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Building Membership in Parent Gruops


Q. How can we get more people involved in our school parents' group?


Here are the ABC's from the experts - the Parent-Teacher Organization:


A is for Ask. How else are parents supposed to know what's needed?


B is to avoid Black Holes. Offer tasks with clear time constraints.


C is for Communication. Use flyers, email, a newsletter and a website.


D is for Diversity. Variety is the spice of life in volunteering, too.


E is for Examine. Keep what works, but change can be invigorating.


F is for Fun. Don't forget to have lots of it! It fights leader burnout best.


G is for Gradual. Step by step, deliberately train and build future leaders.


H is for Hour, the length to which you should limit meetings.


I is for Invitation. Communicate your needs one on one. Think relationships!


J is for Just. "Just" parents? No! Expect respect! You deserve it.


K is for Kudos. Awards, compliments, thank-you notes build trust.


L is for Leadership. Think long-term, exciting, shared vision and goals.


M is for Marketing. Do people know what your group does? Tell them!


N is for New Parents. Reach out to them especially. Woo them!


O is for Organization. Bylaws, tax-exempt status, typed agendas: be pro's!


P is for Priorities. Focus on academic issues first, fund-raising second.


Q is for Questionnaire. Distribute one to match parents' skills with volunteer jobs.


R is for Research. Share it. The more parents know, the better kids do.


S is for School Family Nights, which are special events for the whole family.


T is for Training. Volunteers need knowledge, background and resources.


U is for Unite. Strengthen the school with mutual understanding.


V is for Visibility. Use open houses, posters, signs and notes home.


W is for Welcome. Greeters, nametags and introductions help.


X is for X-Factor. Balance work and fun, issues and socializing.


Y is for Year. Reduce pressure with realistic advance planning.


Z is for Zero In . . . on building parent involvement!



Homework: The PTO has a great blog for parents on


By Susan Darst Williams Parental Involvement 31 2008


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