Founded in 1905, the Washington Congress of Parents and Teachers, better known as the Washington State PTA, is the largest volunteer organization in the state, with more than 140,000 members in more than 900 local units across the state.
Our vision: That every child’s potential become a reality
Our Mission: PTA is
a powerful voice for children,
a relevant resource for families and communities, and
an advocate for the well-being and education of all children.
When you join your local PTA or PTSA, you become part of our state association and the larger National PTA. Your voice joins tens of thousands across Washington and millions across the United States as advocates for children.
Our History National PTA was founded in 1897 when thousands of mothers (and a few fathers) convened in Washington, D.C. with the common goal of improving the lives of American’s children. First organized as the National Congress of Mothers by Alice McLellan Birney and Phoebe Apperson Hearst, PTA lists many accomplishments at the national and state level. To name a few:
the creation of kindergarten classes
child labor laws to protect children from exploitation
a public health service to promote child health and well-being
hot lunch programs
a juvenile justice system
universal immunization against preventable diseases
More information about National PTA is available on its website,
Washington State PTA was founded in 1905 by Abby Williams Hill of Tacoma, an artist who saw the need for an organization to support Washington's children. Thanks to her leadership and vision—and that of thousands of parents and teachers who have carried her vision forward—Washington State PTA has been a leading voice for children in Washington for more than 106 years. In addition to supporting the work at the national level, here are some specific examples of PTA successes right here in Washington:
Washington State PTA coined the term "preschool" and mentored parents of toddlers long before early childhood education was accepted and expected.
Before there was public funding for well-child exams, PTAs hosted back-to-school "round-ups" with medical volunteers.
When moms went to work during World War II, Washington PTAs arranged day care.
When local levies failed in the 1950s and kindergartens went unfunded, Washington State PTAs first organized kindergarten "co-ops," then worked to secure state funding for universal kindergarten.
As part of a coalition of community and statewide groups, Washington State PTA was instrumental in promoting the use of seat belts to save lives.
Thousands of volunteers from Washington State PTA helped secure the passage of the "simple majority" amendment to the state constitution in 2007.
Working collaboratively with other education and child advocacy groups, Washington State PTA played a leading role in securing the passage of major education reform efforts in Washington: House Bill 2261 (2009), House Bill 2776 and Senate Bill 6696 (2010).
Washington State PTA today is a vibrant active association of people from all walks of life and all backgrounds, working together toward a common vision that every child’s potential should become a reality. Our efforts toward that effort include the following:
The Reflections Program that gives thousands of children each year the opportunity to express themselves through the arts;
The Scholarship Program that provides approximately $60,000 in financial support for graduating seniors from Washington public schools during their first-year of post-high school education;
A statewide essay contest open to all children in the state;
Leadership training for thousands of local PTA leaders each year, training that helps them address the nuts and bolts of their PTA responsibilities, but also prepares them to assume greater leadership roles in their communities and the state;
A strong voice advocating for children at the local and state level through a combination of grass roots advocacy and a full-time staff to coordinate those efforts and represent the Association in Olympia;
Outreach efforts at the local and state level to ensure our membership reflects the rich diversity of the children on whose behalf we advocate;