PTO Facts


The Whittier Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) is an all volunteer, non profit organization dedicated to helping the students of Whittier Elementary receive the best education possible. The PTO consists of an elected leadership team, volunteer committee chairs, and lots and lots of parents/guardians and faculty/staff who donate their time and energy to make the programs the PTO supports a success.

The PTO spends the majority (75%) of it’s annual budget supporting academic programs. From author visits to field trip support, the PTO helps ensure all of Whittier’s students receive the best education possible.

Student & Family Events
One of the PTO’s objectives is to foster a sense of community within the school and between school and home. Why? Because studies have shown time & time again that when families interact with their schools, children do better. School events are a great way to socialize with other families, interact with the school staff and to show your child that school’s an important part of their life and yours.

The PTO pays for all the programs and events it supports through fundraising and donations. There are several ongoing fundraisers and some that are once or twice a year events.

Take a look at all the events, fundraisers and programs the PTO supports below. You’ll be amazed at all the things we do!

Back to School Picnic
Organizer: Laura Temple Wesley
An annual event held in the early fall to welcome new and returning families to another exciting year at Whittier! The PTO provides the main course and the entertainment. Everyone enjoys this evening with the Whittier community!

Fall Harvest Dance
Organizer: 5th Grade Girl Scouts
Enjoy an evening of dancing and socializing with your fellow Whittier families. A donation to the Oak Park Food Pantry is the admission ‘fee’. The kids love to do the Limbo and Chicken dance with their friends and families! Volunteers are needed to help with set up & clean up.

Pumpkin Festival and Halloween Parade
This is an annual school sponsored event that the PTO contributes to financially. Now in its 67th year, this event encourages the student’s creativity and imagination. All of the pumpkin contest participants receive a ribbon and trophies are given for the top three winners in each category. The parade is a fun event that allows all the students the opportunity to see everyone’s costumes.

Turkey Trot
Organizer: Mr. Coglianese
This is an annual school sponsored event that the PTO contributes to financially. Third through fifth graders can compete in a mile run around Taylor Park during the week before Thanksgiving. Winners receive a free turkey.

End of Year Picnic
A picnic held on the playground to bring a close to another great year of learning, sharing, and fun! Volunteers are needed to help set up, serve food and clean up.

Olympic Day
Chairpersons: Julie Burwell and Megan Galeener
Whittier ends each school year with a day of games followed by a pizza lunch. The kids love the challenge and time spent outdoors on this day of fun, sport and camaraderie! Volunteers are needed to help with the games.

SIT Family Nights
The PTO provides the meal for these fun family nights organized by the School Improvement Team (SIT). Enjoy dinner and conversation with other parents and Whittier teachers. After dinner a variety of activities or games are planned that the whole family can enjoy.

Wildcat Fun Run
Fun Run is a walk/run-a-thon, kid style. It is a healthy way of promoting positive character qualities and healthy habits while having fun supporting a cause. Kids gather pledges for the PTO and walk/run laps on Whittier field for 40 minutes, jammin’ to cool tunes. Afterward, we celebrate by sharing healthy snacks.

Book Fairs
Organizers: Karen Doyle and Gayla Morales
The PTO holds a fall and spring book fair every year during parent-teacher conferences. The students have an opportunity to ‘shop’ with their classroom during the school day or they can create wish-lists to share with their parents. Watch for flyers and notices in early fall and spring for more information. Lots of volunteers are needed to help set up, sell & clean up.

Art To Remember
Chairperson: Terri McConville
Every year the students of Whittier create original works of art that are turned into keepsakes. Families can purchase coffee mugs, pillows, t-shirts, magnets, bookmarks, and much more with their child’s artwork reproduced on these items. The kids are proud to see their artwork displayed on ‘everyday’ items and they make great gifts for family and friends. Check out for more information.

Fun Fair
Chairpersons: Kate Haarvei and Amy Soumar
Come enjoy carnival games and good food at this annual spring event.

Whittier Wear
Chairperson: Christine Diedrich
Whittier Wear t-shirts and hoodies can be ordered online during one of the several sales that the PTO holds throughout the year.

