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 committees 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.

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