What Keeps You from Attending/joing PTO/PTA Meetings?

Updated on September 22, 2011
J.F. asks from Bloomington, IN
41 answers

I am working with a local PTO group and they are having a hard time getting parents to join, attend, and help. They offer free childcare, snacks, and send stickers home on the kids to remind parents. They also use electronic reminders (although not FB). Their meetings are from 6:30 - 7:30 once a month.

What keeps you from joining/attending? What are some solutions to get more parents involved?

The gal I talked to made a valid point: "There is only a handful of parents making all the decisions for a school with a 1000 plus kids."


1 mom found this helpful

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So What Happened?

Thank you for all the responses. I was not surprised by many of the answers, just didn't want to assume. Your input is greatly appreciated and I love some of the solutions offered. I will probably print all of them off (if I can figure out how) and give them to a few people so they can really see what people are thinking. Thanks again and feel free to add to the responses. I will keep checking back. :)

Featured Answers



answers from Denver on

At my daughter's school, it is a couple of things. First, people worry that they'll have huge responsibilities hoisted on them. Second, there is a lot of bickering and people who just love to hear themselves talk. Inefficient use of time.

I will say that they solved a bit of this problem by still having committee heads and PTO/PTA meetings which were small, but were able to farm some things out to the rest of the school- PTA or not. Like if there is a teacher appreciation lunch, the PTA arranges it but sends out a volunteer form to the rest of the parents asking for them to just sign up to bring a dish or whatever. They do very well that way. You don't have to be in the PTA to help, just get to drop off a casserole.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Really, for me, it's an absolute lack of time that I have to offer since I work full-time outside the house.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

In my experience, that's they way they "like" it.

It's often the attitude and "vibe" from those few that prevent others from getting involved.

*ETA* I am a member and I volunteer for things that I think make a difference.

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from Austin on

Wow, this will be long. I hope you will bare with me..

Here are some solutions that helped us have a very active PTA at all of the schools our daughter attended. At the elementary level more that 95% of the teachers and staff were members. about 90% were parents , guardians, and community members. In middle school it dropped a whole lot.. Parents seem to disappear. But in High school it jumps back up because parents realize they only have 4 more years with their children.

And yes, dads are PTA parents. They ran our school Carnival and did an amazing job. The students love seeing the dads on and around the campus.

We had a Welcoming committee for new or interested parents.
They held gatherings at a neighborhood coffee shop. This is a place where kids are welcome the owner provided a few pastries at no or very low cost. This was advertised and announced in the neighborhood newsletters and also the city wide community events calendars. This committee was composed of NEW parents to the committee and some parents that had been at the school for many years. At the high school level it was just held at the school in the Library.

This committee also held tours of the school. They provided a packet with information about the school and also the PTA. They actually had folders in the front office at all times that were information packets the school had the left pocket for all of the district forms and school information and the right pocket was PTA information, school terminology etc.. . Each person was given a "buddy parent" so the new parents could call and ask questions at any time.

In the summer this group would meet at the school playground. This was an ever changing group, because soon parents realized they were the "Buddy parent", sharing information with other new parents.

All PTA meetings were scheduled out for the entire school year and published at the end of a school year for returning parents and again published when school started. The meetings were held once a month and alternated with "Night meetings" at 7:00 pm one month and "Brown Bag lunch meetings" at Noon, every other month. And yes, if we could find a teacher and volunteers (usually older past students) they offered child care to hold free babysitting (also a good way to find a babysitter for yourself).. Our goal was to start exactly on time and not have the meeting go over an hour. If we felt it was going to run long, we held the most "business" at the beginning of the meeting. If a controversial or more extensive subject was brought up, we considered holding another meeting at another time to really concentrate on this subject.. Many times the Principal would meet with the parents concerned. And yes they would make it either a private meeting or announce that this subject had come up and would hold an Open "Meeting with the Principal on the subject".

