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February 17, 2004 > It Takes a Village!

It Takes a Village!

by Praveena Raman

Fremont Council PTA will be having its Founders' Day celebration, "It takes a village" on February 26th at the Newark Hilton from 11:30 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. This year PTA (Parent Teacher Association) will be celebrating 107 years as a professional, nonprofit volunteer organization committed to the well-being of all children.

Founders Day celebrations are held every year by PTAs from the individual school level to city, county, state and national levels in honor of founding women Alice McLellan Birney and Phoebe Apperson Hearst. The organization was established in 1897 as the National Congress of Mothers in Washington D.C. and in 1924 changed its name to National Congress of Parents and Teachers which consisted of the National PTA as one of its three groups.

As part of the Founders Day celebrations each PTA unit honors its outstanding volunteers or community members by awarding one of the following awards: Honorary Service Award, Continuing Service Award, Golden Oak Service Award or the Very Special Person Award. All school units also recognize their volunteers and celebrations include entertainment by the students. Honorees from each school also attend the Fremont Council PTA Founders Day luncheon. At the luncheon the Council announces the individuals who are being honored by the council and recognizes all the exceptional volunteers.

Fremont Council PTA consists of volunteer PTA members who support all the individual school PTAs in Fremont and represent them in the Peralta District, which in turn has members representing the district units at the regional level. Each region has representatives at the State PTA level, which then sends representatives to the National PTA. National PTA is a strong voice for all the children in the country and helps make positive changes at the legislative level.

Each PTA unit is made up of parents, administrators and teachers from the school but the PTA is not a part of the school district. It is an independent body that works in partnership with the schools and the school district to ensure that all children receive the best in education and help them all lead quality life.

The majority of the schools in Fremont Unified School District, are part of the PTA system and have PTAs. Some schools like Mission San Jose High School, Mission San Jose Elementary School, Chadbourne Elementary, Hopkins Junior High and Mission Valley Elementary have private parent teacher/faculty organizations that are separate from the PTA. These schools do not have to conform to the guidelines set by National PTA nor do they have to part with a percentage of their membership dues. They also do not benefit from the support system given by PTA and have a smaller voice in the legislative efforts.

Board members from individual school units together with the Fremont Council Board members make up Fremont Council PTA. The Council helps in the training and education of the individual unit PTA members and sets them up for success in their partnership effort with their respective schools. Fremont Council PTA with representatives from the schools meets monthly and provides a great venue for exchange of ideas between the schools. During the scholastic year the Council organizes the Reflections program and the Founders Day celebration. They work closely with the Fremont Unified School District and help in district events including choosing the Parent of the Year. They give an opportunity for all PTA members to attend the annual convention and work closely with other community organizations like the Fremont Education Foundation.

According to Fremont Council PTA President Debbie Stevens, "Fremont Council PTA is a conduit between the unit PTAs and the upper level PTAs. We provide guidance, training and information about PTA activities and Legislative issues for our units working at each school. With over 30 active units and 11,000 members, PTA is a strong organization advocating for our students and schools in Fremont."

This certainly is a fine example of the proverb "It Takes a Village to Raise a Child". If you would like to have more information or want to get involved with Fremont Council PTA, visit

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