Membership in the local PTA has many benefits, according to PTA President Kristin Maltus-Kelso. It’s “one of the best ways to get connected with other families and to know what’s happening in your school," she said.
In addition to networking with other families, a member has the opportunity to “speak up, be heard and affect change in your school,” she said.
Many parents are unsure of how they can help at their children’s school. Matus-Kelso urges them to use their gifts where they can.
Amy Talley, PTO president for , agrees. “A lot of times people don’t know how to help or where to help. All you have to do is ask.”
Parent-teacher associations (PTAs) originated as a means for parents and other caring adults to affect positive change for children. The National PTA was founded in 1897 in Washington, D.C., as the National Congress of Mothers, by Alice McLellan Birney and Phoebe Apperson Hearst.
Early objectives included the creation of kindergarten, child labor laws, and mandatory immunization. Headquartered in Alexandria, the National PTA continues to advocate for children through anti-bullying initiatives and the promotion of healthy lifestyles.
Today’s local PTAs uphold the national association’s goals. Led by a group of officers, each sponsors events such as book fairs, teacher appreciation luncheons, and movie nights.
Through fundraisers, PTAs support enrichment activities for students and often contribute technology like computers and SmartBoards and bring informational programming to families.
PTSA President Suzanne Tsacoumis said they’ll kick off the school year with a presentation on “Success Principles”.
"I'm honored to represent the parents at our school," said Laura Leigh, PTA President for Laurel Ridge Elementary School. "One of our projects is raising money to pay for such things as field trip transportation, special arts programs, as well as evening programs for our families,” she said.
At , one focus is fitness. The PTA sponsors running clubs, supports the national Bike to School effort, and has a goal to update the playground.
Orange Hunt PTA President Nancy Thompson said every school year, new parents help to drive new initiatives at the school. “As each group comes, the dynamic can change," she said. Thompson is excited about this year's PTA cosponsored breakfast for kindergarten parents with principal Jason Pensler.
Ken Simonsen, president of the Oak View Elementary School PTA, said parents join for many reasons. "He and his wife "jumped into it" because they were eager to be active in the school, he said.
"Any involvement any parent or teacher can have in a child’s education can be a huge benefit,” he said. His goal for the coming school year includes getting as many parents on board as PTA members and volunteers as possible.
The prevalence of social media has changed the way board members communicate with parents. PTAs at schools including and Ravensworth Elementary now have Facebook pages, offering parents a convenient way to stay informed.
Other PTAs like / Elementary Schools, Irving Middle School, and use blogs to communicate news and upcoming events. Parents at schools like Fairview Elementary can join the PTA email list for regular updates.
Regardless of how a PTA shares information, the message is clear: PTA leaders welcome parents to help shape the school community and influence the student experience.School PTA President/Email Address First PTA Meeting PTA Website
Cherry Run ES
email: firstname.lastname@example.org/22/11 @ 6:45 PM Cherry Run PTA
Kings Park/Kings Glen
email: email@example.com/3/11 @ Kings Glen KPKG PTA
email:firstname.lastname@example.org/15/11 @ 7:00 PM Ravensworth PTA
email: email@example.com/8/11 @ 7:00 PM Sangster PTA
White Oaks ES
email: firstname.lastname@example.org/14/11@ 6:30 PM (K-3) 9/15/11 @6:30 PM (4-6 plus 3 AAP) White Oaks PTA Burke School TBD 9/22/11 @ 6:00 PM Burke School Website
Lake Braddock SS
email: email@example.com/24/11 @ 7:00 PM
Lake Braddock SS PTSA
Bonnie Brae ES
email: firstname.lastname@example.org/8/11 @ 5:30 PM Bonnie Brae PTO
email: email@example.com/12 & 9/13 @ 6:00 PM Fairview PTA
Laurel Ridge ES
email: firstname.lastname@example.org/12/11 @ 6:00 PM Laurel Ridge PTA
Oak View ES
email email@example.com/13/11 @7:30 PM Oak View PTA
Terra Centre ES
email: firstname.lastname@example.org/20/11 @ 6:30 PM Terra Centre PTA
email: email@example.com/8/11 @ 7:00 PM Robinson PTSA
Cardinal Forest ES
email: firstname.lastname@example.org/12/11 @ 7:00 PM Cardinal Forest PTA
Keene Mill ES
email: email@example.com/4/11 @ 7 :00 PM Keene Mill PTA
Orange Hunt ES
email: firstname.lastname@example.org/5/11 @ 7:00 PM Orange Hunt PTA
Rolling Valley ES
West Springfield ES
email: email@example.com/13/11 @ 9:00 AM West Springfield ES PTA
West Springfield HS