Legendary UCLA men’s basketball coach John Wooden accomplished a lot on the court—10 NCAA championships in 12 years, including an unprecedented seven in a row, and being named national coach of the year six times. For his players, though, it was what he taught them off the court that had a greater effect on their lives than what he taught them on the court. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Walton, among others, still speak of Coach Wooden in reverent terms. Here are 20 quotes from Coach Wooden to share with your child to help inspire them to do and be their best.
- “It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.”
- “You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.”
- “If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?”
- “Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.”
- “Young people need models, not critics.”
- “If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything. I’m positive that a doer makes mistakes.”
- “Happiness begins where selfishness ends.”
- “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”
- “The best competition I have is against myself to become better.”
- “Success is never final, failure is never fatal. It’s courage that counts.”
- “Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.”
- “Whatever you do, surround yourself with smart people who’ll argue with you.”
- “Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.”
- “It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.”
- “Today is the only day. Yesterday is gone.”
- “If you’re true to yourself, you’re going to be true to everyone else.”
- “You can’t let praise or criticism get to you. It’s a weakness to get caught up in either one.”
- “Make each day your masterpiece.”
- “Never make excuses. Your friends don’t need them, and your foes won’t believe them.”
- “The most important thing in the world is family and love.”
Consider picking a quote or two to discuss with your family this week, and really dig into what Coach Wooden is saying about character, success, and life.
The Illinois PTA University is an incentive program to encourage leadership development. The program is divided into three levels—Bachelor’s Degree, Master’s Degree, and Doctorate Degree. Each level recognizes the accomplishment of PTA members who have completed its requirements. Those requirements include attendance at a variety of workshops, training courses, and PTA events. Any PTA member may participate in the program, and there is no time limit for completing the requirements to earn a degree.
Transcripts (applications) are available at all courses and events, and any state board member, district director, or course trainer may sign. Completed transcripts should be sent to your District or Region Director or to the Illinois PTA Leadership Development Director. Doctoral recipients are recognized at the Illinois PTA Convention.
To earn the Bachelor’s Degree, participants must complete five requirements:
- Take PTA 101: Your Road to Success (required for all officers)
- Take Money Matters 101 (required for all treasurers)
- Attend a Council, District, or Region meeting or workshop (this can be a training event where you take the above courses)
- Attend an Illinois PTA state conference or workshop (not at the Illinois PTA Convention), such as an Illinois PTA Value of PTA event.
- Attend the Illinois PTA Convention
To earn the Master’s Degree, participants must earn their Bachelor’s Degree and complete four out of five electives:
To earn the Doctorate Degree, participants must earn their Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees, complete the Illinois PTA Train the Trainers course, and complete a thesis project. The Train the Trainers course requires the recommendation of your District or Region Director or other Illinois PTA state board member to attend. The thesis project requires prior approval of the Illinois PTA Leadership Development Director, and is an opportunity for the candidate to apply what they have learned from the rest of their Illinois PTA University work. Examples of thesis projects include, but are not limited to:
- Creating an approved PTA training course
- Creating an approved PTA program
- Hosting a candidate’s forum
- Organizing a Value of PTA event
Contact your Region Director, District Director, or the Illinois PTA Leadership Development Director to schedule a course or visit the Illinois PTA website events page to see what courses are coming up.
Photo © 2015 by Costa Constantinides under Creative Commons license.
If you’re a new PTA president, you probably have your first meeting of the year coming up soon. Here are some tips to get you ready to run that first meeting.
Planning the Meeting
- Make sure your meeting date doesn’t conflict with other events.
- Get announcements of the meeting out early. Remember that not everyone communicates in the same ways, so use multiple ways to get your message out.
- Consult with your principal and teacher representative to find out if they have anything to share.
- Contact your board members to see if they have agenda items.
- Make sure any extra arrangements (e.g., babysitting, outside speaker, refreshments, etc.) are confirmed in advance.
- Create your agenda. Make sure you have copies of the agenda and any information or action item handouts ready before the meeting.
- For your first meeting, your audit report for last year and budget for this year need to be adopted in that order. You will also need to approve the minutes from the last meeting of last year.
Before the Meeting Starts
- Have all your tools (e.g., gavel, Robert’s Rules of Order, bylaws, policy and procedure, etc.) readily at hand.
- If you’re using any equipment (e.g., projector, microphone, SmartBoard, etc.), be sure it’s working properly.
- Have someone welcome people as they come in the door.
