Fundraising Winds Down as Recruiting Enters Full Swing

More Money Talk
With the No-Hassle Fundraiser behind us, we are still doing some internal evaluation about how it went and how we might improve things next year when this time comes around again. Check back for updates on what we glean from our analysis. You can always send your thoughts or questions to

We sometimes receive questions from parents such as: Is it possible to know exactly how my donation will be used? Can we direct our donation to a specific activity or type of purchase? There is no easy answer. That is because “earmarking” funds donated during the No-Hassle Fundraiser makes bookkeeping more difficult and can make accomplishing our full scope of work for the year more challenging. It could even result in us having to under-fund some activities or leave some funds unused if they can only be used for specific things. As a result, we generally discourage creating these types of restrictions on incoming donations; however, we try to work with each donor to figure out a way to address any concerns they have.

Where Does the Money Go?
Our biggest ticket items are Instruction Support and Student Support, which each represent about 40 percent of our allocated budget. Instruction Support pays for things like teaching and classroom management equipment, technology support, specialty consumables for the science department such as dissection supplies, training courses, conferences and certification costs for teachers and staff. These expenses come to us as requests from teachers and staff, and then are processed by our Grants Committee, in addition to a $100 stipend available to each teacher and staff member. Student Support pays mainly for AP testing discounts for test takers (expanded this year) and tutoring. It also covers smaller expenses associated with orientation activities and mental wellness support. The next biggest chunk—12 percent—helps pay for Student Celebrations such as Coffeehouse and Senior Salute and other much smaller celebrations. Here is a graphic we shared at our first PFLASA meeting this year to give you a visual.

    If you are interested in being more involved with how PFLASA spends its money or plans its scope of work for the year, consider volunteering to be on the board next year. We know that time and availability may be a concern, but we do have members who work full time and still manage their board duties. We are always available to talk to parents about what the board does (or what any particular committee or committee chair does), so hit us up!

    Successful Trustee Forum
    On October 23rd, PTSA sponsored its 2022 LASA Trustee Forum. A big THANK YOU to Sarah Romo de Vivar, Jayne Rosso and many other volunteers who helped make this happen. Special thanks to Brendan McInerney who stepped in to facilitate at the last minute and time-keeper Summer McInerney. Special thanks also to LASA staff, including Mrs. Switek and Ms. SiFuentes, along with our tireless (but tired) principal, Ms. Crescenzi, who managed to make it to the recruiting events held last Tuesday (Oct 18) evening at LASA, as well as the district-wide high school fair on Saturday, and the forum on Sunday.

    The forum was very interesting! If you missed it—you can find some of the candidates’ written responses to questions here: LASA was well represented and we are grateful to all the parents and students who came out.

    Now … don’t forget to VOTE!!!! Early voting has already begun. Election Day is Tuesday, November 8, which also happens to be a student holiday!

    What’s Ahead
    Looking ahead, we have so many other things underway. In terms of recruitment of new LASA students for next year, there are several more opportunities for parents and families to learn about LASA on Oct 26 (at LASA) and Nov 3 (virtual). Spread the word! Mentoring is also ramping up and mentors are still needed. In addition, our Wellness Committee is meeting this week to begin planning some activities for parents. Chairs for these activities are, respectively, Virginia Jones, Jayne Rosso and Nina Miller.

    In other news, our Showcase Dinner for teachers will happen on November 16 and our hospitality chair, Olga Ovcharenko, will be planning that event. Our Giving Thanks Pie Event is set for the last day before Thanksgiving break—November 18—and is being organized by Rebecca Cook.

    Please email us at to be connected with any of these wonderful folks or just look for a volunteer sign up on the main LASA website. These are usually posted at least a week or so before the event at

    Latino Student Support

    Are you interested in getting more involved with the LASA Latino community (or do you have questions that others in the group may be able to answer?) Reach out to Lina Porras or Maria Cristina Hernandez, co-chairs of our Latino Outreach Committee, for more information about upcoming events and ways to engage. You can also email us at and we will connect you.

    Have a Spooky but Happy Halloween, y’all!

It’s October!

Happy October, everyone! It is even starting to feel a little like fall, at least in the mornings. And pumpkins have sure made their appearance at our local stores.

Our fundraising efforts have been going well, though we hope to garner even more donations this week for our No-Hassle Fundraiser—which ends Friday Oct 7th—and make a good showing on the Project Graduation Mini-Auction, which also wraps this week. If you missed it, don’t worry! There will be more opportunities to bid on a whole range of things during our general PG Auction, which happens in November. And you can donate directly anytime at

In other news, the application process for students wanting to attend LASA starts soon. Check this site for up-to-date information: PFLASA has a program that helps 8th graders in area middle schools with their applications, known as our Mentoring program. This year, there may be a shorter window of time for applicants than we have had in the past and dozens of volunteers will be needed. If you are interested in mentoring, please fill out this form and attend a training session on Monday, Oct 10 – 2:30 – 3:45 PM or Tuesday, Oct 18 – 8:30 – 9:45 AM.

