Thursday, July 28, 2016

Join us and be #PTAProud

You've probably seen the advertisements on Facebook and TV for the new 
Bad Moms comedy that references PTA. Released today, it tells the story of 
an over-worked and over-committed mom who teams up with other stressed-out moms 
to free themselves from the everyday challenge of balancing kids, home and their careers.
We are proud in what we do and show great pride for it—from the the creation of 
kindergarten classes, child labor laws to protect children, healthy school lunch programs 
and juvenile justice reform.
Let's shine a light on the parents in your community who are making a difference 
in the children's lives through their involvement in PTA. Throughout the next 
couple of weeks, join the conversation and let us know why you got involved in PTA 
and why you are proud to be a part of the association using the 
hashtag #PTAProud on Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram.
Here's how you can show your #PTAProud:

Change your profile picture on Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram with this graphic.

Download this sign and write why you are #PTAProud. Take a picture with the sign and share it online using the hashtag.

Share your story with us and tell us why you're #PTAProud through thisform.
Special thanks to California State PTA for inspiration for this campaign!

Reminder - National PTA comments on U.S. Dept of ED Regulations

PTA Leaders,

Just a reminder that if you plan to submit comments as a state PTA or as an individual the deadline to submit is Monday, August 1, 2016

You can submit your comments through (this is the direct link to submit comments) or via National PTA’s Takes Action Network.  Using the link is best if you have a letter to submit.  We are encouraging state PTA’s to send comments that way on their letterhead. Feel free to use National PTA’s comments in part or in their entirety when submitting on behalf of your state PTA.

The Takes Action Network link includes a condensed version of National PTA’s comments that were submitted on July 22, 2016 and are attached.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Protecting the Progress We’ve Made in School Nutrition

Source: PTA One Voice Blog
shutterstock_432895717It’s hard to believe that before long, it will be back-to-school time again.  Like many of you, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has been hard at work this summer preparing for the upcoming school year. Over the past six years since the passage of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, a key component of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative, schools across the country have made incredible progress in ensuring all children have access to more nutritious food in school.

Today, joined by Kelly Langston, president of North Carolina PTA, USDA is announcing four final rules that continue the Obama Administration’s historic commitment to building a healthier next generation. While they won’t make any drastic new changes, these rules will ensure the positive changes schools have already made will remain in place and improve children’s health for years to come.

National PTA has advocated for the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs since they were first created, and I am proud to have PTA join us for this announcement. You have been one of USDA’s most valued partners, advocating for changes like stronger nutrition standards and more family and community involvement in local school wellness policies to promote nutrition and physical activity in schools. Thanks to your advocacy in Washington and your leadership in local school districts, 98% of schools nationwide are now meeting updated, science-based nutrition standards and serving meals with more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy—and less sodium—in age-appropriate portion sizes. USDA is also seeing healthier school environments overall for the more than 52 million children who attend schools that participate in the USDA meal programs.

One of the biggest advances made under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act is the Smart Snacks in School rule, which ensured for the first time that all food and beverages sold a la carte in the cafeteria, in vending machines, or elsewhere on the school campus meet practical, science-based nutrition standards in-line with the requirements for school lunches and breakfasts. Schools have already implemented the Smart Snacks rule and are offering an impressive variety of options that meet the new standards and are popular with students.  The Smart Snacks final rule USDA is announcing today will ensure this progress remains in place.

About 70% of elementary and middle school students are exposed to some form of food or beverage marketing at school.  The Local School Wellness Policy final rule, also announced today, ensures that any food or beverage marketed on school campuses during the school day meets the same Smart Snacks standards.  National PTA has long been a strong supporter of robust school wellness policies that create healthy, supportive learning environments as children spend a majority of their day in school.

National PTA was instrumental in developing this rule, which requires schools to engage parents, students, and community members in the creation of their local school wellness policies, and empowers communities to take an active role in the health of their children. States and local communities will continue to have flexibility in developing wellness policies that work best for them.
shutterstock_293985629The two other rules announced today, the Community Eligibility Provision final rule and the Administrative Review final rule, will codify changes that have improved access to school meals for low-income children and strengthened oversight and integrity in the programs at the State level. The Community Eligibility Provision, another major advance made under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, allows school districts or individual schools with high numbers of low-income children to serve free meals to all students, eliminating the need for parents to fill out a free lunch application and reducing burdensome paperwork for school administrators so they can focus on what’s most important—feeding kids. More than 18,000 high-poverty schools serving 8.5 million students are now participating in this streamlined option, which has been shown to increase student participation in breakfast and lunch.

