As we kick off a new school year, please remember to send officer contact information to the MD PTA office if you have not already done so. Most importantly, remind your members that once they get their membership cards, LOG In and find out what is new at National PTA. Only if they log in will they receive all the benefits from National PTA as well as advocacy alerts. In addition, members who log in will receive discounts from vendors, including a discount at Staples.
Look for the flyer in the leadership kit that includes information on how to win a chance to get $200 for your PTA unit. A different requirement is listed for every month from September through March. Thanks to all the membership leaders, we rely on you to set the positive tone for the year. Best of luck with the start of a busy membership season. For questions, contact the Maryland PTA Membership Chair, Liz Wheeler at email@example.com
Every month, I will try to bring you a new membership story that shows how you can make a difference in a child’s life through just a simple conversation. This month, we go to Montgomery County, where Montgomery County Council of PTAs President Janette Gilman went out to help schools having tough times to get going with their Standards of Continuing Affiliation:
A letter was sent out to the selected schools with some basic information about what we hoped to accomplish. MCCPTA member, Paul Geller, partnered with Cresthaven Elementary School in Silver Spring. After meeting Cresthaven's great principal and telling her about his passion for PTA, she expressed her heartfelt desire to have a strong PTA at her school. Soon, they met with Ms. Sherri Gorden and her enthusiastic PTA President, Jeffrey Thames. For the better part of an hour and a half, Paul listened to what they had been doing in the past, heard about some of their challenges and got to answer some of their questions. Then I shared a few ideas.
Before leaving, we came up with a simple approach: meet with your PTA officers to come up with three main PTA sponsored events for the year, boost membership by asking people to join and tell them the benefits of their joining (a PTA sponsored Movie Night for example) and publicize events and PTA happenings in a newsletter or e-mail so families feel connected to the PTA. Mr. Thames was super eager to get things rolling and was more than true to his word about boosting membership from zero last year to the stratosphere! At the Cresthaven Meet and Greet on August 23, he had 43 new PTA members sign up. He also visited their partner school, Roscoe Nix Elementary School, and signed up 40 more PTA members. In one day, with his boundless enthusiasm, Mr. Thames helped sign up 83 PTA members! And keep in mind, Cresthaven had no PTA members last year! Congratulations Mr. Thames.
Need 1 good reason to participate in Maryland PTA’s incentive rewards program this school year?
How about 7 reasons AND a chance to win $200 for your PTA?
Here’s how to become eligible for a $200 reward for your PTA:
At the end of each month September 2013 through March 2014, $200 will be given to 1 Maryland PTA meeting the criteria for that month. In the case of multiple PTAs meeting the requirement, a random drawing will be held to determine 1 winner.
Questions? Contact Membership Chair, Liz Wheeler at firstname.lastname@example.org
Limits to Growth? Not for This PTA
At Herbert Hoover Middle School in Montgomery County, PTA membership is an expectation; joining and supporting the PTA is as much a part of the community’s Back-to-School ritual as new #2 pencils and the requested, but hard to find, supply of green ballpoint pens.
That expectation helps explain why this school of just over 1,000 students has had a PTA with over 1,100 members for the last four years and hundreds for most of the past decade, making it consistently one of the largest PTAs in Maryland.
So how did this PTA create those expectations? How does it grow and sustain robust membership year after year? This PTA communicates every way it can, every time there is an opportunity, about what the PTA does for our students and staff. These communications demonstrate how PTA membership enables enrichment programs and special projects, and educates the school community on the role of PTA advocacy at the county, state, and national level. This PTA’s leadership makes PTA visible. It “brands” activities and events. It always uses the PTA logo. Board members are asked to have a 30-second “elevator speech” on PTA. Summer mailings, volunteer-staffed PTA information tables, bulletin boards, outdoor signs, email blasts, websites, even Facebook. If it communicates, they use it. The PTA also works closely with their principal, who never fails to mention PTA in her letters, back-to-school phone messages, and presentations. The PTA works on the assumption that every parent or guardian wants to support their child, every staff member their students and school. And if they show them PTA membership does that, if they can, they will join.
At Hoover, the annual PTA memberships drive starts even before the current year ends. When the principal meets with incoming 6th grade parents in the winter and early spring, PTA leaders attend those meetings with handouts that include what our PTA does and how to ‘Get Connected’ to PTA communications about school activities. The principal includes PTA membership in her presentations to new parents as a way they can support the school. PTA volunteers stay long after these meetings to answer questions and to look for parents ready to get involved.
