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The "thin line" between PTO and Parent

15 years 4 months ago #147375 by NoDrama4thisMama
Replied by NoDrama4thisMama on topic RE: The "thin line" between PTO and Parent
WOW!!! I agree with President Jim. It cannot be you or any of your board members. YOU have to seek out the "Joan of Arch" at your school. Trust me every school has one. It might be you (smiles) Someone that is strong enough to get the point across. My suggestion if you cannot find a person strong enough to do this. Get a Grandparent or an aunt to do it. They have every right to be there when something is affecting there relative. You want to keep harmony with the teachers and even if the principal is not the brightest crayon in the box, her too. Because it is HER box. She is going to run the school how she see's fit regardless of what is being said about her. She also has the potential to turn the staff against you and your organization. Not that I think it would go that far. So walk softly but carry a big stick. The first concern should be and always will be the children. EVERYONE should realize that you are acting on their behalf. We have a responsibility as "parents" to provide a loving and nurturing environment both at home and away from home for our children. Unfortunately when you are the President of the PTO it is hard for the school to seperate that you are indeed a "parent". I think they would look at your position as influencing the crowd. So get a good "mouth piece" (speaker) and provide them with the knowledge to speak on behalf of your children. Good luck.
15 years 4 months ago #147367 by Cinema
Thanks for your input Jim. That's what we're trying to do. I think the teachers and the Superintendent get that. It's the Principal who can't seem to distinguish me "the parent" and me the "Co-prez." Yes, when I'm talking about my 2 kids, but when I/we're speaking up for the school as an entity, it inevitably(sp) becomes the PTO in her eyes.

Again, our goal is to have a new Principal next year, we are building support and, again, just trying to make sure it's not perceived as a PTO-lead "movement." We do have 2 parents not on the Board who are working to start a parents forum and in all our correspondence we reiterate it's a separate parent group and NOT part of the PTO. We're trying to reach out to all the parents, letting them know they have the power to make change (for the better) in our school, they just need to get involved and let their voices be heard (strength in numbers and all that good stuff).

Thanks again.
15 years 4 months ago #147359 by PresidentJim
I would recommend that the person at the forefront of this is not the PTO President, and not even a member of the PTO Executive Board. It's true that there is a difference between the PTO and acting as a parent when dealing with school matters, but too often the PTO parents are known, and their actions effectively represent the PTO. So if a PTO Executive is having issues and voicing them, then it becomes a PTO issue. It stinks that it is that way, but that's what we have. So try to find a parent who is upset with the situation, who is not a PTO Executive, and have them be the head honcho on taking these actions.

Good luck,
15 years 4 months ago #147332 by Cinema
Greetings all, hope your holidays were merry and your new year is blessed.

This might get a little wordy, but please bear with me.

I'm PTO Co-President at our school. We have a fantastic, hard-working, creative 7-member board. Unfortunately, the Board is seen as the general PTO, although we try very hard to let it be known EVERYONE is a PTO member and our volunteers work hard also. But whenever mention is made of "the PTO" in the Principal's eyes, it is only the board members she is referring to.

So here's the situation. We (the school) have serious issues with our Principal. We've had to "put up" with all her antics over the years because the superintendent (her friend) protected her. Now we have a new Superintendent, one we believe will make positive changes in our district, and specifically within our school. Last year our teachers did a "no confidence" vote with their union, this year they have started the grievance process. We have GREAT teachers that are ready to leave. We have not-so-good teachers who should have been gone, or at least called on the carpet for their behavior and given the support to get it together. The Principal's lack of action/common sense/leadership/respect has eroded the entire school environment. Teachers are unhappy, parents are ticked, our little ones' self-esteems are being torn down (lots of yelling by teachers) our 5th graders are out of control (fighting, cursing out the teachers, total lack of respect for each other, etc.) and our Principal does ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to get us back on track (she replaced our fantastic Principal who went over to the new middle school that was built). Bottom line, we can't stand her and want her gone! And by "we" I mean parents AND teachers.

My Co-President, another parent and I sat down with the Principal to discuss our concerns about how some of the kids were being punished (long story short, the entire 1st and 2nd grade was punished for the actions of a few kids, and the punishment didn't fit the crime!). We met with her as PARENTS, concerned about OUR kids. She turned it around and told certain teachers that "the PTO is upset with you." A group of us met with the Superintendent to share our concerns and some of the things that were taking place in the school. We did this as PARENTS, not PTO members. We really need to get all our parents to step up and speak out.

Question: how do we do this, making sure that it is not perceived as a PTO action. We want to keep the wonderful relationship we've built with our teachers as a staff, but at the same time our first priority is as parents to our kids. We need to get the word out to other parents who may not be aware of how bad the situation has gotten, we see it because we're always at the school. My Co-President and I have asked 2 other parents to spear-head this to ensure it stays separate from the purpose of the PTO and to not violate our by-laws. But in the end, we WILL be in the forefront because it's affecting our children and we (again, as parents) are initiating this action. Any suggestions on how we can distribute a "call to action" letter without using our PTO contacts?

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