Sometimes the best way to make a difference is to help make something better than change what is already there. Same goes with managing a PTO/PTA. Enhance what’s already in place.
Student extracurricular clubs are a great place to start. Be sure to know what the clubs do on campus, what plans they have for the community, who their sponsors are, their activities, and fundraising. Try to not let PTO events/projects to overlap with these club events. When possible plan with them to benefit everyone.
The school staff hold the key to getting things accomplished. Get to know the members of the staff, including the principal, front office secretaries, workers, custodians, and cafeteria workers. When working with the principal, learn about their background and previous experience with PTO/PTA’s. You might need to educate her on the pros of having a PTO and reassure her of your plans and goals. You should meet with the principal on a regular basis, even if she attends your board meetings. Ask her to keep you updated on all school issues, perhaps there is a fundraiser you can organize to help fund like new shade in the common areas.