There’s this funny tendency with schools and parent groups where the first “half” of the school year is considered to be everything before Christmas and the second “half” is everything after.

In my view, there are two big problems with this pattern: one, too many groups tend to use most of their energy and volunteers in the first part of the year and then kind of limp toward the finish line in the second part; and two, that first “half” is actually more like a third for many schools.

If you just go through the motions after the holi-days, you’re giving up on a big chunk of your year. Your group will rightfully earn a reputation as obsolete if you spend much of your year in a sort of hibernation. It’s sad that you could put in so much effort in fall and still be considered slacking overall.

That’s the result if you go into slowdown mode in spring. The last impression you leave people will be slow and plodding. And it’s the kind of result that leads to losing the best potential volunteers and decreasing enthusiasm for your group.

January is the perfect time to rethink this pattern. Get some of your leaders together now, grab some coffee, and do a review-and-renew meeting. What’s been going well? Where have you been struggling? What opportunities do you have for maintaining momentum for the remainder of the year?

One of the biggest causes of the spring slowdown is exhaustion. If two or three of you have been running everything, then—yes—there is a limit. Are you willing to give up some control and let a new parent run with something on her own? Now is the time.

With several months left in the school year, there is also still time to make sure you have a tentpole effort in the works, something fairly major (perhaps even brand-new) that can generate excitement. These kinds of signature events—as opposed to a series of just-OK items that have been on your calendar for years—attract volunteers and renew life for a PTO or PTA.

This definitely doesn’t have to be a fundraiser. How about a new or newly expanded family event? A major connection with your teachers on academics? A service project your whole school can get behind?

You’ll also want to use this review-and-renew meeting to focus on your base of volunteers. I bet you received plenty of offers to help at back-to-school night or on parent interest forms. Have you taken parents up on those offers? Have you asked twice or even three times? Have parents received personal invitations or phone calls about an opportunity to pitch in? Really, the only way to avoid the burnout and sameness that creep into a group is to continually reenergize with new bodies.

This post-holiday time is when you should redouble your efforts to bring in the next crop of key volunteers. And that doesn’t mean you have to recruit 22 more moms and dads to play a major role in your group. Even if you have success with four or five new key contributors, think about how valuable that will be in the years to come.

In the end, this stuff we do for schools, while sometimes feeling small and too often underappreciated, is really important—way too important to simply dial it down for the entire second “half” of the school year.