Thurston PTO

Annual Events 2016-17

  • For reimbursements please use the request for reimbursement form

    The Thurston PTO sponsors a number of fun events throughout the school year intended to strengthen our Thurston community.

    Back-to-School Kickoff - August 30

    The Back to School Kickoff is a celebration of the upcoming school year. During this time, families are presented with Back to School packets which includes the long awaited classroom placement. The kickoff provides students with the opportunity to meet their new teacher, and classmates. Families enjoy reconnecting, and discussing the upcoming semester.

    Project Lead the Way

    Project Lead the Way (PLTW) is the country’s leading provider of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programs. This world-class curriculum helps students develop skills essential to the global economy. As of Fall 2015, Thurston was one of nine schools in the district to offer PLTW programs. Using the project-based curriculum, our 1st through 5th grade students will identify problems, and design science experiments to find solutions.

    Picture Day - September 15

    All students will have their pictures taken for the yearbook and class photo. There is no charge for students to take pictures. If you choose to order pictures however, there are a variety of packages available for purchase. Payment can be made online, or on picture day by check or cash. Parents are needed to help retrieve/return classes, and help keep the event running smoothly.

    OHMHA Fall Festival - September 24

    This neighborhood festival is organized by the Orchard Hills/Maplewood Homeowners Association (OHMHA). Although it is not officially a Thurston event, many Thurston families live in the neighborhood, and participate. This event takes place by the Thurston Nature Center (TNC) near the Orchard Hills Athletic Club (OHAC) Pool. In the past few years, the Thurston 5th grade choir and other music classes have performed. Snacks are on sale for a nominal charge.

    Curriculum Night - September 12

    During this event parents will have an opportunity to learn about their child’s grade level curriculum, as well as classroom activities for the school year. Teachers will give a brief presentation, distribute educational resources, and answer questions. Parents will also sign up for the first parent-teacher conference of the school year. Curriculum Night will be divided into two sessions (K-2, and 3-5). All grades will meet for a joint presentation before or after the classroom sessions. More information will be sent home with your child, as well as included in the school newsletter.

    Pumpkin Sale - October.

    Our own Thurston Nature Center “CEO,” Frank Commiskey, gathers pumpkins from Green Things Farm, (located on Nixon Road) to sell at Thurston. Pumpkins have sold out in previous years at this fun fall fundraiser, so get yours early. Parents are needed to sell pumpkins, usually near the main office by the flagpole before and after school.

    Thurston Community Player Auditions - October ; 6:30 - 8:00 p.m.

    This annual, original musical is a more than 40-year-old tradition that started with a group of musical comedy-minded Thurston parents years ago. Each year, an original script is put together, to which music is added. While the songs are drawn from the great American songbook, including Broadway, popular, and folk tunes, the lyrics are written by a “Lyrics Committee” to suit the story.

    All are welcome, and while there are “auditions,” no one is turned away. Children from Kindergarten through 12th grade routinely participate, and adults up to grandparents are always represented. Recent themes have included space ("I Need Some Space"), fairy tales (“The Bride of Thurstonstein”), and Ann Arbor’s Art Fair (“Thru the Fairy Door”). The production is presented on three nights, usually in late March. Although a hefty commitment, especially during the last two weeks of production, the play is a blast!

    The entire production, from singers/actors, musicians, directors, producers, costume-makers, set designers, ticket sellers, concession organizers, public relations people and backstage runners are volunteers, so there are many opportunities to be involved. Please look out for news of auditions in the weekly e-newsletter The Heron Happenings.”, and visit the website

    Fun Run - October 13.

    Fun Run The Fun Run is an all school fundraiser that provides a substantial amount of funds for our school year’s budget. It is a fun way to get families involved, and replaces the traditional start of year donation request. The funds raised are used by the Thurston PTO to help pay for classroom field trips, activities, supplies, and anything extra that the school needs for the school year. Pledge packets will be sent home with your child in October, and pledges will be accepted until 2 weeks after the Fun Run. In an effort to motivate students to collect pledges, a weekly raffle will take place for three weeks. We team up with “The Get Movin Crew”, and they supply all the packets for the children.

    On the day of the run, parents and relatives are encouraged to come and cheer for their child’s grade. All children can participate regardless the number of pledges received. The children run or walk for 25-30 minutes, and receive a treat upon completion. In previous years we raised money to purchase swings on the 4/5 playground and help fund the new playground structure on the 2/3 playground. You can always check out “The Get Movin Crew’s” website at to see what it’s all about. Kelly Delp is the parent coordinator for this event. If you have a local business, we are always looking for more donations for our weekly raffle. You can contact Kelly Delp at if you have any questions.

    Fall Festival and Halloween Costume Drop-off /Book Sale - October 27; 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.

