It’s a Game Changer: Parent Organization Expo gets parents involved and empowered

The 2023 Parent Organization Expo, held on Feb. 4, was met with explosive enthusiasm by HISD PTO and would-be PTO members. Nearly 600 people attended the expo at the Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center which was the first of its kind to be held in person. PTOs from across the district gathered to network and learn how to be more effectively involved in their child’s education.

In addition to various workshops and sessions dedicated to membership, fundraising, and best PTO practices, 29 vendors were on hand to discuss available community resources. Among them was Comcast, who gave away 26 Chromebooks to attending PTO members.

The highlight of the expo was the awarding of diplomas to 80 Parent University graduates who completed courses to learn to connect with school leadership and support successful academic outcomes in their HISD community.

HISD Family and Community Engagement, who orchestrated the expo, recognized the following exemplary Parent Organizations with Parent Organization grants:

HISD Foundation Awardees
Attucks MS
Highland Heights ES
Marshall ES
Patrick Henry MS
Sterling HS

Harris County/HISD Foundation Awardees
Barrick ES
Berry ES
Burrus ES
Coop ES
Dogan ES
Emerson ES
Fonville MS
Garcia ES
Lawson MS
MacGregor ES
Marshall MS
Mistral ECC
Scarborough HS
Scroggins ES
Sutton ES

East End HISD Foundation Awardees
Briscoe ES
Carrillo ES
Franklin ES
Gallegos ES
JP Henderson ES
Lantrip ES
Lewis ES
Southmayd ES
Tijerina ES
Whidby ES

Eric Munsayac, T.H. Rogers School PTO co-president, believes that an active PTO is the key to keeping parents abreast of what is happening in their child’s school. Greater community engagement builds stronger connections and helps supplement in areas of need where the district might be shorthanded.

“By participating in the PTO, my children see me as an active member and ally to the school,” said Munsayac. “I am in constant communication with other parents, schoolteachers, and administration. My children understand that schools are not only between teachers and students, but also there that we are a community—teachers, students, parents, assistant principals, custodial staff, local grocery stores and restaurants, etc.—We are all trying to help one another become stronger.”

For parents considering participating in their school’s PTO, Munsayac suggests the following:

  • Attend a meeting. Meetings are a good place to ask questions, meet other parents, and see where the advantages and disadvantages of the school lie.
  • Speak to their student’s teachers. Ask how to be involved or what kind of functions are held.
  • Attend an event. Witness how events are operated and see what you can do to help.
  • Volunteer for a small event. Volunteering is the best way to get involved. Ask questions and see if it’s something you enjoy.

For more information on how to get involved with your school’s PTO, visit HISD Family and Community Engagement’s Parent Organization website or follow them on Twitter.