PTO Events and Services

PTO Events, Programs and Services

Simply stated, the main mission of the Hillside PTO is to enhance the Hillside community. By organizing volunteer efforts, and contributing resources to the school through monetary, and in-kind donations, the Hillside PTO is able to provide a wide range of services and benefits to the Hillside community. To understand the depth and breadth of “what the PTO does,” please take a look at the below list of PTO endeavors organized into (1) sponsored school events, (2) services, and (3) liaison or outreach activities.

PTO Sponsored School Events

Newcomer’s Ice Cream Social (August/September) This event is the PTO’s first opportunity to welcome new students and new families to the Hillside Community. Parents, Teachers, Administrators, and staff come to chat while the children play on the playground and enjoy ice cream. Families new to Hillside elementary school are encouraged to attend and bring siblings along for a fun evening event! Many PTO executive board members attend and are happy to answer questions about all things Hillside and all things Niskayuna! For an Event Recap please click here.

Fall Social (September) All Hillside parents, faculty, administrators, and staff are invited to come socialize while the children play on the playground and participate in fun organized outdoor games refereed by parent volunteers. Refreshments and snacks are also part of this great laid back event. Siblings are always welcome!! For event recaps please click here.

Picture Day (October/November) Dress the boys in shirts with collars (if you can!) and the girls in their best… it’s time for School Pictures!

1000 Books Early Reader Program (Kickoff event October) What a wonderful way to inspire the love of reading with pre-readers, emerging readers, and early readers!! Incoming kindergartners and students through 2nd grade borrow red hillside book bags filled with a selection of 10 wonderful age-appropriate books. Your child will love seeing his or her name on the 1000 books board with recognition given for 250 books, 500 books, 750 books, and 1000 books! click here to read more..

Hillside’s Harry Potter Night (October) Welcome to the Wonderful World of Hogwarts at Hillside!! Whether its potion making, crafts in the classroom, Quidditch in the gym, or special Harry Potter inspired snacks, there will be something for everyone to enjoy! Parents are invited to bring their children dressed in the house colors of their assigned Quidditch team (from gym class)! Siblings are always welcome!! Update: Hillside's Harry Potter night was magical! Click here to see an event re-cap and photos.

Craft Night (December) Liven up a cold December evening with a dose of creativity. This annual event is a hit with boys and girls alike! Siblings are always welcome! Update: with 8 great crafts to complete, this year's craft night was an unqualified success. Click here to see an eve

Preschool Gym and Story Hour (begins January) Hillside welcomes next year’s kindergarten class to visit Hillside and get familiar with the school (especially the library and the gym) as they enjoy books read by our amazing media specialist Debbie Ubriaco and are put through the paces by one of our wonderful PE teachers! This program runs for 7-12 weeks. It is a DON’T MISS event for every pre-k kid! Update: Our Preschool Gym and Story Hour had another great turn-out this year! Click here for Event Recap!!

Family Boogie Night (January) Definitely mark this date on your calendar! Do you know the funky chicken? How about the Macarena? This themed dance has been a favorite for years!! Dress up in a costume and come ready for FUN! Siblings are welcome!! Click here to see an event recap and photos.

Ziti Dinner (February) Our Hillside teachers roll-up their sleeves for a good cause at this annual event. Each year, the teachers select a worthy charity, and the proceeds from this yummy Ziti Dinner are donated. The PTO is proud to support our teachers and help organize and implement this wonderful philanthropic event! Click here to see the event recap and photos.

Family Movie Night (January) Stay out of the cold and visit the Niskayuna High School with your Hillside Friends! This all-family event will give parents a place to socialize (if they wish) while the kids enjoy an age-appropriate movie with school friends. There will be beverages and snacks at intermission so that everyone can enjoy a night at the movies. Siblings are welcome!! Family Movie Night drew movie watchers in all grades and got smashing reviews. Click here to see an event recap and photos.

Staff Appreciation Luncheon (March ) While we try to show the teachers, administrators and staff how much we value their work all year long, nothing says thank you like a hot catered lunch and home baked desserts!

Ice Cream Social (June) Parents, teachers, administrators and staff socialize while the children play at the playground and enjoy ice cream. Siblings are welcome!!Click here for a recap of the yummy end-of year event


Special Projects/ Capital Improvements Over the years, the PTO has planned, funded, and implemented projects that resulted in major improvements to Hillside Elementary School. Our wonderful playground is an example of one such project spearheaded by PTO volunteers and funded by PTO fundraising efforts. In response to constant requests by the Hillside community, in 2013-14, the PTO purchased and installed a shade structure, picnic tables and benches to augment the playground. The shade structure was installed in November 2013 (with help from school district personnel) and provides teachers with an outdoor space for exploration. It also provides Hillside families with a shady place to enjoy the playground outside of school hours. To read more about the project please click here.

ASEP –After School Enrichment Program (Fall and Spring) PTO volunteers plan, organize and run this hugely popular Hillside program. ASEP classes run from 2:20 until 3:20 and give students at all grade levels the opportunity to enjoy physically and/or mentally enriching activities. Click Here for more information about ASEP.

Backpacker The Hillside Backpacker is a weekly e-newsletter that is designed to keep parents, teachers, administrators, staff and students informed about programs, events, services, and current events at the school (or that impact the school).

