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About the PTO

The Ed Smith Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) is a not-for-profit organization whose purpose is to work to achieve a quality and equitable education for our children. It serves as a forum for communication, support, and cooperation among parents, guardians, faculty, administration, staff, and community. The PTO raises funds to achieve its purpose; hosts and supports school events; discusses opinions and concerns of the members with school staff; and advocates on the school’s behalf with the district and various funding entities.

The membership consists of all parents and/or legal guardians of Ed Smith students, teachers, staff, and administrators of the school. Each member has one vote on matters concerning elections of officers or financial expenditure above $200. The PTO meets at least once monthly during the school year.

At Ed Smith, we enjoy a strong sense of community and take great pride in the diversity of our families. Some of us are residents of the East Side who might live within walking distance of the school. However, about two-thirds of our kids ride the bus to school from neighborhoods such as the South Side and North Side, where a growing population of immigrants now represents more than 20 countries and languages.

Many parents are highly involved in the PTO, volunteering in classrooms or raising funds that allow us to cover field trips for every grade level, support the performing and visual arts programs, offer a free book of choice to every student at the late spring Book Fair, and much more. Highly popular events during the school year include the spectacular Inclusive Talent Showcase, the mouth-watering Foods Around the World potluck, and the fun-filled outdoor Carnival in June. Find out how you can get involved, or learn more about our school community, by contacting the current PTO Board.

A History of the Parent Teacher Organization

by Kate Tricome

Ed Smith School has had a version of the Parent Teacher Organization ever since the school opened. Here is a look at important PTO milestones through the decades:

1920s: The PTO was referred to as the Women’s Club and the Mothers’ Club. It began holding school-wide events for staff, students and parents. Popular events included masquerade parties and Father-Son gatherings.

1930s: In 1932, Ed Smith welcomed a new principal. The PTO threw a surprise welcome party for him and helped him plan monthly drama and music programs for staff and students.

1940s: Throughout this decade, the Mothers’ Club sponsored ballets by local dance companies to entertain school families. They also began holding holiday parties for the younger students and social dances for the older ones.

1950s: It became common for the Mothers’ Club to raise funds and present monetary gifts to the school to further important programs. The mothers also began holding regular clothing exchanges to benefit the school and community.

1960s: There were no funds available to staff elementary school libraries within the district. To bridge this gap, mothers who belonged to the PTO volunteered their time to staff the Ed Smith library. Each mother would serve for half a day every other week. Duties included fixing torn books, re-filing cards in the card catalog, and shelving books.

1970s: When Sumner School closed and combined with Ed Smith, the PTO helped ensure a smooth transition. They campaigned for safe busing for the students, and were also instrumental in the proposal to expand the school to prevent overcrowding.

1980s: In 1986, the Edward Smith PTO placed an ad in the Post Standard to thank Senator Nancy Larraine Hoffmann for her help in securing funds for their educational/recreational project. This project provided physical education equipment for students of all abilities. The equipment purchased also included a ground cover meeting safety standards, a wheelchair path, and a wheelchair-accessible swing.

1990s: The PTO co-sponsored several Candidate Nights for parents and community members to talk to candidates for the Board of Education.

2000s: In 2002, the PTO took up the cause to get students online. There were brand new computers sitting in boxes. The PTO unpacked them and got them connected to the Internet.

2010s: No longer an organization involving women/mothers only, the Parent Teacher Organization today engages parents, guardians and staff in supporting and advocating for the school.