Welcome to the Lewis PTA
What is the PTA?
The National Parent Teacher Association (PTA), a non-profit organization based in Alexandria, VA, is the largest and oldest volunteer organization working exclusively on behalf of children and youth in the United States.1 A highly influential group, the PTA has state and local affiliates throughout the country. The national PTA promotes parental involvement in school communities as well as advocates on behalf of both students and schools in state legislatures and Washington, D.C.2 With local chapters being linked to the state and national organizations, the PTA offers parents the only nationwide network that enables them to collectively influence decisions that affect children, whether it be locally, at the district level, statewide, and nationally.3
The PTA’s motto – Every child. One voice. – reflects its commitment to unified advocacy on behalf of all the nation’s children. The main purpose of PTA is to help every child realize his or her potential by both engaging and empowering families and communities to advocate for all children.4 Every person who joins a local PTA chapter automatically becomes a member of both the state and National PTAs. Total PTA membership, including affiliated groups and individual members, today is nearly 5 million.5
PTA takes an active role in developing programs, advocacy and training, operating at the school building, district, state and national levels and working on policy that supports the educational needs of children and promotes family engagement and strong partnerships between schools and the communities they serve. Local PTA chapters set their own goals and missions; they also join together to advocate and partner as a larger group. PTA uses money from membership dues to offer staff support and grants, and to develop national programs such as the Reflections Arts in Education program and the Standards for Family-School Partnerships implementation guide.6
A Brief History
The National Parent Teacher Association was founded on February 17, 1897, in Washington, D.C., as the National Congress of Mothers by Alice McLellan Birney and Phoebe Apperson Hearst (wife of Calif. U.S. Senator George Hearst and mother of publisher William Randolph Hearst), at a meeting of over 2,000 parents, teachers, workers, and legislators. In 1908, the organization changed its name to the National Congress of Mothers and Parent-Teacher Associations, and later became the National Congress of Parents and Teachers. In May 1926, National PTA President Mrs. A. H. Reeve helped form the National Congress of Colored Parents and Teachers to function in the District of Columbia and states where separate schools for the races were maintained, so that African-American children might have PTA service. In 1970, the National Congress of Parents and Teachers (National PTA) and the National Congress of Colored Parents and Teachers (NCCPT)—founded by Selena Sloan Butler in Atlanta, Ga.—merged to serve all children.7