Back to School and Back to PTA means Engaging Families and Growing Membership!

by Linda Johnson and Kirthana Krishnathasan

A new school year means new opportunities to grow your PTA. This past year was tough for so many PTAs, families and communities. As you prepare for back to school, you may be wondering how you can grow your PTA membership this year. Would you be surprised to learn that even during the pandemic, there were PTAs across the country that were able to grow their membership last year?!

We talked to some of these PTAs and here’s what they shared about what helped them engage families in their communities and grow their membership.

  • Start as early as you can, but it’s never too late to make the effort!
  • Make joining as easy as possible. Contact your state PTA to find out if there is an online membership platform available. If you use a paper form, make sure they are available everywhere. Make sure all PTA board members and the school(s) have a supply on hand. Provide a link to your join PTA page or form in every communication.
  • Ask everyone who was a member last year to support the PTA/PTSA again this year. Send out email renewal notices to everyone who was a member last year.
  • Use a QR code that links to your online membership join platform and put it everywhere! Have it on signs at all your PTA and school events, put it on your social media, on any flyers that are sent home, on signs around the school or even on business cards for your board. Check out this video on How to Create a QR code in less than a minute.
  • Ask your principal to share the value your PTA brings to your school and encourage families and teachers to support PTA.
  • Use all communication channels—in person, direct emails, newsletters, flyers, banners, school marquis, social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tik Tok.
  • Ask for people to join PTA all year at every virtual, in person or drive thru event. Check out these sample Join PTA/PTSA emails.
  • Ask everyone to join your PTA. Membership is open to anyone who supports the PTA mission: families, teachers, staff, students (if allowed), community members, public officials, etc.
  • Add a Join PTA button to all your online event(s) or volunteer sign ups.
  • PTA in a virtual way to attract more families who can’t always attend in person.
  • Focus on issues important to the families in your community. DIY Kit for Membership Growth helps you determine the needs of your community and how to align your PTA priorities.
  • Provide special benefits/perks to your PTA members: family membership, free popcorn at movie night, discount to a local business, etc.
  • Toot your PTA horn! Make sure your whole community (not just members) knows all the ways your PTA is supporting students and families. Brand everything you do so your community knows it is the PTA doing the work or providing the financial support. It takes just a few minutes to Customize PTA logos or you can use graphics from the Membership Campaign to share the value of your PTA.
  • Translate materials in the languages that are spoken by families in your community to be inclusive.

Check out the new 125 Ways to Grow Membership, 10 Myths/Truths and many other membership recruitment tools available to help you grow your PTA.

Have questions or need support, reach out to us at membership@pta.org.

Go Back-to-School with National PTA

Dear fellow PTA members,
As your 55th National PTA President, it is an honor to welcome you to another exciting school year. As we begin an energizing new school year, I ask that you stay laser-focused on our PTA mission. We must ensure that all children have equity and quality in learning, and that they have access to a first-class public school education.
National PTA’s resources, guides and tips can help you achieve our mission.
Help us celebrate the 2017 Back-to-School Season! Join the conversation on Facebook and Instagram by using #PTAB2S or #PTAProud.

Happy new school year!

JimAccomandoSignature.jpg
James L. Accomando
National PTA President

Addressing Recent Questions about National PTA Positions

Hello again National PTA Blog readers! It’s always a pleasure to take some time and write about the association and its happenings…

There’ve been some very interesting conversations on National PTA’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/parentteacherassociation) about recent events and I’m writing this post to address some of those topics.

The first topic includes President Obama’s back to school speech a couple of weeks ago. National PTA proudly commended the President for addressing America’s youth as they launched a new school year.

As we mentioned in our statement (onevoice.pta.org) the day of the speech, the association believes it is positive any time a U.S. President, regardless of political affiliation, speaks directly to students about the responsibility they have for their education and to their families, their country, and themselves.

As an association that includes more than 60,000 students among its membership ranks, PTA maintains that it is relevant and encouraging for America’s students to hear examples of how other children, like them—and even the President himself, overcame the odds to pursue higher education. We also support the President’s remarks regarding the strong role that parents and families can play in the success of their children’s education.

The message of the speech was simple: work hard and stay in school. This speech was not meant to indoctrinate our schoolchildren to any agenda.

Let’s remember that Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush all addressed the same general theme during addresses to schoolchildren during their administration. I think all Presidents should take the time to address our students, every year.

There have also been some assertions that the President’s speech was a violation of parents’ civil rights. I completely disagree. The President’s speech should be looked upon as an opportunity—an opportunity for parents to have a candid conversation with their children about setting goals, staying in school, and completing their education. That’s what I did with my kids following the speech, and I expect most parents did the same.

Now, the second topic I’d like to discuss is the question of vaccine safety… it’s a complicated one. There are so many different opinions about vaccine safety and I champion the rights of Americans to express their opinion.

National PTA has a great campaign to vaccinate children, called Let’s Fight Flu Together. It is set up to make it easy, convenient and accessible for PTA’s to host vaccination clinics.

But, let me be clear: National PTA is not an association of clinical research scientists. We rely on the facts available and the expertise of other national advocacy groups, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Physicians, and the American Medical Association, to guide our policies.

It is my understanding that no causal link between vaccine additives and autism has been established up to this point. The increased incidence in autism to which some may refer is actually an increase in diagnoses of autism and not necessarily an increase in prevalence of autism, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics among other groups. Some increase in autism diagnosis should be expected, as the medical profession furthers its understanding of the collection of disorders that we refer to as autism. The predominant view of the science and medical community is that the number of disorders in this group has grown over time, as has the awareness in the medical community, which could lead to a dramatic increase in diagnoses. As the parent of a special needs child, I see this first hand.

While vaccine additives like thimerosal that are used as preservatives in vaccines are still used in some vaccines, including some flu vaccines, it is my understanding that both the number of vaccines in which they are used and the amount that is used in individual vaccines have decreased sharply.

Again, National PTA does not have expertise in immunization formulation, vaccine safety, or the disorders. However, those who do have expertise should continue to test and monitor the results of immunizations in order to ensure that we are keeping our nation’s children safe. These procedures are ongoing, and National PTA believes they should continue.

The association continues to take great care in aligning its initiatives to our mission and will continue to do so…

Until next time everyone!
Chuck Saylors- president, National PTA

School Year's Eve

Where did the summer go? It’s hard to believe that school has started in several areas of the country. In fact, the Saylors Family started on August 19th.

This is also the time of year when PTA leaders are looking for ways to welcome back their students, teachers and families in an exciting way. That is one of the reasons that National PTA has partnered with Cookie Magazine to launch the School Year’s Eve program. By going to the website www.schoolyearseve.com PTA leaders and families can find expert information and helpful tips for building an exciting back-to-school event.

I am a firm believer that starting off the school year with the students and staff excited helps build a better learning opportunity; School Year’s Eve is a great way to build that event.

Remember, for information and your free School Year’s Eve kit go to www.schoolyearseve.com or www.pta.org

Good luck, have a great back-to-school and a great School Year’s Eve!

Until next time!