Saturday, September 3, 2016

Making College Happen: Advice from One Family

Source: National PTA One Voice
My son Alex and I are preparing for his first year at the University of Colorado at Denver. Paying for college can feel challenging and overwhelming, but it’s absolutely possible. Here’s how we did it:
  1. Start Early
We visited colleges during Alex’s sophomore year, and by junior year, he found a favorite. While visiting colleges with your child, stop by the financial aid office or just give them a call. They will give you a good idea about typical costs and answer questions about transferring credits. We learned that the University of Colorado at Denver offers a discount for residents of neighboring states. That’s helped us make it work.
  1. Determine the Cost
Once you find a college, determine the cost. Remember to consider not just tuition and fees, but also books, transportation and other expenditures. It might sound like a lot to keep track of, but free resources like the Sallie Mae® College Planning Calculator can help. Some colleges also offer net price calculators to help you estimate the costs.
  1. Start Simple
Fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on or soon after Oct. 1. The FAFSA determines eligibility for federal financial aid. Some of that aid is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis so it’s best to submit the application as early as possible.
  1. Apply for Scholarships
Make sure your child applies for scholarships early and often. Start searching online in August of their senior year to meet early deadlines. Services like Sallie Mae and Fastweb offer great scholarship search engines. Alex worked hard to maintain a good GPA because he knew academics are so important for scholarships, but many scholarships are based on other factors.  Set a weekly goal and don’t get discouraged. Alex completed many applications and often received the response: “great letter, but…” Don’t give up! Alex added the Make College Happen Challenge to his list and made an animated video about college planning. He placed 3rd nationally! Nothing is out of reach, so if you see a scholarship you like—have your child apply!
  1. Parting Advice
There are plenty of other ways for students to save, plan and pay for college. But the key is to start with a plan. At least, that’s what we did. And remember, this is just an example of our experience. The important thing is to create a personal plan of action to make college happen.
Good luck!

Veronica and Alex Gomez are a mother and son currently navigating the paying for college process. Alex recently won Sallie Mae’s Make College Happen ChallengeSM with his animated video submission detailing how he plans to pay for his college.

National PTA does not endorse any commercial entity, product or service, and no endorsement is implied by this content.

Friday, September 2, 2016

National PTA Honors Excellence in Building Family-School Partnerships

Ohio Winners!!!!!

Brookview Elementary PTA
Brook Park

Stiles Elementary School PTA

Kirtland PTA

Valley Vista PTA
North Royalton

North Ridgeville Education Center/Early Childhood Learning Center PTA
North Ridgeville

Falls Lenox Primary PTA
Olmsted Falls

Olmsted Falls High School PTA
Olmsted Falls

Olmsted Falls Intermediate PTA
Olmsted Falls

Olmsted Falls Middle School PTA
Olmsted Falls

Dentzler Elementary PTA

Green Valley PTA

John Muir PTA

Parma Senior High PTSA

Shiloh Middle School PTA

Hillside Middle School PTA
Seven Hills

173 schools and PTAs designated as 2016-2018 National PTA Schools of Excellence

ALEXANDRIA, Va., (Sept. 1, 2016)—National PTA is pleased to recognize 173 schools and PTAs from across the country as 2016-2018 National PTA Schools of Excellence for their leadership and accomplishments nationwide in building strong, effective family-school partnerships. The schools and PTAs represent 31 states and one Department of Defense school in Germany.

“Strong family-school partnerships are proven to advance children’s learning and growth, increase student achievement and positively impact school improvement efforts,” said Laura Bay, president of National PTA. “We are pleased to designate these schools and PTAs as 2016-2018 National PTA Schools of Excellence for their commitment to partnering to support student success and continuous school improvement.”

Through the National PTA School of Excellence program, PTAs partner with their schools to examine how families feel the school measures up to the research-based indicators of the National Standards for Family-School Partnerships. PTAs and schools then work together to address barriers and create new ways for families to support student success. The National PTA School of Excellence designation is awarded when a PTA and school have achieved a high level of family engagement or when a PTA and school have made substantive, positive improvement in families’ perceptions by the end of the school year. 

“It is essential that families feel welcomed and valued in their children’s school and are active participants in their education. It is also critical that families and school staff continuously collaborate to support students’ learning,” added Nathan R. Monell, CAE, National PTA executive director. “National PTA Schools of Excellence have put strong practices into place that involve families in the life of the school and are true examples of what can be accomplished when schools and families work together.”

