Rekindling the Flame

Feeling overwhelmed by your PTA responsibilities? Winter’s cold and snow got you feeling down? Use these tips to rekindle the flame of PTA Leadership!

Dare to Try New Things

Try something new to develop a stronger and more vital PTA. Have a brainstorming session with your board or your members to discover new ways of doing things. Develop a list of reasons why these ideas will work. Eliminate negative phrases like “we’ve always done it this way.”

Try Again…and Again

Develop the patience to tell your PTA’s story again, and again. Always consider who you are talking to. How much they already know? What is the message you want to get across? Try limiting your message to twenty words or less to find out what is the most critical part of your message.

Delegate Responsibility

Involve as many people as possible in the work of the PTA. Ask yourself, “What am I doing that someone else can do as well or better than I can?” Be specific about the job to be done. Then trust those to whom you have delegated the responsibility to make good decisions, keeping in mind that their way of doing things might not be your way.

Attract and Retain Active Members

People are motivated to give their time and talents to issues that concern them. Find out what issues are important to your PTA membership. Seek the opinions and advice of the community. Match jobs to people who are motivated to use their knowledge and skills on identified concerns. Share what your PTA has already accomplished this year to recruit new members who can bring in new energy and ideas.

Overcome Procrastination

If you realize that you are procrastinating on a tough job, divide it into a series of small and manageable “instant tasks.” Start each day by doing at least one task you have been putting off.

Work with People Effectively

Chairing a meeting requires more than a knowledge of parliamentary procedure; it requires skill in human relations. Be approachable. Make sure your body language communicates respect. Be a team player; work for consensus. Encourage people to focus on what is best for children and the PTA.

Keep Your Sense of Humor

If the PTA is working for worthwhile goals, expect frustration and problems because change is always hard. But remember that working hard for important goals doesn’t have to be gloomy. Keep your sense of humor in all your PTA work.

Recognize When to Bow Out with Class

Your PTA’s future depends on recruiting new leaders and moving them into increasingly responsible positions. Support the nominating committee in their search and avoid criticizing new people. Be willing to move on in the PTA and give your successor room to do their job.

How to Make Family Dinners Happen More Often

You’ve probably seen news stories sharing the benefits of family dinners. Maybe you’ve even made a New Year’s resolution to eat more dinners together. Perhaps you’d like to eat more family dinners, but don’t feel like you have the time to make it happen.

The Family Dinner Project was created to help families take advantage of what research has shown and what parents have long known: sharing a meal as a family helps everyone’s health, mind, and spirit. Children whose families regularly eat together have higher grade-point averages, higher self-esteem, and lower rates of substance abuse, teen pregnancy, eating disorders, and depression.

The Family Dinner Project provides lots of resources to help you get started, including:

  • Recipes that fit in your busy schedule
  • Ways to add some fun to dinner preparation and at the table
  • Conversation starters and questions to get your family talking
  • Links to other resources for food, fun, and conversation
  • A Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section to help you make it happen

Researchers have found that families that eat dinner together five nights per week get the greatest benefits, but even adding one more meal per week together can help. Your family dinner doesn’t have to be dinner either—if a Saturday lunch together after a busy morning out or a Sunday brunch works for your family, it can still work as a “family dinner.”

Head to The Family Dinner Project to start planning how you can get your family together around the table more often.


Organizing an IEP Binder

Any parent who has attended an Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting for their child can tell you what an overwhelming and confusing experience it can be. Understood, a website in English and Spanish dedicated to helping parents support their child with special needs, has resources to create an IEP binder.

An IEP binder provides parents with a great way to track their child’s progress and keep key information readily at hand during IEP meetings. Understood suggests including:

  • IEP Binder Checklist
  • School Contact Sheet
  • Parent-School Communication Log
  • IEP Goal Tracker

Downloadable versions of all of the above are also provided, as well as a short video on how to put it all together and use it.

Understood also suggests using six tab dividers to separate materials into communication, evaluations, IEP, report cards and progress notes, sample work, and behavior. They also suggest including a supply pouch to ensure you have pens, sticky notes, and highlighters readily available at your meeting. You might also consider including the list of over 500 accommodations for an IEP or 504 plan from A Day in Our Shoes that Illinois PTA has highlighted before.

What Am I?

I am the link which unites and presents a clearly defined image of PTA work to the community.


I provide strong, inspiring leadership.


I am understanding and compassionate to unit problems.


I work with the district board realizing that through cooperation, we may achieve the purposes of the PTA.


I refrain from legislating for units.


I shall not dictate to units.


I interpret the basic PTA policies in a friendly, impersonal manner, noting that units abide by their bylaws.


I counsel with courtesy and perception, knowing that each unit is autonomous.


I give PTA information in a clear and easily understood manner.


I start my meetings on time and use parliamentary procedure to ensure a fair and just meeting.


I work within the framework of the PTA purposes, mission, and vision, recognizing that they are the foundation of all PTA work.


I keep my units informed concerning deadlines on National PTA and Illinois PTA grants, reports, awards, registration forms, and bylaws.


I stay informed on PTA legislation and share my experience and information with the units, realizing that sharing is an important part of leadership and my obligation to the members.


I abide by my bylaws and urge local units to do the same.


I present programs, demonstrating technique along with information.


I plan informative leadership development seminars.


I use National PTA and Illinois PTA resources in my work.


I try at all times to be big enough to overlook pettiness, small enough to ask for help when needed, and above all, to practice what I preach.


I lead by example.


I am a PTA Council.