I moved to Arizona in 2011, pretty desperate for some friends. I went to all the PTO meetings (PTO is like PTA, just not part of the PTA — they have their own bylaws), and felt like an outsider for a long time. They kept saying they needed someone to take over their carnival — I just knew that wasn’t for me. But, I knew the way to make friends was to get involved. So I did something really dumb. I took over the school carnival. I don’t even throw my kid birthday parties… what did I know about carnivals? My friends in California had wild laughing fits over me running a school carnival. I preferred to sit in site council and talk about test reults…
But, it turns out there isn’t a whole lot different between test results and running a school carnival.
It’s all about organization. This one just required a lot of organization. It is a BIG carnival with a lot of pieces.
So, I’m going to split the carnival into 3 areas.
In the coming weeks I’ll start in on those.
But today I’ll talk about my spreadsheet. Running a fairly large school carnival takes an investment of time and energy that can hurt your brain. Also, I was coming in as someone who had NO idea who anyone was. I couldn’t just know that my friend Pili was doing dinner.
My school spreadsheet is pretty intricate and each school’s spreadsheet would need to be different according to how you run yours. I will say these tabs will be pretty similar.
- Chairs — each main area has a “Chair” over it
- Classroom reps — we’ll talk more about this in my games post.
- Budget — it’s important to get an idea of how much your PTO wants spent and about how much they want to make. The first year I only had how much they wanted me to make, and that wasn’t helpful. You need to know how they hope you’ll balance community spirit and fundraising. That’s up to each PTO, not really up to you (although you should have definite input, since this is your baby).
- Timeline — I have refined this each year so I knew what I should be doing when, and less got left in the cracks
- Volunteers — how many you’ll need where (we use www.signupgenius.com to have parents/teachers sign up)
- A list of all the meetings you have and what you’ll go over. I meet twice with the principal. We used to have a big overall meeting, but I felt like I wasted less of everyone else’s time if we didn’t have that. We do have one meeting where classroom reps can meet with us if they’d like. Some people really prefer talking in person, so that left an option for those people.
That’s what’s on mine. I’d love to have input from other Carnival chairs. I’m actually DONE running our school carnival (I’m incoming PTO president next year — yay.} but it’s always good to hear how other schools do it! I only have my school, and our school in CA to compare.Be sure to check out my whole PTO carnival series.