Why Don’t Volunteers Stick Around?

It is generally agreed that no one of us can motivate another. The most we can do is to stimulate others to action, but individuals must provide the motivation for themselves. Volunteers are obviously motivated by something other than a paycheck, such as self-esteem, recognition, approval, acceptance, and pride in a job well done.

A good leader knows how to inspire others to move them toward positive behavior that can move those volunteers and the association toward productive actions. Group consensus stimulates members to be motivated because the members feel their input has been valued; they’ve had a voice in how things will be. Members of a group will be motivated if the leader is aware of their values, needs, and interests.

Volunteers often lose interest when:

  • There is no praise or reward for their action
  • They receive no support from their co-worker
  • There is no chance for personal growth
  • Their personal needs are not being met
  • They do not feel they are truly making a difference

By making an effort to reach out and to nurture volunteers, PTA leaders can keep those volunteers involved.

  • Be friendly. Make all parents feel that PTA welcomes and accepts them.
  • Be sensitive to cultural differences among families.
  • Avoid stereotyping people.
  • Invite parents from all cultures to serve on the PTA board. Start by asking them to be involved on committees. Include them in leadership training opportunities.
  • Show appreciation for whatever amount of time a parent gives to PTA.

Graphic © 2013 by Pump Aid Pictures under Creative Commons license.

Essence of ESSA: School Climate and Culture

Today’s guest post comes from the Real Learning for Real Life coalition, of which Illinois PTA is a member. The coalition helps families and communities understand how our education system is changing to provide the children of Illinois the best education possible. The article looks at the difference and importance of school climate and culture under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), something Illinois will be using in its school accountability measure and has reported on the Illinois school report card through the 5Essentials survey. Look for additional information on this topic from Illinois PTA and Real Learning for Real Life throughout the month on social media.

Happy New Year! We are excited to kick off 2018 by continuing our dive into the many important parts of Illinois’s new plan that evaluates the quality of schools, reports on their progress, and supports them if needed—it’s the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). ​

​Last month, we learned the difference between growth and proficiency and why both are important when we evaluate, support, and report on students, schools, and districts.

​This month, we will be taking a more in-depth look at school climate and culture. School climate and culture can often times feel difficult to define, but more and more studies show that when schools have a strong climate and culture, students are more likely to succeed.

A strong climate and culture at school will help students:

  • perform better academically
  • feel safer
  • build healthier relationships
  • show up to school more often

This is why school climate and culture is included in ESSA and why it’s so important that we understand how to create a strong, healthy, and positive climate and culture.​

​Making It Simple!​

One easy way to understand school climate and culture is to think about school culture as the thermostat and school climate as the thermometer. School culture is made up of the norms, beliefs, and practices that can set the tone for a school community, much like a thermostat sets a temperature. School climate is how it feels to be in that school and reflects the culture, much like a thermometer tells you how a room actually feels. For more real-life examples on school climate and culture visit our Real Learning for Real Life website at reallearningil.org/essa-glossary.

Reflecting on Your PTA Role in the New Year

With the school year at the halfway point and many of us making New Year’s resolutions, it’s also a good opportunity to take time to reflect on how you are doing in your PTA role. Use the self-assessment questions below as well as those to ask of others on how you are doing to reflect on the past few months and get ready for the remainder of the school year.

Questions for Me in My PTA Role

  • Do I keep in touch with other volunteers?
  • Do I attend meetings regularly?
  • Do I do my homework before attending meetings or taking part in other PTA work/activities?
  • Do I participate in meetings?
  • Am I honest in meetings and other settings when expressing what I think?
  • Do I understand our PTA’s (or committee’s) goals?
  • Do I take responsibility for trying to reach our goals?
  • Do I understand my role? What important results are expected of me?
  • Do I follow through on my assignments?
  • Do I complete my assignments on time? If I can’t, do I let the appropriate people know?
  • On what things do I spend a lot of time and effort?
  • What important things would not get done if my role were not being filled?
  • What contributions have I made?
  • What has made me less effective this past year than I could have been?
  • What can I do that would help make me a more effective leader?
  • What can the PTA do that would help me be a more effective leader?
  • What are my goals as a PTA leader for the coming year?

Questions to Ask Your PTA Members

  • As a PTA leader/volunteer, what did you like best about working for the PTA this last year? What did you like least?
  • Do you have suggestions for improving this PTA in the coming year?
  • How can our PTA help you reach your goals as a PTA volunteer and community member?

