What Is a PTA?
PTA stands for Parent Teacher Association, a school-based organization with a mission to make the school a better place for children to learn. Parents of students work together with teachers to volunteer in classes, raise money for school supplies, and generally support the school's efforts. PTA members are parent volunteers, and while some schools have large PTAs with officers, a bookkeeper, and an operating budget, other schools have effective PTAs consisting of only a few motivated parents. Technically, a PTA refers to an organization affiliated with the National PTA, while PTO (Parent Teacher Organization) is a more generic term for the same type of group without the official connection to the National PTA. Whether you have a PTA or a PTO at your school, the topics below cover some of the key ways these groups function.
Most PTAs set a membership fee and use that money to support teachers. The membership fees give parents who want to be involved a way to do so without necessarily committing time to help in classrooms or with after-school programs and fund-raisers. Instead of fees, some PTAs draw on parent donations and fund-raising activities to cover their budgets. Fund-raising can involve sales campaigns, securing the support of local businesses, or bringing in donations from other parents and the community. The goal is to shore up holes in a school's budget and to provide teachers with the supplies and support they need to effectively do their jobs.