What We Fund


The PTO funds many exciting initiatives in District 29.  One of these initiatives is the PTO Teacher Gifts Grant Funding Program.  Parents, students and teachers submit proposals for school enhancements outside of the district budget.  Explore the 2020-21 approved grants or learn more about our other programs below.

PTO Teacher Gifts Grant Program
Every fall the PTO Teacher Gifts Grant Committee (formerly Ways and Means) collects funding requests made by teachers, staff, parents, or students that fall outside of the line item PTO or school budgets.  The PTO Gifts program allows the PTO to donate funds to provide further opportunities for District 29 students. The purpose of the PTO Gifts should be the following:

  1. To provide one-time start up “seed money”

Grants or contributions used to start a new project or club/organization.

  1. To fund requests that were not in the PTO/school approved budget (unexpected or extraordinary).

Something new comes up in the course of the school year and can’t be paid for at that time.

  1. To fund programs that extend or enhance the core instructional program.

Items that will enhance or improve the core curriculum within the school/classroom.

  1. To fund programs that benefit as many students as possible.

Either at the time of funding or long term.

The PTO encourages all teachers, staff, parents, and students to submit proposals for the PTO Gifts Grant Funding Program. Upon submission, all proposals will be vetted by the administration to determine if they can be or are already covered by the approved yearly budget. The vetted proposals will then be made available to all PTO members in order to solicit feedback. This feedback will be shared at the PTO Gifts Committee meeting, at which the Committee will review the proposals and funding will be determined. The PTO Gifts Grant Funding Committee is made up of Administrators, PTO Executive Board members, a School Board member, and teachers. Approved proposals will be announced by the following PTO meeting.

Submission Guidelines Download a Request Form

Holiday Projects

Every year, parents, teachers, children and administrators work together to sponsor a comprehensive donation effort towards the Northwestern Settlement House.  The PTO coordinates a food and gift donation effort in November and December.  Administration educates the children about the Settlement house in anticipation of the drive through school presentations. The PTO coordinates shopping trips for 5th-8th grader’s, and the parents and teachers accompany 4th grade students and the student council members to the Settlement House to stuff pinatas and stockings. Student Council children work with PTO chairs to load the trucks while the Dedicated Dolphins (2-3 grade Student Council) make labels for the gifts.


Junior Great Books Program
PTO led program for students in grades 2-5 that provides an opportunity for children to read selections, reflect, share their ideas and opinions about them in a group. They may call it their “own personal book group.” Literature has been chosen that challenges children, sparks ideas, and promotes thoughtful discussions. Discussions are led by trained parent volunteers.
School Supplies
The PTO works with SchoolKidz, a Staples Company, to pre-order all school supply lists for students in the district. By offering this service to parents, the district creates ease of preparing for a new school year. Orders can be made on the PTO website in the spring and then kits are delivered to the classroom and ready on the first day of school!
Mentor Program
The PTO is dedicated to making every new family feel welcome, and in doing so, we match them with a mentor family to answer any questions they have as they navigate the schools during their first year. Within the first few weeks of school, the PTO organizes a New Family Ice Cream Social to bring mentor families and new families together to enjoy and to continue to provide guidance. This has become a wonderful tradition within District 29.
Bike Safety Week (3rd Grade)

PTO assists Mrs. Kasper in bringing a fun and educational experience to third graders regarding Bike Safety. They review rules of bike safety, have bikes registered with the village, and learn the best and safest route from their home to school. It is a worthwhile and fun week that gets third graders prepared to head to school soon after on “their wheels.”

