I went to my first PTO meeting last week at the Roberts Elementary School, where I have a kindergartener and first grader. This was the Parent Teacher Organization's first meeting of the year; the one meeting you can predict the greatest attendance.
There were 20-odd people.
Comparing notes with a parent who also has a child at Brooks Elementary, I learned that Brooks had a similar turn-out. Both Brooks and Roberts have about 600 students. So you have to suppose at least 1000 parents in that catchment, of which maybe 25 were present.
Granted, with little advance notice and the work/childcare schedules of today's families, it's harder than ever to get to a PTO meeting. Folks, the PTO needs your love.
It is their goal to provide enrichment for the students. Enrichment takes many forms, from books, to field trip buses, to family events, to afterschool programming. They provide all of this from the PTO's fundraisers.
Say what you will about the ubiquitous fundraisers that come home, they are the primary funding for those enrichment activities. There's the rub.
If you don't like it, then don't stand on the sidelines. The people I met at that meeting were regular folks. No one was poised to stand in the way of initiative. They were doing what they knew worked.
The PTO has hit the ground running. At Roberts there is an Ice Cream Social on October 19 (for which they need volunteers), the first fundraiser just wrapped up, and another will roll out in November.
So jump in where you are, Medford. The PTO needs you.