Saturday, October 15, 2016

The Journey to Becoming a School of Excellence!

Source: National PTA One Voice Blog
Group of Multiethnic People Studying About Teamwork

When a school and its PTA make a joint decision to become a National PTA School of Excellence, they are making a commitment to work together as a team to build effective family-school partnerships in their school community.

There are three important steps on the journey to becoming a School of Excellence.

Step 1. Enroll

Step 2. Complete the family survey

Step 3. Complete and submit the Family School Partnership Scan
By now, most schools that enrolled are at Step Three. This step, the completion of the Family-School Partnership Scan and the receipt of a customized Roadmap to Excellence specific to local needs, provides a clearer picture of both the successes and opportunities for improvement. This leads to the decision of which path your School of Excellence team will take in the coming months. The possibilities are limited only by imagination and dedication!
After receiving the Roadmap to Excellence, some teams may wonder where to begin. For some schools, the Roadmap may seem extensive. This is the time to assemble the School of Excellence team, focus on specific opportunities for improvement and create an action plan by following these steps.
  1. Share your Roadmap to Excellence. Give your team plenty of time to review The Roadmap to Excellence before meeting. You may want to email a copy of it to your School Leaders and Board members or even set up a shared “School of Excellence” folder on your Google Drive.Organizing your School of Excellence documents (including your surveys and Family-Partnership Scan) on a shared drive—like Google Drive—is a great way to collaborate with your team. 
  1. Meet with your team. You may want to set a designated meeting time just to discuss The Roadmap to Excellence and your next steps. At your meeting, be sure to review the National Standards for Family School Partnerships. Discuss the joint goal you set with your School Leaders as part of your Family-Partnership Scan.Have your team identify two or three Roadmap recommendations per Standard to focus on for this year. You may want to narrow down your focus by identifying those recommendations that align with your School Improvement Plan, accreditation process, or any other big plans your school has for this year.Your focused attention to making substantial progress in a few areas per National Standards will help you be successful.
  1. Create an Action Plan. Now that you have identified your goals, it’s time to determine how you’ll reach them! Brainstorm with your team of parents, students (when age appropriate), teachers, school leaders, and community members, and get their ideas and input on what they can bring to the table to reach your common goal.Maybe you’ll continue or build on programs and activities already in place, or maybe you’ll move off in a new direction. Whichever way that you decide to go, don’t forget to take advantage of the many user-friendly tools and programs that National PTA has to offer—you don’t need to re-create the wheel! 
  1. Share your goals with your school community. This is a great opportunity to engage your families. Be sure to let families know how they can get involved and help by joining a committee, volunteering their time, or attending an event.You can use general membership meetings, your PTA website, newsletter and social media to promote your program, and be sure to highlight the special events and programs that are a part of your School of Excellence journey.
  1. Revisit your Roadmap often. Revisiting your Roadmap and those specific recommendations you have identified to work on this year periodically will help keep your team focused and on task.Set time on your Agenda at each Board meeting, general membership meeting, and principal meeting to discuss your School of Excellence progress, and don’t be afraid to rework and adjust your plan once you’ve see what’s working and where you may have an opportunity for improvement.After all, every journey has its pit stops and minor detours, and sometimes you make the most interesting discoveries along the way! 
Wherever the road to Excellence may lead you in the coming months, please know that you’ve taken an important step toward a better school community. It may not always be an easy trip, but there’s no wrong place to begin your journey.
In the words of tennis great Arthur Ashe,
“To achieve greatness, start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.”
You CAN achieve greatness for your school, your students, and your community! Through teamwork, dedication, and shared goals, you can achieve Excellence.

Kris Garst is a past president of European PTA, and currently serves on the European PTA Board of Directors as vice president for legislation as well as the convention chair

