.

Local PTAs Give Parents a Voice, Build School Community

As school starts, parents are encouraged to join.

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

Sharon Ohanessian

email: president@cherryrunpta.org 

9/22/11 @ 6:45 PM Cherry Run PTA

Kings Park/Kings Glen

Erica Hosken

email: kpkgpta@gmail.com

10/3/11 @ Kings Glen KPKG PTA

Ravensworth ES

Joey Stengell

email:president@ravensworthpta.org

9/15/11 @ 7:00 PM Ravensworth PTA

Sangster ES

Monica Grose

email: president@sangsterpta.org

9/8/11 @ 7:00 PM Sangster PTA

White Oaks ES

Kristin Matus-Kelso

email: president@whiteoakspta.org

9/14/11@ 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

Judy Dioquino

email: lbssptsaprez@verizon.net

10/24/11 @ 7:00 PM
Lake Braddock SS PTSA

Bonnie Brae ES

Amy Talley

email: president@bonniebraepto.org

9/8/11 @ 5:30 PM Bonnie Brae PTO

Fairview ES

Joshua Hodge

email: president@fairviewpta.org

9/12 & 9/13 @ 6:00 PM Fairview PTA

Laurel Ridge ES

Laura Leigh

email: ptaforlres@gmail.com 

9/12/11 @ 6:00 PM Laurel Ridge PTA

Oak View ES

Ken Simonsen

email president@oakviewpta.org

9/13/11 @7:30 PM Oak View PTA

Terra Centre ES

Jennifer Underwood

email: jenunderwoodtcpta@gmail.com

9/20/11 @ 6:30 PM Terra Centre PTA

Robinson SS

Suzanne Tsacoumis

email: president@robinsonptsa.org

9/8/11 @ 7:00 PM Robinson PTSA

Cardinal Forest ES

Melanie Alber-Ho

email: reblamel@aol.com

10/12/11 @ 7:00 PM Cardinal Forest PTA

Keene Mill ES

Lucy Sinkular

email: lucy_sinkular@hustonandhiggins.com 

10/4/11 @ 7 :00 PM Keene Mill PTA

Orange Hunt ES

Nancy Thompson

email: president@orangehuntpta.org.

10/5/11 @ 7:00 PM Orange Hunt PTA

Rolling Valley ES

Shane Rigsby

email: lsrigsby@gmail.com 

9/13/11 @ 7:00 PM Rolling Valley PTA

West Springfield ES

Kerri Chase

email: kchase22@verizon.net

9/13/11 @ 9:00 AM West Springfield ES PTA

Irving MS

Charlotte Jackson

email: gncjackson@yahoo.com

9/13/11@ 7:00 PM Washington Irving MS PTA

West Springfield HS

Laurie Chadwell

email: wshsptsa@gmail.com  

9/7/11 @ 7:00 PM West Springfield HS PTA
Joanne Walton December 07, 2011 at 04:21 PM
just now seeing this article and wanted to make a correction... the PTA Email address for Oak View Elementary is OakViewPTA@gmail.com... thanks! great article!

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