Question: just started a PTO

My sons school has not had a PTO for the last two years, the teachers have been doing everything. We now have a new principal and we have had two meetings. In frustrated with some of the parents. They are talking about things that I feel should be address at a school board meeting. I was under the impression that the PTO is a group that is for the students. the PTO is there to support the school and the teachers, and provide special events for parents and students to attend. A lot of parents are talking about how to educate the kids. they are way off base. When I bring up different things like fundraisers, pizza parties, they get all upset. If they want to improve how the teachers work go to the school board meeting. I know I'm babbling, my question is can anyone give a definition of what a PTO is/ purpose?

Asked by carymetalhead



Advice from PTO Today

Craig writes:
We believe the most successful PTOs focus on building the kind of supportive school community where teachers and students alike can do their best work. That starts with helping to get parents connected to the school and involved in their children's education. Research shows that when parents get involved in their children's education -- attend school events, communicate with the teacher, stay on top of their children's progress -- the children are more successful in school and have fewer discipline problems, and the school performs better as well. Parent groups do all kinds of different things to support the school: create family events, run after-school programs, take over recess duty, help in classrooms, raise funds, create enrichment programs to support the curriculum, etc. The role you described -- discussing educational policy, administration of the school, and curriculum -- is certainly not typical. For one thing, most principals don't want that kind of feedback from the PTO. But really, PTOs are independent, so there's no cookie-cutter mold -- it varies from school to school. The bottom line is that the role of a PTO is what the parents and administrators at that particular school decide it should be.

Community Advice

carymetalhead writes:
We have another meeting this monday and we will see what happens, the principal said the same things you did, at the meeting and to me in private, if this meeting goes the way the others did I'm out. I want to build our school to be the best. I look at this pto as a baby you dont expect a baby to walk and feed themselves in the first two days, it will take us sometime to build.I hope this works.

Community Advice

netlaw writes:
I agree with Craig except that here in the UK, it is more than normal for PTAs (They're called PTA in the UK) to discuss educational policy, administration of the school, and how in a private school the formulated national curriculum is taught and how our schools deal with the fact that there are a wide range of children's abilities and how the children's rapid acceleration past the national curriculum is dealt with. One of the problems with my son's current school Lochinver is that the PTA for his year is more concerned with coffee mornings and mum's shopping trips - than matters concerning the school and its pupils - and we're raised this with the school and suggested that they also develop a mum's club separate from the PTA to keep the focus appropriate. I've been involved as lawyer to many schools over the years, advising Governors and PTAs, and PTAs differ significantly. The biggest problem I've found over the last 10 years in the private sector is the hijacking of a PTA into a largely mum's social club consisting of the bored and well heeled housewives at the expense of everyone else rather than a association designed to promote full integration of parents and their children into to school and its teachers as a community. he role you described -- discussing educational policy, administration of the school, and curriculum -- is certainly not typical. When a school says "Our principals doesn't want the parents ideas on educational policy, school administration and curriculum" - what it is invariably saying is we do things our way and we're not prepared to change. It is inevitably an indication of a school that is inflexible and therefore inflexible as to your particular child's needs. Sometimes parents come up with cracking good ideas! I've recently done a case for a London Preparatory school where 3 parents sued the school after nearly 3 years for inadequate teaching - citing numerous examples. (Can't name them as it was confidentially settled, but the school did refund the 3 years fees as part of the settlement - obviously NOT my son's school as I would have been conflicted out!). I fear this is the start of a new trend and schools are being very careful about both what they say in their prospectus documents and the use of PTA communication systems.

Community Advice

hisgirl81 writes:
hi carymetalhead as hard and as stubborn parents might be, keep throwing your ideas out! Dont give up. I am trying to get our group up and running after the prev. president had run the organization to the ground. So much has to be done and it seems like the mess will never end but you must keep going. Have you thought of printing out the meaning of PTO and handing it out to all the meeting members. Remind the parents what the PTO is! Good luck!

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