Attending Texas PTA Leadership Seminar

Once again, I joined the thousands of women and men who attended the Texas Parent-Teacher Association Leadership Conference in San Antonio, Texas last month.

This is the third year I have attended the conference. (Last year was in Dallas and the first year I went to it was in Houston.) We typically send four officers to the conference but since this year it was in our hometown, we opted to send six officers and four committee chairs to the conference.

There were classes to fit every interest level – from the basics of how to do your position (Treasurer, Parliamentarian, President, Fundraising, Secretary, etc.) to PTA issues (how to deal with contentious meetings or other drama, expanding membership, getting volunteers) to parenting issues (Lice, cyber bullying, talking about sex, online safety) and even personal things such as what to cook for dinner and how to save for college.

For the past two year, I held the position of Treasurer, and that was the focus of many of the classes that I took. This coming school year I will be vice president in charge of parent education and programs.

I did not see many classes specifically dealing with my new position, so I just chose classes that interested me or ones I thought could help our PTA.

Here are the Classes and Discussion Groups that I attended.

Classes

Ha! Ha! Help! Parenting with Humor – I took this one purely for my own enjoyment. This was offered last year, and people raved about it. It was a good presentation by a humorist and mother. It was all about how when we yell, our kids win so she parents with humor. It gets her point across without a raised voice.

You Want It When? – Again, a personal choice rather than one that will help me in my job as VP. And again, another excellent speaker. This course was all about prioritizing your time. I knew a lot of the techniques, but it is nice to pick up a few pointers and be reminded of how I should balance my family, work and volunteering.

Cyberbulling, Social Networking, Apps, Sexting & More: How to Keep Your Kids & Schools Safe – Again, an awesome speaker and great material. I sure know how to pick the right classes. I attended this with a friend, and we both agreed we would love to have this lady come speak at our school. (She is 90% booked for this year, and I figure she is out of our price range.) We learned a lot about not just the latest apps and Cyberbullying but how the police handle sexting and cyberbullying. Very informative.

Involving Members and Attracting Leaders  – This class was taught by four PTA members – three from the state level and one from a Dallas area PTA. They really did not have a set speech but rather just talked about the topic and focused on real examples, whether it was something they had done or suggestions from the audience. Another good class with useful information.

Your PTA Got the Crab Mentality? – This speaker discussed the idea that a lot of times we are pulling each other back rather than pushing them toward success. It was a lot about embracing new ideas and challenges. Probably my least favorite class of the bunch but still a good one.

Discussion Groups

Programs, Parents and Infinite Possibilities – This discussion group talked about programs and how to get people involved in the PTA. The good thing is that these are real examples from other PTA school leaders. I was able to get a list of free activities that fall under my job description of both programs and parent education.

Not Too Hot, Not Too Cold – Engaging Families – I attended this one with three other ladies from my PTA. It focused on how to get families involved. Again, it had some good ideas.

It was a fun, informative weekend, and it was awesome to hang out with the other ladies from my PTA who I will be working with this school year. I look forward to next year’s conference.

Attending the Texas PTA leadership conference

Imagine thousands of women and men all with the same goal – to improve the lives of their teachers and students. That is exactly the type of people attending the LAUNCH_REG_Web-Banner-300x142Texas Parent-Teacher Association Leadership Conference in Dallas, Texas last month.

Most of us in attendance are officers on our local PTA boards though any PTA member can attend. One school brought their whole PTA board of 20 people!

This was my second year attending the conference. (Last year, it was in Houston and next year it will be in my hometown – San Antonio.)

There were classes to fit every interest level – from the basics of how to do your position (Treasurer, Parliamentarian, President, Fundraising, Secretary, etc.) to PTA issues (how to deal with contentious meetings or other drama, expanding membership, getting volunteers) to parenting issues (Lice, cyber bullying, talking about sex, online safety) and even personal things such as what to cook for dinner and how to save for college.

Last year when I went, it was my first year as Treasurer so most of the classes I took pertained to my position save one, which was on using technology in your presentations. (I already love doing graphics and videos so it was right up my alley and proved very useful.)

This year, since I was already secure in my current position, I mostly took other classes that interested me. That might be why I liked this year’s conference so much better than last year’s.

Here are the Classes and Discussion Groups that I attended.

Classes

Treasurer Basics – Took this one the year before but came in late and thought I could make sure I am doing everything right. However, with all the questions from the audience, the speaker only covered a third of her presentation. This was my least favorite class and the only one I turned in an evaluation form on.

Making the Treasurer’s Job Easier through Financial Transparency – Last year, we bought the program PT Avenue to keep track of our members, volunteers and finances. I took this course to see if I was taking advantage of all the financial features of the software. The speaker was very funny, and I learned a few new tricks.

Increasing Participation in Events and Volunteer Opportunities with PT Avenue – Again, I took this course to better use the features of our new software. I learned some things to pass on to our volunteer coordinator.

Friends, Frenemies and Fitting In – This one was personal. My seven-year-old has already been talking about the drama of the classroom. This week Madison is her friend and the next week she complains Madison is being mean to her. Nora doesn’t like her, and James said this or that about her. And I only see this as getting worse. The course was very good. The woman talked a lot about what parents should do in certain situations and about teaching girls to like themselves.

Bylaws and Standing Rules – You would think this might be a boring topic but the lecture just flew by. I learned a lot and as we update our bylaws in the next year or so, I am sure this course will help out.

Discussion Groups

Why PTA in 5 minutes or Less – This was a fun session where we brainstormed what to discuss with other parents who are reluctant to join the PTA. This was an excellent example from one of the groups.

The value of our PTA is found in the programs and resources we can provide above and beyond what the school can provide. We hope to engage families to take an active role in the lives of their students to help them reach their full potential. It’s about leveraging and enhancing our students’ learning experiences. And through the PTA we can influence legislative action such as advocating for state testing changes and be a voice for our kids.

Conflict Stinks! Can’t we just get along? – We have very little conflict in our PTA, but it happens. This session made me value the excellent parents of our PTA. We certainly are better off than some of the other people who brought up issues in their PTAs.

There were many other classes or discussions I would like to have joined, but there is only so much time. And this doesn’t include the vendor fair, the regular PTA annual meeting, special lunches and banquets. (Of that last list we only made it to the vendor fair for the free samples.)

I went with three other ladies from the PTA, and we never went to a class together so we could gather the most information to share with our board. It was fun, informative weekend and next year, with the conference is in our town, we hope to send even more people to it.