When parents, teachers and other school staff members work toward the same goals, great things are sure to happen. That’s why getting parents involved in a school’s Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) is so important. Research shows that when parents participate in their kids’ education, grades, test scores, behavior and attitudes toward school improve. In fact, parents who are involved contribute significantly to student success. Being part of a PTO allows everyone to share ideas and strategies for improving the educational experience.
Since kids and their parents participate in so many activities these days, it can be challenging to get people involved in your school’s PTO. Quite often, parents feel stretched to their limit and don’t think they have time to handle yet another activity.
What are some parent engagement ideas schools can use to get more parents involved with their PTO? Here are a few suggestions.
Parent involvement ideas you can use for your school’s PTO
- Focus on new families. When children are new to a school, whether they are enrolling as a kindergartner or transferring from a different school, getting parents involved in school activities may be easier because they are eager to meet other parents and get a better idea of how the school operates. Create a welcome package for new families that includes important school information printed on an apple-shaped Magnet Clip. Attach the clip to their welcome-to-school paperwork so they can keep it in a convenient place. Add a pad of school-themed sticky notes so parents can jot down upcoming events and other PTO-related notes, including names, phone numbers and email addresses of other parents. Give your welcome package a boost of school spirit when you put it all in a tote that shows off your school’s logo or mascot.
- Extend a personal invitation. Parents and other caregivers may be more inclined to volunteer when they receive a personal invitation to participate. Extend a memorable invitation by giving your prospective PTO member a mug imprinted with your contact information and an invitation for coffee to discuss opportunities for involvement.
- Thank your volunteers. People want to be recognized for the time and talents they share. Tokens of appreciation show people their efforts are not going unheralded or unrewarded. And they might entice others to help, too. Show PTO volunteers the love with something as formal as a certificate in a nice frame or a thumbs-up award. Consider practical and fun rewards as well, like a lunch bag or polo shirt with the school or PTO logo imprinted on it, providing parents with a gift they can use repeatedly.
If your goal is getting parents involved in your school’s PTO, use parent volunteer gifts to demonstrate your appreciation and show them how important a PTO is for the kids, teachers and learning environment.