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If you think PTA moms and dads just organize car pools and school Halloween carnivals, you might want to attend your area's next meeting (most occur once a month). The Parent Teacher Association can be your best link to teachers and is one of the easiest ways to become involved with your child's school.
What do PTA organizations do?
They support and speak on behalf of children in the schools, in the community, and before government groups and other organizations that make decisions affecting children. They help parents develop the skills they need to raise and protect their children. And they encourage parent and public involvement in public schools across the country.
What will I get out of joining the PTA?
- Regular updates on school activities and policies
- Access to teachers and administrators at your child's school
- Access to parents of other children at the school
- A forum to discuss concerns and problems at school. If the problem needs attention from the state or national government, any local, district, or state PTA can bring the issue to the attention of the National PTA.
- Access to resources on parenting, education, and more from the National PTA
- Appreciation from teachers for all your help
- Education about school policies, state funding, and other issues concerning your school
- A discount subscription to the National PTA publication Our Children, which covers family, health and safety issues, legislative briefings, and nationwide highlights of the PTA's work and activities
As a PTA member what would I be expected to do?
Your level of involvement is up to you, but here are some of the main things the PTA will expect from you:
- Help with fundraisers: Many PTAs raise money throughout the year for projects and improvements at the school. A local PTA might throw a bake sale or car wash to raise money for art supplies, scholarships, computers, or field trips. A group might raise money to put a soda machine in the teachers' lounge or bring a guest speaker to the school. You will likely be called on to help out or contribute.
- Your opinions: Your voice is important to help shape the goals of your local PTA. Feel free to address any concerns you have at meetings.
- Commitment: You'll get the most out of your PTA membership by staying involved. Meetings are usually scheduled in the evenings. If you can't make the meetings, see about getting minutes and try to make it to fundraisers and other PTA events.
Do I have to pay to be a member of the PTA?
You might, but chances are it's nothing to worry about. Dues vary from district to district, but annual membership fees for most elementary school PTAs are extremely affordable — around $5 to $25 a year. "PTAs try to set dues so they're not a barrier to any parent," says Patty Yoxall, director of public relations for the National PTA. Some local memberships are as inexpensive as a fast-food meal deal — not bad for a year's worth of involvement in your child's school.
How do I join the PTA?
Local PTAs are open to all interested parents. If you want to join, contact your child's school and ask to be put in touch with the president of your local unit or the school's PTA teacher liaison. If your school can't provide PTA contacts, get detailed information about state PTAs on the National PTA website.