In addition to receiving the 2016-2018 National PTA School of Excellence designation, National PTA will also recognize three of these schools and PTAs with the Phoebe Apperson Hearst Awards for Innovation in Family Engagement—the highest honor presented by the association.

Join National PTA Friday, Sept. 9 at noon EDT on Facebook for a special live announcement of the 2016 Phoebe Apperson Hearst Award recipients and National PTA School of Excellence program results.  

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

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Supporting Hispanic Students' Success

Webinar: Supporting Hispanic Students' Success
When: Sept. 15, 2016
Time for webinar in Spanish: 1 p.m. EST—Register Now
Time for webinar in English: 7 p.m. EST—
 Register Now
Twenty-five percent of students today are Hispanic, and Hispanic children and youth are the fastest-growing population in America. We know that Hispanic and Latino parents want the best for their children and want to be engaged, but there are cultural and language barriers that make it challenging. 
As Hispanic families head back to school, it is important they are equipped with tools and resources to help their children start strong and stay on track to success.
In this webinar, you will:     
  • Gain knowledge of the impact of family engagement on student success and ways to support Hispanic and Latino children's learning and development in school, at home and in the community.
  • Learn how to advocate for a quality and equitable education to ensure that every child has the opportunity to reach his/her full potential. 
  • Geronimo M. Rodriguez Jr., 2015-2017 National PTA board member
  • Margaret R. (Peggy) McLeod, Ed.D, deputy vice president, education and workforce development, National Council of La Raza and White House appointee as a member on the board of directors of the National Board for Education Sciences
  • Jo-Ann Rullan, director, community empowerment initiatives, Univision Communications Inc.
  • Adriana Flores-Ragade, partnership director, social impact, Univision Communications Inc.
Contact Armen Alvarez, National PTA multicultural membership development manager, for more info.
It is a top priority of National PTA to ensure all families in all communities are welcomed, supported and engaged in their children's education, which is proven to make a difference for student success. Univision Communications and Common Sense Media are key allies in our efforts to better serve and reach Hispanic families.
Download the Spanish version of this invitation and share with your Spanish-speaking audiences.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Lysol Helps Parents and Teachers Create a Healthy Classroom

Source: National PTA One Voice Blog
Implement Healthy Habits for a Successful School Year
Did you know that 38 million school days each year are missed due to influenza alone[1]? When children miss school, they miss out on valuable social and educational moments. Teaching children healthy habits like proper hand washing at an early age has been shown to reduce student absenteeism and illnesses in families[2]. When kids practice healthy habits like proper cough and sneeze etiquette, they are less likely to spread germs around the classroom and less likely to bring them home.

That’s why the National Parent Teacher Association has teamed up with Lysol and the National Education Association (NEA) to spread the word about healthy habits, starting with changes you can make at home. You can implement healthy habits into your children’s routine in a few easy ways:
  • Teach Proper Hand Washing Techniques: One of the most effective ways to help stop the spread of germs is washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water. To ensure children are washing for at least 20 seconds— the amount of time needed to kill and remove germs —encourage them to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice while rubbing their hands together to keep track of time.
  • Share Healthy Habits, Not Germs: Teaching healthy habits to your children at home can start a broader movement around keeping germs at bay. By demonstrating healthy habits at home, such as regular exercise, eating a balanced diet and disinfecting germ “hot spots” (especially light switches, door knobs and countertops), parents are encouraging children to share their knowledge with their peers. Those peers share with their friends and the cycle continues.
  • Support Schools One Clean Surface at a Time: Lysol and Box Tops for Education have partnered to promote healthy habits and support schools across the U.S. by providing classroom disinfecting products eligible for Box Tops redemption. Encourage teachers to add Lysol Disinfecting Wipes, now eligible for Box Tops redemption, on their school supply lists to help kill 99.9% of bacteria and viruses on commonly-touched surfaces around the classroom. It’s an item that both moms and teachers can proudly stand behind!
Visit for more information on the Healthy Habits Program.

Rory Tait is the marketing director at Lysol. He drives the Lysol Healthy Habits campaign, a program focused on educating parents across the country on the importance of healthy habits and good hygiene practices.
[1] CDC. “Vital Health and Statistics. Current Estimates from the National Health Interview Survey, 1996.”; Published October 1999
[2] Meadows, Emily, and Nicole Le Saux. “A Systematic Review of the Effectiveness of Antimicrobial Rinse-Free Hand Sanitizers for Prevention of Illness-Related Absenteeism in Elementary School Children.” BMC Public Health. Published November 2004