Your PTA or PTO supports learning for the students in a variety of ways, but you need parents and teachers to step up to make things happen. Some schools seem to naturally draw in lots of parents to join the PTA, while others struggle. If you want more parents to step up, check out these ideas.
Most parents know the PTA exists, but do they really know what you do or what opportunities they have? Start early in the year with an education campaign to show parents what your group is all about. Set up a booth at back to school night. Make posters that highlight how the PTA has helped the school in past years. Talk about how the kids benefit from parents being actively involved in schools. Don’t forget to continue communicating with parents throughout the school year so they know when meetings and volunteer opportunities happen.
Make It Low Pressure
Parents are busy. They feel that once they sign up for the PTA they’ll have to devote every free minute to the cause. Assure parents that there are many different ways to participate in PTA. They can come to meetings. They can volunteer for special events — but only the ones they want to attend. Make it low pressure so you’re more likely to have people join up.
No one wants to attend boring meetings or be involved in an overly serious organization. Loosen up a little and have fun with the PTA. When the current members start enjoying themselves more, they might pass it on to the other parents. Don’t forget to have fun little celebrations or recognition for your PTA volunteers. People are more likely to participate if they get recognition.
Give Newbies a Voice
Some PTA groups tend to get stuck in a rut. They do the same things every year and use the same methods to get the job done. It may be working, but don’t forget to give newer members a say. If a new member offers a suggestion that is brushed aside or ignored, she is less likely to offer up more ideas in the future. She might give up on PTA completely if she doesn’t feel her voice is heard. That doesn’t mean you have to listen to every suggestion given, but don’t discount them just because you’re used to doing things another way.