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Lakota PTA builds a model for success

The Lakota Middle School PTA is up big time.

Last year, the group ended the year with 170 members and more than 3,000 volunteer hours logged. Before that, it was 100 hours of volunteer time, and in the past 10 years, member numbers have never gone higher than 125.

The PTA also had 100 percent teacher participation last year.

Now the PTA has become the largest and most active in the Federal Way School District at the middle school level, president Tina Bomgardener said.

The PTA, also led by Jerry and Tina Garcia, has a new program called Watch DOGS (Dads of Great Students).

The program, which was started last year, already has 40 men signed up to volunteer on campus at least one day during the school year. The purpose: To be a male role model and help teachers.

So far, Lakota will have men on campus for 70 days of the school's 180 days.

The program has roots at Adelaide Elementary and puts the men in the halls during class transitions, in the cafeteria during lunch times and in one of the sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade classrooms.

This year, they also have a special request from the teachers: To hang out in the gym and put the equipment together.

"It brings more males into the classrooms," Jerry Garcia said. "It gives them role models."

The Lakota PTA is working to recruit new members, speaking at school board nights and hosting the "Welcome Back and Groundbreaking BBQ" this year for the school, which about 500 people attended.

The PTA raises money throughout the year with cookie sales every Friday, as well as selling Lakota clothing and running book sales.

The money goes back into the schools, paying for assemblies, sports fees, math supplies, staff appreciation, a new gym floor mop, WASL snacks and evening school events like math night, parent night and barbecues.

Volunteers also help in the classrooms and in the office.

"It took the teachers a while to realize how they could use the volunteers," Bomgardener said. "They weren't used to it. The numbers drop off so dramatically after elementary school. The teachers can always use you. There's always something to be done."

But the PTA still wants to do more. It wants to increase membership and bring in new ideas from the members.

"We are always looking for more," Tina Garcia said. "We want it to feel very welcome. This school has always had an open door policy. We want to hear no matter what they have to say."

Learn more

For more infomation on the Lakota PTA, e-mail LakotaPTA@comcast.net.

To learn about the power of a PTA, visit www.pta.org/why_your_school_needs_a_pta.asp

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