Helping Your School, Helping Your Community

We all can play a role in helping schools get ready for a new school year — from donating supplies for teachers to buying an extra backpack for a student in need to signing up to volunteer.

Here are some easy ways you can help schools in your community:

Join a parent & teacher organization at your school. Joining a parent and teacher organization (PTA, PTSA, PTO) gives you the opportunity to stay up-to-date on what the school is doing throughout the year and also make suggestions based on what you think you can do to help the school.

Volunteer as often as possible. Volunteering your time for field trips, clerical work, tutoring or office help is a great way to get involved. Teachers, principals, staff and students all need help in making sure the school year is a success. Contact your school directly to see what volunteer opportunities are available.

Donate school supplies for other children. When you are purchasing school supplies for your family, reach out to your school or your child’s teacher and ask if there are supplies you can buy for them, too. Many students come to school without basic supplies like backpacks and pencils, and teachers often spend money from their own paychecks to provide supplies for their classrooms. By donating supplies, you will help your child’s school and classroom run more smoothly while ensuring all students have what they need to succeed.

Go to Back-to-School Night. This is an important opportunity to meet the teacher, make sure that you understand his or her rules and expectations for the class, and get information about the best ways to communicate with him or her. Whether your child is an academic all-star or needs a little extra TLC to make it through the school year, making the effort to go to Back-to-School night shows both your child and the teacher that you are engaged and ready to support them.

Become a “booster.” In addition to the regular PTA-style organizations, many schools have “Booster” groups, especially for non-core subjects like music and art programs which have suffered from budget cuts in recent years more than academic classes like reading and math. Boosters are parent groups that often help with fundraising for specific projects, like band uniforms, orchestra instruments, or a new scoreboard. Boosters may donate time running a concession stand at sporting events, or donate money for a scholarship.

Attend school board meetings. While meetings may not be everyone’s favorite way to spend time, school board meetings can be extremely informative. You will learn about decisions, policies and budgets that affect your child and his or her school, while also having an opportunity to share your thoughts on the need in your area.

Most localities post meeting notes on their school board’s website.

Serve on a committee. Individual schools (and sometimes entire school districts) are often looking for members of the community to serve on committees related to specific goals (health and wellness, on-time graduation, diversity and inclusion, school safety, just to name a few). Sometimes they may be looking for people with a specific workplace skill or background, but most of the time they just need people who have a sincere interest in the topic.

Reach out. One of the simplest things you can do is just ask what you can do. Perhaps a kindergarten classroom needs snacks or a middle school needs math tutors. By asking what you can do, you’re letting your school know you want to make a difference. Needs change throughout the school year, so make a note to connect with leaders at your local school(s) and offer assistance on a regular basis.

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