Programs Handbook (password protected)
In PTA, the term “program” means (1) the total planned activity of the association and (2) the presentation or special events scheduled for each meeting.
Program planning should be an adventure in community involvement. A good PTA program will (1) recognize a situation or situations that affect the lives of
children and youth in the community, the school, or the home; (2) present reliable information pertinent to that situation; (3) provide for the participation of
PTA members as well as of specialists; (4) stimulate community-wide interest; and (5) stimulate action.
A good program committee will assume the responsibility of interpreting the Purposes and the philosophy of the PTA organization to PTA members and to the
community. It will tackle the difficult task of seeing that members are informed about programs in education and social welfare. By finding ways to combine
community resources, it will help to make the PTA a practical force for providing wider opportunities for children and youth.
Maximum participation followed by appropriate action is the goal of every good program.
To demonstrate the Purposes of the National PTA as a vital force in every school community.
To develop programs that will:
Awaken awareness and concern of all adults for improved community influences for children and youth.
Stimulate a home and school partnership, providing opportunities for pleasant relationships between parents and teachers.
Interpret the needs of children in the areas of public education and social welfare.
Give PTA chairmen opportunity to relate and display activities and accomplishments in their areas of concern.
Give members ample opportunity to know their PTA organization, its objectives, its potential for community improvement, and to understand the relationship
of local PTAs to State and National Congresses.
Give opportunities for all members (including students) to participate in sharing ideas, talents and goals in the interests of a more wholesome community.
Your PTA programs and projects should focus on the issues considered critical by your PTA members. Determining what activities to plan for involves
determining the most important concerns of the people living in your community related to the education and well-being of children and youth. Concerns may be
identified by either questionnaire/survey sent to your membership or you may select a state or national PTA issue that particularly pertains to your school or community.
The concerns will need to be identified along with the conditions that create them. The concerns should be able to have identified goals.
After you have learned what your members would like to be done, select the top ranked concerns for further study. Other agencies working on the same issues may be
contacted as resources. Most programs are free, but for some it may be necessary to pay a fee or honorarium. School personnel (nurse, psychologist, reading specialist,
and administrator), the police and fire departments, elected and appointed officials, and community groups offer free programs that may include films, slide presentations,
videos, power point presentations, etc. Interesting programs can be arranged or presented by committee chairmen such as health, safety, legislation, early childhood,
The chairman should ask administrators, staff, and the PTA board for input on the type of programs they would like presented.
In the Spring
APPOINT PROGRAM COMMITTEE. As soon after elections of officers as possible, appoint a Program Committee. The committee should be representative of the entire
membership. Include the principal or his representative, a teacher, a father, a mother, and a student if your local unit is a PTSA. The chairman should work closely with other
committee chairmen to coordinate activities: with Public Relations to get the members there to hear or see the program; with Hospitality to make everyone feel good about
being there; with Budget and Finance to discuss financial arrangements; with Membership to identify areas of interest.
ACQUIRE PROGRAM INFORMATION AND MATERIALS. Ask for materials from the previous chairman. Hopefully, this will include a procedure book that should contain a record of
past programs, details of the arrangements and evaluations of each program. Publications from Tennessee PTA and National PTA would also be helpful.
In the Summer
SELECT GOALS AND OBJECTIVES. The Program Committee should meet to select goals and objectives based on timely local needs. Discussion within the committee should reveal some
needs. You may send out a questionnaire to the membership. Select goals that will appeal to all members. Provide students with opportunities to make suggestions when planning for
PREPARE A PROPOSED PLAN and submit it to the Executive Committee for approval. Fortify yourself by attending all leadership training workshops. Vary the methods of presenting
the programs for each meeting. One outstanding speaker per year should be sufficient. Then choose five different program methods for the other months.
Try a group discussion, a panel, a symposium, a debate, and interview, or a video. The PTA program should provide a learning experience and motivate the members to take action.
