When my son started kindergarten, it felt like stepping into a new city without a map. I could read the street signs, but it was difficult to navigate a new landscape of school culture, traditions and language. I was lucky to have local friends with a sense of direction, but what really made the difference was finding a guide: my Parent Teacher group.
Parent Teacher group meetings are a great place to hear reports directly from your principal and school administrators. It’s also a wonderful way to meet your neighbors, make new friends, and get clarification on confusing acronyms (pssst… PBIS is Positive Behavior Interventions & Supports). Meetings will keep you in the loop with fundraising and how funds are used (Did you know Parent Teacher groups fund field trips? I didn’t!).
Keep in mind that getting acquainted with your new destination doesn’t mean you have to run for mayor. Here is a sample schedule to get your bearings:
- Like/follow the Facebook page
- Read newsletters
- Attend family events
- Reach out if you have a question
- Come to a meeting*
- Introduce yourself to a board member
- Volunteer if you can
* Traveler tip: many meetings offer free childcare, and some even provide dinner!
If you decide to volunteer, many events involve interacting with students during school hours. For this reason, you will need to complete a Volunteer Application at least two weeks in advance. This application includes a criminal background and child abuse check; you will only need to complete the application once.
Most group names are interchangeable terms for an independent body. A PTA, however, is a dues-paying member of the National Parent Teacher Association, and receives member benefits.
- PTA: Parent Teacher Association
- PTG: Parent Teacher Group
- PTO: Parent Teacher Organization
- PSTO: Parent Student Teacher Organization
- DPO: Districtwide Parents Organization
Amana Elementary PTO
President: Amy Reihman
Coralville Central Elementary PTO
President: Cynthia Crossett-Powell
More Info: Volunteer Sign-Up
Meetings: First Monday of the month, 6:30 p.m. (if first Monday is a holiday, meeting will be second Monday)
Mann Elementary PTO
President: Ashley Shields
Meetings: First Thursday of the month, 6:30 p.m.
South East Junior High PTSO
President: Heather Bright
Meetings: October, January, April
Weber Elementary PTO
President: Jamie Beedle-Vakiner
West High PTSO
President: Colleen Brown
Meetings: Second Wednesday of the month
Is your school missing from this list? Comment below and we will update the post to include your PTO/A/G.