    Every October Thurston hosts the very popular Fall Carnival, a social kick-off event where Thurston families enjoy an indoor carnival with activities, games, and Fall Carnival prizes. Classrooms throughout the school are converted into game/activity rooms, and students have the opportunity to play games and win prizes. Some of Fall Carnival’s favorite attractions include, The Cake Walk (where students can win a cake or baked treat), Soccer, Monster Dance, Craft Room, and Plinko. Not only is Fall Carnival a fun event, it also serves as a fundraiser for Thurston’s PTO. Carnival tickets are for sale, and can be used to purchase pizza, snacks, and play games.

    The New Book Sale is always held on the same night as the Fall Carnival.  The books we sell are handpicked, and are limited to actual books--no extra merchandise or electronics. We also limit the offerings to children's books up through 5th grade. It is a great place to come for your (early) holiday shopping!

    Many volunteers are needed for both events. For the Fall Carnival, we need ticket and pizza sellers, set-up/clean-up people, and game booth workers. For the New Book Sale, volunteers are needed to set up/take down the book sale, supervise the book sale during the day when the students come through the preview the sale (though purchases are not allowed until after the bell rings), and work the sale during its open hours.


    Halloween Parade - October 31.

    On Halloween, students are welcome to bring costumes to school and participate in an all-school parade. The costumes must be non-scary. No make-up is allowed, and the costume must be able to be worn over the child’s clothes. Parents are invited to line the route outside and take pictures. If families object to their children’s participation, there will be an alternate activity in the library. Parents are needed in the K-2 classrooms to help with dressing. You can contact your child’s Room Parent for more information the week before the event.

    Turkey Trot - November 21.

    This event is usually held just before Thanksgiving break. It occurs during the school day, from 12:30-3:00 pm. All children are invited to walk/run/stroll around a 1-mile course that goes through our precious Thurston Nature Center, over to Bluett, rounds the corner at Georgetown, then enters back into the Thurston property by the OHAC pool. An unknown celebrity parent dresses as a turkey to greet the children, and for many years, Busch's has supplied healthy treats. It is not a race, though some children treat it as such.

    Hearing and Vision Testing for Grades 1-3 - November 1-3

    NAAPID (National African American Parent Involvement Day) - February 12

    National African American Parent Involvement Day (NAAPID) is a national observance day designed to open up dialogue amongst teachers, parents, and students. The goal of NAAPID is to have a more conducive learning environment for African-American students from kindergarten through college. NAAPID is the brainchild of the late Mr. Joseph Dulin, an insightful Ann Arbor Michigan principal, who decided to concretize his Million Man March pledge by encouraging parents to visibly demonstrate support of their children’s education on this day.

    At Thurston, we value the parent involvement made by all of our families. The goals of NAAPID are pertinent to every family, as the Thurston community is strong and filled with involvement, activism, and support.

    Talent Show - February 16

    Students are invited to audition and showcase their talents in this all- school event. Together with our music teacher, our principal Ms. Natasha York, selects featured acts for the show. There are several rehearsals the week of the performance, and acts are strictly held to two minutes. Grades K-2 will have a morning performance, and 3-5 will perform for their grades in the afternoon. Parents are welcome to attend. In the past, students have danced, performed skits, magic tricks, jokes, played instruments, jumped rope, done gymnastics, and even demonstrated the Chinese yoyo. If you are interested in helping in any way, please contact the main office.

    Spring Pictures - March

    A professional photographer comes to Thurston in the spring to take pictures of the children. Families will receive a photo proof, but are under no obligation to purchase pictures.

    Earth Week - April 18-23

    During this exciting week, many "green" activities will happen at Thurston! Each grade is assigned a special project to complete. Past projects include making bat houses, constructing a solar energy apparatus for the Thurston Pond, and planting rain gardens on the campus.

    International Night - Friday, May 4; 5:30 - 8:00pm

    Thurston’s International Night is a school year favorite! It is a great celebration of the many countries/heritages/cultures at Thurston.

    The program begins in the MPR, where everyone gathers to watch the eagerly anticipated performances from all over the world. During this time, students showcase their culture, and amazingly choreographed routines on stage. Performers take great pride in sharing their heritage, and are often viewed as celebrities of the night.

    The next phase of the program includes a journey across the world, as families have the opportunity to visit classrooms, each representing a different country. Most rooms are filled with native artifacts, display boards, traditional music, and delicious foods to eat. Students receive “passports” which are stamped after they answer a question about each country. These passports are a great way to engage the children, and also make fantastic souvenirs. Wonderful aromas permeate the hallways with foods from all over the world, so do come hungry! This event is always completely FREE to attend.

