PTA Great Idea Bank

A resource for PTA and parent involvement project ideas

Our elementary school PTA had a meeting today and, as usual, we had a minimal turnout. One new face, however, suggested that because a lot of teachers and parents at our school use Facebook, why not have a PTA Facebook page to communicate with parents. Right now our main form of communication with our parents is letters sent home in backpacks. And of course, you take a letter from the backpack, skim it, put it on the counter, another paper goes over it and you've forgotten the PTA ever needed anything.

I feel it is a good idea but I worry that some parents will feel a social networking site is inappropriate for an elementary school organization. We are a lower elementary with grades PK-2nd.

I would appreciate any advice.




Tags: Communication, facebook

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We do a newsletter of our own about 4x per year, also put stuff in the weekly school newsletter, send home flyers, have our own website and a Facebook page. The more ways you can put the info out there, the more likely it will get to your parents.
I think it's a fantastic idea. Just be sure that anything you post is totally public information. But it's a great way to get the word out about things going on. I've been learning about it from friends organizing charity events but seems just as good for a PTA.
It would be a great way for parents to communicate but I know at my school the teachers do not use facebook. Some districts are now saying that teachers cannot be on any social networking site. One option to get to teachers is asking the principal for some time at one of their staff meetings.
A good strategy to employ (which works for National PTA) is to use a number of different methods to reach our audience. There are so many media options (and so many ways people prefer to receive information) that one platform does not reach all anymore. National PTA's Facebook fan page has proven extremely popular and effective in getting the word out to our members. Here is an Ezine article that might help you get started.
If you don't end up doing a FB page, because of worries about privacy. You should set up a website. We have one this year and people are using it often. We have all the pertinent information on it ranging from meetings, graduation info, fundraisers... We are 2-5th grade.
This year is the first time we will be using a Facebook page. So far, parents are liking it. I have all of our events on it, so they are reminded automatically about them. We also have a tab in the discussion area for volunteers and what is needed for the PTA. On top of that, we are also going to be doing a blog and setting up our own website. I think it is a wonderful way to reach out to the parents.
We have a Facebook page that we started at the end of the school year last year and there had been great response. Everything we post is public information so anyone can see it not just friends. We have most of the teachers on there and I just reminded them to make sure there stuff is set to friends only if they dont want parents (or students) to see their info and posts. We are a pre-k thru 5th grade so we have older students that have Facebook as well so we dont add them to ours out of respect for the teachers and other parents we have on there. I think it is a great idea but if you dont want to do one then I would really suggest getting a website. We just got ours and it has done well too but since I am on Facebook all the time it is easy for me to switch over to the PTAs and do whatever I need to do there. Good Luck!!
I do think it can be a great way to communicate! Many people check facebook more than their email. But I'd make sure it's adults-only. Technically, you have to be 13 to have your own facebook page. Also, I'd make sure the principal is 100% on-board before you do it. Some principals are very anti-facebook, so then it might not be a good idea.
I am a new President and our previous board was not as computer saavy. I immediately started a Facebook and Twitter page for our group. I don't necessarily agree with excluding your students, especially 5th grade and up, as that is how you get the children involved. As with any social networking, and the internet in general, nothing should be posted that is not public consumption. Always follow that old rule, if you don't want it heard, don't say it. That means no questionable pictures, events, language, or personal information. I will not be posting any personal info on our staff. These pages are strictly for PTA promotion, not a meet and greet for staff. If parents want to know the staff better, they need to speak directly to them. I have also assured my parents that it will be strictly professional - no spam, no Avon/Mary Kay/Yankee/PartyLite/etc party requests, no ads (other than school sanctioned academic programs already in use). If you are really concerned further, then don't post any student photos either. We will be posting general pics, without using student names, etc. ONLY to show what events we've hosted.
YES YES and YES!! Intersecting with your parents where they are already hanging out is a great way to keep them updated about news, events and meetings and ask more to get involved. A few tips:

Ask 'pulse' questions from time to time to get parents chatting and engaged with your PTA, in even a little way - e.g. "what's your child's favorite school lunch?" "what should our new carnival booth be this year?"

Be sure a parent liaison is designated to monitor your PTA facebook page for comments every few days. (find one of your active facebook parents - and ask if (s)he'll take it on as a small responsibility.

Facebook is a great way to put out a call for volunteers because other parents (and grandparents) networked to your 'like' fans will also see announcements. Make those announcements active by linking to your VolunteerSpot sign up sheet with a URL link right in the facebook message. Get them signed up to help on the spot. (shameless plug, please check it out: a free and super easy parent volunteer sign up tool)

Remember, not all parents are on facebook and their opinions may not represent your general population - this is supplemental communication - please don't make big decisions based on the views of your facebook friends.

HAVE FUN!!! Then...add Twitter to your repertoire too!
As many of you probably already know, Facebook, which has joined forces with the National PTA, has developed a program to provide information and support about issues like cyberbullying, good online citizenship and Internet security. The PTA said they will reach out to local parent-teacher groups to promote the program, while Facebook plans to do the same on its site. This will be great for educating parents about what is acceptable content and how to protect the security of our kids' online exposure.
One idea for PTAs may be to have your newsletter sign-up right on your PTA's facebook page. This way, you will be able to contact them two ways for event reminders and fund-raising info.
We are trying it out as well. We have had positive responses so far. Anything to increase interest and participation.


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