- Have some drinking water with you.
- Take a deep breath and relax.
Running the Meeting
- Start on time.
- Stick to your agenda.
- Be sure to have people wait to be recognized by you before speaking, and have them speak to the chair, not each other.
- Remember to conduct a vote on motions. It’s easy to forget to do that when the discussion seems to come to a consensus.
- Make sure everyone knows when the next meeting will be.
- Thank everyone for attending before adjourning.
After the Meeting
- Take another deep breath and relax.
- Have a quick conversation with your board members about how the meeting went. Focus on three things: what worked, what didn’t work, and what sort of worked and needs improving.
- Make a note of all the actions that were decided and who will be doing them. Follow up with those people to make sure they are on the same page.
Do you have a leadership question? Looking for training for your PTA officers? If so, contact Illinois PTA Leadership Development Director Brenda Diehl at email@example.com.
Middle school is different from elementary school for kids—they’re changing classrooms, managing a locker, and meeting new people from other elementary schools. It’s different for parents as well. New activities like band or sports may pull parents who have been involved in PTA at the elementary level away at the middle school level. Here are ten tips on running a successful middle school PTA.
- Grab them fast. Parents are at an elementary school for six years; add a second or third kid, and those years can stretch to more than a decade. That’s a lot of time to build a relationship between PTA and a parent, and for that parent to grow into a leadership role. Middle school zips by in three years, and parents may have a year or two off from middle school between kids. That means your PTA has to get parents involved quickly and early in leadership positions. Visit your feeder elementary schools to educate elementary PTA leaders on what the middle school PTA does and how it is different from what they’ve already experienced.
- Include them all. Sometimes one elementary PTA will be stronger than the other PTAs feeding into a middle school. Don’t lean on parents from just the dominant PTA for leadership—you’ll alienate those from the other PTAs.
- Focus on parent events. Middle school students are beginning to break away from their parents, so student-oriented events like those in elementary school may draw fewer attendees. But that pulling away also means that parents are likely looking to learn more about what is happening at school, since their child is not telling them as much as they used to and the “backpack express” filled with flyers and newsletters is more of a backpack black hole. Shift your meetings to educating parents about what is happening and what is coming up. Be more about communication and less about PTA business.
- Embrace the diaspora. As parents become dispersed among various booster groups and other activities in middle school, make sure that they know that the PTA is the one group that addresses the whole school. Have an extracurricular activities fair for incoming students in the spring with the message that middle school provides great opportunities for students to try new things, but that PTA is the way for parents to keep in touch with what’s going on in the school.
- Embrace social media. A newsletter or flyer sent home with a middle school student typically ends up on the floor at school, in a trash can, or buried at the bottom of the backpack until the end of the year. You have to reach out to families directly, and Facebook, Twitter, and other social media can help with that.
- Cut back on fundraising. Your middle school PTA probably isn’t doing as many events as an elementary PTA and can get by with a smaller budget. Consider having just one big fundraiser, or incorporating your fundraising into your annual dues. How many parents at your school would embrace a PTA membership level of $25 or $50 that means the PTA won’t bother them about money for the rest of the year? Less fundraising means fewer overlaps with booster clubs who are also raising money as well.
- Find ways to integrate the PTA into the life of the middle school. Look for opportunities for the PTA to support events that bring families into the school. See if the PTA president can speak to all the parents at open house, consider providing snacks for the band, orchestra, and choir concerts (with a provided by PTA sign), and provide tour guides for new student orientation.
- Look for ways to work with other PTAs. Find opportunities to collaborate with your feeder school PTAs as well as the high school PTAs that your students will be going to. Working together helps incoming parents feel welcome and strengthens all of the PTAs.
- Cut back on meetings. Parents have often spent much of the day in meetings, so attending another PTA business meeting in the evening isn’t terribly appealing. Your PTA really only needs three general membership business meetings each year. One at the start of the school year to approve your audit and budget, one in the winter to elect your nominating committee, and one at the end of the year to elect your new officers. Add in adopting your updated bylaws at one of those meetings, and the only other thing your membership will need to meet about is amending your budget, which can be done with a quick five-minute meeting before an event or program. Let your board handing the day-to-day running of the PTA, and have your PTA “meetings” focus on parent education.
- Build your relationship with the principal and teachers. Just like the PTA, principals and teachers struggle to get information to families about what is happening at school. By building a good relationship with them, your PTA can develop programs and events that help the school keep parents informed and educated.