Advocacy is the “act or process of supporting a cause or proposal.” (Merriam-Webster). Manual PTSA has a solid history of acting in support of our school and our members, due in part to our focus on process.
As a PTSA, we advocate within the school as well as within the community and at the district (JCPS) level. As part of 15th District PTA initiative, we participate in state and national advocacy.
We strive to follow a process that allows our actions to be:
We encourage a variety of perspectives, thoughtful discussion, increased understanding, and creative problem solving. This approach allows us to:
- model Manual-worthy conduct for our students
- develop healthy relationships with school, district, state, and community personnel
- proceed in a sustainable fashion
- get results
This does not mean that we avoid conflict or refuse to question authority. Actually, we appreciate the contrast between what is not working and what could better serve our students and the adults who work on their behalf. By identifying problems and addressing them in an honest, collaborative, forward thinking way, we can more easily help find solutions.
To expedite the processing of your concern, contact the PTSA President and Advocacy Co-Chairs so we can determine if your issue is within PTSA’s purview. If it is, your documentation can be added to any other information received about the same issue. This helps identify patterns, school-wide issues, and systemic problems. Documentation is an important resource that we can provide.
If the issue you raise is not within our purview to address, we can assist you in finding the person/s to process your concern.
Issues at School
School-facing advocacy is often the simplest, because we have an accessible and responsive school administration. Principal Jerry Mayes comes to our monthly PTSA meetings to provide updates and field questions. By listening to the administration’s understanding of a situation, and having him listen to the PTSA perspective, many concerns are resolved immediately.
If a longer process is needed, here is our process:
Anyone with a concern is asked to put it in writing. This is a very important step, and can be as simple as a brief email. Don’t let it fester, don’t just keep talking about it without finding the right person to help with resolution, and don’t expect the PTSA to do this step for you. Taking the time to articulate your concern helps us move from a place of emotion to a place of thought and generates the documentation that is often essential for effective results.
If it is a logistics or “new to the school” question that can be asked in a respectful way, without using another individual’s name or any disparaging comments, the DuPont Manual PTSA Facebook group page is a terrific resource. Many active parents, students, teachers, staff, and alumni are willing to pitch in to help you find the answers you need.
If it is a larger or more sensitive issue, email the PTSA President, to determine if it is in PTSA’s purview and inform the Advocacy Chair/s as needed.
As part of the strategic plan (Comprehensive School Improvement Plan, or CSIP), schools are charged with acting upon the understanding that strong relationships with parents contribute to effective teaching and learning. In addition to school-based advocacy, the Manual PTSA also requests updates from school leadership regarding what resources are needed from the district so that we can advocate for those needs.
State and National Advocacy Issues
As a member of the 15th District PTA, we participate in advocacy initiatives, including legislative actions.