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I am a Tweet loving, technology integrating, mom of two with a passion for classroom design! Parent-teacher organizations are volunteer groups that work to improve the education, health, and safety of children and youth in local communities.
PTA’s are associated with the National Congress of Parents and Teachers, commonly called the National Parent Teacher Association or National PTA. Each local PTA draws up its own constitution, using the rules of the National PTA as guidelines. Membership in a PTA is open to anyone who wishes to help the organization achieve its objectives.
Most PTA meetings include open discussions of the needs and problems of the school and the community.
Local PTA’s organize field trips, set up tutoring programs in arithmetic and reading, and conduct health examinations.
PTA’s often work with other community service organizations, including the American Legion, Boy and Girl Scouts, and 4-H clubs. PTSA’s give students a role in planning the educational programs of public and private high schools. Home and School Associations are parent-teacher organizations that function chiefly in Roman Catholic schools.
Home and School Associations develop their programs through committees and projects at the national, regional, and community levels. Various public schools and non-Catholic private schools also have parent-teacher groups called Home and School Associations. Local parent advisory committees have been formed in a number of public and private schools throughout the United States.
A couple of years ago, a teacher posted the following idea to an email list I subscribed to. When Donna Thomas, a teacher at Heritage Prep Middle School in Orlando, Florida, was teaching first grade, she had each of her students bring a white T-shirt to school on one of the last days of the year.
Cara Bafile, a former classroom teacher and an Education World writer, shared one of her favorite activities -- making tin-can ice cream.
Finally, if you're looking for a positive message to leave for your students, teacher Robert Courtmanche agreed to let us share his end-of-year message to students.
The word LIBERTY—as they say in the Navy, you are now "at liberty," and that means you are free to do as you like. Feel free to use the poem as-is or adapt to students in your grade level or adjust to reflect your personal style.
Are you tired of having the same old activities at your school's end-of-the-year field day? The essential tool for parents: Sign in or sign up and create a profile to customize the toolkit based on grade level, access helpful tips on parent-teacher conferences, and take notes on any of the available resources for each of your children.Get started below! Take this checklist with you to your parent-teacher conference as a helper, mark off the items as you go. Use this phone tree to store helpful contact information for parents with children in the same school or classroom as your child. The biggest difference between elementary and middle school conferences will be the pace of the discussion.
High school is the time when parents often feel their presence at parent-teacher conferences isn’t needed or valued, but high school is when grades start to count for college, career, and beyond.
In high school, parent-teacher conferences are an opportunity for both you and the teacher to further understand your child and his academic and social development. Use the checklist below to prepare for your next parent-teacher conference and to make sure it was productive after the meeting. We consulted a wide range of experts in putting together the information in this Parent Toolkit. The information included in this Parent Toolkit is thorough and comprehensive, but there are many more additional resources that parents can consult when seeking support and guidance. Enter your notes in the space below, then print out and take to your parent-teacher conference.
In a lot of situations, there may already be a lot of contention between the family and the school when services are not being delivered.  Frustrations with the child’s academic performance, or what is perceived as a lack of sufficient services, often time spills over to the relationship between parents and school. A trained attorney can enter the equation, without emotion, but with the knowledge to develop a plan that sees the child receiving the services to which they are entitled under the law. Here are my some important observations that will help you in your decision to hire an advocated or Special Education Attorney.
You are typically a concerned parent who works and is trying to attend to a child with special needs, usually without much help.  You don’t have time, or the training, to know what services your child is entitled to or your rights.
An attorney specializing in special education law knows your rights and what services are required to be provided by law.   Consulting an attorney first, or bringing an attorney to a meeting with the special education team, takes away the intimidation factor and evens the playing field. A lot of times families take an adversarial approach to their child’s special education team.  They view it as “us versus them” as though they are across the table like late night labor contract negotiations. The team’s opinions may be correct and they may know what is best for your child, despite your disagreement.  Most educators and professionals whom I have met that work in the field of special education do so because they sincerely like children and want to help them.
