The Annual General Meeting or AGM is in calendars across Classlist’s network of schools this week. Unlike previous years however, these are all on video conference platforms. Whether on Google Meet, Zoom or Houseparty , there are no excuses anymore for parents not to attend.
What is missing this year is the social aspect of an AGM. On the plus side, the Friends or Parents Association will save money on tea, biscuits or stronger beverages by going virtual. But really it’s a lost opportunity for parents to meet each other. And for organisers to recruit volunteers.
Given this new environment, PTAs are hosting meetings this week in preparation of their AGM. As well as identifying potential new committee members, they are taking a step back to discuss bigger picture questions:
- What is the purpose of our school community?
- How do we need to adapt in light of this new remit?
Writing a Purpose
Your ‘purpose’ is the motivation for your school community. It taps into that thing that all successful school communities have in common:
- being part of something bigger
- working towards a common goal
- building skills and getting better
Tradition and school culture play a key role to help new comers understand the purpose of your community. Without in-person contact however, these social cues are missed.
Writing down your purpose and sharing that with members at your AGM is more critical than ever. The best descriptions are specific, exciting and require team work.
The structure of your purpose statement
We bring together [insert who you bring together] to [what you’re going to accomplish together], so that we can [the benefits that come from being part of your school community]
We bring together parents, school staff and pupils for regular social activities, so that we can develop a trusted network of families to lean on through good and tough times.
We bring together all our school’s families for volunteering and fundraising, so that we can develop our pupils interest in social responsibility and give back to others.
We bring together families through our buddy programme, so that new families integrate quickly into our school and their new country.
Now that you have your big purpose statement, you can agree what you want to achieve from your AGM. Besides reporting back on progress, is this going to be your chance to recruit new volunteers or explain how parents can donate to your cause.
Time for your AGM
Now that you have your Purpose Statement and clear objectives for your AGM, set an agenda and circulate in advance. Certainly this is more important in the case of a virtual meeting, when you can’t hand it out prior to the start.
Make sure you include the video conferencing link, date and time in every key piece of communication. If you require attendees to vote consider this when choosing a video platform. Zoom allows polling. Remember hosts and co-hosts are not able to vote in polls themselves. Slido is simple to use and ideal for Q&A and polling. Google Meet is also coming soon with polling and Q&A features.
Classlist community events now includes a video link where you can add your zoom meeting or google meet details. You can also ask questions of your attendees in advance of your meeting. Automatic meeting reminders are also sent out to ensure you get a good turn out.
Good luck. We’d love to hear how your AGMs go and whether attendance is higher or lower in this new world of social distancing.
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