Do you know the facts behind some of these common myths about the PTO?
1. The PTO’s main function is to send fundraising letters home in my child’s backpack, asking me to buy stuff.
FACT AND FICTION. The PTO does do fundraising, yes. And occasionally information on those fundraisers is sent home in the backpacks, yes. But all those funds go to enrichment activities in the schools (plays, speakers, shows, field trips), as well as grants to the schools (for things like iPads, learning carts, and the anti-bullying program). The PTO’s mission is to enrich and extend the curriculum by providing activities and resources that aren’t in the school budget –and raising money is a necessary part of offering those enrichments.
2. I’m a “bad” parent if I don’t buy a bunch of stuff (that I don’t necessarily need or want) to support the PTO.
FICTION!! There are many different ways to support the PTO. Some people choose to sell to their friends, family and neighbors during the PTO’s fundraisers. Some people write a check at the beginning of the year, and cross “support the PTO” off their list for the year. Some people donate their time and talents to the PTO’s fundraisers and events. All of these are great ways to support the PTO, and are equally important and equally appreciated.
3. Everyone in the PTO has known each other since their kids were in diapers, and it’s hard to break in.
FICTION! The PTO is made up of parents of kindergarteners to parents of high schoolers, and every year new parents join. This year, the PTO board has a few parents whose children started kindergarten last month and a few with children who are looking at colleges – and most board members did not know each other before joining the board. Contact Meg McGuire at email@example.com if you’re interested in joining the PTO board or becoming more actively involved in the PTO.
4. I’m not welcome at the PTO’s monthly board meetings because I am not a board member.
FICTION! Everyone is welcome at the PTO’s monthly meetings, which are held on the second Wednesday of the month at 7 p.m. in the Ashland High School library! PTO meetings are a good place to connect with other parents, get to know school administrators, and find out more about what’s happening in the school system. At our first meeting of the year, Superintendent Adams shared his vision for the future of the district, and Officer Ed Berman taught us all a lot about what’s happening in our schools to keep our kids safe!
5. If I join the PTO, I’ll get roped into volunteering at a bunch of events.
FICTION! Joining the PTO does not obligate you to do anything other than make a yearly donation. If you can contribute more, in either time or money, it would be appreciated, but it’s certainly not necessary, or expected.