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How to Clarify Your PTA’s Goals in 5 Simple Steps

How to Clarify Your PTA’s Goals in 5 Simple Steps

It happens almost every year—a new school year kicks off, an eager new PTA leadership team steps in, and you’ve got roughly nine months to make a positive impact on your school community. So, how will your newly formed PTA decide its goals for the year and craft the plans to make them happen? Here are five simple steps to help you get your feet off the ground and moving in the right direction. 

Step 1: Survey like crazy

Surveys play a huge role in guiding your year. With all the free survey tools out there (likeTypeform and Survey Monkey), it’s easier than ever to gather input from a wide variety of people. Ask parents and school staff for feedback regarding last year’s events, the PTA’s investments, and their most pressing needs and wants for the year. Keep the survey short and easy to complete (i.e. multiple choice, scale of 1-5) to maximize the number of responses. Also, always leave space for optional comments, and don’t forget to thank them for participating. This will help increase stakeholder buy-in for the eventual choices you make!

Step 2: Become best friends with your budget

Now that you know what people want and need, you’re ready to start planning those purchases. This is where the budget becomes all important. How much do you anticipate collecting through fundraisers, sponsors, and donations? How do you intend to allocate those funds? Which programs are the highest priority this year? Keep your income and expenses current and readily available. Also, tweak your budget and plans as needed to reflect the funds you actually have and not just the funds you hope to have. Additionally, make a “wish list” of extra projects in case you receive an unanticipated gift.

 

Step 3: Put on your “hassle-free” glasses

Steer clear of events or fundraisers that depend too heavily on staff participation for success. Teachers are busy. Invite them to take part, but be respectful of their commitment to their job. If staff members willingly jump in, find a way to relieve their other responsibilities or express your gratitude for going above and beyond.

Step 4: Play to your team’s strengths

Know who you’re working with and where their strengths lie. What are your parent volunteers excited about? Are they “party planners” who love to decorate for dances? Are they networkers who are great at gathering food donations or sponsors? Or are they “savvy shoppers” who can find school resources for a bargain? Playing to your team’s strengths will increase volunteer participation AND benefit the school.

Step 5: Invest in school culture, too

It’s important to strike a balance between fun events and educational projects. It’s ok to buy the technology for kids and organize the assembly about bullying. But don’t neglect to buy the playground equipment, plan a food truck dinner and dance, or throw a winter snow party in Florida. If you make it fun for the kids, the parents (and staff) will come too. ALL of these investments add significant value and help to build a vibrant and healthy school community.

If you put these five steps into action, your PTA leadership team will hit the ground running with a purpose and a plan. So what are you waiting for? Get planning and make this school year the best year yet!

 


 
Cathy Ellis PTACathy Ellis lives in Stuart, Florida with her husband Charlie and their three kids: Alec (21), Anna (16), and Amelia (14). Cathy served Felix A. Williams Elementary School (the school her children attended) for 13 years in various capacities. Currently, she works part time as a “soap maker’s apprentice” and is heading into her third year as the Band Booster President at Jensen Beach High School, where her son played trumpet and her girls are in the Color Guard.

 For the past 15 years, Boosterthon has strengthened schools by increasing funds and inspiring students through a remarkable fitness and character-based experience. This year, over a million students and 1,900 schools will participate in a Boosterthon program. With us, schools raise more, stress less, and provide a positive experience for every student.

Related Posts:

7 Things I Wish I Knew as the New PTA President 

6 Things to Consider Before Joining Your PTA/PTO

3 Ways to Skyrocket Parent Involvement (According to Boosterthon PTA Leaders)

7 Things I Wish I Knew as The New PTA President

7 Things I Wish I Knew as The New PTA President

Let’s face it: Taking over as PTA President can be overwhelming and a little nerve-wracking. Hundreds of parents are looking to you to make sound decisions on behalf of their children’s education. Not least of these is this question: How are we going to raise money for our school?

Not to worry. After years of working with thousands of parent organizations, we’ve learned a thing or two about PTA Presidents and what makes them successful. That’s why we asked Cathy Ellis, a former PTA President for two years and PTA-involved parent for 13 years, about seven things she wished she knew as the incoming PTA President.

