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Girls Talking

What We Fund

Discovery and Learning

Our fundraising efforts throughout the year are spent on many different enrichment programs for our students.​  Each year we raise over $240,000 which is used to provide art, music, additional science classes, staff for our life lab garden, computer lab classes, yard duty staff and academic support during critical learning times through our AIA (academic Intervention assistants) program. 


Your child will soon come home bursting with excitement over something learned!  With a focus on highly visual and engaging experiments, our extra science classes keep kids interested in the excitement of all that's possible with science, technology and engineering!  

The PTA Sponsors the Science Fair as well as offers scholarships for 5th grade students attending Science Camp.

Has your student started thinking about a science fair project yet? Watch your Friday Folder and email inbox for details. Get excited, be creative and let’s get that experiment under way!


Visiting artists will expose students to a wide variety of art forms this year.  Art engages both the left and the right brain and provides connection with spatial intelligence as well as opportunities for self-reflection  Students have the opportunity to use manual dexterity and eye-hand coordination.  Music and dance allow students to integrate their body and their mind and help with sensory integration.  All forms of art help with children's logic and learning readiness in reading, writing and math.


Did you know the district has a technology plan that includes specific skills at each grade level, including cyber safety?  In the computer lab students work on word processing skills, district benchmarks, practice vocabulary and math skills, take comprehension tests with Accelerated Reader (A.R.), and work on reading skills with the Lexia program.

Additionally ALL students have access to chrome books in their classrooms to further develop their academic skills through the use of technology.  Our PTA has helped to fund our chrome book purchase.  Students in 3rd - 5th grade are privileged to have "one to one" use of chrome books.


With the implementation of Common Core, students will be required to complete standardized testing online.  This makes technical proficiency ALL THE MORE IMPORTANT.  The funds we raise at our annual AUCTION SERIES pay for both the technology and staffing in our Computer Lab.

Our kids are learning to be technologically proficient as they enhance the learning already happening in their classrooms.


What are the Vine Hill kids doing in life lab?

Early September includes orientation. All students review the safety rules, go over tool use and tool names. We enjoy a garden tour as so much changes over the summer. We keep our eyes out for the resident garden gnome who is constantly changing his hiding spot, also enjoy a cherry tomato tasting. Students harvest and eat their tomatoes.

The later part of Sept., 1st through 5th grades create fresh salsa by harvesting all the veggies from the garden except the lime, they wash and cut the veggies, following a recipe, add all the ingredients into a food processor and create delicious salsa. Rainbow Salsa! We talk about seeds, nutrition and just why each of those vegetables in the salsa are so good for our bodies! Students enjoy it so much they drink the salsa leftovers!

October is about fall harvesting and preparing beds for winter plantings. We have harvest whats useful, clearing the beds of old plants and weeds. We talk compost! We mix in compost and topsoil and it's complete and ready for winter planting. With all this hard work, at the end of class all students enjoy a nice drink of water and a snack of watermelon, tomatoes, peppers, carrots or cucumber all which are harvested from their garden.

Later in October we talk bats, bat crafts, read a story about one special bat and continue work to repair a few beds that have had gopher break-ins!

What is Life Lab?

Life Lab is a garden-based science and nutrition program enabling students to discover the wonder and excitement of scientific inquiry as the outdoors becomes their classroom.  Established over 30 years ago, Vine Hill’s Life Lab houses 35 raised garden beds, a green house, a sheltered “classroom”, a tool shed, compost area and flower garden.  The program is run by two part-time aides and a Life Lab committee.  

The primary goal of the Vine Hill Life Lab is to create a "living laboratory" for the study of the natural world and promote environmental stewardship and a sustainable future.  Students learn about site preparation, planting, maintenance and harvesting. Continued emphasis is placed upon interdependence with nature. Problem-solving techniques and an awareness of nature's cycles are some of the valuable goals attained. 

Nearly all classes grades K-5 participate in the Life Lab program.  Classes rotate and students are in the garden every other week for a 30 or 50-minute block of time.  Lessons and activities are planned by the Life Lab Aides, based on season, weather, maintenance needs of the garden, grade level of students, and state science standards.  Students tend to their own class garden bed, maintain the overall garden space as well as receive lessons in organic gardening, environmental sciences and nutrition.  Art and cooking projects are also included in the curriculum.  Health and physical fitness are promoted as students engage in activities such as shoveling, raking and wheel-barrowing. 

Our garden grows two seasonal crops: A cool weather crop of vegetables such as garlic, peas, carrots, chard, kale, beets, cauliflower, cabbage, turnips and spinach and a summer/fall crop of tomatoes, peppers, beans, squash, eggplant, cucumbers and name a few.  Students learn about the health advantages of a varied diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables.  We do several cooking projects throughout the year using student-grown produce, such as fresh salsa, marinara sauce, sautéed kale and/or chard, and salads. 

Beginning in 2014, Vine Hill’s Life Lab is now partnering with the district’s food service program to provide fresh organic produce for school lunches.  With a grant from the World Hunger Youth program our school district is starting a campaign called “Know Your Farmer-Know Your Food”.  Trading cards will be passed out when local farmers’ fruits and vegetables are featured in our lunchrooms—our Life Lab is one of the “farms.” Waste-reduction through recycling and composting is emphasized.  We maintain several “open air” compost piles and bins, as well as a worm bin (vermicomposting), and students collect food scraps from their lunches to contribute to our compost efforts. 

More info on the Life Lab program (based at UCSC) may be found at


The PTA pays for extra Yard Duty to ensure the safety of our children.


AIA’s or Academic Intervention Assistants is a term we use at Vine Hill to refer to aides for the teacher or additional classroom support.

AIA’s are scheduled by the principal to rotate through classrooms to support the teachers.  They can work with small groups, provide classroom management while the teachers work in small groups, provide one-on-one assistance, and even work with small groups while the teacher works with the other students providing a smaller teacher-student ratio.

AIA’s have been instrumental in supporting the teachers with a variety of different subject matters and teaching opportunities.  This is one of the most beneficial and influential programs the PTA funds.

What We Fund: Academics
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