An effective parent council helps make the education experience better for your kids and builds a strong school
By Jen Reynolds
An effective parent council helps make the education experience positive for your kids and contributes to a strong school culture. To achieve this success, your child’s school PTA needs you.
Beatrice Povolo agrees. The mom of three has more than 10 years of parent council leadership under her belt as the council chair of both her daughter’s middle school and her two sons’ high school. “I’ve seen a lot of members come and go and I recognize that not everyone has a lot of time to give, but whatever effort parents can contribute helps to make the school stronger.”
Here are her tips for parents who want to enhance their school community, and in turn, their children’s success.
Get involved with your child’s school right from day one by attending a council meeting at the beginning of your child’s first year at the school. It’s a great way to find out what’s happening at the school, get to know the principal and teachers and to network with other parents in your community. Even if you can’t commit to attending every meeting throughout the school year, it’s worthwhile to participate when you can.
Get to know the existing council committee
Introduce yourself to the current council chair or committee members and let her/him know you’re interested in participating in council activities. This can help new parents feel more comfortable during council meetings and encourage greater participation in school initiatives.
Offer your help
No matter how much (or little) time you may have to volunteer for council–run activities, your time will be greatly appreciated. Since many schools depend on parent volunteers for much of their fundraising activities, any help offered by parents will go a long way in making their events successful. Even better, show up to the fundraising meeting with these turnkey fundraising campaigns.
Collaborate with others
Working together with other parents and staff in a positive manner and looking for ways to collaborate on key initiatives will help create a more inclusive and successful environment.
Don’t be afraid to speak up
Parent council meetings are a great opportunity for parents to provide feedback on school-related activities or issues and to put forward new ideas or suggestions.
Remember that the parent council is there to help all students, not just yours
It’s important that parents understand that being part of council means looking at the ‘big picture’ and not just what will benefit your child or their specific class.
Lead by example
Show your children that you’re getting involved at their school because you care and you want to participate in their academic career. Encourage them to do the same and to join clubs or groups at school that interest them. Remind them that when they volunteer for a cause close to their heart, they can make a difference too!
Learn more about how your child’s school can build students’ resilience, empathy, courage and community through the WE Schools program.
The WE Schools program provides educators and students with curriculum, educational resources and a full calendar of action campaign ideas. Through WE Schools, students gain an understanding of the root causes of pressing issues like hunger, poverty and lack of education, and explore what they can do to help. They also plan at least one local and one global action to improve their community and the world.