How to Incorporate Your Historian’s Work Into Your PTA All Year

By California State PTA Leadership Services Commission

In the bylaws of many PTA/PTSA Units, Councils, and Districts the historian is identified as an elected officer (a member of the executive board). Even though this person has a seat at the table year round, many PTA members don’t know what the Historian does other than collecting volunteer hours. A PTA historian captures, assembles, and preserves the PTA record of activities and achievements, collects and reports volunteer hours, and displays or presents a brief overview of the PTA year at a meeting near the end of the school year.

Below is the information you need to complete your local report now; plus suggestions of how your Historian can partner with other PTA/PTSA leaders and support the work of your organization.

The Annual Historian Report

These reports are submitted by units and councils to district PTAs in May. District PTAs submit the compiled reports to California State PTA by June 1 each year. Volunteer hours are collected and reported to maintain PTA’s federal tax exemption status. As a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, each PTA must receive 1/3 (one-third) of its support from the general public. The recorded hours from volunteers spent for meetings, preparation, travel, PTA events, workshops, convention, etc are proof of this.

You’ll find the Job Description for Historian, additional information, and the fillable Annual Historian Report form in the California State PTA Toolkit.

Suggestions for Year-Round Historian Activities

Your PTA/PTSA Historian can help strengthen engagement and advocacy, promote your organization and celebrate PTA accomplishments. It’s a great idea to showcase your PTA history and the contributions of your volunteer organization year round. Here are some suggestions:

  • Volunteer appreciation event – create a display to generate pride in the volunteers and for the work of the PTA. 
  • To demonstrate impact and strengthen your PTA voice, share your volunteer hours in your advocacy and in grant writing.
  • Set up a display in the school hall or school office with photos of your PTA’s work.
  • Share the history of your PTA at Back to School Night, staff luncheons, and other community events. 
  • Collaborate with the Founders Day Chair to promote PTA History and include the history on your website or social media posts. 
  • Interview past PTA presidents and principals to compare today’s school life with yesterday’s. 
  • Present a ‘mock’ check to your school board to show the dollar value of volunteer hours at the end of the school year.
Here are some helpful forms from your California State PTA Toolkit: 

Annual Historian Report – PTA Unit

Annual Historian Report – PTA Unit (Fillable)

Annual Historian Report – PTA Council

Annual Historian Report – PTA Council (Fiilable)

Annual Historian Report – PTA District

Annual Historian Report – PTA District (Fillable)