If you've never been to a PTA meeting, it can be a little intimidating. A bunch of teachers and parents who all seem to know each other already, all working together to do… what exactly? Don't panic! The PTA is essential to your child's school's success and getting involved is a great way to help enhance your child's education. Here's what you need to know before you step into your first PTA meeting.
So what does the PTA actually do? Basically, it helps supplement the education at your child's school. It fights for full funding, great teachers and quality education for your child's school. It also helps fundraise for projects and improvements at the school, such as books in the library, playgrounds, scholarships, field trips and more. Fundraising efforts may include bake sales, car washes or gift auctions. Volunteers of the PTA also run programs and functions, like the school newsletter, yearbook, school plays, dances and book fairs.
It's important that parents make an effort to be a part of the PTA. According to PTA.org, studies show that kids do better when parents are involved, including improved grades, testing and attendance. Not only that, but membership dues and fees all go to help make your child's school the best it can be. Without parent help, your school won't have the resources it needs to really grow and thrive.
How to Join
The PTA is open to all interested parents. Your school should send home information with your child, but feel free to reach out to your school's office. They can give you the information you need or put you in touch with the PTA president. Most PTAs collect a small membership due (about $5 to $7 per year) that goes towards fundraising efforts and to keep the organization running.
What to Expect
Every school has a different style PTA. Some are huge, formal affairs, while others are smaller and more low-key. Usually, the meetings are held in the evening so all parents can participate. They are typically led by a board made up of the PTA president, secretary, and treasurer. The president will call together the meeting and go over what the PTA hopes to accomplish in the upcoming months and things they have accomplished recently. Pay attention to the upcoming events to see if anything peaks your interest that you'd like to be involved in.
Next, some PTA meetings have guest speakers, like parents, teachers or other educators, who talk about what is needed at the school and the hopes for the organization in the future. Finally, the meeting is opened up to the general public (you!) for questions and ideas.
How to Survive
The PTA isn't really as overwhelming as you think. No one expects you to do all the duties of the PTA president on your first day. Relax and keep some of these tips in mind:
- Don't be afraid to speak up. The best way to get involved is to join right in. If you have an idea, let it be heard.
- Join a committee. Most PTAs have different committees that help organize different functions that the PTA carries out. For example, there might be a fundraising committee or a committee that puts together the year book. Think about what you might have to contribute and sign up.
- Meet other parents. One of the best parts of the PTA is that it connects you with other parents in your child's school. You can make friends and expand both your own and your child's social circle.
This year, don't be afraid to get involved with your school's Parent Teacher Association. It can do a world of good for your child and her school.