May 6, 2018
To Whom It May Concern,
This is to serve as a report of what I learned when I attended the CAPTA 2018 Convention. Having started October 2017 as the Riverview STEM Academy Vice President with no prior experience on a PTA board and coming into a board with half of the four positions that had been filled, I found the Convention to be extremely valuable. I have a much better understanding of how best practices work and can see where some best practices might not always apply to a smaller unit but how they can be just slightly modified to custom fit our particular unit as well as how best practices could be implemented better going forward in our unit. I am most looking forward to using the info I learned to make sure we start having procedure books for each of the positions and events since there have not been any procedure books created in the past to get handed over and would like to help ensure future PTA boards are not having to reinvent wheels and spending time trying to learn the PTA way while also trying to find out what worked in the past and what didn’t.
I originally had planned to attend a slightly different set of workshops but after talking into our unit president, we decided to have me take a workshop for Parliamentarians, a workshop for Secretaries, and a workshop on Marketing and Increasing Membership.
During the Parliamentarian workshop I was able to finally get a grasp on how to use motions to put out an idea I may have about adding a particular event or allocating some funds for general supplies for the PTA, ect. I also gained a much better understanding of how the unit bylaws work for the unit and learned we could have a bylaws review committee put together by the president at any time even if we are not due for a review. Since the position of Parliamentarian has been empty this year, our Secretary will be new next year, and we do not yet have a parliamentarian for next year, I think we definitely made the right choice by having me attend the workshop. What I found by far the most helpful in the Parliamentarian workshop is a skit they had some of the members do that modeled a basic association meeting and how motions would be presented to the association meetings. Another really helpful suggestion was posting some standing rules on our PTA a website, and having them hung up at our association meetings as well.
During the Secretary workshop I was able to gain a wealth of information that were helpful even in the position of VP. I learned I could actually request access to our bylaws, even as VP so that I can always have access to the most current Bylaws. Our current Secretary has not been very helpful with our board this year and it is doubtful at best that she will be of any help to the incoming secretary so this workshop was especially important for me to attend. I now feel comfortable helping to assist in getting the new Secretary the basic info she will need to start documenting a procedure Book for the Secretary that she will be able to revise and make additions to through the next year. One thing I was able to make sure and get good clarification on was the availability of saving meeting minutes on a cloud and all the precautions and info on protecting ourselves should we decide to keep meeting minutes on a cloud. I also was able to get a clear and resounding yes to my question of if a secretary is able to email the minutes once they are signed in PDF form to the president and that the secretary should be able to get the minutes to the president within a reasonable amount of time with no more than one week being fairly reasonable request for the President to make. Since the current secretary has REFUSED to get the president meeting minutes via email and has never given her a paper copy of the minutes less than a few days before the next meeting t is good to know that we can train the incoming secretary that she is able to email the president a signed and scanned copy of the meeting minutes in 1 week or less. However the most valuable idea I got for helping the Secretary have the least amount of problems when taking minutes, is getting a 3 fold form for people to fill out that are wanting to make motions with their full name and a written document that clearly presents the main ideas of the motion they are wishing to make. That way our secretary would be able to keep a copy for herself to go back and have the motion recorded exactly how the person making the motion had recorded their motion and another copy to give to the person that had made the motion and another copy for the president.
On Sunday I attended my final and most relevant workshop for my position in my unit of VP of Membership. Though I already had some idea of what marketing messages work better than others, it was helpful to hear one of the presenters say to “think outside the box” on how to engage families in a way that creates a desire to have a voice, and even possibly a desire to volunteer (though I did understand that is should never be the point in creating family engagement opportunities to find people to sign up to volunteer in the future). I really liked an analogy that was given of the Macy’s day parade versus a customers experience with a rude, uninterested, and inattentive sales clerk on Black Friday. I also loved hearing the National PTA VP of Membership discuss how she went over the summer to all 915 kid’s homes of the high school she is President at and until she made contact and introduced herself to the parents and told them the board was there to love on their kids. She also spoke about having free simple engaging events is really important to building membership. She shared how the high school PTA she is president of, has little to no fundraising outside of raising funds through the community so that the parents are not often asked to volunteer and/or participate in helping to fundraise. I also loved that much of the donations they get from the community go to fund a school clothing closet, a school food pantry and a free book resource area. She really cared about the students in that school and that is what ended up growing the membership numbers there. She also mentioned that when people really do trust that you’re not there to try and get them to sign up for another volunteer sign up but that you want their input without any strings attached, people start wanting to be a part of that and that often people end up wanting to volunteer their time as they make relationships with the other families in the school and see that it’s not a group of people trying to get help with extravagant events that often still cost something to attend but rather a group of people who believe in the children. Something else I learned that I believe will be helpful in reaching some more of the incoming Kinder families is that Snapchat is used for finding out about events by the younger parents and that they can actually have Siri put an event that they see show up on their Snapchat story in their calendar. The workshop ended in a really powerful way with us all holding hands in a circle with a young student PTA member in the middle of the circle and an electrical charge looking wand being held at some point in the circle in between two people’s hands. As long as we were all holding hands tight enough the wand would light up. But the second even just one person stopped holding hands with someone, the wand went dead and she reminded us that we all have to believe in every child because if even one person stops believing it doesn’t work.
Thank you so very much for selecting me to receive a scholarship to attend the convention. I truly could not have gone without the scholarship and even with having to end up missing Friday’s workshop, I got so empowered and ready to be a part of helping to bring more people into the knowledge of what the PTA is actually there for and how they can have a voice even in if that’s all they are able to contribute.
Riverview STEM Academy PTA Vice President
Tuesday, March 27 6:30-7:30pm
Dial-in Number (US): (515) 604-9581 Access Code: 814447
Do you have questions about these topics? Then you will want to call into this helpful Q&A teleconference. CA PTA Parliamentarian, Maggie Steele, and key members of Third District PTA's executive board will be available to answer your questions. If you can't participate, a recording will be available after the teleconference on Third District's website https://3rdpta.com/
Tuesday, March 20, 2018
Folsom Community Center
52 Natoma Street in Folsom
All Art Work on display from 6-7 p.m.
Awards Ceremony 7-8 p.m.
We hope you’ll join us for this dazzling display of artwork from the amazing students in Third District PTA’s area.
All of our artists will be honored with certificates. Our Award of Excellence and Award of Merit winners will be announced.