Have you ever wondered what WSF is? What we do and why we do it? Well, you are not alone! Below are responses to some of our most frequently asked questions. Don’t see your question in the list? Contact us and we’ll not only answer it but might even add it to this list!
What is WSF?
Wicklund School Foundation (WSF) is a 501(c)3, parent-teacher organization whose purpose is to support and enhance the educational experiences of the students at Wicklund Elementary by:
- facilitating partnerships between the parents, school, and teachers;
- providing financial support for programs funded outside of the annual school budget; and
- raising money to support programs to improve the educational experience of all students.
Is WSF a PTO or a PTA?
The Wicklund School Foundation is a Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO).
What's the difference between a PTO and a PTA?
The technical differences between a Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) and a Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO) are fairly simple.
- The National PTA is a formal membership organization now headquartered in Alexandria, Va., with a 120-year history of working for children. School-based groups that choose to belong to the PTA must pay dues to the state and national organizations and abide by state and national group rules. In return, they get member benefits, and they get a voice in the operations of the larger organization. The National PTA maintains a Washington, D.C., office where it pursues a public policy agenda, and most state PTA units advocate at their respective state capitals, as well. The PTA carefully protects its name so that only dues-paying members of the group can call themselves a PTA.
- A PTO, on the other hand, is a general term that stands for “Parent-Teacher Organization.” It usually represents a group that wants to remain independent. These are most often single-school or district-level groups that operate under their own bylaws and by and large concern themselves with the goings-on at their building or in their town only. As such, annual dues are not required of Members and the PTO is has no national organization that it must pay. A PTO can also establish Board positions that make sense for their school and group, rather than the positions required by the National PTA.
What rules or standards does WSF have to follow?
As a federally recognized 501(c)3, the Wicklund School Foundation is subject to all rules and standards set forth by the U.S. Department of Justice, the Internal Revenue Service, and the California Secretary of State. Furthermore, because we use the name “Wicklund” in our organization name and because we are affiliated with Wicklund Elementary School, we are beholden to a subset of district policies for Lammersville Unified School District (LUSD). Lastly, we are directly governed by our bylaws, which are reviewed annually and can be viewed here.
Who is WSF?
WSF is comprised of all parents and guardians of current Wicklund students, as well as Wicklund administrators, teachers, and staff. WSF does have a Board, which is made up of the following:
- Seven parent volunteers serve as elected Board Members, nominated and voted on (when necessary) by Wicklund parents and staff who choose to participate.
- Four Wicklund staff members: either the Principal or Vice Principal and three teacher volunteers, one from each of the three grade level groups — TK through 2nd, 3rd through 5th, and 6th through 8th grade.
How is the WSF Board selected?
Each spring, a portion of the seven elected WSF Board positions are open. Nominations are taken and, in the event that more than one person accepts a nomination for a given position, elections are held.
- These positions can be filled by any Member who does not qualify for an appointed Board seat.
- Administrators and Teachers qualify for appointed Board seats and, therefore, may not be nominated for one of the seven elected seats.
For more information about the nomination and election process, please review the Wicklund School Foundation bylaws.
Is there a way to be involved with WSF without serving as a Board Member?
Absolutely! In fact, most of what WSF does requires tremendous volunteer support throughout the year.
- You can serve on Committees. Committees focus their efforts on a specific project, program, or event. Your commitment ends when the work of the committee ends.
- You can volunteer for specific tasks identified by our Committees. Your commitment ends when the task is complete.
- Tight on time? You can donate your other valuable resource — money! We gladly accept donations outside of fundraisers at any time of the year. You can even target your donation to a specific project, program, or event.
- Looking for a way for your business to support your community? Talk to us about a corporate sponsorship opportunities! While we do have sponsorship levels for straight donations, we are always willing to discuss options that make the most sense for you.
Is WSF part of the school or the school district?
Yes and no. As a 501(c)3, we are an independent, not-for-profit organization and run solely by our Board and Memebers. However, all of our work supports the school and its staff.
- All parents and guardians of current Wicklund students and current staff of Wicklund are automatically Members of WSF. No dues are ever collected.
- We do need approval for our fundraisers from both the school and the district.
- Our programs need no approval.
- The school staff members are all default Members of WSF and, as such, have a vote on all matters that call for one. The school district staff does not, as they are not Members of WSF.
- As a recognized PTO in the district, we do get priority on facility reservations, behind only the district and the school.
Why does WSF need to raise money?
WSF raises money throughout the year for several reasons.
- First and foremost, we raise money to support the day-to-day needs of classroom teachers, helping to make up for shortfalls and cuts in the school district’s budget. This can include anything from reading sets to manipulatives, microscope and slide sets to robotics systems, and flexible seating to decorations for the classroom.
- We also raise money to support enrichment activities that classroom teachers want to provide but that are not supported in the school district’s budget. These include special assemblies, field trips, subscriptions to various weekly readers, and even fresh eggs to hatch in class as part of a science unit!
- The money we raise also supports Wicklund staff behind the scenes. We pay for the school’s laminating supplies and a high-volume copy machine and its supplies. We also provide support for P.E., Music, and the Library as needed.
- Finally, WSF raises money to provide additional enrichment programs for students that neither the school nor the school district provides. Over the years, these have included Art on Wheels, Drama, Battle of the Books, Speech and Debate, Mock Trial, Dash and Dot Robotics, VEX Robotics, Oral Language Fairs, Storytelling, and several after school and summer camps.
What exactly are WSF Programs?
WSF recognizes that the school and district cannot support everything that parents and students want. To that end, we pay for, organize, and run several enrichment programs after school and during the summer. These programs focus on English language arts (ELA) and science, technology, engineering, math, and arts (STEAM).
- All programs are led by parent volunteers.
- Program offerings will change from year to year based on a variety of factors.
- Most programs are free of charge to participants, though some camp-based programs do charge a fee to cover supplies and space or are being offered as a fundraiser to support those programs that do not charge a fee.
- All programs are open to an current Wicklund student. Some programs are open to any student in Lammersville Unified School District through partnerships with other school foundations in LUSD or the district itself.