Parent Involvement Archive

Want to find ways to get more parents active and engaged at your school? The articles below have tons of ideas and tips about connecting with dads, reaching out to families, and more. Find more information on the Parent Involvement resources page. (For articles about volunteer recruitment and building your PTO’s volunteer base, go to the Volunteers archive.)

  • 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.
  • Is Your PTO Fun Enough?

    PTOs and PTAs that aren't fun and welcoming will struggle more in their involvement efforts; working to change that might be the most important thing a parent leader can do.
  • Video Blog: The Power of PTOs & PTAs

    We hope that everyone's New Year is off to a happy and productive start. In today's video blog Tim offers some motivational thoughts about the power of PTOs. Sometimes when January rolls around, parent group leaders hit a mid-year slump. Hmmm. Did we get some heads nodding? Whether this applies to you or not, re-energize yourself and your group by taking the time to watch this video - it will reinforce why you do what you do!
  • My Tip of the Week: Re-Evaluate how you Communicate

    I have an assignment for you this week -- check out the last four or five PTO emails or notices home and see what kind of message you're sending about your group's DNA.
  • My Tip of the Week: Re-Evaluate Your Recruiting Process

    Right about now I bet you're thinking (a lot!) about finding your successor for next year. Even if you plan on sticking around, you're almost certainly hoping for more leadership help next year. If you did so many great things this year with five or six leader-types, just imagine what you can do with seven or eight.
  • Help Other Leaders & Win a $25 Gift Card

    The power of PTO Today rests in sharing resources and leaders helping leaders. You see the cooperative spirit around our community in our message boards, Q & A, and file exchange. In recent months we've added new groups to provide a place for leaders to "meet" to get and give ideas about specific events. If you haven't been there yet be sure to visit.
  • Video Blog: Incentives for Boosting Involvement – Do They Work?

    Is it a good idea to use incentives to get more parents to come to meetings or volunteer their time? We get this question a lot! Listen to Tim's take on this question.
  • Honor Roll: Leslee Tejada Finds a Role for Every Parent

    Leslee Tejada, a board member of the PTO at the International Spanish Language Academy in Minnetonka, Minn., inspired us with her efforts to find a role for every parent who wants to get involved.
  • Supporting Adoptive Families

    An adoptive parent starts a group to connect with other similar families at her school.
  • Reach Out to Single Parents

    Single moms and dads want to get involved. A small shift in focus by your parent group can help them get past the additional challenges they face.
  • Q&A: Parents as Partners

    As director of the National Network of Partnership Schools at Johns Hopkins University, Joyce Epstein helps schools partner with all these groups to help students succeed. One of her top priorities is promoting productive family involvement.
  • Are You Planting Roots?

    Success has a life cycle; make yours last by nurturing new leaders.
  • 13 Things To Do This Year

    Get out your to do list and add these items to build involvement and strengthen your group.
  • My Tip of the Week: Cliques and Your PTO or PTA

    "Clique" is the most difficult word in the PTO dictionary. It's thrown around like a weapon by school parents, and it truly hurts (and often angers) when a parent group leader hears it about her own group. There's a real divide between parents who think the PTO isn't open to outsiders and leaders who are dying for more help.
  • Mass PTA, State School Board and Controversy

    op/ed in yesterday’s Boston Herald on still-controversial PTA-dedicated seat on state board of education. As far as I know, Massachusetts (my home state) is the only state in country with such an arrangement for PTA, which is curious considering that Massachusetts schools are very nearly the least PTA-centric schools in the country (far, far more PTOs  than PTAs in the Bay State).
  • Middle School Parent Involvement is Different

    Yes, we’ve all known that, right?  But the Wall Street Journal has highlighted some new research which defines those differences.  Very interesting stuff. I summarized my thoughts on it (and linked over to the article) on our sister site, SchoolFamily.com.
  • Why do People Volunteer?

    Sometimes it's easy to lose sight of why we volunteer for our school's  PTA or PTO. We've all been there at one time or another: maybe it's a committee chair who doesn't follow through on what they said they'd do... or the fact the only non-board member who shows up regularly for meetings is a nay-sayer who consistently tries your patience. Whatever form the distraction takes, don't let it steal your focus away from the reasons you volunteer in the first place. Your kids.
  • My Tip of the Week: Opening Doors to Involvement

    I've said for a long time that the key to growing involvement is to start by getting parents into your building. You don't grow involvement by asking for help. You grow involvement by serving. Many attendees at your family events yield more volunteers down the road. Not to mention the fact that -- even if those attendees never volunteer -- your school is already a better place for everyone when parents are interacting with teachers and one another.
  • Tip of the Week: Don't Fall into the Volunteer Comfort Zone

    Kind of a controversial tip for you this week, and it starts with a question: Has your leadership started slipping into a "this is what works for us and we're the only ones involved, anyway" mindset?
  • Del Valle ISD in Texas PTA and PTO Controversy

    I’ve been following this story in the Del Valle district in Texas with interest, largely because it is so unusual. The super there is taking a fairly strong stand against the formation of an independent parent group of any kind. Most of the articles on the topic have been referring to PTAs, but I understand that the policy is meant to apply to any independent (from the district) parent group. There was an editorial in the Del Valle paper last week about the PTA and PTO controversy