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$26,000 and counting

Come next fall, recess at Bailey Elementary could take on a whole new look.

For the past two years, the Bailey Elementary PTA has been trying to raise money to purchase new playground equipment through the "Recess Rocks" campaign. The campaign, started in the fall of 2008, aims to raise money to purchase new playground equipment, while encouraging more active children in school and at home.

"We're going to keep the existing playground," PTA member Denise Mok said. "We're just going to add a piece to it."

Over the past two years the Bailey Elementary PTA has raised $26,000 through a variety of fundraisers such as spaghetti dinners, classroom penny drives, entertainment book sales, Barnes and Noble fundraisers and collecting empty ink cartridges and cell phones.

"The parents have been very supportive," PTA member Barb Daly said.

The PTA is hoping to raise the remaining $24,000 by the end of the year.

District 833 does not provide any funding for new playground equipment.

The equipment that the PTA is hoping to purchase is targeted more toward fourth and fifth graders who have outgrown a lot of the equipment currently at the school, Daly said.

"We're hoping to get something for the older kids and get them off the concrete," she said. "The older kids aren't really interested in the little slides or swings."

Mok said the equipment will be something that will keep the kids continually moving.

"It's not so much climb and sit, but more twist and turn," she said. "We want to get more of them active."

In conjunction with the fundraising efforts, the PTA is also campaigning to get more kids active during recess.

Some of the additional incentives the PTA has developed through "Recess Rocks" include implementing more active activities during indoor recess, encouraging teachers to take their kids outside for extra play time rather than having pizza parties, sending out a newsletter to parents with tips on how to get their kids outside and active and even starting a morning exercise for students.

The final push

The PTA has several fundraising opportunities planned for the remainder of the school year to help with the final push to raise the rest of the money.

Last week the PTA had a "Feed Bailey the Bobcat" fundraiser where students placed money in the food dish of a sculpture of Bailey Elementary's mascot "Bailey the Bobcat."

Mok said the PTA is hoping to bring Bailey out two more times this year.

A fundraiser this winter will be an "Elf on the Shelf" fundraiser.

In February, the school is hoping to have a "read-a-thon" fundraiser.

Additionally, the PTA will be selling hanging flower baskets, from Zywiec's Landscaping and Greenhouse in Cottage Grove, during the annual Woodbury Lions Garage Sale in May.

"We have some great fundraisers this year to build the excitement," Daly said.

Mok said organizers are really trying to keep the "Recess Rocks" campaign and fundraising in the forefront of the students' and parents' minds: they have even set up a barometer at the school showing how much further the school has to go to reach its goal.

"It's more to get awareness out there to the kids and get them excited about the playground," she said. "In past years, interest has kind of died out because it's not always on their mind.

"We're trying to keep it fresh in everyone's mind so that this is hopefully our last year."

Both Mok and Daly said they are optimistic about reaching their $50,000 goal by the end of the school year because students and parents are getting excited.

"I think the kids are ready for some more equipment," Daly said.

Bailey Elementary is always accepting donation to its "Recess Rocks" campaign. All donations to the "Recess Rocks" campaign can be mailed directly to Bailey Elementary, 4125 Woodlane

Amber Kispert-Smith

Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.

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