The 2021-2022 school year is upon us and the PTA year is about to get into full swing! By now your PTA has held its summer board retreat and has begun planning a membership campaign. So what's next?
Now it's time to plan your first general membership meeting of the year! While some PTAs may be planning for in person meetings, many will plan for their meeting to be held virtually, which may require a little additional preparation.
If you are new to hosting virtual meetings, get to know your virtual meeting tool’s online support – there should be tips for setup for all the features, including screen sharing, enabling closed captioning, and login requirements.
TIP: Host one or more practice meetings with a few board members ahead of time to get accustomed to the online meeting tools and platform you'll be using.
Whether the PTA meets virtually or in person, the same items of business must be done.
Bonus Tip: Plan on having something additional to offer your members once the business is complete. The first meeting is a great opportunity for your principal to give an update on the start of the year – there are lots of things about this school year that are different! Plan ahead with your principal and make sure you know what format for taking questions they are comfortable with. During the meeting, act as the moderator by setting ground rules and expectations for how members will participate and ask their questions.
Questions about planning your 1st general membership meeting of the year? Contact Council - We are here to help!
Information provided in this blog was originally posted by WSPTA in a 2020 article. Click here to read that article.
PTAs are often the target of scammers. It's important for PTA officers to know the red flags to look out for to help keep your PTA safe.
Some scams may spoof the email of another officer to help make the request look legitimate. But there are things to check for before you reply:
Protecting Your PTA
There are a few things you and your board should be doing in order to protect your PTA:
Money Handling Policy
Does your PTA have a money handling policy? Has your PTA updated their policy to include online banking?
Money handling policies are important to have so that it is very clear how your members and board are handling the funds of the PTA. Having these policies written out, communicated, and followed helps safeguard your PTA from scammers, and mishandled money. They should include how you handle your cash, checks, deposits, withdrawals, any online money access, and more.
Need some help putting your money handling policies together or updating them? Council recently updated their own money handling policies, and it is available for you to use as a sample. Still have questions? Contact Council Treasurer, Serena Xu.
Remember: There is nothing more urgent for your PTA than to follow best practices and policies to ensure you don't get caught in a scam!
Thank you to all that attended our fourth membership meeting of the school year! Each general meeting provides us with an opportunity to connect with our wonderful local PTA leaders and community partners and learn more about the great things happening across our district.
A little bit of fun:
We started off our meeting with a 30 minute “social” time. We invited all to join us to chat with Council and other local PTA leaders. We had great conversations and learned that “Flight” was the most desired superhero power in our fun poll!
Our guest speaker this month was Superintendent Dr. Michelle Reid who graciously answered questions regarding the upcoming shift to hybrid learning in NSD. A great range of questions were asked including but not limited to: how PTAs can support the return to classrooms, the thinking behind the hybrid model, vaccination progress for teachers, when the learning model will be decided for Fall, what hybrid will look like for those 100% remote, and the latest updates on SBAC testing. We thank Dr. Reid for taking the time to join us during such a busy and stressful time.
After approving our minutes from our January general meeting, we moved on to hearing the Treasurer Report for the month of February. We then moved on to learning about our 2021-2022 preliminary budget. Our budget committee worked along with our Treasurer, Liz Nord, to evaluate what our needs would be for next year taking into consideration the decrease in memberships that we had experienced in 2020-2021 possibly continuing next year. A few changes were recommended, such as lowering our income expectations and cutting costs where we could (obtaining a smaller PO Box, lowering line items such as hospitality, grants, office supplies, etc.). We also added line items for our new DEI (Diversity, Equity & Inclusion) position and our new Mental Health committee. The preliminary 2021-2022 budget was approved by a unanimous voice vote.
Next up on the agenda was electing our 2021-2022 officers! Thank you to our hardworking Nominating Committee, Grace Jurado and Liz Nord, for putting together a rocking slate for next year! Liz Nord read the Nominating Report. The self-nomination period was held with no others submitting their names for nomination. The election script was followed with a reading from the WSPTA bylaws. A motion was cast to accept the slate as presented, seconded, and unanimously approved by a voice vote.
Congratulations to our incoming 2021-2022 officers!!
Tracy Jokisch, our Emergency Prep and Safety Co-Chair, gave us an update regarding the bulk purchase of Stop the Bleed kits for district schools. There will most likely be over 500 kits ordered in total, which will include 2 kits per school contributed by Council. In conjunction with the Stop the Bleed effort, Clark Combs, district Eprep specialist on the district Safety and Security team, has been offering virtual ACT training to staff.
Diana Christiansen, our Council Vice President of Advocacy, gave us an update regarding the exceptional attendance by WA State PTA members at this years National PTA Legislative Conference. It was great to see big representation especially at “Hill Day” when attendees met directly with legislators and their staffers. Check out our NPTA LegCon recap here!
