PTA COUNCIL HISTORY

HOWARD COUNTY

A fact often overlooked is that the Howard District was set off from Anne Arundel in 1838 to become Howard County in 1871. Our histories prior to that date are therefore the same.

One of our earliest schools, Ellicott City Elementary, was built in 1888. Lisbon school opened in October 1890 and later became the first two-year high school in 1899.
The first account of anything resembling our present Parent-Teacher Associations was found in some old records assembled at the request of Mr. J. Milton Rossing, Principal of Ellicott City High School in 1926. Reference is made to a constitution drawn up prior to 1912, for an association called “The Patrons and Friends Club of The School,” and in time this appears to have become “Patrons and Teachers Association of Ellicott City High.

By 1927 most of the schools had formed local PTAs and it became apparent that a county association was needed to coordinate the efforts and goals of the individual groups. On March 10, 1927, a joint meeting of PTAs was held for the purpose of organizing a Howard County PTA. The President of Elkridge PTA, who had long championed this cause, chaired the meeting. She has since often been referred to as the “Mother” of this Council in recognition of her untiring efforts on its behalf.

The officers elected to head this first Howard County Parent Teacher’s association were: President-Mrs. Robert Peddicord; Vice President-Mr. Edward Clark; Treasurer-Mr. Albert Nichols; Secretary-Mr. Joseph Fisher. A resolutions committee was appointed and it is interesting to note that the chairman was our present Superintendent of Schools, Mr. John E. Yingling. Other members were Mr. Melvin Scott, Mrs. J Raymond Curtis, and Mr. Steward E. Oberlin. The report of this committee was adopted later that same evening thereby establishing the time and place of the next meeting to be held for the purpose of adopting the bylaws and constitution. This meeting was held on April 8, 1927 at Ellicott City High School and the Howard County Parent Teachers Association became official.

Interest in the Maryland and National Congresses is evidenced from this point on and on December 5, 1935, Mrs. H. Ross Coppage, MCPT President; spoke to the group on PTAs organization, aims, and efforts. She also spoke about the “three R’s” as she called them. Radios, Reels, and Rumble seats and the responsibility of the parent in counteracting them. On April 22, 1936, a new constitution was adopted, using for the first time the name Howard County Council of PTAs. This seems to have caused some confusion as to whether the required number of locals were in affiliation with the National Congress, but this was complied with by January of 1937.
While many of the old schools such as Dayton, Elioak, Daisy, Pfeiffers’ Corner, Bethany, Alberton, Hanover and others have disappeared, many still carry on the good work started so long ago. The Howard County Council now has 17 locals in membership out of 18 existing schools. The 18th school will open in the fall and is in the process of organizing its PTA. Total local membership is 4315.
Council maintains liaisons with the Board of Education, provides training for new PTA leaders, directs the Teacher training Scholarship program and attacks problems beyond the scope of the individual PTA. Over the years it has undertaken studies, through various committees in areas of vital concern such as libraries, rapid learner; physical fitness; safety; teacher retention, PTA funding assistance to schools; curriculum; health; the dropout; and kindergartens, to name a few, and has seen great advancement in most of these areas. Through the efforts of the 1964-65 Health Chairman a Health Advisory committee appointed by the School Board, was established. A Curriculum Committee has also been appointed by the School Board and lay people with PTA experience are serving on it. An expanded vocational-technical program will be initiated this year answering a need long voiced by this Association. Though the kindergarten program in having an uphill fight, county educators are convinced of it potential and through the combined efforts of the Board of Education, two council Pre-school Chairman and many volunteers. PTA and other, a Headstart Project has been organized and is functioning well.
The Howard County Council (aka PTACHC)and the Board of Education of Howard County have developed a mutual respect and understanding over the years thereby creating an atmosphere in which it has become possible to have the Board of Education meetings open to the public; school budget information made available and public hearings held an annual conference on Education, sponsored by the Board, for the public, with the Council invited to participate in the planning of the program.
It hasn’t been all clear sailing, but the resolutions committee “build better than they knew” on March 10, 1927 when they said:
“Resolved-that an organization be and is hereby formed to be known as “The Howard County Parent Teachers Association(in 1972 the name was changed to PTA Council of Howard County) whose purpose shall be to bring about a closer cooperation between the County Board of Education and the parents and teachers of Howard County Schools and to assist the Howard County Board of Education in improving the public school system of the county and to advance educational interests throughout the county.”
In embracing the Objects of the National Congress of Parents and Teachers a Council assumes responsibilities that transcend boundaries, for there can be no boundaries to the concern for the problems of children and youth. Though county problems have “first call” Howard County Council (aka PTACHC) feels justifiably proud that it has been able to provide service and leadership in the past, not only to Howard County, but also to the Maryland Congress of Parents and Teachers.
Edna Puncke
Howard County Council PTA President
1966-67, 1972
The Council was duly authorized as a branch of the Maryland Congress of Parents and Teachers (now known as MD PTA) and empowered by National PTA as of March 10, 1927. During 1972, the Council became known as PTA Council of Howard County. The Council was officially incorporated as of May 19, 1976.