Here’s what Cathy had to say about knocking your first year as president out of the park:

1. You CANNOT do it all yourself—even you, “Super-Mom”

You would think I was ready when I stepped into the position, but there are many things I wish I knew when I first started. Here’s the first one: Your role as a leader is to guide, encourage, and facilitate—NOT TO DO IT ALL! I am, by nature, way out there on the type A scale. (My honorary Booster nickname is “Charts and Graphy Cathy.”) I like to control EVERYTHING, but I found out the hard way that trying to do too much results in burnout and much less buy-in from others. Regardless of what you may have heard, gathering assistance is actually a sign of strength, not weakness. Learn about the talents of those around you and build a PTA team with a little of everything. Putting others’ talents to use helps the PTA team, builds support from a very wide group, and makes those individuals shine.

2. Relationships are your best friend

Getting to know the school staff and PTA parents is time well spent. Here’s why: It makes all of the “work” worthwhile! Some of the most creative PTA project ideas began as casual chats about how the day was going. Then, those ideas evolved into ways the PTA could help to enhance the lives of the students at school. So, dig into the needs and desires of school leaders (i.e. a problem the principal is facing or things that would simplify the teachers’ daily routines). Bottom line: Ask leaders, “What’s one thing I can do to make your life easier?”

3. Uphold unity at all cost

Personality differences can occasionally “stir the pot” among PTA volunteers. It isn’t always one big happy family. When differences arise, resist the temptation to take sides and instead work with resolve to re-align everyone toward the common goal. This is harder than it sounds. It takes careful thought, choice words, and often one-on-one chats. But if you act and speak from your heart, the rewards are immense.

New PTA President 2

4. Let YOUR personality shine through!

You don’t have to fill your predecessor’s shoes. You may feel like all eyes are on you sometimes, but no one expects you to be a clone of the previous PTA President—so stop trying! Remember, there are many ways to accomplish a task. As long as you move towards the shared goal, you can relax, enjoy the ride, relish the friendships, and let YOUR personality shine on the way! 

5. Think students first

This should be the foundation for EVERYTHING YOU DO as PTA President and everything the PTA does. You and the PTA are there to serve, and true service is not always the easiest, quickest, or least expensive. It can be inconvenient and uncomfortable, but if your heart is in it, and it ultimately benefits the students, it’s likely the right thing to do. Most importantly, your actions as PTA President should have a positive impact on the lives of the students, staff, and the entire school community.

[Tweet “Gathering assistance is actually a sign of strength, not weakness.”]

6. Ideally, wear a variety of “hats” before starting

Before I became PTA President I had no idea how helpful my previous PTA experience would be. Serving in a variety of roles is the perfect training ground. Becoming familiar with the ins and outs of committees and responsibilities will equip you to fulfill your role as PTA President. It also will give you and others confidence in your leadership ability. I began my PTA experience by serving on a committee or two, then switched to different positions as the years went on. When I was finally elected to serve as PTA President, I felt much more confident going in. If you didn’t get the chance to serve in another role, you can always call up someone who did and pick their brain.

7. Volunteer Coordinating 101: Be specific, NEVER turn down a volunteer, and NEVER forget to say thank you

Do you need volunteers? Be specific in describing what you want them to do. Instead of requesting “Three people to work on a project,” request “Three people who can cut, trace, and color to create a six-foot-by-eight-foot map of the USA by Friday.” People who volunteer really want to help! LET THEM! Do you have more volunteers than you really need? (I know—you wish!) Find something for them to do. If they think they are not needed, they may not volunteer the next time. And whether they serve one hour per year or one hour per day, every volunteer is valuable—so let them know it! A warm word of thanks or a brief thank you note means more than you know.

My PTA experience has taught me so much and I am eternally grateful for the opportunities that it has afforded me. If this is your first year as PTA President, these seven principles are sure to set you up for success.

