Frequently Asked Questions
What is the PTA?
The PTA is the largest and oldest volunteer child advocacy organization in the United States. Each school’s PTA is a self-governing unit, chartered by the California State PTA and operating under the umbrella of the National PTA. Each school’s PTA is governed by the bylaws of their organization and may not act in a manner inconsistent with state and National PTA. Each school elects its own officers and controls its own budget. PTAs at all levels are committed to being inclusive in their efforts to represent and assist all who nurture and educate children. Members may belong to one or more PTAs.
What is the PTA’s mission?
The PTA’s mission is to positively impact the lives of all children and families. The overall purpose of PTA is to make every child’s potential a reality by engaging and empowering families and communities to advocate for all children. The Abbott PTA aligns its goals with those of the California PTA (CAPTA). To learn more about what CAPTA stands for, visit their website Specifically, the Abbott PTA advances its mission by supporting school-wide Academic, Sports, Technology, Music, Drama, and Art programs, as well as fulfilling a number of teacher requests to support various classroom programs, fund field trips, and provide classroom supplies and enrichment materials.
What does the PTA do at Abbott?
The PTA at Abbott provides resources (volunteers and funds) to provide programs and events, to extend the educational efforts of our staff, and enrich the experiences of our students. We do that through open lines of communication between the school and our families, and inclusive activities and events that build community and school spirit. What makes Abbott so special is the support our community receives from the many active families at our school. Through participation and volunteerism, the PTA successfully fulfills its mission year after year; and we are able to continuously and consistently offer activities, events and programs that contribute to a better, well-rounded education for our children.
Who can join the PTA?
Anyone can join the PTA! All are welcome to join by paying a nominal fee for dues. There is absolutely no obligation to volunteer, make monetary donations, or attend meetings.
How do I join the PTA?
You can pay for your membership online here on our PTA site. It’s fast and easy!
You can also pay with cash or check using our paper form found in your Maze Day packet. This can be turned in on Maze Day (preferred) or in the office anytime.
The cost is currently $10 per member.
Why should I join the PTA?
Join for the kids! It’s all about them- enhancing their experiences and education at Abbott. The school can only do so much with the funds it has, so the PTA supplements, enhances, and advocates where necessary. Plus by joining the PTA, you are able to vote in PTA elections and on various proposals, including budgeting decisions. In addition, you are supporting and becoming part of an organization that:
Provides a forum for family-school engagement – connect with other parents to share experiences and help build a stronger community within Abbott.
Has a say in legislative action. Your membership makes PTA’s voice stronger when PTA representatives speak to decision makers at the local, state, and national levels. The more the number of PTA members at a school, the stronger the voice of that school is.
Gives you access to interact with the school principal and staff, offering an opportunity to voice concerns and shape the future of the school.
Offers timely and interesting topics at our monthly general association PTA meetings.
Membership has perks off-campus too, and each year members can use their cards to be eligible for discounts from various businesses and organizations like the California Academy of Sciences, Baskin-Robbins, Enterprise Car Rental, and Legoland.
If I join the PTA do I have to attend meetings or volunteer on committees?
While we love to have your support, we understand that not all of our members are able to attend the meetings or volunteer their time, and there is no obligation to do so. Please keep in mind though, that the business we transact at our meetings with your donations can’t be made without a quorum. We need your attendance and input to proceed with our mission! Members of the executive board of the PTA have already committed their time to helping our school, and members of the general association are asked to attend meetings whenever your schedule allows.
What is the Executive Board of the PTA?
The executive board is a dedicated group of officers and chairs as well as the principal. Members attend a meeting most months that school is in session and work hard to raise funds to support school-wide Academic, Sports, Technology, Music, Drama, and Art programs, as well as fulfilling a number of teacher requests to support various classroom programs, fund field trips, and provide classroom supplies and enrichment materials.
What is the General Association of the PTA?
The general association is comprised of all members of the school’s PTA who have paid dues during the school year. Members can vote at our meetings on important topics that affect our school and make their voices heard.
