Boquet: Parental push shows in St. John School PTOs

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, November 25, 2015

As we enter the holiday season, the focus turns, even more than usual, to family.

And while family involvement affects nearly every aspect of life, perhaps one of the most measurable places is in a child’s education. Students with involved parents typically earn higher grades and test scores, have better social skills and show improved behavior.

A new initiative in the St. John the Baptist Parish Public School District this year aims to increase parental engagement and support within the district and at each school and enable communication between the district and parents.

The St. John the Baptist Parish District Parent Teacher Organization grew out of the district’s Five Year Action Plan, in which a committee of community members recommended a process for parents to engage with district leaders.

The DPTO is comprised of the PTO presidents from each school, who meet once a month to plan toward achieving the initiative’s goals and to serve as a parental voice for the school system.

And although it’s only in its first year, the DPTO is already showing big results. Our PTOs are becoming more active than ever before by sharing ideas and providing support to each other where needed. For those schools that did not have a PTO, DPTO committee members have stepped in to be a resource for parents at those schools to form their own PTO.

We’re proud to say that, as a result, every one of our schools now has an active PTO that is working hard to strengthen parental involvement.

At the district level, the DPTO has streamlined communication between district leaders and parents. When the recent PARCC results were released, district leaders were able to communicate directly with DPTO members, who could then pass on information about how to interpret the results to the parents at their schools.

In its first year, the DPTO has taken on three big projects.

The first is the Evening of Song, which will take place Dec. 16 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the St. John the Baptist Parish Civic Center. The evening will begin with a Christmas parade from the St. John the Baptist Parish Central Library to the Civic Center, where our students will provide musical entertainment.

Santa will visit, and toys will be distributed to children. Donations of toys for the event are being accepted through Dec. 4 at all public, private and parochial schools in the parish and at all of the parish’s public library branches.

Thanks to our co-sponsors Marathon Petroleum Corporation, St. John the Baptist Parish, St. John the Baptist Parish Public Library and Blessed To Be a Blessing for helping us make this event possible.

The second project will bring back an old favorite. The annual Honor Roll Round-up is a carnival-like event that will take place at the end of the school year and be open to students who have maintained their honor-roll status throughout the year.

Lastly, the DPTO has taken on the Parent/Student Survey. This survey is aimed at the entire family to let us know how we are doing as a district and what more we can do to support our students and parents.

If you’re looking to be more involved in your child’s education, contact your school to see how you can join its PTO. Our PTOs, and DPTO, allow us all to unify our efforts to provide the best support we can for your child.

Jennifer Boquet is the communications specialist for St. John the Baptist Parish Public Schools. Email her at