With school open just a few weeks, parents at Gilbert’s newest elementary school have already raised $32,000 to purchase shade structures for the playgrounds.
Quartz Hill Elementary School opened in August with 600 students, and the Parent Teacher Organization began raising funds the same month.
“The parent group has just been really terrific,” said Clyde Dangerfield, assistant superintendent of business services for the Gilbert Unified School District. “It usually takes a group well into the school year to get operating. ... We’re all really impressed.”
The proceeds will allow the school to purchase three shade structures at roughly $10,000 apiece, and the PTO plans to have enough raised by the end of the year for a fourth.
The Quartz Hill families have some experience in starting a new school: Many were there when Spectrum Elementary School opened in 2003, as was principal Michael Hallock, who also moved to the new school.
In addition to donations and fundraisers that include selling entertainment books, T-shirts and directories, the PTO is selling tiles for students and families to paint. The tiles will be become a wall mural in front of the school.
As she and her son, Chad, painted their family mural tile, parent Tammy Sult said Wednesday night it was hard for some students to move to a new school and be taught in a portable classroom while the second phase of the school is under construction.
The tiles, she said, give the students some pride and ownership in their new school.
The tiles came in two sizes — smaller ones for individuals and larger versions for families.
Chad Sult, a third-grader, came up with a baseball field, barn, horse and mountains with a trail for his family’s tile. He likes sports, he said, and his brother likes animals. The mountains and trail represent the school’s Trailblazers mascot.
Other tiles feature hearts, frogs, fish, flowers, footballs, basketballs, rainbows, cactus and family trees.
The tiles will be arranged in the shape of a hill with the larger “founding families” tiles on the bottom, and rising by grade level with kindergarten tiles at the bottom and sixth-graders’ at the top. Hallock anticipates the mural will be done by the end of the year.