History of PTA
PTA & School District 15—Partnering to provide quality education for all students
Since consolidation, the PTA in District 15 has evolved from a hospitality-oriented, behind-the-scenes organization into a highly visible, integral partnership with the district, working in tandem with school administrators and teachers to strengthen and enhance the schools. The PTA provides support and direct communication through its comprehensive network within the schools.
Although the date of the charter of the first PTA unit in District 15 is unknown, the Northwest Suburban Council of PTA/PTSAs was established in 1963. Patricia Oakley was the first president of this umbrella advisory council for all of the District 15 schools that began the process of linking the individual units together and to the state and national PTAs. Since that time, the Northwest Suburban Council PTA has become one of the most productive units in the state, drafting resolutions for the state and national PTA legislative platforms and guiding and encouraging individual units to do likewise.
Six District 15 schools have won the Illinois PTA’s top honor, the Advocates of Children Award, and one school, Winston Churchill (now Winston Campus), won at the state and national levels. All of the unit PTAs in District 15 have been involved in environmental awareness, health education, and child protection legislation.
The council-sponsored “Resolution to Ban the Sale of Fireworks” was passed at the state PTA convention in 1995. Council PTA established the very successful, ongoing coat closet in 1986, which provides outerwear for needy children in the area.
District 15 PTAs have initiated many art awareness programs in the schools. The annual Reflections contest encourages participation in the visual, musical, and literary arts. The PTA sponsors Junior Great Books and artist-in-residency programs in many of the district’s schools. The district estimates that during each school year, community residents, most of them PTA members, contribute more than 84,000 hours volunteering in district schools.
Although the PTA is not defined philosophically as a fund-raising organization, it has been able to raise money over the years to implement many enrichment programs, purchase equipment, and provide parent education programs. Over the years PTA volunteers have assisted in virtually every aspect of the education program, from kindergym to the Science Olympiad. PTA volunteers serve on curriculum committees, the district’s strategic planning and advisory council, and on principal selection committees.
In 1988, District 15 PTAs were instrumental in helping to pass the $64 million building referendum seen as critical to the district’s growth. PTA volunteers campaigned heavily, poll-watched, held phone-ins, and did mailings. Volunteers from PTAs then served on all of the facility and design committees for school remodeling and new construction.
More recently, PTA members have lobbied in Springfield for legislation affecting the district and have testified in Senate hearings on behalf of schools. The significant contributions of the PTA have been accomplished through much cooperation and encouragement from the district. Because of the district’s “open-door” policy to parents and volunteers, the PTA has achieved enormous growth and become a viable lobbying body and a driving force for excellence in education in District 15.