Your Support in Action

Your Support in Action!

Because of your support of the Garden City PTA, the following is a list of our 2016-17 accomplishments to date. See What We Have Planned for 2016-17 for the events still to come. Thank you for your support.

The Garden City PTA was a winner in the National PTA Family Reading Experience giveaway.  Thanks to the generous support of Kindle, the Garden City PTA received a donation of 5 eReaders from National PTA to engage more families in reading activities.  The PTA presented the Kindle eReaders to Mrs. McLaughlin and the HS librarians at the at the HS PTA meeting held on Friday, May 19th.

More PTA Grants approved by our membership in May

Smart Board with mobile iRover cart, Middle School:  Purchase a mobile Smart Board for use by the Physical Education department to enrich the current physical education and health curriculum. No longer will instruction be limited to what the teachers can demonstrate. With the mobile Smart Board, teachers & students will now be able to access, view and interact with online programs that demonstrate the latest in physical education. In addition, since the smart board is mobile, it will also be used for presentations and Family Fun Nights that regularly take place in the gym and the cafeteria where there is currently no Smart Board access. PTA Grant:  $6,369.00

Makerspace in the Library Media Center, High School:  Purchase of supplies to establish a makerspace in the High School Library Media Center for use by all students.  A makerspace is a collaborative space where people gather to get creative with DIY projects, invent new ones, and share ideas. Another definition of makerspace is a place where students can gather to create, invent, tinker, explore and discover using a variety of tools and materials. In the Garden City High School Library Media Center, we have created, with substantial support from our PTA, a Stress Reduction Station. This is a pre-cursor to a makerspace. Our goal has always been to establish a makerspace in our library media center. As part of our district goal to expand and enhance learning opportunities for students within the world of STEAM, a high school makerspace makes sense. We are hoping to expand student creativity, to share materials and for students to learn new things via collaboration and “tinkering” with their peers. PTA Grant $10,000.00

Jessica Lahey
We are so excited that Jessica Lahey, contributing writer for The Atlantic and the author of “The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed” will be coming to Garden City in the Fall of 2017. Ms. Lahey will give seven presentations, five to Middle School and High School students, one to faculty, and one to the community on the evening of October 24th. Grant funds in an amount not to exceed $17,000 will be used for this guest speaker. This program will take place in the 2017-18 school year. 

More Awards & Recognitions
On April 20, 2017, PTA High School Director, Beth Spirakis and the Garden City PTA was awarded the Governor's Traffic Safety Commission: Partners in Safety Award. The presentation of the award also kicked off the No Empty Chair Read the press release here.

2017 Honorary Lift Member recipients honored at the Annual PTA Dinner. Congratulations Mr. Greg Bavaro, Ms. Jane Jordan, Dr. Judith Hecker, and Mrs. Susan Lee. Click here for more.

GCHS Junior, Steven Spirakis has been awarded the 2017 NYS PTA Youth Humanitarian Award. Congratulations Steven! The NYS PTA Youth Humanitarian Award - In Memory of Stanley Marcus is presented to high school junior or senior students who best exemplify the humanitarian principles of Stanley Marcus who died in 1977.  The purpose of this award is to recognize a junior or senior who best exemplifies the humanitarian principles of Stanley Marcus who is remembered for his humanitarianism and dedication to youth through zealous volunteer community service.   For more information about this award, please visit

More PTA Grants approved by our membership in March

Bee Bots and related STEAM accessories, Homestead School - Purchase of STEAM supplies for use in all classrooms. BeeBots are tiny robots designed for use by young children for teaching sequencing, estimation, and problem-solving. The accompanying mats on which they are coded integrate K-1 curriculum including letters, letter sounds, numbers, number sense, geometry, money. Lego Chain Reaction, Snap circuit, and Osmo Kits engage students in STEAM tasks through trial and error.   PTA Grant $1,526.21

PTA Sponsored Experiences for Students

Friday, March 10th, all Stratford School second graders will be treated to a field trip to the LICM courtesy of the PTA.

The tradition continues with our Fifth and First Grade Cultural Trips!

On March 13th all fifth graders will see a performance of Ludwig Van Beethoven’s “Fidelio” at the historic Metropolitan Opera House (at Lincoln Center). On April 5th, all first-grade students will be treated to a presentation of Revelations: EarthBeat at the Kupferberg Center for the Arts. 

