Back to School Archive

Helpful ideas and tips to get your PTO or PTA in gear for the new school year. See the Back to School resources page for even more tools and programs.

  • Getting (and Staying) Organized - How time-savvy leaders keep track of busy schedules and lengthy to do lists.
  • Classroom Parties Made Easy - Tips for planning fun yet simple classroom celebrations that won't break the bank.
  • Embrace Change While Honoring Group Traditions - "But we've always done it this way!" is a frequent response to new ideas and leadership. Here's how to deal with resistance, and increase the odds of your group's success.
  • What Does a Room Parent Do? - Are you thinking about volunteering as a room parent? Find out what to expect and get some helpful pointers from a veteran room mom.
  • Tips for a Low-Stress School Year - Make it look easy with a little planning and a flexible approach.
  • How To Have a Great First Week - What you do at the start of the school year sets the tone for your group all year long.
  • Create an Effective Parent Handbook - A good handbook can be invaluable to new parents and presents your group as a great resource.
  • How To Create a Welcome Packet - The welcome packet is often the first contact parents have with a PTO. Use these tips to create a great first impression.
  • 5 Don'ts for PTOs and PTAs - Sometimes common practices aren't best practices. We look at five surprising don'ts—including charging dues—that might be hindering your group.
  • Community Night Helps Families Find Resources - Each September, families get a chance to socialize with each other and learn about local organizations and services, too.
  • A Year of Great Ideas - Our parent involvement calendar is full of fun ideas and tips for every month of the school year. Use it to help you plan, or follow it event for event!
  • Robert’s Rules: Sticky Situations - Straight answers to common questions about voting, agendas, and best practices for your meetings.
  • Make Your First Meeting Count - Use these tips to harness the energy of a new year for your PTO and set a positive tone you can build on all year long.
  • Don’t Do It! - Sometimes it's more important to know what not to do. We outline 12 common mistakes PTOs make and offer positive alternatives.
  • Raise School Spirit and Keep It There! - Inspiring a sense of pride in the school community can get students more engaged and parents more involved.
  • Planning a PTO Community Service Project - How to choose and run a meaningful service project that reaches beyond the school doors.
  • Plan Ahead for PTO Success - Think beyond your next project with these practical tips for developing new parent group leaders, setting and reaching goals, and anticipating your school community's needs.
  • Make It an A+ Year! - PTOs can make even more of a difference for schools with good planning, good communication, and a focus on building student achievement.
  • 13 Things To Do This Year - Get out your to do list and add these items to build involvement and strengthen your group.
  • We've Got You Covered - Our goal: creating solutions to deal with all of the challenges your parent group might face.
  • Create a School Tradition - Ambitious events build excitement and involvement. They make your PTO look great, too.
  • 16 Ideas for Quick and Easy Events - With a little creativity, you can plan activities that strengthen the school community without breaking the bank or exhausting your volunteers.
  • Think Big, Get Big - Launching an ambitious project can rally support for your group and enhance your image.
  • Create an Effective Survey - Gathering feedback from parents and teachers can help build support for your programs. These tips will help you create a survey and evaluate the results.
  • Chairing a Committee: The Basics - Get organized, get the information you need, find volunteers, and start your committee on a path to success.
  • Empowering Committee Chairs - A formal orientation for committee leaders puts veterans and newcomers alike on equal footing, and gets everyone on the same page.
  • Open Doors, Lots of Them - It's important to make it as easy as possible for parents to get involved. Are you doing all you can?
  • Sign Fairy Eases First-Day Jitters - The message is clear: She makes new students feel welcome.
  • Get the Principal on Your Side - The right—and wrong—ways to build communication with school administrators.
  • Energize Your Parent Group -  Tips to build interest and enthusiasm, then keep the momentum going all year long.
  • Build Support for New Ideas - When members resist change, reduce the chance of conflict with patience and understanding.
  • Energize Your School - A strong parent group can instill pride, promote a positive attitude, and get parents involved in the school all year long. Follow these tips to help your PTO build—and maintain—school spirit.
  • 26 Ways To Build Involvement - Getting more parents to participate is as easy as A, B, C when you follow this list of best practices.
  • Create a Mission Statement - Talking clearly and intentionally about group goals can inspire your PTO and help make decisions to achieve them.
  • 38 Ideas To Start the Year Right - From getting organized to getting to know the school's families, a great year for the parent group starts with some advance planning.
  • Get Teachers on Your Side - Capture your teachers' hearts—and their help—with a focus on curriculum, classroom tools, communication, and appreciation.
  • Pool Party's a Splash - A back-to-school pool party sets the tone by emphasizing involvement and providing a relaxed setting for parents to interact.
  • 9 Stress-Busting Organization Tips - A little planning and organization now will help you breathe easy the whole year through.
  • Orienting New Members - Help newbies hit the ground running by creating a welcoming atmosphere and giving them the opportunity and information they need to be able to contribute right away.
  • Reaching Out to New Parents - It takes a special effort to attract parents new to the school; a good first impression will make them more likely to become active members of your PTO.

Looking For More Help?

There are lots of places on this site where you'll find even more help. Our Message Boards, Blog, and File Exchange are a good place to start.

Let us know if you can't find the help you need. Chances are we have at least one resource or tool that will do the trick and it's just playing hard-to-find at the moment.