Back to school isn’t just school supplies, new clothes, and cleaning out last year’s backpack. By the way, the best time to do this is on the last day of school, but I’ll admit we’ve had more than a few summers where someone’s backpack gets relegated to the darkest corners of a closet. If this sounds familiar, I suggest going in with gloves and a filtration mask, perhaps a hazmat suit if you can fashion one. The multitude of mold varieties that can bloom from one forgotten sandwich are stunning, and if you find a thermos that feels heavy – just throw it away. Trust me.
But what about back-to-school for parents who are planning on participating in PTA/PTC/PTO groups? Granted, we’re less likely to be cultivating penicillin strains in our satchels, but there are things to be done that can help assure a great start to the new school year.
- Connect. Now is a great time to touch base with members of your parent organization as well as the other parents in your school community. Whether it’s through a newsletter or your social media channels, keep the lines of communication open before school resumes. This is especially important for any new families arriving for the new school year.
- Welcome back. If you have a back-to-school function before or at the beginning of the year, now is a good time to let everyone in on the details, as well as putting out the ask for volunteers. Do you have a committee that handles new families? A school-wide potluck? PlanHero™ has the tools you need for quick and easy signups so you can avoid the dreaded “reply-alls” from several hundred parents. Potlucks are a great way to welcome everyone back, but sifting through dozens of email threads to see who is bringing the hamburger buns is an unnecessary and avoidable frustration.
- Communicate, communicate, communicate! The start of the new school year always brings a myriad of activities, teacher needs, school news, and inputs from new and returning families. A connected and informed school community is a happy one. Do you start your year off with a fundraiser? Is the book fair just around the corner? Make sure parents have as much advance notice as possible so they can plan for it, and hopefully jump in and volunteer to help make the event run more smoothly. Creating an event and organizing signups has never been easier with PlanHero™!
- Go to the principal’s office. You’re not in trouble! But connecting with your school’s administration team is always a good idea, whether it’s to coordinate calendars, update each other on new happenings, or getting a lay of the land for the new school year.
- Lead the way. Chances are, you’ve already voted in this year’s leadership. But if you haven’t, or someone moved away over the summer, now is the time to make sure your parent organization’s leadership is ready to go once the kids are back in school.
For those of you involved in your child’s school – whether it’s as a room parent, committee member, board member, or helper-at-large, we thank you for all that you do! And if you have any back-to-school tips you’ve gleaned from your experiences with parent organizations, we hope you drop us a note in the comments.