Dear PTA Units and Council Presidents,
Let me introduce myself. My name is Steven Cook and I am the new Student Involvement Chair for Missouri PTA. I am a parent to a wonderful 6th grader, who happens to be one of two Student Representatives for Missouri PTA. I am a 1st grade teacher, teaching for 17 years in the state of Missouri. I am a PTA unit treasurer, former president and vice president. I am a council vice-president. Last, but not least, I am PTA!
I would like to first say thank you for all your wonderful support and give my wish for a continued successful PTA year. We are in need of your assistance as we reflect on the 2013-2014 school year, as well as plan for a successful 2014-2015 school year.
What we need are ideas and examples of how your PTSA students are involved. It can be from the smallest aspect to a grander scale. We value our kiddos and would love to know what they are up to in their units or districts. These ideas will be shared with the Missouri PTA Board of Managers, as well as other units throughout the state.
Our two student representatives for Missouri PTA, Myranda and Meagan, are vigorously coming up with ideas for our 99th annual PTA State Convention on October 17-19, 2014 at the Doubletree Hotel in Chesterfield, MO. We would love your ideas for our student workshops and would enjoy hearing from all PTSA student members.
Feel free to email me with your ideas and comments.
It’s Our Turn Now!
Four years ago, my mom and other members of the Cameron PTA executive board began noticing how often their own children would come to help at various events. Then our friends started showing up to help out. We had watched our parents volunteer in the school for years. We thought it was fun to serve cookies and punch or pass out prizes at the Sock Hop. Students becoming members was a new concept in Cameron and the students were interested in the idea. It was then decided to change our title from PTA to a PTSA.
A student membership in the Cameron PTSA is the same price as an individual membership. Any student enrolled in the Cameron Middle School or High School (grades 5th thru 12th) may join. We currently have about 35 members. Students receive membership cards and have the exact same rights as adults. They are encouraged to attend and take part in general meetings. I even serve on the board as Public Relations Chair/Historian.
We have two adult sponsors, Laura Provin and my mom, Susan Rupert. Mom says, “In Cameron, we want to give our student members opportunities to learn about advocacy, develop leadership skills and understand the importance volunteerism and community service.” We have our own student meetings where we use parliamentary procedure and make decisions about various projects; i.e. t-shirt designs and colors. Then we have student representatives that attend the board and general meetings to report about what we are planning. Students have represented Cameron at the National and State convention. We really enjoy attending the student workshops at Leadership Conference in the spring.
Our student members are very active. We volunteer at many of the Cameron PTSA events. We help with the 2nd grade reading fair by being extra “hands” at the various craft stations. At the annual Holiday shop members will help elementary students select items, make their purchase and wrap the gifts. Many of us shopped when we were younger so it’s fun to go help and watch how much thought the students put into their purchasing. We step outside the school environment every spring to learn about the value of community service by volunteering at our area Relay for Life.
Three years we started a Book Bingo for 1st grade students and their families. This event is totally run by students from start to finish. Each student that attends receives a goody bag that includes a brand new book that was donated by a local publishing company. We collect “gently loved” books that students and their siblings receive when they bingo during the evening. This free event serves as a family fun night and promotes reading at home.
If you are not currently a PTSA this might be a great way to increase membership and volunteer base in your unit. Many times we see both the parent and student become members together. If you are a PTSA, involve your student members. Invite them to attend general meetings , serve on committees and volunteer at your events. PTA maybe the only opportunity they get to learn about the value of giving back to their school and community. Encourage student members to share their thoughts and ideas. Show them they are important by listening. What better advocate for children than children? We have firsthand knowledge of what we are faced with each day.