New York Parent Associations Called to Rally Together

When parents at a Brooklyn school realized that there was no centralized place in the city for PAs and PTAs to connect and share resources with one another, they decided to do something about it, writes Pamela Wheaton at Inside Schools.

"Most PTAs function in relative isolation, replicating each other's learning curves, reinventing the wheel over and over again," said parent and Public School Parent Support Project founder, Lisa Ableman.

"Even individual PTAs themselves, often start over again year to year as new officers do not have a very good way of getting a primer on their roles and responsibilities"

And Ableman, along with others, decided that there needed to be some sort of hub where people can get together, share information and help others from less-advantaged schools learn such basics as how to set up a PTA, run a fundraiser, or establish themselves as a non-profit.

The Public School Parent Support Project recognizes that many of New York's schools Parent Associations are not functioning well. And the project, which was founded in collaboration with City Councilmember Brad Lander's office, is reaching out to current and former PA and PTA officers, collecting information to get an idea of what's going on around the city, and what people are looking for.

The first goal of the project is to start a web-based database that would serve as a port of information for parent groups to share tips and links to resources.

"We know we can't level the playing field across the city. We can't even out financial disparities," said Ableman. "But we do believe it can help."

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