The minutes from each meeting were posted on the website so even the parents that did not attend could see what was discussed.

The volunteer sign up sheets were given out to every parent or guardian at the beginning of the school year. People could sign up for every activity that was planned for the year. Usually the Teachers and the PTA worked together to figure out the Homeroom parents. The TEACHER had the final say on who they wanted to work with.

All of the information sheets were then listed and divided up with the different chairmen. And then this person would send out their schedules of when they would need the volunteers help.

Teacher luncheons were held every report card week. At the elementary level parents provided the dishes for that months theme. In the high school, the PTA paid for the meal picked it up and served it to the teachers, but the parent brought in the homemade desserts..
Here are things I learned as a parent about the PTA.
The "cliques" are usually parents that have been parents at that school for years.. And I mean 12, 15 years. Their families also are friends through their children's daycare years, through church, children's sports, some are neighbors and some are not. They have been through thick and thin together. Usually they are each others support because they do not have family close by. They are like family in each others lives.

There are people that seem to always be in charge of things.. The same people over and over.. This is because these are the people that can get things done. When they sign up, they actually show up (gasp) and do the work. They are not looking for the attention, they are the worker bees. The school and the PTA know these are people to ask for help with the big projects.

There are the whiners and gripers.. This is the group of parents that think for some reason the school is trying to make their lives harder. That the PTA is against them and talking about how they never help.. In reality, the PTA workers never talk about the parents that are not there.. (we usually do not even know them, we do not see them). this group is too busy working for all of the children in and teachers in the school.

There are parents in PTA that only want to volunteer directly with the school. In the classrooms, in the library, helping with technology.

Then there are parents that are there to help the school get the things that it needs to make the school even better. This can be a better playground, more books more technology, help in the library, the landscape look better, allow the teachers to plan field trips. Make the school more of a community center.. These are the people willing to participate in fund raisers.. They have a budget to meet, that is their goal.

And yes, the PTA understands that there are young parents with many children and busy schedules who just cannot help at this time. So there are small jobs and projects that are always available to be taken home. Once these parents children become older, they usually are more available. But as you can imagine there are not that many jobs, so the teachers tend to turn to the parents they have access to.

Just do what you can do. Be honest. Buddy up with another parent or parents to get a project done.. even co chairman. One parent is great on the computer and the other is good at organizing and attending meetings.

No excuses are necessary. No one is judging. But, if you have a new and wonderful idea..for the school or PTA that makes it YOUR baby to get it done when others agree on that project or suggestion.

When you have a concern, be prepared with a solution or at least know how you want it changed. Or what it is exactly that bothers you.
Be honest. No one can read your mind. Remember once school starts there is a plan and goal for the whole school.. so new projects will need to be worked on with a group of volunteers you put together or held till another time, unless you are willing to make it happen yourself.
No regrets.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

From everything I've just read - this is so sad. You all should just decide that you do this PTA stuff for the kids. It doesn't matter who is nice to you or who smiles at you outside of the meeting. You do the PTA to ensure that the kids -- all of them - have a special school experience.
Get off your duffs and go to the meetings.
The 10 people do it all are tired. If you want things to change you need to go and help make the changes.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Milwaukee on

I'm not considered a "part" of the school yet. I have to wait another year. The 4-K program doesn't guarantee a spot in his school until I go thru the lottery system to get into first grade. I SURE would like to go though. I have a million ideas and WANT to do things!

I see a LOT of apathy at school. I bring a broom, work gloves and a trash bag to school and pick-up trash almost everyday. All the other parents just stand around either talking, texting, talking on the phone or ignoring their kids on the playground. They DO comment that the playground DOES look a lot better when I'm done.

