PTSA seeks student involvement

Kriti Garg

Former PTA is looking for students to step into leadership positions


It’s rare on our campus that student involvement is hard to procure — but the PTSA is having trouble with just that. 

 

The PTSA first decided to make its switch from Parent-Teacher Association to Parent-Teacher-Student Association about five years ago.  The program was officially altered last year. 

 

“At the state convention, I was impressed with the student delegates at the forefront of debating and formulating our public policies,” PTSA president Suman Ganapathy said, regarding her initial inspiration to open up the organization to students.

 

Ganapathy realized that more student voices would be a beneficial addition to the school PTA, and that a PTSA could provide a new venue for students to get involved directly with the school.   Currently, PTSA student board representative senior Samuel Lui is the only active student member.

 

“I know that students care a lot and sometimes they feel that ‘Oh, it’s the young people against the older ones’,” Ganapathy said.

 

The PTSA has contacted students via daily morning announcements, but has received little response overall, finding it more challenging than previously thought to promote student involvement.  However, it hopes that once a few students take the initiative to get involved, those students will be able to reach more of their peers through tools such as Facebook.

 

Ganapathy feels that students don’t necessarily realize the breadth of programs the organization plays a role in or runs, and that the common misconception of the PTSA as solely a welcoming committee and source of financial support might be deterring students from involvement. 


Freshmen Rheanna Ganapathy and Hadar Sachs discuss student leadership opportunities in the PTSA during the March 23 meeting.  Photo by Kriti Garg.“We’re not just for hospitality and supporting [the school] through funding — we have been doing a lot of advocacy in education and student life [such as supporting the opening of the Scenic Circle gate], not just passively, but actively, writing to senators and assemblymembers,” Ganapathy said.


To see what roles and areas they can participate in, students can shadow committees such as Reflections, an arts-based statewide competition which is often student-run at other schools.  Other positions include that of the historian, who records PTSA activities.  Students are also invited to run for any position on the executive board. 

 

Ultimately, students can be the voice of their peers for situations such as the opening of the Scenic Circle Gate and the parcel tax (which will be on a May mail-in ballot).  Although the PTSA does not make the final decisions regarding these topics, its members actively participate in advocacy and informing the community about various issues, and Ganapathy stresses that students have now have an opportunity equal to that of adults to influence outcomes.

 

Students who wish to join the PTSA or learn more information about it can visit http://www.montavistapta.org.