Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Programs: Say Something Week 2016, October 24 – 28

Programs: Say Something Week 2016, October 24 – 28
Did you know that when it comes to violence, suicide and threats, most are known by at least one other individual before the incident takes place? In fact, in four out of five school shootings, the attacker told people of his or her plans ahead of time. Additionally, seven out of 10 people who complete suicide tell someone of their plans or give some type of warning or indication.

Imagine how much tragedy could be averted if these individuals said something?
Please join Sandy Hook Promise for Say Something Week this October 24 – 28.Last year, almost 200 Promise Leaders from 32 states brought Sandy Hook Promise’s first ever Say Something Week to a school or youth organization in their community. These efforts collectively trained and empowered over 205,000 young people to recognize threats – especially in social media – and Say Something to a trusted adult.
To learn more about how you can bring Say Something Week to a school or youth organization in your community, visit:
To send a letter to a school or youth organization in your community encouraging them to join Say Something Week, click here.
We will also offer a Say Something webinar for Promise Leaders on October 12 at 8 p.m. ETClick here to RSVP for this special webinar.
Advocacy: Taking Action Locally
Promise Leader Eileen from Maine joined Sandy Hook Promise’s Promise Leader Conference Call last month to learn how she can support gun violence prevention policy in her state.
After participating in the conference call, Eileen became active in Maine’s Vote YES on Question 3, a ballot initiative that asks Maine voters to expand background checks to all gun sales and transfers between individuals who aren’t licensed to sell guns. Eileen is asking neighbors and friends, including doctors and nurses in the community, to join her in writing op-eds to their local newspapers. She is also actively engaging the faith community and will be hosting a community conversation at a local church.
Eileen shared, “Maine has one of the highest rates of suicide in the country. Easy access to firearms contributes to this reality. As a registered nurse, I am committed to public health and public safety. Easy access to firearms and background checks that are easily circumvented remain a threat to both.”
This month’s Promise Leader Conference Call will focus on how to work with schools and youth organizations in your community to implement Sandy Hook Promise’s Know the Signsprograms. The conference call will take place on Friday, October 7 at 1 p.m. ET.Click here to RSVP.
Awareness Building: Promise Leader Conversations
This month, Promise Leaders across the country are hosting conversations to build awareness about Sandy Hook Promise.

Following a Promise Leader conversation in Florida last week, the local school district is exploring how to integrate Sandy Hook Promise’s Say Something and Start with Hello programs into their school curriculum. This is an amazing example of how one conversation can break through feelings of helplessness and hopelessness and inspire people to take action.
Promise Leaders are encouraged to host conversations at any time throughout the year. To find out more, please visit

Monday, September 19, 2016

Go Back-to-School with PTA E-Learning

67894471_thumbnail.jpgDo you want to be a better leader? Want to learn more about PTA? National PTA e-learning courses can help!
There are National PTA e-learning courses for experienced PTA volunteers and new members, covering various topics in just 30-45 minutes. Although these courses are full of useful and insightful information, we know that not everyone has an hour to invest into a course, so National PTA has developed "micro-courses."
Introducing Micro-Courses!  
National PTA Micro-Courses take a specific subject from longer e-learning courses and cover it in just 10-15 minutes, so learners can get the information they need in a manageable amount of time.
We also wanted to meet the needs of PTA's growing Hispanic membership base, so we've translated our core National PTA e-learning courses into Spanish, including: 
  • PTA Basics
  • Board Basics
  • Local Unit President
  • Local Unit Secretary
Check out the full library of PTA e-learning courses at

Join us on Facebook Live! 
Do you have a question about National PTA's e-learning courses? Join us on Facebook on Thurs., Sept. 22 at 12 p.m. EST for a PTA Live session. 
We'll share more information on how to sign up for an e-learning course and how they can help you and other volunteers in your local unit PTA! 
Make sure to be on the lookout for more updates in the future via social media!

Family Engagement is Critical to Education

Source: National PTA One Voice Blog

This blog post was originally published on Medium.
As an educator and parent, I’m always excited by the back-to-school season. I love meeting new families and helping students grow and develop as they learn new skills.
The start of this school year is even more exciting than usual because it’s the beginning of a new era for our nation’s classrooms. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) — the new federal law governing K-12 education — goes into effect this year.
While many teachers, students and parents won’t see immediate change in their schools and classrooms, states are actively working to create new education plans to implement ESSA that we hope will soon make high-quality, well-rounded education a reality for every child.
For the first time, ESSA acknowledges the critical role parents and other stakeholders play in student success and school improvement efforts by requiring that they be involved in the development of new education plans and implementation of the law.
Parents and their children are the consumers of our nation’s public education system, and parents have always been essential partners in education. However, they haven’t always been included at the decision-making table. This has caused confusion, mistrust and backlash when new initiatives — whether at the federal, state or local level — have been considered and implemented. ESSA now provides a unique opportunity for parents and families to give their input and to hold states and districts accountable for their children’s educational experience.
So how should states, districts and schools engage families in implementing ESSA? I have four suggestions.
First, invite families to participate. It seems basic, but many families do not feel welcome or know that the law requires that states and districts involve them in developing new education plans. Education leaders should use a variety of communications channels to reach out to parents and share ways they can get involved. Educators can also rely on a trusted messenger — such as PTAs — to communicate better with families.
Second, make messages to parents easy to digest. Most parents do not come to the table with expertise in education policy, but they are experts on their children. It is important that educational jargon is explained in simple terms — how does this affect my child and what can I do? Families must also be provided greater context about current policy and programs to understand ESSA’s impact on existing practices and future policies.
Next, translate materials to reach all families. It is essential that ESSA-related materials be translated into at least one of a community’s most popular languages other than English. Although it takes time and resources, this demonstrates a commitment to making sure all parents and families have the information they need to support their child’s learning and development.
Finally, demonstrate why family participation matters. If families are included in all stages of ESSA implementation, they will understand the ways it relates not just to their children but to every child in the community, the state and across the country. Mechanisms should be provided to allow parents to give regular feedback, and education decision-makers must listen when they do. When all voices are heard and valued, everyone’s engagement rises and consensus is easier to achieve.
ESSA provides an important opportunity for every part of every community to unite in designing the best education system possible for our nation’s children. But for education to be truly successful, family engagement must go beyond ESSA. Forty years of research proves that family engagement makes a real difference, so states and districts must prioritize it. Systematic and sustained efforts to integrate families into the fabric of our schools is key to our nation’s future.

Laura Bay is president of National Parent Teacher Association (National PTA), a nonprofit association dedicated to promoting children’s health, well-being and educational success through family and community involvement. This essay is part of a series on parent engagement produced by the philanthropic foundation Carnegie Corporation of New York.