Question: Merging Schools

I have been "elected" as the President of a PTO that is merging 2 schools. It is something that is changing the whole district and the school PTOs from this year agreed that 2 officers would come from each school. So, we are looking for a VP and Secretary to join our leadership team for next year. The officers from my school picked myself and the treasurer because none of them want to be officers this year and parent participation in the meetings is low. Problem - the PTO at the other school has had a messy falling out and they aren't getting along. 2 people showed up for our meeting tonight, one wanting to be each of the open positions. I know others could not come because of kids' obligations, etc. but I want to make sure that the school coming in has a consensus about their contributions to the leadership team. We have an open house coming up that is just for the school we are merging with and PTO will be represented. How do I "advertise" about the other positions or do I just appoint the 2 that showed up at our meeting? It's not really my decision but none of their current officers are coming over to our school With the configuration their kids will go somewhere else. Thanks for any advice you can give!

Asked by Barboza



Advice from PTO Today

Craig writes:
What about appointing a "steering committee" to plan the merger over the summer, then holding elections in the fall? That way everyone will feel like there's a level playing field, and you can all focus on the "new" school rather than what happened at the previous school(s). One of the most important things to do in a merged school is to focus on school spirit at the beginning of the year. You want kids and parents alike to feel like "we're all in this together" rather than some people feeling like outsiders because they came from another school. Give away school T-shirts on the first day. Hold a pep rally. Create activities that get kids interacting. Get parents interacting, too--approach the year as if you are all kindergarten parents. Have people wear name tags that list their children's grade levels and teachers. Hold low-key social events, and make an effort to get people to mingle. The more successful you are at creating unity early on, the better all of your activities -- from building involvement to raising funds -- will be throughout the year.

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