Whittier Is Enriched! (WISE)
Chairpersons: Stephanie Thomas, Lynn Duschene, Maureen Spain, Amanda Zoloto, Aimee Eicher
The PTO is proud to offer after school enrichment programs. Each year the PTO organizes and facilitates a Fall, Winter and Spring session of classes. Each session is 9-10 weeks in duration and offers about a dozen different classes to choose from. The classes take place from 3:15pm to 4:15pm (2:15pm to 3:15pm on Wednesday) and a snack is provided. There are need-based scholarships available to ensure this program is available to all Whittier students. From YogaKids to Chess Scholars, everyone is bound to find something of interest!

World Language Program
Chairperson: Lori Robert
Sponsored by the PTO, the World Language Program gives students in grades 2-5 the opportunity to learn French, German, or American Sign Language once a week during the lunch hour. The program is funded entirely by families with participating students and gives the students an exciting introduction to foreign languages.

Box Tops
Chairperson: Kellie McGinnis
This is an easy fundraiser that everyone can help with by collecting box tops from products you probably already purchase. Clip the box top & drop it in the collection box in the school lobby.

Birthday Books
Chairperson: Terri McConville
During a student’s birthday month (or ½ month for summer birthdays) families are offered the opportunity to donate a book to Whittier’s library in their child’s name. The children love to see their name and picture in the donated book and they get to be the first to check it out! Although flyers are sent home during the child’s birthday month, donations can be made to commemorate any occasion. See our Get Involved page for a donation form.

Green Team

Chairperson: Kristen Hollinden and Tammy Adkins
The PTO funds the Green Team’s initiatives. Check out their page to see all the cool stuff this group of parents and staff does for our school.

The PTO’s volunteers produce, sell & distribute the annual Whittier yearbook. Volunteers are needed to help create the yearbook and collect and organize orders.

Greenleaf Newsletter
The Newsletter is a monthly newsletter assembled by PTO volunteers. Each month look for articles from the Principal, Librarian, PTO co-presidents, and the Green Team. Also, every month there are student contributions, photographs from recent school events, and information on upcoming ones.

Academic Achievement Support (ACES-All Children Experience Success)
The PTO helps fund this program. The program addresses the academic needs of students K-5 in a small group setting after school. With one teacher per 4/5 students, participants get the attention they need in order to make progress quickly.

Camp Edward
Every year our 5th graders venture out for a 3-day outdoor education experience. They come back with more self-confidence, a great sense of nature and wonderful tales of adventure! The PTO helps make this trip possible for every student with an annual donation for need-based financial assistance.

Collaboration for Early Childhood Care and Education
This non-profit’s vision is to “…foster high quality early care and educational experiences and support to families so that all children will have the opportunity to develop their full potential, and feel loved and valued in our caring, diverse community.” Several Whittier teachers volunteer with the Collaboration, and Whittier directly benefits from the Collaboration’s goal of helping every child to arrive at kindergarten safe, healthy, ready to succeed and eager to learn.

Field Trips
Field trips are a great way to expand upon lessons learned in the classroom. Each year the PTO provides funds for the transportation costs of one field trip per class.

The PTO helps pay for various magazine subscriptions for our school library.

Teacher Classroom Support & Grants
The PTO donates a $100 to each teacher at the beginning of the school year to purchase items for their classrooms. We also offer teachers and resource instructors the opportunity to apply for grants in the amount of $250 to $500. Funds may be used for a variety of resources, such as learning materials, furniture for the classrooms or bringing in speakers to help engage students in a particular topic. The PTO leadership team reviews and awards the grants several times throughout the school year.

Technical Support
In past years, the PTO has helped fund the school’s technical purchases, such as the Elmo boards used in the classrooms.

Whittier Directory
The PTO’s volunteers compile all the student and parent information to create our school’s yearly directory.

Tuesday Newsday Packets
Each week PTO volunteers help assemble and distribute handouts to all the Whittier families.

Contact: David Gulbransen
PTO volunteers created and maintain this website.