25 Aug 2011
- Written by Tri-State Defender Newsroom
Grace Ann Campbell
With over 115 years nationally and 100 years in Tennessee, PTA is the largest volunteer child advocacy association in the nation and continues to work as one voice to speak on behalf of every child.
PTA membership is open to anyone who believes in the mission and purposes of PTA. PTA embraces all individuals of diverse backgrounds and cultural differences. Each person including parents, teachers, students, community leaders and stakeholders who join PTA automatically become a member of both the state and national PTA. PTA offers many benefits and advantages over other independent parent organizations.
The PTA operates with the express purpose “to make every child’s potential a reality by engaging and empowering families and communities to advocate for all children,” as stated on the National PTA website (www.pta.org.) As an expert on family and community engagement, Tennessee PTA will take the lead in reforming education to promote active and engaged families and communities.
PTA is responsible for the passage of a vast variety of laws and the establishment of programs. These would include but are not limited to: child labor laws, public health services, public kindergarten, safety belt laws, child restraint laws, school bus safety programs, school lunch programs, family and medical leave act, and cyber-bullying.
In April of 2009, it became state law in Tennessee that the Department of Education would develop standards for parent involvement in public. Due to the work of Tennessee PTA, the Department of Education adopted the National PTA standards for evaluating school systems in the area of parent/family involvement. Beginning this school year, on the Tennessee Report Card school systems will receive a score on accomplishing the following six standards established by PTA:
Standard 1: Welcoming all families into the school community – Families are active participants in the life of the school, and feel welcomed, valued and connected to each other, to school staff, and to what students are learning and doing in class.
Standard 2: Communicating effectively – Families and school staff engages in regular, meaningful communication about student learning.
Standard 3: Supporting student success – Families and school staff continuously collaborate to support students’ learning and healthy development both at home and at school, and have regular opportunities to strengthen their knowledge and skills to do so effectively.
Standard 4: Speaking up for every child – Families are empowered to be advocates for their own and other children, to ensure that students are treated fairly and have access to learning opportunities that will support their success.
Standard 5: Sharing power – Families and school staff are equal partners in decisions that affect children and families and together inform, influence, and create policies, practices, and programs.
Standard 6: Collaborating with community – Families and school staff collaborate with community members to connect students, families, and staff to expanded learning opportunities, community services, and civic participation
PTA and other parent organizations are given the opportunity to obtain very valuable training by participating in the Memphis-Delta Region Summer Leadership Training, the annual Tennessee PTA state convention and the National PTA Convention and Exhibition. Opportunities for hands-on instruction in a variety of subjects are also provided to local PTA/PTSA local units.
The MC PTA will host a Meet and Greet Kickoff at the Memphis City Schools Board of Education auditorium on Thursday, Sept. 8 at 6 p.m. Parents, teachers, school administrators, students, elected officials, interested community members and any individual affected by education are invited to attend and learn about the goals of the MC PTA. In addition to interested community members, the Memphis Council encourages each PTA, PTSA and local parent groups to unit to attend, show their school spirit and represent their community.
(Grace Ann Campbell is The Memphis Council PTA President.)