AM Recreation Program at SRS (4th & 5th Grade)
The PTO fully funds the SRS AM Recreation Program for the 4th and 5th grade. Should a parent need to drop their child off early at SRS, the AM Rec program allows kids to come in before school starts and have fun in the gym. The program is available Mon, Tues, Thurs, and Fri mornings and is supervised by SRS PE teachers.
Social Dance (6th Grade)
Get on your dancing shoes! All 6th graders are invited to this grade specific opportunity in which students work with professional dance instructors that lead them through a variety of dances.
Dances are held on specific Fridays in October through December. The fun ends with a student and parent dance which is fun for all!
Outdoor Education program (6th Grade)
Outdoor Education is a unique educational opportunity offered to the sixth grade students of Sunset Ridge School. Students spend two days and one night at YMCA Camp Duncan, located in Ingleside, Illinois. It is a time to spend participating in team building activities that build leadership, trust, communication, teamwork and listening skills. Students also can apply what they have learned in the classroom to the outdoors! This overnight experience also represents many firsts for our students: their first time away from home, their first time camping, and it has also become their first experience without a digital connection. There are many benefits to the Outdoor Education program such as building community and culture while helping to develop positive feelings and amazing memories.  

Shakespeare Theater (7th & 8th Grade)
With the generous support of the PTO, each year the 7th and 8th graders experience a performance of one of Shakespeare’s plays, adapted for students by the Chicago Shakespeare Theater. This essential part of the ELA curriculum helps students understand both the language and themes of classic Shakespeare works as presented in new and modern performances. After the performance, students have the opportunity to interact with the performers and the director to learn more about how theater works behind the scenes, including sets, staging, sound, costumes, and casting. 
8th Grade Events
8th Grade is a big year that brings great excitement and many additional activities for those soon to be graduates. Events include: school year kick-off party; midwinter party; beach potluck party; yearbook signing party; 8th grade graduation ceremony, reception, and after party. Makes us all want to go back to 8th Grade to join in the FUN!
Coding Program at Middlefork
As many parents know, computer coding has become necessary knowledge in our ever-changing technology world. Funds raised through the PTO have been able to fully fund this great program at Middlefork, where kids can learn to code before, during or after school, at no cost to the parent.
Teacher Appreciation
To convey our gratitude and appreciation for faculty, staff and administration, the PTO organizes special events and treats during Teacher Appreciation Week.

  • Responsible for organizing a special week for District 29 employees.
  • Create a project for the students to express their appreciation for District 29 faculty and staff.
  • Provide daily treats and catered luncheon.
  • Decorate the teacher lounges.
Provides interesting speakers and author visits for both schools and searches for and funds engaging assemblies for both schools.
Classroom Parties
PTO Members work with Room Parent Volunteers to fund and staff each of the classroom parties including the Halloween Party, Winter Sing, Winter Break Party, Valentines Day Party, Splash Party and the PAARC Test Party.

Field Day
A fun-filled day in which students rotate amongst game and activity stations.  Under Mrs. Kasper’s leadership, the PTO parents lead the stations and provide support to make this day possible.
Directory / Kaleidoscope
PTO publishes an online school directory to assist parents with “on the go” contact information for families within the District 29 Community. PTO also funds The Kaleidoscope, a collection of stories and poems created by Middlefork students that is an awaited and welcomed piece to read and share as a family. The Kaleidoscope is distributed towards the end of the school year.

Library Materials
Each school year the PTO grants both Sunset Ridge and Middlefork School libraries $1,000.00 each towards the purchase of new materials for the libraries. Through this effort, children are able to enjoy the latest and greatest titles in literature each year.
Book Fair
Every Fall, the PTO holds a Book Fair for District 29 families. It is a great venue to find age-appropriate books for the entire family and an opportunity to purchase books for District 29 based on the librarians’ and teachers’ Wish Lists. Whether browsing books, listening to an administrator read a special picture book, or enjoying a staff Reader’s Theater production it is always a fun event!

Family Fun Night
Hosted in partnership with the Northfield Park District, the Family Fun Night is an evening for our community to enjoy, relax, laugh and celebrate another completed school year and beginning of summer with staff, family and friends. Farmer’s Market + Face Painter + Airbrushed Tattoos + Bounce Houses + Gaga Ball + Bingo + DJ + Family Races + Food Trucks + Beer & Wine Tent + Live Entertainment = A FABULOUS kick off to summer!



Additional Programs funded by the PTO:
Back to School Luncheon, Gifts to celebrate staff anniversaries, Staff Conference Meals, Holiday Projects, Buses for students to Northwestern Settlement House, Biennial Winter Benefit, Family Service Night, 8th grade Graduation and Reception and Retirement Celebrations.