By Kim Estes
As a parent educator one of the questions that I get most often is “Help! How do I set up a parent education meeting?” Luckily, I have been both a parent education host and a presenter! So I know where you are coming from! This step by step tip sheet is here to guide you whether you are a seasoned parent education coordinator, or a first time volunteer. Each of these steps will help you organize a well received and well attended parent education workshop.
Step one: Identify your audience
Evaluate who will be attending your event. Families? Parents only? Elementary or Middle School level? Once you have identified who will be interested in attending, you can begin your search for a speaker that will offer topics for those adults.
Step two: Understand your budget
Check with your school PTA to see if there is a budget set aside for parent education programs. You can also check with your school district office, as they may also offer limited funds to help pay for parent education classes you bring to your school. Local businesses may donate money or you might be able to charge a small admission fee if necessary.
Step three: Choose a topic
Think about topics that will be of interest to your learning community as a whole. If you select a topic that is too narrow it may be difficult to get a lot of attendees. Some sample topics that are often popular with parents are: General parenting issues, child discipline, personal safety, internet safety, bullying, health and fitness for your family, media and your child, how to have “the talk” and issues related to ADD/HD and advocating for your child within the school district.
Step four: Locate presenters
When you start looking for a presenter, there are several resources to locate a qualified presenter. Ask other PTAs if they have recommendations, search online for courses at places like www.parentlearninglink.com, www.teachstreet.com and check with your state PTA chapter.
Step five: What to ask potential speakers
Once you have located a potential speaker there are several important questions you need to ask
- Speaker fee
- Speaker availability
- Speaker needs (power, technical equipment, seating, tables, screen)
- What topics they will cover and length of presentation
- Method of payment accepted
- Cancellation policy
Step six: Chose a date
Although you can chose any time or day of the week for your presentation, many PTA’s often choose to host a parent education workshop that coincides with their regular PTA meetings.
Step seven: Select a location
Depending on the type of presentation you are hosting many schools often host their parent education meetings in their school library or gymnasium. Determine if you will need childcare. Be sure to reserve the room(s) with your school office. Ask about accessing the building after hours and what time you need to be out of the building and arrange for help if you require seating set up or technical equipment.
Step eight: Begin promoting!
Ask your presenter if they provide promotional posters or other marketing materials to help you get the word out to your learning community. Fliers to be sent home with the kids as well as email, school newsletters and window posters are all great ways to let parents know about your parent education program.
Step nine: Things to confirm with your presenter
One week before your parent education workshop confirm the date, time, address and any special needs with your presenter. Provide a cell phone number to the presenter so that they can reach you if there are any delays or issues.
Step ten: Concluding
At the end of your workshop, hand out an evaluation sheet to the attendees. This will help you determine if the workshop was well received and can often offer an opportunity to poll your attendees about interest in future parent education programs.
SAMPLE EVALUATION FEEDBACK FORM:
Name of Presentation:
Was the topic informative?
Would you recommend this presentation to others? Why?
Were you able to clearly understand the presenter?
What was your favorite part of this presentation?
What suggestions to do you have for improvement?
What other topics would you like to see presented at parent education night?