PTA Grants Approved at February PTA Meetings: Total PTA Grants approved in February $18,540

Ballroom Dancing Program to support a ballroom dancing program for all 5th-grade students in both Stewart and Stratford Schools.  Professional ballroom instructors would incorporate the program into physical education classes and lead the classes. The program and its curriculum are intended to support inclusion.  Due to budgetary restrictions, this could only be a one-time request.  The Ballroom Dancing Program is a joint effort between GCPS, PTA, and SEPTA. PTA Grant $2,500.00

Mindfulness, Stratford School - To provide funding for staff development and training for the Joint Elementary Social Worker and teachers in Mindfulness. This training will then be used during staff development to bring awareness to the benefits of mindfulness daily practice in classrooms.  PTA Grant $900.00

Outdoor Education Program 3rd Grade Field Trip, Stratford School - The purpose of this grant is to provide an opportunity for enrichment.  These programs, led by experienced naturalists, are aligned with Common Core, Next Generation Science Standards, and 21st Century Skills as appropriate, and ensure that our students will make connections to science education.  Total PTA Grant $3,555. 

Osmo units and iPad Airs, Hemlock and Locust Schools - To support the district’s STEAM initiative two grants to purchase Osmo units (six per school) and iPad Airs (six per school).  Total PTA Grants $6,636.00

Two SmartBoard M680 with Projectors, Homestead and Hemlock Schools - To enhance the educational experience of math pull out lessons for general education and special education students through the purchase of two Smart Boards (one for each school). This acquisition is co-sponsored with GCPS. Total PTA Grants $4,000.00

Library books, Locust School - Purchase books for the Locust School library. Total PTA Grant $487.63

Paint and supplies to support US map stencil project on playground blacktop, Locust School. Total PTA Grant $461.41

Parent University

Contributing sponsor and organizer of the third annual Garden City Parent University held on February 2, 2017, at the GCHS. Over 650 tickets issued to thirteen parenting workshops. The third annual Parent University was a wonderful and empowering evening for all who attended.

Our Volunteers are Amazing

We couldn’t do all we without our amazing volunteers. Perhaps you helped to shelf a book, work wth the HS PVC, chaired a school-based committee, or are a member of our Executive Board - thank you for sharing your time and talents with us. 

From time to time our volunteers receive a special recognition that we like to share with our members. Beth Spirakis, HS Director, has been named the NYS Governor's Traffic Commission (GTSC), 2016 GTSC Partners For Safety award recipient for her dedication to the Garden City PTA's Safe Driving Campaign. Mrs. Spirakis and the Garden City PTA were nominated for this award by Assemblyman Ra, a strong advocate for public education and GCPS. Congratulations! More information to follow on this award - stay tuned.

Hosted the first of two GCMS Family Fun Nights

On Friday, January 20, 2017, students and their families filled the GCMS cafeteria to assemble care packages and write encouraging notes to pediatric patients in Winthrop Hospital. GC Cares Family Fun Night was a huge success with over 100 participants! This event was co-Sponsored with the Garden City Community Coalition and GCMS's Anti-Bullying Club.

More PTA Sponsored STEAM initiatives in our schools:

December: PTA sponsored the purchase of KEVA Maple 1000 plank set and nine large creative LEGO brick boxes in support of STEAM programs at Locust School for all students in the building. 


The National PTA Reflections program is PTA’s cornerstone arts program. Each year, students in Grades Pre-K through 12 are recognized for bringing the theme to life through dance choreography, film production, literature, music composition, photography, and visual arts. This Garden City PTA long-standing sponsored program supports self-expression and the arts in all seven schools. We would like to thank the 
Reflections Committee, the judges, and our members for their time, dedication, and support of this wonderful program. 495 students participated in the 2017 Reflections contest, 119 student entries were selected as local Garden City Winners, thirty-one student entries advanced to Nassau Region Level of the competition and eleven student entries advanced to the NYS PTA Level of the competition.

District level winners and their families are invited to attend their school’s Reflections award ceremony held in March and April. Winning entries will be showcased that evening. Students will receive an award certificate presented by the school's principal, representatives from central administration, Board of Education Trustees, members of the Reflection Committee, and the PTA President.  

