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Election Day Bake Sale

Sara Flynn spearheaded a great election day bake sale. HUGE Thanks to all the bakers and volunteers who brought back this fun event for the first time in several years. It was great to see and talk to so many members of the community who were happy to support the school where they were voting! The beautiful baked goods that everyone donated brought a lot of smiles and happiness. Best of all we raised almost $1300 for the Families of RAUC activities this year!

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June 2022 RAUC Block Party

June 24, 2022 A HUGE heartfelt thank you to everyone who volunteered to make the RAUC Block Party such a fun end of year party on Friday.  THANK YOU to everyone who pitched in to plan it, to run the dunk tank, to hand out 486 slushies, to take a gazillion photobooth shots, to engage the kids in art projects, to give them tattoos, to play games with them, to inspire them to sing and dance spontaneously,  TO FEED THEM, to pop 486 servings of popcorn in the hot sun, to clean up so fast afterward. To make them laugh and smile.  And a special thank you to whomever organized the rainbow with no rain. It was an amazing day. Thanks for helping achieve our goal of JOY! 

– Lilli

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5/25/22 – FRAUC Spring Events and Fall Planning

FRAUC met at Bergin Park at 8am Wednesday, 5/17/22 and covered a lot of ground…

FRAUC Membership. First, we emphasized that if you have a child at RAUC, then you are automatically a member! FRAUC is the organization of volunteer parents and caregivers. All are welcome at FRAUC meetings!

FRAUC Mission Statement. We reviewed the FRAUC Mission Statement. This spring we are living that statement by working cooperatively with RAUC to fund an array of fun events for students.

#RAUCBlockParty report from Lilli Smith. The planning for the Friday, June 24 event (rain date Tuesday June 28) is going very well! The timing and contracts with vendors have come together, and we have begun recruiting volunteers through a SignUpGenius (link available in weekly RAUC newsletter). We decided to distribute flyers to families about volunteering at this evening’s Unity Concert. Lilli will put a QR code to the signup on the flyer.

We will not have media releases (signed by students’ caregivers) specific to the Block Party, but we can send any photos of the event to Julia Ho, who can identify photos that are cleared by releases.

Meeting CHANGED: Meeting for volunteers is Monday evening, June 20, 8:30-9 pm. We also decided to hold a zoom meeting for Block Party volunteers, the week of the event, so they can see the layout of the field, where they will be and how they can help. For volunteers who cannot make the meeting, Lilli will communicate directly with them about their role.

Treasurer’s Check-in from Sean Peirce. Sean said that we will likely have in the neighborhood of $9,500 left to carry over to any summer needs, and to the 2022-2023 school year. This is close to our target of a $10K cushion.

We also learned that because of a discount from Revival Cafe for the Staff Appreciation lunch, there was a $365 surplus! FRAUC voted to make that surplus available to teachers by splitting it three ways to each grade-level team, in the form of gift cards to Pemberton Market. Team Leaders can use the $ to get lunch and snacks for the team and for meetings in the weeks ahead. Karen Soroca, the event organizer, will work with Deirdre to get that surplus to the teams.

Other Spring events and needs. Deirdre Logan is planning the 8th grade picnic for Saturday, June 18th. Details will be available in the RAUC newsletter.

We asked about any other needs the school might have and agreed to respond as we are able to anything that comes up.

2022-2023 School Year Planning–Activities and Volunteers. As outgoing Co-Chair, Deirdre Logan wrote up a great month-by-month timeline of typical FRAUC activities and tasks. It begins right out of the gate with the Welcome Back potluck the week before school, and fundraising planning for mid/late fall.

As to other key dates, typically we have them nailed down for school events in the summer, but due to the pandemic uncertainty, we may not know events until later. Either way, the timeline provides useful info for planning the budget, meeting agendas, and volunteer needs. The timeline can be found here.

Volunteers and leadership. FRAUC will also need volunteers to work on activities and to share leadership in the organization. This is a full list of the people resources FRAUC has put in place during past non-pandemic years:

  • Two Co-Chairs (both Deirdre Logan and Tracy Walton will have stepped down at/by the June 16th meeting).
  • Secretary. Lilli Smith is staying on as Secretary for the 2022-2023 year. This role includes updating the FRAUC website.
  • Treasurer. Sean Peirce is staying on as Treasurer for the 2022-2023 year.
  • Web/Technical Support. In the past two years, Aaron Nathanson has managed the creation of the new website, while contracting with a CRLS student for the development work. FRAUC will need to assess needs for development and technical support in the future, and whether that can be handled by the Secretary role.
  • One or two Grade Level Liaisons. (This involves organizing one of three dances–which each grade hosts once per school year–and liaising with the grade level team for special events. Dance ticket revenue and concessions raise funds for FRAUC.)
  • Fundraising coordinators/planning committee (Fundraising is especially important to plan beginning early in the fall if 8th grade DC trip resumes and funds are needed for deposits)
  • Special Events Coordinators (Staff appreciation, Ask a 6th Grader, Block Party, etc.)
  • DC Trip Captains to plan trip, work with vendors.