 

Be Prepared for Winter Weather

Today’s guest post comes from Ready.gov, the government’s preparedness website and covers how to be prepared for snowstorms and extreme cold.

This page explains what actions to take when you receive a winter weather storm alert from the National Weather Service for your local area and what to do before, during, and after a snowstorm or extreme cold.

Know Your Risk

What

A winter storm occurs when there is significant precipitation and the temperature is low enough that precipitation forms as sleet or snow, or when rain turns to ice. A winter storm can range from freezing rain and ice, to moderate snowfall over a few hours, to a blizzard that lasts for several days. Many winter storms are accompanied by dangerously low temperatures.

Winter storms can cause power outages that last for days. They can make roads and walkways extremely dangerous or impassable and close or limit critical community services such as public transportation, child care, health programs and schools. Injuries and deaths may occur from exposure, dangerous road conditions, and carbon monoxide poisoning and other conditions.

Where

Winter storms and colder than normal temperatures can happen in every region of the country.

When

Winter storms can occur from early autumn to late spring depending on the region.

Before Snowstorms and Extreme Cold

Make a Family Communications Plan. Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to know how you will contact one another, how you will get back together and what you will do in case of an emergency.

Make an emergency kit for at least three days of self-sufficiency.

Keep space heater safety in mind: Use electric space heaters with automatic shut-off switches and non-glowing elements. Remember to keep all heat sources at least three feet away from furniture and drapes.

Prepare your home:

  • Make sure your home is well insulated and that you have weather stripping around your doors and window sills to keep the warm air inside.
  • Make sure you have a working carbon monoxide detector.
  • Keep fire extinguishers on hand, and make sure everyone in your house knows how to use them. House fires pose an additional risk, as more people turn to alternate heating sources without taking the necessary safety precautions.
  • Learn how to shut off water valves (in case a pipe bursts).
  • Insulate your home by installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic from the inside to keep cold air out.

Hire a contractor to check the structural ability of the roof to sustain unusually heavy weight from the accumulation of snow—or water, if drains on flat roofs do not work.

  • If you have a wood burning fireplace, consider storing wood to keep you warm if winter weather knocks out your heat. Also, make sure you have your chimney cleaned and inspected every year.
  • Have at least one of the following heat sources in case the power goes out:
    • Extra blankets, sleeping bags and warm winter coats
    • Fireplace or wood-burning stove with plenty of dry firewood, or a gas log fireplace

Prepare your vehicle:

  • Fully winterize your vehicle: Have a mechanic check antifreeze, brakes, heater and defroster, tires, and windshield wipers to ensure they are in good shape. Keep your gas tank at least half full.
  • Keep an extra emergency kit specifically created for your car. In addition to the basic essentials, consider adding a portable cell phone charger, ice scraper, extra blanket, sand for traction and jumper cables.
  • Rock salt or more environmentally safe products to melt ice on walkways. Visit the Environmental Protection Agency for a complete list of recommended products.
  • Sand to improve traction.

Make sure you have a cell phone with an emergency charging option (car, solar, hand crank, etc.) in case of a power failure.

People who depend on electricity to operate medical equipment should have alternate arrangements in place in case power is out for an extended period of time.

Plan to check on elderly/disabled relatives and neighbors.

Plan to bring pets inside.

Know where the manual release lever of your electric garage door opener is located and how to operate it in case you lose power.

Fill a gallon container with water and place them in the freezer to help keep food cold.

A NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts alerts and warnings directly from the NWS for all hazards. You may also sign up in advance to receive notifications from your local emergency services.

During Snowstorms and Extreme Cold

Stay indoors during the storm.

Drive only if it is absolutely necessary. If you must drive: travel in the day; don’t travel alone; keep others informed of your schedule and your route; stay on main roads and avoid back road shortcuts.

Walk carefully on snowy, icy walkways.

Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow. Overexertion can bring on a heart attack—a major cause of death in the winter. Use caution, take breaks, push the snow instead of lifting it when possible, and lift lighter loads.

Keep dry. Change wet clothing frequently to prevent a loss of body heat. Wet clothing loses all of its insulating value and transmits heat rapidly.

If you must go outside, wear several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing. The outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent.

Wear mittens, which are warmer than gloves.

Wear a hat and cover your mouth with a scarf to reduce heat loss.

Cold Related Illness

Frostbite is a serious condition that’s caused by exposure to extremely cold temperatures:

  • a white or grayish-yellow skin area
  • skin that feels unusually firm or waxy
  • numbness

If you detect symptoms of frostbite, seek medical care.