 


 


Cathy Ellis PTACathy Ellis lives in Stuart, Florida with her husband Charlie and their three kids: Alec (21), Anna (16), and Amelia (14). Cathy served Felix A. Williams Elementary School (the school her children attended) for 13 years in various capacities. Currently, she works part-time as a “soap maker’s apprentice” and is heading into her third year as the Band Booster President at Jensen Beach High School, where her son played trumpet and her girls are in the Color Guard.

 For the past 15 years, Boosterthon has strengthened schools by increasing funds and inspiring students through a remarkable fitness and character-based experience. This year, over a million students and 1,900 schools will participate in a Boosterthon program. With us, schools raise more, stress less, and provide a positive experience for every student.

Related Posts:

6 Things to Consider Before Joining Your PTA/PTO

3 Ways to Skyrocket Parent Involvement (According to Boosterthon PTA Leaders)

5 Tips for a Successful Boosterthon

Boosterthon’s 2016-2017 Giveback Program: A Million Students Strong

Boosterthon’s 2016-2017 Giveback Program: A Million Students Strong

What if you had to choose between food and gas for your car?

Between food and medical care?

Between food and the roof over your head?

Which would you choose?

Every day, millions of Americans are making these difficult choices. The sad reality is, in the United States, 1 in 7 people struggles with hunger. That’s more than 46 million Americans (including 12 million children). In fact, hunger or food insecurity exists in virtually every community in the United States.

But these are OUR communities. Something needs to be done. That’s why we’re excited to announce our new giveback initiative benefitting Feeding America (the nation’s largest hunger relief organization), A Million Students Strong. This year, over one million students at America’s top schools will run in a Boosterthon event. Our brand new giveback program will let those students lock arms to help those in need right in their own backyard.

So how does it work? Every time a class reaches $30 per lap, we’ll give three meals to a local person in need. A Million Students Strong is a fun way to provide meals to the hungry while teaching your students the value of giving. And thanks to their help, people will no longer have to choose between food and basic necessities.

Our goal is to donate 160,000 meals.

How many meals will your students give? 

 

 

Related Posts

The Great Shoe Takeoff! Boosterthon’s Giveback Program 2015-2016

Boosterthon’s 2014-2015 Giveback Program – KidFit Salute

Operation Playground

Introducing the new 2016-2017 Boosterthon character theme…BACKYARD BOX OFFICE!

Introducing the new 2016-2017 Boosterthon character theme…BACKYARD BOX OFFICE!

 

Everyone grab your tickets and popcorn! Our new character theme is called BACKYARD BOX OFFICE, a movie theme all about making a difference by getting into character. This amazing new theme will take students on a step-by-step journey of how to make a difference in their world. Our production crew traveled the country to bring your students movies about five REAL kids dedicated to making people’s lives better.

From inventors, to world-class speakers, to business owners, to world-record holders, these five kid difference-makers will inspire your students to practice the five “Character Acts” so they can also make an impact in their community.

 

boosterthon find a need

 

Your students will learn how to FIND A NEED with Aidan, two-time TEDx speaker and founder of the nonprofit Aidan Cares.

 

boosterthon write a plan

 

Next, they’ll learn how to WRITE A PLAN with Connor, wizard programmer and inventor of an app that increases school spirit and attendance.

 

boosterthon rally a team

 

They’ll also learn how to RALLY A TEAM with Alex, founder of Brickshare, a movement that enables kids to share Legos with other less fortunate kids.

 

boosterthon launch it now

 

After that, they’ll learn how to LAUNCH IT NOW with Trisha, developer of an anti-cyberbullying app and a Global Finalist in the 2014 Google Science Fair.

 

boosterthon grit it out

 

Finally, your students will learn how to GRIT IT OUT with Winter, Guinness world record-holder for being the youngest person to run a marathon on every continent.

Our Creative Team spent months finding and filming inspiring stories from these kid difference-makers all over the country. The result is the most in-depth and practical character program we’ve ever created. We’re giving your students an up-close look at how to make a difference right in their own backyard, told by kids just like them.

Backyard Box Office is hands-down our best character theme ever. Last year, students LOVED learning from real-life kids. That’s why we’re bringing them the stories of five elite kids already doing BIG things in the world. Don’t be surprised if giveback lemonade stands and handmade movie theaters pop up in your families’ yards after your students experience the magic of Backyard Box Office!

