Something happened to my link on Facebook, so let me try to re-post…
I admit that I did not have time to get involved in the PTA the last 2 years. My husband was commuting to New Jersey for work two school years in a row (seriously, think twice about complaining about driving downtown or taking the 405 from the Valley every day) and I was working full time, being a weekday single mom. I couldn’t add anything extra. It was a struggle to get the kids to swim lessons once a week, let alone make sure their lunches were made and at school ontime before getting myself to work relatively on time. I am sure there are plenty of parents who also have so much going on in their lives, they can’t spare an hour on a week night to go to the school to discuss Halloween festivities.
I also admit that I don’t like meetings, per se. I am the kind of person whose mind wanders and I end up doodling a caricature of the person speaking, instead of actually listening closely to what they are saying if it is taking too long for them to say what they need to say. So, even our first year at Carthay before that whole temporary single mom thing started, I only made it to one PTA meeting. But it was a huge meeting. Lots of enthusiastic parents and some teachers, both annoyed ones (I have no recollection what they were annoyed about) and some just quiet ones – but there were dozens.
So, I was really shocked when we went to the first official PTA meeting of the year and there were only a dozen people. The good/bad news was that half of the parents were from our daughter’s kindergarten class. Yeah for us! but boo for the rest of the school. I imagined the new parents that came thinking to themselves – where is everyone?? Do we have to start everything from scratch ourselves? Who is here to mentor us, show us the ropes, convince us that this school is worth fighting for?
Don’t get me wrong – this one meeting didn’t send me looking up options for other schools, I am still in in for the long haul – but I know there are a lot of parents of kids at the school that haven’t made such a committment. They are still on the fence, seeing how the school year turns out and trying to look into the future of the school and what it can provide for their child in the coming years.
One of my readers of my previous entries wrote some beatiful responses to my comments about parent involvement at our school. She described the super committed lot of us. But, she and a lot of those uber-parents are already moving on to middle school. They can’t stay supporting their kids’ elementary school everyday when they’ve got new bigger fish to fry as their child delves into the scary teen world of middle school!
Who is going to take over the lead? My husband and I can be on the forefront, waving the flag and standing our ground. Our very visible Carthay Center School champion, who led the re-marketing of our school, will soon be on her way to middle school as well. Even our garden guru is going to move on some day – but can they/we leave a legacy for generations of kids to come?
I could be discouraged by the lack of turn-out, but actually I am even more motivated to action. I just wrote to the parents of my 5 year old’s class. I suggested another picnic in the park. One of the moms that attended the PTA meeting, wrote to the whole class about what a great meeting it was and how good it is to get involved. All these parents need is a sense of community and belonging. The ones that left too soon, within less than three weeks into the school year, just didn’t give it a chance. But, I’m done looking back – there are plenty of wonderful children at the school and with their diverse dynamic families, we can make the school an even better place.