One of the many tasks of a PTO/PTA is to promote community within the school. It’s not an easy thing to do when you consider the diversity and busy lives of the students, parents and teachers/staff/administration. There is, however, one thing that everyone shares — the school! With that in mind, many organizations have been able to build spirit with school family nights.
What is It?
What is a school family night? It’s simply an event where all families associated with the school are invited to socialize, learn, have fun and most importantly promote school spirit. It can be held at the school auditorium, gym or outdoor area. Many school family nights are centered on a theme like reading, science, movies or safety. The opportunities are nearly endless!
What are the Benefits?
Above all else, school family nights create unity and promote spirit. When you bring any number of people (especially large groups) together for a school-related event, it’s just natural that school pride will grow. School family nights allow students to establish and strengthen friendships, parents to get to know each other and the teachers (and vice-versa) and for everyone to learn exactly what is going on at school.
School family nights can be designed to meet specific goals including education, community-building and fundraising. Since school family nights aim to ultimately build spirit, tying spirit wear fundraising
with the event could be a big hit. It would give everyone the opportunity to purchase school spirit wear, class T-shirts or field day T-shirts. Keep in mind that you are likely going to have several fundraisers throughout the year, so make sure you don’t discourage people from attending your school family night if they have recently been asked to donate time or money for another event. The main purpose is to build spirit, so you want as many people to attend as possible!
How Often Should We Host an Event?
Depending on the type of event you are hosting, school family nights can be held once a year, every other month, monthly or more often. It all boils down to resources. Big events that require lots of money, help and planning should occur less often, but small, simple events can easily be put on several times throughout the year. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to survey families to find out how often they would be willing to attend before getting burned out.
How Can We Make It Successful?
The most successful school family nights are organized, cheap to attend (free is even better) and most of all, fun! Families will be much more likely to participate if they know they can pay little to nothing to gain something valuable like an educational or fun experience. Your PTO/PTA should do everything possible to supply all necessary staff and materials so that the rest of the parents and students can be fully involved in the event and building school spirit! Make sure everyone knows when and where the school family night is by advertising it in the school newsletter, on the school website, on social media and with flyers/posters. Get everyone in on the fun; the more the merrier!
Where Can I Get More Ideas?
If you’re looking for some more ideas, PTO Today has some great resources