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Ideas for Parent involvement with PTO


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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JLloyd September 29, 2009

Suggestion: Work with the new parents (pre-kgn and Kgn-3rd grade) they are most likely to have a more genuine concern for their children, not that 4th-6th grd parents don't they are just more self sufficient. Plan an event using the children. It might mean working with the teachers to get some kind of entertainment that she could do at the end of the day with the students. Parents generally come out to see their children perform. The 4th-6th graders can be utilized to open doors, help parents finds seats, etc. they can be involved as well. What I'm saying is that there is more way to skin a cat than you think! With the holiday season upon us your PTO could do a harvest dinner (spaghetti or whatever) the lower grades could make the place mats (construction paper, cut into strips or just decorated with fall follage). The children could sing or do skits or a play something the music teacher might help with or one of your talented parents: Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas events

Give it a try and let me know.


stayinformed September 29, 2009

This sounds like a great idea. I am passionate aout this because as a college professor my students of older grades complain about a lack of parental involvement, yet, they do not see the connection betwwen school practices in K-3rd, that affect parents involvement.
I will keep trying. We have a new leader in PTA and our school so I am optimistic. When I was a teacher I just never though of ever limiting any parent or community member from helping me. I was organized enough to allow parents to give input into my decisions on how to set up the class all the way to my mthods for teaching. I was not threatened and the students never gave me any problems because they knew their parent was a part of the structure there.
Thanks everyone..I feel better!


noworries October 1, 2009

Hello, We had our first Parent Meeting last night also and we had 25 parents show up which was great compared to last year first meeting, which was only about 5 parents. What I did different this year, I brought someone in who did a survey and gave away $5 gift cards to those who took the survey. And also I stand by the door when the Parents pick of there children and reminded Parent about the meeting and direct them to the room and mention," How great this year is going to be because we as Parents are taking it up a level." I inspire our Parents and focus them on being the best Parent as possible and discussing relevent topics in our meetings. We are in Detroit,MI and our and our city and state is having financial issues but that does not dictact how we feel toward making sure our chidlren are the best they can be.


md2mom October 1, 2009

RE: the teacher who would not allow parents to volunteer in the classroom.

My children go to a parochial school and we have to get fingerprinted and background checked and go to a training class before we are allowed to be volunteer in any way which involves being around the children. (And we are required to volunteer 15 hours a year). Now, that might sound like a pain, but it was a 2 hour class one evening and a quick trip to a site for the fingerprinting that I did once 5 years ago and you don't have to do it again. This is necessary to go as a chaperone on field trips, volunteer in class or lunchroom, go to class parties or any other activity where you have contact with the children at school.

Do other schools allow just anyone unrestricted access to volunteer and come in the school? Because as a parent it makes me feel my kids are safer to know that no one is going to be around my kids who hasn't been thoroughly checked out.

Anyway, my point is that maybe there are some school or state restrictions about who is allowed into the classroom. It would be worth asking about.


JLloyd October 1, 2009

Dear Professor, it is great that your school has a new PTO group, old and new are good! I was involved in my children's middle school as well as high school PTO/PTA groups. I've met so many parents, community and business people during my school parenting career. I enjoyed working where my children were at "most" of time time. Middle School kids and their parents were a little frightening to me, no the kids were just plain "BAD" and in hindsight the parents were not that far behind, some were young, some had not matured with their young "wild and unruly" children, and other were genuinely concerned about the curriculum, dress codes, etc. all those educational things regarding pre-teens. As for high school now that was a different kind of parents behavior, mostly 'what can we do at this stage in our children's lives now' I felt very unhelpful toward most of them because nothing really changed for the big kids, same issues! This is were educator/boards members have parents confused and at a disadvantage with their double standards, just most parents haven't figured that out. Keep up the good work and encourage your peers to Stop the Nonsense!


JLloyd October 1, 2009

I agree with you 100% about getting volunteers and fingerprinting done. More importantly that ought to be a school district initiative. At most elementary school parents, especially new parents are not aware of the sign-in business and you don't have to sign-out in some cases so what the purpose. This information I feel should be expressed at all meeting WHY is this restriction in PLACE at SCHOOLs. Then it should be up to the schools to enforce the rules, otherwise remove them.


stayinformed October 1, 2009

Most schools require current TB test and background checks.


Crissleigh October 31, 2009

It sounds like you have a lot of experience and could be a great help to any PTO group .I hope you have much success . Any time you want to move to WV (lol)I would be glad to have you on our PTO .

I have decided why parents do not come to PTO meetings . This is after we have held 2 meeting now 1 evening 1 right after school . Still only 1 to 2 parents show .
I think a lot of the younger parents do not realize that in order for kids to feel education is a big deal the parents need to show them it is and how much they care about their childs education.
The federal and state governments are making so many crazy rules that parents tend to stay mad and blame all the wrong people .
Last but not least it takes more effort to get up off your back side and do the hard work to change things than to set and complain over them .
I have a 100 parents who will call and gripe at me about this or that but not one wants to help bring about change or show at a meeting . Everyone wants a magic cure for what is wrong or what they do not like . Well the only cure I know of is hard work. I have tried to tell parents that helping at the schools improves their kids education and most of them feel that is mine and the teachers job.
As for working parents ,I know how hard it is and for the most part I can over look them not coming .But I can also tell you my parents who work M-F 9-5 are the first ones to help with a weekend project . Our school this year doesn't want to have meetings late enough that a working parent could attend .
For the most part we only meet 1 time a month and most people could handle that . I have a very busy life and can work it in .
The thing is if you do not come out and try to help then you have no right to complain about anything .


Mari5210 November 1, 2009

I know how disheartening it is to have meetings and no one attend. It is even worse when you get the phone calls with all of the complaints. You have to work to acheive success but few people want to put the time into it. Your school is lucky to have you. I put in thousands of hours volunteering at my 11 year old daughters elementary. Just keep your chin up and realise that you are doing it for your child and keep up the good work. We had the hard workers and the ones there for show and it does not take long to figure out who they are. I would work 12 hour days at times! It is hard to please everyone and there is no way that you can, so try to ignore them. Good luck!


Crissleigh November 1, 2009


Thank you for your advice and words of encouragement. I try not to let the parents worry me a whole lot but I just can not understand how they could seem to care so little about their kids education.
I know how hard it can be to work and have kids . I was a single mother for 6 years and really had no time for PTO .I worked odd shifts and at one job rotated shifts every 3 months . But I was still as active in helping the school out in any way I could.
Right now we are doing a cookbook as a school fund raiser and we had maybe 4 parents who wanted to really put the work in and help . It gets a bit over whelming at times. I am setting hear at 2:30 am putting a cookbook together and typing recipes in the dark even though I know my 3 year old we be up shortly after I go to bed . Yet I am happy to do it and not just for my son but for all the kids .This is how we get money for things the kids need and trips they go on . Parents do not understand if none of this got done the kids would get nothing or parents would have to shell out a lot of money . I could pay for my sons trips and things he needs at school but some parents can not . So I slave away because when I see the smile on the kids faces at parties and trips it was worth every late night and I have no regrets.

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