Section 5: Tools for Success
LEADERSHIP IN YOUR PTA
What. Leadership is learning and practicing skills that engage members of a group to make a commitment. This commitment is time and energy invested to accomplish the goal of the group. In PTA, it is working together with those who share your interest and commitment as an advocate for children.
Why. Children are the future of our communities. The quality of their education and school experiences will determine the future quality of our communities as well as the quality of their individual lives as adults.
Who. Anyone and everyone who is involved and interested in the students in your school can be part of the PTA experience. This includes every member of your PTA board, your committees, your general membership, your school staff and administration, neighbors who know your students, businesses that serve your school families and school, and the extended families of your students.
When. For a few minutes, a few hours, a day at a time, this week, next week, once a month, every year. Every minute you invest in your volunteer work as a leader, you and children will benefit beyond any measure on a clock or a calendar.
- Every time you have a chance or responsibility
- Anytime you are willing to give a little more
- Sometimes when you would rather not
Where. At home, in your neighborhood, at your school, in your business community, in your government (local, state and national).
- Listen to all interests and concerns
- Ask questions to clarify interest and concerns
- Think about what you have learned
- Provide appropriate opportunities for members to discuss issues, propose goals, agree on action and accomplish goals
- Personally invite members to participate, to make a commitment to invest their time and energy
- Lead group to proceed in a business-like manner and always vacate the chair to a chairman protem if it is necessary to enter into debate • Acknowledge efforts and accomplishments openly and generously
- Encourage everyone to practice leadership opportunities and responsibilities
Leadership Development and Training
Access to high-quality, convenient and affordable training is one of the most valuable benefits of your PTA membership – both as a local unit and as an individual. Offerings are open to every PTA member and leader, and are not limited to officers or board members. Send representatives from your PTA every year to every offering – don’t reinvent the wheel and shortchange your members and students by trying to do it on your own. Provide adequate funds in your PTA’s budget to enable multiple representatives to participate on an ongoing basis. Training is a legitimate, appropriate PTA expense. Consider it a mandatory item in your budget.
See Section 1 for descriptions of leadership and development opportunities offered by the Virginia PTA around the state, including:
- Leadership Training Workshops offered at the council and district level.
- Annual Leadership Training offered by the Virginia PTA.
- E-learning courses. Grow in personal leadership skills from anywhere there is an internet connection. Log onto the National PTA website, http://www.pta.org and participate in an e-learning course about such topics as PTA Basics, Grant Writing, Conflict Management, Planning and Goal Setting, Parliamentary Procedure, Running a Successful PTA Program, Effective Advocacy for your Child, Writing and Proposing PTA Resolutions, and Planning Your PTA Year.
Signs of Successful Leadership:
- Well attended board meetings
- Well attended general meetings
- Good parent rapport with your principal and school staff
- Vigorous parent participation program in your school
- Many members ready and willing to accept nominations for office and chairmanships and committee assignments
- Leaders and members willing to try new ideas
- Seasoned and experienced leaders passing on skills and leadership responsibilities and roles of new leader
Words of Leadership Wisdom
The first task an elected chairman or president should undertake is to scout for individuals to accept the next term of office. If a leader is effective in guiding members to accomplish goals that are valued by the group as a whole, this is the best way to insure that the PTA will make a difference in the quality of educational opportunities for all the students in the school it supports.
The challenge of leadership is to maintain the interest and commitment of your PTA members that sustains an energy level to meet the educational and social needs of the children in your school. It takes a group to develop leadership within itself through commitment, caring, and sharing. Responsibility, authority, accomplishment, and decisions must all be appropriately shared and passed on to new leaders to advance evolving goals and needs of the group.