Home/school partnerships play a central role in the success of K-12 education. The most visible of these in US schools is the PTA or Parent Teacher Association. But how do PTAs work, exactly, and how do they differ from PTOs or Parent Teacher Organizations?
The PTA is a system that builds community networks around K-12 education that would otherwise not exist. Studies show that local school parent engagement via PTA works. They boost academic performance, improve student grades, and enhance social skills. The difference between a national PTA and PTO is the organizational structures .
An African proverb tells us it takes an entire village to rear a child, and it’s true. Hands-on PTA and PTO communities can be your village, and this article explains how. We explore the real benefits to both the child’s education and parental lifestyles.
The Goals of PTA
The goal of a PTA is for parents, teachers, and staff to recognize every child’s potential and turn it into reality . This article is for parents who want to become more involved and make a difference in their child’s schooling. PTAs support all US education levels, including pre-high school, namely:
- Early childhood education
- Elementary school
Behind every youth who believes in themselves is a parent who believed in them first.
Parent Teacher Association Defined
Established in 1897, the National PTA is the country’s oldest child advocacy association. It’s a formal non-profit setup that now includes millions of US families.
Today, it comprises students, teachers, teaching administrators, community leaders, and businesses. The PTA is a powerful voice for US children and education at national, state, and local levels.
Also worth noting is that National PTA supports the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). ESSA seeks to promote decision-making, especially for local educators, families, and communities.
How PTAs Work
The PTA values are collaborating, committing, diversifying, respecting, and sharing responsibility. Your local group has links to the state and national PTAs. The result is a nationwide network of volunteers dedicated to working on behalf of America’s children. These connections give your school community access to many valuable resources.
The extensive pool of resources and wider network support are not part of a PTO setup.
And did you know that the graduation rate improves in schools with a PTA?
A local PTA pays a nominal fee for dues to belong to—and benefit from—the formal state and national PTA. Your group’s dues give you access to a plethora of member benefits, including:
- Online tools to connect your PTA members
- Local leadership kits and teacher appreciation ideas
- State resource bank
- National PTA board member resources
- Resources to increase membership
- Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) resources
- Support for growing multicultural memberships
- eLearning online learning courses
- Materials translated into Spanish
- Award & grant opportunities
- Marketplace (deals, coupons, fundraisers)
- The One Voice blog
- National e-newsletters
- Branding & web Guidelines
PTAs and PTOs work because a single volunteer is worth more than ten pressed persons.
Studies show that students fare much better academically when parents get involved in their schooling . And joining your PTA is an excellent way to help strengthen the family-school partnership. Indeed, it increases opportunities across the entire family/educational spectrum.
AIM is the largest provider of insurance for PTAs and PTOs in the US. Annual general liability insurance for events and fundraisers starts as low as $65. Get a Quote and Buy in Minutes.
Why Parental Influence Matters
It’s a misconception that parents’ only part in the PTA is fundraising. Moms and dads play a much more significant role than that. Bringing them into schools means they get to network face-to-face with other parents, school teachers, and administrative staff. There will also be occasions where they meet the other students their kids attend school with.
But why does this matter? It matters because real-world, face-to-face contact fosters higher quality communication than virtual interactions . These interactions make parents feel valued, putting them in an excellent position to provide better support for their children.
PTAs and PTOs Give Parents a Voice
Being part of a PTA or PTO gives parents a more thorough understanding of school life. Their views and opinions matter and they have real opportunities to express ideas and or concerns. Such input can be invaluable for all concerned, parents, teachers, and students. These open lines of communication bring about more opportunities for the learners.
Your voice and participation make a real difference. It’s a fact that kids fare better at school when parents have an active role in their education. Children become inspired as you support their passions and take a genuine interest in their schoolwork.
PTAs, PTOs, and the School-Community Relationships
Schools are a central part of all US communities. They are the learning spaces where growing children spend the bulk of their time, from toddler to teen. Thus, parents must trust these educational institutions to help teach, shape, and mold developing minds. And we know the schools that fare best are the ones that partner with local communities.
Thus, the support of a PTA or PTO has repeatedly shown that the strengthened parent-teacher relationship is a win for all. Moreover, these close associations result in students feeling a greater sense of belonging. This community bond is something that extends to life outside the classroom, too.
The Psychologist Take on PTAs & PTOs
According to psychologists, working as part of a team has far-reaching effects. An influential PTA or PTO group helps many areas of education and is good for health .
A parent-teacher group keeps you in the loop with what’s happening in your child’s school community. There are also special resources designed for parents, and you can tap into a wide network. Networking opportunities let you share experiences, swap ideas, and draw strength from others. Plus, volunteering is a great chance to gain valuable experience.
PTAs and PTOs allow you to get more involved in your children’s education. You can use your voice to suggest positive changes that could prove beneficial to the school’s success. And finally, parents who become members also become role models for their kids.
Did You Know: Students who attend schools with PTAs get better grades
School Benefits of PTAs & PTOs
PTAs and PTOs are invaluable, especially as class sizes increase. Schools gain huge benefits from volunteerism and increased family engagement. In addition, a group brings extra resources, educational improvements, and more to help students succeed.
Other advantages for schools include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Incredible resources and support available
- Qualify for awards and grants
- Resources for anti-bullying
- Partner with other organizations/businesses within the community
- Boost fundraising efforts and channels
- Enhance student achievements
And one must never underestimate the incredible local, state, and national network.
PTA or PTO?
Today, the roles of PTA and PTO share more similarities than differences. However, the PTA offers a significant benefit with its nationwide services and programs. Many parents and schools choose the national and state infrastructure and support that comes with being a PTA. It’s this interconnection, dedication, advocacy-minded approach that appeals .