Looking ahead, it will be important to reflect on FRAUCs role, by-laws, mission, and funding projects, as well as how to encourage and increase caregiver involvement in the organization and in the school during the pandemic.

NEXT MEETING: Thursday, June 16, 8 am at Bergin Park (weather permitting). This will be the final meeting of the school year.

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5-11-22 – Staff Appreciation Lunch

We love our RAUC Staff! On Wednesday, 5-11, an early release day, library tables held the weight of a large spread of to-go food for RAUC Staff Appreciation Day. Organized by RAUC caregivers, there were homemade dishes, platters of fruit, fancy desserts and beverages. Catered to-go bags were donated by Revival Cafe and purchased by RAUC caregivers. Cards, signs, and caregiver volunteers greeted RAUC staff as they went through the line.

Thank you to our staff for working so hard this year to support our students. Your skill, compassion, and care are evident in every interaction with students and families!

RAUC Caregivers Lilli Smith and Sara Flynn serve food for Staff Appreciation Day on May 11, 2022 in the school library.

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3/14/22 – Works of Art from the Chinese Calligraphy Club (Photos)

From Julia Ho, RAUC Family Partnership Coordinator:
Thank you FRAUC for helping fund materials for the Chinese Calligraphy and Painting club! Though students learn about various cultures and histories in the school social studies curriculum, this club offered a unique opportunity for students to deepen their understanding of one particular cultural art form through experiential learning. Students learned from an expert (and RAUC caregiver) in Chinese calligraphy and painting (who’s also a RAUC parent), and built their skills over the course of 8 weeks. It was an enriching experience and we hope to offer this club again in future cycles!

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1/22/22 – 6th Graders Create Social Justice Picture Books (photos)

Sixth graders’ social justice picture books, created for young readers, were a huge success. FRAUC helped with funds for bookbinding. See photos of some of their work at the end of this post!

From Ms. Saillant, their Social Studies teacher:

Thank you FRAUC! It was a blast working with students in our Social Justice Picture Books lit block! They are super proud of publishing their first children’s book on an issue of justice they were passionate about. My goal is to bring this into the social studies classroom so all 6th graders will have an opportunity to publish a story.

This project helps enrich RAUC curricula in that it provides students with an opportunity to do interdisciplinary work (e.g. Social studies and English Language Arts) and apply skills they’re learning and specific content to things that they are personally passionate about. Literacy blocks are elective courses that fall outside the classroom budgets.

From Bear Minimum.
From Everyone Belongs in School.
From Height.
From Fair Housing.

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1/21/22 – “Altered Apparel” club fights fast fashion (photos).

Altered Apparel is a popular after school club facilitated by Ms. Victoria Leggett. As part of our grants to teachers program, FRAUC funded fabric and other supplies for the club. Some of the work is displayed below!

Here’s what Ms. Leggett says about their creative work:

“[Altered Apparel provides] a way to explore their creativity in a new format while also reflecting on themselves to discover their personal styles and identity. Through exploring more folk art mediums they get to get in touch with the cultural and historical roots that our current methods derive from.

“I teach the students different skills to customize their clothes with their own two hands like embroidery, fabric painting, embellishing, and more. The main ideas behind it is to give students agency over their style to fit their identity, build accessible/affordable skills, and fight fast fashion.”

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1/21/22 FRAUC Funds a Range of Projects (Meeting Notes 1-19-22)

FRAUC met virtually on Wednesday, January 19. We covered a lot of ground, and approved a number of projects–including students’ creative work.

Here are the meeting notes.

Treasurer’s Report. FRAUC has about $32,000 in our account. The end-of-year fundraising appeal, some of which is pending, brought in $3,200.  Although we are not on track to bring in our usual $20-30K for the year, absent major fundraising efforts, this $ is welcome and will be put to good use.

 Drum purchases. About half of the order has come in, and half is held up due to supply chain issues. (Note: new ship date is (allegedly) 1/23!)

Grant Funding.

  1. Social Justice Picture Books. Last Meeting we approved Social Studies teacher Ms. Saillant’s request for $240 for bookbinding materials for 6th grade social justice projects. See a few samples of their work here.

