04-029 Felix V Festa Middle School PTA
Central Hudson Region
PARTNERSHIP IS KEY!
Having a great partnership with your school administration is key to a successful PTA. Felix V Festa Middle School PTA cannot thank their Administrators enough for supporting the PTA and more importantly, the students.
Last spring, the Administrators came to the PTA with an idea. With student social and emotional needs on the rise from the pandemic, the school decided to sacrifice some valuable space to give their middle school students a Student Center. The vision for this space was to allow for small group interactions for students to re-engage with each other.
The PTA informed Members and Non-Members of the school’s wish and plans for this much needed space. A vote to approve the use of PTA funds to support this endeavor took place and over the summer, because the PTA was not allowed in the building yet, everyone from Custodial Staff to Administrators to Teachers helped with cleaning out the space, painting the area, and the assembling the games – to bring this room to life. One Vice Principal spent many summer evenings building the gaming tables in order to have the room ready in time. That’s dedication!
In September the school had their ribbon cutting event. This space has proven to be a big win for the school, for the PTA and for the students. In this room students can play games such as foosball, shoot hoops, play video games, board games and more. They can also kick back to just hang out and talk. Student access to the room is managed by the school to ensure that all students have a fair chance to use it. The Student Center is available during lunches, before and after school, and can be booked by teachers as a reward for class accomplishments. When not in use during class time, the room can be used by school counselors to connect in a quiet space with their students.
To see how the students feel about their new Student Center, look here: (disclaimer: this video was produced by CCSD Communications Team from Rockland BOCES)
Other ways that the school administrators support their PTA is by attending every meeting and providing parents with presentations that will help them to help their students. Presentations range from their Counselors talking about anxiety in students, to admin presenting on how to use the school’s web site best and more!
Felix V Festa Middle School PTA partnership doesn’t end there. They have a fantastic teacher membership representative who is very active and engaged with the PTA. The PTA arms this teacher rep with a few gift cards to give to some staff, like Dunkin Donut gift cards, who support their PTA by becoming a member. To date they have over 100 staff members.
Communication is a huge key to the PTA’s success as well. It’s important to be clear in your plans for fundraising and spending. To get the word out on all they are doing, Felix V Festa Middle School PTA utilizes Facebook. They have their main page where they share it all, plus they have special groups for each grade level where they can share grade specific items, information and seek memberships in those channels.
To show value in their PTA, members receive a special Member Newsletter that is sent out each month. The goal is to not only to communicate PTA finances but also efforts, activities and things going on in the school, meetings, presentations by Administrators and more! The newsletter has so much great information that non-members request to join PTA just so they can get this newsletter too. Other incentives to join include giveaways of spirit wear items.
Showing their support of teachers and administration is also important. Throughout the year the PTA hosts breakfast for appreciation, and other events to show thanks and support.
Of course, fundraising is also necessary. FFMS PTA has looked to new ideas and being more thoughtful of small businesses in their community to support their efforts. With parents in the building who are PTA members that just happen to own their own businesses, this endeavor has proven to be beneficial for both the PTA and the businesses.
To learn more about this awesome PTA or to join and support Felix V Festa Middle School PTA, check out the links below:
- Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/FelixFestaMiddleSchoolPta
- PTA Website: https://ffmspta.org
- MemberHub Store to join: https://ffms.memberhub.com/store?category=Memberships
05-173 Grundy Avenue School PTA
Meet Grundy Avenue School PTA! A Kindergarten-5th Elementary School located in the Sachem School District they service the Holbrook community on Long Island, NY.
President, Kerry Dodge says, “We used our mascot very heavily to promote membership.” Membership is $8 per person and starting early in August (a month before school opened) they posted pictures daily of what their Grundy Eagle had been doing throughout the summer. In each posting they highlighted joining the PTA. “Before the start of school, we almost had 50% of our goal by then!” said Kerry. By promoting “Eagle Pride” everything, they plan to hold a fundraiser in January to name their Eagle.
There are a few different fundraisers that they do to help bring arts in education programs to the school and anti-bullying programs as well. “We just did an outside anti-bullying brain game challenge which was our first entire school event post-COVID. It was so successful, and the kids loved it. Plus being able to do it outside allowed some normalcy within the COVID guidelines of this current area,” said Kerry.
