Statement Regarding PTO Mission and current transportation debate
The primary role of our PTO is to build strong working relationships among parents, teachers and administrators, in support of students. This includes recruiting and coordinating volunteers, providing special recognition in awards ceremonies or through other activities, organizing parent education events, planning teacher appreciation activities and much more.
The PTO is sometimes perceived as a fundraising group, but this is not its primary responsibility. Nonetheless, in our school district where we have high budget restrictions, the parent organizations raise funds for everything from educational tools and security to maintenance of the facilities.
Our PTO meetings serve as venues for discussions about a variety of educational issues. Teachers may talk to the parent community about a new program or student discipline issues. Experts from the community may talk about building better relationships with adolescents, or share important information about school reform initiatives. Parents may raise concerns about such things as homework or proposed changes in the school curriculum. The PTO can also provide a powerful mediating function, providing a neutral forum for resolving conflicts that sometimes occur in the school around controversial issues.
One such controversial issue is the 2023 change to the bell schedule and the upcoming transportation department reform. While there have been calls from both sides of the issue for the PTO to advocate in a direction, it is not the role of this volunteer body to do so. Our members are a diverse group with differing opinions. The PTO is here to support the educational needs of the NWSA community with enrichment programs, staff and student rewards, and garnering community resources to make NWSA a better place to work and learn. This is all done within the boundaries of the program presented to us by CMS and in adherence to the rules and regulations of partner organizations on CMS campuses.
In the spirit of managing our mission to the best of our abilities, we will be directing our efforts towards these action items:
- Working with administration to implement CarpoolToSchool for NWSA. We have presented this to transportation in hopes they will roll out to all 8 affected magnets. Nevertheless, we will focus on making it available for all of NWSA before the 2023-2024 school year. Working with the hand we've been dealt is our most effective path forward. To this end, we have researched ways to connect families with transportation opportunities. CarpoolToSchool is a private social network with a modern mobile app that helps make these connections. Parents, students, and faculty can offer and find rides for before and after school, see their student along their route in real-time, and know when they have arrived at their destination. The network also manages walkpools and bike rider groups! Get to the express stop or all the way to NWSA with other families. More details to come! Here is a link to the mobile experience for families.
- NEW Forum on our website dedicated to this discussion. The page can be found at friendsofnorthwest.org under Community Boards. This page allows open discussion amongst all stakeholders. Parents can be as involved in this discussion as they prefer, including setting up email alerts on commenting and posting. There is no joining fee required to participate. You only need to register to login to the PTO site. This will free up our other communication channels for discussion of student and department accomplishments, upcoming events, and volunteer opportunities. Please note that we will be redirecting discussions on our social channels to this page. Rules of this page will be consistent with our community standards.
- Community Facebook Group “Save Our Stops”. This private group is a shared resource for parents from affected magnet schools. Parents in opposition to the changes can voice their opinions and offer suggestions on ways to interact with Transportation to affect desired changes. To join this group, search it on Facebook and follow the instructions to join the community.
We know the days ahead will be challenging for many of our families. We are committed to finding ways to preserve and grow our learning community by making the needed connections and moving forward together. If you’d like to get involved in specific efforts, please contact us at email@example.com.