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Chapter 18 William Allan Kritsonis, PhD Make PTA/PTO/PTSO Meaningful for both Parent and Teacher

The purpose of the PTA (Parent-Teacher Association), PTO (Parent-Teacher Organization), or PTSO (Parent-Teacher-Student Organization) is to provide an opportunity for teachers and parents to work cooperatively for the growth and development of the children. Regular attendance at these meetings opens communication lines between the home and school, resulting in improved parentteacher relations. If parents understand the parameters under which schools operate, they are more apt to cooperate with school personnel. Be prepared to answer questions pertaining to school policies or school system regulations. The PTA/PTO/PTSO meeting is an ideal time to introduce school programs and solicit input from parents before setting program goals. Creative ideas proffered at these meetings often result in effective and productive attainment of these goals. Parents attend PTA/PTO/PTSO meetings to talk to their childs teacher as well as to discuss pressing school issues. Circulate during the refreshment break and informally talk to as many parents as possible. Discuss various school activities and comment on their childs participation in these activities. During the week following the meeting, send letters of appreciation to parents who took time out of their busy schedules to attend. Parents will feel their attendance at the meeting was purposeful and will be encouraged to support future school functions. Parents are eager to know what their child does at school and to help promote the academic success of the school. Many parents have a sincere desire to be useful to the school. Encourage them to consider participating in fund raising efforts to assist the classroom teacher in acquiring certain classroom resources and supporting other efforts deemed important by the school. Extend to parents an opportunity to serve as chaperons on class fieldtrips and volunteers in the classroom and/or school library media center. This makes them feel valued by the school. Once plans have been developed on how the parents can become actively involved in school activities, parents 49

who volunteered in those capacities could be given a certificate of appreciation recognizing their efforts at one of their parent teacher meetings. The public gesture will promote a desire to continue to volunteer and promote the school and the school district.

A Thought in Words The aim of education is not knowledge, but action. Herbert Spencer