The first time I went to a PTA meeting at my daughter’s school, it was mostly to see what it was all about. And I didn’t want to tell anyone I was going. I knew the stigma, I perpetuated the stigma. My mom was a good mom and wasn’t nerdy enough to need t be on the PTA. Those moms were Tiger Moms. Attachment Parenting Moms. Or worse, Stay At Home Moms.
I’m here to say that not only am I a SAHM (yes, we have an acronym!), I’m also the current Chair of our school’s PTA (also referred to as School Council). The big cheese. The Alpha-Mom, as it were. And… I love it.
I’ve yet to meet a school district that runs a budget surplus, so every school could use a little fundraising. And that’s a big focus of our PTA. Maybe that’s why I like it so much? Essentially, we plan parties for the school community, and use the money raised to make our school more awesome. I’m adding that to my LinkdIn profile right now. Fundraising isn’t the only reason I like the PTA. I’ve met some awesome families at our school events, meetings, and form knowing the kids. My girls, who are 5 and 7, are friends with kids from JK to grade 6, because our family has gotten to know them and their families. The kids play together, hang out at recess, and after school, and it’s amazing. It’s truly my favourite part. Seeing kids of all ages play together, say hi to each other in the hallways, watch out for one another. It’s wonderful.
Another role of our school council is to advise on school related decisions. I know that sounds lofty and idealistic, but we do help a little. Parents are not going to rewrite curriculum or anything, but we do get a little input into school matters, and at the very least, some insight into the way the school ad school board run. Plus, the PTA is made up of a group of parents who meet with the Principal quite often, so a good relationship is usually formed. Most questions that parents have can usually be answered – get this – just by asking them. If you ask, as I usually do, at a school council meeting, the answer goes in the minutes and other parents read those minutes. Plus, faculty can’t be everywhere, so they need the school community to speak up when they have a concern.
Our meetings are official, but not too staunch. A little boring at times, but also informative. They last about 90 minutes, we usually have refreshments (if I remember to plug in the Keurig) and there is always fun conversation. Kids are welcome, and we even employ an older student to mind the wee ones. Paid in gift cards of course.
Overall, it’s completely painless, can be as lax or involved as you want it to be, and it benefits kids. That’s an easy sell if you ask me. I just might sign up for next year too…
AKA – The Alpha Mom.
If you’re involved with your kids school, here are some of the best programs/events we do:
Birthday Book Program – families donate $10 and their child gets to pick a new book for the library. The books has a bookplate in it saying the kids name and date. Students LOVE this program, and anything that supports literacy is A-OK in my book.
Movie Night – SO easy, SO fun. Show a movie, sell junk food, make some cash. Kids love watching a movie in their school at night with their friends in their jammies. Make sure you get a movie licence so the feds don’t come after you. Or Walt Disney.
Lunch Program – Pizza, subs, pits, burgers, anything. Parents love a reason to not pack a school lunch, and kids love eating something fabulous. Show me a kid that doesn’t want to go to school on pizza day – try it.
Cake Walk – OMG was this ever the biggest hit at our annual Fun Fair. It’s like musical chairs, but the winner wins A CAKE. Yes, A CAKE! $1 or $2 a round, and get ready to run to the bank because you ask families to donate the cakes! CAKE!
P.S. Ryan Gosling loves involved parents. Dads too.