Hypothermia, or abnormally low body temperature, is a dangerous condition that can occur when a person is exposed to extremely cold temperatures.  Hypothermia is caused by prolonged exposures to very cold temperatures. When exposed to cold temperatures, your body begins to lose heat faster than it’s produced. Lengthy exposures will eventually use up your body’s stored energy, which leads to lower body temperature.

Warnings signs of hypothermia:

  • Adults: shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech drowsiness
  • Infants: bright red, cold skin, very low energy

If you notice any of these signs, take the person’s temperature. If it is below 95°F, the situation is an emergency—get medical attention immediately.

Carbon Monoxide

Caution: Each year, an average of 430 Americans die from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning, and there are more than 20,000 visits to the emergency room with more than 4,000 hospitalizations. Carbon monoxide-related deaths are highest during colder months. These deaths are likely due to increased use of gas-powered furnaces and alternative heating, cooking, and power sources used inappropriately indoors during power outages.

Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning devices inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace or any partially enclosed area. Locate unit away from doors, windows and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors. Keep these devices at least 20 feet from doors, windows, and vents.

The primary hazards to avoid when using alternate sources for electricity, heating or cooking are carbon monoxide poisoning, electric shock and fire.

Install carbon monoxide alarms in central locations on every level of your home and outside sleeping areas to provide early warning of accumulating carbon monoxide.

If the carbon monoxide alarm sounds, move quickly to a fresh air location outdoors or by an open window or door.

Call for help from the fresh air location and remain there until emergency personnel arrive to assist you.

Stay or Go

STAY:

  • If stuck on the road to avoid exposure and/or when rescue is likely
  • If a safe location is neither nearby or visible
  • If you do not have appropriate clothing to go outside
  • If you do not have the ability to call for help

GO:

  • If the distance to call for help is accessible.
  • If you have visibility and outside conditions are safe.
  • If you have appropriate clothing.
  • Once the storm has passed, if you are not already home, follow instructions from your local transportation department and emergency management agency to determine if it is safe to drive and, if so, which route will be safest for you to get home. Drive with extra caution.

After Snowstorms and Extreme Cold

If your home loses power or heat for more than a few hours or if you do not have adequate supplies to stay warm in your home overnight, you may want to go to a designated public shelter if you can get there safely. Text SHELTER + your ZIP code to 43362 (4FEMA) to find the nearest shelter in your area (e.g., SHELTER20472).

Bring any personal items that you would need to spend the night (such as toiletries, medicines). Take precautions when traveling to the shelter. Dress warmly in layers, wear boots, mittens, and a hat.

Continue to protect yourself from frostbite and hypothermia by wearing warm, loose-fitting, lightweight clothing in several layers. Stay indoors, if possible.

Winter Weather Watches and Warnings

Familiarize yourself with these terms to help identify an extreme winter weather alerts:

  • Freezing Rain: Rain that freezes when it hits the ground, creating a coating of ice on roads, walkways, trees and power lines.
  • Sleet: Rain that turns to ice pellets before reaching the ground. Sleet also causes moisture on roads to freeze and become slippery.
  • Wind Chill: Wind chill is the temperature it “feels like” when you are outside. The NWS provides a Wind Chill Chart to show the difference between air temperature and the perceived temperature and the amount of time until frostbite occurs. For more information, visit: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/cold/wind_chill.shtml.
  • Winter Weather Advisory: Winter weather conditions are expected to cause significant inconveniences and may be hazardous. When caution is used, these situations should not be life threatening. The NWS issues a winter weather advisory when conditions are expected to cause significant inconveniences that may be hazardous. If caution is used, these situations should not be life-threatening.
  • Winter Storm Watch: A winter storm is possible in your area. Tune in to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for more information. The NWS issues a winter storm watch when severe winter conditions, such as heavy snow and/or ice, may affect your area but the location and timing are still uncertain. A winter storm watch is issued 12 to 36 hours in advance of a potential severe storm. Tune in to NOAA Weather Radio, local radio, TV, or other news sources for more information. Monitor alerts, check your emergency supplies, and gather any items you may need if you lose power.
  • Winter Storm Warning: A winter storm is occurring or will soon occur in your area.
  • Blizzard Warning: Sustained winds or frequent gusts to 35 miles per hour or greater and considerable amounts of falling or blowing snow (reducing visibility to less than a quarter mile) are expected to prevail for a period of three hours or longer.
  • Frost/Freeze Warning: Below freezing temperatures are expected.

 

Shareables