13 answers

Joining the Pto/ptso

This is my first son starting kindergarden this year and is going to a charter school. We have to volunteer 20 hours of communityhours to the school prior to may 15 and 10 of those hours has to be completed prior to the winter recess.

My question: what are the benefits of joining the pto/ptso? Does it make me a more responsible parent or will i learn more about the school? This is all very....very.... New to me. What do most schools require when you are a pto/ptso member? Will it interrupt my working hours? I probably should ask some of these questions to the pto president, but i really want to get feedback on why it's important to join the pto/ptso?

Thanks moms!

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Featured Answers

I do join the PTA at my son's school. As a paying member, I am not required to donate any time or money, join any committees, attend any meetings, or even talk to other parents. And I don't have to be a PTA member to volunteer in the classroom, chaperone a field trip, or other activities. But as a member, I get to vote on which fundraisers they choose and how they spend the money. It does help pay for field trips, family movie nights, and is in charge of coordinating the schedules of the people who do volunteer. I have one friend who won't join because she's afraid that some PTA groups may be involved in politics at a national level, but I haven't seen this myself.

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I love being involved at the school. By volunteering and being in the PTA/PTO you get to know your children's friends, many of the friends' parents, help the teachers with copies, paperwork, etc so they can stay focused on the more important job of teaching your child.

I am president of the cheerleader boosters now for high school and involvement is even more important at this level. We are preparing for college visits, I work closely with coaches, principal, other booster clubs to make sure things are in order and again.......teachers can focus on the important aspect of the students.

We have parents I've known since daughter was in KG who have had no involvement. It is a shame because you can tell those kids wish they had a parent being the teacher helper, room mom/dad, mom/dad helping in the lunch room, etc.

Our joining fee is $10 which is nothing compared to what we gain. I feel it is my responsibility to be a vital part of my daughter's education. I don't enjoy the fundraising part, I'd rather give money which is what we normally do...Last year for Orchestra we just donated $500 to the general fund and thaat money funded 3 other teens to be able to go on the yearly trip. We donate to the cheer and general funds as well to do our best to make sure other student have an opportunity. I firmly believe it is a responsibility of all parents to be proactive in their children's education. It is sad when I see parents opting out of participation because they are "too busy". Blah

I have enjoyed being a part of each school my daughter has attended, (elementary through high school) and getting to know the students, staff and teachers. I believe it is a valuable asset for a parent to get in the know at the school. The parent volunteers are usually first to know a lot of pertinent information as well. Of course, volunteering is not to be nosy and get info.....the basis of it is to help the teachers and staff provide a better atmosphere for our children. I have spent countless hours volunteering at the school and I don't regret one moment of it.

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I liked Deb R's response. I would add, that, if you can squeeze this in now, you won't regret it later. I have one in middle school now, and long gone are the days when they like having mom on campus. But if you do it when they are little (and I know middle school seems eons away right now.. .but trust me, it is NOT), then you will know their friends (and other kids who might turn into friends later on) better than you might otherwise. You will be familiar to the kids as well, which can be a plus when they get older. For years I knew ever student in my son's and daughter's classes, and they knew me (from doing contests collecting Boxtops). Our kids went from private school to public school last year. So both kids went into last year knowing no one. Now that my son is in middle school and the parents are virtually persona non grata, and there aren't avenues for the parents to be involved like in elementary, I don't know them at all. My daughter's school.. I participated in PTO (not much, but some) and went to one field day, and met several of her friends and other moms. Plus working on one project (valentine's candy grams) I learned the names of tons of other kids she knows, what grades they are in, who their teachers were, (and other tidbits from the other moms that were there helping - which teachers are awesome, for example). I figure I have about one more year with my daughter before she gets to the age where she would rather I not be so visible at her school. Don't let your chance to be visible slip by. It can go quickly.

