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The Importance of the PTA Dad… and How to Get Him Involved

Updated: Jan 25, 2021

The Multipurpose Room recently discussed another key aspect of parent teacher group life: the PTA dad and his role within the organization! Historically, women have dominated parent teacher associations, organizations, PTSAs, and the life of the school volunteer. In fact, the first male president of the National PTA did not take office until 2009. But dads are a vital part of any child's educational journey, which is why their involvement in the PTA is so important. Today hosts Debora and Wesley are joined by Jason Nackos, an active PTA dad and Utah PTA's Male Engagement Specialist, as they discuss why this gender disparity exists and how to change it.

Just because dads only make up a small percentage of PTA members doesn't mean that their position is any less important. In fact, reports show that when dads get involved in their local PTAs, kids' success shoots in an upwards direction. When children are given the opportunity to interact with and gain from significant male members' participation, then their performance takes a turn for the better.

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But how exactly is a PTA to increase male membership? Here are some tips from our guest:

1. Set Aside Time for Dad-Only Volunteering

A great way to get more dads involved is to start a men-only sign up group that focuses on getting Dads volunteering in the classroom or during school and PTA events. Name the group something fun and to encourage Dads to join. Popular ideas can include groups such as ‘Manly Mountaineer Mentors’ or ‘Dudes and Donuts’. You can even work with your teachers to have a specific slot where only male volunteers can sign up to encourage their participation.

2. Get Dads Visible in Community Events

If a PTA is to get more dads involved, then it’s necessary to showcase their involvement to encourage more Dads to join. And what better way to do so than to hold a dads’ talent show. Yes, that’s right, a whole assembly of dads singing, dancing, playing an instrument, or whatever else they please – the point is to provide dads with a platform where they can express themselves openly. If you don’t have enough people for a whole show, you can also ensure that you have a few dads in prominent spots in any existing event.

3. Create a Dad-Only Community

While holding talent shows and other activities and encouraging male participation within the broader school community, it is also important to give dads a place to connect with each other. A poker night is a great way to encourage dads to form those bonds.

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4. Make Use of Social Media

Use social media to share all of the above activities. Use #ptadad or other dad hashtags to showcase the male involvement in the PTA and events. You can also use social media to encourage more participation from dads. A great idea is to get sports coaches from different schools to make a little video about why dads should join in – combine their love of sports with tactful marketing!

5. Small Things Matter

Lots of dads tend to stay away from PTAs because they think it will take up too much of their time, and they can't afford to do that on top of their jobs. To encourage more father volunteers, emphasize short, one-time, participation. If you can only put in a couple of hours once, or 30 minutes every few weeks, then that's still great, and you'll be as welcome as any other member.

So, there you have it, a sweet and short guide on how to increase the number of dads participating in PTAs – and exactly why it’s so important! For more information reach out to us check out the National PTA’s toolkit on this topic.

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