2. “Altered Apparel” club. In today’s meeting, we approved Ms. Leggett’s request for $350 for materials for the Altered Apparel club.–see many samples of their creative work here.

Discussion of an annual budget proposal from Principal Craven.

 A couple of years ago, pre-pandemic, FRAUC discussed developing a suggested annual budget with clear expectations at the beginning of the school year.  We discussed some budget requests from Ms. Craven for this year (COVID times) as well as suggestions for future years as to what might be yearly allocations.

Although a good amount of our fundraising is for the annual DC trip for 8th graders, we want it to be clear to families that FRAUC exists to support activities for all grades. 

For DC, we try to have $10K “cushion” going into each school year, so that we can more easily raise the approximately $16K needed to provide tiered pricing for that trip. That said, prices may go up in the future, and more families may need aid in order to attend. Pandemic times make it more difficult for in-person fundraising events such as the traditionally successful gala. FRAUC’s commitment to this trip has always been that “no one goes to DC unless everyone can go.”

For that reason, we do not want to be too locked into other earmarked annual expenses that we cannot continue to support the DC commitment, but we definitely want to fund as much as we can for enrichment and support of all grades at all times. This year in particular, with no trip and a budget surplus, we want to support as many activities as possible.

With that, we looked at the list of proposed items, below. Note:

  • Some requested amounts are “special” for this year, with the influence of the pandemic on activities
  • Some are traditional FRAUC outlays.

RequestProposed amountActions—adjustments and votes taken
$1000 per grade for tickets/other costs for end of year trips$3,000We voted YES to approve $3,000 for this year, for spring 2022 trips.
We strongly suggest to future FRAUC groups to consider continuing this.
Transportation for end of year trips$6,000We voted YES to approve $6,000 for this year, for spring 2022 buses. Usually RAUC budget pays the bus expenses, but this year extra buses are needed to meet COVID distanced seating arrangements and this is an extra expense.
We suggest to future FRAUC groups to consider funding this expense if pandemic conditions continue to affect bus needs for trips.
Grant requests$2,000We voted YES to approve this for this year, and increased the amount to $2,500 for the school year 2021-2022.
(Note, we have already spent about $1,200 on drums, and $490 on requests from Ms. Saillant and Ms. Leggett)
If the total amount of 2021-2022 grant requests exceed $2,500, FRAUC can consider on an individual basis.
We suggest to future FRAUC groups to consider funding a flat amount for grants at the beginning of each school year, so that future grants can be funded more quickly and nimbly, rather than await FRAUC approval each time. 
Supporting dances once the pandemic allows$1,500We determined we did not need to fund this amount, as most dances bring in a profit of several hundred from concessions and tickets. THe last 6th grade dance we held in January 2020, revenue was $1,576 . $562 went to pizza and $100 to a DJ.
Principal’s fund$1,000We voted YES to approve $1,000 for this year as a pilot discretionary fund.We strongly recommend future FRAUC groups do this moving forward, at one of the first meetings of the year, so that the principal has the expectation of having this to work with for unexpected expenses and student needs.
Snacks for the Snack Cupboard$1,000We voted YES to approve this and increase it to $2,500 for this year as a pilot.Snacks are an eternal challenge to keep funded. RAUC will continue to ask for donations in the newsletter and will continue to need both donations and funding.
Spring community event$5,000?We voted YES to approve $5,000 for this year, for some kind of special outside event in spring 2022.
We do not expect this to be an annual event unless future FRAUC groups decide to make it so. For this year, the pandemic restricts school-wide gatherings such as assemblies, dances, and concerts. It seemed important to both approve this and get working on envisioning and planning right away. (More discussion below.)
Reserve “cushion” for 8th Grade trip to Washington DC$10,000We voted YES to leave a reserve of approximately $10,000 for the 2022-2023 school year.
This is a yearly cushion that FRAUC has traditional tried to provide each new school year so that DC fundraising is not such a heavy lift for that year.
Total$29,500 requested


29,500 APPROVED EXPENSES, including DC reserve. (Note, even though this number is the same amount as requested, adjustments were made in the amounts of some items.)

Spring school-wide event.

In the time we had left, we discussed the possibility of holding a Spring school-wide special event. If lead time and funds permit, we would like to give the school a chance to gather outside, since concerts, assemblies, and a packed auditorium are not possible during the pandemic.

Timing. Security needs make evening events prohibitive. Transportation can affect families’ ability to get to RAUC on a weekend. Overall it seemed like a school day event made the most sense. Permitting is easy, because RAUC already has use of the back field during the school day.  

