What makes your PTSA more than just a club? How do PTSA activities, events, and fundraisers help to enrich our students’ education? Why do we even need a PTA?
Much of our PTA’s success relies on the organization and strength of our community. We turn dinnertime discussions and classroom concerns into tangible results for our school and our children. Our PTSA helps to build relationships that increase communication between staff and parents and students and staff. We facilitate dialogue and, in doing so, aim to address the needs of our school community.
Often, some decisions are beyond our scope or control, and what ought to happen doesn’t actually happen in practice. That’s where the PTSA fits.
Sometimes our school’s needs call for more coordinated efforts at higher levels of our educational system and government. Our Drew PTSA takes issues and ideas from our staff, parents, and students and presents them at MCCPTA meetings (a forum for all Montgomery County PTAs/PTSAs). MCCPTA officers pool our common issues and communicate them to the appropriate bodies–usually the Board of Education, the Montgomery County Council, and even our state legislators in Annapolis. They organize communications with elected officials, marches for public education, social events, meetings, fundraisers, etc., that raise awareness, bring parents like us together, and demonstrate solidarity. And it works!
Toward the end of the 2015-2016 academic year, MCCPTA organized rounds of testimony at the County Council public hearings in Rockville to address education advocates’ concerns about stagnant funding for education since 2009. Many PTA/PTSA reps, including some from your Drew PTSA, showed up in support and held homemade signs. Several schools brought busloads of school staff, parents, and students. Before the end of the year, the County Council agreed to the recommendations by the Board of Education and the County Executive and approved an education budget $85 million above the Board of Education’s initial request of $104 million. As a result, Drew Elementary’s staff numbers alone rose from 75 in 2015-2016 to 93 at the start of 2016-2017.
This is advocacy. And this is why the PTSA matters and we need to show up. Participation is key.
We don’t need perfect political systems; we need perfect participation.
–César Chávez, founder and leader of the United Farm Workers