This PTA is creating a presence online too. By being creative and using multiple social media postings members are encouraged to attend meetings (which are offered both in-person & zoom). This PTA also hosted a welcome back picnic which was hugely successful and had one of their largest turnouts in years!
Communication is important to this team, maintaining their own website (www.grundypta.org), a Facebook page @GrundyAvePTA and Instagram too! They also use the Remind App very heavily.
When asked what their advice would be to other PTAs, here is what they said:
- Listen to your Members
- Listen to your Principals
- Have FUN!
18-324 Anne M. Dorner Middle School PTA
You CAN PTA anywhere! The Executive Team for Anne M. Dorner Middle School PTA is making it a point to make membership personal for everyone and they are creating their own opportunities to sign up members in person.
Just as with every other PTA across New York, Anne M. Dorner Middle School PTA faced challenges with not being allowed into the building. To work within guidelines and still focus on growing they’ve had to create their own opportunities for signing up members. Jamie Idi, President of Anne M. Dorner Middle School PTA, tells us of their diverse board and the work they are putting in to educate everyone about PTA. With multiple language barriers and a community full of varied cultures having a diverse board is essential. “Emails are not being read” says Jamie. Making up events so they can set up a membership table is their way to work around this. The PTA has hosted Bake Sales, Food Trucks, and even attend Saturday Farmers Markets to get out into the community.
Another area of focus for their membership is making their teachers a high priority this school year. In 2020, seven (7) teachers joined the PTA. Every effort is being made to reconnect with each teacher. “We are making it about them as an individual”, says Jamie. Rather than making a generalized ask to the building, they have sent a personal email to each teacher. The President says, “It took a lot of time, but it was so worth it!”. There is a competition going on right now between 6th, 7th and 8th grades for the most memberships with some donated Spirit Wear as prizes.
Additionally, the team has sent surveys asking teachers to let them know what they need, what they want throughout the school year, and asked what they can do going forward for them. Most importantly, they are talking to the teachers. This effort to reconnect is working! So far this school year …. 49 teachers have joined and more are expected to sign up soon.
Taking these approaches, AMD PTA has been able to not only pass their membership total from last year, they exceeded their membership goal before school started in September!
05-508 Wing Elementary School PTA – Suffolk Region
It’s All Hands on Deck for Wing Elementary School PTA! And for the Executive Team it was one great idea after another! Thinking outside of the box, coming up with new programs for students, and finding innovative ways to fundraise helped to keep their support efforts going.
Heavily focusing on Literacy during the pandemic, the Wing Elementary School PTA had a Book Vending Machine installed in their building. They purchased 400 tokens so that each student could get a free book. Fundraising efforts helped to keep the vending machine stocked.
One of their greatest fundraisers were “Art Kits” that families purchased in order to take part in a “Paint At Home” event. The PTA distributed the kits (that included everything needed and the zoom information) outside in drive thru fashion. This event, which was done over Zoom, had a great parent, who is also an Art Teacher in a neighboring district, instructing everyone in completing their masterpiece.
But one of their proudest programs was bringing a Pumpkin Patch to the school last year. Usually their Kindergarteners and First Grade students go on a field trip to a farm and get pumpkins. Since the pandemic they were unable go on this field trip. So the PTA brought the patch to them! This was such a huge hit with the staff and kids that they asked them to do it again this year.
Co-Presidents, Jessica Sprague and Victoria Hulsen have their team focused this year on Membership too!
By holding their Kindergarten Orientation outside this year, this PTA was able to get about 80% of those attending to sign up then and there. Showing their PTA’s relevance to the school, parents and children, they had a flyer ready to showcase all that their PTA did last year and what they are doing this year, like holding a book fair outside!
They not only focused on the kids but the staff too. Since they were unable to bring in outside food or set up tables inside for staff during the year, they brought a donut truck to the parking lot before school started. Making staff feel special always trickles down to the students.
Wing Elementary School PTA are also supported by their Board of Education and their Superintendent who, when asked to join, said YES!
