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'Gift of Time' raffle for students raises funds for Crafton Elementary PTA

| Friday, April 20, 2018, 11:03 p.m.

One Crafton Elementary student could win a jam session with their physical education teacher, where they will spend recess in the gym, rocking out to “Guitar Hero.” Two friends are invited to join in the party.

Another student could win a morning in the front lobby, serving with two teachers as a greeter, while sipping on their favorite cup of orange juice or a glass of hot chocolate.

Teachers, staff and administrators at Crafton Elementary in the Carlynton School District are donating fun opportunities for students to spend time with them during lunch, recess or after school to raise money for the parent teacher association.

The “Gift of Time” fundraiser is a nearly free way to raise funds for the PTA, while giving students a chance to hang out with their teachers outside of the classroom, organizers said.

For $1, students can enter to win one of 25 prizes, each allowing them to hang out with a teacher, staff member or administrator to do something fun.

“The kids are going to have a fun time,” said Courtney Bonnet, president of the Crafton Elementary PTA.

A parent brought the idea to Crafton, after seeing the fundraiser done at McKnight Elementary School in the North Allegheny School District. The Crafton PTA has been trying to launch this for several years.

“We thought it would be great if we could do something that would involve everyone,” Bonnet said.

Every grade level teacher is participating, along with other staff members and administrators.

Their donations range from breakfast in class, wearing your pajamas before the bell rings to learning to play the drums. Some last for 15 minutes, others an hour or two.

Some have multiple winners.

The PTA donated 50 water balloons for two winners for the Fun Day program, while Principal Marsha Burleson is inviting students to come have lunch — even pizza — with her.

Funds raised by the PTA help pay for all kids in the school to go on field trips. The PTA also funds a monthly teacher appreciation and a May luncheon to recognize teachers.

Last year, the PTA also funded $9,000 in teacher grants, Bonnet said.

Teachers are excited to participate, Burleson said.

“Everybody is really buying into it and taking part,” she said.

For the principal, she likes that the fundraiser also focuses on building student and teacher relationships.

In the school, Burleson often reminds the staff to “remember those three R's,” which stand for “rigor, relevance and relationships.” Everything they do should tie back to that, she said.

While teachers were given ideas of how they could spend their time with the students, like have a doughnut with the student, they began to get creative and build off of their own strengths.

Teachers began talking to each other and came up with ways to engage the students.

“It builds relationships,” she said.

Parents and kids alike also seem to be excited, Bonnet said.

The raffle goes through April 20. Winners will be selected at random on April 27.

The gifts can be used in May.

The PTA also is trying to offer new things. They recently had a Penny War that Bonnet said was popular and a Halloween dance that was free for families.

Next, they plan to launch a survey to ask the students what they want to see in their school.

Stephanie Hacke is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

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