My wife and I have been Brookside PTA members for almost 7 years. I served two years on the PTA board and my wife is on the board right now. I’m not here to speak about the PTA in general but about the dedicated people who serve countless hours at Brookside to make it one of the best educational opportunities available in our town. I am sure there are other PTAs in Beaumont like Brookside and I am sure there are many problems with other schools and their parent involvement or lack of. The following is about Brookside.
I have always praised the teachers at Brookside because I know many of them personally and I have watched how much they care about and contribute to my kids’ educational future. The parent involvement at Brookside is unlike any other school I know of. I come from a family of public school educators and I am well aware of the reputation the PTA has and how many of “those kinds of parents” have contributed to the negative impression many people of their PTAs. I can tell you the PTA at Brookside is an exception to the stereotype.
There is always a core of about a dozen or two parents and teachers who organize and run every fundraiser and activity. It is usually the same people at every activity year after year. As some families move on to middle school, we lose a valuable contributor or two every year but the PTA has been very successful in finding the right parents of incoming kindergartners to replace them. There are many more parents who try and contribute to an event or two throughout the year but without the dedicated core coming back year after year, the PTA at Brookside wouldn’t be around. There wouldn’t be an Annual Talent Show, A Bingo Night, A Harvest Festival, A Reading Night and Book Fair.
If you are a parent, or have been a parent, of an elementary student in the last 10-20 years you are well aware of the number of fundraisers parents are asked to support. My kids have participated in swim team, Cub Scouts, and baseball and you add two or three fundraisers for each of these clubs and you can see why parents do not look forward to fundraisers. PTA board members like the fundraisers even less and the VP of Fundraising is always the hardest position to fill, no one wants to do it. But without the fundraising, our kids’ elementary school experience would be quite different.
You may have read about the awards garnered by Brookside’s Tuesday Take or Trade program that “provides gently used children's clothing, school supplies, books, and accessories. Customers can donate clothing that is no longer used and/or take what is needed.” This service is offered to the entire community, not just Brookside families. Many of the people who started and run this service are the same core of people who make the Brookside PTA possible.
Here’s what you may not know:
- PTA funding makes it possible for every student in every class to go on a field trip every year.
- The PTA provides the school with clothing from the Take and Trade shop for children who may need an emergency change of clothes or left their coats at home on a cold day.
- The PTA is the primary supplier for playground equipment supplies, basket balls, tether balls, etc…
- The PTA’s Harvest Festival provides teachers with funds to supplement their out of pocket expenses for materials not provided by the school district.
The PTA meetings at Brookside are always open to the public and if you have any concerns about fundraisers or anything else about the school drop in and introduce yourself. Please don’t just come to criticize and complain. If you are satisfied with their response and you believe they are only trying to improve the school, please volunteer. If you aren’t willing to contribute or even ask questions before you complain, please don’t bother them they are very busy.