The Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) is a program that benefits every member of Carlmont’s community.
“The PTSA supports a lot of different programs at Carlmont, all of which have to do with building community. We do student scholarships and SAT prep class organization. We also support the Carlmont Cares program, so we make sure that students have the money and resources that they need to make sure that every student has an opportunity to be a part of the Carlmont community,” said Michelle Kelley, the PTSA president and a Carlmont parent.
There are five PTSA meetings a year. At meetings, guest speakers come and talk to parents about recent events in Carlmont’s community, as well as the outside community as a whole.
The single requirement to join is a $15 membership fee due at the beginning of each year. There is no requirement to go to any meetings or participate in any events.
Parents can join the PTSA to connect with student life and have the chance to volunteer at Carlmont.
Kelley said, “It is a great resource to find out what’s happening at Carlmont and to be involved. The more involved you are as a parent, the more you know about what’s going on with your students.”
Parents can volunteer at Carlmont in the Carlmont Pantry or Student Store. Another way for parents to contribute is to help plan events for students, such as graduation events for seniors.
“Some of the things that we do are harnessing volunteer power and taking our parent volunteers and having them run things like the Student Store and organizing a safe and sober graduation night for the seniors,” Kelley said.
However, parents don’t just make an impact only at Carlmont. The Eighth Grade Transition Team of the PTSA coordinates with middle school families to help ease students’ transitions into high school. The impact of this team can be seen through middle school students as they become part of Carlmont’s community as freshmen.
The PTSA opens up new opportunities for students when they reach high school. Before high school, the PTSA does not involve students, but high school students are allowed to become members. Being a member can entail going to meetings and voting on PTSA matters, as well as entering PTSA competitions like the Art Reflections Contest. Also, they can apply for scholarships their senior year to help pay for college.
Carlmont student and PTSA member Kasey Parks said, “I joined the PTSA because I want to get involved at Carlmont, and it’s a great place to meet new people. It looks great on college applications.”
It can also mean being a part of shaping the students’ experiences at Carlmont.
Kelley said, “If you’re part of the PTSA [as a student], you get a voice so you can vote at our meetings and so you can understand kind of how we’re making an impact on your years at Carlmont.”
In addition to parents and students, teachers are also welcome to join the PTSA. Connecting with parents and students, as well as applying for grants, are ways that PTSA teachers benefit from joining.
Carlmont science teacher Greg Schaal said, “I joined the PTSA to support the organization that gives back to us as teachers. We can apply for grants to purchase supplies that we can’t normally afford with our sectional funds. It is a requirement to get those grants to be a member of the PTSA.”
The grants are not only useful for the teachers so they can get new supplies, but also for the students. The grants that teachers get to enhance their classes and can provide fun activities for students to do at school that they would not usually get the chance to do.
“I was able to get dissection equipment and dissection specimen for my human biology class because I applied for the PTSA grant, and they granted it to me. They granted me $700, which was fantastic and the cost for me was only $5 or $10. So, it was super cheap for me, but well worth it for the students,” Schaal said.