T-shirts, jackets, pants, baseball caps, and other wearable school spirit items are a staple at many school stores, with good reason: Spiritwear gives people a sense of belonging to their school community. Enhance that sense even more by considering the many ways you can put your spiritwear to work for your PTO and school.

Create excitement around an event. Special tees for a major event like a school carnival or theme auction can generate buzz and let people know who to approach with questions—plus they’re a great keepsake.

Promote your parent group. It’s like having a personal billboard! Officers and members who wear your PTO’s T-shirt can help introduce new families to the group.

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Show school pride around town. Wearing spiritwear when you’re out and about in public shows pride in your tribe.

Raise money for a specific purpose (or in general). Sell spiritwear items at a profit to fundraise for your group; you can even create special designs for a specific cause, such as new technology for classrooms.

Commemorate graduating students. Wish the members of your oldest classes well with a spiritwear gift before they move on to their next building; schedule a special day just for them when they can wear their tees and sweatshirts to school.

Welcome incoming students. Provide a T-shirt to children starting at your school for the first time; it’s a great way to help them (and their parents) feel like they belong.

Build unity. When existing schools are combined, help the newly formed community feel like a family with matching gear.

Be trendy. Take advantage of the opportunity to enjoy current fashion trends with designs or embellishments that capture the moment.

Make mornings easier for parents. Weekly spiritwear days build school spirit and also cut down on clothing battles at least one day out of the week. Encourage friendly competition with a pizza party for classes with the highest participation.

Create photo opportunities. Ask families to submit “spirit selfies” when they wear their spiritwear off-campus, then publish the photos in your newsletter or on Facebook. Or set up a DIY photo booth at an event and have attendees take group photos in their matching gear.

Beat the weather. Offer items appropriate to your local climate—tanks and athletic shorts for warmer zones, jackets and sweatpants for colder areas.

Celebrate something new—a new school building, a parent group name change, a new mascot, or a renovated building, for example.

Commemorate a schoolwide milestone. The 25th, 50th, or 100th year that a school has been open or a parent group has been in existence is worthy of celebration.

Promote an academic milestone. Get kids and parents excited by achievements like reaching the 100th day of school or reading for a million minutes schoolwide.

Show off student creativity. Run a T-shirt design contest or mascot design contest as part of an arts enrichment program and allow the school to vote on the winner or winners.

Build team pride. Shirts with team or class names are ideal for kids-versus-teachers events and classroom competitions like basketball tournaments and field days.

Say thanks. Spiritwear is a wonderful way to recognize outstanding volunteers and teachers, either with a basic school or parent group design or with a heartfelt quotation.

Keep track of kids. Having students wear matching school T-shirts on field trips helps chaperones more easily manage their charges.

Make group efforts more visible. Raise the profile of a planned playground installation project or a large-group community service activity with matching gear.

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