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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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Mari5210 September 7, 2009


Teacher/Parent,
It must be really frustrating for the teachers to have that much power. They have too much at times at our schools. Our PTA does do alot of good for our students though. We do have alot of people that do not do any participation. They also have bad attitudes too. Alot of them do not like their childs teacher and it ruins it for both of them. I have not been wild about some of my daughters teachers either but made the best of it. It only hurts your child in the long run. Alot of children would be horrified and embarassed if they knew of their parents bad behavior. There are alot of good teachers out there though. And I for one helped them throughout the school year so that they could stay in the classroom and teach the children. I did all of the coping, bulletin boards, lamaniating, etc. so that she did not have too. I know that all of my work was appreciated by them. I have moved on to Middle school and they don't seem to need things done as the elementary schools do. I could keep an eye out about what was going on and seeing stuff that I though should not be going on too. So good luck to all of us on the new school year!

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lindarich September 10, 2009


I think for alot of parents, myself included, I have another child at home, and have no one to watch her to volunteer at her siblings school. Also working parents are busy as well.

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lindarich September 10, 2009


I was well-informed by your discussion. I am new to the elementary schools in my area and was thinking of joining the PTO, but had no idea how it is run and how much my own involvement could help my children.

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JLloyd September 10, 2009


As a parent and grandparent, I felt that parents nor their opinions were welcomed in most of the schools, so I made a decision that I would change that attitude for me and my children. I was a PTO president in two elementary schools, and very active middle and high school. As president I created my own parent agendas, invited speakers to come address known issues, recruited parents and teachers to speak as guess speakers. Held voter registrations sessions, setup Halloween Party, assisted with Harvest Dinners, Talent Shows, made sure that I attended every meeting, visited other Parent Group meetings and most of the time had a team of other concerned parents. The students were welcome to meetings as they had input on some agenda items and always let parents know what is going on inside the school where parents cannot know, such as who the good teachers were, custodians, cafe workers, etc. The meetings were not so regimented that children could not participate (plus it was a public speaking exercise for them - developmental exercise that they may not have been aware of them). Being involved in your child's school was very important to me. Yes, I worked full time and still do but was never too busy to be involved where my children were concerned. So when you hear that novel spoken term "parents don't...." that is always not the truth, especially if it comes from the School/District.

Hartford, CT Parent and Grandparent!

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JLloyd September 10, 2009


1) Were the parents invited and by whom, school or PTO announcement? Generally the first meeting has a good parent turnout. Especially new parents and parents with children in the lower grades including preschool and kindergarten. You want to SNAG them the most. 2) What were the agenda items?
Parents are not going to come out if notified to early (short notice) or there is no agenda most times. Their not going to waste their time, because they worked all day, have already been to shcool for open house or child related issues.
My suggestion is to include on PTO notice dates,
times and location (ex. auditorium) on the next three meetings with featured speakers, Oct-Halloween Treats for children of parents attending, Nov-Placemat decorations, Dec-Santa cups, try and have simple refreshments if possible and budget allows, coffee/donuts. Make sure the parents to parents feel is there and not necessarily the school, which I found sometimes to be harsh and an expected behavior from parents not to show or participate. You can do this because of your child(ren)!

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jennsmith September 11, 2009


I live in a small town and I work in the surrounding city which is 20-25 minutes away. This is typical of most of the working parents in my school district. Last year, I was so upset because the meetings are at 3:15 on a Tuesday. I refused to send in my $10 to join because I don't feel they take working parents into consideration. I bought at all book fairs, I bought every month at Market Day, I spent $5 in face tattoos and was told I wasn't supporting my PTO because I wouldn't $10 to join something that isn't exteneded to me.

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ostafford September 11, 2009


You should talk with the current PTO president to address your concerns. Normally PTO meetings alternate every other month from afternoon to evenings to accomodate working parent's schedules. I am sure that you are not the only working parent feeling this way. Hopefully something will be able to work out at your school so that you and other working parents are not left out.

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mjc_ma September 12, 2009


Now this is just my opinion but I think the most important thing I think that would help parents get involved and stay involved in PTAs would be the effectiveness of it. Dont waste everyones time and money with events every week where vendors get all the money and that are only going to raise a few dollars for the school. I feel as a parent that I am being over taxed by our PTA. They need to be more efficient.

Work smarter not harder.
Be respectful of peoples time and money and how much they are asking for.


Thanks Myles
www.pleasebringit.com

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Crissleigh September 22, 2009


This is a huge problem for every PTO. It has been for my sons school the past 3 years now .We had our first meeting a few days ago and as PTo president I feel it is my job to get parents involved .I was half heart broken to get to the meeting and only have one parent show up 3 teachers and the officers . Then I decided to look at is as at least I got 1 parent this time .
Most parents work and have kids in other programs such as scouts or 4h and that makes it hard for parents to come and set at a 2 hour long meeting .
I am a stay at home mom now but when I was working you could not have paid me to leave work fly home cook dinner and rush off to PTO. .
But one year I got brave and went . I now love the PTO.

A few key things are keep meetings short . Check the meeting times of other organizations so you don't plan meeting for the same time.
send out a mission statement to parents what the PTo is their for some parents have no clue .
Send out voulenteer forms ask what days and times are best for parents to attend meeting .
Also remember your PTO is what it is precived to be by other parents if they think it is a boring stuffy waste of time that is all they see . I they see you as a clique then thats what you are to them . Make sure to keep meetings fun and let everyone have a voice .
Send out papers letting parents know that when they help out they are helping their kids . a great web sight to get forms and other helpful ideas is www.ptotoday.com .Good luck!

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stayinformed September 24, 2009


I think PTO can be a huge disappointment. Nationally you expect PTO to assist with parent involvement. In the recent years it has taken more of a fund raising role. This is disappointing. What is the demographic makeup of the school? Does the PTO leadership reflect that diversity?
I have also noticed that PTO meetings are teacherless. Isn't the point of PTO to encourage collaboration of parents, teachers and schools? Do teachers attend PTO in good numbers? Is PTO setting the agenda without allowing the school body and members to help set the agenda?
I was on the PTO board last year and until I see changes, I will not support the PTO at our children's school.



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