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Sample Agenda and Meeting Planner

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(Date of Meeting)
(Meeting Location/Time)

I. Call to Order (on time, quorum met)
The president stands, raps the gavel once and calls the meeting to order.

“The meeting will please come to order.”

The president will review the meeting’s ground rules.

II. Opening Ceremonies
Pledge of Allegiance (if held in public facility).

“___________ will lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance. Will you please rise?”
“Thank you, ____________.”
Optional: Inspirational message, song, other.
“___________will present an inspirational song.”

III. Reading and Approval of Minutes – Action Items
The secretary addresses the chairman and reads the minutes.
(Or with the approval of the group, the minutes may be posted, distributed in advance or assigned to a committee of three or more for approval or correction, especially for the last association meeting.)

“The secretary will read the minutes of the __(date) meeting.”
OR “The minutes are posted at the entrance/were distributed at the door.”

“Are there any corrections?” (Note corrections.)

“The minutes stand approved as read/printed,”
OR “The minutes stand approved as corrected.”

IV. Financial Report. (Treasurer’s Report)
No motion is needed for adoption of the reports.

“___________ will present the Treasurer’s Report.”
“you have heard the report. Are there any questions?”
“The report will be filed for the audit.”

V. Audit Report (semi-annual) (Audit Report, Auditor’s Report) – Action Items
A motion is needed for adoption of this report.

“It has been moved and seconded that the audit report be adopted” Vote.
(Follow the steps of a motion, Parliamentary Procedure)

VI. Presentation of Bills
Since the approval of the budget does not authorize the expenditure of funds, bills must be presented, and their payment voted upon. Bills should be itemized as to amount, whom to pay, and what payment covers. Any association bills authorized and paid by the executive board must be ratified and recorded in the association minutes. Ratified bills should be itemized as to amount, who was paid, and what the payment covers (Payment Authorization/Request for Reimbursement).

“The treasurer (or the person assigned) will read the bills.”
“It has been moved and seconded that we pay the bills. Is there discussion?” Vote.
“It has been moved and seconded that we ratify payment of bills since last meeting” Vote. (Check Request System: Payment Authorization/Request for Reimbursement )
“It has been moved to authorize the Executive board to pay necessary Summer bills up to the budgeted amounts.” Vote.
(Check Request System: Payment Authorization/Request for Reimbursement )
(Follow the steps of a motion, Parliamentary Procedures)

VII. Reading of Communications
Communications are read by the (corresponding) secretary and may be acted upon as read, if action is required.

“The (corresponding) secretary will read the communications.”

VIII. Report of the Executive Board – Action Items
At association meetings a summary report (not the minutes) is read for the information of the members. Recommendations should be voted on one at a time, the secretary moving the adoption of each one.

“The secretary will present the report of the executive board.”
“You have heard the recommendations such as a motion to approve proposed programs (Preliminary Planning);”
to approve the budget (Approving the Budget; Budget Sample).”
to approve fundraising activities (Standards for PTA Fundraising).”
for the president and one additional elected officer to sign the following contract…” (Contracts).
(Follow the steps of a motion, Parliamentary Procedure)
A second is not required when a motion comes from a committee/board. Vote.

IX. Reports of Committees (Officers and chairmen, including the principal, faculty representatives, and student representatives on the secondary level) Bylaw Committee, Library Committee – Action Item, Convention Committee, Fundraising Committee – Action Item President calls for the report of the committee. The person making the report moves the adoption of any recommendations.

“__________ will present the report of the ___________committee.”
“Are there any questions regarding the report?”
“If not, the report will be filed,” or “You have heard the recommendation such as a             motion to release funds up to the budgeted amount for programs through the next             meeting (Preliminary Planning):”
(Follow the steps of a motion. Parliamentary Procedure.) Vote(s).

X. Unfinished Business
The president presents each item of unfinished business as indicated in the minutes. He/she should not ask “Is there any unfinished business?”

“The first item of unfinished business is _________.”
Report of school district acceptance of donated funds, goods, or materials.

XI. New Business
A motion is necessary before discussion and vote on any new business. All proposed business to be considered at the meeting must have been properly noticed to be acted upon. (See bylaws.)

“The first item of new business is ________.”

XII. Program (optional)
The president introduces the chairman to present the program.

“_________ will present the program.”
“Madame/Mister President, this concludes the program.”

XIII. Announcements
Date of the next meeting and important activities should be announced. If there is a social time following the meeting, this should be announced.

“The next meeting will be __________.”
“Please join us for refreshments.”

XIV. Adjournment    
No motion is necessary to adjourn. President raps the gavel once.

“The meeting is adjourned.”

This agenda is a guide only, adaptable to meet unit’s needs. The agenda should be made in triplicate. Give copies to the (recording) secretary and to the parliamentarian. Distribute or post for the membership, the proposed budget and proposed annual programs with the agenda.

A newly-elected president may want to write everything out in detail. Check off each item as it is completed and nothing will be forgotten. The presiding officer stands while conducting business and sits (unless unable to be seen by the audience) while others are participating.

The Agenda

The president is responsible for conducting meetings effectively. A delicate balance is often required to follow the agenda and remain sensitive to members’ needs (Sample Agenda and Meeting Planner ).

“Model” agendas are available as resources, but the agenda is determined by the president. Be creative and plan it to achieve an orderly process for conducting the meeting.

The president should consult with officers and committee chairmen before the agenda is prepared to determine which reports need to be made (Association Meetings). The (corresponding) secretary distributes the agenda in writing to the membership in accordance with the bylaws, a minimum of ten (10) days prior to the meeting. Written notice must include the date, time, location, and proposed business to be considered at the meeting. Written notice for proposed bylaw amendments and election of officers must be given at least thirty (30) days in advance.

A PTA meeting should be managed in a manner that allows the business of the organization to be completed in a speedy and effective way.

agenda: written outline specifying the order of items to be addressed in a meeting.

Table of Contents

Recommended Actions

Prepare a needs assessment worksheet including the name of the PTA, the school, and the identified concern in appropriate places (Needs Assessment Worksheet).

Determine who is to receive the needs assessment form, how it is to be distributed and the due date for the return. Determine method of follow-up.

