Whether you’re moving on (congrats!) or you're committed to the new school year (congrats?), a PTA transition meeting for outgoing and incoming members helps you to make the most of what has been done in the past, and best prepare for the new school year. Take full advantage of this opportunity. You're about as likely to get this entire group together again as you are to receive a PTA paycheck.
Preparing for the PTA Transition Meeting
1. Book it ASAP
Schedule the PTA transition meeting as soon as you can after the new board is elected and be sure that all key members can attend.
Well established PTAs likely have recommended best practices or a set of rules for board transition. These may be found in the bylaws or another dedicated document. Do your best to locate this information and have everything ready by the date of your meeting. Additionally, you may have access to notes from last year’s PTA transition meeting. This will get you off to a great start!
2. Write an Agenda and Stick to it
Send out an agenda in the week leading up to the meeting and let everyone know they are welcome to add to it. This will help ensure you cover all the important topics and keep you on track. You do not want to spend time discussing things that are not relevant to the entire group.
Each outgoing and incoming member of the PTA should meet separately to discuss the specifics of their jobs, to help keep the meeting as concise as possible.
3. Create a Transition Package
If it hasn’t been done already, put together useful information for the incoming members. The president can cover things that involve everyone in the PTA and each board member can share information for their particular job with their respective replacement.
Examples of useful information include:
- Calendar and description of events the PTA is involved in, by month
- Websites, passwords, combinations, shared google drives and resources that the new members will need for their specific position
- Contact sheet noting who to reach out to on the staff for PTA needs and contact sheet for board members
- Annual budget
- Job descriptions
4. Provide a Pleasant Atmosphere
Be sure you are meeting in a comfortable, roomy space and if possible, arrange to have a healthy snack available. There will be a lot to cover and this is possibly the only time you all will be together. You want people to be relaxed, content and focused.
During the PTA Transition Meeting
1. Get to Know Each Other
Begin to get to know everyone by having them introduce themselves - name, PTA position, child(ren) name(s) and grade(s), at the very least. Have members speak about what motivated them to join the PTA and mention relevant personal and professional experience, interests, professional contacts, goals, etc.
2. Set the Tone for the Coming Year
Get as much “big picture” information as you can. What are the goals of the PTA, beyond fundraising and community building? What worked and didn’t work last year? What problems came up and how were they addressed? Are there any suggestions for improvements in the new school year? Be careful not to spend too much time on a specific topic.
3. Utilize a Key Resource – School Staff
Ideally, you will have at least one school administrator at the meeting. They are one of your most important resources, as they know the most about the school’s staff, families, culture and history. Ask them for feedback from last year and what they want from the PTA this year.
4. Learn from Experience
Without getting too specific, have outgoing board members speak about their experience the previous year. Were there unmet needs, unfinished projects, an unbalanced budget? What events, policies and practices worked and didn’t work? Will there be any major changes in staff, finances, etc. that the new board should be aware of? Share everything you think will help the new board pick up right where you left off.
5. Plan Ahead
Schedule at least the first three PTA board and general meetings and briefly discuss events happening in the first month of school. Although the beginning of the year is hectic, it’s also a time when parents are quite motivated and excited to get involved. Plan a date for a welcome breakfast or some other community-building event and suggest all board members attend. Delegate someone to take care of the specifics. (Get used to delegating! You can't possibly do it all yourself...)
Click here for Pro Tips and Scripts for your first PTA Meeting.
And Finally . . . Have Fun!
This might be the most important tip of all. Keep the PTA transition meeting positive and aim for a culture of teamwork, appreciation and support. Welcome new ideas and differing opinions and always . . . ALWAYS . . . thank everyone at the end of the meeting.
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