Lauren Van Hemert served as the president of The Centennial Campus Magnet Middle School PTSA for three years. She has also served on the Nominating Committee for the Wake County PTA and has promoted the National PTA School of Excellence on the county level.
Both Kris and Lauren are recipients of the 2016 Phoebe Apperson Hearst Outstanding Family-School Partnership Award.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Top 5 Things You Need to Know
  • Two important things regarding the Back-to-School Kit and PTA Recruitment Tool: (1) PTAs can now request more copies of the Recruitment Tool and (2) Your PTA could win a free Google Chromebook! Details below.
  • Have you downloaded the new School Meals Leaders Guide yet? We want you to team up with your local school leaders to bring healthy meals to school and we'll show you how in our webinar tomorrow, Oct. 12.You can still register!
  • Membership cards are available on the MyPTA Portal. Need help? Read more in the blurb below.
PTA Recruitment Tool Updates
PTA-recruitment-tool.pngIn case you missed our recent Facebook PTA Live, we'd like you to know we've got BIG news!
When you register for the Back-to-School Kit, you will receive a brand-new Recruitment Tool. PTAs can use these packets to help you grow membership. You can now request more copies of the Recruitment tool! Contact
In order to be eligible to win a Google Chromebook, please fill out this quick satisfaction survey by Oct. 31. Your feedback is very important! 
Go to and register for the PTA Back-to-School Kit today!
STEM Survey + Free Gift Card
2016-NPTA-STEM-Logo_Vertical.pngWhat are your thoughts on STEM education? How do you incorporate STEM activities at home? We want to hear from you!
We are inviting you to take a brief survey to learn more about your perceptions of and engagement in STEM education.
Everyone who completes this survey will be eligible to win one of five Panera gift cards courtesy of our partner Bayer.
This survey will close Oct. 14, 2016. Take the survey now!
Reading is Fun All Year Long!

FRE_logoofficial.pngAs you begin this new school year and plan for the months ahead, make sure you save the date and get ready to celebrate National Reading Month in March with PTA's Family Reading Experience.
Sign up for a free event kit and your PTA will be eligible for a Kindle Giveaway!
The first 1,000 PTAs to sign up by Dec. 1 will receive colorful posters, event signage, stickers for students, bookmarks and family take-home messages to support your event.
Visit for more info.
Mark Your Calendars
Tues., Oct. 11, 7 p.m. EDT
Healthy School Meals Webinar
Wed., Oct. 12, 1 p.m. EDT

STEM Survey Ends
Fri., Oct. 14

Back-to-School Kit and Recruitment Tool Survey Closes
Take the survey by Mon., Oct. 31
Tues., Nov. 1, 11:59 p.m. EDT
Advocacy Award Submissions Deadline
Sun., Dec. 18, 12 a.m. EDT
PTA Membership Cards
As a reminder, membership cards and other great resources are available for you on the MyPTA portal.
To gain access to all of these great tools, Your login is the state initials (SC or NJ) and the default password is PTA. 
If you need a password reset or other help, email our membership team at
Calling All Federal Employees
Are you or someone you know a federal employee, member of the military or a federal contractor?
If so, please choose National PTA as your charity of choice for your federal workplace giving campaign!
Illinois PTA Encourages Leadership Development
IL-PTAUniversityPhoto.jpgThe Illinois PTA offers an incentive program to encourage leadership development at both the local unit and council level. The program is called Illinois PTA University. The program has three levels: bachelors, masters and doctoral.
Each level recognizes the accomplishment of PTA members who have earned recognition by completing several requirements. The state PTA offers courses for free and specific events qualify towards a person's electives. Trained presenters teach the course in various areas of the state. Attendees receive a course book and the Powerpoint hand-outs. The courses are also offered through live webinars.
An example of one of the courses offered is PTA 101: Your Road to Success. This course covers general and basic PTA information. It is interactive, with attendees learning problem solving within the PTA. This course is presented in English and in Spanish.
To learn more about the other courses offered, visit IL PTA's website.
Reminder: Call for Resolutions for 2017 PTA Convention
The resolutions committee is seeking resolutions for consideration during the 2017 National Convention in Las Vegas, Nev.
  • All resolutions packets must be RECEIVED electronically at by 11:59 p.m. EDT, Nov. 1.
  • Review our checklist for detailed submission guidelines.
  • Resolutions received after the deadline will not be presented at the 2017 National Convention.
  • Early submission is encouraged. If parts of the resolution or background information are missing, or if edits are necessary, the submitter will need to work with a committee member to ensure the final submission is completed by the deadline date.
  • Fax and hard copy submissions will not be accepted.
For more info, see our PTA Resolutions Toolkit.
Five Reasons Why Membership Matters
  1. Membership supports and encourages family engagement—and when families are engaged, students succeed!
  2. PTA provides programs for students and families to connect. Members give life to programs like Reflections, School of Excellence, Family Reading Experience and more.
  3. PTA membership gives every child a voice in Washington, DC. Whether we are working to improve the juvenile justice system or K-12 education via ESSA implementation, every member counts!
  4. Members get discounts! Remind your community that is the place to go for the latest savings and discounts you recieve as part of your PTA membership.
  5. Our members are part of a larger community—in their town, state and nationwide. Knowing that our members give every child a voice at every level of government makes us all #PTAProud.
Sponsored Content
Mountain America Can Help You
MACU_Logo_4C_Vertical(1).jpgMountain America has a successful history of working with local and State PTAs. To support PTA and its members in their good works, we provide unique benefits including: easy to access to online and mobile banking; toll free service centers that are available 24/7, over 30,000 surcharge-free ATMs throughout the country; special offers; rewards checking and rewards Visa Cards and much more!
If you have questions about these special benefits, call us at (800) 310-6228 or visit for additional details.
National PTA Headquarters
1250 N. Pitt Street
Alexandria, Virginia 22314
Phone: (703) 518-1200
Toll Free: (800) 307-4PTA
Fax: (703) 836-0942
List: Leadership Briefing