Beyond mentoring, PFASA also helps organize and stage “Roadshows” and “Showcase”—key recruiting events that happen in October and November. Many volunteers will be needed for these events as well, so please keep your eyes peeled for calls to action and volunteer sign ups! As an update—LASA will hold the “Roadshows” on campus this year (so they will have a new name); these are currently planned for Oct. 18th, 26th and there will be a virtual event on Nov. 3.

Ms. Crescenzi has mentioned that she would like to offer some evening educational events for parents. You may have responded to a survey that was advertised during Back to School Night and subsequently in the Principal’s Message, which will help shape those events. PFLASA may be able to assist with putting some of these on, depending on the topics of interest, so stay tuned for more information on how that unfolds and what assistance may be needed from PFLASA.

Our Tutoring program is going well. If your college student or his/her friends are interested in tutoring in Physics, we could probably use another Physics tutor. Send inquiries our way at Some parents have asked about whether we can or will offer tutoring in other subjects such as Calculus, Pre-Calculus or writing. The short answer is, I don’t know. Ms. Crescenzi and her staff determine the needs. She will analyze “fail rates” at the end of the first 9 weeks, to see where students may be struggling the most. I would encourage parents to contact teachers and or Ms. Crescenzi directly with questions or concerns about tutoring. If we are asked to find tutors in other subjects, we will do all we can to recruit and hire them. In the meantime, check out these resources if your student needs additional support:

And don’t forget to urge your student to find office hours and attend regularly!

I will publish an update later this month to let everyone know how our fundraiser went. Meanwhile, there are two employee groups we are appreciating this month: custodians/housekeeping staff and bus drivers! Please join us in thanking them and honoring their service. We do have parent volunteers who have put together something special for both groups, but you can add to that by simply reminding your students to say, “Thank you,” and, as Ms. Crescenzi noted in her recent Principal’s Message, reminding them to clean up after themselves!

Speaking of saying “Thank You”, read on for a list of the brave and stalwart parents who have stepped up to lead or co-lead committees this year, and taken on other key leadership roles (in no particular order) …

• Diana Hubbard: Treasurer, PFLASA; Chair, Back to School Teacher Luncheon

• Nicole Truelock: Vice President, PFLASA; Chair, Spring Teacher and Staff Appreciation Lunch

• Lori Wallace: Vice-Chair, PFLASA Grants Committee; Coordinator, PFLASA Operations Manual

• Randi Bell: Assistant Treasurer, PFLASA; Co-chair, Teacher and Staff Appreciation

• Lisa Lyons: Chair, PFLASA Grants Committee; Lead, Project Graduation Grant Application and PFLASA Contract Review

• Elizabeth Bomba: Secretary, PFLASA

• Tammi Schroeder: Assistant Secretary, PFLASA

• Brandy Smallwood: Co-chair, Teacher and Staff Appreciation

• Lina Porras and Cristina Hernandez: Co-Chairs, Latino Outreach

• Nicole Basham and Stephanie Jarnigan: Co-Chairs/Editors, Lots of LASA Newsletter

• Stephanie Jarnigan and Emily Robson: Co-chairs, LASA Directory Update

• Yolanda Torres and Kary Goulet: Co-Chairs, Spanish Translation Team

• Velvet Hammerschmidt: Chair, Tutoring and Study Groups

• Jayne Rosso: Chair, Mentoring

• Virginia Jones: Chair, Roadshows and Showcase

• Rebecca Cooke: Chair, Giving Thanks Pie Event

• Nalini Kumar and Elise Su: Co-chairs, Senior Salute, Class of 2023

• Pete Gallego and María Elena Ramón: Co-Chairs, Project Graduation, Class of 2023

• Kristy Neff: Chair, Coffeehouse

• Meena Gopalsamy: Chair, Coffeehouse Ticket Sales

• Geeta Suggs (LASA Webmaster): Chair/Administrator, PFLASA Facebook Group; Chair, Bring Your Parent to School Days

• Olga Ovcharenko: Chair, Hospitality

• Kristin Davis: Chair, Fundraising

• Ami Cortes-Castillo: Project Graduation Auction

• Cara Firestone and Philip Courtois: Co-Chairs, PFLASA Technology

• Nina Miller: Chair, Wellness

• Cyril Kuhns: Chair, Alumni Group

Special thanks as well to the following volunteers for fulfilling other key roles:
• Financial Reconciliation (School Year 21-22): Michelle Manning and Bony Chatterjee
• New Teacher Bus Tour (Hosts): Meghan Riley & Omar Sayyed and Karen & John Rooff
• Project Graduation Auction: Summer McInerney, Ashley Thompson
• Appreciation Events: Claire Hobbs, Meggan Carcasi, Christal MacDonald, Belinda Roberts, Kristin Benton, and Jerry Haddican
• Zip Code Group Volunteers: Samantha Chang, Sara Rogers Smith, Randir Soni, and Heidi Connealy
• PFLASA Inventory System: Nancy Bachschmid

It would be nearly impossible to mention every volunteer by name, or acknowledge every effort made. But please know that PFLASA appreciates each and every parent contribution, whether you donate your money or time, whether you serve remotely or on campus, and whether you lend your support once or a dozen times. It is only through the collective efforts of the LASA community that we can accomplish all that we do.

