Introduction to Student Involvement
Student involvement is the commitment by a PTA to actively include students in the work of the association. Parents, teachers, and students are dedicated to work as a team to train youth to be future advocates, community leaders, and responsible adults. The California State PTA encourages and supports student participation in PTA/PTSA leadership, events, and programs.
What to Do
Student Involvement Committee
Form a student involvement committee whose membership includes students and adults.
Survey the school community to find out what type of activities will encourage student involvement.
Develop a Plan
Develop a plan for student involvement based on survey results.
Set Reasonable Goals
Set reasonable goals based on what the unit needs to accomplish:
- Solicit input from youth about budgetary and policy proposals that affect them.
- Link youth involvement opportunities to existing local government, school, and state programs that promote voluntary civic and community service.
- Encourage legislative bodies at all levels of government to include local youth in their policymaking efforts.
- Encourage schools and community programs to provide meaningful opportunities for youth to participate in planning and implementation.
- Instill in youth a sense of civic responsibility, citizenship, and leadership through active participation.
Upon payment of dues, students are considered full members with the same privileges, responsibilities, and credibility:
- Students who are willing and have the time may serve as officers in the PTA/PTSA.
- Keep open lines of communication.
- Respect all opinions.
- Consider student opinions seriously.
- Practice effective communication and listening skills.
- Seek input from all students-- not just those who traditionally are seen as "leaders."
- Be prepared for students to have an active voice in the PTA/PTSA.
Reach out to other groups to co-sponsor events or activities of interest to students:
- Student leadership and school organizations/clubs.
- Other student-focused groups in the community.
- Parent advisory committees.
- Other unit, council or district PTAs.
Publicize activities through the PTA/PTSA newsletter, school or PTA/PTSA Web site, flyers, e-mail, marquees, local newspapers, personal telephone calls, social media, and other newsletters. Promote positive student involvement through publicity (e.g., posters, radio announcements).
Evaluate activities and accomplishments at least once a year. This will show how students were actively involved, and how students can continue to be involved in PTA/PTSA activities.
Create a Student Recognition Program
Students Deserve To Be Recognized
Students deserve to be recognized and rewarded for their contributions to PTA/PTSA. A system of recognition and awards creates a climate of respect and value for PTA involvement and motivates students to continue their hard work and dedication to PTA/PTSA. For this to be effective, fair criteria must be developed. For example, students should be rewarded for leadership, vision, and dedication using the same criteria for all volunteers.
Students Can Be Recognized and Rewarded in Many Ways
- Select student members of the week, month, or year and promote their accomplishments.
- Develop incentives, such as student buttons, special jackets or T-shirts.
- Invite active student members to speak to students in other schools such as feeder school students and to community groups about their experiences.
- Hold an annual ceremony or dinner to recognize PTA/PTSA and its student members.
- Write letters of recommendation to college admissions offices or prospective employers based on a student's PTA involvement.
- Use communications — school bulletin boards, school yearbook photos, radio, TV, websites, newspapers and magazines — to feature stories on student successes in helping solve school and community problems
- Give outstanding student members special school awards such as the Honorary Service Award.
- Use outstanding student members as expert advisors for new PTA/PTSA projects.
- Implement a "student support system" to allow veteran student and adult members to provide new recruits with:
- Motivation and encouragement to overcome challenges and obstacles encountered in PTA/PTSA activities;
- Techniques for successfully balancing school work, PTA, extra-curricular activities and home life.
- Direction and foundation for student growth and development; and
- Techniques for handling the stress, emotion and frustration that can accompany working with community organizations, school boards, etc.
- Share innovative strategies for student involvement by applying for the California State PTA's "PTA Spotlight Award".