Of course there is a bad apple in every bunch, but they are not the majority.  Most special education team members are finding their caseload increased every year because of budget cuts where they find themselves servicing children at up to five schools. I learned this valuable saying early on in my legal career.   If a parent is not pursuing legal action for outcome driven results, but to be a thorn in the side of the school, or to allegedly protect future generations, you will typically not be satisfied. As a parent, my goal is to secure all the services for my child that he is legally entitled to and needs to thrive and succeed.  I rarely make school disagreements personal and don’t think special education teams are “out to get” my family. I respect idealism and those who fight based on principle for others.  Be mindful though, that such fights are expensive and often, one has little to nothing to show for their efforts, other than a depleted pocket book and an ulcer. When a family member comes in with a box of unorganized documents and drops them on my desk, I have to take the time to sort, organize, and review all those documents.  You are in essence, paying your attorney at an expensive rate to do what you could have done at home for free.
Go to your office supply store, purchase binders and tabs, three-hole punch your documents, and organize them by year. Attorneys are allotted so many hours in a day and thus, must charge for their time it’s their commodity.  Whether it’s answering a telephone call, reviewing documents, faxing or e-mailing, we must charge for these services. Special education attorneys are not seeking to retire off of your case; we do it because we love children, and are often personally affected by these issues.
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With over a thousand apps now available to help individuals with special needs it has become increasingly difficult to find and choose the right special needs app. If you plan to bring an attorney to an IEP meeting, be sure to inform the case manager beforehand. I have learned what should have been done after 6 painful years advocating for our adopted daughter. This point person would provide resources, educate or assign a case manager to review findings. If not done this way through a forensic the school only considers medical documentation or private IEE’s. Then even after different times bringing private evals, does not work due to they only have to consider. So after having an attorney without the advocate, attorney could not ensure paperwork and interperation of their testing was correctly filled out.

This did not happen to me but I heard about it from the teacher it happened to several years ago: A parent sent a box of cake mix and a can of frosting with a note to the teacher saying that it was for her daughter’s birthday later that week and would she please make it? A child who misses school often was out one day, but this time upon returning to school, had a doctor’s note. A parent asked me one year if I could watch her kid after school because she couldn’t get to school in time to pick him up and what did I do after all the kids were gone anyway? Each Tuesday, test folders go home for parents to look over, sign, and return on Wednesday.
A parent thought her daughter shouldn’t have the spelling words lick and like marked incorrect since they were spelled correctly except she wrote lick for like and like for lick. I teach at a Christian school and during Halloween, we choose to celebrate harvest and stay away from Jack-O-Lanterns, etc. A few years ago a mother called me to tell me that her child had strep throat and the doctor said she had to be out of school until she had taken the antibiotic and was fever free for at least 24 hours. When I was on hall duty and I sent a child back to walk after he was running and crashed into three kids. I had a parent tell me at conferences that 1st grade should be all about reading and that the kids shouldn’t even have math! Several years ago a parent wrote me a note (both parents are doctors by the way) that said, “_____ is feeling a little tired this morning.
One year we sent parent notes asking for help with supplies for a Johnny Appleseed celebration. When I taught kindergarten I had a mom call me at my home before school had started and asked me where she should buy her son a glue stick. I once called a parent in to pick up her daughter because she had head lice (I saw moving bugs). Early in my second year of teaching, I had a boy who was an angel in the classroom but who, for some reason, felt like dancing the majority of the times we walked down the hall. My first year of teaching was during the time when the movie “The Titanic” was still very popular.
I have a child (I teach first) that is way below grade level– I wrote a note to mom asking her to come in so we could discuss strategies and testing.  Her reply back was to just go ahead and sign him up for the slow classes after all, her and his dad were in them when they were in school!!!! Every teacher has hilarious tales from the classroom–add yours in the comments below!
Angela is a National Board Certified Teacher with 11 years of classroom experience and 7 years experience as an instructional coach.
Note from parent: Susie is on that free school wave and will not be paying for her feld trip.
One day, after returning to class from recess, one child was having difficulty breathing because she had been running around while outside.
