PTAs and Coronavirus: Finish Strong
As we spend our final months of the school year still under stay-at-home orders, and our children realize they will not be in a classroom again before fall, it’s easy to lose track of the year-end stuff our PTAs still need to take care of-- the things we have to accomplish as well as all those things that it would be nice to be able to do.
There are two things a PTA must do before the end of the year: approve the budget for next year and elect new officers.
Hopefully by now you have seen the guidelines for holding an election virtually. If not, there are more details in this article on the WSPTA website as well as some resources on our website.
Once you have elected your 2020-21 officers, be sure to email all of your officer information to email@example.com. For each officer (new and returning) they will need:
Budgets: Everyone’s Favorite Topic
We need to look at our budgets differently than we would have two months ago. Depending on if you had a spring fundraiser you could no longer hold and on how many budgeted expenses you no longer have (Field Day is probably giving us all a nice budget buffer this year), you are most likely ending the year with a final bank balance much different than originally expected. With that in mind you should expect fall fundraising efforts to bring in less funds than usual. You may also want to modify some of your fall events to more community-based, lower cost or even virtual events. Look at ways to tweak your expenses for next year to lower them if possible.
If it looks like you will start off the year with a stronger account balance than usual, you may also want to consider increasing scholarship lines since there will probably be more aid requests next year as our state continues to have record unemployment levels. Finally, since economic and health standards are constantly changing in 2020, remember that there will be opportunity over the summer for the new board to make adjustments to the budget if it looks like circumstances will change drastically by the fall. Remember: Budget decisions you make now will not bind you for the whole next year.
Other Stuff (things you don't have to do, but may want to consider)
This week (May 4-8) is Staff Appreciation Week and there have already been a lot of wonderful online thank yous to school and district staff, admin and teachers. Please encourage your families to keep the appreciation going all week long and use the hashtag #ThankATeacher in all appreciation posts. Some suggestions compiled by National PTA include:
Awards: to do or not to do
We have seen lots of debate over whether or not to do awards (Golden Acorn, Outstanding Educator, Outstanding Advocate, etc) this year, and most of the PTAs in our area have decided to do move forward with them. Our recognition ceremonies will definitely look different this year, but there are two big reasons to do award this year: something happy and positive is always a good thing in “emotionally down” times like now, and we are seeing some amazing volunteers stand out with all they are doing to help during this crisis. With so many great options of people to recognize, why not take advantage of it? Plus, the award fees go to the State PTA scholarship fund—a win win situation! Council is looking forward to seeing what kind of creative ways our PTAs will recognize their award recipients this year.
Year-end “Graduation” Celebrations (5th, 8th, 12th grades)
Year-end “Moving On” Celebrations for kids on their last year at their school is another big thing on many PTA minds. By now, most of our high school seniors have received house signs recognizing them as 2020 grads. Some parents have also ordered signs from local sign companies for 8th grade graduates moving up to high school and 5th grade graduates moving up to middle school. If this is not already under way in your school, this is a great thing for PTAs to help coordinate and share the purchase info with your school communities. For more celebratory planning, PTA celebration chairs should meet with school admin to see how you can collaborate on this.
Thank you all for all that you do. I am constantly impressed by the amazing ways I am seeing our Northshore PTAs adapt to this new normal, support their school communities, and keep their kids engaged. I’m sure some of you are already a step ahead of these suggestions, but we wanted to compile some of the key takeaways from our weekly roundtables in one place. We will continue to hold our weekly roundtables on Tuesdays at 12:00 through the end of the school year. If you haven’t joined us yet, please do!
Northshore Council PTSA President
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