In mid-summer of 2023, Triangle Blog Blog sounded the alarm about the lack of candidates in the CHCCS school board race.  In response, over 50 people answered the call, and close to 20 officially filed to run for office. I was delighted to know that so many community members are committed to our schools.

Now in April of 2024, I’m putting out a similar call. Eighteen schools in our district are recruiting candidates for School Improvement Team (SIT) parent representatives and PTA (Parent-Teacher Association) officers. These parent leaders are critical to the success of their schools and contribute greatly to the community. Unfortunately, many schools struggle to find parents willing to volunteer for these roles.

But I have hope. If we can field 18 candidates for school board, we can find parents to serve at the school level, too!  In fact, PTAs and SITs are the pipeline to school board service.

First, a clarification. What is the difference between SIT and PTA?

School Improvement Teams focus on educational and curricular outcomes for students. They adopt goals for improvement in a School Improvement Plan and track their progress over the academic year. PTAs – also called PTSAs at the middle and high school level, adding students to the mix – support the school through community-building activities, such as special events, teacher appreciation efforts, assistance to families in need, and advocacy at the district level and beyond. Parents who serve in either role build leadership skills, connect with school personnel, and give back to the learning environment of their children and of all students!

One reason our schools are strong is because we have parents active in SIT and PTA. The SIT parent representatives and PTA officers work closely with the Principal and school administrators to serve students and teachers. In addition, volunteers feel more connected to the school and to each other… finding connection and building relationships is a significant benefit, coming out of the pandemic and for your mental health overall.

PTAs conduct elections for next year for both their own officers as well as SIT parent representatives, and now is the time to express your willingness to be involved.

Ready to learn more?

Contact your school’s PTA President (current 5th grade families can contact their child’s intended middle school, and 8th grade families can contact their high school for next year) and indicate your interest in getting involved. They will help you with next steps, and/or match your skills with the right role. There are many different opportunities that allow for flexibility, and roles with various time commitments to accommodate your schedule.

Alternatively, if you are not able to step up at this time, help us by tapping into your network. Who do you know that is detail-oriented and organized? Tell them they’d be a great PTA President! Is your neighbor a whiz with spreadsheets? Encourage them to serve as Treasurer for their school PTA. Maybe your running buddy always has ideas about ways to improve our schools. They are ready-made to be a SIT parent rep! A direct ask from a friend or acquaintance is always more effective than a mass request.

This community prioritizes education and is committed to providing our teachers and educators with the tools to make their classrooms and school spaces productive, safe, and fun. How can you contribute to that effort?

Sign up to serve on the PTA or SIT for 2024-25.

Thank you for giving back to our schools. Your investment benefits our entire community.

Andrea Tanner

President 2023-24, CHCCS PTA Council
PTA Council is the umbrella organization for the 18 PTAs of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools. Representatives from each school’s PTA meet as a group monthly to share best practices, troubleshoot challenges, and receive updates from district leaders about hot topics and issues.

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Andrea Tanner is the 2023-24 President of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools PTA Council. PTA Council is the umbrella organization for the 18 PTAs of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools. Representatives...