I guess I'm not a "regular" mom in many ways and WANT to give back to the school and teachers. In ONE year I can see what school can do for a child that has learning delays. I want it to be a NICE place and not just some place kids go to get out of their parent's hair for the day.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Charleston on

I am a PTO member, and a chairman at my daughter's school. I think the one big thing I didn't realize when she first started school is how much money the PTO raises, and WHAT it buys for the school. It wasn't really "published" that the school got all of their SmartBoards from the PTO. It wasn't broadcast that the brand new playground equipment was from the PTO. I had no idea that the PTO repainted and refurnished all the teacher lounges. Parents need to realize this. My eyes were opened from finding that out. All those fundraisers, carnivals, brick sales, wreath sales, fun runs were all giving back to the school in MAJOR ways! SmartBoards aren't cheap ($1500 apiece or more) and we have 1200 students with 50 classrooms. Every classroom has a SmartBoard now. PTO's need to make parents aware of what they contribute to the school, that they're not just there to make your kid sell stupid stuff or annoy you. That's my opinion on it! Hope you can get things off to a great year at your school!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Richmond on

Me personally, I just don't have enough hours in the day! Our PTA meeting start at 6pm... my kids get off the bus at 4. This gives me only 2 hours to get the girls clothes ready for the next day, lunches packed (I make them ahead, but I can't pack their lunch bags until they're home), make/feed everyone dinner, make sure they've bathed, and do homework. Our meeting never, EVER start on time (but they shut the doors at 6:15, so if you're not there, too bad)... then last roughly an hour and a half from whatever time they actually started. They're terrible. I only attend when one of my kids has to perform (they do this frequently), or there's a topic I feel strongly about. It gets way too political for me, less about the kids, and more a popularity contest among the parents running for office.

I've actually brought all of this up in a meeting, and they rebutted by offering me the vice president position. I don't think they thought I'd do it ;) 1/2 way through the year last year, I stepped down. There was absolutely no progress being made. I certainly was NOT there to make friends, but I wasn't there for people to pin issues on me and harass me about it either, so I said 'forget it'. Until those parents want to actively improve their child's school and stop worrying about what 'so and so' is wearing, or what they did over the weekend, I won't attend unless my kids are performing or there's an issue I feel strongly about.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Our PTO sends a flyer to the home with an option to "once and done" basically a request for $30 per kid for donations to avoid all the various fund raisers. Also, the room parents ask for volunteers via email for class and school events, and never have a problem getting enough volunteers. The PTO money goes to projects or products that the teachers request, as well as some socials for the kids,where again parents from each classroom volunteer. I do not attend meetings because I don't have time and have enough involvement with the school via room parents and teachers directly.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

In my experience it is the moms in the group. I decided it wasnt for me and just became a room mom to only deal w/ the moms in my daughter's class. I found it to be alot of controlling parents and "too many cooks in the kitchen". Nothing ever got done and there always seemed to be those handful of parents that hand to be involved in EVERYTHING. At one point we were planning the preschool grades activities to be vetoed by an 8th grade parent. I found it easier to deal with the parents in my grade. Again, just my experience.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

I no longer get involved because I was sick of dealing with the catty behavior going on among the women. They'll stab you in the back the first chance they get. They have their little cliques and had no intention of welcoming in anyone new. Even though I tried to volunteer for several things and offered suggestions, they shot me down every time. Oh, and by the way, this was all at the Catholic school with the good little Christian women! We're now in the public school and my kids are doing great, couldn't be happier and when necessary I'll speak to the teachers but that's the extent of my involvement with the school.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I am a member and do volunteer. I missed one last night due to schedule conflict. We were already committed at church.
I am hesitant to get more involved due to time concerns. Sometimes once you volunteer for something and stick a toe in, all of a sudden you're two feet in and in completely in charge of something. Volunteer opportunities tend to branch into other volunteer committments until you are totally in over your head! I also really dislike fundraising. I don't like to feel obligated to buy overpriced stuff.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Wow...I thought we had a big school...1000 is huge.

Way to go with being so involved and concerned.

I am not an officer in PTA but have taken on 2 chair postitioins that put on functions on an ongoing basis.

