During February of each year, we celebrate the birth of an organization that has literally changed the lives of children for more than 100 years. On Feb. 17, 1897, two young mothers began the Parent Teachers Association or PTA – a worthwhile group that soon spread across the nation.
In Lee's Summit R-7 and throughout the United States, PTAs serve as advocates for students, speaking out for children on a variety of topics and at all levels. The motto of National PTA is "Every Child. One Voice." In these times of influential special-interest groups, it is especially important to have such a powerful organization focusing their advocacy efforts on what's best for children.
PTAs work to engage families in their schools and to provide parents with parenting resources while also volunteering thousands of hours. Our PTA leaders do an outstanding job of reaching out to new parents to help them become connected to their schools and to their children's education. This effort includes training that helps parents become more engaged in their schools as well as programs that enhance and encourage meaningful parent involvement.
Within Lee's Summit R-7, PTA members raise thousands of dollars that support many aspects of school, including classroom instruction, school environments and educational technology. During times of cost containment, these added resources for our students are especially valuable.
In addition to PTA members' work at the individual school level, PTA leaders serve important roles in many of our district's decision-making community teams, such as the Citizens' Advisory Committee and our Comprehensive School Improvement Plan Team. They bring a unique perspective as both parents and involved school leaders that helps us better serve our students and families.
Nationally, PTA has been involved in efforts that have changed the course of history. Well known among these are the creation of the kindergarten program, laws regarding child labor, hot lunch programs, the juvenile justice system and mandatory immunizations. Just as important, PTAs throughout history and today are positively impacting individual children across our nation and in Lee's Summit R-7.
More than a century after a small group of concerned mothers launched PTA, we continue to be thankful to the parents – both moms and dads today – who are changing our children's schools and world for the better.
Thanks for all you do for the children!
David McGehee is Lee’s Summit R-7 Superintendent and a Lee’s Summit resident.