Survey appropriate agencies to obtain statistics on the identified concern. This can be done by making personal contacts or by sending a cover letter and the needs assessment form to some or all of the people and agencies listed below.

  • School personnel;
  • Private and church-related programs;
  • Chamber of Commerce and major employers;
  • Local, county, state, federal departments of health, education, probation and social services;
  • Libraries;
  • Professional and volunteer agencies; and
  • Community organizations.

Obtain statistics reflecting the community’s ethnic and socioeconomic background. Information may be obtained from the school district office and will be necessary if the PTA will apply for a grant to fund this project.

Evaluate information received. Review all data and compile the responses to the questions on the needs assessment form. Determine whether the school and community concur with the identified concern and believe that a problem exists.

If it is determined that a problem exists, the information gathered will be a basis for the formulation of a community action plan. If it is determined that a problem does not exist or is not of concern to the school and community, it is best not to invest time and money in seeking solutions.

Prepare a final report that includes the following information:

  • Reason for the study;
  • Statistics that note the numbers by age, socio-economic status, ethnic background, or religious affiliation;
  • Community responses;
  • Professional resource people interviewed and their responses;
  • Other resources used, such as periodicals, books, films, and surveys; and
  • Findings that indicate whether a problem exists that requires further action.

As a courtesy, distribute the report to those who participated in the survey. It will compensate them for their cooperation and will raise the level of awareness within the community.

Use the report as a tool in developing and implementing a plan of action. A Sample Agenda for Needs Assessment (Fig. P-2) for a meeting to discuss the findings follows.

SAMPLE AGENDA FOR NEEDS ASSESSMENT

CHAIRMAN
Welcome
Introduction of facilitator, recorder, secretary, group members (invited participants)
Explain roles of those introduced

FACILITATOR
Facilitator conducts balance of meeting, and chairman becomes a group member.

Discuss needs assessment

Define the problem

  1. brainstorm ideas
  2. prioritize ideas
  3. develop problem statement(s)

Develop solutions

  1. brainstorm ideas
  2. prioritize ideas
  3. develop solution statement(s)

Develop a tentative action plan

  1. brainstorm ideas
  2. prioritize ideas
  3. examine possible obstacles to plan implementation
  4. develop ways to remove any obstacles OR develop alternative plans

Develop final action plan that includes

  1. all components (parts of the plan)
  2. individual assignments
  3. time frame
  4. budget needs
  5. evaluation method
  6. date for final evaluation

If unable to complete the agenda in the allotted time, set date, time and place for another meeting. At the next meeting, review any statements agreed to at the prior meeting and complete the rest of the agenda. Allow time for discussion of additional information obtained between meetings.

Figure P-2

President

Serving as president of a PTA includes the responsibility to lead that PTA toward specific goals chosen by its members. The goals must be consistent with the Purposes and basic policies of the PTA. The president is the presiding officer and the official representative of the association.

Throughout the year, mailings will be sent from the California State PTA and National PTA that contain important material to assist the unit. Distribute and discuss these materials with the appropriate officers, chairmen and membership when appropriate.

PTA presidents should encourage and model legislative advocacy.

For PTA training, counseling, or information, contact the council or district PTA president.

All written materials produced by PTA (e.g., newsletters, fliers, website postings, and print or electronic notices) are to be cleared with the PTA president and school principal before publishing. The principal is responsible for the accuracy of school information and compliance with the State Education Code and school district policy. The PTA president is responsible for the accuracy of PTA information and compliance with PTA policies.

Prior to Taking Office

To ensure a successful term of office, certain responsibilities begin as soon as new officers are elected.

The president-elect should confer with the school principal.

Call meetings as necessary of the board-elect (elected officers and principal) soon after election to ratify appointed officers, fill any vacant offices, and make plans for the coming year. After appointed officers are ratified, they become part of the board-elect.

Hold brainstorming session(s) with the board-elect to establish unit goals. Review unit bylaws, past unit activities, become familiar with National PTA and California State PTA goals, set realistic goals, and prioritize projects. Evaluate current chairman positions and decide which are needed. Ask for suggestions of people to fill chairmanships.

Start recruiting chairmen and committee members. Strive for a balance of experienced and new members, keeping in mind that all areas of the community should be represented. Select first those whose work begins immediately: program, budget and finance, and membership. If the standing rules or bylaws designate some of these duties to the vice president(s) or treasurer, appoint additional members to their respective committees. A special meeting of the board-elect may be called to ratify the appointment of all chairmen, so they can begin their activities. You may also do this at the first executive board meeting when the term begins.

Become familiar with the duties of each chairman by reviewing the California State PTA Toolkit. Share job descriptions and materials as noted with the chairmen and help them to secure procedure books and materials from their predecessors.

Names and addresses of additional executive board members should be sent to council and/or district PTA for their respective directories.

Attend workshops offered by the council or district PTA and urge incoming board members to attend.

The president-elect is one of the unit’s delegates to the California State PTA convention.

Attend the convention orientation meeting held by the district PTA and study materials in order to be a knowledgeable delegate. Be sure to ask the current president for all information regarding convention (State Convention).

Prior to taking office, request the retiring president’s procedure book and review it and all material received from previous president.

Coordinate with treasurer-elect to have the signature cards for bank accounts updated with new officers and submitted to the bank at the beginning of the new term.

During Term of Office

Be sure a signed facilities use permit is on file, if required by the school district. A Hold Harmless Agreement means that the signer assumes total liability for a facility while the signer is using it. Many school district Facility Use Permits include a Hold Harmless Agreement, which, if signed, would mean that the PTA assumes the total liability for that facility during the PTA’s usage, whether the cause of an injury or accident is due to anything under the control of the PTA or not. If the school district requires the PTA to sign a Hold Harmless Agreement for use of school premises, the PTA should contact the California State PTA insurance broker. If directed by the insurance broker to sign a Facilities Use Permit Addendum, refer to the Toolkit (PTA Use of School Facilities).

Appoint a committee to review and/or revise the bylaws.

Work with committees in charge of activities scheduled before school begins, such as student registration and welcome for teachers, new students, and parents.

