When I became principal of a middle school in New Jersey, I heard how supportive our parents were. Behind the veil, there’s always something to work on and I wanted to explore that. My first PTA meetings reassured me that we needed to find a way to improve the drastically low attendance. At the meetings, we typically see about 12 to 15 attendees, usually the executive board and a handful of parents. Since we have 1,250 students, that meant only one to 1.3 percent of parents were attending our five PTA meetings each year! That was not a percentage to be proud of.
The only time in recent history attendance jumped was when I presented on the PARCC online standardized assessment. More than 250 people came, many of them to challenge the cause. The meeting went fine, but I wished I could recapture the volume that was there that night for the many professional development learning opportunities at our PTA meetings.
We view faculty meetings as professional learning opportunities. I felt that the same needed to be brought to PTA meetings. What a wonderful venue to teach parents about and collaborate with them on ways to help their child achieve in school. The PTA meetings could be highly engaging opportunities to get parents interacting on dealing with anxiety in school, bullying, attendance, preparing for secondary school, and lots more. But what would the point be if only a fraction attended?…Read More