We have a great bunch of moms and dads that are very involved. I would say we get about 20 people to the meetings. We offer free babysitting, keep on on task and on time, and offer refreshments. THe principal has an all call system that has a recorded message that goes out to each household to invite them and we post the meetings on our website,facebook, the bulletin boards, flyers. etc. THere is a slim chance that parents do not know about the meeting.

Parents are busy, have prior commitments and are nervous about getting saddled with responsibilities. We have made great strides in doing functions to welcome parents and talk to them about what is happening on the campus and ask for input. We reach out and get to know new parents. We had lawn signs put on every incoming kindergartners lawn for the morning they headed out on the first day of school welcoming them. We want parents to know PTA is not all about fundraising and meetings. IT is about enriching the students education.

We found that the parents like to hear what the PTA has done for the school. Many parents do not know what PTA helps fund...they think it is all about fundraising and buying school supplies. Get the word out about what PTA is planning to help fund and ask for help...no job is too small. We let parents do stuff for us at home.

Good luck and best wishes at gleaning from these posts and packin' the house at your next meeting!!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

Wow we must be really lucky at our PTA. No catty behavior, no cliques and you can do as much or as little as you like. We have moms who don't come to any meetings but help out a couple times of year with bake sales, Christmas Fayres, school trips etc, we also have moms who are totally involved in everything. Your meeting times are ok, it is hard - too early and the folks who work can't attend and too late its kiddos bed time. Make it plain on your invites that ANY help is appreciated. Give suggestions!! We have a mom who can't attend meetings but prints out our flyers when her kids are in bed, a job she does perhaps twice a year. Be really welcoming (i'm sure you are) to everyone. We even have grandparents who help out!! I work full time and I am also a single parent so I am not able to help out during school hours but I am the treasurer for the PTA which really doesn't take up a lot of my personal time and I help out at weekends or nights if there is anything going on. No 1 rule - Don't let it turn into a clique mom group, everyone should be there for the good of the school and there kids. Good Luck

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Our PTO has made options for parents who can't attend meetings for various reasons, one thing, is they provide free babysitters so parents can still come even if they have small children.

Another, is they have a 'brown bag' volunteer option. Where they send home things to do in a brown bag, like cutouts to be cut out, papers to be stapled together for handouts...

They also have something called a 2 Hour Power volunteer, where all they ask is for you to sign up for 2 hours a year.A lot of parents do a 2 hour shift of helping, since they don't fear they will keep getting hooked into helping, or get caught up in PTO drama. A lot of helping involves making copies in the office, volunteering in the office and such, no need to actually attend meetings.

There is something else our school is doing this year called Teacher's Wish List. It's a website where each teacher can list a few things their classroom needs. Then parents can check and donate for that item. It helps that parents can physically who they are helping, and what their donation is going to.

We also had a huge PTO orientation right before open house.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I have 3 kids in 3 schools and am involved with all 3. I was president of our PTO for 3 years and a board member for 2 more. Gotta admit I am SICK of meetings right now (and I have to run some of them). A lot of information could (and should) be sent home by flyer or electronically.

That being said, I have several ideas to get parents more involved. Most of my ideas are about communication. The reality is that you have to hit people several times and in different ways to finally get through to them. I would suggest checking out www.ptotoday.com for ideas also.

We added a section to the school newsletter for PTO business and a page that has the calendar for the month and the next month. It is a separate page so people can hang it on the refrigerator. We send home flyers that are specific to an event (school carnival, auction, etc.). We limit our big fundraisers (walkathon, school carnival and biennial auction), although there are smaller ones for specific things (bake sales, etc.).

