Margarita Arentsen, a single mother of four and fairly recent transplant from Texas to RI, has, for all intents and purposes, held the Hope High School PTO together by herself since the beginning of this school year.
She has set up a Face book page:
and attends PAC and SIT meetings, in addition to meetings with school administrators, Sodexo, Hope United (the activist student group at Hope), and others.
Several years ago the school department had a “Facilitator of School Support and Community/Family Engagement” at Hope that helped communicate with and motivate parents to participate in the PTO. Since that position was discontinued, the Hope PTO has been run (and essentially consisted of) a very small number of dedicated parents.
This is written to express great appreciation for all the Margarita has done, to ask both parents and students to chip in to support the Hope PTO (before it vanishes), and to ask the school department to really support parent engagement through the active assistance of a facilitator, rather than the passive placement of “parent zones” which, if there is no PTO, are little more than wasted space.