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PTA Volunteers Sought At Each School



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PTA Volunteers Sought At Each School

By Eliza Hallabeck

Each year backpacks are filled with paper for parents to sign and return to the school or browse for information. One inside the stacks of paper delivered by students to their homes normally describes the process of becoming involved with the school PTA, and what parents can do to help at their child’s school.

This year the Newtown Middle School PTA is doing something different. To save money and paper, according to NMS PTA President Maggie Conway, the information will be sent to parents online.

“The [middle school] is attempting to ‘go green’ so, a lot of our information will be online,” said Ms Conway. “Each year all the schools send out ‘First Day Packets’ and besides the hours it takes to stuff the envelopes, it entails making a lot of paper copies. I worked closely with the administration this year in hopes to minimize the number of papers that actually go out.”

All PTA forms at the middle school are available online, she said.

“Parents are being asked to either print the volunteer form or email us directly,” Ms Conway said. “We hope this will catch on and change the mentality, and have folks get into the habit of checking the website instead of getting hard copies. For parents and families who do not have computers, we will have packets available to send home via backpacks.”

Each school in the district has links to its PTA online, with information on who to contact, how to get involved, and when events are happening. The middle school PTA, for example, is available at www.newtown.k12.ct.us/nms.

Along with sending out the packets, the PTAs also recruit and search for volunteers at the start of each school year. Ms Conway said all of the PTAs help across the Newtown Public School District in a number of different ways.

“For example,” she said, “the [middle school] PTA bought a projector for the art department and two stoves for the home economics department; the money was spent because we know it will enhance the experience each student has when they go through the middle school.”

Hawley Elementary School PTA President Marabeth Pereira said any parent interested in helping Hawley’s PTA can contact her at marabeth1968@gmail.com. More information about the Hawley PTA, like the NMS PTA, is also available at www.newtown.k12.ct.us/has.

Each elementary school PTA in Newtown has information off of the school’s main website. Sandy Hook School PTA President Tracy Jaeger said the school’s PTA offers a wide range of programs that are run by parent volunteers.

“Without these volunteers, our children would miss out on some wonderful programs,” said Ms Jaeger. “We put together cultural arts events, bingo night, a sock hop, a family fun fair, Scholastic book fairs, an auction night, a geography program, and many more activities. Because of the wide range of programs we offer, parents have the opportunity to look a their schedule and help out based on their availability.”

A handful of the programs, according to Ms Jaeger, can be run from home, and helping with each program offers the volunteer parent a chance to be in their child’s education experience.

“Helping out at these programs allows parents the chance to be involved in the child’s life, meet their friends and in most cases, meet families in their child’s class,” said Ms Jaeger. “Anyone interested in volunteering can email me at traceyjaeger@sbcglobal.net and I can direct them to an activity that would suite them best.”

After a busy week of preparing for a few of Middle Gate Elementary School’s PTA events, Middle Gate PTA President Lisa Wallace took time on Friday, September 3, to say, “All parents and adult family members are welcome and encouraged to join the Middle Gate PTA. It is a large part of why Middle Gate has evolved into a real community. Our PTA offers over 40 committees at present so parents interested in getting involved have a multitude of ways to do so in a way that meets their time availability and talents.”

Parents interested in volunteering with the Middle Gate PTA can contact Ms Wallace at mgpta@gmail.com.

“Being a member of the Middle Gate PTA allows you to get connected, get involved, have a voice in making decisions regarding programs that impact our children’s education, be part of a forum for ex-changing ideas, tap into a large network of parents and families and be a positive role model — show your children the importance you place on their education,” said Ms Wallace.

For herself, Ms Wallace said she is in her fourth year in serving on the PTA board. The experience has taught her how the school operates, how to impact change, and the importance of what the PTA does.

“I have seen first-hand the value of parent volunteers and the impact they can have on a school in bringing fun and educational programs to the school and being an advocate for the students here,” she said.

For more information on school PTAs go to www.newtown.k12.ct.us, and click the link first to the school, and then the link to the school’s PTA.

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