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Bad Rap with staff

23 years 4 weeks ago #62896 by JHB
Replied by JHB on topic RE: Bad Rap with staff
I agree with Pres01. We get lots of participation and help from the teachers in ways other than attending the meetings.

We have a large (35 people) Executive Board that meets monthly and only hold General Meetings once in the Fall and once in the Spring. The Principal, Vice-Principal, and 2 Teacher Representatives serve on the Board. Additionally, we have one teacher that has taken a committee chair position (more as mom than a teacher). So we have plenty of communication to and from the teaching staff via those reps.

We have a great relationship, and teachers help us implement many of our objectives, get the kids involved, promote programs to the parents, etc. They spend way too much time at school already, so we don't rely on them to attend the meeting or to sign up as volunteers at PTO events.
23 years 4 weeks ago #62895 by PRES01
Replied by PRES01 on topic RE: Bad Rap with staff
I also use to think that low attendance at meetings meant low support levels. Over time, I have learned that there is much done that takes so much MORE time between meetings that it isn't a big deal if they can't attend THE meeting.
23 years 4 weeks ago #62894 by PRES01
Replied by PRES01 on topic RE: Bad Rap with staff
REGARDING GETTING TEACHERS INVOLVED.....OUR PTO GROUP IS ALSO REFERRED TO AS THE "PARENT" GROUP. IN AN EFFORT TO IMPROVE/PROMOTE RELATIONS BETWEEN US AND TEACHERS, WE HAVE TAKEN THE 'SMOTHER THEM WITH KINDNESS' APPROACH. DURING TEACHER APPRECIATION WEEK, WE GIVE EACH TEACHER A CHUNK OF MONEY FOR THEM TO SPEND IN THEIR INDIVIDUAL CLASSROOMS IN ANY THEY CHOOSE. THIS GIVES THEM THE MESSAGE THAT WE BOTH APPRECIATE THEIR EFFORTS, AND THAT WE TRUST THEM TO DO WHAT'S BEST FOR THEIR CLASSROOMS. IT HAS HAD AN UNBELIEVABLE POSITIVE EFFECT ON OUR TEACHER/PARENT RELATIONS. BEING IN THE PTO IS CERTAINLY POLITICAL.
23 years 4 weeks ago #62893 by PTA Pres
Replied by PTA Pres on topic RE: Bad Rap with staff
Two words-Baby Steps! It used to be that way when I first started in PTA at my school 8 years ago. We were basically punch and cookies too. Once our new board decided we wanted to do more meaningful work and conveyed that message to the teachers we found out they really wanted more meaningful support from us as well! One of the reasons teachers may not come to your meetings is because of the "punch and cookie" type stuff. See if you can get a teacher rep. Start with that teacher and your principal and see if there are some school goals you can work with the teachers jointly on. For example one of ours if Math and we are currently working on a math fair with the staff. Another thing we do is have guest speakers/program section at our meetings. Have a few of your teachers be the speakers. For instance we started a new math curriculum at our school this year and 3 teachers did a presentation at our meeting and we did math games and they demonstrated math manipulatives. We have 2 teacher reps that alternately come to our board and general meetings and then we usually have 1 or 2 more come because they want to. We also have a site based decision making team that we have had 1 or 2 parent reps on also and that helps bond the two groups together and allows us to work more closely on joint goals also. Try some of these things if you haven't done so already and remember-little steps, and you'll get there. Just don't give up. The kids need you! Good Luck!
23 years 4 weeks ago #62892 by newptopres
Replied by newptopres on topic RE: Bad Rap with staff
Teachers never attend our meetings, and I'm okay with that. We have had teachers attend some after-school events, such as the book fair. I can understand why they don't want to come. Too many parents want to use that time to ask about their child. When we have various functions, such as our Harvest Day festival (games and such in place of Halloween), the teachers are willing to help by running a game or passing out treats, like chips or little hug drinks. This wasn't always the case. Before I became an officer, the teachers never participated and I was told by previous officers that they didn't want to and to try not to bother them too much. That didn't set well with me and after becoming president I sent the teachers invitations to help out at the first event we had. I made it clear that it was voluntary and they were by no means expected to help. I got almost 100% participation! It has been that way ever since. I guess they were just never made to feel welcome. (I still don't expect them to attend meetings. Besides, most of our meetings are held at the end of the school day, before classes let out. Our school does not have busses, therefore parents must come to pick their children up.)
23 years 2 months ago #62891 by PTA Pres
Replied by PTA Pres on topic RE: Bad Rap with staff
First of all don't give up yet, you are at a great point in the PTO journey...you know where your problems are! Now is the "fun" part. Concerning the teachers in your school...have they always been anti-pto or has something happened recently to distance them from the pto? If this has been a continued problem it may be that they have never felt welcome at meetings or that meetings have turned into a social gathering where an agenda was not being followed. As for classroom parties...at our school we do not have anything to do with classroom parties, that is not the PTO's responsiblity. We are however having a holiday gathering in the evening for students and families. As for your committees you are 100% correct...they are supposed to give thier reports at general membership meetings not hash out all of the details during the meeting, that is supposed to be done ahead of time. Have them look at the last edition of the PTO Today magazine for the "Perfect One Hour Meeting". I have a feeling that your meetings might be running a bit too long and that unnerves everybody. The best way I found to handle the teachers is be straight forward...maybe send them a letter...tucked in a christmas card...let them know how much you appreciate the work they are trying to do with your kids (even if test scores are low...that can be attributed to many things..not just the teachers) and flat out tell them you need their support to make your PTO a success. Ask them to send in their comments about how you can make it easier for them to attend meetings (it could be as simple as occasionally switching meeting times around)...but keep in mind that these people are often on such hectic schedules that it is impossible for them to come. Keeping them totally informed is another step...send them a teacher's edition newsletter to keep them up on activities, ask them what things they would like to see the PTO do, send home an agenda to everyone before meetings (so if an issue is to be discussed that someone cares about they will know ahead of time). Basically, communication is the key...if you feel comfortable enough with one teacher sit down with them and ask them from a teacher's stand point what you can do...Sorry this is so lengthy but I know where you are coming from...last year we had only one teacher that occasionaly came to meetings, now every teacher is a paid member, and at least 6 of our 12 teachers attend all meetings...Hang in there...you are on the right track:)
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