Tip #36: Get to know the PTA officers and their objectives for the school year.
The PTA's National Standards for Family-School Partnerships is very simple.Your school's PTA officers should be able to tell you their goals for the year. Below are a six step program that the National PTA suggest you can follow to stay on track with parent involvement at your school and PTA.
1. Make all families feel welcome. Greet other parents at school activities and events. If needed recruit bilingual parents to greet and interpret for families whose first language isn't English. Offer families activities at low cost or no cost and try holding meetings in various community locations (such as the local library, community center, or churches).
2. Communicate effectively. Design and print "Happy Grams" as an easy way for teachers to regularly report positive behavior and/or achievements to parents. Consider using color-coded lines or footprints on hallway walls or floors, to help direct parents to the office, library, or parent resource center. Include two-way communication mechanism, such as a question-and -answer section or mini survey, in each edition of your newsletter. Distribute calendars so parents can record upcoming events, assignments, and dates to check with teachers on their child's progress.
3. Support student success. Create a checklist and tip sheets for effective parent-teacher conferences. Invite teachers and professionals from the community to speak at meetings. Provide parents involvement tips and suggestions.
4. Speak up for every child. Match new families with a buddy family that knows the ropes. Plan workshops on how to ask the right questions about children's progress and placement. Involve parents in ongoing training on topics such as effective advocates, identifying and supporting learning styles, and fostering student achievement.
5. Share power. Working in partnership with principals and identifying ways the PTA/parent group can support one or more goals of the school improvement plan. Host a forum for candidates running for public office and focus on issues that affect children, families, and education. Get to know elected officials at all levels of government.
6. Collaborate with the community. Reach out to senior/retired citizens and invite them to volunteer at the school. Work with the local newspaper to promote special events that are happening at the school. Invite school alumni to make donations to the school or volunteer time.
These are some of the PTA's national standards for 2010-2011. Find out what your local school's PTA standards are for this school year. It will help you to get involved and stay informed.