Meet with the room representative coordinator and principal to plan an orientation meeting for room representatives and/or grade level representatives.

Confer with officers and chairmen regarding plans for the year and progress toward set goals.

Prepare a master calendar that includes executive board meetings, association meetings, PTA special events, and president/principal meetings.

Order PTA materials helpful to officers/chairmen in fulfilling their responsibilities. This is a reimbursable PTA expense.

If possible, obtain a subscription for the principal to PTA in California, the official newsletter of the California State PTA, and Our Children, National PTA magazine. Promote PTA officer/chairmen use of the PTA websites: www.capta.org and www.pta.org.

The California State PTA Toolkit is included in the service mailing. Membership enrollment may be planned before the service mailing is received. Arrange to obtain membership envelopes and cards according to procedure of the council or district PTA. The PTA may print its own envelopes but must use the membership cards provided.

Ensure membership enrollment activities are approved by the principal and do not interfere with school activities.

Membership enrollment is ongoing, but a new membership campaign and outreach activities for the upcoming year should be planned as soon as officers are elected.

All members must receive a membership card with the October 31 expiration date.

Coordinate with the treasurer to schedule a budget committee meeting with the principal and officers (treasurer, program chairman, and fundraising chairman) whose input to the budget is important. Verify that programs and fundraising activities comply with insurance guidelines.

Have the proposed budget, including programs, fundraisers, California State PTA convention, and other plans presented to the executive board.

The association must approve the proposed budget, including programs, fundraisers, and other plans before implementation (which includes the signing of contracts). A motion for each fundraiser, including how the money will be used (books for the library, etc.), must be approved by the association. This should be done at the first association meeting of the new term (The Agenda; Sample Agenda, Fig. R-2).

It is the responsibility of the president and unit delegates to attend the council meetings (if in council) or district PTA meetings (if not in council). Check with your council (if in council) and district PTA for meetings or training programs that may be held throughout the year.

The executive board fills any vacant offices and ratifies additional chairmen and committee members before the school term starts.

Remind the treasurer to send the per capita portion of dues for council (if in council), district, state, and National PTA, through the channels each month with member names and addresses; to submit insurance premiums by council, if in council, and the district PTA due date and to prepare and submit the mandatory Workers’ Compensation Annual Payroll Report through channels by the due date (Financial Officers’ Reports and Forms).

Remind the treasurer to schedule audits of the financial books twice a year (The PTA Audit) according to the months designated in the bylaws and to provide a copy of the Annual Financial Report to the council, if in council, and district PTA (Annual Financial Report).

Work with the program committee to complete plans for Founders Day, typically celebrated in February. Include an opportunity to collect the Founders Day Freewill Offering in the program. Remind the treasurer to remit any funds collected promptly to council or district PTA.

Appoint an award committee to select local recipient(s) for award(s) (Awards). Be sure a motion is made to authorize the purchase of Honorary Service Awards and emblems, to be ordered from the state office, in time for the presentation. Allow up to two weeks for delivery (Honorary Service Award [HSA] Program).

Forward any proposed resolutions for the California State PTA convention in time for council or district PTA action (Convention Resolution Process).

Review the California State PTA convention registration information when received. Prepare convention pre-registration and housing materials as instructed by council (if in council) or district PTA.

Prepare for Association Meetings

Check with program and hospitality chairmen about arrangements.

Work with the publications, public relations, and room representative coordinators on meeting notices, publicity, and parent contacts.

Be sure the year’s proposed program and budget, including all programs and fundraisers, is presented for adoption at the first fall association meeting (Budgeting and Fundraising).

Prepare the agenda in advance of the meeting and provide copies to the parliamentarian and secretary (The Agenda; Sample Agenda Fig. R-2).

Provide written notice to the membership at least ten days prior to the meeting. The written notice must include the date, time, location, and proposed business to be considered at the meeting.

Check the bylaws for the procedures to elect the nominating committee and include that election on the appropriate month’s agenda.

Check the bylaws for the meeting designated for the election of officers, provide the required thirty (30) days’ written notice of the election to the membership, and conduct election.

Conduct election of delegate(s) to the California State PTA convention. The number of delegates is determined by unit membership. Elect an alternate for each delegate (State Convention).

End of Term

Submit a roster that includes the name, title, and contact information for the new officers to council or district PTA by the due date. For presidents, contact information should be personal mailing address.

Give helpful materials to the president-elect immediately following the election (Procedure Book).

Work with the president-elect to plan the installation of new officers.

Invite president-elect to attend meetings of council or district PTA and meetings of community groups.

Continue president’s responsibilities until the date in the association bylaws the new officers assume office. Encourage cooperation and sharing of materials between outgoing and incoming board members.

Work with the historian to compile the Annual Historian Report and mail this report by the council or district PTA due date (Annual Unit Historian Reports).

At the last association meeting of the school year, a motion should be made authorizing the executive board to pay necessary summer bills within the limits established in the budget and the bylaws. A motion also may be made to appoint a committee to read the minutes of the last association meeting of the year and report at the next association meeting.

See that outstanding bills have been paid, committee reports have been filed, projects have been completed, and financial books are scheduled for audit. Be certain that any correspondence, including thank you notes and acknowledgments, have been sent.

When the term as president is completed, stay involved, but not in charge.

Council President’s Responsibilities

The council president is an elected officer and serves as a vital link between the district PTA and the member units.

The responsibilities and duties of the council president are substantially similar to those of the unit president. Please review “Unit President’s Responsibilities” above, in addition to the tasks listed below.

Prior to Beginning of Term

Meet with liaison from member school districts and/or superintendent’s(s’) office(s).

Request agenda time to be introduced at a meeting of the school district principals.

Prepare an overview of the council and goals for the upcoming year.

Meet with council program planning and budget committees.

Work with the other incoming council officers to prepare the council calendar for the upcoming year and prepare any required facility use forms. A council may meet in a central school district location or may rotate the council meetings among the member units’ sites.

Determine if names and addresses of newly-elected council officers have been sent to the district PTA by the district due date for forwarding to California State PTA and National PTA. If this has not been accomplished, complete the list and mail immediately. All materials mailed from California State PTA and National PTA will be addressed to the council president, who is responsible for sharing them with the appropriate council officers and chairmen.

