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PTP lends a helping hand

Whether it's spending time with kids, deciding where to spend a whole lot of money or simply having a few laughs, there are lots of reasons for getting involved in the Parent-Teacher Partnerships in Farmington schools.

PTPs are groups of parents in each building who lend a helping hand to staff and provide activities and equipment for the kids.

Right now, North Trail Elementary School's PTP is seeking nominations for officers for next year. Current president Laura Beam said her job takes about two to four hours a week. Once in a while, like when they're doing a fund-raiser or a school event, it takes a little bit more. Usually, though, it is fun to do events because there's a lot of other parents who are willing to pitch in and help.

"The commitment is not huge," Beam said. "You're going to be there for a lot of the events anyway."

The North Trail PTP plans three or four larger events every year. Those events include things like a Welcome Back Bash at the beginning of the year, an annual book fair and a few fund-raisers.

From those fund-raisers comes another responsibility of a PTP member -- deciding where to spend the money.

On the average, Beam said, the NTES PTP has a budget to work with. All of that money goes into the school or helps students in one way or another. For instance, PTP used some of its funding to provide an artist residency to teach students about African drums and to buy a few drums for the school. Some of the funds help to pay for busing for the annual fifth grade trip to Camp Pepin.

They also use the money for things for the whole building, like purchasing materials for the accelerated reader program or the school's butterfly garden.

"What we do is we provide resources that aren't in the school's budget," Beam said. "The budget is around $30,000. It's a lump sum, but it goes about 100 different places."

Beam joined the North Trail Parent-Teacher Partnership during the 2006-07 school year. She'd seen a few flyers come across her desk and went to a couple of meetings. She got to know the people who were involved, and decided to give it a whirl.

It turned out, there was an added benefit -- she made some new friends. Not only do the members of the PTP work together in the schools, but often, they do things together socially, as well.

North Trail parents who might be interested in a spot on the PTP board should contact nominating committee member Jamie Berg by calling 952-432-3094, or sending an email to her at

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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