Annual School Support Projects Each year the PTO funds programs, services, or the purchase of equipment to improve the school. For example, in 2012-13, the school support fund was used to purchase a program to enhance the work done by our speech and counseling professionals. As a result, PTO funds positively impacted students at all grade levels who receive speech services at Hillside… a benefit that will continue to accrue as the program is used in future years. Another example were the PTO investments made in 2014. That year, our school support budget line item purchased a myriad of new equipment requested by faculty and staff including:

1) File cabinet for the front office

2) Chair rack for folding chairs for the custodial staff

3) New Ova Scope Candlers for the 1st Grade Science Program (Candlers are used to look inside eggs to see the embryo)

4) Several new maintenance-free chairs for the computer lab

5) New climbing ropes for the PE program

6) Saplings for the Nature Trail

Class Dues Each year, the PTO gives all of the classroom teachers a stipend for the purchase of supplies for their classrooms. The “class dues” collected in September are used to fund this program but they are most often augmented by additional funds raised through other PTO fundraisers. For example, in 2013-14, The Hillside PTO reimbursed $120.00 in classroom supplies for each Hillside teacher.

Assemblies Each Year, PTO volunteers plan, coordinate, and partially fund enriching programs that are taught by educational specialists from outside of our school. For example, in 2013-14, the first assembly of the year focused on anti-bulling as Domino the Great presented his program "Buddies not Bullies" to all grades. The Assemblies committee also brought Motoko, a Japanese storyteller to Hillside for presentations to the 3rd grade and the Scotia-Glenville Museum came to present to the 1st grade. The final all-school assembly of the year was a presentation filled with facts about simple machines by Ted Lawernce of Slapstick Science. Click Here for a recap of the 2013-14 assemblies.

Visiting Author, Artist or Musician: PTO volunteers plan, coordinate, and partially fund an author, artist or musician visit. For example, in 2012-13, Sharon Swain, local author of the “Camp Kids” books inspired Hillside writers and gave a tutorial on how to sketch sea creatures for each class. Another example was our visitor in 2014-15. That year, Hillside hosted a visiting artist. The children completed a school wide tile project that is on permanent display in the lobby! Click Here to read more about the 2014 visiting artist and the "1001 Faces Portrait Project". Another example is when in 2015 Caldecott & Geisel Award Winning Author/Illustrator Laura Vaccaro Seeger visited Hillside. Click here for details.

Spirit Wear / Apparel Sale (Fall) Because it is expensive to produce high-quality Hillside apparel, the PTO runs the apparel sale in the Fall as service to the Hillside Community and does not mark-up the items to make a profit. New Hillside parents take note, there are several days during the school year when the kids like to wear Hillside tee shirts- for Field Day, ACES Day, School Spirit Day, Niska Day, and others.

Help to Families in Need- Throughout the year, and at the discretion of Dr. Fasciglione, the school principal, the PTO coordinates services and assistance, including financial assistance, to Hillside families in need.

5th Grade Yearbook Each year, the PTO organizes parent volunteers to plan, assemble, and distribute the 5th Grade Yearbook- an important keepsake for our oldest students as we send them off to (gasp) MIDDLE SCHOOL!

PARP – Parents As Reading Partners (Ongoing) The PARP program is a great way to motivate elementary school readers. In exchange for recording time spent reading and meeting reading goals, PARP participants can earn monthly rewards ( coupons for a personal pizza from Pizza Hut or a Hillside pencil!)

School Banking – (Year Long) - Hillside school banking is a program sponsored by First NY Federal Credit Union. It allows students to make weekly deposits right at school; only requiring a minimum deposit of of $0.25. Students are eligible for prizes after every 3rd deposit which they receive in school. After making 15 deposits, the student is eligible for a movie ticket. The program takes place every Friday morning in the lobby.

Library Volunteers (Year Long) Are you good at putting books in alphabetical order? Would you like to spend time with your child’s class while they visit the media center? PTO volunteers coordinate parents to assist in the library with reshelving books, checking books out, and assisting Mrs. Ubriaco with class projects and assignments. For parents with older children, this can be a great way to help out your child’s class.

PTO Community Liaison Activities

SBL School Board Liaisons PTO Volunteers attend regularly scheduled school board meetings and report information back to our PTO.

FOM – Friends of Music Liaison – PTO Volunteers attend/participate in the monthly FOM meetings and report information back to our PTO. Niskayuna Friends of Music is a volunteer organization dedicated to fostering the music education, performance and enjoyment of the students of the Niskayuna school district. Niskayuna is well known for its musical excellence!

Health Advisory Board Liaison – PTO volunteers attend/participate in the Health Advisory Board meetings and report information to our PTO. The Niskayuna Health Advisory Committee meets monthly throughout the school year to address issues related to the health curriculum as well as other health and wellness initiatives and concerns throughout the school.

Niskayuna Community Action Program (N-CAP) Representative – PTO volunteers attend/participate in monthly N-CAP meeting and report information back to the PTO. N-CAP is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing and supporting programs important to people residing or working within the Niskayuna Central School District, or the Town of Niskayuna, with an emphasis on reducing substance abuse by youth and building a strong, effective community coalition.

SDM – Shared Decision Making Liaison PTO volunteers attend regularly scheduled committee meetings, made up of teachers, parents, support staff, administration and a non-parent community members and report information back to our PTO.

Learning Fair (March) The Hillside Learning Fair is an annual school-wide display of independent study student projects organized by PTO volunteers. Participation in this event is so widespread that it fills the school gym and the cafeteria. It is open to all students at Hillside, and family members and siblings are encouraged to attend. Click Here for more about The Learning Fair.

Ashley Brown Photography (Spring) This is an event where families can sign up to purchase outdoor portrait sessions. This event occurs in the spring. Dates of sessions TBA.

Book Awards (June) Each year, PTO volunteers coordinate student votes at each grade level for the Hillside Book Awards. The Hillside Book Award winners are announced on June 6th and a guest storyteller treats the kids to a reading. The Buy-One-Get–One-Free book fair is held on the same day and the Ice Cream Social is also the evening of June 6th . To learn more about this wonderful event to promote literacy, please click here for a recap of the Book Awards!