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This question has been answered, and points have been awarded.
Pta Membership Theme/slogan Needed
Posted by Anonymous on
8/4/2008 at 12:57 AM ET
I'm on the PTA board as membership chairperson. My goal is to increase membership and involve more people at a faily new elementary school. Most people I talk to think that PTA is only for stay at home moms with lots of time to volunteer. PTA is also a child advocacy group. The national slogan is Every Child, One Voice. PTA is about staying involved with what is going on with the school, but that might be different ways for different people. Joining PTA is the first step, commitment, showing that you care about your kids. Then contributing as you can, coming to meetings, volunteering for PTA sponsored events. I need a theme for our membership drive in less than 2 weeks. In addition to the theme, I need a catchy slogan. We are trying to attract more people, including dads and Spanish speaking households. Someone suggested an open door theme. Someone suggested connect (join)- contribute (volunteer,go to meetings) - convince (the advovacy part). All of the PTA themes that I see on the national website seem to cliche. I also need to come up with an incentive program in the classrooms, with the classroom having the most people sign up winning an ice cream or pizza party with the principle. Since it's a "drive" , I thought about a race car driver, each person who registers moves the car closer to the finish line. Lastly, I need a visual marker showing membership progress for everyone to see. Anyone who joins would have their name(s) put somewhere. I was thinking that the names should build something or form a picture? Our school mascot is the Coyote, but they've already used "join the pack" slogan. We've also used puzzle pieces for a "where do you fit?" theme/slogan. With the recent California budget cuts, we need more parental involvement than ever. I thought about a theme coming full circle - like the parents are helping their children which improves the school, improving the school makes a better community, a better community is beneficial for all parents,children. All random thoughts here, but I don't have an continuity. I need help fast - less than 2 weeks! Thanks for any suggestions.
8/4/2008 at 9:58 AM
Blank PTA - Not Your Mother's PTA
Blank PTA - All That's Missing Is You (could use the puzzle again)
Blank PTA - Supporting Our Students In All Things
In all honesty, I do not think a slogan or a prize is going to change much.
I think people need to be personally invited to join. This can take a lot of work, but people like to feel needed. Each member needs to be given some people to call and talk to.
Instead of asking people to come to big meetings where they do not feel useful, think about dividing everything into projects. It is easier to ask people to be a part of something that has a specific goal and timeline than an open ended group without a clear goal. Once people are involved with on a particular task it is much more likely they will be inolved with the larger group.
Hope this helps,
8/4/2008 at 10:05 AM
How about "Their Future Is Our Business"?
The visual marker could be a factory, a timeline, etc.
I wouldn't suggest a food-related reward system (see
Focus on the deeper goals of what the PTA has done and wants to do (short- and long-term). Why should parents donate money & time to a public school? Where will the money go? Where did it go? Did it really matter (how do they know)?
8/4/2008 at 1:53 PM
Mike and Jay. Thanks for your suggestions. I like the personal touch. I agree, I think that is always the best approach. There are 750 students at our school. I plan to be at all the events in Sept at least to talk to people about joining PTA, but in addition, the school wants something to go home in the folders. Are you suggesting to call people to join? I'm not good at that - I'd prefer talking face to face. I also thought about a buddy system to pair up a new person with an existing member to answer questions, etc. I also agree that the smaller group discussions are more effective, but there is usually one big meeting per month to go over the budget and vote on expenditures. You couldn't do that if you have many smaller groups. The reason they wanted a classroom contest is to try to get the kids to persuade their parents to join. They want me to speak at the first assembly to "kick off" the membership. I also thought about something having to do with Legos, since we are in San Diego and everyone loved Legoland here. Something with 'building'. I like the Their future is our business, just not sure about the visual representation of that and what it would include and how to translation into a classroom contest with elementary aged kids. Thanks for all your suggestions. I getting closer, just haven't hit the nail on the head.
8/4/2008 at 2:57 PM
One other idea I had. Something to do with heros, being a hero. Every kid feels proud when their parent is involved in something with them. There parent would be a 'hero' of sorts? Maybe that could be the angle with the kids as well as the parents? Superheros are popular at the elementary level.
8/4/2008 at 4:41 PM
I really like your enthusiasm. Your PTA is lucky to have you on board. As a former principal and current parent, I have some suggestions, which may be of use:
1) Regarding face-to-face meetings with parents, don't wait until a PTA event. When the new term begins, if the school is happy for you to do this, go and mingle with the parents at the school gates. I have found that face-to-face chats and direct requests for help, are most effective, e.g "I'm looking for someone to serve coffee for half an hour at the Beetle Drive in 2 weeks time. Can you help?" If they respond "No", ask if they know of any parent who is willing and able.
In the UK, parents have meetings with teachers once or twice a year to discuss academic progress. Again, a friendly presence at these events can help and lots of adverts. Ensure the PTA has a prominent noticeboard in the school and local community.
2) Make sure you appreciate every parent's gesture of help, however minor.
3) Organise meetings on different times and days so a greater spread of parents can access them. The occasional weekend meeting can be helpful for hardworking parents who want a say. Different places can help too. For example if there is a Spanish speaking community centre, then consider holding every other meeting there. Some even meet occasionally in pubs (I know that's probably a no-no in the USA) but again, I've found it gets parents involved who might not normally do so.
4) Regarding a slogan, I would suggest making this a major item on your first newsletter and meeting. Ask the parents, staff and children to come up with suggestions. Post them on a wall in school and a blog for those parents who can't find time to get down to the school. The children could even be involved in voting for their favourite. Ownership of the PTA by everyone is important.
5) Superheroes - great theme! Food rewards...hmm...depends on school staff. You need the staff with you here. Remember they are a key part of the PTA too. Again, I'd ask the children for incentive ideas.
6) Your school is large and has lots of parents. Consider smaller groups and committees. Some parents worry that if they join, the commitment is too much. In some schools, parents volunteer for specific activities, e.g. the soccer dads annual contribution is organising the soccer tournament. They don't contribute in other ways.
I have rambled a bit. I do apologise. Good luck and enjoy the challenges and satisfaction that comes with them.
Creative STAR Learning Company
8/6/2008 at 12:51 AM
Juliet-thanks for your invaluable input as a parent and former principle-very helpful.
Kzimmer-I really like your ideas. Thank you so much for taking the time to respond. I just a visual representation of one of these ideas to tie in with the classroom competition and for eveyone to see our progress as people join. I have been trying to get across to the pta board how important it is to have a website to connect to people who may not be able to attend the meetings. This is one of the problems. I think the website could help in building relationships. Thanks again!
8/12/2008 at 3:39 PM
The president of PTA and I met and we would like to use a theme that has to do with keeping an open mind about pta and what it can do for you/your child instead of what we want you to do for PTA. Something like...Open your mind to what PTA can do for you and then have the classroom contest be something to do with keys. Each member signed up - their child will receive a key that can be used to open a treasure chest to receive a small prize. We want something focused around having an open door, welcoming group to include a better cross section of our student body - stay at home moms, working parents, dads, grandparents, Latino families, etc. Any suggestions involving open...key...unlock would be great. THANK YOU. I need to write up my membership letter by Aug 15.
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