A Parent-Teacher Organization is a formal organization that consists of parents, teachers and school staff. The organization's goals may vary from organization to organization, but essentially the goals include volunteerism of parents, encouragement of teachers and students, community involvement, and welfare of students and families. It is not affiliated with Parent-Teacher Association. PTA is a national association of millions of members and thousands of local units that provides leadership training and staff support.
A PTO generally consists of a board. These members may include a president, vice president, secretary and treasurer. They may also include various specialty positions, such as hospitality or programs. The board typically governs the PTO by creating and voting on meeting dates, general meeting programs, etc.
PTO versus PTA
A PTO is not the same as Parent-Teacher Association. They are similar in that both promote parent participation, but PTA takes a more active role in developing programs, advocacy and training. PTA operates at the school building, district, state and national levels and works on policy to better support children. Local PTA units set their own goals and missions, but they also join together to advocate and partner as a larger group. PTA is membership based and uses money from dues to offer staff support and grants, and to develop national programs, such as their Reflections arts in education program and their Standards for Family-School Partnerships implementation guide. A PTO is unaffiliated, local and does not pay dues to a national umbrella organization.