One day in a K-gr 2 music class, we were learning a song that was meant to also teach the days of the week. One day, when I wwas teaching Kindergarten English, once we are a bilingual school, I had a parent come over to my classroom, totally unannounced, and wait by the window. She told me that her child was having trouble understanding my classes, and all (which was not true at all), and I stayed there trying to understand what was going wrong.
I have started my day with a parent e-mail telling me she’d like her child to stay after school with me to do his missing homework (many. The constitution outlines the local unit’s specific purposes, procedures for holding meetings and planning programs, and rules for electing officers.
A person who joins a local PTA automatically becomes a member of the state and national organizations as well.
Each local PTA unit develops programs to suit the needs of its school and community and to fit the basic goals of the National PTA. These discussions may lead to such organized efforts as campaigns to obtain new classroom equipment, build additional playgrounds, or improve traffic safety.
They also develop study-discussion groups in family life and other areas of parent education. Many PTA’s, together with such community groups, have worked for Head Start, a program of education and health for economically deprived preschool children.
Some PTSA’s have helped develop new methods of instruction that provide greater opportunities for self-directed learning and independent study. They promote a close working relationship between parents and teachers to further the goals of Catholic education.
The goals and services of these groups resemble those of the associations that function in Roman Catholic schools. Many of them assist in government-sponsored education programs for the children of underprivileged families.
These councils are formed by individual schools and include parents, teachers, and other community members. I admired that teacher, whose project for the last days of school was not only fun but also challenged students to use what they had learned in the previous months. Adapt the ABC book idea, and challenge students to learn about a topic they want to explore.
Gather samples of student work that you've been setting aside all year long, and invite students to make a Second-Grade, Third-Grade, Fourth-Grade (or any year, any subject) Scrapbook. Keep kids reading right up to the last bell by offering special classroom or schoolwide reading theme days. Thomas painted each child's hand with bright-colored paint; then each student pressed his or her handprint onto the T-shirt. Of course, ice cream is good any time of year -- but this activity is a great small-group activity for the last days of school! Teachers might adapt the recipe, depending on the size of the group or whether they want small groups of students to make their own batches. However, every dollar is made up of 100 pennies, and every kid's piggy bank starts with one penny.
Try to remember that building a relationship in this face-to-face meeting is an opportunity. Not all meetings will be exactly the same, but this checklist can serve as a general reference point.
Here you’ll find some additional information about the educators, academics, and parents like you whose input helped us assemble the information we’ve included here. Special education is governed by a unique set of state and federal laws that are ever changing. Make sure the attorney you select is qualified to represent your child’s needs in special education. When a student has special needs, those emotions are magnified and the checklists are multiplied.
Please know that I am posting these as a form of comic relief for teachers, and the anecdotes are not meant to undermine parent-teacher relationships in any way. One parent sent it to me on Friday with a note that she was unable to sign it because she couldn’t find a pencil. We do however color harvest pictures with pumpkins (no faces) and use these as an object lesson about God’s creation. When he returned to school, his mother met with me and the principal and stated that instead of the suspension plan, she wanted her son to be on the paddling plan where he is paddled when he does something wrong instead of being suspended. On Friday, the students had to read the words to me.  One student did not know any of them.

The parents were supportive, though they really didn’t see why any of the things he did were inappropriate. I put his name on the board and took away some recess when he did this, per our school discipline plan.
During journal time, I had a second-grade boy bring his journal to me to show me his artwork.
As founder of Due Season Press and Educational Services, she has created printable curriculum resources, 4 books, 3 online courses, the Truth for Teachers podcast, and The 40 Hour Teacher Workweek Club. Normally, I respond personally to every comment on the site, but I don’t want to do that here with these stories.
In order to post comments, please make sure JavaScript and Cookies are enabled, and reload the page. I'm Angela Watson, a National Board Certified Teacher with 11 years of classroom experience.
