Monday, August 3, 2009

Crazy PTO Lady

In case you don't know it, I'm a very active part of the local elementary PTO (Parent Teacher Organization). I have made many friends there and believe that as Lulu goes back to school this year she has already benefited from my involvement. (she's familiar with the school and I got some heads up on her teacher this year. I also got a prime evaluation spot thanks to PTO. Woot!)

In 2005, when we moved here, Kylie was in 3rd grade. I was a little preoccupied at the time with my mothers illness and the new move and my 6 month old and didn't get involved at the time.

In 2006 I started attending the monthly meetings and learning the dynamics. I also saw things that I thought sucked and so I started researching and getting ideas. It was obvious that the President of the group that year had no idea what she was doing and wasn't interested in doing it the following year.

In 2007 I became President of the PTO. That isn't saying a lot however since our Treasurer never showed up, I had no Vice President but the Secretary was awesome. No other parents ever came to the meeting and often meetings would consist of myself, my Vice P/Secretary Cammie and the principal of the school. We couldn't even get teachers to come.

But that year we decided on some goals for the PTO. We would fund raise of course but we also wanted to encourage parental involvement. Our school is about 50% reduced lunch eligible and as I said, we had no involvement.

That year we had the first Donuts with Dad event. It was free. It invited any male figure in a child's life to come in the morning of our event and get a donut, meet their child's teacher, drink some coffee or juice and just be familiar with the school. We had almost 400 people (including kids) show up. Our school only has about 400 kids total so we felt like we had a huge turnout. The coffee machine broke before I got one cup done. We ran out of donuts. And juice. And milk. But the kids. The kids were magic that day. The smiles were huge, they showed off parts of the school to their dads and they were overall just happy little campers.

We had a Christmas potluck event that year. Not the first event of it's kind at our school. But in previous years it was just food and nothing else. This year we did crafts and games and music. We had almost 100 people show up. And 2 teachers. Oh, and we had a silent auction that was moderately successful.

We had Muffins with Mom which was like Donuts with Dad. Free. And well attended (although not as well attended as the dad event). And magic.

We had movie nights for families. We had game night during parent teacher conferences. We did roller skating nights and book fairs and Santa Shops. We worked HARD for 2 people and the occasional volunteer.

In 2008 I stepped down. I was going through a rough patch which would lead to divorce and I knew I wasn't up for it. I became the box tops coordinator for our school. (Still am) But that year we had more volunteers. We now have a full board and events were so much smoother and easier and more families were involved in aspects of the school and their child's attendance. I was a part of that.

This year. This year, I'm the VP although that wont mean much work for me. I might occasionally help the treasurer out but given my pregnant state they know I wont be able to do much. I'll still count box tops.

This year, I have a child in the school again. For the last 2 years I haven't. I've volunteered even though I didn't have a child there. Because I'm nuts.

I had my first volunteer opportunity on Saturday. It was a nightmare, as most events with the district are (not our school only which is where everything went wrong) but overall well worth the effort. I'm excited to get back into the swing of school. I'm excited to see where the PTO is going to go this year.

But never again am I going to a Back To School event where the district promises free school supplies. They can bite my pregnant butt.



Glad to see you involved in the school. As a former teacher, I know how hard it is to get parents involved. Keep up the good work.
Aunt Connie

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