One of the best things about January is that it can be a fresh start. It turns out January is Get Organized Month, so it’s an opportunity for PTO and PTA leaders to set aside time during the next few weeks to review plans for winter and spring meetings and events. We’ve put together a list of tips from PTO Today resources as well as community members that we think will help you as you get your PTO ducks in a row.

1. Block out a chunk of time to review the calendar for the second half of the school year and double check that all key events are listed on your group’s website and the school’s calendar. Make sure you’re covered on the smaller events, like Pi Day on March 14. (Oh, and don’t forget to make sure these items are on your personal calendar!) Our 2014-15 Planning Calendar will help. 

2. Clean out old emails and documents that you don’t need and are cluttering up your computer. Group together files related to upcoming events and meetings. 

3. Check supplies and order what you need for the remainder of the year. 

4. Meet with committee chairs to discuss upcoming events. See how they are doing and find out if you can assist them in any way. This article on committee management is worth a look to help you guide volunteers who may have questions or concerns.

5. Do a check-in on teacher appreciation plans. It’s really never too soon to get started on this! Will your group do a big event or series of events during Teacher Appreciation Week? We have many teacher appreciation resources that will help you with your planning. 

6. Set a meeting with the principal to go over highlights of winter and spring plans. Ask for suggestions and discuss any concerns. Time permitting, ask the principal for feedback on the school year to date and see if there are any outstanding issues to be addressed. Check out our articles on working with the principal, which are particularly helpful if your relationship is rocky or these kinds of check-ins cause you stress. 

7. Sketch out a basic plan for upcoming general meetings. Are you planning any guest speakers or student presentations in upcoming months? Now’s a good time to confirm these. Also, get inspiration from our article about keeping meetings fun

8. Start a low-key search for leadership candidates. It really isn’t too soon. If there are a few parents who have been participating and seem to have leadership qualities, think about how to connect with them in a casual way to gauge their interest in getting more involved. 

9. Do a social media reboot. Spend a little time looking for new folks to follow on Facebook and Twitter. Do a scan of what’s been posted in the last few months and analyze if it’s working by looking at the comments and shares you get on posts. Consider trying something new or setting a new goal, like posting photos of school happenings at least once a week. Our article about Facebook will come in handy. 

10. If your board was unable to do a get-together over the holidays, try to set up a casual off-site meeting (breakfast or lunch) before the end of the month so your team can reconnect and get inspired for the second half of the school year.