Consider the topics for meetings. Many are related to education: standardized testing and minimal competency standards, high school graduation requirement, comprehensive health education, and legislation. School finances should be a concern in every school district. PTA priority projects make interesting program topics and can be developed and presented in a number of ways.
PREPARE FINAL PROGRAM OUTLINE. If the Executive Committee approves your plan thus far, you are ready to prepare the final program outline. Work out the details of each program.
Invite program participants. Discuss any financial arrangements. Obtain a resumé in advance. Give directions to the school (or meeting location). Give the presenter the order of the program and the time allotted. Be flexible in program plans to meet changing conditions and needs. Also remember, continuous adjustments may be necessary to meet changing conditions.
Many concerns do not lend themselves to a one-shot approach. Feedback from members may indicate the need to gather more information and hold follow-up meetings.
If possible, have a calendar printed and ready to be distributed at the first meeting. Members will have something in hand to remind them of dates and programs for each meeting for the entire year. Hopefully, you will have motivated them to return to the next meeting.
Throughout the School Year
EVALUATE THE SUBJECT MATTER and the form of presentation. After evaluation by the Program Committee and president, simple records of all the programs, with results, should be compiled and included in a procedure book to be passed on to the next program committee. (An Evaluation Checklist is included in this handbook.)
Your most difficult work is behind you now, but do not let down your guard. Prior to each meeting, check to see that everything is moving along smoothly. Remind program participants of their responsibilities at least a week in advance. Confirm the date, time and place.
Check arrangements for chairs, music, audiovisual equipment, child care, etc. Be in touch with the other chairmen who may have a responsibility.
Work closely with the Public Relations Chairman and room representatives. If possible, your newsletter should be received by your membership approximately five to seven days prior to your meeting date. Write an article and encourage attendance. Give interesting facts pertaining to the subject matter.
Other suggestions for publicity are:
place a notice in your newspaper.
place a notice in your community newsletter.
prepare colorful, attractive bulletin boards and posters for display in advantageous locations.
use personal contacts and telephone calls.
cooperate with the school or public library in preparing a display of reference material on the topic.
use the school and other community signs to announce the date and topic.
A Good Program
is chosen after careful study of the situations and conditions that affect the growth and development of the child in the home, school and community.
presents a topic that interprets the ideals and activities of the PTA.
inspires, informs, and instructs.
tells where, how and what is being done and where help can be secured.
creates thinking, forms public opinion, and promotes actions to improve conditions in home, school and community.
offers help through information contained in the publications of the National and State Congresses of Parents and Teachers.
promotes a thorough understanding of PTA Purposes and policies.
encourages PTA involvement for all members.
Program Planning Pointers
Your PTA will be more successful when teachers, principals, superintendents and school board members along with your students, parents and community are involved.
Check your bylaws for how many meetings or programs your local unit must have.
PTA activities may be held at any location as long as the location meets the needs and situation and is in harmony with PTA ideals.
An honorarium (fee) may be paid to a guest speaker, as long as both the executive board/ executive committee approve the cost, and there is money in the treasury to do so.
Begin and end programs on time.
Accept constructive criticism and adjust programs accordingly.
PTA is non-sectarian and non-partisan it recognizes the rights of every person to practice his/her own spiritual faith. Inspirational features are an important element in the program.
You may want to purchase an insurance policy for a special event or program. Check your local policy and your school board policy for use of schools for parents meetings, etc. A special rider to the original policy usually is sufficient.
Pass on all information to the program chairman for the next year.
Make each meeting important and worthwhile so that members will want to come back to the next meeting.
Obtain printed materials pertaining to the program topic to display or distribute at the meeting. Display and/or call attention to PTA publications related to the program topic.
Plan evening meetings to provide opportunity for attendance by both parents and teachers. Vary meeting times and publicize them well so parents on different time schedules will be able to attend at least one or two PTA meetings.