08 June, 2010

Sucked into the PTA

A friend of mine warned me about this. You will end up at the school doing bake sales, I was told. School in America is different. Well the nutritionist at school doesn't encourage bake sales but yes, school in America is different. Not every parent is involved but the ones that are, are very involved and it's on a level that most British people would think was unnecessary or over the top. It's worth pointing out at this stage though that while some of this is down to a very different culture and psyche, some is also down to the fact that schools here are underfunded by comparison. The PTA pays for the physical education programme at the school my girls attend. Also the music programme, an arts programme, the school garden and the garden co-ordinator/teacher. And a lot of the school trips. And I know of some PTAs locally who are paying to retain core teaching staff in the face of bankrupt California's budget cuts. I am in awe when I hear how much money gets raised here. Not by every school by any means. We are in the city and some schools populations are very poor. Ours is very mixed with the majority of children on reduced or free school meals, but the PTA still raises more than $50K per year. Others locally are said to raise five times that amount.

I'll admit when I first got here though, I was wary. First because I had just emigrated and had to furnish an apartment, settle the girls, work out where/how our life would be. And second because I have a chance to explore all sorts of things while I'm here in SF and didn't want to get sucked into the girls' lives too much if I could help.

So much for that then. I now find I have three roles on the PTA next year:
  • Co-chair of the Greening committee, which is mostly about the school garden which I love working in especially as I no longer have a garden, just a very windy deck
  • Teacher liaison which I think means if teachers want something they have one person to go to, but so far has meant me badgering them for info with mixed success
  • and editor of the PTA newsletter which doesn't yet exist but will. 
Oh well. Took 7 months and here I am, hoping that I can control the amount of time spent doing this stuff, so that I can still potter about doing my own thing. (And I'd be lying if I didn't also say that I have met some lovely people through the school so it's not all work.)

1 comment:

Suzanne@ Panteg Alpacas said...

You go girl - share some tips with us pls!