One of the most important aspects of a Parent Teacher Association is community-building.

PTA positions focused on community building have different titles: Room Parents, Classroom Parents, Grade Social Coordinators, and Parent Network, Volunteer Coordinator, etc. – but the responsibilities are the same:

  • Welcome all students and their families and all staffers to our school and community
  • Co-host or recruit additional parents to co-host social get-togethers
  • Inform parents about volunteer opportunities to support School or PTA activities
  • Connect parents with one other, with the PTA, and with the school depending on the grade of their student
Classroom Parents, Room Parents
*Link includes guidance about Communication
Grade Parents, Parent Network

*Link includes guidance about reserving space at PAUSD
Usually have a direct relationship with the Classroom Teacher and Aide.Most likely do not have direct interaction with school staff
Room Parents recruit other parents to support both the School/Classroom and the PTA.Parent Network Coordinators serve as connection points between parents.
May host/organize Classroom parties for families – usually playdates and potlucks on school grounds.May co-host/organize Parent Coffee or Parent Social for parents only – typically at a parent’s home or public venue, not usually on school grounds.

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TIP: Knowing when an activity is SCHOOL-led or PTA-led can clarify the mindset of the parent volunteer.

Why the difference matters

In general, School-led programs and events are dictated by a teacher or a school administrator. These activities serve an academic purpose for students (e.g. Library Parents, Field Trip chaperones, etc.) or may be a school-wide event for students (e.g. Orientation, First Day of School, Halloween Parade, etc).PTA-led programs are outlined by the site’s PTA Board and/or the PTA Council Board and are primarily for community-building.
*The Parent would follow the instructions of the teacher/staff to recruit parents and to ensure parents are assisting in accomplishing the intent and the goals of the school-led activity.* There is typically a Chair or a VP who will be organizing the activity and the role of the Room Parent is to help recruit parents.
* Please be respectful of any requests of school premises and staff time for PTA-led activities, try not to infringe upon or distract from regular school activities.

NOTE: Some activities can be either School-led or PTA-led depending on the School, e.g. Yearbook, Book Fair, Noon Activities/Angels, Bike Rodeo, Packet Pick-Up, etc. Please check in with your PTA Board or School Administration to clarify.

TIP: To recruit parent volunteers at the elementary school level, if your school hosts a Welcome/Back to School event, it may be helpful to tape up a paper sign up on the outside or near the Classroom door, especially when a classroom roster is also posted. Many parents tend to gather around to see who else is in the classroom to make contact with their student’s friends. Below is an example of a sign-up. Please feel free to copy/edit for your own community.

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Example of a Sign Up Poster from Duveneck c 2017 that was printed out on 11×18 sheets of paper and posted on Classroom Doors the day before school started at their Welcome/Back To School/ Popsicle-Packet Pick Up. Classroom parents also followed up at the school’s Back To School night.

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Every Child. One Voice. Welcome to the website of the Palo Alto Council of PTAs. Our purpose is to foster collaboration, conduct leadership training, and coordinate the efforts of our site PTAs. This website is intended to be a resource for our PTAs to accomplish their Mission.