When are General Association PTA meetings held?
Abbott PTA general association meetings are held on the third Wednesday of most months at 7:00PM in the library, and generally last about an hour. You do not need to be a PTA member to attend meetings but you do need to be a member to vote. Please see our calendar on the website for a list of meetings and the Parent Bulletin for the most current information on meeting topics.
What happens at PTA meetings?
This is the time that leaders come together to share their ideas, plans, and questions. Leaders present information as it becomes active and solicit questions and/or concerns from the membership. (You have a valuable voice at our meetings!) Votes are called upon and executed as required to proceed in our slated business. Minutes from previous meetings are approved, the principal gives a report about administrative decisions and happenings, and various announcements, acknowledgments and reminders are made. We also have refreshments! PTA meetings provide an excellent opportunity to be involved in what is happening at Abbott and meet other parents in the community.
If I attend a PTA meeting will I “get volunteered” to do something?
No! We promise that we will not assign you a job, but you might want one after you hear the exciting things we are doing and how much of an impact you can make at Abbott!
Why do we need volunteers?
The PTA needs volunteers to run our programs and events as well as to fill positions on our executive board. We can’t do it without you! Volunteers are always welcome and can be a tremendous asset to our school. However, there is no mandatory volunteer commitment and any amount of time you choose to give is welcomed and appreciated. There are opportunities to volunteer both on campus and at home. Please feel free to contact any member of the executive board with questions you might have about volunteering at Abbott.
Do I have to come to school to volunteer?
No, there are many tasks you can do at home that will be of tremendous help to our PTA. You can always find information about volunteering in the Parent Bulletin.
Can I volunteer once in a while without the pressure of volunteering for future events?
Absolutely! We do not pressure anyone into volunteering and that is a promise. You can volunteer as much or as little as you prefer. We may ask you to volunteer for another event but it’s perfectly okay to say no.
I’d love to help! How do I get involved?
Contact the respective person for the program or event you are interested in, or feel free to contact any PTA executive board member.
Do I have to be a PTA member to volunteer?
While we hope that you will join the PTA to support our mission, you do not have to be a PTA member to volunteer at our school or in PTA-sponsored programs and events. The only volunteers that must be PTA members are those on the PTA board, those that chair committees, and those that handle money.
How does the PTA raise money?
The PTA raises money through a variety of passive and non-passive fundraisers, as well as retaining a small amount of PTA dues. The PTA holds a passive direct donation drive in the beginning of the year which is our primary source of income. The direct donation program raises roughly fifty percent of the year’s PTA funds, and every dollar received makes a positive impact on the lives of the entire Abbott student body.
Since the PTA is a 501(c) 3 organization you may also request a matching donation from your employer to make your contribution go even further. We also have non-passive fundraisers throughout the year like product fundraising, a book fair, and our annual Falcon Chase fun run.
Where does my money go when I donate to the PTA?
A donation of any amount is always appreciated and will be added to the donations received from others, which creates our yearly budget. The executive board makes important choices to create our yearly budget and ensures that funds are distributed equitably. Please come to a PTA general meeting to learn more about our budget, review our monthly treasurer’s reports, and see exactly where the money goes.
Can you tell me more about your budget?
Sure! Annually, the executive board determines a proposed budget for the coming school year. The PTA president and the principal also review the budget and collaborate to see where funds are needed. The proposed budget is then presented to the general association and voted on. At every PTA meeting thereafter, the executive board and the general association review the budget, making adjustments as necessary and reviewing new requests.
Any funds to be spent are voted on at the general association meeting. All checks written are ratified by the association. As a PTA member you are entitled to vote at all PTA meetings. You do not need to be a member to attend the meetings; however you must be a member to vote.
Why does the PTA need money to fund so many things at Abbott?
Tax dollars only go so far and over the past few years, state and federal funding for education has not covered everything we would like our students to have. The PTA steps in to ensure that the experiences our children have at Abbott are not affected by lack of funding for special programs or technology.
