WOODBRIDGE - The Executive Board of the Beecher Road School PTO met last week to set its calendar of events for the upcoming school year. While the first day of school for the town's pre-kindergarten through grade 6 students doesn't come until September 4th, planning for many PTO events has already begun.

The PTO will be trying a new approach this academic year and will be run by an enlarged group of ten Executive Board members chairing various committees and dividing responsibilities that previously were handled by a single PTO President.

Board Coordinator Deanna Friedman will orchestrate these efforts and run the monthly PTO Meetings. A new Communication Committee, chaired by Jennifer Just, will take up the duties of the recently defunct Parent Advisory Council (PAC), which previously operated as a committee of the PTO. The office of Past President will become Appropriations Chair and will be filled by outgoing President Leslie Martino.

Other Executive Board members include Treasurer Carolyn Caffrey, Ways and Means Chair Mary Hill, Nominating Co-Chairs Janet Hershman and Karyn Malinconico, Special Activities Chair Robin Schaffer, Publicity Co-Chairs Felicia Lober and Gerri Fusco, Recording Secretary Sheila McCreven-Helfenbein and Corresponding Secretary Cindy DeLeone.

The PTO will start the year with its annual Teacher's Luncheon on Thursday, August 30th to welcome returning as well as newly hired staff. Event co-chairs Marcy Kahn and Cindy DeLeone are hard at work developing a theme for the luncheon and planning a menu. PTO volunteers will then shop, cook and serve the festive meal to busy teachers, as they take a break between Kindergarten Orientation and teacher workshops that afternoon.

For parents new to Beecher — either with first time kindergarten students or those who have just moved to town — the PTO will host a New Parent Coffee on Wednesday, September 5th. The following night, all Beecher families are invited to enjoy a scoop or two with old and new friends at the Ice Cream Social, from 6 to 8 p.m. in the kindergarten playground at the north school entrance.

The first PTO Meeting of the new school year will be held Monday, September 10th at 9:15 a.m. in the Beecher Rotunda. Parents are urged to attend, learn more about upcoming events and fundraisers, and join a committee of their choice. The PTO's annual gift wrap/chocolate sale will then kick off on September 11th and run until October 4th.

Room Parents will be chosen prior to the second PTO Meeting, to be held on Monday, October 1st. They will meet one half hour before the start of the regular 9:15 a.m. meeting that day to receive packets of information. Both these meetings are also slated to take place in the Rotunda.

Additional PTO events for the remainder of 2001-02 will be announced once the school year gets underway. More information will also be available on the PTO web site (www.brspto.org).

All told, the PTO expects to raise an amount similar to last year's fundraising total of $48,355. It will use this money to fund various PTO projects and Special Activities throughout the year.

At the end of the academic year, the Appropriations Committee allocates the remainder of the funds raised by PTO that year. This money is used to purchase items requested by staff and parents for the enrichment of the educational environment at Beecher. This past June, the PTO donated a total of $16,400 worth of items to the school.