12-374 Johnstown Junior Senior High School PTSA – Northeastern Region
Johnstown Junior Senior High School PTSA goes all out for their students. Winner of the 2020-2021 Gold Level, Good Apple Growth Award, they took first place in NYS PTA overall! Co-Presidents, Amy Webb and Jamie Tallon, led their team of officers and took “thinking outside of the box” quite literally by taking their PTA meetings outdoors. This made it easy for everyone to attend in-person and helped with social distancing guidelines. When the weather changed, their meetings went virtual.
With no volunteers allowed into the buildings, their school staff was a great support and this PTSA found their Teacher Representatives to be crucial to their success! The school also helped by sending out electronic communications to every parent encouraging them to join. Their big push in September included a full list of what their plans were for the coming school year.
While continuing with some old-time favorite activities, this team brought in some new things as well. Socially distanced candy slides made for an interesting change, they created a school store where students could get a free gift for the holidays and an end of year treat included a local ice cream truck.
But what this PTSA is most proud of creating is their Rose Knox Ward. This award was named for Rose Knox, who was a local businesswoman and philanthropist. Each year an award in her name will be given to one eighth-grade student who exemplifies the qualities for which Knox valued and exemplified: A commitment giving back and a dedication to improving their community.
10-103 William S. Covert PTA – Nassau Region
Co-Presidents: Christine Gleason and Jen McMahon (membership growth of 112%)
Our unofficial school motto has become “Covert Rocks”, because it truly does! Covert is such a special school, it is a big family. Last year was a challenging year in so many ways, but we heard so many times that life at Covert felt normal. It was our goal as the Covert PTA to make the school year as normal as possible for the students, and fun! We purchased new recess equipment, blacktop stencils and painted games and pictures in the yards and playgrounds, and outdoor cushions for each student – all to allow for more outdoor time for the kids. When we couldn’t have our usual FUNd run fundraiser, we turned it into a jump-a-thon so we could still have our big fundraiser, and the kids could have fun with their classes and win prizes. When the music teachers couldn’t teach the recorder, we purchased ukuleles so kids could still have music in their day.
Not only were the students our focus, but now more than ever we felt it was important to show our appreciation for the teachers and staff. This was a year like no other for them, but they were amazing. From lawn signs for each teacher with thank you messages written by each student, little gifts of masks and lotto tickets, to donuts, hot pretzels, snacks, and lunch – we made sure our love and gratitude for our teachers was known throughout the year.
Our students are happy and they had fun. They still had many events, some the same as before, some reinvented to meet the new criteria. The parents saw our efforts, and saw their kids happy. I think this helped us with our PTA membership. Our teachers felt appreciated, which helped us get them to join as well. We give options – cash, check, or online – so everyone can use their preferred way of joining PTA. We have a wonderful group of parents who volunteer their time to our PTA. Everything we do is for the kids. Covert Rocks!
Roy C. Ketcham High School PTSA – Taconic Region
We are so excited to be recognized for reaching our membership goal! Liz Vilato
Our members credit our thriving membership to a great social media presence, promotions, events and ongoing communications. Our PTSA has a strong relationship with our building principal and we work together to promote membership to our families, students, faculty and staff.
This challenging year has stopped us from doing in-person membership drives during our freshman orientation, open house and faculty welcome breakfast so we have increased our online requests through our PTSA website, school website, social media and our principal’s daily announcements.
We also held a drive early in the school year and picked two members at random to win gift cards to local retailers. We have found that many of our members have been active in PTA throughout elementary and middle school and continue to stay active in high school.
We let our members know that joining does not commit them to volunteering and that their support and partnership benefits our school and students in many ways.
Honeoye Falls-Lima PTA – Genesee Valley Region
I think our membership has grown for three main reasons. Nipa Armbruster, Membership Chair
1) Memberhub has enabled us to communicate with our membership efficiently. The Hubs help us identify members’ interests and provide them with relevant information. It has also been helpful for our membership to have one central location for committees, current events and contact information.
2) At the beginning of the school year, we had an online reusable face mask fundraiser, which we promoted through our school announcements, MemberHub and our social media accounts. The fundraiser was very successful, both in sales, and in raising awareness that our PTA was ready to support our community during this challenging year.
