A First Year Parent's First PTO Meeting, By Sarah Walden


I watch too much tv. In my pop culture-soaked brain, I feared the PTO would be full of Stepford Wives battling for control with Game of Thrones machinations. I couldn't have been more wrong! Sitting in the Kick Off meeting on Tuesday, in the bright and busy cafeteria, I found a beautifully diverse and engaged group of parents and guardians excited to give their children the best environment possible. Moms and dads of all ages and backgrounds filling the cafeteria, much to the delight of Principal Yates. Happy little ones ran around the room.  We clapped our way to attention and the meeting started off with a welcome from Emily, a remarkably composed woman with an infectious enthusiasm that set the tone for a productive time together. She introduced other members on the board and got right to business.

This meeting was fun and casual but very efficient. We heard from the different committees on how the money raised last year was spent and what they envisioned for the coming year. I was very impressed by the thoughtfulness with which the plans were made. Teachers are a priority. Happy teachers make for happy learning environments so we must make sure they feel appreciated and supported. We learned that being a class parent isn't as overwhelming as it seemed and didn't take a stay at home parent to do it. A full time worker can be a class parent, too! We heard about the gardening initiative, the forthcoming chess club, and were invited to submit more ideas for after school clubs.  The DIY team is ON IT! They do the work that Metro might not have the time or resources to accomplish. I was very impressed at the scope of the work being done.

There are so many opportunities to be involved in ways that play to your strengths and schedules. You can volunteer to help the kindergarteners in the cafeteria, or help with the talent show. You can bake to help raise money for teacher appreciation. You can help run the Carnival, Talent Show, or Art Show. Are you a technical writer or willing to learn how? Then you can write grant proposals and help procure resources that enrich our students' lives. The special area teachers could use your help - art, music, library, literacy. You can be as casual or committed as you like. Get some work sent home so you can staple your way through a pile of papers, or come to the school to help with assessments. 

Spirit wear is coming... ooooohhhhh. It is considered standard school attire and can be worn any day of the week. The options are so much cuter than when I went to Dan Mills in the 80s (no built in shoulder pads!)

I am saving the best news for last. No selling candles or cookie dough. No door-to-door or bugging your workmates. This year, all fundraising will be done by donation. The school is hoping for $100 from every family. This won't be possible or expected from every family, so those that can do more are encouraged to go for it! Get your relatives and friends to save Box Tops and register your Kroger card! Personally, I am sending out a letter to our extended family to let them know that they can participate by donating, too.  

Let's show our love and put our money and time on the line for a reward that benefits us all. I read recently that investing in our schools not only benefits our own children but our community's future. These are the caretakers and public servants of our future and the more they have engaged learning experiences, the better all of our futures will be. Check the website to see all of the volunteer opportunities and the calendar to save the date for all of the fun activities coming our way.  Whatever your talent or interest, you can help!  Our love of our children unites us in a common mission and I am excited to see how this passion drives us to keep Dan Mills a shining example of an MNPS elementary school this year! 


If you missed the meeting and still want to know what is going on, click on our minutes page to find out!  All the PTO Live minutes will be posted the week of the meeting.