Plan and Prepare for Your First Association Meeting of the Term

by Leadership Services Commission

Kicking off your PTA year with an association meeting is important and is an opportunity for all your members to be involved.  Your association meeting is the membership meeting and all members should be invited. 

Throughout the year Executive Board members and committee chairs should attend the association meetings to show their support for PTA, respond to questions, and engage members and future leaders. 

Association meetings are different in specific ways from the smaller monthly board meetings that provide, first and foremost, the opportunity for your executive board to plan programs and manage the basic business of your association.

Why Hold PTA Association Meetings?

These meetings are an opportunity to engage PTA members and at these meetings members vote on and make decisions about the programs and budget for the PTA year. 

PTA bylaws require that association meetings be held at least twice per year.  Check your bylaws and standing rules to confirm what is required for your PTA. 

  • PTA bylaws provide guidance regarding the quorum, association, and executive board business. 
  • Standing rules specify current meeting months and days of the week, meeting notice requirements, and when items are referred back to the executive board for a study before association action. 

Meeting and Agenda Planning Tips

Effective association meetings are well planned, welcome everyone’s opinions, abide by majority rule, and foremost, keep the business of the association brief. The president, with the help of Executive Board members, plans and presides at association meetings. Executive Board members provide reports and present motions as recommended by the Executive Board and agreed upon in advance.

At the first association meeting of the year, items to notice and include on the agenda are:

  • Welcome, certify quorum, appoint interim parliamentarian if needed, introductions
  • Minutes (action) of the previous association meeting
  • Financial Reports
    • Treasurer’s Report (presentation) and payment ratifications (action) from the previous meeting to June 30th.
    • Annual Financial Report (presentation) for the previous term.
    • Treasurer’s Report (presentation) and payment ratifications (action) from July 1 to the first meeting
    •  Year End Financial Review (action) for the previous term (1/1-6/30)
  • Calendar and Programs (action) for the upcoming year
  • Budget Adoption and Related Actions
    • Budget Adoption (action), even when approved at the previous association meeting
    •  Release of Budgeted Funds (action) for upcoming expenses
    • Authorizations for upcoming payments (action)
  • If your PTA has only two meetings a year, the nominating committee is elected at this first meeting
  • Welcome and report from Principal or site administrator
  • Vice president and chair reports on upcoming activities, e.g., Annual Historian Report or Reflections promotion
  • Optional – plan for a guest speaker or special program that would be interesting to your whole school community to create engagement with PTA and increase attendance. 

Announce the Meeting 

The list of meeting topics is noticed to members in writing at least 10 days in advance of the meeting using social media and email and/or is posted at school. To expedite the business at the meeting, supporting documents may be shared electronically with members or posted at school with adequate time for member review. 

Meetings may be held virtually or in person at any accessible location. A projected powerpoint presentation will reduce the expense of printing documents.

Whether your meeting is virtual or in person, consider new ways to draw a crowd, and add an activity or ice breaker before or after the meeting. Include refreshments and welcome everyone!

Be Prepared so the Meeting Goes Smoothly

In preparation, Executive Board members should review parliamentary procedure and the motion process and their duties in the Toolkit and Job Descriptions for PTA Leaders. 

  • Be prepared: members may ask for ballot voting (so have ballot supplies on hand). 
  • Remember: it is ok for the president to pause and confer with the parliamentarian or secretary during the meeting.

To expedite the meeting, the president may use the unanimous consent process for noncontroversial motions and/or use a consent agenda. Group consent agenda items according to the vote outcome required, majority or two-thirds. 

It may be helpful for the president and secretary to prepare a detailed agenda script so nothing is forgotten. 

Additional Resources

The California State PTA Toolkit provides practical guidance for conducting meetings:

Our Leaders’ Website is a one-stop resource for local PTA leaders:

You’ll find timely advice and great ideas in these articles on and the California State PTA blog:

Monthly Leadership Call

Bring any and all questions about running your PTA to the Monthly Leadership Call  — for an interactive chat with members of the state’s Leadership Services Commission.

MAY 19, 6PM
This month’s topic is “Newly Elected: Incoming Planning, Roles and Responsibilities”

Click here to register, join the ones that work best for you or register for them all!

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.





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

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

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 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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