October 27th was an inspirational Literary Day in Garden City Public Schools

PTA sponsored a Stratford visit by acclaimed artist, Brian Pinkney. The award-winning illustrator of several highly-praised picture books: including The Faithful Friend, In the Time of the Drums, and Duke Ellington, shared experiences from his career as an illustrator and author. He encouraged students to follow their passions. 

Hemlock students also enjoyed a PTA sponsored visit by Valerie Pfundstein, author of "Heroes in Our Neighborhood.” She read her poignant story intended to “foster mindfulness of and appreciation for the brave service men and women who are also our family, friends, and neighbors.”  What a wonderful event – just in time for Veterans Day.

$12,000 Grant for STEAM enrichment programs at Stewart and Stratford Schools

Third-grade classes took a course in video game development. Students learned the fundamentals of video game development as they designed and programmed a fully functional action/adventure game from beginning to end - complete with custom characters, levels, backgrounds, and much more! While developing their games, students strengthened their math, logic, communication, concentration and critical thinking skills. Students were able to bring their own finished game to download and enjoy at home.

In the spring, all fourth-grade classes will be taking a course in Minecraft Builders Club. In this exciting course, students use the Minecraft video game to build worlds, solve puzzles, and create together. Students have specific goals and challenges each day, with the objective of rebuilding their version of New York City while learning about several historical eras. Students work both individually and as a group to expand upon their social studies background – bringing their knowledge of old New York to life in the 3-D world of Minecraft.

Parent and Student Information

  • Fifteen PTA Meetings held to date, various parent presentations

  • District-wide monthly newsletters 

  • Courage to Speak Presentation, Co-Sponsored

  • SEPTA - PTA Presentation: How Do We Create Classes That Foster Students Learning & Social and Emotional Well-Being?

  • PTA at High School College Major Night

  • Garden City's Third Annual Parent University 

2015-16 PTA Grant featured at Board of Education Meeting

Homestead students and teachers showcased their coding skills at the October 13th Board of Education meeting using four Dash and Dot robots granted by the PTA last school year. So exciting to see the students engaged in learning and how they used their emerging math, logic, communication, and critical thinking skills. 

PTA Committees working throughout the year:

Curriculum, Legislation, Health & Safety, Nominating are working hard behind the scenes advocating for our children and our public schools. Committee members work collaboratively with school administrators, teachers, community members, and legislators. Don't know who our Committee Chairs or your school representatives are? Visit About Us to find PTA District Chair contact information or School PTA's on the toolbar select your child's school PTA Board list on the drop down menu to find your school PTA committee representative.

PTA Representation at:

  • All Board of Education Work Session and Regular Meetings to date

  • District Committees: DASA Committee, Professional Development Committee, High School Start Time Steering Committee, Legislative Affairs Committee, Site-Base Committee, Health & Safety Committee

  • Participated in Commissioner Elia's visit to GCPS on January 14, 2017

  • Legislation Committee members attended the Nassau County Council of School Superintendents Financial Forum, February 3, 2017

Awards & Recognitions

NYS PTA Honorary Life Award: The purpose of this award is to recognize individuals for their contributions to the welfare of children and youth. The Garden City PTA awards an Honorary Life Award Membership to individuals as recognition of their distinguished service to Garden City’s children and youth. Recipients receive the recognition they so greatly deserve at our Annual PTA Dinner. In addition, they receive a Life Membership pin, congratulatory card, and an Honorary Life Member card.

2017 Dinner Honorees: Mr. Greg Bavaro, Dr. Judith Hecker, Ms. Jane Jordan and Mrs. Susan Lee. For past recipients click here.

New York State PTA Teacher Fellowship for Graduate Study in Memory of Richard Gazzola Award (the Teacher Fellowship): The Teacher Fellowship was established in 1961 to “encourage excellent teachers to stay in the classroom by providing an opportunity for them to improve their teaching skills, update their professional knowledge, and expand their professional perspectives.” Recipients receive up to $3,000 to help pay for education courses to further their studies. For past recipients click here.

Mrs. Elizabeth Wills (Locust School) and Ms. Elizabeth Maro (Locust School) were selected as recipients of the Teacher Fellowship. Mrs. Wills and Ms. Maro were honored at the 2016 Nassau Region PTA Presidents and Principals Dinner held on Monday, November 21, 2016, at the Crest Hollow Country Club. This event is attended annually by the PTA President, PTA Directors, school principals, the Superintendent of Schools, Board of Education President, and the President of the Garden City Teachers’ Association.