When kids return to school and Congress returns to work in September, USDA and the Administration will continue to call on Congress to reauthorize the Federal child nutrition programs. The Senate Agriculture Committee has already passed a bi-partisan bill that would protect the progress we have made and earned PTA’s support. The Senate bill would also support grants and loans to help schools purchase the kitchen equipment and infrastructure they need to prepare healthy meals, which National PTA has called for.

Children’s ability to learn in the classroom and reach their fullest potential depends on what we do right now to ensure their health.  USDA is grateful for National PTA’s partnership in ensuring every child in America has the opportunity to grow up healthy and succeed in school and later in life. Together, we have supported these healthy changes that will benefit our children—and our country– far into the future.

Tom Vilsack serves as the nation’s 30th Secretary of Agriculture.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

10 Ways to Get Kids Reading this Summer

Source: PTA One Voice Blog

School’s out, the days are longer, and suddenly kids have time on their hands, and you’d like them to put down their tablet and pick up a book. After all, studies show children who read when they’re out of school do better academically than those who avoid cracking open a book.

California Library Association is asking patrons across the state to encourage their local libraries to be a part of theFive Book Summer Reading Challenge. CLA has innovative programs to share or seek at least a calculation of how many books were read. Reading just five books during the summer reduce summer learning loss–significantly more than three or four books. Here are 10 ways to get even the most reluctant reader started on a reading adventure.
  1. Get inspired by Hollywood

    Movies can be a great way to get kids excited about reading, so kick-start summer with film adaptations of popular children’s books. Parents might Netflix Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009), based on a book by Roald Dahl. If kids warm up to Mr. Fox, you’ll be able to introduce them to the book version  as well as other titles by the author, such as James and the Giant PeachCharlie and the Chocolate Factory, and The BFG.
  2. Take a book-themed vacation

    “I can go anywhere!” — or so says the theme song to the PBS show Reading Rainbow. Parents could do a lot worse than taking those songsmiths to heart and helping children plan a vacation inspired by a book they love. To start, try reading Liz Garton Scanlon’s picture book All the World while planning a trip to the beach. New Englanders might visit Providence, R.I., after reading the historical young adult novel The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle.
  3. Meet the authors

    Kids of all ages can benefit from attending an in-person literary event. Authors routinely make appearances at bookstores to read their latest work, and these events are often sparsely attended. Seeing the person behind the words could inspire kids to try a new book. For dates and times, check local news and bookstore websites.
  4. Get cookin’ with books

    Parents of kids who aren’t interested in the more traditional children’s books might want to steer their offspring toward other genres. Cookbooks can encourage kids to master practical skills while providing a delicious payoff at the end. The American Grandparents Association recommends 12 cookbooks for kids 3 and older. And children who branch out into the world of food blogs will find endless reasons to keep reading.
  5. Wise up on magazines

    Magazines cater to many interests and can inspire kids to read deeply on subjects they enjoy. Among magazines suitable for younger readers, several well-known magazines, such as Sports Illustrated and National Geographic, offer “kids” editions. Parents’ Choice has a list of spring 2015 winners here. Teens in particular may want something for the more mature: SeventeenTeen VogueESPN or MAD — and most magazines are available for electronic readers such as Kindle and Nook.
  6. Create a readers’ theater

    Parents can bring books to life by staging scenes from favorite stories. Act out characters, read scenes aloud, try funny voices, and use props from around the house — do whatever it takes to get kids excited about the story. By imagining themselves in the roles of their favorite characters, children can make a deeper connection to what they’re reading.
  7. Listen to your books

    Parents might not realize that audiobooks are freely available for checkout at most public libraries. Take your children to the library (or iTunes), and pick out the perfect summer tale, then set aside some time to listen to the audiobook together.
  8. Throw a blog party

    Make reading social by helping your kids — or, more likely, having them help you — set up a reading blog on sites such as BloggerWordPressTypePad, or Tumblr. While getting them set up should be relatively painless, kids might need encouragement to keep writing, so make sure you help them stick to a schedule. For even more online fun, see if you can get your children’s friends involved as well.
  9. Organize a summer series

    With school out, children have extra time to get sucked in by the compelling narratives of popular series. For the youngest set, start with picture books such as Babar. Genre books can be particularly addictive for older kids:The Lord of the Rings is a classic — and one of the best.
  10. Be strong and read hard!

