Question: New PTO

The elementary school in our area has decided to get the PTO up and running again after about a 3 year absence. I was the former President of our local group and along with 4 or 5 other women we ran what I felt to be a fairly successful PTO. As our children grew up and became full time students we found ourselves looking to get back into the working field and we simply ran out of time to do it all by ourselves. Any how, to make a long story short, we advertised the fact that our PTO was looking to replace its current board and came up empty handed, until now. We have a group of young mothers who are ready to take on the task and I am more than willing to tell them what I learned from my years on the board and to help though the process, but I do have a problem. Our small town has had some turnover of administration this last year and the NEW PTO president has spoken publicly, on camera, about her discontent and anger with the very principal she will be working with!! I am having a very hard time handing the reigns over to someone that does not support the very thing PTO should proudly stand behind, OUR SCHOOLS! If you have the time to let me know if PTO Today or PTO as a whole has a stance on this issue it would be greatly appreciated. I have looked all over the website for some sort of mission statement, if you will, to let me know what PTO feels their overall goals are in hopes that the answer would be written there, but can’t seem to find it. Any help or guidance that you may provide me would be very much appreciated.


Asked by Anonymous

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Advice from PTO Today

Rockne writes:
Hi Anonymous - It's a tricky question. Most PTOs and PTAs do serve a role of supporters/virtual PR arms of the school, but it's by no means a requirement. I imagine (hope) your new president feels that she is in support of the long-term interests of the school and kids in her criticism. As far as policy, PTOs are independent, so that kind of a policy/mission would be up to your group at your school. PTO Today doesn't have an official stance on really any of these issues, though we do offer advice and best practices. Our official stance is that we're really strongly in favor of parental involvement (even when the opinions don't jibe with current school policy). That said, we do find that collaboration and teamwork and positive communication between school and parents is most often best. There are times when really positive groups have cause to get up in arms. If a principal, for example, is doing a clearly poor job and none of the initital steps to create change make any difference, then I, for one, would be organizing parents to address that. So the question(s) goes/go back to your group: what does your mission say? what do your bylaws say? are there other parents who feel differently who want to step up to leadership? Finally, even if the president feels this way, it shouldn't be her call exclusively as to how your group works/talks. Though she may be president, it's not *her* group not her exclusive voice. Good luck. Interested to hear more as you progress. Hope this helps. Tim


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