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PTO's effort raises funds to benefit Fairview Elementary students

Jan Pakler | for The Herald
Fairview Elementary PTO President Julie Guiste shows laptops that were purchased for the school.

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Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

From hoagie sales to coupon books to a themed “spring fling” dance, the Fairview PTO keeps the fundraising wheels turning year-round.

It's the only way to keep pace with field trips, year-end fairs and technology upgrades, said Co-President Julie Guiste. The group of 50 members works to supplement the curriculum and sprinkle in fun for students at the elementary school along Dorseyville Road.

“We try to help in areas where the district can't fund,” said Guiste, a member of the PTO for three years. “We want to do things to better support our children's education.”

The work is paying off.

The PTO donated $8,000 to the school this month to purchase five laptop computers to be shared by all classes.

Software licenses will be covered, too.

“They have a computer cart that each room can use, and there's enough laptops for each child in one class to use for that period,” Guiste said. “We're trying to increase the amount of laptops in the cart.”

Literacy teacher Lisa Lang said the school is fortunate to be backed by such a hard-working group.

“Technology, in various forms, is really an integral part of everyday life,” Lang said. “Having additional computers allows for various activities to be conducted in the classrooms and helps the students in developing skills in the areas of problem solving, conducting research and communicating. It can really enhance their creativity.”

Guiste and her co-president, Pam Penland, already are thinking about how many laptops they might purchase next year.

They are planning the spring fling dance for May 3 at the Fox Chapel Racquet Club.

Open to all Lower Valley residents, proceeds from the ticket sales will benefit the computer fund for next year. The ticket cost has yet to be determined.

This year's theme still is under wraps. It follows last year's luau, which was complete with outdoor tents and tropical flowers.

Guiste said the money is used to provide resources to motivate children and enliven classroom lessons.

“We host in-school field trips that add to what they're learning in textbooks,” she said. “We host a math pentathlon and similar events that allow more things for children to do while learning.”

In the past, the PTO has paid for interactive whiteboards for the library and music room and sofas for two small-group-instruction areas.

It also paid for a garden on the school campus and a painted mural in the cafeteria.

A future goal is a book resource room that would give teachers a guide to reading for students with different skill levels.

“We want to help do anything that will help our kids to learn,” Guiste said.

Tickets for the spring fling can be purchased March 24 through April 18 by contacting Julie Guiste at

Tawnya Panizzi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-782-2121, ext. 2 or at

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