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How do we hold parents responsible for attending PTA

6 years 11 months ago #171921 by Carolee
Our child's PTA has implemented mandatory parent volunteering/meetings. This will create a lot of animosity between the parents and PTA. The threat is that if you do not volunteer and attend meetings your child will lose their spot. The problem with Parent Involvement in their children's education is perception. Involvement in the PTA/fundraising/carnivals/book drives etc...does not mean you care more for your child, or children in general, than the next parent. I have many friends involved in community service that are not involved in PTA nor do they attend functions and meetings. They are passionate about what they have chosen to volunteer their time for. Whether it is MADD or Breast Cancer Research or Sunday is all valid. It is all worthwhile and not superior or inferior to PTA. I keep reading comments here that parents need to attend PTA to be involved with their children's education. There are many other ways to be just as involved and care. Selling candles or being a room mom are not the only ways to be involved. Please keep diversity and free will to choose where to devote one's time and gifts in mind. Attending PTA meetings is only one of many ways to care for one's child.
19 years 10 months ago #109933 by <DSS>
We too would love to have more help. We don't have officers because there are only 4-5 of us for a school of 300 that are PTO. Not that we haven't tried, we have done the survey and got little response, rude responses, excuses, you name it. We have done the door prizes, free food, babysitting we have tried it all! Nothing works, we can’t even guilt these people into doing anything. Even the majority of our teachers don't show up, they have been there all day they don't want to come back. And yes we have heard that it is because we (the 4 -5 of us) just want to do it ourselves YEAH RIGHT, or they are a clique (more excuses) It just makes them feel better about not being involved to blame it on somebody else! We have a fall festival that we start working on at 10 AM and are lucky if we are out by midnight, but nooooooooo we don't want any help! My son will be a 6th grader and I have worked the fall festival instead of going around having fun with him like the rest of the parents, and there are plenty there, but they have to take their kids around so they don't have time to help! Yes it's aggravating but we came to the realization that we are doing it for the KIDS so rain on the parents. The parents are the ones that will loose out in the long run. And maybe just maybe their kids will grow up and be involved in their kids’ lives. Like several posts have mentioned just because you can’t make a meeting doesn’t mean you’re not involved is true but our parent’s flat don’t care! We have low income to high income so that’s not the problem good grief one of the school’s here that is in one of the lowest income area’s has an enormous amount of parental help. Some want to be involved some don’t. And if they can blame it on the fact that the people in charge don’t want any help, it makes them sound better than if they just didn’t say anything at all. I check this board often and do want to thank all of those people who share their ideas as we have snagged a few!! Thanks for the vent!
19 years 11 months ago #109932 by SUPDRAGON
I have been an active member of PTO's for 7 years and I have learned that you cannot force parents to attend these meetings. In my son's school, there are almost 700 students and our core group of parents only consists of about 10 parents. The only reasons parents come to our school in the evening are free food and special events. In the beginning, I was full of enthusiasm and ideas about how to recruit parents. Now I realise I can only make that decision for myself. There are always excuses for not attending meetings but the way I see it, if you can come to an ice cream social, you can come to a meeting. I don't think parents realise just how strong a voice they could have in their child's school. We try to recruit at the beginning of the school year but after that, we feel our time would be better spent improving our kids' learning experience. If parents want to be involved, they will be.
20 years 3 days ago #109931 by Heidi Rozow
After reading these postings, I am encouraged that I have a 7-member PTO board that is willing to meet once a month (~ 90 min./meeting). We have board members who tend to the 'business' of running a PTO and 9 grade-level representatives (parents) who stay in close contact with our K-8 teachers to communicate needs/opinions to our exec. board. Staff members generally do not attend our meetings (although they are routinely invited). Our Principal does attend and is helpful with logistics.

Our school has nearly 700 students. My volunteer list consists of 65 parents. With certain activities requiring up to 70 volunteers, I have to 'stretch' a little and make phone calls to parents who might not be willing to put their name on a list (thinking that it will be committing them to a year of CONSTANT activity) but who are willing to lend a helping hand.

