Membership Your Way – Special Education Spotlight

SEPTA Outreach in Uncertain Times

Lissa Zukoff, Special Education Specialist

Happy November! This is my favorite time of the year. It’s cool but not too cold, we’ve settled into our school year routines, and Thanksgiving is around the corner. In 2020 though, it certainly feels a little different.

I’ve heard from some SEPTA Presidents that feel isolated, challenged to connect with people, and they worry they won’t be able to grow their membership. Those are real concerns, but PTA is nothing if not flexible, and we are learning new ways to advocate. A silver lining in this whole situation has been how much we have expanded our virtual horizons. Just because we can’t meet in person, doesn’t mean we can’t support each other. In fact, for some families with child care issues, virtual meetings may give them opportunities to engage that they never had before.

PTA is a powerful advocate for all children, but we are strongest when we have an active and diverse membership. So, how can we increase our outreach? Here are some suggestions:

Reach out to Families of Preschoolers:

Give the CPSE chair in your building or district office a letter to share, introducing yourselves and explaining what SEPTA is about. Include your email address and links to your internet presence.  Many preschool families are new to the Special Education process, and would likely appreciate the information.

Work with School Personnel:

Give the introduction letter to the principal(s), schools psychologists(s), and social workers(s). Ask them to share with school-aged families they feel would benefit from SEPTA. In addition, email them your meeting flyers and ask if they will forward to faculty members. Much of what SEPTA offers is helpful to teachers, and the faculty can – and will – share with families as they deem appropriate.

Share with the Community:

Send meeting notices to the public library, local preschools, houses of worship, and play gyms – anywhere that families may be able to access the information. Ask if they will hang on their bulletin boards and post on their social media pages. Post on local Facebook pages and parent groups (check with the page admin to make sure it is allowed first). Advertise in local papers, many offer free space to community groups for meeting notices.

Partner with the school PTA(s):

Be a part of their activities. Come to their meetings, and ask them to share your meeting information with their membership. We are all part of the same PTA family, and here is some information about why it is important to join both the PTA and SEPTA: https://nyspta.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/JoinSepta-PTA-v9.pdf

Make it Easy:

Every flyer should list your contact information (website, social media, a general email). Consider putting a QR code that links directly to the membership storefront of your MemberHub store on your flyers. With a QR code, in moments they are able to join your Unit! QR Code Generator | Create Your Free QR Codes

Do you have another suggestion? I’d love to hear from you! Feel free to email me with suggestions, questions, or concerns at specialeducation@nyspta.org.