Fall 2020 News

A great PTA can't exist without people willing to pitch in from time to time. Please consider signing up to be on our list of volunteers! You can participate as much as you want, or even just a couple of hours for a specific event or initiative. If you have a particular skill or talent, we can find a place for you! But even if you're just good at organizing things, contacting people, etc., we can use those talents as well! We'd LOVE to have your help as your time allows.


A Thank You Message from Ben

The PTA would like to thank our SMS Administration, teachers, students and parents, for their diligence, dedication and patience in the crazy start of this new school year!  As a father of two school age kids at SMS and Apex High, I know that this has been an extraordinarily, intriguing year so far.  But I feel the dust is settling and the kids are adjusting well, and actually learning a lot.  This is in a very large part due to the enormity of the work from everyone behind the scenes to make this all work!  So thank you all.

Ben Barras serves as the president of the SMS PTA.

Myth Busters: PTA Members and Volunteers

We have a dynamic group of PTA members comprised of both parents AND teachers! Our members care genuinely care about the student(s)' schooling. They also realize that supporting the school itself is SO important. Membership support helps ensure that the education professionals at Salem Middle School have access to people, experiences, and resources they know are important: guest speakers, cultural arts programming, access to subscription-based websites, and so on. 

Your membership helps amplify our voice - as a group - to the many people and entities who have a say in decisions about school. It goes a long way when we can point to a very strong membership base when we're asking the community or decision-makers for their donations or other kinds of support.

Being a PTA member does NOT mean you're on the hook to volunteer for anything or even that you're expected to make a large donation. Yes, we love volunteer help and we couldn't function without it. Sometimes it just means an hour of your time - total! With respect to donations - we are very aware of the limited resources all families have (especially nowadays). If your only donation is the membership fee, or the purchase of a SpiritWear item - we'll take it! If you can do more - great ... as each and every dollar donated goes directly toward helping us accomplish our mission. 

We want you to be part of our mission - in whatever capacity. It's never too late to join!

Your Donations at Work!

We were able to do so many amazing things last year for the SMS educators and staff. The funds that you donate directly, the majority of parents’ annual PTA dues, money we raise through our fall fundraiser and Spring Auction, donations to paint Spirit Rock or buy Spirit Wear/Gear *all* goes toward funding various budget initiatives. We were able to fund “Teacher Start-up Grants,” which reimburses teachers for supplies that they buy out of their own pockets for their classroom.  We were also able to fund a number of individual “Teacher Grants,” which is an initiative where teachers (or small groups of teachers) request certain materials, or professional development, or other things that impact students in some way. We designated Fall Fundraiser monies specifically for “Professional Learning Teams” (PLTs), per subject area in each grade (for example, 6th Grade ELA teachers). Each PLT received approximately $400, and teachers in it decided how to best invest those resources.  We were also able to fund a subscription to a school-wide license for BrainPop, which was something that many teachers indicated that they'd like to use with their students.

Another thing we do - which teachers truly appreciate - is provide breakfast or lunch on “Teacher Workdays” a couple of days per year. We also spend money on cultural events, special speakers, field trips, and other enrichment activities. 

Support the Community and the PTA

Support our school and our community! 15% of the total purchase goes toward helping the SMS PTA achieve its goals:

Mellow Mushroom Fundraising Event: October 7th 

Mellow Mushroom in 4300 NW Cary Parkway, Cary, NC offers to dine in, take-out, phone orders and online orders from 11:00 AM to 8:00 PM.

Please don't forget to mention your group name (Salem Middle School P.T.A.) while purchasing meals at Mellow Mushroom to count their sales to your group.

You can order online at Cary Mellow Mushroom (NW Cary Parkway) and use the comment section to put your group name.

OnGoing Fundraising

A percentage of your purchase helps the PTA raise money so we can help teachers support learners!

Harris Teeter:  link your account using code : 5627

Amazon Smiles: link your purchases to the charity option (Salem Middle School PTA), so a percentage of shopping will go to the SMS PTA.

Spirit Rock: Sign up for SMS Spirit Rock! Paint it, take a picture, and post it on social media! The expected donation is $35 for each week you reserve the Spirit Rock.

Stock up on Salem Middle SpiritWear / Gear!

If you walk into stores you're already being reminded that the holiday season is coming up soon! Why not buy some SMS SpiritWear or SpiritGear now to show your school spirit online and throughout the community!!

Even though our kids are attending school from home…they can still be seen virtually, and they can still show their school spirit.  We want to give every parent and child the chance to show their online school spirit with a special sale on our SMS Spirit PE Tees.  For the month of October we will be selling two SMS Spirit P. E. Tees for $15 (see example).  For every Spirit Wear Purchase of $25 or more, we will also include a SMS surprise FREE gift! 

PTA Membership is always encouraged, but it is not required to get this deal!

Purchases are not shipped; they can be picked up at the SMS Front Office Monday - Friday, from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. Orders are typically made ready within 7 day of purchase.

Call for PTA Leadership Volunteers

Especially 6th grade parents … and especially if year to date you have said to yourselves “…if I had a say in things…I would have done…”, then we need you.  We are a PTA leadership team of three…and in a normal year, that is anemic support for the unlimited needs that our SMS community has.  But this year in particular, we need your help.  If you have an opinion, if you care about our kids’ education, if you want to help your kids and their teachers, then help us and join our team!  We need you!  You can reach us with your interests at salemspartanspta@gmail.com.

Special Assignment Opportunity: Are you someone who wants to change the world for the better and believe you can??!!  Does your heart stir when you hear wonderful stories about people helping other people through the toughest of times??!!  Do you believe that we all have goodness inside us and the ability and desire to bring joy to others through simple kind acts??!!  If you are that person, we need you for a critical, and unique opportunity.  Please reach out to Ben (PTA President) directly to discuss this opportunity: benbarras@comcast.net

Shout-Outs from Parents

Shout-Outs from Teachers

In our Fall 2020 survey of the educational professionals at SMS, so many left supportive comments for the PTA! Here are just a few of them...

The 2020-2021 PTA Team

President: Mr. Ben Barras. Ben has served as PTA president since July 2019. He is a Principal Project Owner at SAS in Cary, NC. Ben has an 8th grader at SMS. 

Vice-President: Dr. Ross Perkins. Ross first served as secretary, but became VP in Spring 2020. He's a full-time, associate professor of educational technology (Boise State University). Ross has a 7th grader at SMS.

Treasurer: Mrs. Lisa Rodney. Lisa has served as PTA treasurer since July 2019. She is an accountant working for a firm in Cary, NC. Lisa has a student in 8th grade at SMS.

Secretary: Mrs. Hunter Fortschen.

Fundraising Volunteer: Mrs. Kim Wisniewki is in her second year helping the SMS PTA. She is a special education teacher with her own tutoring company for in-person and online support.  Kim has a student in 8th grade at SMS.

Special Projects: Mrs. Adrianna Onori.

The Fall 2020 newsletter was assembled and edited by Ross Perkins (Vice President of the PTA) with input from the PTA Team. Any comments, questions, or concerns about it should be addressed to him at salemspartanspta@gmail.com