Springtime has better weather, blooms, and the beginning of the school year-end wrap-up. The more we can do to prepare at the end of the school year, the better we set everyone up for the fall. If you are a parent-teacher organization leader thinking about transitioning, we have the top 5 areas to focus on this spring.
PTA Board Running a Successful Election
First, you need to prepare for an election. This last year has been different from many others – the pandemic has forced people to do things differently. In light of this, check your by-laws to ensure they allow for the format of your planned election. For example, problematic by-laws, including those requiring in-person meeting attendance, counting votes, storage of ballots in a specific location, and/or specific format. If you need to make changes to by-laws, or enact an emergency procedure, allow yourself plenty of time, as it can take a couple of months to make these changes. Once you have confirmed that you can host a valid election, it is time to plan your election.
Second, advertise your election with plenty of advance notice. With more happening over email and social media, announcements can get lost. To advertise the election early and often.
Finally, hold your election. Many PTOs or PTAs are hosting a Zoom meeting with email or other online platform voting. For more details on this, you can check out this blog.
Training Your Successor(s)
Setting up your incoming board for success starts with information sharing. The best way to do this is to provide three things: (1) a set of background documents applicable to the entire group; (2) a set of role-specific documents; and (3) a live overview of the first two items. In the first category, you should provide the by-laws, prior meeting minutes, and key contacts. In the second category, any role-specific software login information, role-specific goals, and feedback or learnings from the prior year. For additional details on this documentation, you can review this blog.
Once you have shared the documentation, you should walk through the documentation with your successor. Allocate an hour with 20 minutes on the background documentation, 20 minutes on your learnings and tips from the past year, 10 minutes on any software they need to know, and the last 10 minutes on Q&A.
Transitioning any Software
Parent-teacher groups use many types of software: membership management, budget management, website hosting, communications (newsletters and social media), and fundraising. Each of these is typically with a different vendor. Ensure your successor has access to any software necessary for their role. Ensure also to share any tips you have for using the particular software.
Even if your successor is familiar with the school and vendors, it is always nice to turn over any working relationships via email or meeting. In this communicate, you should introduce your successor, share when they are taking over the position, and any other relevant details. If multiple new board members need to know the third party, you can consolidate the introduction into one communication.
Draft a Year-End Summary
It is always nice to end the year with a year-end summary for your members. This is a great time to share the goals your PTA set out for the year, celebrate all the milestones you have achieved, introduce the new PTA leaders, and share any items the incoming board will continue to work on. This communication can be internal – just to the incoming board – so they quickly understand the state of current affairs. It can also be leveraged as an external communication so your community can celebrate all the PTO has done in the last year.
We hope this quick overview is helpful as you transition your school organization. Check out the Multipurpose Room podcast episode on PTA transitions for an in-depth overview.