In the 9 years I have been a parent at our grade school, the parent attendance at the PTO meetings has been steadily dropping. This year I am the president and I would like to find a way to encourage and improve attendance. Any ideas? Thanks!
This is a magic question that we all wished we had an answer to, just today I was talking with my principal about this and we average 22 people at our meetings, but when you look at the whole picture it still isn't enough. There are alot of ideas on this forum so do a little research, I think bottom line is to make people feel important and they need to have fun!!!
Personal contact is what I have found to be the best way to not just improve meeting attendance, but also overall involvement. If you are outgoing and truly interested in other people and their ideas, they will gravitate towards you and our group.
wow 22 people I would love that many LOL-- we have been lucky to have 10 people
Tonight was our first meeting and we had 14(3 officers and the principal) and 10 others--we were like WOW!! LOL
Anyways at a school my kids went to a few years ago the PTO had worked out a thing with the music teacher and every month a differnt grade would practice songs that they had learned at the PTO meeting--kind of like a mini program(3 or 4 songs) and usually a funny skit or dance--so one month 1st grade went the next 2nd grade. Parents would come to see their kids but only about have the grade would show up. Some is better then none.
We have tried offering refreshments, babysitting,our first meeting is always the biggest--hoping this year will be differnt. I wish I had a magic answer to this question!!
Communication, Communication, Communication! along with a feeling of worth.
We were one of those - only one or two plus the officers who would go to meetings. We implemented a PTO Newsletter, website and made sure our new officers were out and about talking with people at school.
We also made it known that decisions were made at the meetings, by those who attended. Once people began to realize they did have a say in what the PTO was doing, they felt that "giving up time" to come to a meeting had relavancy.
Writermom has it right! If we show them that they are important, then they will want to be involved.
We need to make sure that everyone feels that they have a valid voice and opinion when they come to a meeting. How many of our PTO's were cliques, or were perceived that way at one time or another?
As I become more involved with ours, I keep telling people - Don't let me become ... - you know the person that's doing or involved in everything. Make sure we're letting newcomers feel welcome to step up and be involved.
Honestly speaking, people are busy and families are over-scheduled these days...another meeting is the last thing people want to have to fit into their schedules. And who can blame them?
Try to look at things in a positive light...first of all, the more in attendance, you can pretty much guarantee a longer meeting! LOL I think the length of the meetings is what scares people off. Secondly, try to see it as an assurance that your families trust that what you decide for the organization and the school is okay by them. Some might see it as apathy, but perhaps it's that they know that the group in place to make decisions is capable.
Want feedback from parents? Provide a quarterly (or more often) newsletter to the families, let them know what's going on. Survey them, offer a "suggestion box" at school...that way, people can offer ideas on their time, and not yours...