3) We also sent surveys to all of our teachers to better understand how they perceived our PTA, and what they needed from us. We encouraged them to join, if they hadn’t already done so. We are using the survey results to provide better communication, identify the needs of our students, and develop future programs.
Maple West Masks Up – Western Region
Maple West Elementary School PTA wanted to make the transition to hybrid as seamless as possible for all of their elementary students. Safety is a top priority on everyone’s mind, especially during COVID. The hybrid students attend anywhere between 2-4 days a week in-person. The PTA team (with support from the Maple West School Principals) decided to purchase lanyards for all of the students. The lanyards have clips on both sides to hold onto each side of the face masks that students are required to wear. In needing to wear masks except for on mask breaks, there was a concern of putting them down on a possibly contaminated surface. It also prevents students from dropping masks on the ground. PTA Co-Presidents, Kristin and Jessica felt they wanted something practical and convenient. COVID was not something anyone had planned for, but the PTA found a way to use their funds for something that all students could use.
Helping Hands at Heim – Western Region
Heim Middle School PTSA decided to use their PTA voice to help the community. Williamsville School District has a food pantry available to all families within the district in need of additional food. That need has been magnified throughout COVID. PTA Co- Presidents, Sarah and Clare made the decision to invite the students to participate in a food drive. They wanted the students to witness how everyone giving a little help can make a big difference in their own community. Parents who donated were asked to donate during morning drop off. The parents would drive thru the ‘drop off’ loop. The parent would then pop open their trunk for the volunteer or 8th grader to take the items from the trunk and put them on tables under tents. This “safe zone” was easier and safer for the parents and was able to avoid all contact. After 3 days of collecting, and fighting the elements of wind, rain and hail – they were able to acquire an enormous amount of food directly sent to the food pantry. In an effort to make it more successful, the food drive was coordinated with Heim Elementary School PTA – just across the parking lot, to join in. This was something that PTAs have done before, but taking the precautions required by the state regulations showed how our PTAs adapt to what is going on around us.
Colonie Central High School PTSA – Northeastern Region
This unit has met their Membership goal of 332 members this year! The Officers and Membership chairs stated, “This was a team effort.”
Here’s what we did:
1. Consistently promoted membership at the beginning of the school year.
2. Took advantage of volume on the Facebook page and promoting membership according to traffic. (We have 845 followers on our Facebook page.)
3. Recognized the goal the NYS PTA placed on CCHS and shared how close we were at each PTA meeting.
4. Teacher Engagement!!
5. Family Memberships!!
We recognized that families wanted to stay connected during this unusual year and we maximized our social media usage. We consistently invited a special guest from the high school to each meeting to attract attendance. We shared the membership link at our meetings as well as via social media. We are very excited about the Savvy Membership recognition!
Kensington Road PTA – Northeastern Region
They have exceeded their Membership goal of 106 – they have 120 members so far!
The officers had the following to say:
The PTA at Kensington Road Elementary School in Glens Falls, NY is incredibly thankful for our strong membership numbers, particularly this year as we have faced the challenges presented by COVID-19 since the start of the school year. We are fortunate to have exceeded our membership goals for this school year in large part due to the extraordinary support of our KRS and surrounding community! We are lucky to have such engaged parents, families, educators and community members.
In addition to that support, we held a membership drive in the Fall, which included sending home membership forms and emailing out forms to encourage people to become PTA members. We collaborated with teachers and asked them to send membership and other information home via email or otherwise. We have used NYS PTA contests, such as the “Early Bird State Award,” to help increase our membership numbers. We have (randomly) selected PTA members to win gift card prizes as incentives for becoming a member.
We utilized social media, weekly if not more, and our PTA web page, to spread the word about membership and other PTA efforts. This has helped us to reach a wider audience for membership and engagement. We use MemberHub for membership, as we recognize it may be more convenient for people to sign-up online versus a paper form.
Lastly, we have held PTA meetings nearly every month, virtually of course – and this has been a success for us, a silver lining of COVID-19. Since our meetings are virtual for the time being, we believe it may make it easier for members to attend meetings and be involved in that way. We have had several meetings this year with increased attendance, and we attribute that success to the virtual aspect of the meetings.
