Communication Tips for PTA Leaders Over the Holidays and Beyond

by California State PTA Leadership Services Commission

PTA Communications keep your members, school and community informed and engaged. The California State PTA Leadership Services Commission has worked with the state Communications Commission to share tips and best practices to ensure that your PTA doesn’t fall behind on your communication efforts, even when your leaders need a break. These ideas are particularly valuable at times, like the holiday season when your team may be particularly busy or not as focused on school and PTA.


Your PTA can act as the glue that connects your entire school community. Regular communications keep schools and families connected to your PTA. If you consistently post important, helpful information – people will know they can rely on your PTA, and social media algorithms will reward your PTA account with better organic reach. 

Steady communications remind people of your PTAs important role and make sure everyone knows about upcoming meetings and events. And it never hurts to repeat those reminders more than once. Particularly during the holidays, folks are busy, they don’t always see a message the first time. 

Tip: Include meeting/event schedules in the first two weeks of January as everyone returns from winter break and may require extra promotion. Many people do year-long planning in January too.


You can take advantage of tools that let you schedule posts in advance and only require monitoring. For example, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Canva all have native, free scheduling tools to make your job easier. 

Tip: When you schedule ahead, be sure to plan to review comments and posts regularly. 


Some planning ahead and your association-approved calendar, school calendar and community events are the basic ingredients for creating a solid communications calendar that will clarify decisions about what to post and when. Once you have a plan, the PTA leaders in charge of communication can identify dates for releasing messages to members and the larger school community. 

Tip: For announcing association and executive board meeting dates, look to your bylaws. The critical required meeting notice is at least 10 days in advance of the meeting. Mark the meeting dates and the 10-day notice dates on your calendar. Sending out messages on additional dates will boost attendance and your association’s visibility. Messaging can and should occur: 

  • in advance of the 10-day requirement, 
  • 10 days before your meeting date, 
  • at least once or twice during the next ten days, and
  • on the day of the meeting. 

Keep your PTA visible and valuable by communicating about more than meetings – include special events and fundraising in your posts. Fun observances like New Years, Cinco de Mayo, St Patrick’s Day, Valentine’s Day, and Flag Day will gain your PTA attention and goodwill. The same is true for local events of interest to families. Some PTAs chose one predictable day of the week for this kind of update messaging.

Tip: Keep in mind PTAs’ non-commercial and non-partisan policies. Be thoughtful in word choice with your online thanks to sponsors and local elected officials. 

Take advantage of National and California State PTA content.  You’ll find plenty of informative items ready for you to share and retweet directly by looking at the websites and social media channels of the California State PTA and the National PTA.


  • Remember, PTA is nonsectarian – which means not affiliated with a particular religious group. Be mindful and respectful of varied family traditions during winter break and throughout the school year. 
  • Use various student, family, and event photos, including many new faces, from your fall and winter programs (with photo permission releases). 
  • Words in a graphic cannot be translated by online translation services. If the image you’re using has words, you may need to create graphics in multiple languages to connect with everyone.
  • Include descriptive “Alt Text” with all photos posted online (websites, social media, digital fliers) to improve accessibility and search engine optimization.

For more on these topics, attend one of the Communications Commission Monthly Member Calls or their workshops at the annual California State PTA Convention. And check out these Toolkit resources:

Note: External/ links to social media and digital apps were current as of the December 2022 publication date for this blog post. External links can change without notice. We recommend a topic search on the web to find the most current tutorials and information.

Media Literacy: Should it be part of your school’s curriculum?

By Mary Perry, California State PTA Communications Commission

In the era before internet and social media news, we looked to a limited number of media sources (e.g. newspapers and magazines, TV networks, and radio broadcasts) for the facts and information that helped us understand the world. Right or wrong, for the most part we assumed those media were trustworthy. Or at least we all were familiar with the same basic set of facts. 

Young people today cannot make that assumption about their information sources, and neither can we. With hundreds of news sources available online, we as a group rarely share the same understanding of the news or even of basic facts. 

Thanks to cellphones, social media channels, and computers, the internet has become a constant part of how we work, how we play, how we connect with other people, and how we get information about the world. The same electronic media have also become  a constant part of our children’s lives. 

Experts increasingly agree that schools have a role to play in directly teaching young people about how to be literate and responsible consumers of information in this new media world. This blog is the first in a series from California State PTA that will explore how California’s education system and other organizations support teaching media literacy in schools, what more is needed, and how community members can help. 

PTA Leaders Say Media Literacy Should Be Part of Schooling

Leaders in the California State PTA Board of Managers who responded to a recent survey were nearly unanimous in saying it’s important for schools to provide specific instruction to students about media literacy and for adults to improve their media literacy as well.

Media Literacy refers to the abilities to access, analyze, evaluate, and communicate various media messages in a variety of forms. To teach those abilities in the classroom, instruction needs to cover a broad set of skills and dispositions. According to a recent research study by Common Sense Education, students should be “learning how to assess the credibility of online sources, understanding how and why media is produced, and reflecting on their responsibilities as thoughtful media creators and consumers.”

In November, 2021, the California State PTA Communications Commission surveyed our state leaders about the topic of media literacy. We received responses from 53 members of the Board of Managers and Board of Directors.

Three-quarters of those who answered said they agreed or strongly agreed with the statement: “Facts, data, and analysis are playing a diminishing role in our political and civic discourse.”

The respondents also reported on the types of media they personally use to get news. More than 80% said they regularly or always get their news from the internet. Compare that to just a third saying the same about print sources and radio, and about 40% saying they regularly or always use TV news and about 40% saying the same about social media. 

Acknowledging that this was a small survey and may not be generalizable to the state as a whole, their self-reporting on their own media habits provides some insights into how adults could strengthen their own media use of media and set an example for young people. The options on the survey were based on a project from RAND, called Truth Decay, that includes recommended standards for teaching media literacy.

Results of survey completed by CA State PTA Board of Managers, November 2021

Do schools teach media literacy now?

As is true with most questions about curriculum and instruction in California, the first response to that question is “it depends.” School districts, schools, and teachers differ in the importance they put on the topic of media literacy and their capacity to take up this area of instruction. Families also vary in their knowledge and capacity, but they are crucial because of the broad and deep influence they can have on media usage and expectations. 

With all of that said, in coming weeks this blog series will provide you with background and some answers to these three broad questions:

  • What state policies and expert research guide the teaching of media literacy? 
  • What resources are available to support schools, classroom teachers, and families in teaching our young people about media literacy?
  • What do we know about the extent to which this is happening in California schools and steps we can take to make it stronger?

If you, your family or your school has some answers to the media literacy challenge, or other questions you’d like to pose, drop us a line at