    It’s especially important for parents to model the behavior they want to see in their children. Some parents only read after their kids are in bed, but summer is a great time to take the books off the bedside table and make them part of vacation or leisure time. Whether that means booting up the Kindle or dusting off old Anna K, show your kids you still love a good read, too.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

What This Means: Secretary King Stresses the Necessity of Diversity

Source: PTA One Voice Blog
Posted: 11 Jul 2016 09:09 PM PDT
In a keynote address at the Think BIG… Think PTA! National PTA 2016 Annual Conference, attended by over 1,000 PTA members and advocates, U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King voiced the importance of having diverse schools and classrooms. He urged PTA members to “demand diversity—not just in schools but also in the classrooms within those schools,” and added that “diversity is not a nicety but a necessity. Not just for some students, but for all of our students.”

Research shows that diversity of teachers and students results in better academic and life outcomes for all students. Nearly half of today’s public school students identify as non-white, but only 18% of the teaching force identifies this way, resulting in students rarely identifying culturally and racially with their educators.

Congress is taking steps to address the lack of diversity in schools. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Congresswoman Marcia Fudge (D-OH) will soon be introducing legislation which would offer grants to help districts create and implement strong voluntary, community-developed plans to increase socioeconomic diversity in their schools while improving student achievement.

Congress cannot tackle this issue alone. Secretary King stressed that PTAs across the country have a unique opportunity to increase diversity within schools. He pressed PTA members to find out if there is a formal outreach effort in place and if not to “start it and lead it.” He went further by stating “if your school is diverse but its PTA doesn’t reflect that diversity, take the time to get to know parents from different backgrounds. Invite them to join you.”

National PTA has a long-standing commitment to diversity and inclusion. To further this effort, we recently updated the Diversity and Inclusion Toolkit to help PTA leaders make their PTA more welcoming and inclusive for all children and families by honoring their differences. Be sure to download it for in-depth guidance, but in the meantime, here are a few ways to embrace diversity and multiculturalism in your school community:
  • Make the connection with your community and identify different audiences such as community colleges, hospitals, parks, libraries, etc.
  • Distribute information to staff and families about community resources that serve the cultural, recreational, academic, health, social and other needs of families.
  • Foster student participation in community service and involve community members in school volunteer programs.
  • Disseminate information to the community, including those without school age children, regarding school programs and performance.
  • Collaborate with community agencies to provide family support services and adult learning opportunities, enabling family involvement.
PTA members have an important obligation to ensure that diversity is prioritized in our nation’s schools and to advocate so that every student has the opportunity to reach their full potential. Diverse student bodies and teaching forces allow students to learn how to work productively with people whose life experiences are different from their own.

Find more resources and information about diversity and inclusion on

Lindsay Kubatzky is the government affairs coordinator for National PTA.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Attention Ohio PTA Advocates

Attention Ohio PTA Advocates

The House Appropriations Committee will markup its Labor, Health and Human Services and Education  (L-HHS-ED) Appropriations bill this Wednesday, July 13 at 10:00 AM, ET.  You can watch the webcast here.

As you know, PTA members have been advocating for funding of the Statewide Family Engagement Centers (SFECs) program. Unfortunately, the program was not included in the House L-HHS-ED appropriations subcommittee bill. This is a critical time to advocate for this important investment in family engagement and we need your help! National PTA would like for you to share the link below with your PTA members with representatives who sit on the House Appropriations Committee. The link will provide you with your representative’s phone number and talking points on SFECs. Note that you can only access the representative’s information if you are a constituent.   

Please do not hesitate to contact us if we can provide assistance or answer any questions. We only have two days until the vote!


Thank you for advocating on behalf of all children!
Ohio PTA Advocacy Committee

National PTA White Paper Reveals Families are Essential to Bridge STEM Gap

National PTA White Paper Reveals Families are Essential to Bridge STEM Gap

ALEXANDRIA, Va., (July 11, 2016)—National PTA announced today the release of a white paper on the essential role of family engagement in increasing students’ access to opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM)—especially among girls and underrepresented youth. The white paper is the result of an analysis of STEM education research and STEM programs; a panel discussion with PTA members and STEM education and equity experts; and a convening of thought leaders in STEM, family engagement and education.

