PTA/PTO Directory Chair’s critical role

You care deeply about your child’s school and PTA/PTO activities. You are dedicated, have organizational skills and you want to make a difference. That is why you volunteered to become Directory Chair, taking on the responsibility of compiling this year’s school directory.

Now, you have a headache, because the process is tedious, wrought with inefficiencies, and demanding. Here are a few sources of headaches for any parent involved in the directory creation process.


1. Collecting Information from Families

Some parents never send in their forms. You can’t blame them, though, considering the multitude of forms they are asked to fill out every year by the school. The Directory Chair goes after each parent/family to collect the forms.

2. Typing, Formatting, Editing, Checking all the Information

The pile of filled-out address forms is sitting on your desk. Now it’s time for you and your team of dedicated volunteers to type in the information, format the names and addresses, adjust margins, and contact families to check if they really live in Nicaragua. The PTA/PTA Directory Chair does the painful task of scrutinizing/verifying each family’s details and correcting it.

3. Getting class assignments

Class assignments are announced shortly before the school year, leaving little time for you to integrate this information into the directory. The information goes into several listings, requiring tedious manual updates. The PTA/PTO Directory Chair gets the information from the School Secretary or District and makes all the needed changes.

4. “Back to School Night”

Directories are often distributed to parents during “Back to School Night”, a mid-September event. This is the dreaded deadline. Life is frantic and tensions run high as you work towards the final draft. You meet the deadline with minutes to spare! PTA/PTO Directory Chairs are the people behind the flawless execution of the directory production and distribution on Back-to-School night.

5. Maintenance of the directory

Adding new families to the directory after publication is not possible. So the PTA/PTO Directory chair ends up sending notes to the entire community as an addendum to the newsletters or sending out stickers with the new family addresses/contacts – none of this is an easy task when 300 families need to get this information.

6. Afterthoughts and tweaking the cycle

After all the effort and time that has been spent into the getting the directory together, you are relieved that the mission is accomplished. But, you also know that there has to be a better and efficient way for making the school directory. You also acknowledge that the print directory has number of shortcomings, including getting lost when you need it the most. You are also concerned about the carbon footprint of the print directories that are produced annually across the US.

After much thought and search, you have decided that you will recommend an online/mobile directory to your successor.