Friday, April 29, 2016

Digital Communications Best Practices: Leverage Digital Platforms to Engage and Advocate

Digital Communications Best Practices: Leverage Digital Platforms to Engage and Advocate

shutterstock_307632167.jpgWhen: Wed., May 4
Time: 7 p.m. EST

You're probably already dedicating time to posting on social media and sending out e-newsletters and e-blasts. But is your audience engaging? Are you gaining followers, replies, likes or shares/retweets on your content? Having a digital presence is essential, but it is critical to focus on engagement.

Join National PTA's digital communication specialist Catherine Llamido, National PTA 's editorial and marketing specialist Corinne Canning and special guest Shana Glickfield of DC-based public affairs firm, Beekeeper Group, to learn tips and best practices to engage with your audiences more effectively on social media and through e-marketing. You'll also learn how to assess your digital platforms to make successful goals and strategies.

Are you ready to get social? Use the hashtag #PTAdigitalhour on Twitter and register now to join the webinar.

Questions? Contact National PTA for more info.


Thursday, April 28, 2016

3 Reasons Why PTA Means So Much to Me

PTA One Voice Blog

Posted: 01 Feb 2016 08:07 AM PST
Anna-King-grandchildrenA few years ago, a politician said something to me that hit me to my core and helped me find my voice. He was talking about the need for prisons and said they knew whether a child would go to college or prison by how they could read in the third grade.
So I thought, if we know that children are in trouble by the third grade, the answer isn’t to build prisons, it’s to build better schools and help our kids!
I believe in education and I hope you do too—because, now more than ever, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and everyone who cares about children needs to speak out loudly and effectively on their behalf. And no organization helps us do that better than National PTA.
If you’ve ever had kids in your life, PTA needs no introduction. You know about the cookie dough and wrapping paper drives that your school’s PTA puts on. Sometimes they’re trying to buy nicer playground equipment or new technology. Other times they’re making sure kids have the basic supplies, like notebooks and pencils.
It might seem strange because I am a grandmother in Oklahoma who’s raised her kids, but I am still inspired to be a part of the PTA chorus of advocating for every child with one voice. Here’s why:
  • You don’t have to have a student in school to join and use your voice. To me, that’s so inspiring. It shows me what’s possible. My own children are grown, but that doesn’t mean I no longer have a vested interest in today’s kids and schools. I now advocate side by side with my children for my grandchildren. I know that when schools are good, kids have a better chance to succeed—and when kids succeed, our community and country succeeds too. With leadership and guidance from National PTA, I’ve knocked on state and federal legislators’ doors, the governor’s door, spoken up at state and school board meetings and rallied other parents and community lead­ers to get involved. And I’ve seen how we can make a difference together because you can, too.
  • It takes a village of people who care, get more involved. My daughter’s high school didn’t have a PTA when she started as a freshman. But because of family and community involvement, it now has a strong and active group of parents, grandparents, alumni, teachers (and students!), who are working on behalf of their school. Feeding over 300 students bi-weekly with the food pantry is just one thing this PTA is now doing. Because of family and community involvement, local schools where I live have resources from our school district on how to help homeless par­ents and get clothing and shelter to abused moms and kids. Because of family and community involvement, PTAs throughout Oklahoma City and the entire state of Oklahoma are talking to each other, working with each other and speaking up for kids with each other.
  • You can make every child’s dream a reality. Right now, National PTA is leading the charge to restore federal funds that have been cut from education, bring pre-kindergarten to every child, ensure safe and healthy environments in all schools, raise the bar on academic achievement so every child can reach his or her full potential, and more. Whether we’re talking about funding for pre-kindergarten or creating safe schools, this is a fight for our future.
So let’s give our kids the bright future they deserve. We need to stand together to change the world for our children and grandchildren. Will you join me by donating to National PTA, the nation’s most determined and trusted voice for children? We can make a difference!

Anna King is a member of National PTA board of directors, former president of Oklahoma PTA and is a part of the Teacher and Leader Effectiveness Commission and participates in the Oklahoma Prevention Leadership Collaborative.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Readiness Roadmap

Hello PTA Leaders,

Today, Learning Heroes released findings from a national poll on public school parents’ perspectives on their children’s academic, emotional and physical well-being. The study was conducted by Hart Research and commissioned by Learning Heroes, in collaboration with Univision; and in partnership with National PTA, National Urban League, NCLR and UNCF. The findings show parents’ high expectations and deep engagement in their children’s development, and at the same time, identify a disconnect between views on students’ performance in school and national data. The study also unearthed areas where parents most need support.

