Planning the new web site

We’ve talked some about changing the PTA website to be easier for people to manage this year. Can we brainstorm for a bit about what we’d like the website to do?

Here are some possibilities:
– Host a PTA calendar that people can subscribe to so they will get reminders about PTA meetings, movie nights, Project Discovery dates, and so on.
– Have special announcements like “Don’t forget to bring back your Math Bee forms on Thursday!” posted to the front page.
– Provide an easy way for people to access PTA minutes, archived or live.
– Provide a “meeting place” for different grades or classes (for example, a K/1 page that reminds parents, “We’ve got a playground playdate every other Saturday,” or “Mrs. Hill’s class should bring in 100 objects to count on Friday.”
– Provide discussion boards for different purposes (maybe “auction planning” or “PTA board” or even “discuss bullying issues at Campbell.”)
– Provide locations for files to be stored

Those are just some ideas of what’s possible. So! Imagine I can make the website do anything you want: what do you want it to do?


  1. admin on September 3, 2013 at 6:51 pm

    This all sounds great. I think this would be super helpful for families. How hard is it to manage?

  2. admin on September 3, 2013 at 6:52 pm

    I set up a similar site for Hetty’s old preschool last year, intended to be run by parent volunteers. It runs on WordPress, and many of the tasks have approximately the same level of difficulty as using gmail or Word. I’d consider chunking this into

    Highly desirable:
    – PTA calendar: can be run by a parent volunteer and/or Patty as part of Programming. (If somebody has a spreadsheet of events, I can easily import it into a live calendar.)
    – Current front page announcements: Can be done by a parent volunteer, Patty as part of programming, or Ellen as part of Secretary duties. This is super easy, and I can even set it up so that if you send an email to the blog it will post for you, so it literally can be as easy as an email.
    – Minutes: at a minimum, we can post links to the minutes on google docs, which can be done just like the front page announcements (Ellen)

    Potentially desirable:
    – Per grade or per class meeting place: maybe we should talk to people about whether this would be useful? Room parents or teachers could post to these pages. (Again, they could post via email if they are feeling technologically intimidated.)
    – Discussion board: It’s been a while since I’ve installed an integrated wordpress discussion board, but it was trivially easy when I did it. My recommendation would be to test this out for a small subset of users this year, like the board or auction planning or garden committee, to work out any kinks
    – File storage: I don’t know if we’d want to store files here or on google drive. I’d say, let’s start out staying on google drive, and we can look at switching at some point in the future if there’s a compelling reason.
    – Photo directory: I didn’t mention this, and it would be trickier given permission policies, but we could create photo directories that would be viewable by members-only. So, for instance, we could put teacher photos up. Or pictures of garden workdays. Or “Mrs. Hill’s First Grade Expedition.” And so on.

  3. admin on September 3, 2013 at 6:52 pm

    I think all of those sound great Reidy. Love the calendar idea. Love the meeting place page (would want to make sure it would be able to be easily used by teachers as well).

    I would also think we should have something for committees (which are pretty lax right now but I would love to see beefed up a bit) to conduct business. Committees I foresee are volunteer, membership, bylaws, budget/fundraising, garden, SEPTA, nominating. Melody also suggested a health/safety committee. I am assuming that a meeting place idea would work there?

    Also, for maintenance: I would like to be able to have no more than a few maintainers have access to everything, but be able to provide limited access to certain areas for others to update/maintain (thinking here of meeting place pages).

    There should also be a place limited to the PTA board to share “drafts” or “in progress” documents, proposals, etc. that can be discussed before submitting to the larger PTA.

    My biggest issue is that I would like to be able to have one email/password for anything Campbell related and preferably related to my personal email. I had to create a yahoo account for the list serve and Laura set me up with a google account to be able to access google docs for fundraising stuff last year that I can’t actually access. And I can never seem to find the PTA meeting notes unless I find the email from Andrew with the link to where they are. So I am all for a “one stop shop” approach that doesn’t force me to have additional emails that I don’t really want.

    Those are my ideas.

    Thanks Reidy for spearheading this. You are awesome.

  4. admin on September 3, 2013 at 7:27 pm

    I think we can head in the direction of “one stop shopping” with the goal of getting there by the end of the year or beginning of next year. In other words, let’s get the blog up and running, then we can figure out whether to phase out google and yahoo stuff and replace it with wordpress functionality. That’ll make my life less stressful at the beginning of the year. 🙂

    Do you guys know who managed the calendar for the PTA in– was it 2011-12 or 2010-11? I can’t remember. There are simple formatting instructions s/he should use to make it easy to create an online calendar. Here’s the short version:

    Make a copy of the master calendar, and format it to have the following columns: Start Date, End Date, Subject, Start Time, and End Time. Subject might look like “Campbell Garden Day Planning Session”– this is what will show up on the calendar itself, so make sure that the subject line is clear.
    Save this spreadsheet as a .csv (Comma Separated Value) file. In Excel, Google, or other spreadsheet application choose “Save As” and select .csv.
    It’s possible that we might want to have more than one calendar, like one for the Garden Committee, one for the Auction Committee, and one for regular parents. That’s easy to do– just make sure that the subject lines for each are clear, in case people subscribe to more than one. For example, instead of “Planning Meeting” say “Garden Day Planning Meeting.”