Planners. We discussed forming a planning committee and asking students what is important to them in a school=wide event. Planning committee can come up with several ideas and research vendors, and students can weigh in.

Planning time. For this event to occur in Spring of 2022, it will have to come together quickly.

FRAUC agreed to email caregivers to identify a planning committee.

Future Leadership. FRAUC will need leadership into the next school year. Many of the participants have 8th graders who will be moving on to high school. Deirdre Logan steps down from her co-chair position in February 2022 after 5 years, so we need a new co-chair as soon as possible. Tracy Walton will be leaving after June 2022, so we’ll need a second co-chair. Ideally a co-chair would start now or as soon as possible for continuity during the transition. Perhaps committee work—“The Spring 2022 Event Committee” will involve RAUC caregivers—especially those with 6th and 7th grade students—for the future. In the late spring or fall, FRAUC will need 2 liaisons for each grade, as well.

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12/23/21 RAUC Staff Comfort Food/Appreciation Days

To show RAUC staff how much our community appreciates their hard work this year, FRAUC organized two staff appreciation comfort food events. On Friday, December 10 and Wednesday, December 22, RAUC caregivers brought in homemade and store-bought baked goods, fruit, yogurt, tea, seltzers, juice, hot coffee, and countless other treats. To-go bags were included so staff could bring extras home. 

Students and families made signs and cards to express their support and love for all RAUC staff, including teachers, cafeteria workers, custodians, administrators, support staff–everyone who has kept our school running and cared for our students during this hard time.

FRAUC wanted to support local businesses in this effort, as well, so Lilli Smith (our new Secretary and organizer of the event) collected cash donations from caregivers. She purchased some of the food from Revival Cafe for the first event. For the second event, donations went to three $100 gift cards at Pemberton Market (around the corner, and a popular lunch spot for staff). Each of the advisory team leaders received a gift card to use to treat their team. 

Thanks to the many households who contributed time, errands, cash, food, and effort! It made a difference!

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12/21/21 FRAUC Meeting & Grant Application

FRAUC met on zoom on Thursday, 12-16-21, with a few udates as well as some good discussion about future directions for FRAUC funding, and a smooth process for applying for grants from FRAUC.

Financials. Our Treasurer, Sean Peirce, reported that we have $31,073 in our account. Lilli Smith reported that we have about $100 in her venmo account to cover any gaps in the second of two Staff Comfort Food/Appreciation events, to be held this Wednesday 12/22/21. 

Co-Chair Deirdre Logan has drafted an end-of-year  fundraising appeal that Julia Ho will send out to all RAUC families next week. We noted that past Washington, DC trips (the last one in Spring 2019) have required $25K in the account and that might increase in the future.

Grants for Teachers, Clubs, Projects, Trips. One function of FRAUC is to fund curriculum enrichment that might not be funded through the annual school budget. We recognized we need to be as nimble as possible when funds are requested because they are sometimes time-sensitive. We reviewed and approved a new form here to streamline the process for RAUC staff requesting a grant. We invite RAUC staff to go ahead and apply.

Bookbinding request for funding. Sixth grade Social Studies teacher Gisel Saillant’s students have been creating books about social justice. She would like funds to be able to afford binding the books and estimates the cost will be about $240. We approved the funds from FRAUC with hopes she could also test out the form. Julia Ho will convey the link to her to get the process going. 

Ideas for future FRAUC-supported activities. We had a rich discussion about possible programs to support in the future. One RAUC parent will be offering calligraphy as a club starting after the break. Perhaps students might donate their work for a RAUC community auction, or bidding could start after an exhibition of student work. We also discussed exhibiting at the O’Neill library, partnering with the Museum of Science (one parent works there), or showcasing news from the literacy block. Fundraising could be combined with exhibitions or and funds donated for prizes for competitions of student work. The school does not have club funding in their budget so FRAUC could do more in the future. 

Succession. We discussed the need for a secretary position, with meeting notes and web updates built into the role. Lilli Smith volunteered and was gladly accepted into the secretary position. Welcome, Lilli!

Sean Peirce has agreed to stay on as Treasurer next year, as his second child enters RAUC.

FRAUC will need a new co-chair in February, when Deirdre Logan steps down after 5 years (!). Another co-chair is needed for June when Tracy Walton moves on. We discussed a possible meeting with Friends of Peabody and Friends of Baldwin to ask about volunteers there. 

Next meeting is Wednesday January 19th, 8 am on zoom. 

Julia Ho will send the meeting link out to the RAUC community the day before.