As this school year comes to an end, and we welcome our new parent association board members I am beginning to think about thoughts on the upcoming year I’d like to share with our new team. A year ago, I was taking on this position with zero board experience; joined by parents much in the same position as I. I simply asked that everyone give 100% to everything they do, connect with as many families as possible…and that we will try new things and know that we aren’t going to get it all right. In the end I hoped that would translate into more participation in various ways.
This past year we raised more money than expected, increased our number of families participating, introduced (with the school) several ways for families to stay in touch with and follow the learning at school through technology, and hosted the first #ParentCamp. I couldn’t be happier, but I also believe we can always do more. So…
Next year, half of our board will remain, and I will challenge them…to do more (while keeping in mind that most work full time), make a greater impact and demonstrate that PTO’s are so much more than fundraisers. Some hopes I’ll share at our first gathering before heading into the summer…
- Continue to build on diversity in our group. We have a more diverse group this coming year coming year than last – but we are still missing several voices. We need to reflect our school community to guarantee each neighborhood and classroom has a voice in decisions made. To do that we need to continue reaching out to all families and learning more about how they want to be involved, and inviting them to share their voice.
- Visit, learn about, and/or get to know another school or PTO. One of my highlights from this year was connecting with and seeing how other schools and PTO’s do things.
- Inspired by Joyce Epstein’s 6 Types of Involvement, how can we improve on or provide opportunities for each of these?
- Parenting: Be it basics such as food bank info or sharing resources on how to provide better emotional support.
- Communicating: Are we communicating basic information to families of all languages? How can we make it easier for families to connect with the PTO and school?
- Volunteering: Are we providing opportunities for dads, grandparents and community members to volunteer?
- Learning at Home: What resources can we share with families to support learning at home?
- Decision Making: What are ways our families can have a voice in decisions made involving how our children are educated or are involved in school outside of the class?
- Collaborating with the Community: How can we use our community and their resources for more than donation requests? What can we do together that will make our community as a whole better?
We don’t always think of how something looks from another’s perspective. My first two requests are part of that reminder that we a small piece of a larger puzzle. How do the pieces fit together? The last is important to building future parent partners and leaders. Not only will this current team not always be here – but change, fresh faces and new ideas are a good thing.
As a parent, what do you want to see at your school or learn? As a PTO, how do you plan top this year?
image credit: http://www.sxc.hu