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Talk to me about your PTA/PTO

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Is it effective? Friendly or snotty mean girls? Focused on fundraising or community? Doing great things or doing nothing? What do you do for fundraising? What do you buy with your fundraisers?

I'm thinking about running for president and I know where are weaknesses are and what I'd want to change, but I'm curious about other areas and what they have going on.
post #2 of 10
It can be so different from place to place and school to school. Some schools have a "booster club" that handles the fund raising...leaving the PTO to handle the other more important things. Some PTO's are the fundraisers and break up into committees based on their different fund raising events.

Yes, you will see many of the same faces. Some are committed volunteers who live at school (or so it seems) , others work full time and PTO evening meetings seem like the only way to do their part.

Go to a handful of meetings with an open head and open heart. Take a buddy for confidence. Introduce yourself and get involved if you can.
post #3 of 10
Our PTO focuses on one big funding project per year. This year it is the playground. Last school year was a new computer lab -- it is totally amazing and my kids love it. Our school raises $20 - $30 K a year, so the project is BIG.

Our president has some major control issues and I avoid her. I volunteer less than I would if I got along with her. She and her click all have major martyr complexes and I'm just so over that. So I drop things off but don't go to the meetings!

Fund raisers tend to be things that are fun for everyone -- such as our fall festival. It's a carnival type thing with tickets, cake walk, snack bar, games of all types, and a silent auction for baskets.

We also do things like a pizza night -- you order pizza from a local place at the regular price (no coupons) and a % goes to the school. Another simple fund raiser is a parents night out that the PTO runs (and charges for) and parents can drop off their children (I think they do this once a month, it's not my kind of thing). The organize a crop day most every month for scrap booking. It's also a fund raiser, but cool for people into that because they bring all their cool scrap booking toys and everyone can use them.

The PTO also runs the book fair, field day, etc.

They do things for the teachers on their birthdays and organize a "teacher appreciation week" with small gifts for each teacher and parents bring in really nice lunches for the staff.
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by philomom View Post
It can be so different from place to place and school to school. Some schools have a "booster club" that handles the fund raising...leaving the PTO to handle the other more important things. Some PTO's are the fundraisers and break up into committees based on their different fund raising events.

Yes, you will see many of the same faces. Some are committed volunteers who live at school (or so it seems) , others work full time and PTO evening meetings seem like the only way to do their part.

Go to a handful of meetings with an open head and open heart. Take a buddy for confidence. Introduce yourself and get involved if you can.
I've been involved for a little over three years. Recently though I've started to take on more of a leadership role. The only reason I stuck it out when I first started going was because I felt so unwelcome and I didn't want anyone else to feel that way. So I kept going to meetings. There's a group of 8-14 of us that do EVERYTHING. But the current VP was the P the last few years and people HATE her and refuse to get involved because of her. They almost dissolved our PTA at the beginning of the year because of all the drama. So I'd really like to be the change. I've got a few people that are dedicated to the school, but hate the "mean girls''.

I'm looking to steal other people's ideas.
post #5 of 10
We have a little experiential school that is capped at 105 students until next year when we add 7th grade. We do a lot of fundraising because the kiddos do a lot of cool things and we give each teacher $250 per semester to purchase any supplies/books. We also plan communiuty based events that we just want to break even. No real hierarchy but we do have one leader than the rest of us take a piece. It kind of works like a bunch of baloons - each of the pieces we agree to is a baloon and she coordinates the bunch
post #6 of 10
Our magnet school as a PAC (parent action committee) instead of a PTA. We do one fundraiser a year (we made $9K on it this year). Teachers can ask us for monies for their classes (we do exploration classes in the afternoons so Mr. S might need $300 for parts for the Robotics class). We just approved $1000 this week for the librarian and her assistant to go to technology conference to learn to use new software for a few of the classes. They've also entered 15 student made movies for an award.

Ours is more flexible than a traditional PTA and we don't have fees.

Jenn
post #7 of 10
Ours is pretty cliquish and definitely geared to SAHMs, which I am not. I went to one PTA meeting and dh tried another, and it was clear that the participation of those not in the inner circle really wasn't appreciated, despite their constant call for more volunteers.

Ours is all fundraising all the time, sadly. I don't do fundraisers other than making a direct contribution, so it probably wasn't a good fit anyway.
post #8 of 10
Is it effective?

We have a highly organized PTA in the top-ranked school of our area. This is our first year, and yes, it does seem to be effective. From what I can tell it's taken very seriously!


Friendly or snotty mean girls?

Neither extreme-I honestly don't know who exactly is a part of the PTA. I'm aware that there's a core group of people that carry out activities. In general, the parents at the school are polite to everyone, but it seems it's hard to become part of the "inner circle," so to speak.


Focused on fundraising or community?

I would say both-I think the school gets plenty without having to do a lot of fundraising. Community is definitely important-from what I gather there are people who went there as children, too and there's a lot of pride in the school.

Doing great things or doing nothing?

They do a lot. Science night, visiting authors, Halloween festival, etc.
post #9 of 10
It's fairly organized, most people are friendly and helpful although we could use more hands, which is generally the case, and there is a fundraising component but also important are organizing events for the student and providing input on school concerns.

My advice (ignore if you like) is to make sure that you have support from the principal - or at least a respectful relationship - and from a vocal majority of the other parents. If the vocal majority does not support you, your life will be hellish. The vocal part is important - if there is a minority who speak out against you, you can ignore them if you have others speaking in your support.
post #10 of 10
We have a PTO and I am pleasantly surprised with it. Approximately 85-90% of parents are involved in the school in some way so the group is huge. However, the meetings are sparsely attended. We find that people really only attend when their is a problem. So, no people means all good. We did have a lot of people when we had a lice outbreak....

There is fundraising in order to pay for the programs but it does not seem excessive. One event in the fall. Programming tends to be focused on supplementing and enhancing the curriculum and fostering a sense of community.

In terms of mean or cliquey....that has not been my experience. There are so many different programs and opportunities to get involved that people gravitate to their interests. THey tend to find like minded souls there. Also, there is a significant father involvement so it isn't a group of chicks anyway. Lots of guys, too.
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