2019 Spring Basket Raffle

The 2019 O’Hara Elementary School Spring Basket Fundraiser is here! This fundraiser is an annual favorite for students, staff and parents alike. It’s also O’Hara PTO’s largest fundraiser – last year we raised close to $9,000!  Money raised helps the PTO fund teacher stipends, assemblies, courtyard improvements, and more.

How it works: 

Students in each class contribute items based on a set theme, and then PTO volunteers assemble the baskets.  The baskets will be on display in the Commons Area the week of April 1 – 5, during which time students can purchase raffle tickets from PTO volunteers at school.  Tickets will also be on sale in the evening during the April 2 Showcase Night. Kindergarten families may also purchase tickets at the March 22nd Seuss on the Loose performance. Each student receives one free ticket for a chance to win the basket of their choosing. Basket winners are randomly drawn on April 5th after school, and winners are notified by email.

How to Help: 

  • Begin sending in donations NOW through March 21st
    • The PTO requests that students bring donations of NEW items (specific to their selected theme as listed below) to their classroom, where collection baskets will be provided. The deadline to donate items is March 21st
    • Donations DO NOT need to be expensive, but something a child would enjoy receiving. For example, If your child has “Craft Craze,” you could send in Popsicle sticks, glue, pipe cleaners, etc.
  • Purchase Raffle Tickets the week of April 1st through April 5th*
    • Each student will receive one free ticket.
    • Parents, staff, and students may purchase additional tickets during the school day (8:40am – 3:45pm): 1 for $1, 12 for $10, and 30 for $20.  Cash and checks payable to OEPTO are accepted.
    • Students will need to write their name (first and last) and their homeroom teacher’s name on the back of each ticket.
      • Kindergarten Families: One thing that we have noticed in the past is that our Kindergarten students need a little extra time to write their name and their homeroom teacher’s name on their tickets. Our hope is that they bring their tickets home to write their name and their teacher’s name on each ticket, they then can put the tickets in the baskets the next morning.  We will be providing plastic bags (grab and go bags) for students to keep their tickets together for the trip home and back to school. We thank you for helping us make the experience easier for the younger students at the school. Kindergarten families will also be able to purchase tickets before and after the March 22nd performance of Seuss on the Loose. 
    • Winners will be announced on April 5th via email.
  • Volunteer to assemble Baskets on March 21st
  • Volunteer to Sell Raffle Tickets (3/22, 4/1 – 4/5) 

Spring Basket Themes:


  • Fiore- Disney Magic (All things Disney)
  • Kelly-Dinosaurs (ideas: puzzles, figurines, fossils, museum passes…)
  • Pacheco- Nerf and Legos
  • Ulanowicz- Super Heroes (for boys and girls)
  • Yokel- Sundae Fun (Think Ice Cream theme)
  • Phillips- Coloring Craze (coloring books, crayons, markers…)

First Grade

  • Burnett- Pool Time (things you would use at the swimming pool)
  • Erdner- Squishies and Blind Bags Galore !!! (blind bags for boys and girls)
  • Gumto- Fun with Art (art supplies of any kind)
  • Nugara- Cooking With Kids
  • Sacriponte- Summer Fun (things kids use in the summer)

Second Grade

  • Fownes- Candy Land (all things sweet….think beyond candy…books, games, etc.)
    Ferrari- Pampered Pooch
    Ivins- Spa and Relaxation Day
    McCauley- Camping with Kids
    Peters- We Love Slime (a popular student request)

Third Grade

  • Sirianna- Basketball Fever
  • Lagnese- Let’s Have a Ball (sports related balls – but can be creative)
  • Frick- These are a Few of My Favorite Things (miscellaneous basket of kids’ favorite things)
  • Danielson- Game Day (board games, outdoor games…any games)
  • Werner- Planting and Gardening with Kids

Fourth Grade

  • Hong- Decadent Desserts (baking, making, mixing, prepping, eating)
  • Lauterbach- Craft Craze
  • Abati- Fun with Science and STEM (games, kits, Kids Labz, Kinetic Sand, etc.)
  • Thiebaud- Fun with Writing (paper, note cards, pencils, pens, stamps, stickers, etc.)
  • Jedlicka- “Kids Stuff” Gift Cards

Fifth Grade

  • Dinga- Soccer Craze
  • Fetterman- I Love Eating Out!! Gift Cards
  • Mueller- Get Fit (anything that has to do with fitness, fun, exercise, sports…)
  • Ivanusic- Take Me Out to the “Pirates, Steelers, Penguins” Game
  • Planz- Harry Potter is Magical

Big Kid Baskets!