Thank You!!!

In a separate post, I plan to talk about our Class Parent Representatives (Freshman, Sophomore, Junior and Senior) and what they are up to.

Enjoy some crisp weather and the gorgeous sunny days of October (if the ragweed doesn’t hit you too hard!). This month we meet on Oct 7th and 21st at 8:15 at LASA, in our usual room. Join us if you can!

PFLASA Blog 2022 Launches

Hello parents and friends! Welcome to our first PFLASA blog post of 2022!

Before reading further, you may be asking, with so many ways to communicate and stay connected at LASA and within PFLASA, what will this blog add to the mix? My hope is to provide informal updates and news that may provide a fuller picture of PFLASA activities and involvement than you might piece together from other sources, such as the Lots of LASA Newsletter, Google Group emails, Principal’s Messages, announcements on the LASA website or even our PFLASA meetings at the school. Each of these platforms has its own function, traditions, style and limitations as to space and time. Here, we can be a little more flexible.

One note before we jump in is to say that this blog is not conceived as subscription-based communication or specific promotion of events or drives. It is more of a letter to you, to read when you feel like it. Posts will live on the website for folks to check out at their leisure. If you are subscribed and would like to unsubscribe, feel free to do so. You will still see the link promoted in various places as a reminder and, of course, can check it out at any time. At the moment, I do not have a regular posting schedule established, but will try to post at least once per month.


We had a busy summer as we on-boarded the new members of our board and did some deeper planning for the year ahead. You can read more about PFLASA and see a list of current board members here:

Several board members took the lead to plan and organize events that happened before school even started, namely the New Teacher Bus Tour (Aug 4) and the Back-to-School Teacher Luncheon (Aug 11). Several of us were also on hand to welcome parents at New Parent Orientation that same day (Aug 11).

The New Teacher Bus Tour is a full day of activity. As part of the tour, a LASA parent hosts a breakfast for the new teachers and a panel of current LASA parents in their home, while another family hosts lunch for the same teachers and a panel of students later in the day. This year’s tour involved a bumper crop of new teachers, nearly 20, I believe. Many thanks to our hosting parents and their families who let us invade their space for a few hours in early August.

In July, the Latino Outreach Committee hosted a dinner at the LASA campus, after something of a hiatus in terms of such in-person events. It was fun and well-attended!

Our treasurer also worked hard over the summer to organize records, so that our annual financial reconciliation could be accomplished. PFLASA is a 501(c)3, and this is one of our annual “must dos”. We appreciate the volunteers who stepped up to do the needed review.

Check out a list of our committees and events here:


Once the school year began, PFLASA supported teachers with a hearty meal of BBQ before they met with parents at Back-to-School Night in September. We also kicked off our 2022 No-Hassle Fundraiser that same week. Both efforts are being led by new parent volunteer chairs and we are grateful for their service. The board also put together a tutoring and study groups program, which began this past week and will be chaired by another new parent volunteer we are very fortunate to have. (PS—Not naming names here, but I am working on a THANK YOU page to properly appreciate our many parent volunteers).

Meanwhile, the board has already fielded and approved several requests from teachers and staff for professional development and classroom support. In addition, we have committee chairs and members who have been working hard to get our Project Graduation Auction up and running, plan our teacher and staff appreciation activities for the year, review venue options for some of our celebratory major events, and much more. You will hear more about all of these efforts in future posts.

Never a dull moment when there is so much going on!


PFLASA had our kick-off meeting for the year on Aug 26th and enjoyed a wonderful turnout. We followed with our second meeting of the year on Sept 9th and saw many new and returning faces there. We know these meetings are hard for many folks to attend and we appreciate the effort that those who can and do come put forth! Even if you can only come occasionally, we would love to see you. Please introduce yourself when you do! Our next meeting is Sept 23rd.

Our meetings generally consist of some brief business (like approval of minutes), updates on committee activities, announcements on upcoming events and needs, and a report from our principal, Ms. Crescenzi, after which she takes questions from the group. See our list of scheduled meetings here:

What questions do you have for PFLASA board members? What else would you like to see shared on our dedicated website ( or addressed at our meetings? What are the ways you would like to contribute to the organization? Let us know at