McNear PTA Newsletter

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Do you volunteer at McNear? If not, take a moment to think about why. Is it because it doesn't seem like you're needed, that others usually do it? Is it because you think you don't have time? Is it because you don't know what there is to do? Or maybe you don't know who to talk to or where to start?

Let me be very clear: the difference between an average school and a great school is parent engagement, and that means volunteering. For McNear to continue maintaining its high standards of education, opportunities and programs, we need more people to step up. Every single parent or guardian should be either spending some time volunteering in some capacity or facilitating a family member to volunteer. If this is the first time you've been a parent or caregiver of an elementary child, this might be news to you: elementary schools cannot function properly without the help of parents.

We have been very, very lucky to have a core group of parents primarily with kids now in the upper grades who have shouldered most of the load of volunteering for the last few years. Thanks to them, we've built MASC, refreshed all the PE equipment, kept the library well-stocked, funded field trips, staff positions, school supplies, buses, the list goes on. See below for more.

We have a small group of parents with kids in the lower grades who have started to take the reins. However, it is not enough. If you truly place value on a quality school experience for your children, now is the time to step forward. Below, you will see some immediate opportunities for participating.

As president of the PTA, I want to be sure that all the families coming through McNear in future years experience the level of support that we have. My priority is to ensure we build capacity to do that.

Thanks for taking the time to read through this entire newsletter. It is possibly the most important one we'll send this year.




Annual funding:

Teacher Supply Funds: More than $1,200 per classroom

Books for the library: $10,000

Garden program: $10,000

Subsidy for field trip buses: $6,000

Back to school BBQ: $6,000

Subsidy for school office: $3,500

Classroom supplies: $5,000

Grants for teachers: $3,000

Major recent expenditures:

Student Advisor position: $32,000 in 2019

McNear Art and Science Center (MASC): $38,000 in 2016 and 2017

All-new PE equipment and storage: $15,000 in 2018

Teacher professional development: $12,000 in 2017 and $22,000 in 2018

Keyboards for iPads: $5,000 in 2018


The PTA budget is funded 2/3 by the annual Wish Benefit. As such, it is critical that this event is successful each year. Imagine each of the above items being cut by 66%. It would be devastating.

The success of Wish in the past few years has been due to the hard work of a core group of parent volunteers who have worked on the event year after year. Those volunteers have opted to step away from organizing Wish this year to allow them to mentor the next generation of Wish organizers before their kids graduate. However, at this point, we have not had nearly enough folks step forward to replace them.

We need people to come in and help in the following areas. None of these should fall on one person - there will be a small committee for each:

  • Silent Auction: Using an existing list and adding new items, secure auction items and set up the auction for the event
  • Live Auction: Leverage contacts within network and community to secure high-value donations
  • Location, decor and theme: We have a venue already. Work with venue logistics. Define the theme and identify, secure and execute decor
  • Entertainment: Choose and book the evening's entertainment
  • Sponsorship: Work with local businesses on sponsorship programs
  • Registration and accounting: Set up registration systems and track all income and expenses
  • Food and beverage: Lock down vendors, pricing, menus, solicit donations and manage distribution
  • Buy-in parties: Help create buy-in party ideas, work with parent hosts, manage sign-ups

If you have not volunteered at McNear before, please plan on helping with Wish. The PTA stereotype is that it is limited to stay-at-home parents and/or moms but that's not the Falcon way; the majority of PTA volunteers are parents with demanding full-time jobs. We need more involvement from dads in particular. Please email with your role of choice.


A note from Neil: January is typically the month in which the next year's PTA Board is nominated. If you have any interest in serving on the Board, please let us know. One key position that will be open is the President role since the by-laws prohibit a third year for me. It is possible to be president while also having a full-time job. I commute to SF every day to a software company where I manage a global team, and have been able to execute the duties of PTA president alongside my day job. I do it because it is important.

If you're comfortable running meetings, delegating tasks and have a basic handle on finances, you're the ideal candidate. Let me know.

We are also looking for volunteers to run After-School Enrichment classes, oversee Recess Renaissance activities, help in classrooms, work on Performing Arts and much more. Reach out to us at if there is something specific you're looking to do.



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There will be music assemblies in the multi at McNear School on:

Tuesday, Dec 17, 2019

9:30 - 9:55 AM Band Winter Share

5th/6th grade Bands (Students of Mr. Jent & Mrs. Kruse)

2:25 - 2:45 PM Chorus Winter Share

5th/6th grade Chorus (Students of Ms. Parks)

The McNear Chorus and Band music students are looking forward to presenting some fun songs and pieces for a student audience and the school community. Family and friends are also invited to attend. We are happy to share the music and look forward to seeing you there!


In the upcoming weeks, McNear will be holding our annual Holiday Giving Program. Our hope is that this event will help make this Holiday season a special time for all families in our own school community.

Here’s how it works!

  • Starting Tuesday, Dec. 3rd, come visit the Giving Board (located outside the school office) at drop off or pick up times
  • Choose an anonymous gift tag for a McNear family
  • Fill in the form with your name and tag number
  • Return your Wrapped gift with the tag attached to the office no later than Friday, 12/13.

Our program includes donation of both grocery gift cards and child selected toys or gifts. This ensures families in our school community receive not only the essentials, but the joys of the season. We are also encouraging the connection of giving by requesting each donating family to create an anonymous card to attach to the donated gift. Specifics about the Giving Program will also be posted on our Giving Board.

Please contact Carli Merrill, Holiday Giving Program Coordinator, at or
707-364-1806 with any questions or comments.


Winter Band & Chorus Music Share

Tuesday, Dec. 17th


Winter Fun Run

Friday, Dec. 20th

Winter Break

Monday, Dec. 23rd - Monday, Jan. 6th

Spring Performing Arts Auditions

Thursday, January 16th

Martin Luther King Jr Holiday - No School

Monday, Jan. 20th