One very popular thing that we did was to implement Power Hour night. Families show up at 6:30 and we have pizza and drinks. There is childcare for little kids, but the older kids help. We have projects for them to do and we can tell them what's coming up while they are working. The kind of tasks are simple, so that anyone would feel comfortable doing them and they can visit while they work also. They compile and staple packets, cut out things for teachers, stuff envelopes for the auction; one time they sorted bulbs after we did a Dutch Mill bulbs fundraiser (we actually mostly avoid sales based fundraisers, but that one went well). People actually don't like meetings much but they do like being productive. The teachers like it - they always have lots of things that need to be done. People seem to walk away feeling pretty good. Now these are not meetings where we are discussing what changes we want to make to the walkathon, but we do announce that the packets for walkathon will be going home next week and what to do with them.

We also let people know what or budget is (how much we need to raise with each fundraiser and what the $$ will be spent on). We also spent some time on our mission and vision and published that in the newsletter. We wanted to make it clear that our mission was funding needs at the school, but also about building community. So some of our events are only about having fun (Funraisers). We have a Halloween parade after school and give away popcorn and have fun things for the kids to do. Make sure that people know it is sponsored by the PTO (everyone needs good PR).
We put a suggestion box up and one group of parents got excited and started Earth Angels, so that we started putting out trash, recycle, and compost cans, plus an after school class about sustainability. Seek out ideas of things that are important to your families.
Another thing we did to get more people involved was to have each grade put on movie night, which happens once a month. So in September, 4th grade is showing a movie, donating concessions and manning the booth, and having other activities (for instance around Halloween we sold glow necklaces at movie night - huge hit).

For our biggest event, which happens every 2 years, we try to pair someone from the lower grades to help with a role that they might be interested in taking over. The chair of that committee can mentor them into the role, plus they have willing hands.

I think my main point is that it is easier to get people involved if you do it gradually. If they help their kindergaren with movie night, go to Power Hour, and see that someone is listening to their ideas, they are more likely to step up in a bigger way once they get to know people and are comfortable. But you still have to keep on talking about stuff, even if you think "surely they have heard it by now". We use flyers in backpacks, the newsletter, bulletin boards and posters, robo calls from the school, email, and Facebook for some events and STILL we have people coming up the week before saying "why haven't I heard about this before?" It's hard not to say "because you aren't paying attention".

Good luck and don't forget to check out ptotoday. They have lots of resources!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

My experience in elem school was that, although I was available and offered help with lots of different PTO events, everything seemed to be controlled by a very few catty clique-y women. I showed up at meetings early in the year, offered my help, signed up for committees. I was never contacted. I did work in my daughter's library all year long - every week. I was a class Mom several times. I stopped offering help to the PTO because it seemed that the person in charge wanted to do everything herself and then complain that nobody helped her - you know, the martyr syndrome. She complained/talked about everyone behind their backs so I assumed she would do the same when my back was turned and I just wasn't interested in the drama. Unfortunately, she's now the president of the Middle School PTO where our kids are now. I avoid her at all costs. Very few people will work with her so she has little help - so she complains - which is exactly what I think she wants. If there is a specific event where they need volunteers, I'll do that as long as I don't have to work with this woman. Just my opinion, but I think this is often the case. Very few people controlling all the events and they don't want help - they want to complain.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Ours seem very clickish and although the meetings are at night, there is ALOT that goes on during the day that I can't help out with. When my oldest was in kindergarten, I did offer to be on the PTA board. The lady that called (president I guess ?) and talked to me about it was extremely rude. I asked how much time it took up. I explained that I worked full time, had my son in school and sports activities, an infant at home, and helped my husband with his business. She told me that if I couldn't put my son's school and the PTA first, then I wasn't being a good mother. Almost those exact words. I just said sorry - I'm the wrong person for the job. She hung up on me in a huff. Really really put me off PTA's altogether. I do know they are not all like that but can't help the feeling it left me.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

Well with the school my daughter attends you need to have a background check in order to participate in any activities involving the kids. While I understand that, it's about 50$ and not something every parent in this area can afford simply to help out at fundraisers and such. Then you have the parents that don't pass for one reason or another, even though it may be perfectly safe for them to work with children. I'm not sure what sort of things would allow the school to deny you participation.