Most local PTA units function in public and private schools at the elementary, junior high, and high school levels. These goals urge cooperation between parents and educators to give students all possible advantages in mental and physical education. These sessions bring parents and other citizens into schools to learn about courses of study and teaching methods. In some cases, the National PTA gives information and materials to local PTA associations to carry out projects. Many local PTA units sponsor programs dealing with such matters as career and employment opportunities, delinquency, drug abuse, and intercultural understanding. In addition, PTA members have helped provide books for small, poorly equipped schools in Appalachia, an economically depressed region in the Eastern United States. Home and School Associations also encourage parents to take an active interest in neighborhood conditions that influence children’s behavior. The federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 requires officials of local schools to permit parents to take a direct part in planning and operating such programs. For example, students might be interested in the Civil War, music, authors, Hawaii, sports, or plants. Develop questions for books or websites--make sure each student in the class has access to a mix of resources.
The penny, like each of you, is not made of pure silver or gold—but surely if you put enough pennies together, they will amount to something. This week's lessons provide more ideas than you can possibly use -- and links to many more. In our urban district (50,000 students) we have been directed to postpone the meeting if parents arrive with an attorney we didn’t know was coming. I have the utmost respect for the role of the parent in a child’s education, and what makes these stories amusing is the fact that they ARE unusual and not typical of the interactions between teachers and parents. One parent was so upset that we even allowed pumpkins that she pulled her son out of our school and put him in public school. It sounds like a missing persons report, or perhaps a description of someone who has just robbed a bank.
When our principal explained that our district had no corporal punishment policy, she said that she would sign a paper and have it notarized so we could do it.  I guess those 3 days at home were hell for her. They went out to the parking lot then mom came back to let me know that those weren’t lice they were something else!!!! After checking each student, (I bet the whole thing took under 2 minutes for the whole class) she called me out into the hall.
I currently work as an educational consultant and instructional coach based in Brooklyn, NY. Other parent-teacher organizations include Home and School Associations, various local parent advisory committees, and school-based councils. The goals also call for improvement of the environment of children and youth in their home, school, and community. PTSA’s also work to include parents and children from all cultural, ethnic, and economic groups in school activities. The associations try to improve their communities to help solve behavior problems among young people. Parent advisory committees also help school administrators carry out programs that meet the educational needs of children at various schools. They need to describe the climate, geography, shelters, clothing, food, economy, traditions, values, and so on of their imaginary cultures. If you're looking for a great resource, see the Education World story All the Classroom's a Stage!
In my rush to get all notes in the attendance folder, I didn’t notice that my little 6-year-old boy had been to the OBGYN for a visit, according to the note. However on our behavior grading scale he still had so many card changes that he got a U in classroom behavior. On the day the fourth note went home, I got a call from the boy’s grandmother about 15 minutes after school had ended. I created this site in 2003 because I love sharing practical classroom ideas and helping teachers build a positive mindset so they can truly enjoy their work. Many local Home and School Associations cooperate with other community groups in promoting the care and protection of children and youth. They need to consider a multitude of variables that draw on the work we've done during the year. The mom said if the teacher would only give him more help with his writing, he could be independent.
She wanted to know why ____’s name was on the board again because “He said he was not dancin’ in the hall like you said he was.” I described for her again what was happening in the hall, and she replied, “I KNEW it! I guess you have to listen to all of the teachers around here, not just your own.” Is it any surprise that the kids backtalk us the way that they do? But she insisted on sitting on the chair as if she were getting on a horse, swinging her leg over the back of the chair and then sitting.
Mom sent a typewritten letter the next day saying that it was all her fault because she had praised him too much the week before when he got 100% on the spelling test.
She said that she had given him the test at home and he got 100%, so could I just give him that grade this week?
As she was swinging the leg, she lost her balance and ended up straddling the back of the chair rather hard. I tell him: ‘Boy, there ain’t nobody gonna be throwin’ nickels and dimes at you!’”  It was all I could do to hold in my laughter until I got off the phone.
Needless to say, I did not get any more phone calls from her denying that her grandson was in trouble. An advocate can ensure IEP is page by page, mark by mark everything is written up correctly.
I got a letter the next day saying I was responsible for the little girl losing her virginity (there was some bleeding) and how were they going to explain it to her future husband.

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