Determine if names and addresses of newly-elected officers for PTA units within the council have been sent to the district PTA by the due date for forwarding to the California State PTA and the National PTA.

Bylaws stipulate that the council president-elect shall be one of the PTA council’s delegates to California State PTA convention, usually held in May. Attend the district PTA convention orientation meeting and study materials to be an informed and knowledgeable delegate. Be sure to ask for all information regarding convention (State Convention).

Attend workshops offered by the district PTA and urge incoming board members to attend. Notify incoming unit officers of the workshops scheduled.

Coordinate with the council treasurer-elect to have the signature cards for the council’s bank accounts updated with the new officers.

Encourage and model legislative activity.

Ongoing

Determine procedure with council membership chairman for receiving membership cards from district PTA and review distribution procedure to member units.

Prepare meeting agendas (check with the council secretary and/or minutes for any unfinished business to be included). Provide copies for the parliamentarian and secretary, and provide notice to the executive board and member units. Written notice must include the date, time, location and proposed business to be considered at the meeting.

Attend all meetings of the district PTA as the council representative.

Review service mailings received from the California State PTA and National PTA promptly.

Notify the member units of the cost of insurance premiums for general liability, directors and officers liability, and Workers’ Compensation as soon as received from the district PTA. Be alert for the due date to the district PTA and coordinate the council due date with the council financial secretary and treasurer.

Be alert for all due dates that affect the member units. Set reasonable due dates for items to reach the council and to be processed and forwarded to the district PTA (List of Due Dates, Introduction).

Plan workshops for the member units. Ask for any needed assistance from the district PTA officers.

Confer with program chairman to complete plans for Founders Day.

Remind member units of March due date for final remittance of per capita dues through channels. Keep them informed of council and district due dates.

Review bylaws with council parliamentarian for any needed changes and appoint a committee to assist.

Conduct election of delegates to California State PTA convention at least 30 days prior to convention. Each council is entitled to send two delegates. Elect an alternate for each delegate.

Prepare convention pre-registration and housing materials. Notify council delegates of convention orientation date scheduled by district PTA.

Work with council historian to compile Annual Historian Report and mail report to meet district PTA due date. Be available to provide assistance to member units in completing the form by the due date.

Complete Annual Financial Report to meet district PTA due date as required.

District PTA President’s Responsibilities

The district PTA president is an elected officer and serves as a vital link between the California State PTA and the district PTA.

The responsibilities and duties of the district PTA president are substantially similar to those of the unit president. Please review “Unit President’s Responsibilities” above in addition to the following tasks.

Prior to Beginning the Term

Bylaws stipulate that the district PTA president shall represent the district PTA at meetings of the California State PTA Board of Managers.

Meet the liaisons from the county superintendent’s office (or offices, if district PTA area covers more than one county).

Request agenda time to be introduced at county school board meetings.

Hold a district PTA orientation for all district PTA officers and chairmen.

Work with incoming district PTA officers to prepare the district PTA calendar for the upcoming year and prepare any required facility use forms. A district PTA may meet in a central school district location, or the county office of education, or it may rotate district meetings among the member councils’ or units’ sites.

Attend the California State PTA convention and your district PTA’s workshops and urge incoming board members to attend. Notify incoming council and out-of-council unit officers of the workshops scheduled.

Review procedures and/or changes with district PTA office manager/staff, if any.

Provide orientation for any new officers or chairmen.

Ongoing

Attend all California State PTA Board of Managers meetings and report information back to appropriate district PTA officers and chairmen and member councils and units.

Prepare written district PTA report for the California State PTA Board of Managers meetings and submit to the Leadership Vice President by due date.

Give an oral report to the California State PTA Board of Managers, as assigned.

Determine who will represent the district PTA at meetings of allied agencies and coalitions.

Be alert for all due dates that affect unit, council, and district PTAs (List of Due Dates, Introduction section).

Serve as liaison for district PTA to California State PTA.

Assist with workshops and training for member councils and units.

Delegate district PTA responsibilities, including the organization of new units, to appropriate officers and chairmen.

Handle conflict situations promptly (Conflict Management).

Review all district PTA communications, including press releases, newsletters, website postings, and print or electronic notices, prior to publication, printing and mailing (Tips for Promoting the PTA).

Notify the member council and/or units of the amount of insurance premiums for general liability, directors and officers liability, and Workers’ Compensation as soon as received from the California State PTA. Set a due date with the district PTA financial secretary and treasurer (Financial Officers’ Reports and Forms).

Distribute convention pre-registration and housing materials to unit, council, and district PTA members. Notify district PTA and out-of-council unit delegates of convention orientation date (State Convention).

Work with appropriate chairmen to plan Founders Day events.

Verify units and councils are in good standing and sign California State PTA cover pages for California State PTA Unit Spotlight Award Program.

Remind member councils and units of March 31 due date for final remittance of per capita dues through channels (Membership Dues; Unit Remittance Form).

Conduct election of delegates to California State PTA convention at least 30 days prior to convention. Each district PTA is entitled to send three delegates in addition to the district PTA president. Elect an alternate for each delegate.

Confer with district PTA historian to compile the district PTA Annual Historian Report. Be available to provide assistance to member councils and units in completing the form by the due date (Annual Unit Historian Report).

Interview district PTA applicants for the position of California State PTA Board of Managers student representative (Student State Board Members).

End of Term

Invite president-elect to attend meeting of district PTA and meetings of community groups.

Schedule a time to introduce the incoming district PTA president to the county superinten­dent(s).

Be sure outstanding bills have been paid, committee reports have been filed, projects have been completed and evaluated, the Annual Financial Report is complete, and financial books are scheduled for audit.