Please find below a press release on the poll and a new “Readiness Roadmap” that was launched today in response to the study findings to empower parents with the tools they need to support their children’s success. We encourage you to review the research and incorporate the findings into your work. We also encourage you to share the Readiness Roadmap with PTAs and families in your states.  

Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or if we can provide any assistance.

Best regards,
Heidi May Wilson


Parents Nearly Unanimous on Dreams of College for their Child, Yet Poll Reveals Concerns about Readiness and Disconnect Between Perception of Performance and National Data

Learning Heroes, National PTA and Univision Communications Inc. Release “Readiness Roadmap” to Deliver Resources Parents Say Would Be Most Helpful

WASHINGTON, D.C. (APRIL 21, 2016)A national poll released today reveals public school parents’ perspectives on their children’s academic, emotional and physical well-being, and identifies a disconnect between views on students’ performance in school and the national data.

The study—“Parents 2016: Hearts and Minds of Public School Parents in an Uncertain World— which polled more than 1,300 parents with children in grades K-8, was conducted by Hart Research and commissioned by Learning Heroes, in collaboration with Univision Communications Inc.; in partnership with National PTA, National Urban League, NCLR and UNCF; and with support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation. The findings show parents’ high expectations and deep engagement in their children’s development, and unearth areas where parents most need support.

“Across race, ethnicity and income, parents want to see their child go to college and are committed to helping them get there,” said Geoff Garin, president of Hart Research. “But along with these shared goals, parents share worries. On top of pressing concerns such as bullying, physical safety and their child’s social-emotional development, many worry that their kids won’t be prepared for college.”

Major Findings:
·         Parents are united in their belief in the importance of college. Seventy-five percent of parents believe it is very important or absolutely essential for their child to attain a college education, including 90% of Hispanic parents, 83% of African American parents and 67% of white parents. Yet two-fifths are not very confident that their children will be prepared to succeed in college, and more than half (53%) of all parents – including 70% of Hispanic parents – worry about their ability to afford it.
·         Parents believe their children are on-track academically, despite national data. The study finds that 90% believe their child performs at or above grade level in reading and the same proportion feel that way about their child’s performance in math, compared to just over a third of students who successfully met that bar according to the 2015 National Assessment of Educational Progress. This disconnect likely reflects an awareness lag, as states transition to higher learning standards and accompanying state assessments.  
·         Parents believe specific resources will be most helpful in preparing their child for success. When asked to rate how helpful various resources would be, parents prioritized an explanation of grade-level expectations for their child and activities to improve math and English skills. 

To provide parents with the tools they need to guide their children in their education journey, and in response to the study findings, Learning Heroes, National PTA and Univision Communications Inc. released a “Readiness Roadmap” available at in both English and Spanish, including: 

·         Grade-by-grade learning goal breakdowns, which parents rated as the most helpful resource to support their child’s success, with 66% stating this would be extremely or very helpful.
·         Tools for assessing and promoting social-emotional wellness (48% of parents worry about this topic), including tips for effectively communicating with teachers (63% of parents communicate with their child’s teachers at least once a month).
·         Resources for preparing for and paying for college, as:
o   38% of parents worry about their child having the knowledge and skills needed to be ready for college, including 58% of Hispanic, 33% of African American and 31% of white parents; and
o   53% of parents worry about their ability to pay for college, including 70% of Hispanic, 52% of African American and 47% of white parents.

“Parents are deeply engaged in helping their child be successful, and that looks different for every child.  Parents shouldn’t feel like they are on a wild goose chase when searching for the right resources and help for their child’s educational success,” said Bibb Hubbard, founder and president of Learning Heroes. “As K-8 parents learn how to put their child on the path to success in college, the Readiness Roadmap makes that job easier by quickly connecting them to top notch tools and resources.”
“As parents, we want the best for our children and want to support their learning and achievement. During this important transition to higher standards and aligned tests, many of us don't feel adequately informed to navigate our children’s educational journey,” said Nathan R. Monell, CAE, executive director of National PTA. “These new resources from Learning Heroes will ensure that every parent has what they need to make certain their child has every opportunity for success.”

