria.
"We fed about 350 people, so it was a pretty good turnout," Richards said.
The amount the PTO raised from the dinner was apart from what the fifth grade raised at the old-fashioned cake wheel.
The event also included a talent show, with Murdock students dancing, singing, playing the drums, playing the piano and even performing tricks on a skateboard.
The show was big hit with those in attendance.
"You have to applaud the kids," said Principal Holly McLaughlin. "They did a great job. It always warms my heart to have the cafeteria full of family, parents, grandparents, siblings and the community there to support our students."
In the past few years, Murdock PTO has purchased playground equipment, books for the library, classroom supplies and have made some facility improvements, such as painting classrooms.
"With Measure P not passing, we are going to have to do something," said PTO board member Kristina Hutson. "We're really going to have to step up."
There are currently about 10 active members in the Murdock PTO, who meet monthly at Round Table.
"We're pretty much just a group of moms that care about the school and all of our kids," Richards said. "We would love to get more people involved."
In addition to purchasing equipment and making improvements to the school, Richards said the PTO is excited to bring enrichment programs to the community when it can.
A portion of Thursday's proceeds will go to bring a "Health in Your World, Family Science Night to Murdock in the spring.
"It's a really cool program," Richards said. "It's run by UC Davis."
The traveling science museum is a great way for students and the community to explore a variety of themed stations such as fitness, medical tools and the human brain.
Each station offers hands-on activities that demonstrate how the body works and how to keep it healthy, Richards said.
The PTO is looking for high school students to volunteer to help run each station.
By engaging students and their families in hands-on exhibits and activities about the human body, fitness, nutrition and the environment, Richards said the PTO is thrilled to be able to make science education hands-on, accessible and fun.
Richards said anyone interested in becoming a member of the PTO should attend a meeting at Round Table.
Willows High School students interested in volunteering at Science Night should contact McLaughlin at the school.
CONTACT Susan Meeker at 934-6800 or firstname.lastname@example.org.