Ideas to Support the Suburban Child

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Notes from the Backpack Podcast

In January, National PTA’s Every Child in Focus campaign centers on the Suburban Child. Use these ideas to help support children in the school community.

Host an Afterschool Care Fair

Local daycares and/or community centers come to the local school PTA meeting or event and showcase (like a job fair but with afterschool programs) the afterschool care programs that they offer. Attendees can “shop” so to speak, and choose which program would work best for their family and sign their kids up or do more research.

People to attend

  • Afterschool care center directors/employees
  • School guidance counselors
  • Recreation center directors/employees

Key questions to answer

  • What are your needs for afterschool care?
  • What programs do these centers offer to meet those needs?
  • Are they affordable?
  • How can the school help?

PTA Carpools

PTA parents can get together and create an afterschool transportation carpool or system in which they take turns taking home students who may not have a ride home to prevent them from being stuck at school or the library because of their parents’ work schedules.

Plan of Action

PTA members or parents/caregivers who choose to participate provide their neighborhood information to PTA leadership. Leadership collaborates with volunteers to create a schedule (rotating or otherwise) that best works for all involved to make sure all the youth in that neighborhood have a reliable mode of transportation home (or to school if needed).

PTA Cultural Night

With suburban populations growing and changing, hosting a cultural night can be something like a cultural party in which families come and share things about their cultures with other families. It can be special dishes, clothing, or any other thing that they would like to educate their peers about; something like a show and tell with various cultures and ethnicities as the theme.

Plan of Action

PTA Presents: A Night of Culture
January 27, 2015

This could be used as the title and we could schedule it for that date. Advertise via flyers, emails, posters, etc. Get students and families excited about sharing aspects of their culture with their peers. This is a way to connect families with different backgrounds in an effort to create a larger sense of community and appreciation for one another’s differences.

Suburbanite Workshop

Have a workshop hosted by school counselors that share issues that suburban students are facing so that parents can be informed about what their child’s challenges are and work together to connect them to resources that will help fix and improve those challenges. Since school counselors are usually the ones with their ear to the ground, so to speak, they would know what issues students are dealing with and facing on a daily basis.

Key Areas of Concern

  • Peer pressure
  • Depression
  • Pregnancy
  • Drug use
  • Bullying
  • Social media/online safety
  • Isolation
  • Transitioning to middle/high school

Bridging the Technology Gap

Have a technology night where local schools/PTAs bring in a local technology expert to educate parents on how to bridge that technology gap between parents and students. Also a Family Reading Night where families bring in their own devices that they use for reading.

Plan of Action

Host a PTA Tech Night where you have a discussion with parents about the statistics of technology use and how they can also get connected. Show examples of social networks and how to use them from various devices. 

Family Reading Night: Have children bring in their tablets/kindles and share stories/activities that are being read and used. 

PTSA Workshop: So Your Teen is Driving Now

Led by students, PTSA’s can conduct an evening event at high school to discuss the dangers and responsibilities of driving. 


  • Parents
  • Teens
  • Local law enforcement officials
  • Local MADD representative 

Topic to discuss

  • Texting while driving
  • Distracted driving
  • Drinking and driving 

Suburban Squeeze: Show Me the Money Seminar

With a declining tax base and stagnant property values, suburban schools are no longer awash with cash. In an effort to be more vocal in seeking government funds for schools, PTA’s could bring in state and local budget experts to give insight on what additional money is available for suburban schools through grants and other government programs. 

Invitees include

  • AXA representative
  • State and local budget experts