Hybrid Meeting Tips for PTA Leaders

By Michael Morgan, VP for Leadership, California State PTA

Just think, two years ago the term “hybrid meeting” was pretty much unknown. The pandemic changed all that and our guidance for PTA leaders continues to evolve as we all gain experience.

PTA bylaws now allow telephone- or video-conference meetings (as long as all members are able to hear each other). Both types of conferencing allow members to cast their votes themselves. PTA bylaws do not allow proxy votes or email voting. During the conference meeting, you can use an electronic voting tool or a google form to collect ballots. The normal rules of holding a meeting still apply to teleconferenced meetings and attendees should be treated and treat others with respect and courtesy.

Here are tips for both setting up, and using conferencing technologies for your meetings whether you have just a portion of members attending remotely — or everyone is.

Getting Started

Find a platform/app for hosting the meeting and set up an account. (Zoom and Google Meet are two popular examples.) Hybrid meetings may require everyone to use a phone or computer with headsets to avoid feedback. Schedule a practice meeting with your executive board before having one with your general association.

Before the Meeting

  • Establish the ground rules for the teleconferencing, video-conferencing, or hybrid meeting.
  • Prepare the agenda, financial reports, minutes from the last association meeting.
  •  As always provide 10 days notice of the meeting. Use a registration link to establish a list of potential attendees. Email the reports, agenda and ground rules for the meeting to the verified members who indicate they will be on the call.
  • Update the membership list and provide the secretary with a copy.
  • Identify an officer to assist with maintaining a speaker list to assist the chair.

During the Meeting

  • Conduct the meeting as you normally would. (Record the time the meeting begins and is adjourned.)
  • Set the call ground rules and verify every participant can hear and be heard.
  • Remind people to “mute” themselves to reduce outside noise (and avoid feedback if the meeting has attendees both together in a room and virtually).
  • Establish the quorum by roll call and identification of individual members.
    • Roll call: First, the secretary completes a roll call of the executive board, then a roll call of other members on the call is completed. Verify which individuals are PTA members. 

Meeting Notice

  • Use your PTA’s social media platforms and website to announce meeting details and include a registration link.
  • Ask  your principal to post the meeting notice on the school website and social media platforms.
  •  Email your membership list directly, announcing the meeting and agenda.
  • Encourage board members and members to share meeting information on their personal pages. 

Translation Tips for Hybrid Meetings

It is very important to make all parents feel included. Determine if the conferencing tool has a translation option and pre-test it. Reach out to see  if someone from the school community can assist with translation. The translator(s) should be on the actual call, translating in real time. Prior to the meeting, make sure the translator is familiar with the agenda and discuss how the translation process will work during the call.

Resources for Local PTAs

Click here for instructions on how to make a Google ballot form, which is helpful for voting during hybrid meetings. 

For a more thorough review of how to run hybrid meetings, and lots of tips for making them successful, download the “Tools and Best Practices to Hold Effective Virtual Meetings” powerpoint, click here. To watch a webinar recording, click here.

Eleven Ways to Draw a Crowd to Your PTA Meetings

By Heather Ippolito, Vice President for Family Engagement

PTA units are always asking our state leaders “How can we get more people to attend our association meetings and events?” The Leadership Services and Family Engagement commissions teamed up and found some really great strategies to help answer this question that you might want to try in the upcoming school year.*

  1. Have snacks.
  2. Partner with the school to offer childcare.
  3. Offer translation and interpretation services so that EVERY parent can participate in your meeting. (Note: You also need to invite them in their home language.)
  4. Play music as they enter to give the room a fun atmosphere — we know PTA meetings aren’t boring, but other parents might have that impression.
  5. Have opportunity drawings for all in attendance. You can give away spirit wear, homework passes, or gift cards that have been donated by local businesses. 
  6. Incorporate a student performance as part of your meeting. Parents love to see their kids sing, dance, show off that poster or project they’ve been working on, etc.
  7. Give a homework pass to every parent who attends. Work with your school principal on this particular incentive to make sure that every teacher is on board with this incentive.
  8. Provide parent education at your meeting. We have seen success with inviting the local library to talk about reading programs, the sheriff to talk about bullying or biking safety, or even asking your principal to share about different issues impacting parents. This is a great chance to work with the organizations in your community since they often offer free programs that families will find useful.
  9. Bring in guest speakers. Your guests can either be entertaining or educational, but oftentimes a new name can draw a large audience.  
  10. Pair your meeting with another event. You could have your meeting right before the Family Math Night on campus or at the bowling alley before Family Bowling Night — either way you are far more likely to draw a crowd.
  11. Finally, really think about the time and location of your meeting. Are you meeting at a time that’s good for you, or a time that is good for your families? Is your meeting location convenient? Many units think the school is the only place for a meeting, but we do have other options. We can meet at a park, the library, a community center, or other places where our parents frequent. Really be intentional in asking our families the best times and places to meet.

*Note: We know that this year may still have a combination of in-person, virtual, and hybrid events and meetings. Many of these ideas can be adaptable to your particular needs.

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Thank you from PTA president Celia Jaffe

Hello PTA friends and friends of California State PTA:

The resilience, dedication, and creativity shown by PTA leaders during this challenging term has been exceptional. Through the pandemic, PTAs continued to play meaningful roles in their local communities and to influence state and national policy-making on behalf of all children. Thanks to each of you for all your efforts. You made a difference during tough times.

I want to thank you for the privilege of serving as your state president these last two years. This organization means the world to me, and I have been honored to represent you.

Carol Green begins her term as California State PTA president this week. We have worked together for many years, and I know Carol will do great things in this role.

