‘Engaging & empowering families and communities’

Florence Community PTA celebrates 30th anniversary

Oct. 13, 2021 — The Florence Community Parent Teacher Association (PTA) is proud to announce the commemoration of their 30th year of supporting kids, families, and schools in Florence.

They were officially chartered under the umbrella of Oregon PTA on Oct. 29, 1991. On May 9, 2002, Florence PTA became incorporated and assumed the name of Florence Community PTA.

Oregon PTA is the oldest and largest network of parents in Oregon. They work at the local, state and national levels to support and improve Oregon schools and to advocate for the health and welfare of children. Oregon PTA consists of nine regions with approximately 200 local PTA units throughout the state.

The history of PTA goes back to 1897, when Alice McLellan Birney and Phoebe Apperson Hearst founded the National Congress of Parents and Teachers, with a mission to better the lives of children in education, health and safety. In 1926, Selena Sloan Butler formed the National Congress of Colored Parents and Teachers to advocate for children, especially African American children in segregated communities. Finally, on June 22, 1970, the two congresses signed a Declaration of Unification and officially became one association.

Today’s PTA is a network of millions of families, students, teachers, administrators and business and community members dedicated to the educational success of children through advocacy and local programs, and the promotion of family engagement in schools.

The mission of PTA is “to make every child’s potential a reality by engaging and empowering families and communities to advocate for all children.”

The Florence Community PTA serves all public schools in the Siuslaw School District, K-12.

Every year, FCPTA helps support Siuslaw teachers and staff by granting funds for supplemental curriculum, project resources, classroom and program supplies, transportation costs for off-campus field trips, Outdoor Education and so much more. Teachers and staff can apply to the PTA for grants of up to $250 for a specific need. FCPTA has also gifted funds for programs such as Outdoor Education in Siuslaw.

FCPTA hosts regular annual events and programs such as the Reflections Arts program, Teacher & Staff Appreciation Week, Elementary School Talent Show, Scholarships for Siuslaw and home-schooled seniors, Book Fair Diner and supporting teachers during conference times. They held the annual PTA Carnival for all kids and families in the community through 2012. 

Some of the outstanding programs that FCPTA has initiated or supported since 1991 include:

  • Winter Folk Festival music performances in our schools
  • Free family movie nights
  • Fitness Fridays at SES
  • SMS Civil War reenactment program
  • Literacy program at SES, beginning in 1999
  • Cell Phones for Soldiers in 2008, where 170 cell phones were collected to send to soldiers deployed overseas
  • Schoolwalk for Diabetes in 2008
  • Relay for Life partner in 2008 and 2009
  • Operation Backpacks for Japan, 2011: collected backpacks, toys, blankets, personal hygiene items, and personal notes from local students to send to kids of all ages affected by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan
  • Gloves 4 Love, collecting warm gloves and hats to send to Thomas Dougherty, stationed in Afghanistan, who distributed them to children there
  • Coat drive, partnering with Three Rivers Casino
  • Fall Fitness Fairs
  • Multicultural Fair
  • Breakfast with Santa, which helps to support the Backpack for Kids program
  • Grandparents Day at SES
  • Teen Care Kits (2021) for Siuslaw middle and high school students, recognizing how hard it’s been for students through the pandemic, and showing our support

The association has sponsored a number of speakers to give talks to parents and staff on topics such as bullying in schools, the DARE program, Nutrition, internet safety, coping with teen stress, Common Core Education standards, school safety and the Lane County Driver Education Initiative, and many more.

Over the years, Florence PTA has received nearly 80 certificates and awards from Oregon PTA, in the areas of growing membership, outstanding programs, organized documentation, excellent communications, and best arts project through the National PTA Reflections Arts program, to name a few. They’ve received the Oregon PTA Certificate of Excellence five times. In 2015, FCPTA was named a National PTA School of Excellence for working to create strong family-school partnerships.

