By Tammy Andress, Co-VP, East Cobb County Council of PTAs
A new school year is well underway and while it does not look normal, educators, students and parents are busy with the task of learning. Even with the hiccups that have come with digital learning, routines have been established and the fear and the uncertainty of starting in such a strange environment has started to fade. And while there are not the normal Meet-N-Greets, Fall Festivals, Homecoming events, or in person Book Fairs, the local unit PTA’s in our schools have continued staying busy advocating for educational priorities which affect our children.
Now the important question is “Why is a PTA membership still important when students are not in the schools and many of the activities sponsored by PTA’s cannot happen?” Even without face to face learning, there are still many important reasons to continue to support your local PTA.
Let’s start with the fact that PTA is an integral component that affects the climate of our schools. It assists with the creation of that “village” which then helps nurture our children and strengthen our community. And because schools are the heart of their communities, PTA outreach and communication help families connect to become part of a larger family. Even though students are learning remotely, PTAs are continuing to provide teacher grants, student support, and are offering programs and events that celebrate diversity, inclusion and family engagement. PTA still works to inspire a love of reading, critical thinking, teamwork and creativity in parents, students and educators. And through its Reflections Program, which nationally has over 300,000 student artists in Pre-K through Grade 12 , PTA helps students explore their own thoughts, feelings and ideas, while developing their artistic literacy, increasing confidence and finding a love for learning that will help them become more successful in school and in life.
Finally, and perhaps, most importantly, is PTA advocacy. Local, state and national policies are tracked by PTAs every day so it can advocate for what’s best for our students, families and schools. Consequently, your membership gives you a voice in a large society of parents, teachers, students, and community partners who have the common goal of supporting legislative policies that broaden and enhance our ability to serve all children and families.
But all of this takes support; support from parents, teachers, students and the local community by becoming members and donating to your school’s PTA so it can successfully continue its mission of ensuring that every child’s potential becomes a reality.
Tammy Andress is Co-President of the Lassiter High School PTSA and President for the ECCC PTA. She is a long time advocate for education and the mother of a rising junior daughter at American University, and rising senior and rising sophomore daughters at Lassiter.