Getting Your Questions Answered & Providing Resources
VAPTA has provided several resource guideline communications to local units. As new and returning leaders are reconnecting and making plans, please find below links to previously provided information and guidance.
Q: We're working on our budget, should we have a line item for programs such as Volunteer of the Year and Reflections?
A: Yes. We are still planning to provide all previously planned programs. Your unit is not required to make an award but hopefully you will recognize the contributions of your parents, members and community partners.

Reflections Arts Program should be promoted and more information will be forthcoming on how to plan and run a virtual program.

We are excited to be able to provide these opportunities for our students and volunteers who look forward to our programs each year.
Q: Are there ways to make meetings more interesting with having to conduct them virtually?
A: Yes. To get your attendees to interact, you need to ensure their voices and opinions are actually being solicited. This means: cut the monologues. If you're making an announcement or sharing information that only requires your audience to listen, consider simply sending out an email.

Try implementing these tips to keep things interactive, and encourage participation.
  1. Set Expectations. Before the meeting starts, allow attendees to get into the right mindset by setting expectations for their participation. EXAMPLE: Present a problem in the agenda and ask participants to prepare and present ideas for solutions.
  2. Dedicate Time to Check In. Remote work can be lonely and isolating, so take some time before the meeting proper to let everyone share what they've been up to. Ask them about the highlights of their week or what challenges they're currently facing. Social bonding keeps participants engaged and encourages creativity, teamwork, and collaboration, so be sure to cultivate it even when on virtual platforms.
  3. Let People Take Ownership. Assign people tasks like timekeeping, facilitating, and note taking. If you're running an ice breaker you can assign one of the attendees to be in charge.
  4. Start With an Ice Breaker. Jumpstart communication and break through awkwardness with ice breakers. Conducting a fun ice breaker will help activate the right brain, set the stage for creativity and participation, and get your attendees comfortable with speaking and interacting with each other - the perfect conditions for an effective virtual meeting.
  5. Jazz Up Your Material. Visuals increase engagements by as much as 94%. They also help increase audience attention and memory, boost feelings of inclusiveness, and encourage interaction. Try using visuals throughout your meeting to give context, illustrate a point, or provide levity.
  6. Get Physical. Simple warm up exercises are a great way to break through sluggishness and get people comfortable with interaction. Or take a break half way through and have everyone do some stretches for 2-3 minutes to relieve muscle tension and give the brain a jolt. Treat your virtual meetings like panel discussions ad appoint a moderator to facilitate interaction and keep attendees engaged. Like at a conference, the moderator's responsibilities in a virtual meeting can include calling on individuals to share opinions; asking questions that provoke discussion; and managing everyone's talk time by keeping discussions on track.
  7. Conduct Fun Interactive Polls. Break the monotony with live polls and show off your results in real time. Beyond being a fun activity to keep your attendees engaged, polls can serve as a decision-making tool in virtual meetings, where attendees can vote on follow-up actions and next steps.
  8. Collate and Collaborate. Actively soliciting ideas and getting people to collaborate is a sure way to keep your virtual meetings interactive. There are lots of free digital tools to help you with this. Conduct brainstorming on free virtual whiteboard apps or sticky note tools like Miro and IdeaBoardz. Implement collective note-taking on Google Docs so that everyone gets involved - and invested - in meeting outcomes.

Q: If you enter your officers in MemberHub, do you still need to fill out the form on the VAPTA website form?
A: No. Information will be able to be downloaded by the state office to update our required records.

Brought to you by the Fall Back to Basics Committee of Virginia PTA

Donna Colombo, President, Virginia PTA
Pamela Croom, Chair, President-elect, Virginia PTA
Kathy Harrison, Treasurer, Virginia PTA
Scott Rhyne, VP Programs, Virginia PTA
Sara Case, Patriot District Director, Virginia PTA
Kirsten Shabanowitz, Hunt District Director, Virginia PTA
Joy Phillips, Eastern Shore District Director, Virginia PTA
Cherise Newsome, President, Norfolk Council PTA
Kerri Williams, President, Bedford County Council PTA
Kara Jenkins, President, Fairfax County Council PTA
Ben Pearson-Nelson, Chesterfield County Council PTA