Why does the Thornton Creek Parent Group fundraise? How does TCPG allocate resources?
When you contribute to the Annual Appeal, you are supporting the Thornton Creek Parent Group (TCPG). TCPG is a nonprofit corporation with 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status. TCPG’s mission is “to promote the educational philosophies and operations of Thornton Creek Elementary through the commitment of volunteer hours and financial resources.” The funds raised by TCPG are used for this purpose. Examples of how this support is used include funding for reading and math specialists, expeditionary learning fees and supplies, staff professional development, hourly assistants on the playground and in the classroom, support for families, and community building events.
As an option school in Seattle Public Schools, Thornton Creek needs additional resources for our school to offer an alternative educational model, Expeditionary Learning, that differs from that of neighborhood schools. Option schools offer “creative approaches” to adopted and supplemental curriculum, classroom configuration, and schedules. In this way, option schools often become laboratories for new and innovative instructional practice. Private fundraising allows us to more fully achieve our Expeditionary Learning mission as a holistic school program, since Expedition Fees only cover needed materials and activities such as field trips.
All parents are members of TCPG and vote to elect its leaders and to vote on its annual operating budget in June of each year. Since last year, we have had a TCPG Budget Committee which includes parents/caregivers to support and recommend budget strategies which follows the school Building Leadership Team’s (BLT) annual school building budget timeline. The BLT is the entity that is designated by Seattle Public Schools to advise the principal in proposing a building budget for final approval by the staff. BLT includes administrators, teachers, other staff, and often parents, and is responsible for a schools Continuous School Improvement Plan (CSIP). We believe the BLT is the entity best informed to ensure that school funds, both public and private, are budgeted in a way that equitably serves the Thornton Creek community, placing students furthest from educational justice at the center of its decision-making.
At Thornton Creek, the BLT can request additional funding from TCPG as part of this annual school building budget decision-making process in the spring of each school year. If approved through the TCPG budget-approval process, funding for the budget request from BLT is made through a funding commitment by TCPG to the school for the following school year.
In addition to advancing the BLT’s priorities, TCPG funds support students and families in need.
We believe that we can support needs at our school AND advocate for adequate government funding of public education; that we do not have to choose between our own children and our hopes for all children. We support the equity funding model that drives critical resources to schools across the district with greater needs than ours, and we avoid “resource hoarding” by ensuring that the private funding we provide is reasonable and focused on providing the most essential needs of students and teachers at Thornton Creek. To do all of this, we will need to work together, and we will need to include the voices of families who have been marginalized and impacted by inequity as we decide the best path forward for our school. We look forward to partnering with our entire school community, including all of you, to accomplish these goals.If you have any questions about TCPG, our TCPG budget process, or other aspects of our work, we warmly invite you to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.