By Heather Ippolito, Vice President for Family Engagement
Involving men on school campuses and in school activities has lasting positive impacts on children. When fathers (or other male role models) are engaged in a child’s education, attendance increases and grades and test scores rise (Education Week, 2018). As we celebrate International Men’s Day on November 19, here are some ideas to help men feel more motivated and comfortable volunteering and participating in school events:
- Ask men directly to get involved. Your school and your PTA can make it clear to men that their involvement is welcome, in part by emphasizing how men’s involvement in schools will benefit their kids and all kids.
- Help men see that even small contributions matter. Lots of dads tend to stay away from PTAs because they think it will take up too much of their time. Help them see that if they participate in even one thing, it will be impactful! Make sure that you have many options for volunteering that take different amounts of time and take into account things that could be done both on and off campus.
- Create a “Dad’s Group” with special events for male PTA members. Having a special meeting just for the guys can be a draw! Allow the men time to get to know one another, present them with the volunteer opportunities, and allow them to form connections with other male caregivers. Some units who have had success with this kind of club have also created shirts so that the dads have a special “uniform” that they wear when they are on campus (this also helps to recruit other dads).
- Make sure you highlight men’s participation and contributions. Whenever you publish a PTA newsletter or post on social media, you can make extra effort to highlight that men are present and helping. That will help dads see that there’s a place for them at school and in PTA.
School communities and PTAs thrive when everyone participates. Find additional tips and research on the benefits of increasing male involvement on National PTA’s website.