Remember, “organizing” is just a fancy word for building relationships.
If you’ve never participated in the NJEA PRIDE program, take this easy quiz. It will help you see if your members are already doing great PRIDE-type projects but not getting the NJEA resources and funding available.
1. Do you have excited but slightly overwhelmed new staff?
2. Do you have members feeling beat up by all of the negative press?
3. Do any of your members invite parents, community leaders, and/or senior citizens into their classrooms to talk to their students or participate in holiday activities?
4. Does your school have back-to-school night and/or parent-teacher conferences?
5. Does your school hold music, art, and/or science nights to showcase students’ work?
6. Do any community and/or civic groups sponsor town festivals or holiday events?
7. Would your members enjoy getting funds to help them participate in these types of activities?
If you answered “yes” to any of the above, you are already on your way to participating in PRIDE. Now all you have to do is put a few ideas on the proposals, and you’ll qualify for funding. The only difference is that your association and not an individual staff person will sponsor the event. After all, PRIDE is all about getting your members involved and building name recognition and support for your association.
Here are some easy activities for first-year participants:
• Gain name recognition—Request an association banner for each of your buildings so that it can be displayed throughout the year and at PRIDE events.
• Back-to-school night and/or parent conferences—Create a flier of helpful tips (there are lots on njea.org) or request Parent Tips brochures from your NJEA regional UniServ office (go to njea.org and select “Teaching and Learning.” Then click on “Classroom Tools”). Distribute the materials and a promotional item (check out the promo catalog to see the available items).
• Take a look at your district’s calendar—Consider setting up a table at a school evening event with parents. Display your banner, provide refreshments, and distribute a promo item with a flier that highlights your members’ accomplishments.
• Review your community’s calendar—Build relationships with your community by participating at a community event. Display your banner, provide refreshments, showcase students’ work, and distribute a promo item.
• Survey your members—Find out which members will be inviting community members, parents, and/or senior citizens (these are our potential supporters at contract time and school budget elections). Coordinate the activities already planned so that they get promoted as an association event with a banner and your association’s name on fliers, invitations, etc.
To get started, be sure to reach out to your local president and your regional NJEA UniServ representative.