Illinois PTA Launches PTA Essentials Video Series

illinoispta-logoIllinois PTA offers free training, both in person and online, but realizes that not everyone’s schedule aligns with training opportunities. Today, Illinois PTA launches its PTA Essentials video series with two financial help videos on its YouTube channel:

PTA Essentials is a series of short videos that provide critical information on running a PTA. They are not intended to replace the Illinois PTA’s PTA University training courses. These videos offer a quick refresher for those who have already taken training and cover the basics for those who may be just starting a position and haven’t had the opportunity to take training yet.

The first two videos focus on key financial issues for PTAs. Failing to complete an audit, mishandling PTA funds, and not using deposit and expense vouchers are three of the most common ways PTAs run into financial problems. Future videos in the series will cover topics such as:

  • Running a PTA Meeting
  • How to Update Your PTA’s Bylaws
  • Maintaining Good Standing
  • Creating and Using Procedure Books

Click the subscribe button on any video to ensure that you don’t miss these future videos from Illinois PTA.

In addition to the PTA Essentials video series, the Illinois PTA YouTube channel has a recording of the first 2016 Illinois PTA Advocacy Day webinar on Illinois PTA Legislative Priorities for those who were unable to attend. Illinois PTA has also fixed an error in the sign-up form for the webinar series, so if you were unable to sign up to attend the Legislative Priorities webinar or want to sign up for these future webinars:

  • How to Meet with Legislators (October 13, 7:30pm)
  • Advocate the PTA Way (October 27, 7:30pm)
  • Hot Topics Briefing (November 10, 7:30pm)

head over to the revised sign-up form now.

Wrapping Up Your PTA’s Fiscal Year

Many PTAs have their fiscal year ending on June 30th (check your bylaws), which means it’s time to handle all of those end-of-the-year tasks so your PTA is Financial accountingready to start off on the right foot when school starts.

  1. Close your books. Make sure you get those last deposits in and write those last checks before the end of your fiscal year. Send in your last dues payment and any unused PTA membership cards.
  2. Prepare for your audit. Your bylaws spell out how your audit should be conducted. Remember, nobody authorized to sign checks can be on the audit committee, though it is helpful for the treasurer to be accessible to the committee when they are conducting the audit. Make sure the committee has all of the financial records, including treasurer’s reports, the checkbook register, the ledger (or spreadsheet or wherever you record income and expenses against your budget lines), deposit and expense vouchers, copies of meeting minutes, and last year’s audit report.
  3. Conduct your audit. Be sure to have the committee sign off on the audit report form. Your PTA membership will need to vote to accept the audit report at your first meeting prior to adopting your budget.
  4. File your 990 form. Once your audit is done, you have all the information you need to file your Form 990 with the IRS. If your PTA has less than $50,000 in gross income, your PTA can file the online Form 990-N. Be sure to keep a copy of your receipt from the IRS saying that you’ve filed. If your PTA made between $50,000 and $200,000, your PTA needs to file the Form 990-EZ. National PTA has a helpful step-by-step guide to walk you through these two forms. The IRS Charities and Non-Profits page also has useful information.
  5. Register your PTA’s new officers. You can register online, and doing so ensures that your PTA will get the new Local Unit Packet stuffed full of useful information when it comes out later this summer.
  6. Plan next year’s budget. Look at what you spent this year, what programs you plan to retire or introduce, and what changes you plan to make. Consider having a budget line to send someone to the Illinois PTA Convention next spring or to support the Illinois PTA Scholarship Fund with volunteer and other awards. If you’re not sure where to start, take a look at our sample budget.
  7. Get trained. Contact your district or region director to find out when training will be available in your area. Be sure to check out National PTA’s E-Learning Library as well.

Simplify Your PTA Life with E-Learning Courses from National PTA

As PTA volunteers, we are all very busy. We recognize the importance of continuing leadership training, but with our children’s activities, work, and other volunteer commitments, it is difficult to find time to attend training meetings. Are you aware that National PTA offers a large varietUntitledy of e-learning courses that, as a member of PTA, you can access anytime day or night. That means you can even take a quick 30 or 40 minute course in your pajamas if you want!

To access our e-learning courses, you will need an online National PTA profile. For assistance with creating a profile or registering for a course, please read the e-learning registration guide. Also, make sure your computer meets the minimum system requirements.

Para obtener instrucciones en español sobre cómo crear un perfil e inscribirse para un curso, por favor lea la Guía de inscripción para aprendizaje electrónico.