“STEM jobs in the United States are growing twice as fast as other fields. As a result, the demand for qualified STEM professionals is high, but the supply of qualified STEM workers is low—especially among underrepresented groups like minorities and women,” said Laura Bay, president of National PTA. “The gap in the STEM pipeline is not a new problem, but intentionally engaging families is an essential new solution.”

Among the findings highlighted in the report:

·         Families are unaware of the vast career opportunities in STEM and rely on their own experiences with STEM subjects to guide perceptions about STEM for their children
·         Families are not equipped to support STEM education decision-making or to guide their children toward STEM career pathways
·         Families have not been empowered to advocate for high-quality STEM education and programs for all students in school, home, community or digital settings

“We know—and decades of research proves—that family engagement is essential to children’s success. We also know that families play an important role in helping students navigate educational and career decisions and are influencers of students’ perceptions of what’s possible for their futures,” said Nathan R. Monell, CAE, National PTA executive director. “Shifting the conversation to include families as meaningful partners in STEM education and career pathways is critical to bridging the STEM gap.”

The white paper is part of National PTA’s new STEM Plus Families initiative. National PTA launched STEM PlusFamilies with the founding support of Bayer USA Foundation and Mathnasium. Bayer is the lead corporate supporter for the “S” in STEM, and Mathnasium is providing support for the “M.”

“Families are critical to nurturing a child’s interest in STEM subjects during school and, eventually, pursuing a STEM career,” said Dr. Mae C. Jemison, ambassador of Bayer’s Making Science Making Sense® science literacy program. “The findings of National PTA’s STEM Plus Families white paper support this position as well as the direct positive correlation between robust STEM careers and the long-term prosperity of the United States.”

About National PTA
National PTA® comprises millions of families, students, teachers, administrators, and business and community leaders devoted to the educational success of children and the promotion of family engagement in schools. PTA is a registered 501(c) (3) nonprofit association that prides itself on being a powerful voice for all children, a relevant resource for families and communities, and a strong advocate for public education. Membership in PTA is open to anyone who wants to be involved and make a difference for the education, health and welfare of children and youth.

About Bayer Corporation
Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the Life Science fields of health care and agriculture. Its products and services are designed to benefit people and improve their lives. At the same time, the Group aims to create value through innovation, growth and high earning power. Bayer is committed to the principles of sustainable development and to its social and ethical responsibilities as a corporate citizen. In fiscal 2015, the Group employed around 117,000 people and had sales of EUR 46.3 billion. Capital expenditures amounted to EUR 2.6 billion, R&D expenses to EUR 4.3 billion. These figures include those for the high-tech polymers business, which was floated on the stock market as an independent company named Covestro on October 6, 2015. For more information, go to

About Mathnasium
Mathnasium, the nation’s leading math-only learning center franchise, specializes in teaching kids math in a way that makes sense to them. The result of 40+ years of instruction and research, the Mathnasium Method has transformed the way children understand and appreciate math—whether they’re ahead of the curve, performing at grade level, or falling behind. Franchising since 2003, Mathnasium has become one of the fastest-growing educational franchises, with a new center opening each week. There are more than 700 Mathnasium franchises in the U.S. and abroad. For more information, visit or call (877) 601-MATH.  

Media Contact
Heidi May Wilson, National PTA, (703) 518-1242

Legislative UPDATE / Action Item

The Government Affairs team wanted to share three important pieces of information with you:

1.      House Labor, Health & Human Services and Education Appropriations Mark-up
On Wednesday, July 13th the House Appropriations Committee will mark up its FY 2017 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (L-HHS-ED) bill at 10:00am ET.  You can watch the webcast here.  Unfortunately, the LHHS-ED appropriations subcommittee did not include funding for the Statewide Family Engagement Centers (SFECs).  We continue to engage with committee members on the importance and need for this program and will continue to do so throughout the appropriations process. 

ACTION ITEM: If you have a representative on the House Appropriations Committee, please call them today and let them know they need to fund SFECs in the bill.  This link provides you with your representative’s phone number and talking points on SFECs. You can only access the representative’s information if you are a constituent. Please share as appropriate with your members.

