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#1 of 11 Old 09-01-2004, 01:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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hi there, just wondering how involved you are all at your childs school. My 1st graded haas decided to goto school after 'homeschooling' Pre-school & Kindergarten. I was intending to homeschool her but she wants school so Im willing to try it, My philosophy has always been a child-led learning style and I really didn't want school to be a forbidden fruit. Because I want to be involved in my daughters education I feel like I should probably join PTO or whatever, but I have no idea what it would involve. I DO knw that alot of the moms in PTO are not 'MY' type of mom. They are by far more the SUV driving soccer moms who get their hair and nails done after dropping their kids off. I cant imagine I'll fit in with my peircings and tattoos and not-so-mainstream veiwpoints. Im lucky enough to live in a very liberal area of Mass so its not like going to hell, BUT I just want to know what to expect. TIA!!!!
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#2 of 11 Old 09-01-2004, 02:58 PM
 
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Same story here-
my hsed kids decided to go to school and I am VERY involved.
Luckily they go to a fairly alternative charter school- i am not the only parent with dreadlocks and nose rings and vegan children----lol.
I drive on every field trip and spend an afternoon a week in my younger kids class. I want to know what is going on.. so i do what i can.
good luck with this new adventure!!- so far it has been wonderful for my kids...
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#3 of 11 Old 09-01-2004, 04:08 PM
 
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We have two kids in public school and up til this year we were very involved. I am the crunchiest parent I know there, but I don't look that crunchy once you get past the baby sling.

Both my husband and I were members of the PTA board, ran several committees, volunteered for everything, but became disenchanted with the women running the PTA and decisions they made. For example, spending $6000 on a new sign for the school when the teachers were asking for more library books. I miss that involvement because it did help to know more of the insider stuff at school. Since we just had our fourth child and my hubby is starting a new certification program, we decided our time was better spent elsewhere.

We are still active at the parent-teacher level, working directly with our child's teachers, supporting and helping them. I also plan to be room mom again. I also plan to schedule several meetings with the principal, we really get along well and she knows that I back up my opinions with action, like lots of information, and am there for the long haul since we just had our fourth child. I like to think I am helping to shape school policies from the top down, and I have seen some good changes already.

I decided to post just so you know that there are more ways to be active at school than the cliquey PTA or PTO.

HTH!
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#4 of 11 Old 09-01-2004, 04:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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thanks for all your replies, I actually willl be out of town for the first PTO meeting. I think Ill just start small by meeting with the teacher as often as possible. I actually have ties that go way back in the principal and vice principal so I will use those. It is almost harder though, because Ive known these peopl since I was a tot, it makes me feel like a student and not a parent. We'll just have to get me backbone!
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#5 of 11 Old 09-01-2004, 06:28 PM
 
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We were going to get involved with the PTO, but it is completely not our thing. It is all fund raising all the time, of the selling Yankee candles, gift wrap, frozen pies and assorted crud of the useless variety. They have zero input on anything else. And it is run by the soccer mom gang, also not my thing.

I work out of the home full time and my hours don't allow it, but if I didn't I'd volunteer in the classroom or library.
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#6 of 11 Old 09-01-2004, 07:07 PM
 
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First, don't write people off just because they don't look like you. I drive a mini-van, have my hair and nails done at a nice salon and dress sort of conservative for my work. I remember one alternative mom who just assumed I knew nothing about AP.

Second, do get involved. The PTO often does alot of fundraising but many also are involved in great projects like helping the kids publish their own books and introducing them to artists. We also run a story telling festival where the kids get involved in learning this craft and we bring in storytellers from all over.(That's where that money raised from gift wrapping goes.)
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#7 of 11 Old 09-01-2004, 08:22 PM
 
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Last year I was PTO president and I totally don't fit in with the "soccer mom" stereotype. BUT, I did have problems--I was the youngest mother on the board, by a good 10-15 years, was also the only PTO mom who wasn't affluent, I felt like the other members didn't have confidence in me--I was the only SAHM and wasn't elected; simply became president b/c I was the only one to volunteer for the position that year.

That said, some good did come of it. My co-president and I learned to really like and respect eachother, we had a fabulous community-only, non-corporate fundraiser that involved a free dance for families, so even the poorest families could come and have a good time. The money raised was returned to teachers so they could buy whatever they want for their classes and also to provide periodic free pizza dinners for the school. I had teachers and parents telling me it was the best school event ever. I tried to be a voice for keeping ads and corporations OUT of the school. I met tons and tons of people--some of them really annoying and some of them really nice.