In addition to the class theme baskets, there are several “Big Kid” baskets that will be up for raffle, including:

  • Seven Springs Lift and Rental for Four
  • Seven Springs Snow Tubing for Four
  • Seven Springs Golf for Four
  • Seven Springs Overnight Lodging for Four
  • Hidden Valley Golf for Four
  • Hidden Valley Snow Tubing for Four
  • Pittsburgh Pirates Baseball Tickets for Four
  • Free Week at Camp Deer Creek
  • Membership for Lauri Ann West Community Center
  • Steelers Surprise

Parents are welcome to sign in to view baskets and purchase tickets. Anyone without clearances will need escorted by a staff member.  Tickets will also be on sale in the evening during the April 2 Showcase Night (5pm – 7pm). 

We appreciate the support and participation of all the families and students with this fundraiser.

If you have any questions, please comment below or email the Spring Basket Fundraiser Co-chairs:



Spring Baskets

Meeting Recap: Upcoming Events, Girls on the Run, Safety Update and More!

Thank you to everyone who came out to last Thursday’s evening meeting.  For those who couldn’t make it, here’s your handy recap:

Special Guest:  Girls on the Run

Casey White, head coach of the O’Hara Elementary Girls on the Run team, joined us to share information on the upcoming GOTR session. The O’Hara team is open to girls in grades 3 – 5 and will meet Tuesday and Thursdays from 6:00 – 7:30pm from March 12 – May 30. Registration closes March 8th.

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Upcoming Events & Volunteer Opportunities

February is a busy month with many great events:

O’Hara Foxes Club

The OFC continues to add programs and plan for future after school activities.  Registration is currently open for K-2 students to participate in Lab Ratz.  Planned programs include a second session of Spanish Globetrotters, more yoga and a Spring session of Chess Club.

We will also be introducing “Story Explorers” in April. Story Explorers is a new OFC program being facilitated by O’Hara parent and Spark Books owner, Adriene Rister, and a Fairview parent/engineer, Melinda Guinn. This five-week program is designed for children in ages K-1 and will combine literacy and STEAM activities. The pilot session will focus on the classic children’s story, The Three Little Pigs. Each week, students will begin class by gathering together to read children’s literature based on the Three Little Pigs story, such as The Three Little Pigs: An Architectural Tale by Steven Guarnaccia, The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig by Eugene Trivizas, and the True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scisezka. After reading the book, children will use their imaginations and problem-solving skills to explore the story in greater depth–acting out different characters to create alternative endings, building houses that can withstand a wolf, learning about perspective (did the wolf just have a cold?), and becoming the story’s illustrator, author, or using only music to tell the story. Registration will open in March – stay tuned for more details!

Have an idea for a future OFC program? Email Meghann at ofc@oharapto.org

District Forum Report

The next public meeting will be held Tuesday, Feb 26th at 9:00 a.m. Tim Mahoney, Director of Special Education and Pupil Services will be sharing information on Ability Awareness and Special Education Services. 

Principal’s Update: RTII and Safety

Mrs. Batis provided an update on school safety.  O’Hara staff have completed another round of A.L.I.C.E. training.  Additionally, Officer Lynch will be coordinating reverse evacuation drills (what to do if we are outside and need to get in quickly). Families will receive more information before the drills, which will be conducted starting with our oldest students first. Reverse evacuation can be used for a variety of situations, including severe weather or in response to events occurring within the vicinity of the school. 

Mrs. Batis also shared an update on the instructional decision making process.  A copy of the presentation will be posted here when available.  Key takeaway:  you can request a meeting at any point in time if you have concerns about reading, math, social/behavior issues, etc. and to explore appropriate interventions or enrichment opportunities.

New Ideas!

Several new ideas were discussed, including the possibility of a student store, a family dance night and ways to show our appreciation for teachers.  Stay tuned for a survey from the PTO to gather more ideas for next year and to provide feedback on your experiences to date.  The PTO board will be meeting soon to kick off our planning for the next school year and we value your feedback!

Celebrate Reading this Week at O’Hara!