Conducting PTA Meetings

When planning a meeting, consider the goal of the meeting and how the meeting can be structured to accomplish that goal. The president and the executive board plan the meeting ahead of time:

  • Prepare the agenda and distribute written notice to members, as required (The Agenda; Sample Agenda).
  • Make the necessary preparations.
  • Attend the meeting to demonstrate their commitment.
  • Create a way to evaluate the meeting to improve future meetings.
  • Productive meetings include information, instruction, and/or inspiration. When developing a program, keep these three “I’s” in mind. The content will meet the group’s needs and provide benefits for participants, their children, school staff, or the community.
  • Always keep meetings as brief as possible.
  • Conduct committee work in committee well before the meeting. Have chairmen provide written reports unless action is required by the association.
  • Give members an opportunity to participate in the decision making.
  • Streamline minutes and financial reports. Duplicate and distribute or post, wherever possible.

A National PTA parent survey found the top three things parents say PTA does best.

• PTA is effective in improving my child’s education.
• PTA works to make schools safer for children.
• PTA has positive impact for all children, not just my own.

Begin and end on time!

When conducting business at the meeting, be aware of which individuals are voting members. The privilege of making motions, debating, and voting is limited to eligible members. Eligible members are those whose dues are paid and have been members for at least the previous 30 days. Only eligible voting members count toward the quorum. It is the responsibility of the secretary to have an updated membership list.

You may consider study groups, grade-level gatherings, special information sessions, or work parties (e.g., to prepare materials). The most important consideration is whether or not the planned meeting will increase involvement in the organization and ultimately serve the goals of the PTA.

Meetings must be held to vote on issues. Voting by proxy is prohibited. This means no absentee voting or voting by mail, email, or phone.

Voting member: To be eligible to vote, a member must have paid annual per capita dues and been a member of the association for at least 30 days.

A quorum is specified in the bylaws and is the minimum number of qualified voting members that must be present at a meeting to legally conduct business.

Tips for Chairing a Meeting

The attitude of the president sets the tone for accepting everyone at the meeting. Attitude “messages” are sent in nonverbal ways:

  • How the president stands and holds his/her head;
  • The tone of voice used; and
  • Facial expressions and gestures.

Encourage PTA board members to scatter among the audience.
Look at everyone, not just those who are known to you or who are friends.
Keep a calm voice, even when being questioned or challenged.
Face straight ahead and make sure not to turn away from any part of the audience.
Be careful using humor. What one person may think is funny might offend another. Even innocent teasing between friends might be overheard by others and misunderstood.

Meetings

In both schools and communities, PTA volunteers are recognized as leaders and advocates. PTA includes an ever-changing set of volunteers, and developing leadership skills is an important step toward creating successful activities and programs and managing the business needs of the PTA.

For officers, chairmen, and program coordinators, the PTA provides opportunities for both students and adults to become effective leaders. Within this section, you will find tools designed to train new PTA leaders to serve effectively as officers and chairmen.

Association Meetings
Program Planning
Announcements and Materials
Conducting PTA Meetings
Parliamentary Procedure
Eight Steps to Making a Motion
Amendments
The Agenda
Evaluation

Attending Convention and Conferences
State Convention
National Convention
Outside Conferences

Figure
Sample Agenda and Meeting Planner

Communicate with Your Elected Officials

Promote legislative advocacy among fellow PTA members by encouraging them to build relationships with state and federal representatives. Begin by identifying the State Senator, Assembly member and Member of Congress who represent your area. Find out more about legislators and their particular areas of interest by visiting their websites; individual websites can be accessed at www.senate.ca.gov or www.assembly.ca.gov, www.house.gov or www.senate.gov.

For local issues, identify the appropriate school board members, city council members, county supervisors and/or county school board representatives that you will need to reach. Contact information may be found in your local telephone directory or on the websites for each local government body.

Visit Your Legislators

Make an appointment to visit your state and federal legislative representatives at least once per year. Call their district offices to find out when they will be available; many state legislators spend Fridays in their district offices. Arrange for a group of PTA members to visit and share information about what is important to students and parents in your area; include students when they are available.

When visiting your elected representative, take the following steps:

  • Schedule an appointment or, if the elected representative is unavailable, arrange a meeting with the aide handling the issue. When making the appointment, specify how much time will be needed.
  • Draft an agenda and be sure to list the issue(s) the PTA wants to discuss. If PTA members are visiting as a group, assign each person a role. For example, one person can open the meeting, another person can be the recorder, someone else can focus the conversation back to the PTA agenda when necessary, and another person can leave literature.
  • Arrive on time for the meeting. Have the group meet together immediately prior to the meeting and then go in together. Once in the meeting, immediately identify yourself and the PTA represented. During the introduction, state the issue(s) of concern. Keep the time frame in mind during the meeting.
  • Be prepared to educate the legislator or aide about PTA’s history and positions. Be open to questions. If you don’t know the answer, politely explain that you will do some additional research and get back to them. Never give false information or assumptions. Personal credibility and the credibility of PTA are on the line.
  • Ask how the legislator will vote on the issue. If the legislator is unable to make a commitment, tactfully state that you would like to know, and that you are willing to call at a later time to learn the decision. If the response is positive, respond, “We appreciate your support.” If the response is negative, ask, “What are your specific objections?”
  • Develop a positive relationship with elected representatives and their staff members. Communication should be a continuing exchange, not sporadic contact. A solid relationship with legislators and their staff members is an important step in building credibility and power for the PTA.

Write Letters

Letters alert elected representatives to PTA’s views. A letter-writing campaign also educates PTA members about the issues and publicizes the association. Begin the campaign by identifying a coordinator, perhaps the legislation chairman or PTA president.

Determine the message. Have sample messages available to members, as well as fact sheets with the PTA position on the issue. When authorized to write on behalf of the PTA, use PTA letterhead. State the case succinctly and accurately, citing the following:

  • Issue and background facts;
  • PTA’s position, and what PTA wants to happen (e.g., change in regulations, new legislation);
  • Number of PTA members the writer represents; and
  • Your involvement with the PTA and, when applicable, your PTA title (e.g., unit, council or district PTA president).
  • Address the letter with proper titles; and
  • Sign your full name and give your complete address, including telephone number.

Send copies of the letter to other contacts, such as key legislative committee and subcommittee members as well as the California State PTA director of legislation and, when writing about issues before Congress, to the National PTA Office of Governmental Relations.

It may also be helpful, in some cases, to send letters to the editors of local newspapers to communicate the PTA position on a particular issue to the broader community. The letter should be submitted on PTA letterhead and signed by the president or legislation chair of the unit, council or district PTA initiating the action.

