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Glendale PTA Council revives focus on mentoring parent leaders

Three weeks into the new school year, Glendale Unified’s PTA Council is reviving one of its core missions in mentoring parents leading the nearly 30 PTA organizations across Glendale.

Combined, the PTAs contribute more than a 100,000 hours and can typically donate over $150,000 to schools each academic year.

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About 15 people are on the PTA council board, including President Monna Johnson, who began volunteering in classrooms at Monte Vista Elementary almost 15 years ago when her oldest son, a 2014 graduate of Crescenta Valley High, was in kindergarten.

Johnson herself is assigned to five schools this year, where she will meet regularly with PTA presidents and sit in on their meetings.

"My first and foremost goal is to have strong PTA units at each school," she said.

With PTA council board members mentoring the groups at each school, Johnson hopes the collaboration will result in greater involvement and membership.

"We have some units that don't have enough parent volunteers. It was very difficult for some of our schools to recruit volunteers to take on PTA positions," she said. "At the council, that's our job, to give them the support and help they need."

Nearly all of Glendale schools have active PTA units. However, Cerritos and Horace Mann elementary schools still don't have PTAs.

Until last school year, Roosevelt Middle School didn't have a PTA either, but part of the success in establishing that unit was its supportive principal, Mary Mason, Johnson said.

"Roosevelt is one of our newly born children," Johnson said.

She'll be working to help cultivate success at Roosevelt, as well as PTAs at Clark Magnet High School, Thomas Edison Advanced Technology Magnet, Mark Keppel Visual and Performing Arts Magnet School, and John Marshall Elementary.

Even at schools with active units, some could be more successful by having more parents participate.

"[With] some units, it's more challenging to get parents to come onboard," she said.

Some parents can initially be reluctant to join a PTA, thinking their schedule will fill up with volunteer work, Johnson said, but members work to educate those who are doubtful about joining about the responsibilities parents share under the banner of a national organization.

Aside from raising money for assemblies, field trips and other school needs, local PTAs can write resolutions that could have a legislative impact on schools or curriculum policy.

The Glendale Council PTA board is also geared up to keep parents in the know about state legislation that can have an impact on local students.

"You become part of a huge organization that is advocating for kids," she said.

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