Simple Guidelines for Fledging Leaders
It might be best to begin as an informal organization, unless you seek non-profit status (which is a grueling process, requiring legal guidance). Depending upon the number of people who are members—both inactive and active (which you may not yet know, but I’m sure already have a pretty good idea)--your organizational structure can be based on the work that needs to be done and the people who have come forward to do it, which will determine what may actually get done.
Here are some questions to consider:
- Are you an individual member of IAGC? Will your group become a Parent Affiliate member?
- Do you have elected leaders?
- Or are you people who take leadership positions because nobody else will do it?
- Do you have membership dues/fees?
- A newsletter?
- A website?
- Who handles record-keeping? Correspondence? Money?
- Who coordinates with teachers, administrators, school board, parents, individual school PTA/PTOs?
- Do you need to be strong advocates for gifted education in your district? Or is that secure, and you want to be a social organization for your members or your children?
- Do you have regular meetings? Guest speakers?
- Is someone pushing for a formal structure that will keep the group in existence after you’re gone? Is someone a “stickler for detail , who loves Robert’s Rules of Order?”
- Do you have members with children covering a wide range of ages?
Working with Parents
- In the early stages, parents may not be ready or interested in being involved. They first want to be informed.
- Parent viewpoint is welcomed
- Parents, like their gifted children, can suffer from isolation within a school or community.
- Local parents aren't always concerned with the BIG picture. They are most often heard from when there¹s a problem that affects their family.
- Parents who don't have a safe venue can easily become aggressive, with their own agenda.
- Cost is often a factor.
- Prioritize the importance of issues that you want to address.
Keep in mind these three R's essential for any group:
- Recruitment - Get new members. Why should they join?
- Retention - Keep old members. Why should they stay?
- Recognition - Praise people in public when they do a good job.
If you think that you alone cannot do much to improve your school, you are probably right. But if you collaborate with other parents and organizations, you can make a difference. There is strength and power in numbers:
1 parent = a fruitcake
2 parents = a fruitcake and a friend
3 parents = troublemakers
5 parents = “Let’s have a meeting”
10 parents = “We’d better listen”
25 parents = “Our dear friends”
50 parents = a powerful organization
ParentLeadershipAssociates, formerly a Prichard Committee/KSA-Plus Communications collaboration.
Giftedness is an issue worth discussing, and it is our responsibility to have a voice in the conversation. You are not alone, either locally or statewide. Join us today.