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Pros and Cons For Joining a Parent Teacher Organization

Posted by San Luis Obispo Mom on Sunday, March 26, 2023 Under: Mom Life
Many schools call their Parent Teacher Organization, PTA (Parent Teacher Association), others are just PTO.

What's the difference?

A PTA, Parent Teacher Association, has to pay fees to the the national PTA organization in U.S.A. but a PTO, Parent Teacher Organization, doesn't have to pay fees to the PTA and can have different rules and regulation/by laws.

Regardless if they are PTA or PTO, how they are run can be pretty impressive, dependent on the leadership of the board.

After volunteering for the last half year, here is a table of my thoughts.

Pros and Cons For Joining a Parent Teacher Organization or Parent Teacher Group.

  • You can connect with other parents (adults) in the school for a good purpose and great mission. The goal of the parent teacher association or organization is to help the kids and teachers. That could include fundraising for field trips, planning fun events for the community and volunteering to help serve the kids with any activity.
  • You can be creative by volunteering to create signs, flyers or graphics for events. Make sure you properly tell everyone during the meetings that you're going to do it, so that no two people are doing the same work. That way, the team can be efficient and have their focus on finishing everything.
  • You can add your volunteering projects to your resume! This is especially helpful if you need to beef up your resume for a new job.
  • I feel that volunteering for your kid's school can set a really good example for your kids early on in their childhood because when they see mommy (or parent) volunteering, they may be more inclined to do community service projects in the future. They've seen me run around helping out at events and attending meetings for the benefit of planning projects for all kids and not just for them. It actually makes them feel more connected to the community.
  • Since the principal usually attends these PTO/PTA meetings, you often get first-hand information about the school before a newsletter or community outreach is sent out. This could be very helpful in getting resources for your family and getting important dates saved on the calendar sooner.
  • Like many groups or clubs, there may be conflict with ideas and processes. I feel that we can always learn from each other but if you don't handle disagreements well, I advise that you come with an open mind and read some self-help books to help resolve conflicts.
  • Volunteering requires time out of your day and/or evening to work on projects or be there for events. If you don't have a lot of free time, just make sure you can commit to the hours or projects that you volunteered for. 
  • If you're volunteering during school hours on the school property, your school may need you be get fingerprinted and pass the background check to avoid pedophiles, or people with a history of crime, from being around children. This is a standard procedure for every volunteer or employee in a school district and it's a good one! So, make sure you have all of that already taken care of before volunteering on property during school hours.
  • Meeting new people in any group may be a bit intimidating and it's okay to feel nervous at your first meeting. Try to learn to be assertive so that the group knows you'd like to volunteer. Sometimes they don't want to push work on whom they are not sure would be up for the task. Raise your hand during the meeting if there is a project you'd like to volunteer for! 

Aside from volunteering to help my parent teacher organization at my kids' school, I've also volunteered to chaperone for 6 different field trips so far. Read about my list of Pros and Cons for Volunteering at a School Field Trip! Depending on what school your kids go to, volunteering for a field trip and volunteering for PTO or PTA are managed by two different administrators. I've met many chaperones on a field trip who have never attended a PTO/PTA meeting and I've also met PTO/PTA members who have never volunteered for a field trip before.

    Ideas to Bring to Your First PTO/PTA Meeting:
  • Depending on how organized the PTO/PTA is, they may not have enough pens to go around so, if you like to take copious notes during the meeting for yourself, I advise that you come ready with your own pen! Maybe you can even bring a couple extra pens to share. Sharing your pens could be a great way to start a new connection if you've never been to a meeting before.
  • If it is a potluck type meeting, I suggest bringing a nut-free vegan dish or nut-free vegan snacks. There are so many nut-free vegan dishes that I enjoy and I'm not even vegan. This is a great way to connect with a broader range of parents who may often feel left out at food sharing events. Nut-free is especially important for parents and kids who are severely allergic to peanuts or any other nuts.
  • At the PTO meetings that I've attended, they don't offer coffee to the parents so by the time the meeting starts, it's evening and I would often need a pick me up. If that is the same for you and if it's okay to bring a drink with you, I suggest bringing your own cup of coffee or handy coffee in a can so that you have the energy to listen and collaborate.
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In : Mom Life 

Tags: parent teacher organization  pto  pta reviews  pta benefits  elementary school  pto reviews  parent teacher groups 

About Me

San Luis Obispo Mom Originally from San Diego, California, I'm a San Diego State University alumna, veteran's wife and mom of two kids who were born two years apart. After living on the East Coast for 6 years, we now reside in San Luis Obispo County and here, the exploration continues.
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