Planning a PTA Website

I just got back from the first PTA meeting of the school year at Highland Elementary School, where my daughter Maddie has just started first grade (and where my son Max is likely to start kindergarten next year). I wasn’t able to make any PTA meetings last school year.

One of priorities for the Highland PTA is getting more parents involved. I see a website as a means toward this end, in that it would be available all the time, while real-world PTA meetings can never be. The site would also make involvement easier for some parents able to be involved anyway, but who might want to get or provide updates between meetings.

Were I to set up the site right now, my priorities would be as follows.

  • Provide updates on PTA activity. Some updates might be meeting-based (reminder of meeting, here’s what was discussed, etc.), some between meetings (we’re weeks away from the next meeting, but what do you think of this?).
  • Solicit input, especially from parents and teachers who are not able to attend meetings at the school. No time is good for everyone: this morning’s 9am meeting was well attended, but still must have excluded many families.
  • Be multilingual, or at least bilingual. The Highland community speaks many languages, with Spanish and English being particularly prominent.

I’ve done some searches on terms such as PTA website. There’s a lot of stuff out there, including:

  • PTA sites at the national (US) and state (MD) level.
  • A PTA website builder site. First reaction: the nonprofit side of my brain says that it seems expensive; the for-profit side sees an opportunity in the PTA website builder business, if my pro-bono efforts at Highland go well.

Now,to solicit input on PTA websites. I’ll send out a few emails. But if you, dear reader, have thoughts on PTA sites, please share them here, especially if they include links to successful PTA sites.

Corporations are people too

If corporations have rights, such as free speech, where do these rights stop? Can a corporation, for example, run for congress? My fellow Silver Spring resident Murray Hill wants to find out. Murray Hill is a PR firm, rather than a person. Or is a firm a person?

So, Murray Hill Inc. for Congress, as we say on Facebook: and Reddit, and NPR. And Youtube as well, but I’ll embed the video here to save you the trip.

Month in Montgomery County, MD

Warm Winter WayIt was one month ago today that we closed on the house in Silver Spring, or, to be more specific, Wheaton. It’s been a good month, because we all like the house, those of us with jobs or schools like them, and there’s a lot of fun to be had locally.

For example, we’ve enjoyed Wheaton Regional Park. The conservatories have been provided particularly welcome refuge from the cold, and the model train exhibit has made the conservatories even more fun, especially for Max, our 3yo. By the way, both the train exhibit and the Garden of Lights have been extended until Jan 10 to make up for the days lost in the snowstorm.

There seem to be a lot of places to eat cheaply and well round here. Yelp has led us to several of them, most recently to New Kam Fong, where we had dim sum yesterday lunchtime.

I see that there are several interesting-looking local blogs, including Good Eatin’ in Wheaton (overdue for a visit to NKF) and Just Up the Pike. Dan Reed, author of the latter, provided a review of 2009 round here, which I read although/because I wasn’t here for most of the year.

To celebrate my birthday my new state gave to me…

… five driving years… or rather, a Maryland driving license that expires on Dec 22, 2014, on which day I will turn … five years old than I am today. That means I’ve stopped aging, because infinty + 5 = infinity, right? I had to get the license today, since my Massachusetts license expired today, and I haven’t had time before, with all the moving and the living.

So my present from my new state of residence was a new license. My present from my new county, Montgomery, was the company of my daughter Maddie, since schools were closed again. The Tuesday closing seemed rather silly, since the snow stopped falling early Sunday morning. But it did set the stage for the closing tomorrow, Wednesday, which would have been the last day before winter break.

Much though I love my daughter, I wasn’t delighted to have her almost-6-yo company as well as her brother’s 3yo company on the license errand. But I set off with them and a backpack full of documents for the nearest MVA location that does Out-of-State License Exchanges.

I’ll spare you most of the details of the day. Suffice it to say that: not one, but two, proofs of MD residence are required; a letter from Verizon thanking you for your business does not serve as such proof, although a bill from the same company would (I think) serve; a bill from a plumbing company does not serve, although an agreement for ongoing service would.

As you know from the opening paragraph, mission was accomplished, and the new license obtained. The kids weren’t bad. I’d like to think that’s due to the good behavior genes they get from me, but it might have more to do with chocolate and other purchases from Trader Joe’s. So thank you, Joe, and thank you, Maryland.

More thanks to Montgomery County. The trash was collected today – a day late is understandable given the weather, and much better than no collection this week.

And yet more: the street was also plowed. In fact, when we were almost home, and about to turn into our street, we were confronted with a large digger truck, followed by a smaller truck with a plow on front, coming toward us. I decided to yield to them, even though I was going the legal way down our one-way street.

Did I celebrate my new drivers license, and my birthday, by going round the block, ignoring the No Entry sign, and returning home the wrong way along the street? (The alternative was to tell my kids that they had to spend yet more time in the car.) I’m not saying, and I’m not sure whether to invoke forgetfulness, senility, or constitutional protection against compulsory self-incrimination.