So if you do get involved, you might meet some nice people and you might be an influence for positive change.
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#8 of 11 Old 09-02-2004, 08:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maya43
First, don't write people off just because they don't look like you. I drive a mini-van, have my hair and nails done at a nice salon and dress sort of conservative for my work. I remember one alternative mom who just assumed I knew nothing about AP.
I was waiting for this post! I do know some moms like you and I dont usually jump to conclusions on appearance because I hate it when people do that to me. BUT last year the PTO had the kids selling avon, no bake sales and xmas wrapping paper like when I was a kid, AVON. IMHO thats alittle wierd. I am a bit younger than most of these ladies, and I fell all the eyes burning into my back whenever I pick her up from school. But hopefully They will prove me wrong, and I in turn will do the same. And the only thing I can do about avon is cast my vote against!

Thanks for all your replies!
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#9 of 11 Old 09-02-2004, 09:37 PM
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I am WAY involved!

I've got three kids at the same school for about 8 hours a day. If that is where they are going to be - then that's where I am!

I love it. I chair several committees. I'm an executive officer on the board. I volunteer in the kid's classrooms every week. I publish the PTO newsletter. I help administer the vision and hearing tests at the school each year (I actually have a certificate to work the audiometer - I attended the class and everything) I volunteered about 300 hours one year and around 200 + last year.

I make sure I get my vote in the Ways and Means committee so that we don't have ANY fundraisers. My kids won't sell anything. Ever. Our PTO has an Invest-In-A-Kid program. The PTO gets 100% of the money and there is no work. No passing anything out or taking orders. It's easy......


My idea is that if the staff and administration know me, they tend to treat my kids better. Last year I coordinated a monthly breakfast for the teachers. I don't think for one second that anyone would be unfair to my children. It's just that it is human nature to be kind to people when you reallly know them. And if you are my kid's teacher and I bring you breakfast every 3rd Wednesday, call you when ds is goofing off and tell you I support you, bring you treats for your treasure box, coordinate a gift cert at Christmas so you get $200, take your class to lunch once a month so you get to eat with your peers, hand out gift certificates to restaurants, tutor students who are behind, help laminate and grade papers and just generally make myself useful, then you know that I am a very involved parent and you're probably going to give my kid the benefit of the doubt - especially when they really need someone on their side. That's it! I was trying to get my point across and not doing a very good job. I want to make sure the school is really on my/the kids side......

I am WAY involved. Just because I turn my kid over to someone for 8 hours doesn't mean I'm not still concerned with how they are being shaped. OH - and lord help the teacher who messes with one of my kids!!!!!



Goodness gracious - that turned out pretty long!

Trying to do the right thing with three kids and a hubby. 
ds20, dd18, ds17
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#10 of 11 Old 09-02-2004, 11:52 PM
 
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I am involved on a parent teacher level, but with 2 (almost 3) younger children at home, and dh working all the time, I can't put in the volunteer hours with PTO and those type of things like I would like to. Once more of them are in school I will definately be more involved.
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#11 of 11 Old 09-04-2004, 12:41 AM
 
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I'm involved at almost every level possible. My kids go to a Charter Montessori that is actually a conversion from pirvate to charter. It was my idea/influence to actually become a charter. Since our charter, I have been way more involved than I ever was when we were private. I think we have alot of parents that believe I'm actually employed by our school.

I did the PTO for our first two years. This year I'm taking a break from that, but have been on the committee that is designing, ordering, coordinating our new playground. I also spent the first week of school helping to plant some 500 plants. We have a new building and code required specific landscaping before we could move in.

I work part time this year, but I manage to get into the school at least 2 times a week, and spend most of my time there on Fridays, which I have off.

The best way to be involved is to be at school, keep your ears open, be willing to help with just about anything, and stay informed.

BTW, PTO always seem to take such a bad rep. On our board, the age ranges were 25-45, organic vegan to beef lover, SAHM to attorney. PTO's are about the children, and if your PTO operates under that principal, you won't have any problems. And you can drive an SUV, have your nails done and your hair colored, and still be an AP mom and accepting of life styles that may differ from yours.

However you choose to do it, BE INVOLVED!! My kids excel at school, and I know that part of that is due to the fact that I am involved and I do know what is going on. The teachers are my friends...we actually socialize outside of school. So go for it and I hope you love every moment of it!!!!!!!!!
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