Patti RasmussenThe SignalPauline HarteRichard RiouxTim WhyteLeon Worden

Get involved in PTA this school year

Patti Rasmussen · August 30, 1997

While many children are already back in school, the majority of students will be returning next week, and this Labor Day weekend officially marks the end of summer vacation. As we parents run from Office Max to Staples to buy those ever-popular notebooks and pencils, the Santa Clarita Valley Council PTA has been getting ready to present a series of workshops designed to help local PTAs service the children in their schools.

Kari Cox is 3rd Vice President of Leadership at the council level. A nine-year member of PTA, Cox is excited about the workshops that are scheduled at Rosedell Elementary on Monday, September 15 starting at 7:30 p.m. Although they are geared toward officers and chairmen, Cox says that anyone who is interested may attend these workshops and will benefit greatly from them.

The SCV Council PTA continues to offer the basics with training in areas such as treasurer, auditor, secretary and historian and this year has added some new workshops like "Community Concerns." Child abuse, car-seat safety, vaccinations and flashing yellow lights are examples of issues that this workshop will address. A "Legislation" workshop will educate PTA members on bills pending at the local, state and national levels that relate to children and youth. Members will be told what they can do as groups or individuals to see that these bills are passed.

As more and more PTAs are relied upon to enrich the school environment, a workshop entitled "990 Easy" will walk PTA members through the somewhat complicated procedure of filing IRS forms. PTAs that run more than $25,000 through their books are required to send in IRS forms, and those with more than $100,000 going through their books must fill out the 990 long form.

A Parent Education workshop using the "Parents Empowering Parents (PEP)" manual and the PTA "Open The Schoolhouse Doors" manual will give workshop participants ideas about reaching out to the parents of their school community. Cox states that Rosedell Elementary, for example, offers Parent Education Nights every other month on topics as basic as how to handle homework, to larger issues such as gang awareness.

The SCV Council PTA covers twenty-four elementary schools and one middle school in the valley. Training and information is processed by the SCV Council PTA to ensure that all units get everything they need to function. According to Cox, the PTA believes that "training is the key to success."

"We share from unit to unit even though are spread out through several school districts," Cox says. With that in mind, the monthly council meetings include "Celebrations," offering unit PTA presidents a chance to interact and share ideas . This idea-sharing time helps other schools know what has been successful and what should be avoided.

Once primarily consisting of stay-at-home moms, PTA has changed with the times. More and more men are involved in leadership roles, and with both parents in the work force, PTA has been successful in reaching out to them so that they may feel involved with their children's education.

The workshops are a step in that direction. If you have been hesitating to get involved in your child's school because you don't know what you can do, here's your chance. Registration is as easy as calling your unit PTA president or Kari Cox at 805-296-7479.

The best thing about becoming involved in the school is being there with your child. The added bonus is that all children will benefit from your involvement. The beginning of school is right around the corner. Let's get in there and help.

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A side bonus for the school children of our valley was confirmed this week when the City Council voted to accept the wonderful donation of the Pioneer Oil Refinery by Chevron U.S.A., Inc. The oil refinery has been part of the curriculum for third graders as they study our local history. Now, the children will receive the added bonus of being able to physically tour this site.

Chevron is to be commended for its commitment to the community, just as Mentryville, another donation, has already proven to be a historical stopping point for the children. The picture is almost complete. Rick Putnam and the Parks and Recreation staff also deserve our thanks for handling the "nuts and bolts" of this donation.

Thanks to all for keeping our history alive for future generations.

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Patti Rasmussen's commentaries appear in The Signal on Saturdays.

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