Albany School of Humanities – Northeastern Region
They have also exceeded their Membership goal of 40 members – they have 64 members this year!
The Albany School of Humanities (ASH) PTA is doing what we can to be “savvy” with membership during these difficult times. Our school currently has 265 in-person and 241 virtual students, making the need to be creative when communicating with the ASH community, essential.
Our main point when it comes to membership has been consistency. We share our membership link in every virtual meeting, club, or event that we do. When using Google Meets, we drop the link into the chat and also offer to show people how to use the MemberHub site to become a member. The ASH PTA also regularly re-shares the link on all of our social media platforms (Facebook, Dogo, ClassTag and more, there are so many,) which has been very helpful. Using the virtual world to our advantage when we can, while consistently sharing the link to our MemberHub site has literally and figuratively paid off for ASH.
Elwood Secondary PTSA – Suffolk Region
The Elwood John H Glenn High School PTSA has made membership a focal point this past fall. Agapi Bell, President
We credit our success to reaching out to all our constituents, community, parents, teachers and students. We made a concerted effort to engage our high school students and offer them a platform as their normal activities have been paused by the COVID-19 pandemic. We created a new position for us, Student Membership Chairperson. A 9th grade student who was 100% virtual volunteered and used social media platforms as well as physical displays to increase PTSA Membership among students.
Our seasoned Membership Chairperson is well versed in MemberHub thus we were well prepared and she used her regular portals of communication. As President, I send out weekly announcements and consistently included Membership as key to our school community’s successful support to our school. We posted via Google Groups emails, MemberHub messages, our Facebook page and twitter.
Our Membership Chairperson also teamed with our Teacher Liaison to monitor staff memberships and continued to communicate with those who had not yet joined. In this time of changes and loss we at JGHS PTSA sought to fill a void for staff, parents and students. We actively sought to become a forum for communication and updates and thus remained relevant and valued. We strived to connect the Advocacy of NYS PTA with our local message as well and how that power in numbers could affect our students. Collaboration and communication with students, parents and staff were the key to our success!
Chappaqua PTA – Westchester-East Putnam Region
What does Chappaqua PTA look like in a Pandemic? Kelly Mofield, President
Despite the pandemic, the CPTA has maintained membership perhaps due to our “PTA can do” attitude. Rather than apologize for what we cannot do – our innovative and determined leaders reconfigured activities we can do.
First, we are focusing this year on our amazing teachers making sure they feel the PTA love. When our District committed to students receiving in-person instruction with a remote option, we doubly committed to supporting our teachers. Our parents wanted to be part of that appreciation. We started the year with an invitation to join the PTA and a “welcome to the CPTA” mug presented at the district welcome reception. Our faculty appreciation continued with harvest boxed lunches, weekly coffee hours, snack grab-bags and holiday treats.
We have also worked hard during the pandemic to never slow our roll! In a year filled with national racial tension, we created a new Diversity Committee committed to addressing race and diversity issues. Our Theater Committee has so far produced two virtual performances for our primary students. Our amazing STEM Committee created a sold-out remote “Weekend of Code”. They are doing a remote Science Olympiad and will have more STEM events this spring. From hosting webinar “author talks” for students and speaker events for special education parents and celebrating National Inclusive Schools Week, to speakers on race and diversity, throwing virtual student socials and more…. we have reimagined and created new Covid-safe events! Our membership recognizes the value of the CPTA and has responded enthusiastically! It feels good being part of a PTA that lets nothing (including a 100-year pandemic), stand in the way of achieving our mission. With our parents and teachers side by side – we are making it work and stronger together!
Buchanan-Verplanck PTA – Westchester-East Putnam Region
So excited to have exceeded our Membership Goal this year! Michele Riecke, 3 yr Membership Chair
This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we were able to keep strong as a school family and community. Our families, staff, and teachers have all been supportive and understood the importance of keeping the PTA involved, with one voice and goal. Our district is a close-knit community which helped us to transition to a virtual model of participation.
Every year prior we utilized the ease of online access to get involved, get information, and membership signup. This allowed us to quickly transition into hosting and attending meetings through Google Meet. Our community was already tuned in digitally, so once they saw that they could participate in meetings in this new way, there was even more interest.
