By Maria Sawiris and Mahgul Mansoor
The Parent Teacher Association (PTA) is an organization of parents and teachers that strive to facilitate parental participation in school. Through different methods of fundraising the PTA, in collaboration with the Alumni Foundation, helps raise money for clubs, teams, and various other organizations.
PTA sponsored fundraisers, such as auctions, the Annual Drive, and the recently established Walk for Brooklyn Tech Walk-A-Thon, have proven to be lucrative. The Annual Drive has brought $33,000 to date, making it the most financially successful.
Although the Drive is more effective in terms of money raised, according to PTA Co-Presidents Aleccia Braithwaite and Mariet Morgan in a joint statement, “The walk-a-thon was a great success in terms of community building. It was a great event and we had a fantastic time getting to know the students, parents and staff who participated.” The first walk-a-thon was held in October, and a Spring walk-a-thon has been scheduled for May 19th.
Through grants, the PTA has helped buy team uniforms, club supplies, entry and traveling costs for team and clubs, and specialty items for specific classes. In addition to that, they have started SAT preparatory classes in conjunction with Kaplan for juniors this year.
According to Laura Marquez, the Assistant Principal of Parent and Student Engagement, “The PTA has really jumped in over the years and given money as grants. When clubs and teams are low on funds and they need money to help pay for registration or transportation or something else that the school’s budget can cover for whatever reason, the PTA traditionally has helped come in with some extra funding to support that.”
The PTA also holds a Teacher Appreciation Dinner in the fall to recognize the hard work of the teachers and staff. Additionally they hold meetings to keep parents informed and educate them about issues concerning their teenage children.
The PTA meetings are often held to discuss a wide range of topics. “This year,” Braithwaite and Morgan said, “we’ve had an Assistant District Attorney do a presentation on Internet Safety, the Tech College Office staff spoke to the parents about the college application process at Tech, and AP’s have spoken about their subject areas, the Major Selection and class selection processes. At our last meeting Ms. Glickman did a presentation about signs of teens in crisis and suicide prevention.”
Recently, however, the PTA has had trouble engaging the parents. The ratio of parents involved in events and meetings is disproportional to the number of students who attend.
“We are making progress,” say the co-presidents, “but we’d love to have more parents come to meetings and let us know what they’d like to see us do as an organization. There are currently 12 parents on the PTA Executive Board, however, all teachers and parents of Technites are members of the PTA. We would like to see both the teachers and the parents more engaged in the organization.”
The PTA would like to see more parents involved because the members feel like they have the potential to achieve so much more than what they have already. According to the Braithwaite and Morgan, involvement with the organization can significantly impact the lives of all Tech students.
“No amount of time or money goes unappreciated. And any and all comments are welcome. Parents are encouraged to visit our website – www.brooklyntechpta.org – to learn more about what we do and to let us know what they’d like to see and hear from us.”