Addresses of California’s State and National Elected Officials
The Honorable (name)
Governor, State of California
State Capitol
Sacramento, CA 95814

The Honorable (name)
California State Senate
State Capitol
Sacramento, CA 95814

The Honorable (name)
California State Assembly
State Capitol
Sacramento, CA 95814

The Honorable (name)
United States Senator
Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable (name)
United States House of Representatives
House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

For more tips see Organizing a Letter-Writing Campaign, Fig. A-1

Faxes

For messages that are time sensitive, faxes are a quick, effective method for making a PTA position known in writing. Most legislative offices have publicly listed fax numbers. Refer to “Write Letters” when composing the fax.

Electronic Mail (email)

Email is another way to communicate PTA positions on legislation. Some elected representatives may not accept email attachments. Check with their offices about their email preferences before encouraging your members to email a particular representative. Refer to “Write Letters” when composing email.

Telephone

Phone calls are also an effective communication strategy, particularly when timing is critical. When an elected representative’s support or vote is needed within the next 48 hours, a phone call to the legislator may be the best method of communication. Use the phone to communicate PTA views. Phone the elected representative’s district or Capitol office and request to speak with the member or an aide. Be prepared to:

  • State your name and identify your PTA.
  • Identify the bill number or the issue.
  • State that you are from the legislator’s district, and explain the PTA position on the issue.
  • Ask how the legislator expects to vote.
  • Urge the legislator to vote for the PTA position.

Reaching Your Members

PTA members may receive the California State PTA Legislative Alerts by signing up to receive them at capta.org.

Email distribution lists and telephone trees are effective ways to mobilize many people on a particular issue. When the state president and/or the director of legislation receive information on an important issue, they may pass it on to local legislation chairmen who, in turn, can reach other PTA members in their communities.

Through the use of email distribution lists and telephone trees, within a few hours of a legislative alert or call to action, literally hundreds of letters, postcards, phone calls, faxes or email messages can be on their way to appropriate legislators.

Letters or faxes are best when time permits, but often we must react fast enough for legislators to feel the impact of the PTA lobby within hours.

PTA email distribution lists and telephone trees must only be used to share adopted PTA positions and must never be used in candidate elections.

Establishing an Email Distribution List or Telephone Tree

Email Distribution List – Collect email addresses from members within your PTA who are willing to act. Use these addresses to create an email distribution list. One message can be sent to the entire list, and members can forward it on accordingly. Provide a method for subscribers to unsubscribe from future email alerts if they choose. The legislation chairman and the PTA president are responsible for email accuracy and content. Email legislative alerts or calls to action sent by National PTA or California State PTA can be forwarded without local approval. PTA presidents must approve locally generated legislative emails before distribution to local members.

Telephone Tree – Create a list of names and phone numbers of PTA members within your local area who are willing to take action.

Establish the calling sequence. Select “lead” callers. A lead caller should make no more than five calls.

Last caller in sequence should return a call to a “lead” caller.

If there is no answer after several tries, the caller should go on to next in sequence.

Do not count on answering machines to deliver messages in a timely manner.

Distribute a copy of the entire telephone tree to all involved. Duplicate and distribute legislation materials from California State PTA, the council (if in council) and district PTA.

Tips on Effective Communication Using Email Distribution Lists and Telephone Trees

Have a system to check the effectiveness of email distribution list or telephone tree communications. Is the list or tree functioning efficiently? Are there problems needing adjustment?

Send emails or make your calls to legislators before using your email distribution list or activating the telephone tree. Your personal experience in communicating the message will alert you to any problems with the way you are presenting the message.

Make a list of “talking points,” messages you want your PTA members to communicate to their legislators. Include bill number, author, subject matter, location of bill in the legislative process and the PTA position.

It is important that the same message is delivered each time.

By using an email distribution list or activating a telephone tree, the PTA unit can dramatically increase the number of contacts with legislators. It is important they hear from PTA. Legislators need to be reminded about priority issues.

Update email distribution list addresses and telephone tree phone numbers frequently. Explore ways to expand your email list.

PTAs are encouraged to explore other media communication tools such as texting, social networking sites or blogging, considering PTA publication guidelines.

Follow-up

Following action on a bill, send the legislator your thanks via email, postal service or fax if the vote or action was favorable, or a polite expression of disappointment if the legislator voted against the PTA position. Appreciation can be expressed in other, more public ways as well, such as writing letters to the editor of the local paper. Keep the PTA name visible.

Job Description for Legislative Advocacy Chairman

Download the Legislative Advocacy Chairman Job Description

PTA is a child advocacy association. Its legislative mission is to speak on behalf of all children and youth at the local, state and federal levels. One of the Purposes of PTA is “to secure adequate laws for the care and protection of children and youth.” PTA promotes and encourages legislative advocacy for the education and welfare of all children and youth.

Role of PTA in Legislation

As local officers of the largest grassroots child advocacy organization in the state, PTA legislative advocacy chairs are responsible for demonstrating leadership on children’s issues at the local level by educating PTA members, community members and elected officials about PTA’s issues of concern and legislative priorities and goals.

California State PTA takes positions on issues/legislation based on position statements in the California State PTA Toolkit, California State PTA resolutions, California State PTA Legislation Platform and National PTA positions and resolutions.

The unit, council or district legislative chair provides PTA members with information about PTA positions on current legislation and issues.

What to Do

In order to ensure your success, regardless of your level of legislative experience, we have broken out the “What To Do” sections by “Newcomer” “Continuing” and “Advanced.” So, please go to the section that best fits you and remember to incorporate the Newcomer and Continuing actions even when you’re Advanced!

Remember: No amount of fundraising can have as much impact as a single piece of legislation.

Newcomers to Advocacy

Please obtain materials from your predecessor and/or unit/council/district president. If no materials are available, please begin a new procedure book.