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I have found it very beneficial to get involved in my daughter's school's PTA. It is great opportunity to get an inside look into the school's happenings, staff, etc. In addition, most schools (public and private) are truly struggling right now and without parent volunteers, some would not survive at all. One of the greatest benefits I have found in volunteering, is that it shows my daughter that I care about her and her education by trying to better her school and the experience she has there. She is very proud to see me at the school volunteering.
Most schools have flexible ways you can volunteer without interrupting your work hours. There are certain to be special events throughout the year (we have 2 carnivals that are at night or on the weekend) so you can volunteer at those. You can be a classroom mom which usually involves mostly email communication with the other class parents. Or you can do stuff for the individual classroom/teacher. Our K teacher asked that one parent each month put together small journal books or blank calendar pages or cut out some things for an art project they were working on. Things like this you can do at home at night and even get your son involved which will give him an added sense of pride. Just check with the school about the opportunities they have and I'm sure you'll find something that fits into your schedule. 10 hours by December is really not that hard - it's really only a little over 30 minutes a week if break it down.

Updated

I have found it very beneficial to get involved in my daughter's school's PTA. It is great opportunity to get an inside look into the school's happenings, staff, etc. In addition, most schools (public and private) are truly struggling right now and without parent volunteers, some would not survive at all. One of the greatest benefits I have found in volunteering, is that it shows my daughter that I care about her and her education by trying to better her school and the experience she has there. She is very proud to see me at the school volunteering.
Most schools have flexible ways you can volunteer without interrupting your work hours. There are certain to be special events throughout the year (we have 2 carnivals that are at night or on the weekend) so you can volunteer at those. You can be a classroom mom which usually involves mostly email communication with the other class parents. Or you can do stuff for the individual classroom/teacher. Our K teacher asked that one parent each month put together small journal books or blank calendar pages or cut out some things for an art project they were working on. Things like this you can do at home at night and even get your son involved which will give him an added sense of pride. Just check with the school about the opportunities they have and I'm sure you'll find something that fits into your schedule. 10 hours by December is really not that hard - it's really only a little over 30 minutes a week if break it down.

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Both. I think joining makes you a more responsible parent and you will learn more about the teachers and school (as well as learn more about your child and yourself). Our home & school org does many wonderful things for our students. They pay for field trips and provide snacks during standardized test times; host family fun nights - just to name a few.

I've been volunteering in my kids' schools for over a year now and it's been wonderful. My kids love to see me there and it's great to get to know teachers, aides, administrators and everyone else that makes a school run. You also get to meet the parents of the kids your child goes to school with and that's fantastic!

I don't think that volunteering will interrupt your working hours if you are upfront about it. There are probably plenty of things that can be done after hours or on the weekends.

I think you'll find it a rewarding experience.

Edited to add: Our fee to join is $7 (and it all goes to the students' activities). We don't pay it though - so we're not "official members". I lend my time, which has a bigger impact - if that makes any sense.

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I say join.

First off this will help your child's school and will make you more aware of things happening in the school and the goals of the school.

Second with the Volunteering - help the teacher with stuff that can be done at home - like cutting out pictures for the kids, there are a ton of things that you can do.

1 mom found this helpful

I do join the PTA at my son's school. As a paying member, I am not required to donate any time or money, join any committees, attend any meetings, or even talk to other parents. And I don't have to be a PTA member to volunteer in the classroom, chaperone a field trip, or other activities. But as a member, I get to vote on which fundraisers they choose and how they spend the money. It does help pay for field trips, family movie nights, and is in charge of coordinating the schedules of the people who do volunteer. I have one friend who won't join because she's afraid that some PTA groups may be involved in politics at a national level, but I haven't seen this myself.

1 mom found this helpful

I am a PTA President, so of course I'm going to say join....right? I say do what you think works best for your family. Personally, I believe being as involved as possible only creates opportunities for your child. The teachers and staff will know who you are and feel comfortable having you in class or just around the school in general. I work full time also and realize that volunteering really takes effort when it comes to schedules, but isn't your child worth the sacrifice of a little time off? Also, any time volunteered and any money raised is only helping your child's school.

