Parent teacher member organizations, which may be called PTA, PTO or PTSA, are a great place to get involved at your child's school. By joining the PTO you show your support for your child's school. PTO's are organized at the local school level where parents can support their child's school specifically.
Be Involved a Little or a Lot Sure, PTO's need parents to be board presidents and secretaries, but they also need a pool of parents who can do other, shorter commitment tasks. Joining the PTO doesn't mean you are signing up for all of the tasks, but it does mean you will be among the first to get the opportunity to assist with school sponsored events. PTO volunteers help chaperone field trips, help out on picture day, be classroom parents, shelve books in the school library and more. PTO's may organize math and literacy nights, or host parenting workshops. Some school districts are even asking PTO parents to join in on new principal interviews so that school parents can be included in the hiring process.
Parent Involvement Matters For Your Child's Success Joining the PTO shows your child that their school and education matters to you. Many schools have a bulletin board with the names of the parents and teacher who have chosen to join the PTO. Your child will see your name there and be reminded that you believe education is important.
It also makes a difference for all of the children in the school to feel that they are supported by the adults in their local community. The more names that are on that board, the more the children know the adults in their community care about what they do every day at school.
Meet other Parents This is another way you can meet parents of children who go to the same school as your child. These are people you probably have a lot in common with. You have childrne whoa re the same age, and live in the same local community. There are no other children that are the same age as my own children living on my street, but through my children's schools I have met families that live nearby that I can relate to.
Prevent Parent Cliques If you think you don't meet the criteria to be a “PTO Mom,” it is probably even more important that you do join. America's schools are full of very diverse families, there is no rooms for stereotypes. Most schools have children from single parent homes, families whom English was not their first language, families of all ethnicities, and all income and education levels. Since PTO's are formed at the school level, they can choose activities that will benefit their own unique population.
For example, if you are a single parent who works as a bartender at night, your input that a good afterschool homework club is needed to help children get their homework done when their parent isn't home will help your child and all of the other children who have a similar situation. If you do not get involved, your school may not know this is a need, or be able to show potential grant funding sources that there is a need for an after school homework club at your child's school.
Let Teachers Know They Are Supported The PTO is truly an organization designed for parents and teachers to work together to support their local school. When parents join the PTO, teachers have a tangible sign that parents are ready to make a difference in their children's learning.
Even Your Member Dues Make a Difference A fair percentage of all PTO dues will directly benefit your child's school. Schools that have a national affiliation with an organization like PTA may send part of the dues to the parent organization, but there is still often at least 40% or more that stays at the school to be used to fund activities determined by the local school PTO. If all you can do is join and pay dues, you are making a difference in the school.