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Starting a parent support organization


Students will evaluate why they need a parent support organization and will determine how they could use such an organization to supplement and complement their media program.


  • Students will analyze the role other parent support organizations play for other high school media groups.
  • Students will complete research to learn what other parent support organizations do for their respective media groups.
  • Students will explain and defend why they want to adopt a certain model of parent support organization that they have found in their research.

Common Core State Standards

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1 Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9-10 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1d Respond thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, summarize points of agreement and disagreement, and, when warranted, qualify or justify their own views and understanding and make new connections in light of the evidence and reasoning presented.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.2 Integrate multiple sources of information presented in diverse media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) evaluating the credibility and accuracy of each source.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.4 Present information, findings, and supporting evidence clearly, concisely, and logically such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and task.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.6 Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products, taking advantage of technology’s capacity to link to other information and to display information flexibly and dynamically.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.7 Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.8 Gather relevant information from multiple authoritative print and digital sources, using advanced searches effectively; assess the usefulness of each source in answering the research question; integrate information into the text selectively to maintain the flow of ideas, avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.


Four 50-minute classes


Internet access

Examples: Sample organizational structures for parent support groups

Rubric: Parent organization presentation 

Lesson step-by-step

1. Building background — 10 minutes

Explain to students that many successful student groups have a booster group that supports them in a variety of ways.  Today we’re going to begin researching some of these groups around the country and we will decide why we want a parent support groups and how we might utilize it once it is formed.

2. Research — 40 minutes and continued for homework

Students will use the Internet to research active media programs around the country who have parent support groups. They will develop a list of questions they would like to use in an interview when they contact an adviser, student editor or parent affiliated with the program that they find.

Questions could include:

–       How long has your parent support program existed?

–       What are their primary responsibilities?

–       How often do they meet?

–       Do they have officers or specific chairmen for different activities?

–       Are they set up with a non-profit status?  Do they run their money through the school or are they independent of the school? What would this entail in your state or your school system?

Students will set up and conduct their interviews and then present the data they have learned to the class.

3. Presentations — one class block (50 minutes)

Each student will present what he or she has learned from the different schools around the country.  As the presentations are made, someone in the class should create a list of possible parent group responsibilities on the white board.

Examples of activities could include:

–       Organizing and financing a staff banquet

–       Fundraising for staff activities like trips to conferences

–       Organizing food or dinners for staff worknights

–       Organizing goody bags for students to take on field trips to conferences

–       Fundraising or presenting to the school board the need for upgraded equipment

–       Fundraising for journalism scholarships

–       Helping to plan additional sightseeing activities and chaperoning journalism trips

4. Follow-up — one class block (50 minutes)

Using the data that was presented in the last class block, create a proposal for beginning a parent support group for your media organization.  Your proposal should be a slideshow presentation that addresses the following:

a.     How you believe the organization should be structured

b.     What you think the organization should do (for each specific activity, develop an action plan of exactly what you’d like this group to do with at least five activities)

c.     Why it’s important to have a student support group for your media program

d.     Suggested timetable for getting the group going and functioning on its own

5. Combining best ideas from all presentations — one class block (50 minutes)

Looking at all the proposals during this class block, we will decide as a class what ideas we like best and will combine them into one slideshow presentation that we can show to a meeting of parents one evening (or a good time, like a parent/teacher conference night or open house – preferably near the beginning of the year.

Choose who will speak during the presentation — who will introduce the idea, who will speak for each slide, who will lead the conversation, entertain questions, respond, keep a speaker’s list, etc. Decide if you would like handouts to go along with the presentation, and plan light refreshments to have for the parents at this meeting.


–       Who will create and deliver an invitation to parents for this meeting? How? Where will the meeting be held? When? How long will it last? Consider running a mock meeting so you’re prepared for any questions parents might ask.

–       What are the suggestions you have for a name for this group? Parents of Publication Students (POPS) is frequently used.  How could you customize your name?

6. Hold your first parent support group meeting — one evening

Hold your meeting and then report back to the class the next day if everyone isn’t able to attend. Use the ideas you gather at the first meeting to debrief and possibly develop further ideas that you’d like the parent group to do for you.