We got an update on the Reflections program. 55 pieces were forwarded to the state competition and we were waiting to hear results. (Results now in - check them out here!) The Council Reflections Celebration website was a big hit allowing many families – as well as family and friends around the country! - to experience all the works of art from artists all over the district. Next year’s theme was announced as, “I Will Change the World By…”.
Diana Christiansen and Karrie Palis announced that our Council Recognition Awards Nominations were open. They are looking for nominations for the following awards: Outstanding Educator, Outstanding Advocate, Outstanding Student Advocate, Outstanding Service, Golden Acorn, Honorary Life Membership. They are also looking for members to join their committee to review nominations and select winners.
Melissa Kline gave an update regarding membership. Three (3) PTAs had reached 100% staff membership and, in total, we have reached 4,826 members which is 62% of last year’s number. Melissa also gave an update about the newly formed Mental Health Committee. The committee had their first meeting recently, at which they discussed goals and things they would like to work on which included communicating about mental health awareness programs.
Lauren Lewis, our Council F.A.C.E. (Family and Community Engagement) Chair, talked about the Equity Inventory Committee, which was established to assess where our Council stood in regards to equity and diversity. The goal of the committee was to look at all facets of our operation through a DEI lens and then to make suggestions on areas that we could improve on. Lauren was also working on finding a presentation about how to navigate the US high school system that could be offered to families in our district that speak other languages or who have moved here from other countries. Natalie Campbell, the District Partnerships and Volunteer Coordinator, said that we could partner with her and Elizabeth Meza to bring something like this to the district. It was also noted that through the Council Educational Speaker and Community Events Grants program, Woodin Elementary was offering "Guide to Helping Your Children Succeed in Elementary and Beyond", presented by Sistema Escolar, USA, to district parents.
District and Community Reports:
School Board Director David Cogan presented an update in regards to Northshore School District that included, but was not limited to:
Natalie Campbell, NSD Partnerships and Volunteer Coordinator, reported the following:
Carmin Dalziel of the Northshore Schools Foundation gave updates regarding her organization and their work to support NSD:
Our last guest was Patsy Treece of the Citizens for Northshore Schools group to talk about Bond and Levy support. Her group’s purpose is to give citizens information about the bond and levies on the ballot and to urge them to vote. Bond and levy votes only happen every four years. Bonds need 60% to pass and levies need 50%. She was looking for volunteers to serve the group and was particularly interested in adding diversity so that all voices could be heard. She also asked if PTAs could add a line item to their budgets to help support the Citizens group. Learn more about Citizens for Northshore School here.
Our next membership meeting will be held on Monday, June 7th. We hope to see you there!
Financial Reviews right now can be an overwhelming prospect. As a treasurer, you want to make sure your review committee can access all documents easily and smoothly with the added difficulty of doing the review over a video call. As the review committee you want to stay organized and have a good system for including all committee members in the process. Below you will find pointers for both treasurers and financial review committees.
You want to make sure you are continuing to maintain your physical binder, while putting together a digital binder that allows you to share it with your review committee. There are many different ways to create a digital binder, depending on your skill set. A super simple way is to use a program like Google Drive, Drop Box, or One Drive to create folders to store your digital documents. Below are steps you can take to create a simple and easy to use online binder:
Following these steps will help you to feel confident when handing over your books to be reviewed. Before you hand over your binder, make sure you remove anything you store in it that shouldn’t be shared such as passwords. When it is time for the review, give the entire team access to your digital files. Also, if it is at all possible, give at least one person on your review team viewing access to your financial software.
FINANCIAL REVIEW COMMITTEE
Setting Yourself up for Success:
Financial Review Questions:
For notes on what documents to reference for each individual question check out this helpful document below. Click here to print the PDF of this document.
The annual Financial Review is a requirement of the PTA/PTSA’s insurance. It is also a helpful tool meant to assist the Treasurer and the rest of the Board of Directors in establishing and refining best practices. During a Financial Review, the policies and procedures are being reviewed, and the committee’s feedback is important in providing insight to those policies.
It was great to see so many local PTA leaders in attendance for our 2nd meeting of the 20-21 school year!
The meeting kicked off with a Q and A led by our Superintendent, Dr. Michelle Reid. In addition to mentioning that the current plan with online schooling is to stay the course, she also answered many questions regarding topics such as homework, updates on the NSD curriculum resource web page, communication strategies for teachers and parents and building access for PTA’s. There was also a discussion regarding ideas for the district to provide some morale boosting activities for students and families to help with community building while we are still isolating at home for online learning. Dr. Reid welcomed ideas from the group and will investigate how to best provide some community building activities in the district.
