I keep saying I'm coming back, but then I never do. I'm not saying it this time. This time I am going to say that my years of blogging and running a Facebook page have been an incredible help in what I am doing now. I have something new going on. I am the President of Mapaville School's PTO, I may have already told you that, but I haven't told you what that means in my life.
Mapaville School is a school for the severely disabled, located in Jefferson county. We serve 11 school districts. Of the 11 school districts, some with student populations of 11,000+ and some with thousands less, we have 37 of their students. There are many reasons for this including parents not knowing Mapaville exists, the confusion on LRE, and the fact that the Abuse Scandal of 2008 is still haunting our school. Of the students who were there in 2008 and are still enrolled due to the lack of placement options, the parents have a general distrust of school staff. The school has been trying for transparency to the best of their ability, working within the strict confines of State (MSSD) policies (that I still have not seen in writing), but there is trouble with communication and parent involvement.
That's where the PTO comes in. Our Bylaws list our objectives as: to promote the general welfare of the students of Mapaville State School; to advocate and secure adequate laws for the care and protection of severely disabled youth; to raise the standards of home life; to promote cooperation between parents/guardians and teachers in formulating an appropriate educational program for each child; and to develop an understanding between parents, guardians, educators,
and the general public of how disabled youth can function to the best of
their ability within the community.
For those of you who know me, and have followed me for any amount of time, you know my passion and you know this is right up my alley. This is what I want to do. This is where I can make a difference. However, there is an added complication. Of course. The PTO has been "on hospice" for years. The way I got the job was at the last PTO meeting of last year. The President of the three man PTO (who's daughter graduated years ago) looked at me (the only parent at the meeting, my boyfriend by my side), slid the binder across the table and said, "take over or let it die." I freaked in the "omg, I can't do this, what is she thinking, does she know what a frickin mess I am, oh shit whatamIgoingtodo" way I have of initiating any project, and then I thought on it. This is what I do. I can do this. I built a community out of nothing. I started a blog that used to be pretty successful. I have been told that i have helped many people. I learned to advocate for my sons from scratch. I did it. I can do it. I will do it.
So I started from scratch. I built a website, started a Facebook Page, started a PTO group, started a parent support group, I asked for Open House, we followed it with a PTO meeting where we ended up fully staffed with a Vice President, Recording Secretary, Communications Secretary, Treasurer, Teacher Representative, and the full support of school building administration. We invited 12 Superintendents to have lunch with our students in honor of Disabilities Awareness Month. We asked for and got a wall by the front door dedicated to PTO business and advertising. We designed Spirit-wear, revived spirit week, and started fall fundraisers. We broke jobs down into SN parent sized tasks.
The newsletter had 33 hits yesterday. The page has 25 likes. the PTO group has 27 members, the parent support group has 20. We have 37 students. That is phenomenal. I sent 21 invitations to other Missouri State Schools to follow us, to create a community for all of our children. Our school is fairly large compared to others, we have a school with 3 students. All of our students deserve the benefits of a PTO, whether they are fortunate enough to have one in their school or not. The PTO does more than fundraising, we advocate and try to provide a better school experience for parents and students.
So, as much as I would love to tell you that I am back, I can't say that. I miss blogging, I miss talking to you about my children and yours, but I have something else that I need to do and it takes a lot of my time. I will post, I will blog, but I don't know how often.