Also, just a friendly reminder—our 2016-2017 schedule is filling up quickly! Reach out to your local Boosterthon leader or contact us to experience our all-new program.

So how exactly are your students going to learn about character through Backyard Box Office? Through a fun story about a group of kid filmmakers trying to show a zany but skeptical Hollywood director that kids really can make a difference. 

For more on Backyard Box Office, check out this short but epic trailer.

 

Why We’re Cheering “Bon Voyage” to 22,000+ Pairs of Shoes

During the 2015-2016 school year, we’ve invited our schools to join us in the best giveback initiative yet, The Great Shoe Takeoff!

The-Great-Shoe-TakeoffWith the first half of the school year coming to a close, we’re excited to share how schools across the nation are changing the world by providing shoes for people in need.

When a class reaches $30 per lap, Boosterthon buys a one-way plane ticket to send a gently worn pair of shoes here in America to a person in need in another country. So, we’ve teamed up with a few delivery partners who are ready to ship shoes to Guatemala, Haiti, Ecuador and Burkina Faso!

We have a big goal to send 60,000 pairs of shoes to make more people (and feet) a little happier! How have our schools done so far?Screen Shot 2015-12-02 at 3.58.12 PM

Thanks to our amazing schools, 22,480 pair of shoes will be sent to people in need. And that’s just for this semester!

Students, teachers and the surrounding communities came together to make the Great Shoe Takeoff their mission. We’re so blown away by the great work they’ve done that we had to share some of the highest number of pairs sent from our schools.

St. Benedict Preparatory School in Chicago, IL, sent 146 pairs! And right behind them were Sope Creek Elementary in Marietta, GA, who sent 125 pairs, and Bradfield Elementary in Dallas, TX, who sent 123 pairs. What a great accomplishment!

We still have a ways to go to reach our goal! So, let’s get out there and change the world. We can do it!


See how schools changed the world last year with KidFit Salute!

KidFit-LOGO

What Schools REALLY Think About The Boosterthon…

Big World Recess has been a huge success and there’s still more fun to come in this fall semester. After each program, we ask teachers and clients a series of questions that rate the quality of our program and team.

We’re thankful for the responses we’ve received so far and our Customer Value Score is 4.5 out of 5. We’ve worked hard to make Big World Recess the best Boosterthon experience yet, and here’s what a few of our schools had to say:

– “It was successful because the Boosterthon team was friendly, enthusiastic and organized. I appreciated the daily updates via email from the team. I always felt like I knew what was going on and what to expect.” Laurel Hill Elementary, Lorton, VA.Image-5726572-248536983-2-WebLarge_0_336a8d98a37e40ddbbc7d97237443f6a_1

– “This was our second year with Boosterthon and it again exceeded our expectations.” – Franklin Academy, Pembroke Pines, FL.

– “Their positive attitude was infectious! I also LOVED the email templates to send to parents. It made it so easy to communicate!” – Lamkin Elementary, Cypress, TX.

– “I was very impressed with the entire fundraiser. It was quick, easy for teachers, and very beneficial in raising money. The students loved it!” – Suntree Elementary, Melbourne, FL.

– “My class raised enough money to send 3 pairs of shoes over seas! I love this addition to the program. I thought this year was the best yet!” – Veteran’s Park Elementary, Lexington, KY.Image-5726572-248549495-2-WebLarge_0_72a7b1aed70a7703f18d147d8c751358_1

-“The organization of teacher materials was easier and more user-friendly this year.” – Newington Elementary, Summerville, SC.

– “We loved the packet with all the supplies! Wonderfully organized!” -Settler’s Way Elementary, Sugar Land, TX.

 

We’re proud of our scores, but we still have room to improve. We’re looking forward to hearing more reviews, making improvements, and bringing your school a great Boosterthon program year after year!


See what we’ve done to take initiative in always providing the best Boosterthon experience for our schools:

3 New Boosterthon Improvements Teachers Will Love

Fundraising Biggest Pledging Innovation is Live!

The Great Shoe Takeoff

Boosterthon Magazine

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