You will serve your PTA by keeping an accurate record of meetings, which become part of the permanent history of the PTA. See the “Taking Minutes” section of Running PTA Meetings.

 

In some PTAs, the secretary also has the responsibility of maintaining all PTA correspondence, including communications with members and notifications for meetings. Because of this, sometimes this position is split into two roles: Recording Secretary and Corresponding Secretary.

Great secretaries often have prior volunteer and/or meeting experience and are enthusiastic about PTA.

 

A PTA Secretary's Responsibilities 

#1: Gather and Maintain Essential Documentation.

There are several items you'll want to put your hands on right away to be sure important records aren't lost in the transition. Collaborate with your PTA president and past officers to gather these records. If any records are missing, contact your State PTA for guidance. Records to gather include:

  • Your PTA Bylaws (and any accompanying standing rules) to find important information about how finances are to be handled and how funds are to be disbursed.

  • PTA Procedure Book or "Board Book". Whether it is an electronic file, a cardboard box full of papers, or a binder thick with documents, get up to speed on what has happened in the past.

 
#2: Organize and Record Meetings.

Ensure that meetings are efficient by providing written communication with your PTA members and board. These responsibilities include:

  • Working with the president to create an agenda

  • Sending out meeting announcements, agendas and supporting documents

  • Taking attendance and checking for quorum (minimum number of members who must be present to conduct business at a meeting) during voting

  • Taking minutes, including counting and recording any votes

  • Presenting the draft minutes of the previous meeting, making any corrections and ensuring approved minutes are included in your PTA's permanent record

PTA meetings include meetings of the board, executive committee, other committees or general membership. Check your PTA's bylaws to determine how many of each type of meeting is required each year.

 
Running an Effective Meeting
  • Schedule meetings at convenient times and places. Poll members to find times that work best for the majority. Consider meeting outside the school building to attract family members who might not be comfortable in a school setting.

  • Have a clear purpose for each meeting, then create and follow an agenda. Members want to feel that something significant was accomplished and their time was valued.

  • Facilitate effectively. As facilitator, your job is to start and end the meeting on time, and keep conversation focused on the meeting's purpose.

  • Engage participants. Incorporate activities that get people involved and generate discussion, and use visual aids to grab attention. Be sure all members feel welcomed and invited to participate. Use parliamentary procedure (Robert's Rules of Order) to make sure everyone gets heard, no one dominates the conversation and ideas are fully explored before the majority rules through voting.

  • Ensure a quorum. A quorum is a minimum number of members who must be present to conduct business at a meeting. This number should be noted in your PTA's bylaws. If a quorum is not met, then you may hold a meeting but a vote cannot be taken.

  • Take minutes. According to the IRS, minutes become part of the organization's permanent file. Minutes should include a record of attendance and any action that was taken; for example, they serve as proof that funds were expended in accordance with the bylaws and approved budget. Minutes should not include opinion, lengthy descriptions of discussions or detailed quotes from speakers.

  • Plan for social time. Consider adding social time before or after the meeting so that those with busy schedules feel their time is well-used, and those who want to socialize have time to network.

Secretary