Parents can go to to learn more and sign up to receive regular updates with tools, tips and resources. 

About Learning Heroes
Learning Heroes informs and equips parents to help their child succeed in school. We start by listening to parents and meeting them where they are with easy to understand information, tools, and resources. A project of the New Venture Fund, our partners include Common Sense Media, GreatSchools, NCLR, National PTA, National Urban League, Univision Communications Inc. and others.

About the Study
Hart Research Associates conducted this national survey among 1,374 parents of public school children in grades K-8. It includes a nationally representative survey of 802 elementary and middle school parents, as well as oversamples among Hispanics (to yield a total of 500 Hispanic parents) and African Americans (to yield a total of 265 African-American parents).  The online survey was conducted January 6 to 22, 2016 and was offered in both English and Spanish.  It was administered by GfK, using their KnowledgePanel©, a probability-based Web panel designed to be representative of the United States. The survey has a margin of error of +3.2 percentage points for all parents. Sample tolerances for subgroups are larger.

White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics

Initiative 25th AnniversarySign up for Nuestra Iniciativa

April 2016 Issue
White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics (Initiative) & U.S. Department of Education (ED)

Report: College Access for Pell Students

Report Cover
As part of the Obama Administration’s commitment to educational equity, ED released a report, Fulfilling the Promise, Serving the Need: Advancing College Opportunity for Low-Income Students, highlighting the efforts of colleges and universities to promote access, opportunity and success among low-income students, and identifying areas of much-needed improvement. [Data Set Supporting Report]

Honoring Latina's During Women's History Month

Photo of Panel
During National Women's History Month, the Initiative and its Federal Interagency Working Group on Educational Excellence for Hispanics held a discussion with Latina leaders at ED: Alejandra Ceja, Initiative Executive Director; Lisa Ramirez, Office of Migrant ED Director; and Vanessa Gonzalez-Plumhoff, Director of Outreach and Engagement. They focused on mentorship, education, and the importance of increasing access to opportunity to Hispanic girls and women. James Cole, delegated the duties of Deputy Secretary of education, thanked the working group for their efforts to strengthen the link between the federal government and the Latino community. 

Loan Forgiveness for Borrowers with Disabilities

ED announced a new process to proactively identify and assist federal student loan borrowers with disabilities who may be eligible for Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) loan discharge. This effort was called for by President Obama in his Student Aid Bill of Rights, which details measures to make paying for higher education an easier and fairer experience for millions of Americans. The Higher Education Act allows for loan forgiveness for borrowers who are totally and permanently disabled.  By proactively identifying and engaging borrowers who may be eligible for TPD loan discharge, ED is fulfilling its commitment to ensure that borrowers who are totally and permanently disabled have the information needed to take full advantage of the debt relief to which they are entitled. [Press Release]

Secretary John King at CABE

"If we give students the gift of bilingualism, of multilingualism -- if we give students the gift of those skills and those opportunities -- they have a better sense of themselves, their community, and their future, and a better appreciation for our diversity as a country." - Secretary John King

Read Secretary King's Speech delivered during the California Association of Bilingual Education Annual Conference. 

Invitation: College Signing Day


First Lady at College Signing Day
Deciding where you're going to college is always something to celebrate! On April 26, 2016, we invite YOU to join the First Lady in celebrating every student that continues their education beyond high school by organizing your own College Signing Day Celebration! 
Whether you're a mayor, principal or college President, a high school or college faculty member, community organizer, a celebrity, a parent or a school counselor, we invite you be a part of this growing movement and celebration.
What you can do:
  1. Check out the Signing Day toolkit for ideas about how to organize an event on your campus or in your community.  
  2. Organize an event.
  3. Register your event at Here you can also make a request to have a Senior Official from the Obama Administration speak at your event.
  4. Be ready on April 26th - wear your college gear and post photos on social media sharing why a postsecondary degree is important using the hashtag(s) #CollgeSigningDay #ReachHigher
Help us grow the #ReachHigher movement and spread the word! Share the PDF version of this email or just forward this message along!

Webinar on Student Loan Repayment 

May 5, 2016

Curious about how to repay your federal student loans?Register for Federal Student Aid's free webinar on May 5, 2016 from 3-4 pm and have your questions answered!