If you are new to advocacy, we encourage you to do the following:

  • Request that advocacy is on the agenda of every meeting and give a legislative report. Share with PTA members about issues affecting the school and community as well as legislative activities at all levels of government. Remember we are a nonpartisan association, so please be objective and factual. Be sure to include PTA positions when appropriate. Circulate materials from council, district, State, and National PTA when available. Have copies at PTA meetings or information on websites or links where the information can be found.
  • Write articles for your PTA newsletter. Please observe Legislation Policy 11 (Legislative Policies and Procedures) which discusses guidelines for sending materials home with students.
  • Schedule at least one meeting per year with your elected representatives to discuss your PTA’s local issues of concern and legislative priorities of California State PTA. Take a few members from your PTA with you.
  • Participate in one of the following: a letter writing campaign, a postcard campaign, a rally to support a PTA position.
  • Attend some local school board meetings. Communicate advocacy positions as authorized by your PTA board.
  • Establish a method for sharing PTA Legislative Alerts and other important information with PTA members.
  • Take Action on Legislative Alerts from California State PTA and National PTA and encourage other PTA members to do the same.
  • Maintain current contact information for all elected representatives in your area: U.S. Senators, U.S. Congress member, State Senator, State Assembly member, Board of Supervisors members, city council members, and school board members.

Feel free to take advocacy actions from the other categories at any point that you feel ready.

Continuing Advocacy and Education Efforts

If you have served as the legislative advocacy chair for one to two years at the unit or council level, you will likely be ready to take your advocacy to the next level. Please continue with all your newcomer advocacy actions and also add as much of the following as possible:

  • Organize a voter registration drive annually. Remember to include new residents and high school seniors.
  • Organize a letter-writing, email or call-in campaign to communicate legislative priorities to legislators one to three times per year. Provide a sample letter, email or phone script.
  • Encourage PTA members to attend meetings with State Assembly and Senate representatives, meet with local government officials (e.g., school board and city council members, county supervisors), and know the local policies and ordinances affecting children and youth.
  • Schedule at least one public appearance of unit, council or district representatives to highlight California State PTA’s legislative priorities and local issues of concern. Some examples of appropriate forums are school board meetings, the local chamber of commerce, and meetings of local service clubs.
  • Submit at least one letter each year to the editors of local newspapers on behalf of your PTA highlighting California State PTA’s legislative priorities and local issues of concern (with signature of district, council or unit president).
  • Train your members to be advocates.
  • Visit Sacramento with other PTA members to meet with elected representatives and key education leaders.
  • Invite legislators/policymakers/elected officials to visit a local school.
  • Establish contacts with local individuals, groups, organizations and agencies to develop sources of information on local and statewide issues that affect the school, families and community.

Please consider advancing to the next level of PTA by volunteering to serve on your council advocacy team, or your district advocacy team.

Advanced Advocacy and Community Education Efforts

If you have been serving as an advocate for several years, you will be ready to go to the advanced level! Please continue with all your newcomer and continuing advocacy efforts and also add the following:

  • Meet with federal legislators, when they are in their local district offices.
  • Host a presentation on advocacy issues. Invite a council or district PTA counterpart to present.
  • Organize a rally to highlight a key PTA issue. Invite legislators and other speakers, as well as the press.
  • Invite the press to PTA advocacy events, and publicize PTA advocacy activities and positions.
  • Organize a candidates forum, working with PTA council and other local community organizations, such as the League of Women Voters, to sponsor nonpartisan candidates forums preceding elections. (See Toolkit, Election Campaigns and the Role of PTA; Nonpartisan Policy), see Fig. A-2.
  • Consider authoring a resolution on an issue of concern to your PTA to submit through appropriate channels to California State PTA or National PTA. (See Toolkit, Resolutions Process)
  • Provide leadership and support for PTA-approved local school bond and parcel tax campaigns. (See Toolkit, Election Campaigns and the Role of PTA)
  • Organize/participate in a legislation study group if a local issue arises (see Toolkit, How to Make a Study). Consult with a council or district PTA legislation chairman to coordinate efforts with other PTAs in the area. Forward findings to appropriate people, if study involves a district PTA or state issue.

How to Stay Informed

Sign up to receive regular email updates from:

  • Your school district
  • Your PTA council (if available)
  • Your PTA district
  • California State PTA – www.capta.org
  • National PTA – www.pta.org

Events to Attend

(Attend as many as your schedule allows.)

  • California State PTA Legislation Conference in Sacramento
  • California State PTA Convention
  • Council/district PTA-sponsored visits to Sacramento and other advocacy events.
  • EdSource Forum
  • National PTA Legislative Conference held in Washington D.C.

Helpful Websites/Resources

California State PTA – www.capta.org

  • Legislative Alerts (please sign up on the website to receive email updates)
  • PTA in California magazine
  • California State PTA Toolkit (Available in both English and Spanish online, in print or on CD). The Advocacy chapter includes: local advocacy, elections, legislative program, legislation platform, listing of resolutions, position statements, policies and procedures
  • Resolutions Book

National PTA – www.pta.org

  • PTA Takes Action Network (please sign up to receive e-mail updates on federal policy and PTA Action Alerts)
  • National PTA position statements and resolutions
  • Online Advocacy Toolkit, Federal public policy agenda and issue briefs
  • National PTA Quick-Reference Guide
  • Our Children – National PTA Magazine

California Budget project – www.cbp.org
California Department of Education – www.cde.ca.gov
California Secretary of State – www.sos.ca.gov
EdSource – www.edsource.org
Legislative Analyst’s Office – www.lao.ca.org
Official California Legislative Information – www.leginfo.ca.gov

For any assistance that you need to help you be successful, please contact your district legislative chair, your State PTA legislative liaison or the State director of legislation.

Job Description for Secretary

Download to print the Secretary Job Description

Key Role – Secretary

  • Takes minutes at board and association meetings
  • Co-signs formal papers with president: authorizations for payment, resolutions and formal letters
  • Handles PTA correspondence as directed by the president
  • Maintains and preserves PTA records and important documents to pass on at the end of the term

Getting Started

Preparation – Review files and procedure book from last term to better understand the scope of your new position. Materials should include:

  • Secretary’s minute book with minutes from board and association meetings
  • PTA records – Bylaws, membership list, charter, rosters and correspondence

Check your bylaws and standing rules to see what your job entails as secretary. If your PTA has a recording secretary and a corresponding secretary, discuss how you will work together.