Add in the number of single parent families after school activities, homework and work schedules and sometimes it's just to much. And if you've done PTO you know it's not normally as simple as just showing up once a month, it's work.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I am on the board at my older kids' school but don't often make the meetings at the younger kids' school. I do volunteer when I can but I tutor at night after my FT day job and it's hard enough clearing a night for the meeting I have to help chair that I can't always do the same for the meeting night at the other school.

If you have an all-school e-mail list, maybe use survey monkey to create a PTO survey that the school can send to all parents and use that feedback to address any concerns. For me, 6:30 would be too early to start. Also at my school, there is no "joining" - all parents are part of the group by virtue of having a child at school. All parents on our mailing list get e-mailed copies of our agendas, meeting minutes, and monthly budget as well as a list of current events and volunteer opportunities. We make sure that the e-mail address of the chair of each event that needs volunteers is included in the monthly e-mail so that people can just write to the person directly to help out. We had good attendance at our last meeting but normally if we get 10 parents to come who aren't on the board, it's a banner night LOL. A lot of our volunteers have never come to a meeting but sign up from our e-mails.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

The fact that I went to 4 meetings, volunteered for a couple of things, but still got blank looks when I said hello to other moms outside of meetings. There were maybe 10 - 15 people attending each meeting.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Rochester on

Personally, I am just not social. My daughter does online school from home and there is a PTA, but since we are not involved in any of the social events because they are all hours away from home, I just don't see any need for my input.

If it were a traditional school, I think the thing for me would be the social aspect. I do not like snotty mothers who think they all know what's best and it's been my experience that many of the mothers in groups like this are just that way. It's too "exclusive" for my taste.

BTW, not saying that this situation describes you or yours, but where I live, everyone is trying to keep up appearances.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Santa Barbara on

I was very involved in my daughter's PTA for K -6. They alternated meeting: one month daytime, the next month in the evening. We still couldn't get anybody to show up. Yes, I was slammed with a lot to do. If the dozen or so parents didn't do it the kids would have missed out on so many functions/activities and I couldn't live with that. I don't know how welcoming your group is but there was about six women that had been involved for a long time with multiple children....they drove me crazy at how inefficient and unwelcoming they were. They had done their procedures the same way for ten years so why bother to change it?? If they had been more progressive, efficient and open to change we would have had much more participation.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Free childcare is great for my OLDEST kid (4.5), but my younger kids (2 & 5 mos) need to be in bed by 7 or they melt down. Otherwise, I'd be there every time.

ETA: What I CAN do from home:

Wash toys
Make playdough
Email/recruit other parents for events
Attend daytime coffee/play activities that my younger kids can come to
Help organize for the Staff Appreciation fund
Help organize/count the Boxtops for Education collections
Give input on various issues/events

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

You will always have people in this world who think their life and time is more important than others. Then there are those people who make the time and effort do their part. That is just the world we live in. I'm the home room parent for my child's class this year and so far have gotten one parent to volunteer 30 minutes of their time to help out at the fall carnival-me. Really!?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pocatello on

My mom joined PTA when i was in elementary school.

She said it was just a grown up popularity contest, and that although they always "wanted" new members... PTA was just a clique of girls, er moms, who got together to run the show, and would boss around the non-"group" members.

She said that in the end, almost nothing really got done at the PTA meetings, except for a few select families... She also said that her "participation" and involvement in the schools did nothing to help me in school, or have a better school experience.

If you want more PTA members... make it NOT a popularity contest. appoint members to important positions even if they aren't part of the "core" members, and take all suggestions to heart.


