PTA Founders Day, February 17, is a reminder of the substantial role that PTA has played locally, regionally, and nationally in supporting parent involvement and working on behalf of all children and families. It’s a time to renew our commitment to be a powerful voice for all children, a relevant resource for families and communities, and a strong advocate for public education.
Three pioneering women created a national voice for all children: PTA.
We are their legacy.
Alice McLellan Birney ———— Phoebe Apperson Hearst ———– Selena Sloan Butler
——1858–1907 ———————— 1842–1919 ca. ———————- 1872–1964
The organization was founded in 1897 in Washington D.C. as the National Congress of Mothers by Alice McLellan Birney and Phoebe Apperson Hearst. If not for these women and their vision and determination, there would not be a PTA—an organization that has been woven into the very fabric of American life. Their concern and dedication to the nation’s children was and still is truly inspirational.
National PTA was created to meet a profound challenge: to better the lives of children. Today, PTA is the largest volunteer child advocacy organization in the nation and it continues to flourish because PTA has never lost sight of its goal—to change the lives of children across our great nation for the better. For more than a century, Parent Teacher Association (PTA) has provided support, information and resources to families focused on the education, safety, health and well-being of children. PTA’s founders, Alice McLellan Birney and Phoebe Apperson Hearst, and the founder of Georgia’s Congress of Colored Parents and Teachers, Selena Sloan Butler, were women of imagination and courage. They understood the power of individual action, worked beyond the accepted barriers of their day and took action to literally change the world. They had a simple idea—to improve the lives and futures of all of our children. As much as other conditions in America may have changed, that idea has not. PTA members, units and councils keep it alive.
National Founders Day has been observed by the National PTA since 1910 and continues strongly today. Founders Day is a reminder of the substantial role that PTA has played locally, regionally and nationally in supporting parent involvement and working on behalf of all children and families. It is a time to reflect and take pride in our many accomplishments and to renew our commitment to be a powerful voice for all children, a relevant resource for parents and a strong advocate for public education.
Many PTA Units and Councils hold yearly celebrations in observance of this day. These celebrations are held in honor of all the outstanding accomplishments and milestones that PTA has reached. Local Units and Councils may celebrate in any manner in which they choose.
Some of the ways you might celebrate include:
●Holding an annual dinner for PTA officers and school staff. This could be a formal sit down dinner or it might be a buffet or even a picnic.
●You may wish to recognize a special principal, teacher or staff member who has made positive differences in the lives of children. You can honor them with a Missouri PTA Distinguished Service Award.
●Donations of books to the library in honor of someone who exemplifies what PTA stands for.
●Donations to the State or National PTA, showing continued support of the efforts of PTA.
●Message on a billboard or sign recognizing PTA Founders Day.
●At your February meeting have a birthday cake and invite all your past presidents to join you, recognize them with a flower or similar item.
However you choose to celebrate Founders Day, just remember what we are celebrating–our founders and all the hard work that they did and our current and past PTA officers who continue to work tirelessly on behalf of children.