Author Archives: Marla

Fair Trade Marketplace ONLINE in 2020

The Fair Trade Marketplace will be happening in a new and different way this year. Instead of an in-person event in the ECS school building, we’ll be asking supporters to purchase their fair trade gifts online through our vendors’ websites. In return, ECS will receive a percentage of the sales we send to these vendors so we can continue to raise critical funds for the school and support fair trade artisans around the world at the same time.

We will be announcing these opportunities now through December 2020, so keep an eye on this page!

Our first partnership is with an organization whose artisans quickly switched gears to making face masks during lockdown in India. ZuMantra is a Pittsburgh-based company working with artisan cooperatives in South Asia. They are offering 10% of all sales with this promo code: “CHARTER” to ECS. All profits from these masks will go back to the women artisans. In addition, they are also donating a mask for each mask bought to Pittsburgh non-profit 412 Food Rescue! To place an order, go to and enter promo code “CHARTER” on the shopping cart page.

Your PCO donations at work!

Every time we raise money through our community, we turn it right back around and invest it all across our three schools in ways big and small. We are pleased to share below our Mini-Grants awarded this year, Specialist Fund requests fulfilled, and some of the many things we have provided funding for.

Mini-Grants Awarded 2019-2020 Academic Year:

– Parent Resource Center (housed in Middle School)
– Battle of the Books (Middle School)
– Culturally Diverse Picture Books to Read and Share
– Spanish Class Resources (K-5)
– Tourniquets/Clotting gauze for Staff (all grades)
– Flexible Seating (4A)
– Children’s Grief Awareness Day (35 students in 3 schools)
– 6th Grade Literacy grant request
– 8th Grade Literacy grant request
– Kindergarten Grade Literacy grant request
– Stars of Hope (Middle School)
– Speed Stacking Cups (Middle School PE)
– GSSU Gender Sexuality Student Union
– Sustainable & Safe Edible School Yards
– Lower School Garden & Apple Tree Guild (1st & 2nd grade)
– Chess Club (23 first graders)
– New Calculators for 6th Grade Math
– ECS Ecostewards Rain Garden Rehab
– Middle School Project Fair (“Museum of Student Work”)
– Nature looms for all 3 campuses (access at recess)
– 3rd Grade Literacy – Mystery Series Books
– Lighting for All Occasions (school-wide events – Mr. R.)
– Shelves for PE (intermediate school)

Specialist Fund:

K-5 Music: Let the Creativity Begin!
K-5 Health/PE: Goals in Intermediate PE
K-5 ESY: Season Extension
K-5 Discovery: Discovery Block Imaginative Play
K-5 Thinking Lab: Supplies
K-5 Spanish: Bilingual Books
Athletics: Additional Basketball & Futsal Uniforms (Middle School ECS athletes)

Special gift to Middle School: Gaga Ball Pit

– Directory Printing
– Calendar Printing
– K-5 Yearbook

Ongoing Funds:
– Garden Fund
– Health/Nurse Fund
– Helping Hands Fund
– Specialist Fund

In-Class Activities
– Classroom party kits
– Room parent funding (budget given for each classroom)

Academic Support
– Special Programming/Enrichment
– Teacher Book Fund expenses

ECS Staff
– Staff Appreciation Gifts
– Staff Coffee Supplies
– Staff snacks, treats and sweets

PCO Community Events
– Fall Festival
– New Families Welcome
– Scavenger Hunt
– School Summer Events
– Summer Play Dates
– Gingerbread House Decorating

School Events
– Field Days
– Middle School Social Events

PCO COVID-19 Relief Fund

Staff Appreciation Gift Card Fund Collection

Dear ECS families,

Thank you for all the wonderful photos, drawings, messages, and videos that were posted on the grade-level Padlets and to the ECS Facebook video during Staff Appreciation Week. It really meant the world to our teachers and staff members.

We’d like to extend our show of gratitude for all the hard work they’ve done this year (especially in the last few months!) with an end-of-the-year Staff Appreciation gift card fund collection. We understand this is a difficult time for many families and do not want to put any additional stress on anyone, but if you are able to and want to give any amount, please do. The funds will be used to purchase local restaurant gift cards to help buoy the Pittsburgh area economy. We will be collecting donations until the end of the day on Sunday, June 7. Questions? Contact

With gratitude,
The ECS PCO Staff Appreciation Committee

Order your K-5 Yearbook

What: 2019-2020 K-5 Yearbook
Order Deadline: May 29
Price: $17.00 per book

The order deadline has passed.

Delivery will be attempted this summer if it is allowed and safe, otherwise we will deliver to your child’s homebase in the Fall. You will be contacted when we know more information about our options for delivery. More info

Staff Appreciation Week

This week is Staff Appreciation Week. Sadly, we are not able to do all the fun and interactive events that we usually do for our beloved teachers and staff at ECS. We are postponing our staff gift card donation fund until the end of the year due to the more pressing and immediate need to help our fellow families due to COVID-19. But stay tuned!

To show appreciation from our families, we set up grade-level Padlets (virtual bulletin boards) where you and your kiddos can show your appreciation through a quick note of thanks, a drawing, a photo – whatever you like! Just click the + circle on the bottom-right corner of the Padlet page to post onto the board.

This should fun and easy—please do not feel obligated if this adds too much to your plate. Maybe this could be a distance learning brain break for kids!

To participate, please follow the link below for your child’s grade level. Each Padlet will reach homebase teachers, specials teachers, paraeducators, counselors, and administrators. You can customize your message any way you want—for someone specific, or for everyone who helps shape your child.

1st Grade
2nd Grade
3rd Grade
4th Grade
5th Grade
6th Grade
7th Grade
8th Grade

Send a note to if you need a hand or have any questions.

THANK YOU to all the parents and caretakers who are a HUGE part of the education process now. Give yourselves loads of gratitude because you’ve earned it, and this stuff isn’t easy!

Blooming Bash 2020 ONLINE AUCTION

UPDATE: Auction winners announced here

The Blooming Bash, ECS’s annual adults-only party, is the most important PCO fundraiser of the year. Proceeds support the PCO general fund, which provides critical funds for community events, school programming and projects, mini-grants, classroom support, and so much more. In light of the Covid-19 related event cancellation, the Blooming Bash auction is moving to an online portal. This format is new to all of us, but we are hopeful participants will be able to bid, have fun, and support our wonderful ECS PCO! Bid on auction items and buy raffle tickets here.

ECS PCO COVID-19 Relief Fund

As COVID-19 mitigation efforts continue in Pittsburgh, more ECS families are need of financial assistance. The PCO has started a Relief Fund to help. We will use funds raised to purchase gift cards.

Our goal is to raise $4,000 by Sunday, May 3.

After May 3, we will have further information about how funds will be distributed to ECS families in need, and how to confidentially request assistance. The fund will remain open for contributions until the end of May.

Any amount contributed is most welcome and appreciated. Thank you for your kind support! We have closed the donation link at this time.

ECS at Home: Photos Requested

We hope everyone is doing well! First off, we miss all the smiling faces of our ECS community. Really, really miss them.

Secondly, the K-5 Yearbook Committee would love to see those smiling faces of “ECS at Home”. We will be filling some of the pages of the K-5 Yearbook with your lovely smiling faces while you are at home.

Please send a photo of your kiddos to For classification and sorting purposes, please put name(s) and home base(s) in the email.

Finally, you are doing a fantastic job. Keep it up ECS!

– K-5 Yearbook Committee