Recommend a Teacher 

During this year’s Teacher Appreciation Week (May 2-6), ED wants to extend a personal thank you to some great teachers.  Help us by recommending a colleague, a friend, your child’s teacher, or the teacher who inspired you.  While we cannot guarantee reaching every teacher during the week, we may use submitted information for other highlighting purposes throughout the year.

White House Science Fair 2016

President at the Science Fair
President Obama hosted the sixth and final White House Science Fair of his Administration and celebrated the student competitors and winners from a broad range of STEM competitions. The event was the largest White House Science Fair to date, with more than 130 students from more than 30 states. (Exhibit Details and Toolkit).
The President also highlighted the growing community of education, business, and nonprofit leaders who have responded to his State of the Union call to give every child the opportunity to learn computer science, as well as his overall “Educate to Innovate” campaign to ensure all students have the tools to be innovators and problem-solvers. Access a list of all of the day's announcements


Lisette Monzon

Recognizing Lisette Monzon!

Lissette Monzon has accomplished several milestones such as opening a Gifted program, served as a Little Red Schoolhouse Liaison, District Liaison for the Teaching Enrichment Activities to Minorities (TEAM) Program, Reading Coach, Literacy Leadership Team Director, Teacher Leader and National Board Certified Teacher. 

Why do you teach?
"I always tell my students, “The choices we make dictate the life we lead,” so it is important to make the right choices. I am here to ensure they have the tools to do so."
Today, Hispanics are nearly one in four of our public school students, but less than one in ten of our teachers. With the #LatinosTeach campaign, the Initiative features Hispanic teachers to demonstrate that while they are underrepresented, there are many Hispanics who are dedicating themselves to serving their community through teaching.
To see other teachers featured by the Initiative, search #LatinosAchieve on our Twitter account @HispanicEd. 

Grant Opportunities

USCIS Grant Funding

Deadline to ApplyApril 22, 2016
On March 2, 2016, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) posted two grant funding opportunity announcements. Both funding opportunities aim to prepare permanent residents for naturalization and promote civic integration through increased knowledge of English, U.S. history and civics. Through these two funding opportunities, USCIS will offer up to $10 million in competitive funding for citizenship preparation programs in communities across the country.

Americorps Social Innovation Fund Grants

Deadline to Submit Intent to Apply: April 15, 2016
Deadline to ApplyMay 10, 2016
Apply for Americorps Social Innovation Fund GrantsThe 2016 Social Innovation Fund Classic grant competition will provide up to $39 million to eligible grantmaking institutions seeking to grow innovative, evidence-based solutions to challenges facing low-income communities nationwide in our focus areas of healthy futures, youth development and economic opportunity. 

HSI STEM Articulation Grants

Deadline to Apply: May 31, 2016
The purpose of the Hispanic-Serving Institutions - Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics (HSI STEM) and Articulation Programs is to increase the number of Hispanic and other low-income students attaining degrees in the fields of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics. These grants provide institutions with funds to develop research opportunities and improve the overall quality of STEM programs on campus. 

Grant Competition Encourage Study of Native American Languages

ED’s Office of English Language Acquisition announced the availability of more than $3.2 million in grants to provide effective instruction to Native American students who are identified as English learners. Under the Native American and Alaska Native Children in School Program (NAM) program, funds will be used to support the teaching, learning and studying of Native American languages including Native Hawaiian and Native American Pacific Islanders. The program encourages a focus on improving early learning and development outcomes. 

Webinar Spotlighting ED Funding Opportunities

The White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (WHIHBCU) has been hosting a series of webinars to educate Historically Black Colleges and Universities on the grants and opportunities available to them throughout the federal government. This month WHIHBCU in collaboration with the Initiative will co-host a webinar with ED on April 21, 2016 from 1:00PM-3:00PM EST. This webinar will feature a presentation by departmental programs within the U.S. Department of Education highlighting their funding opportunities for HBCUs and Hispanic Serving Institutions.  Access more information and join us

Ensuring Equitable Access to Healthcare

Health is for Everyone Photo

April is National Minority Health Month, recognizing the efforts undertaken to ensure equitable access to healthcare across every racial/ethnic group in America. Health and Human Services' Office of Minority Health invites everyone to join in the effort to raise awareness regarding health disparities that continue to affect racial and ethnic minorities in the United States. 

