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An Important Word from the Principal

Black fence running between trees and shrubs

I do not often use social media as the first line of communication with parents, but choose this platform today because of the excitement surrounding the upcoming days at Lee. Also, because I ask that you “parden our progress” over the course of the next few weeks as we begin implementing the culminating project for this school year. Many of you are already aware of what is to come if you have been in attendance at recent board meetings, the State of the Schools Address, or through participation in the open forum provided by our FABULOUS PTO on Facebook. However, if anyone is not already aware, I want to be sure and share details about the project made possible entirely through the funds provided by our PTO. It is important to me that all of our parents and citizens are aware of this great news so that you may join us in our enthusiasm as we celebrate what is to come for our students. The picture below provides a glimpse of the fence that will be installed at the front of the campus before the close of the school year.
The fence will provide a barrier between the front of our campus and Baker Road and will border the grassy area in front of our main building. This project has been in the planning stages since the early part of the school year and is designed to provide a hedge of protection around our students to make this area a “usable space” for our students without the fear of surrounding traffic. In addition, PTO funding will be used to remove many of the trees necessary for the fence installation and those marked as weak or damaged that could pose a threat to student safety in the future as this area becomes more active. Funds will also be used to enhance the enclosure with new picnic tables, benches and accents to make the area inviting for our students, parents and community.
If you have not already done so, THANK A PTO MEMBER when you see them! We have had one of the most effective fundraising years ever in the history of Robert E. Lee. That is quite a statement considering that our PTO ALWAYS does a great job of fundraising. PARENTS pat yourself on the back for supporting this hard working team and the administration who directs funds according to the greatest needs of our school and student body. I want every student who sold a tub of cookie dough to pat themselves on the back as well. Without the efforts of our PTO, parents, grandparents, community members, Partners in Education and STUDENTS projects such as this would not be possible.
In the interest of transparency, for those who may not be familiar with the role of our PTO, the Administration and how funding is distributed, I would like to provide clarification:
At the beginning and end of each school year, we solicit input through parent surveys, meetings and a direct link to PTO members. We conduct a needs assessment as a part of school improvement plan and keep a running list of school-wide needs that will benefit ALL students from year to year. It is through this approach that we have been able to make significant improvements to safety, communication and curriculum resources as well as provide opportunities for students that they would not have had otherwise. After considering the overall needs of the students, the order in which projects are completed must also be based on the amount of fundraising dollars received and grants and other donations that must be spent during that same school year. Examples of such projects include our Outdoor Classroom and playground as well as our Archery and Future City Projects. In the end, even though the input of all of our stakeholders is of great importance to us, the decision for how funds will be directed rests with the administration. The accountability and anticipated outcomes rests entirely on the administration as well.
I encourage all parents to attend all local school meetings as well as Board Meetings when possible. Board Meetings are always open to the public and provide an excellent source of information, including a monthly Principal’s Report for each school, a Superintendent’s Report for the district and a thorough review of local and district finances by our Chief School Financial Officer. All financial records are a matter of public record and can be viewed on the district website.
I also encourage all parents to join our PTO. You will find this volunteer team to be one that is inclusive, transparent and extremely hard working, but they are always looking for fresh ideas and ways to provide incentives for both our student body and instructional staff. While their focus is primarily on students and school-wide needs, they have not forgotten the importance of recognizing our faculty and staff through their many small acts of kindness. I know that everyone will join me in thanking them for supporting our teachers and staff who often arrive before daylight and leave after dark. Ultimately, even this gift from PTO factors down to our students who are the beneficiaries of teachers who are valued for their dedication and commitment to students that is demonstrated on a daily basis.
In closing, I want to commend our PTO for their dedication, communication, follow-through and flexibility in working with the administration, faculty and staff, and students of Robert E. Lee. You have joined with other stakeholders to make this a positive and uplifting year for all of us at Lee!