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Dr. Joanne Meier

Along with her background as a professor, researcher, writer, and teacher, Joanne Meier is a mom. Join Joanne every week as she shares her experiences raising her own young readers, and guides parents and teachers on the best practices in reading.

My newest hat: PTO President

July 22, 2009

I'm going to be wearing a new hat at our elementary school: President of the Parent Teacher Organization (PTO). I'm sure it's going to be great, and provide me with experiences I wouldn't otherwise have. I hope to share the highs and lows in some of my future blog posts; please chime in with wisdom and wit! Right now, the work is just a bunch of administrative things to get us ready for the beginning of school.

Some real PTO planning took place last spring as we thought through our fundraisers for this year. My hope is to have a "product-free" year where we're not hawking stuff families don't need, and aren't likely to buy given the economic climate. The only product-oriented fundraiser we're doing is a coupon book that has restaurant "buy one, get one free" coupons, and discount offers from our big box stores and local businesses. We rationalized that fundraiser because it's really easy to recoup the cost ($25) by using just a few coupons and the overall purpose is to help us all save money. Our major fundraisers this year will be a golf tournament, an adult evening event, and our spring fun fair.

A top priority for the PTO this year will be for us to help create a sense of community given our new large size. We're starting the year with a Welcome Back Picnic for the whole school community. There could be 1,000 people there! We're going to have live music, and most of the food is being donated by our local grocery store. We're also about to launch a new PTO website that families can use to access a school directory, sign up to volunteer, and sign up for our afterschool programs and classes.

It's sure to be a busy year with lots to learn: Robert's Rules, budget issues, and a mission statement that we care about. I'll be relying on the national associations (PTO Today, the National PTA) and you for help! What PTO works at your school? What flops?


Thanks, Mark! I'd love to hear about any successful fundraising tips you used at your school. I had a friend tell me about a jog-a-thon her school does that raises $12,000!

Congrats! I served as Site-Council President for two years at our local elementary school. You'll have a blast.

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"If you don’t like to read, you haven’t found the right book." —

J.K. Rowling