You Are Invited: 

Google Hangout on Latino Teacher Recruitment
Today, April 20th at 2 PM EST 
Man next to promotion of the event
Please join Senior Advisor to the Secretary Ruthanne Buck, Initiative Senior Advisor Maria Pastrana and Bright Spots in Hispanic Education featured during the session:
This interactive session will provide an opportunity to hear from evidence-based programs, models, organizations, or initiatives that are helping close the achievement gap for Hispanic students, and for discussing ways to continue moving the needle on progress for Latino students and families forward.

STEM Google+ Hangout

Members of one of the Initiative's Bright Spots facing towards the camera as a group
STEM careers are some of the most rewarding and in demand  in our current economy. However, stereotypes surrounding STEM careers as well as less access to resources discourage many Latinos from pursuing careers in these fields. The Initiative's March Google Hangout on STEM highlighted the efforts of Bright Spots have undertaken to increase STEM access and education to Latino students. Check out the recording of the Google Hangout and find out how organizations are using their platforms to close the STEM gap among Latinos!

Bright Spot Corner

Leadership Scholars logo
Leadership Scholars works to empower Hispanic parents with strategies to support their children, and establishes knowledge to help them best position their children to earn college admission and scholarships. The program has grown to serve 19 schools in 2015 and it became the only tri-state entity offering its nationally acclaimed parent engagement program. Research was conclusive that the Leadership Scholars's PIQE program was effective at raising high school graduation rates, raising college attendance rates, and improving GPA and SAT/ACT scores.

Every month we will highlight one of the 230+ Bright Spots in Hispanic Education around the nation. Bright Spots are programs, models, organizations, or initiatives that are helping close the achievement gap. Access the Full Online Catalog.

Commitment to Action Corner

Parent Child Home program logo
The Parent-Child Home Program (PCHP) committed to providing low income Hispanic, particularly Mexican-American, families with the necessary skills and tools to ensure their children achieve their greatest potential in school and in life. The PCHP National Center assists underserved communities in replicating and expanding this critical program that builds early parent-child verbal interaction, learning, and school readiness at home. Access the commitment detailshere.

Every month we will highlight one of the 150 Commitments to Action made around the nation. Access the full listAccess the Online Catalog

Debt Relief Path for Defrauded Students

ED announced that students who were defrauded at 91 former Corinthian Colleges Inc. (Corinthian) campuses nationwide have a clear path to loan forgiveness under evidence uncovered by the Department while working with multiple state attorney generals. Students who attended Corinthian schools operated under its Everest and WyoTech brands in more than 20 states can apply for debt relief through a form postedhere

ED Creates Climate Surveys To Improve School Environments

ED has released new school climate surveys and a guide on making school climate improvements to help foster and sustain safe and supportive environments that are conducive to learning for all students.  The School Climate Surveys and Quick Guide on Making School Climate Improvements will enable states, school districts, and schools to collect and act on reliable, nationally-validated school climate data in real time.  These free, adaptable resources will empower educators to understand and create environments where every child can be successful.

 Secretary Visits Public School In Puerto Rico

John King alongside female school official
Secretary John King held a roundtable with students, teachers and school leaders at Dr. Arturo Carrion school in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The roundtable focused on the successes and challenges in turning around the school. Secretary King was joined by Puerto Rico Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla and Secretary of Education Rafael Román Meléndez. 

Talking Education Policy with Dallas Teachers

Photo of Roberto Rodriguez
Roberto Rodríguez, advisor to President Obama on education policy, joined an online group of over 9,000 educators in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, to discuss critical issue on education policy. The dialogue addressed issues such as standardized testing, early learning, and college readiness. 

Fulbright Webinar for MSI Students

Interested in learning more about the Fulbright program?   Register for the State Department's Fulbright Webinar on April 26th to find out more! This webinar will offer U.S. students attending Minority Serving Institutions a unique opportunity to learn more about the ins and outs of how to apply to the Fulbright U.S. Student Program.

What You Didnt Know About Your Financial Aid Award Letter

Financial Aid is often a tricky area to navigate for incoming college students. Knowing how financial aid is calculated as well as how schools determine eligibility can help students make more informed choices when it comes to picking a college to attend. Check outED’s guide to navigating the FAFSA and Financial Aid award letters and become more literate with financial aid lingo!

To learn how you can become an intern with the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, go here. To become an intern with the U.S. Department of Education, go here.