Just in the past six years, Oregon PTA has recognized 10 Siuslaw individuals, sponsored by FCPTA, as being outstanding in certain fields in the community:

  • 2015 Champion for Children — Lynn Anderson
  • 2015 Student Service Award — Kaylee Graham
  • 2017 Champion for Children — Mike Harklerode
  • 2017 Classified Staff Hero — Crystal Osburn
  • 2017 Student Service Award — Destinie Tatum
  • 2018 Student Service Award — Austin Nunez
  • 2019 Champion for Children — Bob Orr
  • 2019 Classified Staff Hero — Andreus Dunn
  • 2020 Student Service Award — Claire McNeill
  • 2020 Teacher of the Year — Amanda Sarles

This PTA has also been recognized as “world class” and award winning!”

On Oct. 4, 2003, Florence Community PTA was touted by then-Publisher John Bartlett in the Siuslaw News’ Publisher’s Viewpoint.

He wrote, “The PTA is a group that is a vital connection between our schools, teachers, community and parents and the 1,700 kids in our schools. The PTA has started a membership drive, and you should consider becoming a member. The PTA is a small but mighty group everyone can be a part of by just saying, ‘Yes, I will join …’

“The PTA was instrumental in showing a need for the Siuslaw News to produce the new monthly newsletter for the local schools. PTA members volunteer their time at the schools to support the staff. They interact with the teachers, principals, and administrators. They hold a Teacher Appreciation Week, in addition to having a carnival and a talent show for the kids. The PTA would love for you to volunteer your time, but if you don’t have time to spare, you can show your support by joining the association. You don’t even have to have kids to be a member or volunteer!”

Throughout the month of October, members of Florence Community PTA will be talking about the association and its 30 years supporting kids in our community, and kids in need from other areas.

Thirty fun facts from Florence PTA’s history will be posted each day on their Facebook page. There will also be drawings of 30 gifts for 30 Siuslaw staff members.

On Oct. 29, Siuslaw Food Services will be providing cookies to students and staff throughout the school district, in honor of the PTA anniversary.

Meetings of the FCPTA are held on the second Tuesday of each month at 4:30 p.m., virtually at this time. If you would like to attend a meeting, please email FCPTA at [email protected], and you will be put on the list to receive a link to the virtual meeting.

If you would like to join our organization, you can pick up a form at any of the Siuslaw district school offices, or again, send an email and we’ll get a form to you. Annual dues are just $15 per individual, $10 for students. Membership scholarships are available if needed — just ask. Businesses are also encouraged to become sponsors of Florence Community PTA. Contact us for more information.

Your FCPTA Board of Directors for 2021-2022 are: Crystal Osburn – President, Cori Hanson – Vice President, Jasmine Lewis – Secretary, and Scholastica Turner - Treasurer. If you’d like to find out more about filling one of these positions in the future, contact the PTA email.

FCPTA participates in three fundraisers that you can sign up for to help support PTA programs in our schools:

  • Box Tops for Education: Box Tops have gone digital for the most part. While there are still a few products out there with coupons to clip, we ask that you download the Box Tops for Education app onto your phone. Then you can scan your grocery receipts and have earnings go directly to Florence Community PTA. PTA earns 10¢ for each one turned in; all proceeds go back into our schools. 
  • Fred Meyer Community Rewards: Link your Rewards Card online at fredmeyer.com/communityrewards. Choose to support “Florence Community PTA, NPO number RJ038”. If you don’t have a Fred Meyer Rewards Card, ask for one at the Customer Service counter.
  • AmazonSmile: Just sign up to support Florence Community PTA at http://smile.amazon.com, and then shop as usual at AmazonSmile – all the same Amazon deals – no cost to you – you’ll support us every time you shop!

Follow and like us on Facebook at Facebook.com/FlorenceCommunityPTA. You’ll find up-to-date information on events, resources, Siuslaw district happenings, and lots more.