Parochial School: New Name, More Parent Involvement

For PTO Today's 2014 Outstanding Parent Group at a Parochial School, a name change was just the start of letting parents know the group wanted their involvement.


Seeking to reinvigorate their parent group, leaders at St. Patrick Catholic School in Tacoma, Wash., started the 2013-14 school year with a name change. The shift from Parent Club to Parent Association sent a signal that the group is for all parents, not just a select few.

“Engagement increased immediately, [and] parents of all grade levels felt more included and part of the bigger picture,” says president Christy Johnson. As volunteerism increased, the PA tapped new leaders.

The PA asked parents to chair events that drew upon their talents and interests, resulting in the formation of two new committees. The health and wellness committee hosted a kids’ CrossFit challenge that raised money for a defibrillator, planned the Shamrock Shuffle fun run, and reorganized the field day at the preK-8 school of 400 students. The earth awareness committee removed 600 pounds of bushes and weeds from the campus and partnered with a local farm that brought a produce stand to the school. After the PA-sponsored Harvest Festival, corn stalks and hay were sent to the farm and composted.

Another key goal for the year was to incorporate the parish community in school activities, which include a Grandparents Day celebration, community service projects, and much more.

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