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We joined the first year and won't do it again. We volunteer when we can. My daughter will start second grade this year, but all of the kids in both of her previous classes knew who I was, and it will continue. I come in and read stories, have lunch, come for recess, etc...whatever works with my schedule and when I can. So the teachers know I am a very active parent and the students all know who I am. I don't send her on a field trip without a chaperone...if my husband or I can't make it, my mom will normally volunetter. I just can't be guaranteed to do all of the stuff they want you to do. The one perk, was our fee was $25, and they had a drawing for a $50 Outback Gift Card....we won!

1 mom found this helpful

I love being a part of my kids school and I also work, so it can be done. It's alot of extra work, but it's worth it.

Our fees are reasonable ($25) and our PTO is great with how they use this money. My kids were able to attend theatre performances, have "in house field trips" where birds and reptiles were brought to their school. They also help out the teachers with grants for supplies for their classroom and so much more.

Our PTO also helps to support kids that come from families that are struggling financially and they do it very tactfully without drawing attention to themselves.

So, I guess my point is, your level of involvement is up to you and what you are able to commit your time to. There are so many different ways to help your PTO, and not all of them require you to be present at the school. You may be able to create a newsletter from your house after the kids are in bed, you can count Box Tops for education for them, create posters for the school carnival, the possibilities are endless!

Good luck!

I have always worked full time while my daughter has been in school and have never volunteered. Last year my sister (who is a teacher currently and is running for the Duval County School Board) encouraged me to join the SAC Committee (School Advisory Committee) for her school. She is now in HS where I think it is more important to be involved in her life and in the "know" of what's happening in her school than ever before. SAC is different from the PTA in the fact that it is made up of a mixture of parents, community members and administrators and we are tasked with determining where the spending of the funds from the county go. We meet once a month for the entire school year and the Principal of our school is always present. It has been a real eye opener learning what our schools are up against in funding not only through the county but also from the state. If your child is in Public School there is a process of being qualified to volunteer in the school (background check, etc.) but being either on the SAC Committee or on the PTA does not make a difference either way. Hope this helps!

In our public schools is always been just a way to raise money. You come to meetings if you wish but you can come as a non member anyway....You can still volunteer without being a member. It's a choice....

I don't join because our joining fee is outrageous and most of the moms that do join , in my experience, are all those former cheerleaders that still think they are cheerleaders and act that way, and I have always found cheerleaders annoying. And it gets into a contest with who does the most stuff with their kids.
The only real benfit from ours is if you pay the $100 you get to opt out of the fall fundraiser.

And yes generally volunteering at the school is during school hours so if you work during school hours then it will interrupt work.

I do volunteer in my kids classrooms and for the school but I don't support being told I HAVE to volunteer. That's not volunteering. Volunteering is VOLUNTARY not mandatory. And should never be as such, it's the same way I feel about charity , it's given freely to the people/ organizations of MY choosing, not me being told who /how much to give to.

I join the PTO every year (I think our fee is like $10 or so). Honestly I just look at that as a donation to support the school. The PTO pays for a field trip for each class at our school so if nothing else my $10 is going towards each of my children having a wonderful field trip, and obviously the $10 does not cover the cost of both of them.

I have never once attended a PTO meeting or done any volunteering through the PTO. With our school the meetings are in the evenings once a month and then if you volunteer to be on a committee those groups will meet more often when they need to. I believe your commitment is just going to be whatever you want it to be. At our school the meetings are open to all members if you just want to be involved and voice your opinion, but you don't necessarily have to get involved with any of the projects if you don't have the time.

I volunteer specifically with my children's classes. I chaperone the field trips, volunteer to read, donate items for their parties on the holidays, and help out with anything that the teacher requests when I can.

Since your child is just entering kindergarten, I would probably go ahead and become a member (if the fee is reasonable) and then just sit back and see what it is the PTO actually does and take it all in for the first year. If you see something of interest to you, then next year volunteer to be a part of that committee.

Good luck,
K.

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