September 26, 2018

Who Can Be A PTA Member?

If your PTA is not recruiting members in order to get volunteers, suddenly the pool of potential members has expanded exponentially! So who can join your PTA? Any living person!

Quite literally, as long as the potential member is human and alive, they can join your PTA. We do not discriminate based on geographic location, age, other PTA memberships, occupation, familiarity with the school or district supported by the PTA, or any other factor.

While parents and teachers continue to serve as the backbone of PTA membership, there are many other potential PTA members.

To provide the best possible environment for learning, schools rely on not only teachers, but many dedicated employees in a variety of different positions. From principals to custodians to counselors, together they make up the “staff” of a school building and should all be encouraged to demonstrate their support of PTA by becoming members. (And don’t forget district administrators! They’re important stakeholders advocating for all students in your school district, and their membership publicly reinforces their partnership with PTA.

Student membership isn’t just for secondary school PTAs! Becoming a full-fledged, paid member of PTA as an elementary school student can be an introductory lesson in advocacy as well as an eye-opener in appreciating the PTA’s contribution to the school. And it doesn’t matter whether you’re a “PTA” or “PTSA.” There’s no difference between the two names, and both can accept student memberships.

A PTA’s standing rules will often include language stating something to the effect of, “All students of ABC school shall be considered honorary members of this PTA without voice, vote, or the privilege of holding office in order to participate in gaming activities.” This is NOT prohibiting students from becoming paid members of your PTA.

This sort of language in a PTA’s standing rules is in response to Washington state law, which considers activities such as bingo, raffles, and carnivals to be gambling, and therefore are allowed only if all participants are members of the organization. WSPTA recommends PTA standing rules include the necessary language to allow students of the school to fully participate in such activities. In other words, students CAN become paid members of your PTA!

Whether signing up at Grandparent’s Day or receiving a membership as a birthday gift, joining PTA is not limited by geography or a person’s relationship to the student! As long as a person believes in PTA’s mission, they are welcome to join any PTA.

The presence of PTA at your school indicates active family and community engagement. In turn, this engagement is a predictor of better student outcomes and stronger schools. Therefore, your PTA is contributing to improvement of the entire community! Why not strengthen that relationship by recruiting active community members to join your membership? Reach out to the mayor, city council members, and other elected officials. Contact the director of the local senior center or civic organization. Get involved with the chamber of commerce or other association of businesses.

Always remember all paid members receive a voice and a vote. And if you can shed those “same as last year” expectations, you’ll start to see ways to increase that collective voice everywhere you go!

Category: Membership

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