These are unprecedented times for schools across the country. Many have closed for a month or more (some through the end of the school year)—and when schools are closed, it’s hard to know how to keep moving forward in your parent group…especially when leaders have their own children, jobs, and other responsibilities to worry about.

Our monthly to do lists are always some of the most popular content on PTOtoday.com. To help you break things down and focus during this uncertain time, we’ve put together a special April/May 2020 list.

  • First, need some bandwidth to focus on your PTO tasks? Many schools have started rolling out at-home learning, and there’s been lots of sharing within communities of online resources and ideas. Our list of activities to keep kids busy when schools are closed is another good source.

  • Download our new End-of-School-Year Guide for PTOs and PTAs. Even in places where school’s been canceled through the end of the year, there are still things you can do from home to get ready for next year. The guide walks you through getting organized, wrapping up your group’s finances, transitioning new officers, and planning for next year.

  • If you haven’t yet, join our PTO and PTA Leaders & Volunteers Facebook group. It’s a community of more than 36,000 leaders and volunteers like you—so you’ll find connection at a time when it’s really important.

  • Also make it a point to connect with each other. Colleagues, friends, and lots of other groups are making increasing use of Zoom and other videoconferencing platforms, so set up a virtual board meeting—or even just a happy hour to vent and catch up.

  • Because adults (and kids) are spending a lot more time online these days, our friends at Trend Micro are holding a series of free #StayAtHome webinars to support the ongoing education of parents everywhere. Join one of these 30-minute weekly sessions to discuss challenges and get answers from Trend Micro experts and guests on topics like managing your family’s privacy and dealing with cyberbullying. You can also watch the recorded sessions later.

  • For Drop Everything and Read Day on April 12, round up some teachers to record themselves reading to students and post the recordings. Alternatively, you could encourage parents to record their kids reading their favorite books to their teacher.

    Another idea for PTOs that have group messaging set up is to send a surprise text message. Pick a time, and send a text saying “Now’s the time to drop everything and read!” Ask parents to share photos, too.

  • Reviewing your bylaws (and other tedious paperwork) is one of those tasks that’s easy to put off. Now could be a good time to take that on.

  • Earth Day is April 22! You can celebrate it “together” by encouraging parents and students to take along a trash bag while out walking, and to clean up the neighborhood and share photos on your group’s social channels.

  • Teacher Appreciation Week is another important part of what PTOs do, and it’s going to look different this year. But it doesn’t have to be a wash—there are lots of sweet and thoughtful teacher appreciation ideas for when schools are closed.

  • Reach out to room parents to see if they can set help up a virtual social hour for classrooms. The disruption in routine isn’t easy for kids, and many would enjoy being able to “visit” their school friends.

  • Take care of yourselves, and look out for each other. Let go of past grievances, and reach out with care and kindness when you can. In this day-by-day situation, knowing others empathize and care can really help us keep going.

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