Congratulations to Carol and the 2021-23 Board of Directors. All the best to you as you move California State PTA forward.

Yours,

 

 

 

Celia Jaffe
2019-21 President, California State PTA

 

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Leadership TED Talk Inspiration

Sometimes we need a little inspiration to help us get through the day and sometimes we need to give inspiration to others. There are lots of wonderful TED Talks out there with poignant and brief leadership messages. Here are a few of our favorites:

If you have any Ted-type Talk suggestions for us, please share them with communications@capta.org.

Summer PTA To-Do List

  1. The board should have a summer meeting to get to know each other and begin planning for the new term
  2. Make sure that the annual financial report is completed — then file your taxes!
  3. Complete the end-of-year audit and add the new check-signers to the bank account
  4. Select your membership theme for the year, set a membership goal and send out an email through TOTEM to remind folks to join for the 2019-20 school year
  5. Attend trainings offered by your council or district and make plans to attend the Regional Leadership Conferences in August and September
  6. Visit toolkit.capta.org to familiarize yourself with the Toolkit
  7. Review your calendar and budget to make sure they are in line with your plans and goals
  8. Relax and enjoy time with your family so you will be re-charged and ready for an amazing school year!

Get Ready for Summer with Electronic Membership

Get set up with e-membership before summer so members can join while you’re on vacation! If your PTA is not yet using the PTA electronic membership system, you can get set up now so you’ll be ready for the new school year. It’s just five easy steps and can take less than 10 minutes. For more information, visit www.capta.org/electronic-membership-system.

Watch your email inbox for an invitation from TOTEM. Our partners at TOTEM will be sending out invitations to PTA leaders to sign on to the system. You can change your officer positions, manage your online members and access to a variety of customized reports. Accept the invitation and get started right away. Questions? Visit www.capta.org/electronic-membership-system for more information, FAQs, success stories and more.

Bulk upload this year’s members to make sure they receive an automatic renewal message. We are excited to share the new bulk upload feature on TOTEM! Now you can upload all your members into the e-membership system and have one source for all your membership information. You can do it yourself with the Google sheet and FAQs from TOTEM, or for a small fee, TOTEM can set it up for you. All members in the system will receive renewal notices to make joining your PTA easier. This will set you up for a great start in the new year!

Leadership changes are coming soon. Don’t forget – June 1 is the deadline to upload your new PTA leaders. We encourage all local PTAs to upload new leaders into PTAEZ between now and June 1. For those units on TOTEM, please remember to update your leaders in that system as well. It’s as easy as a few clicks of a button.

2019 Legislation Conference Recap

2019 has just begun and the California State PTA Legislation Team is gearing up for a busy season. California State PTA hosted its annual Legislation Conference in Sacramento in January. PTA members came from across the state to learn and advocate. After two jam-packed days, attendees left full of new information and feeling empowered.

Attendees got a chance to see the big PTA picture behind the slogan “every child. one voice“. ONE voice for educating our elected officials the value of increasing school funding… ONE voice speaking loud and clear about the data behind later school start movement… ONE voice about mental health and support services. ONE VOICE for all of California’s children.

Panel discussions at the Legislation Conference highlighted how our low per pupil funding puts California at the bottom of the nation in counselors, health professional, school nurses, learning specialists, librarians and administrators to student ratios. This directly impacts our students and their ability to learn and be socially connected.

First time attendees to the conference realized that they are part of a nationwide organization. Federal advocate Derby Pattengill (President of Ninth District PTA, which serves San Diego and Imperial county) addressed school climate and how it impacts not just students, but the school community overall. He spoke about how to identify issues within school communities and once issues are identified, how to go about working on those issues.

Twenty-Third District PTA (Riverside county) brought 12 students to the conference! After the first day of the conference, these students were engaged and definitely empowered for conversations the next day when they met with legislators and their staff in our State Capitol.

The goal of the Legislation Team was to create an atmosphere where both first-time and experienced attendees all learned something new and left empowered, engaged and inspired. If you missed the conference this year, be sure to talk with your PTA / PTSA to include attending in the budget for next year, and don’t forget to include students… they are our future!

Best Practices for Handling Phishing and Ransomware

Both email-phishing scams and crypto ransomware/malware are increasingly common and can have devastating impacts on businesses and non-profit associations of all sizes. As a non-profit association, PTA can be vulnerable to these types of cyber crimes at all levels and, in fact, we have heard reports of email-phishing scams happening to local leaders.

Email-phishing scams are typically fraudulent email messages appearing to come from legitimate enterprises (e.g., your PTA treasurer or president, your Internet service provider, your bank). These messages usually direct you to a spoofed website or otherwise get you to divulge private information such as bank account information or account passwords. The perpetrators then use this private information to commit identity theft or trick you to wire money.

Ransomware/malware is a virus that installs covertly on the victim’s computer system and encrypts the victim’s files, making them inaccessible, and demands a ransom payment to decrypt them. Often malware is triggered by downloading files or clicking links from untrustworthy sources which appear to be legitimate.

If you get an email from a fellow PTA officer asking to wire funds, do not send money.

Establish communication “backchannels” such as text message or phone calls to verify the authenticity of the request. Additionally, remember to keep your personal and PTA computer systems and firewalls up-to-date to minimize the potential for viruses to inflect your system with malware.

Additional Resources:

PTA Store Holiday Gift Guide

Check out the PTA Store’s special holiday gift shop with new items and old favorites, plus new holiday cards! Beat the crowds and get your holiday shopping done from the comfort of your own home.

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