Congratulations on your new position as PTO President!
It can be downright overwhelming when you’re new to the role.
Heck, even if you’ve been President before and you’re coming in fresh with another PTO at a different school, that too can be a little much to handle.
But I’m here to share some wisdom with you to hopefully make it all better!
First, Congratulate Yourself!
Really! Give yourself some mad props for being willing to step up into such a large position.
I wish more parents would realize that they’re the perfect person to lead their PTOs.
Then maybe election season wouldn’t be so rough for some schools, with all the wondering about who they can convince to be President.
But back to you.
Agreeing to be President, with all it entails, is no small job.
So yay to you for stepping up!
Expect to learn
After you’re done patting yourself on the back being awesome (btw, you totally are!), it’s time to get to work.
And part of the most important work of a President is being ready to learn.
Even if you’ve been involved as a volunteer for a long time, expect there to be quite a few things you didn’t know.
You’re not going to know everything right off the bat!
It doesn’t really matter how long you’ve been around or involved with your PTO, there will still be things that you don’t know.
And that’s ok!
And if you’re kinda brand new to your PTO, then expect the learning curve to be steep.
Don’t think that you’re going to go your entire term without something coming up that you’ll need some help figuring out.
And that’s the beauty of the PTO world.
We’re all in this together.
Plus, none of this is impossible to figure out.
For one, I have some fantastic strategies and tools to share with you!
And secondly, even if you didn’t have this blog as a resource, you’d still be able to get there on your own.
Look for Opportunities
Now, aside form this blog, where can you find people to answer questions and get feedback from?
Look for opportunities from outgoing officers, building admin and teacher liaisons.
Each provide a different angle on your role as President and the PTO’s functioning in the school.
Pick brains and be open to feedback and suggestions.
Don’t take things personally.
Everyone is looking to help you succeed and any constructive criticism you get should be looked at from that perspective.
Assess Your Team
Are there missing team members / vacant offices that should be filled?
Work to fill those positions with volunteers.
Prioritize the experience and high interest level of volunteers over quickly filling the slot with the first person who expresses some level of interest.
If at all possible, fill those positions before school starts, during Summer Break.
Next, get the officers and committee chairs together for a planning meeting.
Ideally, this meeting should happen during Summer Break.
The back to school time s super busy, so if you can move the planning meeting
If that can’t happen, then get together before the first regular PTO meeting of the year.
What I really mean by plan everything is not for you personally to plan everything.
Instead, follow up with your respective officers and committee chairs who are assigned to your events and programs and assure they’re on track.
For events assigned to the President to chair, delegate early and often!
Figure out the Big Picture
Next, get a handle on how your PTO operates as an organization on the big picture level.
Start by reading your group’s Bylaws and Standing Rules.
Everything should be explained in those two documents.
Don’t forget to look at nitty gritty details as well.
Don’t just skim the documents, really take time to read them thoroughly.
Consider printing out a copy so you can make notes in the margins.
When you have an understanding of the finer details, you’ll be able to anticipate needs and changes.
If there are still some things you don’t understand, reach out to others to see if they know.
Consider amending your Bylaws and Standing Rules to include the missing information.
Get organized personally
Next, it’s time to get organized, you yourself.
The more organized you are, the better!
Being organized makes everything so much easier and leaves you with more time to work.
As soon as you get your binder, look through it to familiar yourself with the available resources.
Hold off on decluttering it for now until you know a bit more about your role.
You don’t want to toss something now that you end up needing later.
If the binder is truly unruly, considering setting up a new one with just the materials you know you need and then use the old binder as a reference.
Get your Entire PTO Organized
Finally, set the rest of your PTO up for success too.
One of the fastest ways to get everyone up to speed is to equip your volunteers and leaders with the tools they need for their position.
That way, they’ll hit the ground running and be able to spend time on doing their job rather than wasting time trying to figure things out!
Enter the Success Kit bundle!
Twenty nine tools that address every aspect of your PTO, from position specific guides, to newsletter template and financial management resources, along with print and go flexibility!
Leave nothing to chance by getting what you need before you realize you need it.