This week America commemorates the birthday of one of our most beloved children’s authors, Dr. Seuss! Like countless schools across the nation, O’Hara Elementary will honor Dr. Seuss’ legacy by celebrating Read Across America–a nationwide reading motivation and awareness program that calls for every child in every community to celebrate reading!

There are a couple of ways that O’Hara PTO is celebrating this week!

Scholastic Book Fair

1. Our annual Scholastic Book Fair will be held from Monday, February 25th through Friday March 1st in the O’Hara School Library. Students will have an allotted time during the school day to visit the Book Fair and buy books and other items. You are definitely welcome to join your child to shop in the Library during this time!

Items can be paid for with cash, credit card, check (made out to OEPTO), or a NEW e-wallet option, where you can electronically set aside funds for your child to use. Visit www.scholastic.com/bf/oharaelementaryschool for more information about this option. You can even purchase books online here!  All proceeds will benefit the O’Hara Elementary library!

Can’t make it to school during your child’s book fair slot? No worries!  You can send your child to school with cash or a signed check made out to “OEPTO” in an envelope, or use the e-wallet option mentioned above. Please include a note indicating any limit on purchases or a list of acceptable purchases. Please note: the average book cost is between $5 to $10 with 7% sales tax.

Want to support your child’s teacher? Great! You can donate books from a classroom book collection “wishlist” for each teacher.

All students will also receive one raffle ticket good for a chance to win an age-appropriate basket of books.

2. The O’Hara PTO will also be holding a Read Across America celebration during special EVENING Book Fair hours on Tuesday, February 26th from 6-8 pm. And this event will be so much MORE than just an opportunity to shop! We have also planned several Read Across America activities including a tattoo artist, a Dr. Seuss-related craft, collaborative story-writing and two mystery readers! No RSVP is necessary, you DO NOT need clearances to attend this free family event. Students who come to the evening book fair and Read Across America celebration get 2 additional raffle tickets!

We hope to see you there!



Last Evening Meeting of the School Year: 2/21 at 6pm

This Thursday we will host our last evening PTO meeting of the year at 6pm in the Auditorium. Throughout the years, we have received many requests for evening hours to accommodate the varying schedules of our families, and we look forward to seeing some new faces at the meeting!  Here’s what’s on the agenda:

  • Principal Update – Mrs. Batis will share a security update as well as information on the instructional decision making process.
  • Special Guest – The O’Hara Elementary Girls on the Run team leader will share information on the upcoming Spring session.
  • District Update – Sari Brecosky, Director of Literacy, will join us.
  • Reports from our District Forum, Teacher and PALS reps.
  • PTO Board and Committee Updates – your chance to hear about upcoming projects, volunteer opportunities and more!



O’Hara Family Movie Night


The O’Hara PTO invites O’Hara families to join us for a free Family Movie Night on Friday, February 22nd. We will be showing Incredibles 2 (PG) in the Auditorium.  Admission to Family Movie Night is free, and all guests will also receive a free popcorn!

Additional refreshments will also be available for purchase, with proceeds benefiting the O’Hara PTO fundraiser for the Sharpsburg Community Library. The Sharpsburg Community Library has recently been forced to cut its hours and reduce its budget due to a $64K deficit and we want to do everything we can to help protect this valuable community resource!

This is our first Family Movie Night, so we ask that you please RSVP if you will attend so that we have enough popcorn on hand for everyone.  You may also make a donation to the Sharpsburg Community Library when you RSVP.  Walk-ins will be welcome!

  • When:  Friday, February 22, 6:30PM Showtime (Doors open 6pm)
  • Where: O’Hara Elementary
  • Who:  O’Hara Elementary families (students must be accompanied by an adult)
  • Cost:  FREE!
  • What: Free Movie & Popcorn. Additional refreshments available for purchase.
  • RSVP Requested:  Help us plan: Let us know if you will attend!

Volunteer to Help

Volunteers are needed to help with set up, hand out free popcorn, sell refreshments, and to clean up after the event. Clearances are not required.  Sign up here.


INCREDIBLES 2 - Facebook



January Meeting Recap

Thank you to everyone who was able to attend are January 17th PTO meeting.  We look forward to seeing the “night owls” on Thursday, February 21st at 6pm for the last evening meeting of the school year.  Please help us spread the word to families who would appreciate the evening option!

Below is a recap of the meeting. Full minutes here.


