A couple of weeks ago, as part of the Contra Costa County, California (32d District) PTA, I helped Downer Elementary School in San Pablo, CA in the West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD) start a PTA. They didn’t have the same turnout of support as Meadow Homes (see this entry), but there is certainly enough support to get started. I’m sure Lisa Ramirez as their President, the principal Marco Gonzalez, and the parent coordinator Gloria Orozco will provide a good backbone, but I still worry about the sustainability of new PTAs.
That’s why I was heartened when Chris Slamon, a parent who I don’t always see eye-to-eye with, approached me with the idea of being a mentor to a fledgling PTA. I was very pleased by her offer. There is certainly a PTA hierarchy to provide support to PTA, but having someone whose only job is to help your particular PTA is even more helpful for supplementing this support. Chris has worked a variety of PTA jobs and is still a parent in the district, so she makes up one class.
There are also many people out there who don’t have kids anymore in K-12, have a lot of experience in PTAing, and have a desire to help out some way — but don’t want to take on an official PTA position. I know they’re out there, because they came out in droves when WCCUSD banned the PTA for a few weeks. The problem is tapping into this pool.