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Give yourself an easier start next fall by checking off these to dos before the current school year ends.

by Rose Hamilton


As busy as spring is and with dozens of tasks to do before the last day of school, it’s hard to think ahead to what you’ll be doing months from now. But if you take some time now to think through a few back-to-school tasks, you can help get your group up and running in no time in fall.


1. Figure out whether there’s money in the budget that you can carry over to kick off the next school year.

Think about what you’ll need. Would you like to host a morning coffee to greet new parents? Will you be running your own back-to-school event or setting up a PTO table at the school’s back-to-school night? How about doing welcome packets for parents?

You don’t need all the details now, but you do need to ballpark how much money you’ll need. If funds are scarce, consider doing a quick and super simple fundraiser, like a restaurant dine-in or takeout night, before school ends.

Lots of balls in the air? Show those year-end PTO tasks who’s boss before summer


2. Get your first fundraiser on the calendar.

Make sure you’re squared away with your fundraising rep if you’re using a service provider. If possible, don’t hold your first fundraiser in the first few weeks of school—a fundraiser right out of the gate can turn off parents. Instead, start your year with a social event rather than one designed to raise money.


3. Think about how you can be a resource to parents as school starts up.

How about putting together a list of parent resources in the area, including information on parenting groups, recreational facilities, and library hours? Work on this now before organizations switch to summer hours, when it might be harder to track down information.

If your school isn’t using TeacherLists for school supply lists yet, ask the principal to consider it. Taking supply lists digital makes it easier for teachers to update and more convenient for parents to shop, with plenty of contactless retail options.

Back to School Supply Shopping Cartoon


4. Sign up to get freebies for parents.

Our free Back2School program is a great way for your group to present itself as friendly and professional. As a Back2School program participant, you’ll get a variety of product samples and coupons to share with families. Parents love getting the freebies, and it’s a great way for your group to make a good first impression.


5. Send out a parent survey.

Ask parents for honest feedback about the programs your group ran and how they liked working with you. All feedback is good—even negative!—because it helps you make positive changes for next year.


6. Spring-clean your storage.

Whether you have a storage room at school or use your vice president’s dining room, now’s the time to toss out expired food products and dried paint, clean out binders (even in a digital world, the hard copies still pile up), sort event decorations, and organize files. Purge and make space, and you’ll revel in that feeling of accomplishment.


7. Gather year-end committee reports.

End-of-year committee reports provide guidance about what worked and what didn’t, whether the same person chairs an event again or someone new steps into the role.


8. Make your group summer-ready.

Verify summer building hours so you know when you can access your storage space, files, photocopiers or meeting rooms. Find out summer vacation and travel plans from fellow officers so you can plan a summer get-together. And set up a greeting board in the school lobby to welcome new families and invite them to join the PTO (don’t forget your contact information).

Originally posted in 2016 and updated regularly.

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