Back-to-School Boot Camp

PTO Today’s Back-to-School Boot Camp is organized as a 4-week program, but YOU get to decide:
• when to start
• what tips and ideas to read about and use
• how long to take (finish in a day or keep going all year long)

Get ideas, meet other PTO folks, and HAVE FUN with the social activities for each week. Share your responses on our Boot Camp Facebook page or on your school/group Facebook page (or Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram) using the hashtag #PTObootcamp.

Weekly prizes and a $100 graduation prize for one lucky winner! Jump right in to week 1 below, or sign up to get your official Boot Camp participant status. (Don’t worry, it’s painless—and you’ll get extra goodies, reminders about Boot Camp tasks, and the chance to win the $100 grand prize at graduation!)

Week 1

Lesson One:
Why we do it

We look at some of the key ways parents groups make a difference, and some specific things you can do to have the most impact.

Start the year right, by focusing on involvement

Building parent involvement is the most effective way to ensure a great year. Here’s why, and what you can do to make it happen.

Get ready for back-to-school night

Take advantage of this opportunity to connect with parents with a well-organized table and lots of materials.

Have a great back-to-school event

Make contact with new parents and establish your group as a resource for the school community. 37 hacks to make your event super-special.

What should I say?

Back-to-school night provides a great opportunity to communicate with parents about your parent group and the importance of involvement. A primer to use for your back-to-school speech.

Don’t forget to share! Boot Camp Facebook page and #PTObootcamp

Week 2

Facebook 101 for back-to-school time

Social channels are growing as a tool to communicate with parents. Walk through the basics of using Facebook to build involvement, plus sample posts to try now.

10 event ideas tied to curricular goals

There’s nothing more powerful than a fun event that involves lots of learning. Steal some of these ideas or use them as a springboard to create your own.

Focus on service

Community service projects get kids to look beyond their world to empathize with others. Tips for organizing a community service project and a slew of great ideas.

How to build parent involvement

13 tips to help you reach out and engage more parents.

Are You a Good Leader?

Take the quiz to see where you fall on the spectrum.

Don’t forget to share! Boot Camp Facebook page and #PTObootcamp

Week 3

Get your financial house in order

Implementing financial controls is a key organizational step. These key practices are important to keeping your assets safe.

Create a budget

An important part of the planning process is to create a budget. Here are the basics for putting together a good parent group budget, even if you’ve never had one before.

Time to work on your relationship!

The kind of working relationship you have with the principal can make or break your year. Like any partnership, it takes a little effort from time to time to keep it healthy and strong.

Start off right with teachers

Make contact with teachers to let them know your group is there to support them. Communication tips and some surefire ways to get teachers on your side.

It all went wrong, and I survived!

You don’t have to be perfect. Here are some of our favorite stories from parent group leaders about how things veered off course—but now we can all laugh about it!

Don’t forget to share! Boot Camp Facebook page and #PTObootcamp

Week 4

Prepare for your first meeting

If you’re like most groups, you’ll get the biggest crowd of the year at the first meeting. Show people that your group is welcoming and organized.

What’s the big deal about Robert’s Rules?

We boil it down to the handful of practices that are must-knows to run your meetings effectively.

Don’t burn out your board

Creating an organized and energized board can help you have a great year. These tips will help you all get moving in the same direction.

Build school spirit

One way to create a sense of community at school is to focus on school spirit. Here are our favorite fun ideas for creating school spirit.

Graduation Day!

Congratulations, you made it to the last week of Boot Camp! We have some sweet surprises for you, including a free parent involvement guide (regularly $49), official badge, and fun photo frame. (Email required so we can personalize your gifts.)

Don’t forget to share! Boot Camp Facebook page and #PTObootcamp


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