Hoover PTA’s annual membership drive starts in earnest as soon as the new Board takes office, and includes separate strategies to reach parents and staff members. PTA volunteers and students are actively engaged in the drive, from setting numeric goals to envelope stuffing.
People respond to a personal appeal to join PTA. National PTA research has shown that the number one reason people do not join PTA is because no one asked them. At Hoover, they ask. PTA volunteers let every potential member know that whether they are active members or passive supporters, their membership matters. Then they ask them to join. Sometimes, they ask more than once. And, they do join. At Hoover, the PTA leaders know their membership numbers are not a given, and are about persistence and a belief in what PTA can do for student achievement and for a school community, and about communicating that belief. Every PTA has the same mission. We all know what we can do for our schools. Every PTA can grow!
PTA Summer Celebrations
Maryland PTA provides the opportunity for all local units and councils to receive membership awards which will be presented at our annual convention in July. All units and councils must have met the Standards of Affiliation by March 31, 2013 to be eligible to receive awards. Please see the last two pages of the August 2012 Membership Handbook for a complete list of award categories. Join us in Towson to congratulate this year’s winners.
AND then take your family out for baseball fun with Maryland and Virginia PTAs at Washington Nationals Park Sat., July 27 at 3:05pm when the Nat’s take on the NY Mets. See MD PTA or VA PTA websites for details and links to purchase tickets.
Different Ways PTA Members May Serve as Volunteers
Level 1- This member may not be able to volunteer in school but is willing to support the PTA as a member and in attending the programs that your PTA will offer this year. These members are also willing to do activities from home such as:
Level 2- These parents may be available to volunteer a few times a year in school. They will assist with at least one PTA program. They will participate in the programs and fundraising programs.
Level 3- This member is more likely to be an active volunteer in the school. They are more willing to chair a committee for the PTA and assist in developing and implementing PTA programs.
In order to grow your PTA membership, your PTA must actively reach out and include everyone in the activities of your PTA. Every member is a valued member. PTAs should be actively sharing what the benefits of PTA memberships are. Show your members and potential members what your PTA does to benefit your school community. Many locals are doing wonderful things on a consistent basis and your school community should be aware of this. Your PTA leaders should communicate on a regular basis with your PTA members about the volunteer work your PTAs are doing.
Join the Maryland PTA Membership Committee: The Maryland PTA Membership Committee is looking for volunteers to assist Maryland PTA with developing membership strategies in conjunction with the National PTA membership plan. Maryland PTA needs committee volunteers to help develop and facilitate the statewide Maryland PTA membership campaign while supporting and assisting local PTAs and councils to recruit and retain members. Committee members would also assist with the Maryland PTA Extension Plan that helps to increase participation by creating new PTA units. If you or someone you know is interested in serving on this Maryland PTA committee, please contact the Maryland PTA office at 410.760.6221 or 800.707.7972.
Maryland PTA is on Facebook
How Can You Honor That Special Volunteer?
Every year, PTAs around the state begin to think of ways to honor that one special volunteer. You all know the one; they give countless hours, are there when ever you need them, and look for nothing in return. How will you say “Thank you for your outstanding service to our children”? Give the award of a lifetime. Give the Maryland PTA Lifetime Achievement Award, which supports the Maryland PTA Scholarship Fund.
The Maryland PTA Lifetime Achievement Award is the highest honor Maryland PTA can bestow to the person who daily lives out his or her commitment to children. Recognize and thank that special person you know who goes above and beyond for all children and youth.
The recipient of the Maryland PTA Lifetime Achievement Award will receive a certificate of recognition and a congratulatory letter from the Maryland PTA president. The award will be sent according to the direction on the application and a sample press release will be provided for use in your local media.
The fee for presenting the Maryland PTA Lifetime Achievement Award supports the Maryland PTA Scholarship Fund. Since the early 1950’s, Maryland PTA has designated that the fees received for the Maryland PTA Lifetime Achievement Award be used to support the fund. The scholarships provide the opportunity for seniors across the state, who wish to pursue a career in education, a chance to make their dreams a reality.
If every local/council honored one member each year, Maryland PTA would have the potential of awarding over $40,000.00 in scholarship money.
GIVE THE AWARD OF A LIFETIME AND SUPPORT THE SCHOLARSHIP FUND. PRESENT A MARYLAND PTA LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD TO THAT SPECIAL SOMEONE IN YOUR PTA!
Help us congratulate our Award Winners!
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