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Ideas for Parent involvement with PTO


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julcan_79 August 4, 2009


We had our first PTO meeting last night for the new school year, and unfortunately we had no parents (other than those elected as officers) show up.   This is the same response we have gotten for the last 2 years.   We have cut the activities that PTO supports almost in half.  If we don't get any involvement from other parents, our school will no longer have the PTO as the few of us can't do everything.  Does anyone have any ideas on what to do? 


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fireflies September 1, 2009


Being young enough to remember the feeling, I can tell you I hated fundraisers as a student. My mom hated fundraisers, and my neighbors hated fundraisers.
10+ years later, I still hate fundraisers. Overpriced dust collectors and stuffed animals, cookie dough I don't need, wrapping paper that I probably won't ever use, candy that hurts my teeth just thinking about them, and forms and money that I don't want to be responsible for. And don't get me started on the "prizes" the children can earn.
If PTO/PTA's absolutely must do fundraisers - I understand that there is usually a need - then do something more homegrown, more cliche. Bake sales, carnivals, even a giant yard sale. If you truly must sell things, make it something that the kids were involved in, like candles or sand art - any art for that matter. Have a student art exhibition with their creations on display and for sale.

Sometimes I wonder if the things that are decided on are just ways to get people to spend money for the sake of spending money, not because it is contributing to the school.

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dee41066 September 2, 2009


I don't have any ideas for getting more parents involved in the PTO/PTA, but thought I would "chime in" with my reasons for not being able to, so you might understand why " no one shows up". Its not necessarily that they "don't care"!! I do not have the time to go to these meetings, being a working mom, getting home about 6:00, there is just no way that I can go to a PTO meeting that lasts for an hour or more. That is my family time, that is making dinner and having dinner together as a family, that is me going over my childs schoolwork and homework, and reading. That takes priority.We're getting up there in 4th grade, and staying on top of making sure she understands her work, and is actually learning, doing well in school takes priority. Plus she has activities that I am very involved in, piano, and softball. I cannot add "PTO member" to that schedule. I am a parent first, who is doing the best for my child to make sure she succeeds and has activities that help "balance her". As another poster said, I would much rather donate money when possible. I'm sorry, but I just cannot see how any parent that works full time would have the time to be involved in these meeting.. Send letters home, information on whats going on and whats needed, people will donate, items, money, etc. Anytime something is needed at the school I always donate something, whether its items, food, or a donation. Just giving an opinion from the "other side". The PTO members can send home to the parents what is going on, what is needed, and the parents will do whatever they can to help out, well most of them will....

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md2mom September 2, 2009


I noticed on our calendar for school events this year that they have scheduled the first PTA meeting the same night as Back to School night! I think that is a great idea! You are going to be there anyway, so why not kill two birds with one stone?

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dee41066 September 2, 2009


School started here on 8/24/09..... :-)
But instead of doing the typical "meet & greet" as they usually do, they combined that with the "curriculum meeting", and they ususally do that about a week after school starts, and no one goes to that either, so that was a good idea :-)

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fireflies September 2, 2009


I agree with dee41066; I share those very same reasons why I cannot be involved in my school's PTO. Quite honestly, I only attend the class field trips and even that can be a struggle to get the time off from work.

One way that might help you figure out why your particular school's parents don't have more PTO involvement is to send out a survey who is involved, how much time they spend being involved, what they actually contribute whether it's money, time, both or miscellaneous (including field trips and room parent time) and let the parents fill in the blanks. Ask why they are not involved more and also what can you (the PTA) do to help them (the parents) be more involved.

Times have changed and Parent-Teacher Organizations have to adjust and accommodate those changes. In these modern times, one can't even use Claire Huxtable as the stereotypical mom (b/c I'm sure she found the time too lol). Think more like Roseanne & Dan Conner as the group of parents to deal with. Both worked full-time, crappy-pay jobs and had little patience and/or time leftover to be involved with their kids' schools.


**My apologies for the severe over usage of "involve"

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oneteacher September 4, 2009


I have read quite a few of the answers to this question, and I take my hat of to those parents and educators that GETIT. But for those of you who don't get it, I understand, because many times we feel that our voices are not heard, [I have been there], not to exclude all the other many reasons why we are a no-show.

"What we need to do as parents and educators, is come together."
If you are not registered to vote, you can't vote.
If you don't vote, your vote isn't counted.
If you're standing on the wall at the party, don't say the party is dead.
If your child does not have the right book, he/she can't learn , at least not in school.

All I'm saying is, use the power and control, that was given to you by the school, in reference to, what they do for and with your child.

Now, for the main answer:
Hold auditions for plays, musicals, poetry reading, concerts, dance contest, singing contest, rap contest, anything that is interesting to kids, bring other schools into it, have a competition, that will get them involve, trust me, you'll have the school at your door step.

After these children sign up, they are made to understand that, to participate in these events, they must keep their grades at a level set by the PTO/PTA group and schoool, and a parent or guardian must attend a meeting, not all of them, but enough to put in their idea..............................Boom....the ball starts rolling.............you fill in the rest........GIVE SOME POWER TO THE KIDS.




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TeacherParent September 5, 2009


What 'power and control' has been given to parents by schools? I'd be interested to know more about that. In my state, it is quite the opposite. The teachers' union is very strong and very active and it wields a great deal of power and control over schools and educational issues but of course every state is different.
What power and control have parents been given by the schools in your state?

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oneteacher September 6, 2009


I wrote at least 5 paragraphs for that question, is that the only thing you picked out, or have any concern for.

The topic was about getting parents to participate in the PTA/PTO meetings. I would like to stay on topic with this one, this is a little more important.

But, to answer you question, as parent you have many rights, if you are attending your PTA/PTO meetings, it should be clear what your rights are, and what kind of control you have "in reference to the school and YOUR CHILD". When I say "you," I mean, "all the Parents".


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oneteacher September 6, 2009


I wrote at least 5 paragraphs for that question, is that the only thing you picked out, or have any concern for.

The topic was about getting parents to participate in the PTA/PTO meetings. I would like to stay on topic with this one, this is a little more important.

But, to answer you question, as parent you have many rights, if you are attending your PTA/PTO meetings, it should be clear what your rights are, and what kind of control you have "in reference to the school and YOUR CHILD". When I say "you," I mean, "all the Parents".


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TeacherParent September 7, 2009


It was the only thing I didn't understand in your post. I do understand the value of voting and participating in government. But having spent some years in our local school's PTO, I came to believe there was only a little value in participating in the PTO precisely because the organization here had no real rights other than the right to exist and to fund raise for the school. The few meetings we directed toward curriculum and discipline were well-received and very well attended but the school quickly then denied us the use the school for any further meetings and we seemed to have no rights as parents or taxpayers and were turned out into the cold.
But that's here in our state with its powerful teachers' union and it may well be the case that in other states the PTO/PTAs have real power and control. Parents certainly deserve to have more control over their children's schools.



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