Find out more about:

  • PTA policies, best practices and resources
  • Insurance Loss and Prevention Guide

It’s also worthwhile to talk to last term’s secretary to get advice and tips about your new role.

How Tos

Minutes – Quick Tips

As one of three required officers for a PTA, the secretary plays an important part in running a unit. One main task is to provide concise and complete minutes for board and association meetings.

Here are some tips on how to produce and handle meeting minutes to help you get started.

RecordingWhen taking minutes at a meeting, focus on noting:

  • Actions taken by group in the order they took place
  • What is done, not what is said

This means that any detailed discussion or personal opinion is not included in the minutes.

Whether you hand-write or use a laptop or device to take notes at a meeting to produce the minutes, remember to include the following information:

  1. Meeting Details:
  • Name of your PTA
  • Date, place and type of meeting
  • Start time and end time of meeting
  • Attendance list
  • Name and title of presiding officer
  1. Business Items:
  • Approval of previous meeting’s minutes ‘as written’ or ‘as corrected’ with a list of corrections
  • Summary of treasurer’s report listing date and balance on hand in the last report, income, expenses and date and balance on hand in the current report
  • Motions to adopt budget, financial reports, audit reports and resolutions
  • List of payments authorized or expenditures ratified to pay bills
  • Motions to approve projects, fundraisers, contracts and bylaws changes, noting person’s name making a motion and vote’s result if adopted or defeated
  • For motions with a counted vote, record if a quorum or majority was needed and the number for and against the motion
  • For motions requiring a two/thirds vote, note that a two-thirds vote was required for approval after the outcome of the motion
  1. Summaries of Reports/Presentations:
  • Summary of officer, chairmen and administrator reports with important, written reports attached
  • Election results with nominees’ name and the number of votes each nominee received
  • Brief reference to program presented at an association meeting, noting type of presentation, presenter, title and organization represented

In addition, at the end of the minutes, add your signature and title: e.g. ‘Maria Perez, Secretary’.

Distributing – It’s always best to complete the minutes soon after a meeting. Send a copy to the president to review before distributing minutes to the group that generated them.

There are several ways to share minutes with your members. For a smaller group, such as a board, you can email the minutes for review before the next meeting.

For association meetings, you can prepare hard copies of minutes as handouts or to post at a meeting. And, you can also publish minutes in a unit newsletter if it is sent only to PTA members.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that PTA minutes are produced only for members and are not for public distribution.

For this reason, they are not posted on any website, on social media or in a newsletter in their entirety.

Instead, for association meetings, provide only a summary of the minutes online and in school newsletters that highlights the main actions taken at the meeting.

 

SAMPLE – SUMMARY OF ASSOCIATION MEETING

ABC ELEMENTARY SCHOOL PTA
ASSOCIATION MEETING
JULY 1, 2017

RECOGNITIONSTanya Brown was recognized for her efforts as a PTA volunteer.

REPORTSCommittee reports were given for Membership, Ways and Means and the Book Fair.

CONSENT ITEMS – Consideration and approval of:

  • Field trip to the Natural History Museum for Grades 4-5
  • Science Camp for Grades 4-5 in Sacramento, CA

ACTION ITEMS – Consideration and approval of:

  • 2017-18 proposed budget
  • 2017-18 fundraising project with Acme Gift Wrap, Inc., to raise funds for Science Camp
  • 2017-18 fundraising project to provide guest speaker on family engagement in school

PLANNING ITEMS – Discussion on:

  • Organizing Reflections Arts Program in September
  • Organizing Red Ribbon Week in October

 

Approving – Minutes are presented for approval at the next meeting of the group as a standard agenda item. This action is recorded in two, different places in the master copies of the minutes:

  • Minutes of current meeting – Note that previous meeting’s minutes were approved ‘as written’ or ‘as corrected’ and list the corrections
  • Minutes of previous meeting – Write the word ‘Approved’ and the date after your signature and title

The president can also appoint a committee, ideally three people, to approve minutes during the term. This helps to save time at a meeting.

When using this method to approve minutes, committee members must be present at the meeting to:

  • Read the minutes on behalf of members
  • Report on corrections at the next meeting
  • Sign and date approval of the minutes after secretary’s signature on the master copy of the minutes

Correcting – Corrections to minutes are made when they are presented for approval at a meeting. They can also be made at any subsequent meeting when an error is discovered.

Only the group involved in the meeting – the board or the association – may correct minutes from one of their previous meetings.

To record a correction in the master copy of the minutes, use a red ink pen to:

  • Circle the incorrect words
  • Write, in the margin, the correction, the date and your initials

Preserving – Minutes are the legal, permanent records of a PTA as a nonprofit organization and are kept forever. At the end of the term, the master copy of the minutes, from board and association meetings, should be bound and passed on to your successor.

Beyond the Minutes

As secretary, you are assigned a few other tasks as indicated in your bylaws. At meetings, be prepared to refer to minutes of previous meetings, bylaws and the current membership list, if asked. You may also be asked to provide blank paper for voting by ballot and to help count a vote.

For an association meeting, the secretary presents a board report and moves the adoption of board recommendations.

In addition, some administrative tasks carried out by the secretary include:

  • Sending notices of board meetings
  • Preparing a list of unfinished business from meetings for the president to follow up on
  • Notifying officers and committee members of their election or appointment

Did you Know? … PTA Board Members

  • Adhere to PTA financial procedures as outlined in bylaws and State and National PTA guidelines
  • Protect members’ privacy by utilizing member information for PTA work only
  • Attend PTA sponsored workshops or trainings
  • Maintain a current procedure book to pass on to a successor
  • Work together as a team to improve the lives of all children and their families

Other Useful Information

Resources:

California State PTA – www.capta.org

  • PTA Leaders tab and more
  • California State PTA Toolkit
  • Running Your PTA Made Easy
  • Insurance and Loss Prevention Guide – Mailed annually to PTA presidents

Online Services:

  • Officer Contact System – To enter officer and board member information and generate useful reports

National PTA – www.pta.org

  • PTA Leaders tab and more
  • E-Learning Workshops
  • Back-to-School Kit