My first year of Presidency really consisted of a lot of learning; reading PTA Publications (newsletters, e-newspapers, magazines), exploring the NYS PTA and the National PTA websites, attending Western Region meetings, and most importantly going to PTA conferences and workshops. We only had a handful of people, who is all you really need to start a PTA, but we also had the backing of our School Board, Administrators, Teacher’s Union, Grounds and Maintenance, Transportation Department, and the support of the community. Without this, our visions and hopes and dreams for what we saw possible to happen within our schools, would not have been able to become a reality.
During my second year of being President, one of my goals was to try to communicate with the whole school community, and find out how the Eden Central PTA could be of assistance to them. I started with the Superintendent, whom had actually asked me to meet with her. I told her that we were in the process of forming committees, and that we had started two already, the Academic Competition Committee and the Parents of Special Education Committee. Then, I attended a Teacher’s Union meeting. I explained that what they were fighting for in education, were the same things that the PTA was fighting for. I told them that through the National PTA, there were already a number of people across the country whose voices were backing them, and that their voices were making a difference. In turn, I asked them to support us. I talked with the Transportation Department to find out if they had any concerns and asked how the PTA could be of assistance to them. Grounds and Maintenance were just always there for us, helping us in any way they could; we thank them for that. And of course the community, it takes a community to raise a child. We reached out to local businesses to let them know that we wanted to support them, and they supported us right back; helping us with our Autism Walk and other various fundraisers. Then we utilized community resources to help enrich parent’s lives. I formed eight more committees based on the conversations that I had with all of these people, hoping to meet the needs of the community. In doing all of this, I still always felt like I wasn’t doing enough, there were so many more people and organizations that I wanted to reach out to and connect with.
Besides being PTA President, I also joined The New York Educators Voice Network, which was a network for teachers to have a voice to support the Common Core Curriculum. And now, as Associate Director of Western Region PTA, I am helping out with family engagement in the Buffalo School District. What I am seeing in both of these “jobs,” is that everyone is disjointed. We are all trying to do the same thing; accomplish the same goals, support the same worthy causes. As I have been partaking in these various roles, I have been making many personal connections and linking people together. As these organizations connect they become more knowledgeable and can pool resources, making them stronger. Their voices also unite and become stronger.
Message: The more people work together, the more they share. The more people share, the more they know. The more people know, the more they want their voice to be heard for what is right for children across the country. The more people are making their voices heard, the stronger their voices are. I urge you to learn about the other organizations that are working towards the same goals as yourself and unite your efforts. There is strength and power in numbers, and in people working together; pooling resources, knowledge, and their voices!
Tiffany Kwas grew up outside of Buffalo, New York. She attended SUNY Purchase for her undergrad work, studying in both Women’s Studies and Psychology. Then she pursued her Masters in Education from D’Youville College. Tiffany has been teaching for 19 years and is currently a member of the New York Educator’s VOICE Network; supporting the Common Core Curriculum. She is also an associate Director for Western Region PTA.