I do not believe in bribing a parent to get involved, but 'rewarding' then for helping. The rewards are quite simple and cost the PTO nothing... when people can see that what they do 'makes a difference' they will be more likely to do it again. We simply point out the smiles on the kids' faces (at the carnival) or let our volunteers know how many free books our book fair earned the school. We make sure volunteers KNOW that we appreciate them!

One or two hours a month can be intimidating to a parent (as minute as it may seem to us veterans). Try asking for less than an hour a year, make sure that parent UNDERSTANDS how their involvement benefits the students and the school, and it is possible that he/she will do more the next time.

More importantly, parents TALK to eachother. If one person has a positive experience helping at the school they may tell ONE other person. If a parent has a negative experience, you can just bet that 5-10 of your potential future volunteers will hear about it and will avoid you (and the PTO) like the plague!
20 years 4 days ago #109930 by KESPTO912
It may sound silly and don't nessarily agree with it completely but it does work. Our school has PTO meeting the last Thursday of every month. Every parent is invited to attend. As we formally put it, to put butts in the seat we have a grade level musical preformance. While the children are getting into costume we hold our meeting in the "theater" as this normally only brings in parents from the grade level that is prefoming we try our best to address business that affects that grade level. We have tried to hold the meeting in a separate room but only 10-12 parents would attend.
20 years 4 days ago #109929 by llamalindy
Just a few thoughts as an involved HS Parent and PTO President.....I have been on the PTA/PTO board throughout my children's school career. My first graduated this year, my second is a sophomore. PTO meetings have been an issue throughout my tenure. For the most part there have been 10-12 attendees, but as many have said, there are many just sometimes have to personally ask....put out the welcome mat so to speak. So many parents are put off for whatever reason by the "group" or really are uncomfortable or don't feel welcome. The administration AND the PTO can change that by their attitude. People want/need to feel wanted/needed. We have even opened the door to grandparents to come in to read at the elementary level....made contacts through local churches, I call it a spider web person knows 2 people that knows 4 more...while not perfect, I have found if volunteers/parents feel welcome, they will attend the conferences, meetings, events. They want to be involved, but Parenting 101 still isn't an official course of study and many are just flying by the seat of their pants and aren't as "confident" as many of the posters on this board appear.

The other comment I will share is that most of the meetings that I have personally be President at the time have been during the daytime hours....2 main reasons, it gives the teachers the opportunity to "touch base" if they have a request, or in some aspects (at the MS there were 2 teachers on staff appointed as the liason in addition to the principal) and the parents that attended and were able to commit to the level of volunteering that being a board member were typically available during the day. I work in real estate and will not give up another evening away from my family for a meeting. Just my priorities, but each and every building my children have attended knew they could depend on the "git r done" attitude and inclusiveness as opposed to exclusion method of seeking help. I has streamlined the info age. Newsletters if possible are great, or web pages attached to the school web sites for sharing info. It is amazing how many parents that are not able to be involved call and donate $$ or food or talents when the need is posted.

Well now that I've rambled on, my ending comment will be....we all want what is best for our kids....we just have to remember so do most other parents and may just be in a different manner for whatever their reasons are...unless you walk in their shoes don't judge their lives...give them the opportunity to be involved and MOST IMPORTANT thank them when they can bet they will be more willing to help out again!

One more comment, our elementary teachers negotiated full day conferences and run appointments from 8 am or earlier through the evening 2 days typically a Thursday and a Monday for an extra day off over Thanksgiving break. The PTO's all provide dinner for the staff (potluck buffet style if the volunteers are there or pizza/salads if we have to purchase). This pretty much eliminates any excuse for not getting a parent in for a conference. MS runs "open forum" conferences where parents can come in and it is set up in the cafeteria and auditorium you can tell when a teacher is can speak briefly with each teacher your student has and be out in an hour...promotes good parent participation with some PTO PR on how wonderful it is and the staff ends up finding out they are appreciated too!!
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