Aug 112013
 

Organizing a great program for your school community starts with a planning committee. That way, you can brainstorm ideas, set goals and propose activities together.

With a committee, you can also tap into everyone’s different talents to divide up the tasks, both large and small, involved in running a successful program.

Arrange for the committee to meet early in the school year to prepare an outline for your program or event with suggested activities and projected costs.

Consider using the Event Planning Worksheet template as a checklist to stay on track with your program’s timeline, preparations and expenses.

6 BASIC ELEMENTS

When planning a PTA program, focus on the six, basic elements involved – what, when, who, where, how and why?

WHAT? – Meet with your PTA board early in the school year to talk about what type of programs will be organized this year:

  • Set a budget and get it approved by your PTA board and association

WHEN? – Talk to your board and principal to set a date and time that fits best with PTA and school calendars and ensures good participation from your school community:

  • Develop a timeline for organizing, publicizing and implementing aspects of your program
  • Notify parents, teachers, staff and community to ‘Save the Date” for the event
  • Widely publicize your program/ event using backpack express, newsletters, email blasts, websites and social media

Did you know? …

Many city, county and state agencies or organizations provide free speakers or materials for campus events. You can also check with your local, school district about presenters and resources.

WHO? – Decide on and book speakers, presenters or entertainers for your event:

  • Follow up closer to the date of the event to confirm program details and availability
  • Make a note on what type of equipment and setup they need for their presentation or performance
  • Send thank you notes soon after the program is completed

WHERE? – Identify and book a venue or site in advance for your program:

  • Check that all permits including a facility use permit are filed, set-up arrangements are confirmed and access for the disabled is planned
  • Find out if the venue has the equipment, tables and chairs needed for your event
  • Talk to the custodian/facility manager about the layout and provide a note or sketch about setting up the venue for the program

HOW? – Recruit volunteers to help prepare publicity, presentations, handouts, evaluations, signs, decorations and hospitality:

  • Stay on track with a list identifying what needs to be done, who will do it and when it needs to be completed for organizing the program
  • For the day of the event, assign volunteers for set up, equipment checks, program coordination, reception, photographs, membership drive and cleanup
  • Organize volunteers to work in short shifts so everyone has a chance to take part and enjoy the event
  • Arrange to set up a PTA table to hand out evaluations, promote your PTA and sign up new PTA members
  • Designate one or two troubleshooters for the event and let presenters, speakers and volunteers know who they are at the event
  • Remember to thank volunteers by sending notes and publishing a list of volunteers in your newsletter or on your website after the event

WHY? – PTA Programs provide special opportunities to enhance your school campus by boosting student success, parent involvement, community engagement and your PTA’s profile.

Share the experience by posting photos and giving a report on the program at the next PTA meeting. And, add information to your procedure book – such as samples of invitations, evaluations, publicity and handouts – as resources for your successor.

Learn More: Job Description for Programs Chairman in the California State PTA Toolkit

HOW TOS – EVENT DAY

As a program organizer, take time to walk the site on the day of the event to check:

  • Set up of the signs, venue, stations and audio-visual equipment
  • Hospitality area is in order and refreshments prepared
  • Nametags are ready and handed out to presenters, speakers and volunteers
  • Volunteer sign in sheet is available to collect names, addresses, phone numbers and emails
  • Presenters, speakers or entertainers are on site and have met the volunteer who will help them set up for the program
  • Evaluations from participants are distributed and collected to get feedback on how to tweak your program planning for next year
  • Clean up is completed to leave the venue in as good or better condition than when you arrived

For more ideas and support, contact Anvi Kevany at programs@highlandscouncilpta.org.