PS- my kids are not yet school age. I will decide whether or not to join when we get there. If the same person who was prom queen is the PTA president, I'll probably get involved outside of the PTA... we have about 15 different charities that help fund the schools in our community, and most of them don't cost as much money, but raise just as much or more.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kalamazoo on

I'm worried that I'll get some huge weight put on me.......I'm fine with giving opinions and helping to work things out. I'm fine with volunteering on certain things at certain times, but like any mom I'm busy. I help alot at my kids school thru teacher interaction.
I am going to at least try it out this year though........I just don't want to get stuck running some fundraiser OR turning it down and coming across rude.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

We already have a busy schedule and with trying to do all our activities and family time plus homework we don't have any interest in joining another group. Plus, I am NOT going to pay money to come to a meeting...that is just ignorant to me. My money is going to go for milk and gasoline, not to attend a meeting where nothing makes a difference anyway.

We don't go to many activities the kids have at school except one that is a 50's dance. It is a blast, the band is totally wonderful and the whole evening is just downright fun.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Well the problem in my town is that the pto is full of a bunch of catty women, nothing but drama and gossip. It's not something I wish to be associated with. I will help the school in other ways.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Austin on

I don't go to PTA meetings because my son does not have the patience to sit through them. It would make no sense for me to get a babysitter so that I could help with a meeting, or be an officer but never go to meetings. They do the boring business parts before the kids performances, and it always takes longer than they say it will despite having a written agenda. Sometimes I don't get the notice of when the meeting is, and they don't put it on the school's web site or the PTA facebook page. They've had dances- my son doesn't like loud music. They've had movie nights- my son can't sit still that long, and my husband hates sitting on the floor. They've done fundraisers- but we're burned out from cub scouts. I will pay dues, volunteer during the school day in a way that helps teachers directly, and collect box tops for education.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

this was a problem at my son's previous school and that was a private school. Therefore, one might think IF a parent were paying the extra money to attend such a place, they might also think to join the pto.. but we always had lousy turnout.. He is now at a new private school and while it is private, in this case, there was a HUGE turnout at the first pto... What was the difference. The school told parents/caregivers ahead of time that the meeting was MANDATORY.. I think when it comes to some parents, you have to lay down the law. It's my opinion that some parents (not all) thinks it's primarily the school's job to teach and guide their kids.. NOT.. in fact, the parents ought to be setting a good example..... and hence, attending those pto meetings..

Some will say they are too busy (who isn't) I think the school needs to put its foot down.

additionally, does your school use email?? that is a great way to "remind" people of upcoming events. Also, we received three month's worth of my son's school calendars ahead of time.. this way, we can plan to attend functions.. lastly, is your school's website up and running?? I check my son's school's site every day to see IF there are new posting. In addition, the school secretary will send out email alerts. it's a lot of work.. but hey, if it means getting those parents to participate, then we must do what we have to do.. but again.. the school just needs to put its foot down... with 1,000 kids.. surely, there should be more participation..

best of luck to you

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Nashville on

Evening time is the only time I get to spend with my family and kids; if that even happens around homework and sports! I don't want to give up my family dinners to go to a meeting.
Aside from that, my kids are going to bed by 7:30, I don't want to be just getting started with bedtime at that point, I want them in bed reading by then.
I would say setting up meetings that are not in the evening may be helpful, may be something fun like an evening cookout on a Saturday. Sending a survey to the parents in your school to see what works best for them. Or, having the PTO make up a list of things that need addressed and utilizing the online world - who says there can't be, at least a percentage, an online PTO?



answers from Cleveland on

I have found my ideas usually run counter to the "norm" and so I worry about being criticized if I speak up or being bored to tears if I sit silently. Also, I really don't know what the PTO / PTA does or is responsible for. I usually think "oh, parents who want to be involved - very good". It's not that I am not or don't wish to be involved - I consider myself involved and attentive to what's going on with my daughter at her school and I would certainly speak up if I objected to something... I might get involved if I thought something different needed to be done... but ultimately, I'm very easy going so unless there's some major issue I don't feel the need... If it's all about fund-raising, well, I'm very frugal and no one fund-raiser is much better than another from my point of view. If it's about something other than fund-raising... well... now that I think about it, I'm just not aware of what that might be! Also, people like to think they are their own little closed unit - sometimes you have to remind people of the obvious - that they really are part of a community whether they want to acknowledge it or not and as such, some citizenship would be good. :)


answers from Lansing on

I went to PTO meetings last year. My daughter was in Kindergarten at the time. I took one of the other moms with me the first time.