The e-learning courses offered are:

PTA Essentials

  • PTA Basics: Discover PTA’s history, structure, programs, and the issues for which it advocates. (approx. 40 min)
  • Effective Advocacy for Your Child: Organize around local issues and address them to benefit the needs of children and your community. This course is designed for emerging local leaders, but all are welcome to attend. (approx. 30 min.)
  • National Standards for Family School Partnerships: Explore how the National Standards for Family School Partnerships creates a framework for engaging families in meaningful ways to support student success. (approx. 30 min.)

PTA Nuts and Bolts Series 

  • Board Basics: Learn the basic governance structures behind most PTA units. (approx. 40 min.)
  • Conceptos básicos para las juntas (Board Basics in Spanish): Aprenda las estructuras básicas de gobernación detrás de la mayoría de las unidades de la PTA. (approx. 40 min.) ¡NUEVO!
  • Local Unit President: This course is an introduction to the roles and responsibilities of the local unit PTA president. (approx. 30 min.)
  • El presidente de una unidad local (Local Unit President in Spanish): Este curso es un introducción a las funciones y responsabilidades del presidente de una unidad local de la PTA. (approx. 30 min.)¡NUEVO!
  • Local Unit Secretary: This course is an introduction to the roles and responsibilities of the local unit PTA secretary.(approx. 30 min.) 
  • Local Unit Treasurer: This course is an introduction to the roles and responsibilities of the local unit PTA treasurer. (approx. 40 min.)
  • Membership Basics: This course will provide local PTA members with basic ideas on membership – why you want to grow, how to reach everyone in your community, and what tools you can use to succeed. (approx. 40 min.)NEW!

Leadership Enhancement

  • Creating and Delivering a Speech: Improve your public speaking skills. (approx. 30 min.)
  • Cultural Competency: Learn cultural awareness and how to build relationships across cultural groups. (approx. 20 min.)
  • Ethical Leadership: Learn how to accomplish your goals with fairness and integrity. (approx. 20 min.)
  • Parliamentary Procedure: This course will teach you how rules of conduct positively affect PTA decision-making, while ensuring fair and orderly unit operations. (approx. 30 min.)
  • Planning Your PTA Year: Learn to keep volunteers motivated by putting an achievable plan together for the year.(approx. 30 min.)
  • Preventing Theft in Your PTA: This course will teach you how to detect theft in your unit and what to do if you suspect it is happening.(approx. 30 min.)
  • Running a Successful Program: Learn the steps for taking a program idea from concept to reality. (approx. 30 min.)
  • Writing and Proposing PTA Resolutions: Stories from “the field” combined with practical advice make the resolution development and proposal process easy. (approx. 30 min.)

System Requirements

For optimal viewing experience of our e-learning courses, please use a personal computer that meets the following minimum system requirements: 

  • Broadband Internet Connection
  • Flash Player 10 or later
  • Internet Explorer 6 and later, Firefox 1.x and later, Safari 3 and later, Google Chrome, Opera 9.5 and later

Not all mobile devices are supported. If you experience difficulty accessing a course or would like to report a problem, contact ptatraining@pta.org.

6 Reasons to Attend the 113th Illinois PTA Convention

Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 10.39.58 AMThe 113th Illinois PTA Convention will be held April 17-18, 2015 at the Embassy Suites East Peoria Hotel. Here are six great reasons to join us on the banks of the Illinois River:

  • Time-Saving Ideas: Workshop will offer leadership training and show start-to-finish ways of using successful packaged programs.
  • Engaging Families: Learn more ways to involve families and the community to accomplish your goals.
  • Putting a Smile on Administrators’ Faces: Take back programs which help implement the new Illinois Family Engagement Framework and Illinois Learning Standards. Learn about Vision 20/20, the new roadmap for improving education in Illinois that is supported by seven school administration groups, the Illinois PTA, and over 300 Illinois school districts.
  • Networking: Compare notes, ask questions, brag, and most of all share ideas with other local units and councils who have often already faced the same issues that you are going through. Why struggle on your own when you can come to convention and find proven ideas and programs that work?
  • Designed Around You: On evaluations of last year’s convention, you said you wanted more workshops and a longer weekend event. We listened.
  • Be a Part of the Decision-Making Process: It may not be the focus of convention, but the Illinois PTA can’t operate without you, the members, approving a budget and electing officers and members of the Board Development and Nominating Committee.

So plan now to attend the Illinois PTA Convention on April 17-18, 2015. Covering the cost of convention registration, travel, and accommodations are all legitimate PTA budget expenses. Online registration is open now, so don’t wait! Register today!