At January’s meeting, we shared some exciting news about the O’Hara Foxes Club.  The OFC now has a chair (thank you, Meghann O’Mara Jones) , and has already added a new Spanish after school option that kicks off in February (sorry, all spots full!). If you are interested in leading an after school program, please email Meghann.

The PTO Board would like to thank long-time Chess Club Chair Alice Paviglianiti for dedicating countless hours over the years to inspire and encourage a love of chess in O’Hara students. After many years of championing the Chess Club, Alice is ready to pass the program on to someone else. The chair helps organize the afterschool program. Position responsibilities include overseeing attendance, dismissal, parent communication, and helping set the schedule for future chess sessions.  In the past, chess club has offered three sessions throughout the school year.  Each session is 6 weeks, and meets from 3:30-5:00 pm in the school library.  We would like this to keep this schedule, however we maybe open to other options based on volunteer response.  You do NOT need any chess knowledge to fill this roll.  However, school clearances are required.  Chess master, Bob Willson, will continue as the club’s instructional teacher. Please contact Meghann if you are interested or have any questions about this opportunity. Thank you!

Teacher Stipends and Spending Survey Result

The PTO provided a status of Teacher Stipend funds. $6,000 was approved this year to support our teachers through stipends, and to date we have dispersed almost $1,000. Purchases include lamps for the SMALL Lab, Boogie Board tablets for reading support, a classroom rug for the art department, and a math book for the gifted program.  Teachers have a deadline of April  30 to submit requests for funds.  The PTO also surveyed teachers to determine what they are spending out of pocket and what their most needed items are. You can view the teacher spending survey results here.  The PTO Board is considering ways we can use the results to better guide our support and find ways to keep our teachers stocked with their most needed items.

New Events Coming Soon

Several new events are coming soon – stay tuned for volunteer opportunities and more details:

February 22 – Family Movie Night at O’Hara – more details coming soon for an evening at O’Hara with family and friends!

February 26 – Read Across America Celebration during the Scholastic Book Fair: Many families may remember the Dr. Seuss event at Barnes & Noble led by O’Hara librarian Mrs. Fornari. The Read Across America Celebration will bring that event to O’Hara during the Scholastic Book Fair. Dr. Seuss themed activities will include a tattoo artist, mystery readers, crafts, and other literacy activities. The free event will be held from 6-8 p.m., during which time you can also shop the Scholastic Book Fair!   

May 11 – Garden Sale Pick Up: Plants will be available for sale from a local nursery.  Families will be able to advance order plants for pick up on the Saturday before Mother’s Day.  The PTO intends to use the funds raised for the Courtyard Improvement project.  Plans for developing the courtyard may include raised garden beds and outdoor classroom space, but the District needs to address a drainage issue before the project can move forward. Weather has delayed further attempts until the Spring. 


PALS Report

At the next meeting of PALS (Parent Advocates for Learning Support), Kerr School Resource Officer Scott Bailey will join part of the meeting to discuss the training FCASD SROs complete to prepare them to work with all students, specifically those with challenges that may cause a barrier in communication. He will also share information about trainings he offers to parents and children with special needs on how to identify and engage with emergency responders  The meeting is scheduled for January 30th at  9:15am at the Eat ‘n Park at Waterworks. Visit palsinfo.org for details. 

New RAPTOR System

Mrs. Batis provided a brief overview of the changes to volunteer clearances now that the District has adopted the RAPTOR system.  Existing clearances are loaded in the RAPTOR system, but the system checks to see if any offenses or issues have occurred since obtaining clearances that might be a cause for concern. The first time entering the building with the new system takes the longest, so plan to add a few extra minutes on your next visit.

OLWEUS Bullying Prevention Program

Mrs. Batis also provided an update on the OLWEUS bullying prevention program. O’Hara received a Safe Schools grant from Highmark, and our new teachers have now received Olweus training, and teachers will continue to receive training throughout the year.

New Student Advisory Committee

Mrs. Batis announced that a New Student Advisory Committee will begin rolling out soon.  The program is inline with the PTO’s efforts to getting our students more involved, with the ultimate goal of launching a Student Council next year.  The Student Advisory Committee will have two representatives from each homeroom, who will selected randomly from interested kids.  The committee will meet with the principals two times a month during the lunch period to provide input on a variety of topics.

Thank you!!

Mrs. Batis and the PTO Board thanks everyone for their support of the Make a Wish fundraiser and for the generous collection of funds for our staff for the holidays. Your generosity always amazes!