PTA Committees


Most of the larger projects at PS 261 are spearheaded from within a committee. These committees are always looking for new members! Below is a list of the PS261 PTA committees and what they do.

5th GRADE COMMITTEE   Chair: Open

The 5th Grade Committee organizes the 5th-grade activities and souvenirs, which include a 5th-grade project, a class t-shirt, a yearbook, a party, and the end of year celebration. The committee holds fundraisers throughout the year to make sure all children can participate.


Sophia Straker-Babb, Nancy Ziegler Nayar

Nancy Ziegler Nayar and Sophia Straker-Babb

PS 261 has a unique, PTA-led After School Program that operates five days a week, from the end of the school day until 6 pm, and provides high-quality, low-cost after-school care to PS 261 students. We can do this because of the hard work and dedication of the After School Committee, a small team of parents that oversees the After School Program. The After School Committee functions primarily as a board of directors for the program, managing its budget, facilitating new ideas and initiatives for the program, and otherwise supervising its operations. The after school committee meets once per month in the evenings from 6 to 7 pm.  Members may also take on the responsibilities of projects outside of the meeting times, as their schedules and interests permit. This committee provides a volunteer opportunity designed to accommodate the schedules of working parents like those most likely to depend on the afterschool program.


Committee Chair: Open

The Arts Committee has a long history of engaging 261 students, staff, and community in all forms of arts programming. We bring creativity, wonderment, and fun to daily school life through our dynamic events intended to surprise and inspire. We organize hands-on art project stations at Fall Fest and Maker Night and host Arts Week—a unique series of immersive activities that include the Talent Show, guest artist workshops for each classroom, performances by our Afterschool clubs, art installations throughout the school, and spontaneous acts of art that in the past have included classical violin in the hallways, mimes in the lobby and a DJ at lunch. We also organize in-school artist residencies, generate partnerships with organizations like the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and collaborate with other PTA committees and initiatives to support the interdisciplinary efforts and arts enrichment across the school.
Time Commitment: The Arts Committee meets the first Wednesday of every month and welcomes volunteers for special events and other committee support that can be done remotely. We invite any level of participation—no particular artistic skills required—just interest!


Committee Co-Chairs: Jenny Fox, [email protected], and Danielle Contray, [email protected]

Danielle Contray and Jenny Fox

The PTA Book Committee’s mission is to promote a love of reading and inspire students to explore the world through books. Throughout the year we support teachers by helping them select and source quality books for their classroom libraries that reflect the diverse community at PS 261. We are also launching an author visits series and run Book Talk, a program for more advanced readers in the upper grades. Our most significant feel-good fundraising events are the annual Dollar Book Fair, where donated books are sold for a dollar or less, and the Read-a-Thon, where students get sponsored for minutes read. These events raise thousands of dollars for the school and also get thousands of books into the hands of students. 

FUNDRAISING COMMITTEE Committee Chair: Kim Haden

Kim Haden

The fundraising committee oversees all fundraising activities of the PS261 PTA and works together with the administration, teachers, and parents to make these efforts more inclusive, effective, and fun. We brainstorm new ideas while making sure existing fundraisers meet the needs and expectations of the school. We are hoping to raise money to renovate our library, provide assistant teachers to each grade, and to build a STE(A)M Lab. The fundraising committee meets monthly at 8:30 am for about an hour in Heather Weston’s office. You can be involved on an ongoing basis or to help out with a specific fundraising event/goal.

SOCIAL ACTION COMMITTEE Committee Co-Chairs Nikki Caliste and Suzy Meyers Jackon

The mission of the Social Action Committee is to:

  1.  Create structures, organize events and lead the parent community to build relationships across difference so that we can support each other and the school more effectively and model for our children,
  2.  Respond to social and political needs in the community and
  3.  Advocate and provide support for a curriculum that addresses racial and social justice and involves and amplifies student’s voice

In 2017-18, the Social Action Committee will organize a Fall Family Potluck, a Spring Family Picnic and the annual teach-in and day of service for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. day.  Committee members also coordinate workshops and groups where parents can learn and collaborate on how to be in an authentic community across difference and parenting issues related to racial and social justice, communication, and identity development.  And we take part in an ongoing Listening Campaign, designed to ensure that all voices in the 261 community are heard. The Social Action Committee meets once a month, and everyone is encouraged to join.

STEM COMMITTEE Committee Chair: Open

STEM is an acronym for the integration of the four disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Last year PS261 formed a STEM committee focused on educating, engaging, and enticing our children in these interdisciplinary areas. Some exciting activities planned so far for this year include: Big Apple Crunch promoting healthy eating, Engineering is Elementary projects integrated into the science curriculum, school-wide Science Fair, math nights, and much more! We plan to meet monthly and could use your help. Inquiry leads to innovation and success. Let’s get our kids asking “what if” and “why” more often!

WELLNESS COUNCIL Chair: Andrea Strong, [email protected]

The Wellness Council is devoted to making our community a healthy, lively, mindful, and environmentally-conscious place to live, learn, and play. Our agenda includes growing and maintaining our garden, encouraging recycling and sustainability, teaching our kids and their families about nutrition and fitness, beautifying our school with art and greenery, and engaging all of us in school-wide wellness-related events that foster community, such as staff appreciation events, outdoor yoga parties, family wellness nights, cultural potlucks, community service and so much more!  We look forward to sharing many days of gardening, cooking, dancing, eating, and playing together.

Garden Committee Co-Chairs: Nadine Berger and Aimée Schiwal