We usually use a paper flyer for membership signup, but due to Covid-19, it was easier and safer to push our online membership through MemberHub. Our team helped to push the awards given every month from NYS PTA.
Our Principal Mr. Cohen has always been 100% supportive of our PTA. He always shares our events and membership signup on his Twitter page and Google classroom. Our school Administrator Mrs. Flannino, Teacher Building Reps, Class Parent Coordinators, and Class Parents have also helped disseminate joining the PTA with teachers, staff, and families. We always share it on our Facebook page, Instagram page, District website, and monthly newsletter.
We have included both our in-person students and our virtual students. We know this year will look a little different, but we are all in this together. Thank you for your continued support, which benefits the teachers and students throughout the year, whether we are in person or supporting from home. We greatly appreciate your membership to the PTA.
Ralph Perry Junior HS PTA has already surpassed their membership goal for this year! Officers; Kim Reale, Katie Taylor, Jennifer Bailey, Jessica Thomas and their Member Chair, Sarah Walker, are PTA flexible! This team credits smashing their goal to the “Morning Announcements” that the Principal emails every school day to all parents. In this daily email, Mr. Paradis always asks the parents to join PTA, and they do!
Horsemen PTA was the Membership Growth Award winner 2018-2019. Under our previous President Angel Rafter, we focused on increasing our membership. We did a lot of advertising on social media over the summer before school started and encouraged people to fill out their membership forms in the fall. We encouraged families to join at our “Back to School” nights, and we also instituted a teacher membership contest between our 4 elementary/middle schools. The school that had the most teacher members won a hot breakfast served to them by the PTA.
Woodlands PTSA was a Membership Growth Award winner 2019-2020. This year the Greenburgh Community School District distributed chrome books to all Woodlands Middle and High School students at our annual “Back to School” night in September. This school wide event allowed us an opportunity to meet parents face to face and encourage membership and participation in PTSA. This event coupled with year-round recruitment was a great benefit to our membership recruitment efforts.
Hendrick Hudson HS PTSA was the 1st place Early Bird Award winner in 202002021. Knowing we were headed into an unprecedented year, we were mindful of the challenges that community members may be facing. Our membership messaging was primarily about showing how a strong PTSA is more important than ever for family and staff advocacy during these difficult times. In fact, the PTSA’s efforts during re-opening drew attention and rallied support for the important role of our organization. . . .
They have surpassed their membership goal for the year with no signs of slowing down. . . .What they are most proud of is their newly created Student Leadership Committee. . . . It has created an opportunity to showcase the PTSA to the student body and their families and they feel that it has helped their membership grow.
Clarkstown High School North PTSA has had tremendous success with membership since migrating to the online MemberHub store last year, and it has helped significantly with the obstacles they encounter today due to COVID. They currently have 628 members and are 75% of the way toward their membership goal. . . .This year the PTSA is offering a free Clarkstown North face mask with every membership. CHSN’s PTSA President Angela Barry created the masks and they are a huge hit.
Half Hollow Hills HS East PTA is our other Suffolk Region superstar with 367 members! …Anticipating the challenges this year would bring, they prepared early to meet their growth goal of 10%… Their PTA president said “membership is so important to us because it grows our Hills East PTSA Community and strengthens our unit. We work hard to advocate for our families and faculty and we appreciate their continued support.”
Bayview PTA in West Islip is doing amazing things this year to promote membership with 266 members so far! Bayview recently created a mascot named Wesli. He attends all their PTA events and is beloved by the students and faculty alike. Their membership drive this year gave all families a Wesli magnet if you joined by a certain time and you were also entered into a contest they ran. Great job Bayview getting families engaged and your membership up!
Highest Statewide Membership Growth 2019-2020 – Finding members via word of mouth has always been successful for us. We typically create a brochure that goes out at the beginning of the year outlining events to come and encouraging participation. We always have a table at open house to share what we do in hopes of gaining more members. Sharing our events and news on our Avon Braves PTA Facebook group has allowed us to reach more people than ever before and keep them encouraged and in the loop with what we are doing. We have welcomed much activity over the years as a result.