Thursday, October 04, 2007

I needed votes the other day

I attended my first PTO meeting last month and was determined to find a way to get involved in my children's school. I listened to the options intently some of which were:

  • help sort cans for the weekly can collection - laudable but no

  • volunteer to be a recess monitor - I work during the day

  • plan extra art activities - again, very important but it required being at the school during the day.
    • Then, an option appeared. Being a parent representative on the school council which meets during the evening. This legislatively mandated body is required in every school in our state to work with the principal and three teachers to adopt educational goals, identify education needs, and create a school improvement plan. According to folks "in the know" usually the parent seats are hard to fill. So, after explaining that I didn't want to participate in a "popularity contest" I signed up for one of the three seats on the School Council.

      Along with 5 other parents. I found myself in an election. An election one parent said to me "pits you against the usual 5 people. The same, five, people."

      Now I know how to run an election. I've coordinated a legislative campaign to increase taxes statewide (think about that for a minute) and countless state budget initiatives. I know how to message, create materials and focus efforts on those most likely to vote. But I don't have the energy or inclination to run a "campaign" for the school council at my kids' elementary school.

      Then the PTO co-President asked that all the candidates email her a paragraph about why we wanted to be on the Council. So this is what I wrote:

      I am excited to have my family join the ----- School community. My twin sons are both first graders at the school. I attended public schools from K-12. Immediately after college I spent a summer teaching in Los Angeles then taught for a year in a New Orleans elementary school. I know how important it is to have parents who are engaged and care about the quality of education their children receive. Having (briefly) been a public school teacher I understand that parents need to be allies with the faculty and that everyone who works in the school, regardless of their job title, is creating a positive and stimulating environment for our children. Thank you for considering me for the School Council.

      The election was last Thursday. The vote count was Friday. I got a call from a friend that it was a close vote but I didn't win.

      So while I would have been a very good member of the School Council, I hope my kids learned it is o.k. to stick your neck out every once in a while. You may lose, but you may also win.


      So we're hitting the road again - just me and the kids. We're packing our weekend bags and getting on a plane to visit a dear, dear friend. I'll be back in blog-land next week.

      The kids are looking forward to singing this as they land in the airport:

      Give me a chance
      'Cause when I start to dance
      I'm a movie star
      Oh, oh, oh
      Something inside of me makes me move
      When I hear that groove...

      Where are we going?


      Jodi said...

      sorry about your loss, that sucks. But I agree, it is important to stick your neck out and teach your kids it's okay to fail.

      As for the question, I have no idea.

      Flower Child said...

      oooh, school elections are rough. nice paragraph! as for your destination? either someone who lives in baltimore or someone who's campy. or both!

      soccer mom in denial said...

      FC wins the prize! A big hug from me the next time I see her.

      My dear college friend is as far from campy as you can get. She is tres elegant. She just moved to B-more so we're helping her break in (or more like just break) her condo.

      Flower Child said...

      Balmer? What fun! If you get a chance and need some diversion there's a railroad museum. Among other museums but that one might be more appealing for your brood. Wacky wacky town. But then it would have to be to produce John Waters.

      Jodi said...

      the kids would love port discovery, the aquarium, and the science museum.

      And it's only an hour from me!

      Nap Warden said...

      SMID, good for you for running! Yes I still love you even though you never watched Sex & the City!

      painted maypole said...

      yup, the aquarium there rocks, if you haven't been already. Say hi to the sharks for me.

      same 5 people, eh? sigh.

      Jen said...

      Well, close was good. This is another SAHM/working mom thing, I think, and I just hate that garbage. Maybe you'll be in next year?

      I was at my PTO meeting last night, too. I think I'll send you an e-mail about it.

      Have a great trip!

      Jami said...

      Can you tell them you have some absentee ballots coming in? I know we can probably generate a few hundred in a few hours. Not that I'm encouraging anyone to cheat ...

      Goofball said...


      hmm can anyone explain me the link between the song and Baltimore. I would have said Moviestar = Los Angeles. Clearly not ;)

      PS: in Belgium they always lack adults getting involved.

      Heather said...

      Aw. I would have voted for you.

      I also don't get the connection between the song and Baltimore, but that doesn't surprise me.

      Have fun!

      FENICLE said...

      I'm sorry you lost, but you gave it an honest effort!! It is such a popularity contest here too! Makes me think back to high school & electing class officers.

      Gunfighter said...

      I would have voted for you at least three times!

      aimee / greeblemonkey said...

      Bummer, dude!

      P.S We're room parents and it's taking over our lives.

      And P.S. Don't get me started on the Balmer, Merlin accent! ;)

      Jenn in Holland said...

      Ah, what a great idea to sit on the parent council. We did that for a year (technically it was my husband's slot, but I was his alternate. I think we attended an equal share of meetings over the year) Ours wasn't a vote per se as much as it was just a grateful school administration that someone, ANYONE, applied for the post. It was a cool ride. I think you should go for it again. And I am totally with Jamie about the recount... I am more than willing to stuff a ballot box in your behalf.
      Have a lovely trip and a grand reuntion.
      When-oh-when will it be my turn to have your company?