Almost every school has a parent organization. Whether it’s a PTA, PTO, or (as we have) an HSA, a school’s parent organization provides crucial support to students and teachers. Our HSA is not only our parents’ voice within the school, but also helps raise funds for the “extras” not covered by tuition or operating expenses. (See our post about the Annual Appeal for more information on that) The HSA helps provide funds for:
- Subscription to Power School
- Mulch for the primary playgrounds
- Special Events (Fall Fest, Grade 8 field trip, 2nd Grade Family Mass, etc.)
- Classroom materials
- Learning Center programs
- Technology updates
But like any program or committee, its success depends on the people involved. That’s where parents come in.
Parents who are involved in their child’s school, whether through the HSA or in the classroom, have children who:
- have higher test scores
- earn better grades
- have better social skills
- enjoy a more positive outlook towards school
- graduate and move on to higher education
The benefits of volunteering for the HSA also reach beyond the classroom. Parents who volunteer regularly tend to feel a deeper connection with the faculty and staff, and show their children that both their home and school work together. Volunteering can also provide a confidence boost, introduce you to new friends, provide an outlet for creativity, and help you hone skills or acquire new ones.
Why parents may be reluctant to be involved
In such a small school community where many relationships are long-established, it may be intimidating for newer families to step up and raise their hand to join in. As a veteran parent, you can have a big impact on these other parents just by reaching out. See a new face at an event? Introduce yourself. Is there a call for a number of volunteers for a specific activity? Why not ask that new parent in your child’s class if they’d like to join you. Think about when you were a new parent. Who or what helped break the ice and encourage you to be more involved? Try to do the same for the new families in our school, especially those in the earlier grades. It’s great to have a reliable pool of volunteers year after year, but eventually, those parents’ students will graduate and there will be no one to take their place.
Perhaps you aren’t as involved as you’d like to be because you are just too busy or burnt out from other commitments. That’s completely understandable. But don’t dismiss the idea of volunteering completely. Even if you can’t physically be present for an event, an offer to bake something or to donate paper goods or whatever else is needed goes a long way.
Some parents may feel their contributions aren’t valued or acknowledged. None of us lend our time and talents for the purpose of receiving accolades or rewards, but a sincere thank you and appreciation does go a long way. One way in which we try to show our appreciation is through a year-end Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast. We also try to express thanks collectively and individually after each event in Tuesday News. But we are always open to suggestions on how we can express our gratitude better. Because, as a school, we really do value and appreciate all that our parents give and do to make Mother Seton School a welcoming place of learning, love, and spirituality; we want to do what we can to make sure you feel that.
How parents can start being involved today
The #1 way you can begin your involvement: attend the next HSA meeting. These meetings aren’t only for the HSA board. These are for everyone to come and receive information, as well as provide an opportunity to make your suggestions. Meetings are generally monthly throughout the school year. Check the online calendar or refer to Tuesday news to see when and where the next one is. (As of the date of this post, the next meeting will be Monday, April 7 at 6:00 p.m. at the Pizza Hut in Emmitsburg.)
The second way you can start to be involved is to simply raise your hand. Check the Tuesday News for volunteer opportunities. Look at the school calendar to see what events are upcoming and plan to help with at least one. Springtime events include the His Place Car Show and the MSS Carnival.
Your involvement will leave a lasting impression on your children and on our school, well into the future. See you at the next event!