2.      Legislation Committee Advocacy Survey
The Legislation Committee wants to hear from you and PTA members across the country!  Please take a few minutes to complete the Advocacy Survey by Monday, July 18th.  The committee will be using the feedback to help shape its plan of work for the coming year. Again, please share throughout your PTA networks. 

3.      Advocacy Webinar from the Congressional Management Foundation
National PTA is premier partner of the Partnership for a More Perfect Union, led by the Congressional Management Foundation.  Through our partnership National PTA has access to webinars and materials to help foster better relationships and communication between PTA members and Congress.  Join fellow advocates on Wednesday, July 20 at 1:00pm ET for The Citizen Advocate Toolkit: 8 Essential Tools for Influencing Public Policy webinar. 

This webinar will walk participants through the most effective tools available to every advocate. Participants will learn: 
·         How to leverage social media;
·         Tips for in-district interactions; and
·         Why letters to the editor still work.

      You are encouraged to share this webinar with your PTA members, as it is exclusively available to National PTA and PTA members. However, due to copyright laws, please do not share on public facing websites such as Twitter, Facebook or any other social media accounts. You can share the webinar link through email and newsletters. 

Saturday, July 9, 2016

National PTA Adopts Resolution on the Recognition of LGBTQ Individuals as a Protected Class

National PTA Adopts Resolution on the Recognition of LGBTQ Individuals as a Protected Class

ALEXANDRIA, Va., (July 5, 2016)—National PTA, the nation’s oldest and largest child advocacy association, adopted a resolution during its 2016 Annual Convention & Expo in Orlando, Fla. on the Recognition of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer/Questioning (LGBTQ) Individuals as a Protected Class. The resolution calls for federal policies that specifically protect LGBTQ youth and local practices that create and maintain safe, affirming and inclusive learning environments for all students.

“Every child deserves to go to school excited to learn in a safe and nurturing environment, without the fear of bullying, violence or discrimination. However, the vast majority of LGBTQ students are bullied, physically assaulted and feel unsafe in school because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation or identity,” said Laura Bay, president of National PTA. “National PTA delegates have taken a stand to push for policies and protections for LGBTQ youth to make sure they have positive school experiences.”  

As outlined in the resolution, National PTA and its constituent associations will advocate for legislation that explicitly recognizes LGBTQ as a protected group and addresses discrimination based upon sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. The association will also seek to ensure educators have the training to support all students and that health education standards appropriately address the issues of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.

To this end, National PTA encourages state, councils and local units nationwide to review district and school policies that address bullying and support revisions and amendments to these policies that specifically discuss sexual orientation and gender identification/expression as they relate to harassment and discrimination.

“It has long been a top priority of National PTA to make sure all children have a safe, supportive and positive environment in which to thrive and learn. There is an urgent need for explicit protection of LGBTQ youth,” said Shannon Sevier, vice president of advocacy for National PTA. “The adoption of the resolution builds on the association’s long-standing position against bullying and is an important step to further direct and inform advocacy efforts of National PTA and PTAs across the country. The association remains committed to working with policymakers and education leaders at the federal, state and local levels to strengthen protections for all children and improve education.”

National PTA delegates also adopted resolutions on Electronic Cigarettes and Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) and YouthHomework: Quality Over Quantity and Water Safety and Instruction during the 2016 Annual Convention & Expo.

About National PTA
National PTA® comprises millions of families, students, teachers, administrators, and business and community leaders devoted to the educational success of children and the promotion of family engagement in schools. PTA is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit association that prides itself on being a powerful voice for all children, a relevant resource for families and communities, and a strong advocate for public education. Membership in PTA is open to anyone who wants to be involved and make a difference for the education, health, and welfare of children and youth.

Media Contact
Heidi May Wilson, National PTA, (703) 518-1242

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Dues Increase Information

membership circle.jpg

The 110th Ohio PTA Convention delegates approved a bylaws amendment that allowed a much-needed increase in our dues. This is the first dues increase in 20 years!

After July 1, 2016, any dues forwarded to Ohio PTA should be $4.75 per member that includes $2.25 for National PTA and $2.50 to Ohio PTA.

This increase will enable the Ohio PTA to make existing programs more robust and allow us to develop new activities and programs for our parents and children. Your dues help to promote child advocacy, government relations, and leadership training. We anticipate developing additional resources to help every child meet their potential.
Thank you PTA leaders for your determination, drive, and awesome dedication to all children.