Increases like 500% make ears perk up, especially when they represent an increase in PTA membership at the local elementary school. During the 2012-2013 school year, membership in the Indian Creek Elementary School’s PTA rose by a staggering 500%. Adam Nykamp, the PTA President and a teacher at Indian Creek Elementary was a key driver behind the increase.
In a school where 70-80% of the students are English language learners, Nykamp noted that there is a need to work with parents on how to be a part of the school. One aspect of being part of the school is joining the PTA. He and his fellow PTA officers, who are all also teachers, encouraged parents to join by talking with the students, sending notes home to parents, and being very visible at the end of the school day so they could speak with parents as they picked up their children. Eventually, Nykamp and his team increased membership by 500% with 80% being parents. The remaining 20% was comprised of teachers and local Clarkston community members.
Nykamp said that it can be seen as burdening parents to join PTA or asking them for additional funds for classroom projects. However, through his 13 years at Indian Creek, Nykamp has seen that parents want to be part of their children’s education and PTA is a very accessible way for them to participate.
Indian Creek Elementary School is home for Nykamp and his wife, who teaches fifth grade at the school. Indian Creek was the last interview he took when looking for his first teaching job out of college 13 years ago. “Every school was the same,” Nykamp said. “Indian Creek was the only school that was different.”
Nykamp and his wife are avid travelers and speak with pride about the diversity found in Clarkston and Indian Creek Elementary. “I couldn’t imagine working at an all-American school,” he said. “Clarkston is my community. Indian Creek is my school.”
With the 2013-2014 school year arriving, the Indian Creek Elementary PTA’s membership drive has already started. Nykamp will continue as president this year. To join the PTA contact the school at (678) 676-5702.