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First let me stress that we have a very harmonious relationship within our PTO and among the PTO, teachers, and school staff. So anything that gets to a vote is generally unanimous. (I say this because we don’t really have to worry if one or two of the people in the room technically are not voting members of the Board.)

Per our Constitution, our Executive Board consists of:
* Officers (Pres, VP, Treas, Secr, Past Pres),
* School Officials (Principal, Vice-Principal, 2 Teacher Reps)
* Chairpersons of Standing Committees (7), and
* “The Executive Board may appoint additional positions as needed”.

Many/most of our committees are co-chaired. We added several ad hoc committees and a “grade-parent” coordinator for each grade (six positions) at the beginning of the year.

We just leave all the co-chairs on the Board all year, even if their task is complete or not yet active yet.

This system works for us, but you need to be very careful not to become or be thought of as some exclusive clique. We really try to publicize our activities and invite anyone interested to attend the meetings. Also, I’ve specifically addressed in our newsletter why we don’t have big general meetings and that if we have requests to try this again, we’ll be glad to do so.

  • Roseland21
  • Roseland21's Avatar

We have a meeting about every other month. Wehave had good response on "Meeting the Superintendent" brought out alot of parents. We have also gave door prizes at some of the meetings.We've also provided childcare at meetings to get more parents there.

  • swhitford
  • swhitford's Avatar

JHB - How do you determine who is on your board? We only have our 4 officers, plus the principal and 2 other parents who are very active. Your idea sounds like a good one and is something I think we might look into if our meetings continue to only get about 7 parents at them.

I don't in any way want to discourage you from having general meetings - if you can make them work, I think it's great. However, we finally gave up on all but the two annual administrative meetings (Spring - elect officers, Fall - approve budget). Our parents come to the kids' activities and will volunteer to help on events, but they just don't want to attend another monthly meeting. Eacg month, our PTO would go to all the trouble of setting up the room, arranging a program, etc. only to have the Board members and maybe a handful of key volunteers show up (600 students in our elementary school).

Instead we have a very large Executive Board (about 35) and just have Board meetings each month that are announced and that anyone is welcome to attend and observe. Additionally, we publish a monthly newsletter to keep parents informed. We do sometimes sponsor programs such as a workshop on teaching parents how to foster the love of reading in their children. But those are stand-alone events.

As I said, keep trying to make your meetings work. But if they don't, you might want to consider a backup plan.

  • Pres88
  • Pres88's Avatar

We try to keep it to the topics that need to be discussed and try to keep it to 1 hour, 1.5 hours at most. A couple years ago we were going 2 hours with problems etc and it just sent people away, now that we can get it done in about 1 hour we have a few more parents. We have 260 students(200 families)in the school and this year we had 32 parents to the first meeting and 25 to the second, this is compaired to 6-10 2 years ago.

  • swhitford
  • swhitford's Avatar

Our PTA was trying to come up with ways to get more parents/teachers at our meetings. One teacher suggested having different topics discussed at each meeting (ex: how to help your child with homework, etc). I was wondering if anyone else has tried this and what topics were discussed. Also, did it help? At our first PTA meeting we had about 30 parents and 12 teachers (there are 600 students). At our second meeting we had 7 parents and 1 teacher.

Thanks for your input.

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