During the Council Business portion of the meeting, the membership elected Grace Jurado, Liz Nord and Jane Chiodo as the 20-21 Nominating Committee. Next on the agenda was a financial report given by Council Treasurer, Liz Nord. Her report included the Treasurer’s Reports for both September and October, presentation of the newly adopted money handling policy and an update regarding the fulfillment of the Standards of Affiliation. Liz noted that any PTA that needs to create or update their current money handling policy is welcome to use the council’s as a template found here.
Lastly, there was an update regarding council goals which involved renaming the goal previously called Leading and Developing our Northshore PTAs and Leaders to Communicating with our Northshore Local PTAs and Leaders. Grace Jurado, Nancy Chamberlain and Melissa Kline worked together to create a new title and verbiage surrounding the elements of the action items in effort to create goals that are concrete and attainable. The membership unanimously voted to update the proposed changes to the council goals as presented.
During this meeting we also heard from Northshore Nourishing Network (NNN) Director Sue Freeman. She shared information and tips for PTAs looking to start a successful food drive for their local units. Sue noted that the Northshore Senior Center needs canned vegetables, tuna and chicken for those looking to donate. It was suggested by a member that coordination for a food drive combined with school supply pick up days or porch pick up to gather food donations. Sue also shared that she has created helpful documents for suggested items to donate as well as how to start a free pantry. Learn more about NNN here.
We then heard from community leaders including School Board Director Jacqueline McGourty, NSD Partnerships and Volunteer Coordinator Natalie Campbell and the Northshore Schools Foundation Executive Director Carmin Dalziel.
Lastly on the agenda was Council updates on Advocacy, Membership and F.A.C.E. as well as an update from our First Vice President, Jane Chiodo, regarding the WSPTA awards and the Speaker and Events Grants.
Council meetings are a great way to reach other PTA leaders and learn about what is happening in the district and PTA. We hope you will join us for our next general membership meeting on Thursday, January 21st!
It was the first meeting of the year, and we were thrilled to (virtually) see over 25 attendees from across the district participate! The membership unanimously elected two new officers to the board: Kimberly Ortiz for the position of Secretary and Diana Christiansen for the position of Vice-President of Advocacy. Thank you to each of them for stepping up to help lead Northshore Council PTSA! In addition to elections, members revised new goals, approved Standing Rules, and voted on an updated budget. Membership Chair, Melissa Kline noted how local PTAs were quite creative in their membership drives this year, ensuring easy, online join options for members to renew their memberships. (Find your PTA/PTSA by clicking here.)
We’re happy to announce the continuation of our Educational Speakers and Community Events Grant Program. Local PTAs are encouraged to apply solo or in collaboration with another local PTA! Deadline for the 2nd round of applications is Nov. 27th.
During this packed meeting, we also had the pleasure of hearing from community leaders, including School Board Director Jacqueline McGourty, NSD Partnerships and Volunteer Coordinator Natalie Campbell, each of whom shared updates and answered questions about recent projects and current initiatives, including exciting news about the ground breaking at the Northshore Concert Hall at Inglemoor High School and the opening of Ruby Bridges Elementary.
Northshore Nourishing Network Director Sue Freeman shared information on the increasing food insecurity facing members of this community. Ms. Freeman has been collaborating with Skyview Middle School PTSA to create a food pantry, and shared a plan to disseminate helpful information for those wishing to donate to foodbanks.
Council meetings are a great way to reach other PTA leaders and learn about what is happening in the district and PTA. We hope you will join us for our next general membership meeting on Monday, November 16th!
This year it's even easier for your PTA/PTSA to pay the yearly Council Program Fee!
On your October Memberplanet invoice you will see a new line for $100 titled ‘Council Program Fees’. This will allow you to pay this fee through automatic deposit at the same time you pay your council membership fees.
A notice explaining more about the yearly fee and the payment process was emailed to local PTA/PTSA Presidents and Treasurers on August 31st. If you did not receive this email, or have any questions about the Council Program Fee, please contact Council Treasurer, Liz Nord.
Join us for ‘Northshore PTAs Connect’ – an online roundtable discussion for PTA/PTSA leaders to ask questions, share ideas and connect with one another.
Offered two times a month—once in the evening (7pm) and once at midday (noon)— this series of roundtable events is designed to support our local PTA/PTSA leaders as we navigate membership, programs and managing our organizations in an uncertain and ever-changing landscape.
Each roundtable event will feature a focus topic, but it is an open discussion and there is always opportunity to ask questions and tackle emerging or ongoing areas of interest or concern.
You may choose to attend the topics or times that work best for you, or attend them all!
We hope to see you there!!!
If you have questions or suggested topics you would like to see addressed in the discussion, please email Council PTSA President, Robin Zaback.
*Topic was changed/updated as of 11/25/2020 to better meet the needs of our PTA Leaders & Community.