How does the PTA support the staff at Abbott?
The PTA is proud to support and appreciate our hard-working Abbott staff throughout the year. In fact, we have a position on our board just for this! We have hosted a welcome back coffee for staff the first week of school, a lunch and dinner during conferences in November, a holiday buffet in December, a sweets and supplies drive for Valentine’s Day, and a week of staff appreciation in May.
We are also always checking in to make sure that the staff has everything they need to provide our kids with the best educational experience and take requests all year long for field trips, classroom supplies and special projects.
How does the PTA support the Drama program?
The Abbott Drama Boosters is its own non-profit, volunteer-run organization and is a separate entity from the PTA. However, we do set aside funds each year in support of the Drama Boosters. For more information on the drama program, please visit their website at: https://abbottdramabooster.com/
How does the PTA support the Art program?
The art program is taught by credentialed staff members who are funded by the district. Classes are electives taught as a single-period subject during the school day. The PTA funds requests from the art department for supplies and special projects.
How does the PTA support the Music program?
The music program is taught by credentialed staff members who are funded by the district. Classes are electives taught as a single-period subject during the school day. The PTA funds requests from the music department for instruments, repairs and supplies.
How does the PTA support the Athletics program?
In our district, athletics are run by a district-funded Athletic Director and coached by community volunteers. The PTA has a position on our board to assist with the many requirements of running such a large program. The PTA’s athletic chair helps coordinate athletic schedules, oversees team uniforms and more. The PTA sets aside funds in its budget every year to help support the athletic program at Abbott.
Middle school sports also receive financial support from the San Mateo-Foster City Education Foundation, a separate non-profit entity from the Abbott PTA, which raises funds district-wide to help support middle school athletics. For more information on the Ed Foundation you can visit: http://smfcedfund.org/
Does the PTA run the yearbook?
No. At Abbott the yearbook is created entirely by students as part of the yearbook elective class. The class is an elective taught as a single-period subject during the school day by a credentialed staff member. However, the PTA does fund requests from the yearbook class for supplies.
Is the PPP (Positive Points Program) run by the PTA?
No. The PPP service program is run by Abbott staff members who distribute and collect the green PPP forms from students and arrange for frequent reward events for students who have earned a certain number of hours. Information about PPP trips and opportunities can be found via school loop messages from staff, the Parent Bulletin and from hard copies sent home with your students. The PTA does help provide volunteers for PPP events and assist with funding when necessary.
What is the best way to receive information from the PTA and to find out what is happening?
Aside from attending monthly PTA meetings, the best way to receive PTA information is via email. We send out a very informative Parent Bulletin twice a month, as well as meeting reminders, notifications and more. If you joined the PTA you should already be receiving our emails. Check your spam folder if you are not seeing us in your inbox. Occasionally we will utilize hard copies which will be sent home with students in their backpacks.
Why do you need my email address?
As communication methods have changed, so has the PTA. We now communicate with our members mainly through email and rely on this important link to get you information on the latest news around campus, reminders, and more. Please make sure you check your spam folders frequently to ensure that our emails are reaching your inbox. Our emails will come to your inbox from “Abbott PTA”.
Does the PTA share my email or information about my family?
What is the PTA’s Parent Bulletin?
The PTA’s Parent Bulletin is published twice a month when school is in session and contains all kinds of valuable information about what’s happening on our campus as well as around our community. The executive board collaborates on this document to bring you concise information that we hope you will find useful. This is the place to find out about topics for upcoming PTA meetings, how/where/when you can volunteer at Abbott, on-campus sport teams, community events, information about moving on to high school and more! You can find the Parent Bulletin in your inbox as a PTA member, sent out by the school via school loop, and on our website. Feel free to let us know if you have something to add that we can share with our parent community!
What if I have an idea for a new PTA activity or program?
Please contact anyone on the executive board. We welcome new ideas.