    Field Day - May 25

    Every spring we have a Field Day for the students during the school day. Field Day is a great opportunity for students to enjoy teamwork and fun outdoor games. It is often, but not always, on the Friday before Memorial Day weekend. All students participate in fun events such as, tug-of-war, sponge toss, Frisbee toss, sack races, etc. Our Physical Education Teacher plans and organizes the events. Students should wear sunscreen (please apply at home), hats, and may wear swim wear underneath clothes. MANY parents are needed to run the stations (and bring wagons for water transport as well as large jugs).

    Science Olympiad - May/June

    Children in grades 2-5 will compete against 30+ schools throughout Washtenaw County in fun science events. With more than 2,500 participants each year, the Washtenaw Elementary Science Olympiad (WESO) is the largest elementary Science Olympiad in the country, and has been steadily growing since its inception more than ten years ago. Teams work with coaches in a hands-on collaborative learning environment to gain knowledge and expertise on a specific scientific topic. Events are slightly different each year, but recent topics include genetics, barge building, aerodynamics, chemistry, circuits, computer programming, botany, ornithology, astronomy and more. All events are coached by parent volunteers and area high school students. For more information, view the website:

    Snow Cone Social and Used Book Sale - June 8; 5:30 - 8:00pm

    These two events are held on the same night. The snow cone  social takes place outside, on the playground, and the Used Books Sale, inside in the MPR or gym. At the snow cone social, students enjoy bounce houses, face paintings and play-yard games. Snow Cone Social is also a great time for parents to connect with other families and recap on the school-year.

    Volunteers are needed to help serve ice cream, supervise games, monitor the very popular bounce houses that we bring in for the evening, and help with set-up and clean-up. While all the bounce houses are free, there is a charge for the snow cones.

    The Used Book Sale fills the entire MPR or gym with books of all genres, for all ages. Books are donated by Thurston families, as well as members of the community. Families and community members look forward to sifting through the plethora of reasonably priced books. It is amazing to see the wide variety of books, and hearing the eruption of excitement from one's great find. Students are given free book coupons, and have the opportunity to select books before the sale opens to the public. Volunteers are needed all week leading up to the event to sort the books that Thurston families and neighborhood people bring in for the sale. They are also needed during the day on the Friday of the sale to supervise students who come into the library for the pre-sale, and at the actual event to sell books, set up, clean up, and pack up the unsold books for delivery to the AADL booksale downtown or other charities. Everything for both events is done in shifts so no one person is expected to work the entire evening. 

    Fifth Grade Farewell - June 14

    Bring your hankies for this beautiful ceremony that will help your fifth grader say goodbye to Thurston and look forward to moving on. Each student receives a certificate, and there is a special performance by the 5th grade choir. In addition, a special speaker offers words of wisdom for our precious departing children. Farewell usually takes place during the last week of school.

    End of School Year Clap Out

    The last day of school is an exciting time for students and parents. Each year on the last day school, students are greeted by cheering families outside the building after half-day dismissal. Families and friends are encouraged to congratulate students and take pictures with classmates and teachers. Details on the last day dismissal procedures are given during the last weeks of school.

    Walk to School Days 2017/18

    Fridays, November 11, December 15, January 19, February 16, March 16, April 20, May 18

    walk to school Walk to School Days occur approximately once a month throughout the school year. Scheduled walk to school days are posted on the school calendar, and reminders are included in the weekly school newsletter. On these days we encourage as many students as possible to walk or bike to school (parents, too!). If you live outside the Thurston area but would still like to participate, you may drive to one of the neighborhood remote locations (four to choose from), and walk with your child(ren) from there. Your child will receive a small token or treat in the Multi-Purpose Room (MPR) once he or she arrives at school.

    In October only, we recognize International Walk to School Day and Thurston hopes to have EVERY STUDENT walk or bike to school on this day. On this particular day, the parking lot and drop-off lanes are closed. We will have volunteers at the remote locations (four to choose from) where families who live outside the Thurston Neighborhood may drop off their children and provide a short walk to school.

    PTO Meeting Schedule

    PTO meets everyone 3rd Tuesday of the month or otherwise noted. Childcare will be provided for school age children, younger children are welcome to stay with their parents during the meeting. Dinner will be provided.

    Each year, PTO is able to provide funding for field trips, classroom supplies, an extended science curriculum, literacy resources, curriculum enhancements, and much more. This would not be possible without the contributions and support of our Thurston Community. The PTO is made up of a board of directors who play a pivotal role in the execution of the organization's mission. 

    September 19, 2017 
    October 17, 2017 
    November 21, 2017
    December 19, 2017
    January 16, 2018
    February 20, 2018
    March 20, 2018 
    April 17, 2018 
    May 15, 2018 
    June 5, 2018