Glynn County Council PTA is Today’s PTA in action! Longtime PTA member and now Council President, Amanda Kirkland is spearheading the PTA Membership Bowl on Tuesday, July 30th from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. at Glynn County Stadium, which she hopes will not only grow membership but change the communities perception of PTA and inspire increased parental involvement this school year. National PTA President Otha Thornton says this is exactly the type of event that he hopes to see taking place all across the country.
PTA Rally Aims To Win Members; Goal Is To Get Parents Involved In Education
By SARAH LUNDGREN
Courtesy of The Brunswick News
Amanda Kirkland found herself with a problem: Her children’s school had stopped funding a program, and she wanted to know why. A quick chat with the principal and five years later, she is leading other parents to make changes in their children’s schools.
“The principal said that the school budget and time constraints just couldn’t support the project anymore. But, she had said the PTA may be able to take it on, and she thought I was just the right parent to see it through,” Kirkland explained of that first meeting. “She empowered me to be a part of the solution.”
An active PTA member since, and now president of the Glynn County PTA Council
for public schools, Kirkland knows the importance of parental involvement in a child’s education.
The Glynn County PTA Council serves as a liaison between the state PTA and PTAs at each of the 16 Glynn County public schools, but Kirkland says there’s been something missing for a long time: broad parental involvement.
“Honestly, I think people have lost faith in the PTA and how it can contribute to our community. Most people associate the PTA with fundraising and playground equipment. We do those things, but our main objective is advocacy,” she said. Seeking to change that perception, Kirkland has spearheaded a community-wide event set for July 30 – the inaugural PTA Membership Bowl from 5 to 8 p.m. at Glynn County Stadium. This won’t be like any cookies and punch meeting in a school cafeteria. Drawings, giveaways, dunk booths, bounce houses and other activities will be part of it. Bands, cheerleaders and high school sports teams will be on hand, as well.
“This was an out-of-the-box idea, and we’ve never done anything like it before,” she said. “Our goal for this event is twofold: we’d like to see more community members join the PTA and, in turn, empower more parents to take an active role in their child or children’s education.”So far, Kirkland says response from the community has been excellent. The Brunswick-Golden Isles Chamber of Commerce has signed on as co-sponsor, hoping to encourage businesses and organizations to join in.
“One of the key support efforts we have is supporting educational activities,” chamber President Woody Woodside said. “In order to have a strong work force maintained in the community, for current and future purposes, you have to have trained students, you have to encourage them to do well. “Parental involvement is probably the greatest way to get them engaged. (Parental involvement) affects everything, from grades in school to, hopefully, cutting down on dropout rates. We’re excited to be involved and encouraging people to come out.”
Kirkland says businesses can partner with the event and donations are welcome. Kirkland and other PTA members are available to speak to community groups that are interested. “Also, we need to get the word out to get families excited about the event. The school system is so excited about this event that it has planned a bus route to help get families to the event. The event is completely free, so all families will need to do is show up,” she said.
The most important part, however, is the opportunity for parents, grandparents and guardians to meet with school PTA leaders to find out how to get involved. Whether a person is a parent of a school-age child or not, Kirkland says empowering families and community members to advocate for children makes a huge difference.
Reporter Sarah Lundgren writes about education and other local topics.