BRIARCLIFF MANOR, N.Y. – Barbara Hooper and Nora Johnson know that the 2011-12 school year in the Briarcliff district was a difficult one.
The Briarcliff Parent Teacher Association co-presidents witnessed the renegotiation of the teachers contract, the replacement of teacher aides with teaching assistants, the remediation of the contaminated school fields, the turnover on the Board of Education and dozens of other challenges the Briarcliff School District faced last year. The two say they are hopeful that the 2012-13 school year will be one of the strongest in recent memory.
“Our district faced many challenges last year,” said Hooper. “So we’re looking to be as useful as we can be and we’re going to support our district as we move forward.”
This year, the BPTA is facing a major challenge itself as too few volunteers stepped up between the years to fill the board spots. Typically the BPTA executive board members hold terms for two years, but the lack of volunteers this year led to a few members at the high school staying on for a third year in their terms.
“We send out an email blast saying we need help every month but we’re not getting any responses,” said Johnson. “It’s the first time in the four years I’ve been here that it’s happened to us. We need more volunteers, especially at the middle school and high school. It’s hard to get people to come do it because at that point most parents have gone back to work.”
Every year the BPTA helps organize dozens of events, including assemblies, local author visits, field trips and other supplemental education for the district. The group’s next major community meeting is on Oct. 2.
“We want to get people involved because we know this is something the community cares about,” Johnson said. “Right now, with the district, everything is in transition. I would like to see a cohesive group that is working toward the same thing. If that happens I think we’ll have a very good year.”