With the school year beginning, it’s wise to get to know the people you’ll be interacting with this semester.
Beyond the everyday ‘hello’ in passing, you’ll be reliant upon the front office at your school for updated contact information, school calendars, and district schedules. And as an outsider, you’ll want to tread carefully while you poke around for the information to manage and register your members.
PRESENT: PTA/PTO Leadership (President, VP, Treasurer)
ABSENT: Committee chairs, and parents
Approval of Agenda
What (or who) do we mean by “school’s front office?”
When we say “front office” we mean secretaries, receptionists, data clerks, and administrators that oversee the teacher-student population.
Think of your parent-teacher group as a small government; and the front office as much of the same. There are different structures, people, and procedures that require a basic understanding to be able to work with — and not against — that body.
There isn’t a single process that’s synonymous with every school; everyone is different, and it requires your group to be proactive to learn the roles and names of the people you’ll be interacting with.
Pro Tip: Be a human like we know you can be! If you’re leading a group, you already have a knack for meeting people and getting information out of them. So, keep a close line of communication between yourselves and the people in the front office who approve and deliver the information you need.
Coffee and chocolate are good ways to keep your name in good company. And, it never hurts to learn what they appreciate individually, so that when you’ve been helped it’s an easy reciprocation for their efforts.
“But, why do I need to know them?”
Consider the information they record — parent & family emergency contact information, student and teacher names, and more — as a Magna Carta of sorts. (Long story short: Magna Carta, Latin for Great Charter, is considered one of history’s most famous documents)
And, in many cases, there are check-and-balances or processes to a.) request that information and, b.) receive and disseminate it once you’ve gotten it.
Depending on your group’s registration process, you’ll want to know how to best gather the information from the front office. If there are extra steps required to get a spreadsheet, it’s better to know of that with time to spare rather than finding out on the first day of school and starting the year behind schedule.
Pro Tip: Keep a single (or two) members in charge of these introductions and interactions. Nothing is worse than a handful of people repeatedly asking for the same thing.
The quickest way to annoy the front office staff is to inundate them with people/names/faces and not a personal rapport to these inquires.