The Harford County Board of Education received the following presentation from Sandra Monaco-Burton, president of the Harford County Council PTA, at a school board meeting held on Monday, August 9, 2010. A copy was provided to The Dagger for publication:
Good evening President Wolkow, Vice President Wheeler, Superintendent Tomback, Members of the Board of Education.
With the start of school only three weeks away, the Harford County Council PTA wanted to take this opportunity to remind everyone why involvement in PTA is important and how our group supports each local school unit.
Parents may wonder: What does PTA do? Why should I become a member?
I am here to tell you that an active PTA does plenty. As the largest volunteer child advocacy association in the nation, PTA provides parents and families with a powerful voice to speak on behalf of every child and the best tools to help all children be safe, healthy, and successful.
PTA addresses issues that are important to parents and public school administrators. We fight for full funding, quality teachers, and capabilities for schools to thrive. With shrinking budgets, greater class sizes, and government mandates, the challenges of delivering quality education are as daunting as ever. These realities make PTA volunteers an increasingly powerful and needed partner.
Involved parents understand the challenges schools face and become part of the solution. When school administrators develop a closer relationship with parents, student achievement improves, and the school develops a positive reputation in the community.
More than 85 research studies conducted over the past 30 years prove that kids do better when parents are involved; student grades are higher, test scores improve, and attendance increases.
Each local PTA organizes and effectively utilizes its hard-working, dedicated volunteers–the parents, grandparents and other impassioned members of the community who are ready to help. Through membership fees and fundraisers the PTAs support school programs, building improvements, and educational events. All money raised by the PTA goes directly back to the school.
In addition, PTAs improve communication by coordinating production of a school newsletter and informational fliers. Regular meetings allow PTAs to share information and enable parents, teachers and administrators to share ideas and concerns and find solutions to any issues that may arise during the year.
Harford County Council PTA holds regular meetings and workshops so that schools have the training and support they need, and provides parents and teachers unique opportunities to talk with local legislators and school administrators. Board members participate on many local and state committees and boards to ensure that the parents’ voice is heard. We communicate relevant information through our website and newsletter and by frequent use of email and fliers via the school courier delivery system, we are currently about to get courier insurance so that we can protect all the information as much as possible.
Harford County Council PTA board members have worked in every PTA officer position and served on every committee. Our experience and background is as varied as what you find at the local level. A few of us have elementary school-aged children and have become involved at the county level fairly recently. Some of us have increased our commitment as our children transitioned into middle and high school. And four of us have been involved in PTA for over 20 years, a testament to the belief that advocacy for all children does not end when our own kids have moved beyond the local school system.
At this time I would like to introduce some of the Harford County Council PTA Board Members for the 2010-2011 School Year.
First Vice President Sue Parks chairs the bylaws committees and works with each school to ensure that their bylaws are up-to-date as required by Maryland and National PTA.
Second Vice President Kathy Mohan assesses the training needs of the local units and organizes the regional training workshops.
Vice President of Legislation Emily Gudel provides updates on legislative issues that affect the health, education, safety and welfare of our children. She also organizes our annual legislation forum which is a unique opportunity designed to bring together parents, educators, and elected officials in an atmosphere of open and respectful exchange of information.
Vice President of Membership Amanda LaRue works with the membership chairs and presidents to implement membership drives and communicate the benefits of PTA to the community.
Secretary Robert Reschly keeps the minutes for our meetings and maintains all of our other records, including the contact lists for the local PTAs. His efforts enable all of us to effectively communicate with the officers and chairs at each school.
Treasurer Bruce Butz maintains all of our financial and tax records, presents the annual budget and prepares the Council’s financial reports. He also serves as an invaluable resource for the local treasurers as they encounter questions in carrying out their own job responsibilities.
In the next few weeks, we will host events that will be of interest to parents:
We are very excited to be hosting three candidate forums to introduce voters to those individuals running for the first elected Board of Education seats.
The forum for District A will be held on Tuesday, August 17, 7-9 pm in the auditorium at Joppatowne High School
The forum for District B will be held on Monday, August 23, 7-9 pm in the auditorium at Fallston High School.
The forum for District D will be held on Tuesday, August 24, 7-9 pm in the auditorium at North Harford High School.
In addition, Harford County Council PTA will offer training for officers and all PTA members on Saturday, August 28, from 8:00 am to noon at Patterson Mill High School.
And this year’s Legislative Forum will be on Thursday, October 21, 7-9 pm at Bel Air High School
Thank you for the opportunity to address the Board this evening. We look forward to working with all of you on a successful new school year.