Section 1: PTA Structure
National PTA was founded February 17, 1897, in Washington DC as the National Congress of Mothers. Fathers and teachers joined in increasing numbers, so the name was changed in 1925 to National Congress of Parents and Teachers. Alice McLellan Birney and Phoebe Apperson Hearst are recognized as co-founders of national PTA. Because of the dual school system that existed in nineteen southern states and the District of Columbia, the National Congress of Colored Parents and Teachers was organized in 1926 in Atlanta, Georgia, with Selena Sloan Butler as founder. National PTA helped set up the organization and worked closely with the group, whose objectives and child welfare goals were the same as its own. The National Congress of Parents and Teachers, and the National Congress of Colored Parents and Teachers were united June 11, 1970. The unified organization, continuing as the National Congress of Parents and Teachers, serves all children with equal concern for all.
The Virginia Congress of Parents and Teachers, along with other state branches, is an integral part of national PTA, serving as a connecting link between the national organization and its membership with the state. The Virginia Congress of Parents and Teachers was part of the Cooperative Education Association and joined national PTA in 1921. The membership of Virginia PTA is the individual members of the local associations. The membership of national PTA is the sum of the membership in the various state PTA branches. A person who joins a local PTA unit automatically becomes a member of Virginia PTA and national PTA.
Virginia PTA is divided into six regions so that a closer working relationship with districts, councils, and local units may be achieved. A district director representative, elected by the directors from each district, represents the combined interests of all districts in the state, on the state executive committee. These representatives are elected at the spring Board of Managers meeting to serve a one-year term and may serve in this capacity for two consecutive terms.
Districts are geographical divisions of the state designated by the state board to carry on state work effectively. The state bylaws govern the work of the district and must be approved by the state Bylaws Committee. The district PTA also helps to integrate council August 2011 Virginia PTA Local Unit Resource Guide and local unit work with state and national programs and activities. Elected to a two-year term by the district membership, the district director represents the district on Virginia PTA’s Board of Managers.
A council is a group of Local PTAs in a town, city or county, organized under the authority of the state PTA. There must be three local units in an area to form a council. Its purpose is to help local PTAs coordinate their efforts and promote conferences and leadership training at the grass roots. A council serves only as an advisor to local PTAs and may not legislate for them.
The local PTA is the most important division of this association. All others exist to serve the local PTA. The local PTA is organized and chartered by Virginia PTA using the authority national PTA grants the state in its bylaws. State PTA bylaws are adopted by delegates to the annual state convention who are sent by local PTA units in numbers granted by the size of their membership (See convention registration packet). Procedures and requirements for organizing local associations are found in state bylaws, but a local PTA is a self-governing body. The local PTA plans programs and activities to meet children and youth needs in their own school and community. National and state PTA offer guidelines and help as local units plan their programs and projects.