As a new school year begins, here are 10 compelling reasons you might want to consider getting involved in your school’s parents’ association (APÉ) this year.
By Christine McLeod
Published in The Squamish Chief on August 19, 2022
Adapted with the author’s permission
1. A seat at the table: When you are either an elected member or a member at large, you get a vote and a voice on budgets, decisions and programs that directly impact your children.
2. You feel more connected to the school: Even by attending a once-a-month meeting, you get to know teachers, the principal and other parents better; you are in the loop on important decisions and events at the school, and you feel more in the loop. The more in the loop you feel, the more you want to get involved.
3. Role model for your child: By showing up as a parent volunteer, even an hour or two a month — you model for your child what it’s like to build community, to contribute to the well-being of a group and make a difference.
4. Feeling connected through relationships: When we get involved as parents, we inevitably meet other parents in our child’s grade and others — and as we build those relationships, we feel a greater sense of connection and involvement. It’s a positive cycle because the more connected we feel because of the relationships we form, the more we want to be involved.
5. Being in the know: When you are on the parents’ association board, you end up being often the first to know about events, decisions, and ideas coming from the principal and school board. Because as you get those updates, you can ask questions and share your thoughts — so you have influence often on decisions made.
6. The school belongs to the community: Often, when you volunteer and spend more time in the school, you feel more comfortable popping in, finding your way around, and it feels like you are a welcome member of the school.
7. Learning valuable business skills: Being on a parent association develops skills you may not have in time management, running meetings, working collaboratively with others, event planning, fundraising etc. If you already have those skills, it can be a great way to contribute to the community. Either way, it’s something to add to your resume!
8. Being an involved parent: As our children grow, it becomes harder to find opportunities to stay connected to them. Time and time again, the parents who are most connected to their teens’ school in middle and high school say they started that comfort level in being involved at the elementary level.
9. Your contribution truly makes a difference: Whatever your skill, your time is valuable. Having different skills and viewpoints makes a much more representative decision-making process. When there are multiple voices at the table, the end result is a richer, more diverse and inclusive one. Even if you think you don’t have any skill to contribute, know that just your presence matters.
10. Support those who support your children: Our teachers, principals, and admin staff all work tirelessly to support the development of our children. When we as parents support them by showing up to meetings, helping to fund-raise, and enthusiastically bringing to life their school plan, it is very motivating for them and makes them feel appreciated.
Christine McLeod is an involved parent and community volunteer in Squamish who has been active over the last 10 years in the APÉ of École Les Aiglons, and in PACs of Don Ross Middle School and Howe Sound Secondary.