Skip to content

How to start a parent organization on your child’s campus

2013 September 20
by HISD Communications

One of the easiest ways to get involved at your child’s school is by joining your campus’ parent organization. Participating in your school’s Parent Teacher Association (PTA) or Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) can help you build a school support network for your child—you can get to know other parents, share information, and partner with school staff and faculty to meet your child’s educational needs.

So, what to do if your campus does not have a parent organization? Start one! Below are a few steps to help you form a parent organization that will benefit your school for years to come.

1. Meet with school leaders—Let campus administrators know about your intentions to start a parent organization. They may be able to provide some great resources like a meeting space or a faculty liaison to work with, and they can put you in touch with other parents who may be willing to help. You may also find that your school already has a parent organization that is inactive and just needs to be revitalized.

2. Determine whether your school is better suited for a PTA or a PTO—A local PTA is a non-profit organization affiliated with a state and national PTA office, which offers advocacy training, workshops, and resources. A PTO is an independent group of parents who can set their own procedures, regulations, and agenda. Please see this At-a-Glance Comparison Chart (.pdf) for more information on the differences between these two organizations and their requirements.

3. Recruit ALL parents to join—Parent organizations can fall into the bad habit of involving only a few parents and then appear to outsiders like a private club. Reach out to all of your school’s parents, and make sure that everyone feels welcome. Post flyers and announcements in languages representative of the school’s population and offer translation services at your meetings. Ask parents to bring a few friends with them next time. The more inclusive you are, the better results your organization will have in improving your school and your child’s learning.

4. Create a timeline and action plan—Decide what your organization’s objectives are, develop action steps to reach those objectives, set due dates, and stick to them! No parent organization should exist just to raise funds. Review your school improvement plan and determine how your organization can help parents support their children’s learning at home.

For more resources on how to start a parent organization at your school, visit the Family and Community Engagement Module on Determining the Most Effective Parent Organization for Your Campus, or call 713-556-7290.

Comments are closed.