Getting the Job Done: Superintendents, PTAs, and PTOs
by Patricia M Schools

It takes a lot of support to provide an engaging and safe learning environment. Your school superintendent and groups like the PTO (Parent Teacher Organization) and the PTA (Parent Teacher Association) are part of that very important effort.

SafeStop works with a variety of school administrators and parent groups to bring the convenience of our school bus tracking app to schools. If you want to discuss a school issue, bring up a community concern, or add new technologies like SafeStop to your school, it helps to understand the different roles within the school district.

How well do you know your superintendent?


On any given school day, you might speak with your child’s school bus driver, a teacher, other parents, and various school district workers. Here’s a breakdown of key responsibilities for the people who could have an impact on the big issues, like transportation options, in your school district:

The Superintendent: Your school district superintendent has overall responsibility for the effective and safe operation of your school district. Superintendents should be aware of any issues facing the district and its students. Flexibility, foresight, and communication are all attributes of an effective school district superintendent.
The career path of a school district superintendent usually includes significant teaching and administrative experience. Years of experience give a future superintendent time to develop a clear vision for education at the individual, school, and district level. Superintendents are responsible for carrying out strategic planning and maintaining strong communication among educational, parent, and community stakeholders.

When you have concerns about your district, you should expect an open door policy that enables you to schedule an appointment with your superintendent to discuss important matters.

Your School Board: Elected from the community, your School Board consists of representatives from the parent, business, and educational communities. The decisions of your School Board are carried out by the superintendent.

School Boards have responsibilities that include:


  • Conducting talent searches and establishing recruiting processes to hire the school district superintendent

  • Reviewing and approving the school district budget, large expenditures, and use of funds for special purchases

  • Conducting bargaining rounds with the teacher’s union

  • Engaging in long-term strategic planning

  • Interacting with the community through local events, awards, and recognition for outstanding efforts within the school community
  • Your local PTO or PTA: Getting involved in your local Parent Teacher Organization or Parent Teacher Association is a great way to become aware of the goings-on at your schools, and be a part of initiatives that move your school district forward.
    The terms PTO and PTA both refer to groups organized to support schools, students, and learning and community objectives. The PTA was founded in 1897 and enjoys nationwide recognition for its dedication to improving and addressing challenges facing students and school districts. PTA chapters collect dues to fund lobbying efforts for the PTA in their region and across the nation. PTOs are school support groups that are locally formed and governed, and do not have the larger lobbying power or responsibility to collect dues for a national organization.

    Transportation Director: The transportation director is responsible for the management of your district’s transportation services, bus routing, staff, assets, budget, and policies. Safe and secure delivery of students to and from school is the most important task of any school transportation director.
    For parents with the time, getting involved in your school district through a service group, or through feedback to district staff, is helpful and often rewarding. We routinely work with these same personnel to introduce and deliver our services when a school district onboards SafeStop.

    If you are interested in bringing SafeStop to your school district, we would love to hear from you.