Engaged Parents Can Help Strengthen Our Schools
Emily Sack is being honored as a Champion of Change for her time and effort in supporting parent involvement in our children's education.
I am honored to be a White House Champion of Change. I proudly accept this honor on behalf of the Kurtz Elementary PTA, staff and all of the students and their families.
Kurtz Elementary has experienced many changes due to the local district ending our Year-Round Program and, closing schools. Kurtz welcomed another elementary school community into our building. Uniting these two communities into one cohesive family was the job of the PTA. Despite various challenges, we succeeded in many ways and continue to search for opportunities in which our school can be more efficient and effective.
The work of local PTAs is more critical than ever. While teachers and school administrators are focused on work inside the classroom (due to more rigorous curriculum standards and increased focus on teacher accountability and student achievement), PTAs have to be more involved and instrumental in taking care of educational components outside of the classroom, in order to provide a more balanced approach to our children’s education. Playground improvements, healthy school lunch initiatives, technology upgrades and enhancements, bullying awareness, Internet safety, environmental consciousness and enrichment activities are all areas where PTAs and their members can be instrumental in leading meaningful change. Funding used to be available to schools for these initiatives. Resources for schools are now being allocated differently leaving these important areas under-funded or unfunded altogether. To help address this shortfall in funding, PTAs need more volunteer involvement and they need to fundraise more than ever.
My approach to serving as Vice President of our PTA is simple. Welcome, encourage and engage new parents to become active in our school and use their expertise to strengthen activities and programs. Listen to the parents to find their opinions and seek win-win outcomes. Be accessible, transparent and remember that kindness matters. Encourage “Out of the Box” thinking and consider new ideas, even (and sometimes especially) if they sound a little crazy. Most important: the children are the focus of everything we do and every decision we make.
My mantra, “Stay positive and move forward!”
Emily Sack is PTA Vice President.