The other mom thought it was boring and she did speak up but her concerns were brushed to the side. She never went again.

I went the rest of the year. My problem the whole year was that I felt as though most of the meeting did not concern me. They talked a lot about a 5th grade school play, concepts, themes, and dates.

I haven't decided whether I am going to go this year. My husband is now working longer hours and they do not have babysitting at my daughter's school PTA meetings.

You sound like your being very accommodating. I love the later time, the babysitting and the notifications. All sound better than what my daughter's school is doing. I'm not sure what more you could do. I think people need to be interested in taking part with the school and I'm not sure many parents are.


answers from Pittsburgh on

For me our meetings are at 3:30 pm, and I get out of work at 5.



answers from Dallas on

Lack of time to commit to the level I feel would be needed to be an active member. I don't want to just show up at meetings and do nothing else. If I am a member, by golly, I am a member!

Also, the two meetings I did attend for my children's school were poorly run and difficult to hear and everyone had their kids in the room, so it was hard to hear. If child care were offered it could help, but only if mandatory. The folks in my neighborhood do not trust others with their children so readily:)



answers from Minneapolis on

I was involved for a time with PTA, but I ended my participation. When I first started trying to be involved it seemed very cliquish but I forced myself out of my comfort zone to become as involved as I could. It still seemed tough to break in to the elusive inner circle. The main group who all knew each other would handle everything or decide which people they knew would handle everything. They would all socialize with each other. I could be right there, but completely ignored, out of the loop, not in on conversations. Only when I stepped up to take a leadership position, did I start feel a part of the group. But eventually, I dropped out and stopped going to meetings because they were ALWAYS at the dinner hour and early evening, which completely disrupted my family's evening and kid's weeknight routine. It didn't matter that they had childcare, it was still a hard time for my family. I decided that my own family's dinner time, schoolwork, rest, time together, and activites take priority. Sometimes meetings and work are even done at people's homes, and only known to who is invited by the inner circle. Gee I wonder why we don't have more people participating? Personally, I would have liked to have at least some of the meetings during the day time or maybe a Saturday morning. However, to suggest or push for such changes to "the way it is always done" which may inconvenience the leaders who are doing 99% of the work, would involve big drama and stress. I say no thank you, I do not need that. So, I help when asked, mostly directly with my children's teacher with whatever direct classroom support is requested. That is what works best for me. If someone group wants to put on a carnival or a movie night, great, my kids may enjoy it. But if not, our lives are full enough so that wouldn't bother me either.



answers from Savannah on

the moms are snobs. you get flack for saying no to requests. too many fundraisers. i don't care about hearing other people's kids sing yet another xmas song. the meetings are boring. the staff are either fakey happy or dull as dishwater.

Nope i never join or attend a single meeting. not gonna ever do it, either!



answers from Kansas City on

Mine does not offer childcare and my husband works eveningst. I would go if they offered care for my kids.



answers from Milwaukee on

I went to my first one last night and I enjoyed it. It was nice hearing how to earn money for our school and where it all goes. For a lot of parents it's around dinner time, they might not want to drag their kids with knowing they will keep bugging them(even with a sitter), they are shy, don't know what it's about, they might think they will be in a click if they go.



answers from Minneapolis on

I wasnt able to attend because they always did ours on Tuesday nights. That was the ONLY night I worked. It would have been nice to have had one on a Tuesday and the next on a Thursday. I know it wouldnt have been consistant, but the few meetings I did go to it didnt seem to really matter if you were at the previous one.
Also, it was a very caddy group of people! Im not in to drama and caddiness and that was what a lot of it was. BORING!

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