Why am I writing about this in March? Because several of your best opportunities to connect with these parents happen in spring and summer. Is there a new parent orientation? Is there a letter or packet that gets sent by the school in spring? How can your PTO or PTA get involved in these?

One of my favorite ideas is a late-summer "new families" picnic or ice-cream social at a local park or the school backyard. For these families, the new-school process starts well before the first day of school. If you connect with them and help them when they need the most help and have the most worries and questions, you have the chance to make big fans out of them. But you have to start thinking about that now.

Check out this article on welcoming new families for some places to start. I'd also love to hear about your best ideas for welcoming new families on our message boards. There are so many good ones.