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Ohio PTA at Neighborhood Pride Week

Ohio PTA will participate in Neighborhood Pride Week, a City of Columbus event in the Westland Area community, from October 17-21, at the Columbia Heights United Methodist Church, in Columbus.

Ohio PTA will have an information table for the entire week to distribute materials concerning Ohio’s Learning Standards and assessments.  Ohio PTA will recruit the local PTA council and units to help man the table. On Thursday, October 20th, Ohio PTA, along with South-Western City Schools Deputy Superintendent David Stewart, will give a presentation on the standards and assessments during lunch, at noon. Get the chance to win a Kindle Fire for attending.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

All PTA Members Have an Obligation to Vote in Elections

Source: PTA One Voice Blog

“The vote is precious. It is almost sacred. It is the most powerful non-violent tool we have in a democratic society and we’ve got to use it.” –Congressman John Lewis

Every day, throughout this nation and overseas, PTA members are hard at work, striving to better the lives of all children. Collectively, our non-partisan voices have made a positive impact nationwide.

Just as we speak up for children through our advocacy work, we also need to exercise the privilege given to every U.S. citizen—the right to vote. Not only should we vote, we need to motivate the people in our schools and communities to vote.

As child advocates, we need to engage, inform and educate our membership on the issues facing our children and education on the ballot today. We need to provide them with the tools they need to vote intelligently at the ballot box.

Elections can have consequences to our mission and we need to make sure our elected officials will work to serve our children well.

So, how can PTA members get involved in non-partisan civic activities? There are a several ways for PTAs to engage their membership as Election Day approaches.

View the list of civic engagement activities your PTA can do as a nonprofit, non-partisan organization below and check out our Election Guide for more options.
  • Organize voter registration drives (check state and local laws)
  • Host candidate forums
  • Work with other organizations like the League of Women Voters to distribute information on state and local issues that may be on the ballot
  • Hold or participate in a Mock Student/Parent Election on Nov. 3
  • Encourage 18-year-old students to vote and help them register, and plan a trip to the polls together
  • Ask your membership to familiarize themselves with the candidates and issues
  • Help members identify the location of their polling place and its hours of operation
  • Inform parents and families of the proper identification and additional information they need to bring with them to the polls in order to vote in your state
  • Provide information to your school community about alternative ways to vote in your state (absentee, early voting, vote-by-mail)
Voter turnout in the United States has steadily declined. A Pew Research Center study shows that in 2012 the U.S. trailed most developed countries in voter turnout, coming in at number 27 with a 53.6% voter turnout. Often people do not vote because of time constraints, lack of information about the process or because they think that their vote will not matter.

Have your PTA members mentioned that they feel their vote does not make a difference? Remind them that elections have been won by just one vote—and in the not-too-distant past, 537 votes made the difference in a presidential election.

If we as PTA members do not speak up for all children, who will? Make a difference in the lives of children. VOTE on Nov. 8 and encourage all child advocates to cast their ballots.

As you head to the polls, remember these wise words from the Dalai Lama, “If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.”

Latha Krishnaiyer is the past president of Florida PTA and a current National PTA bylaws and policy committee member.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Webinar This Tuesday

Bullying Prevention: Supporting LGBTQ Students
When: Tuesday, Oct. 11
Time: 7 p.m. EDT can happen anywhere and to anyone. However, depending on the environment, certain groups—such as LGBTQ students and students who are perceived to be LGBTQ—are at a greater risk of being bullied. Creating a supportive school climate for LGBTQ students improves educational outcomes for all students.

In recognition of National Bullying Prevention Month, please join National PTA and The Human Rights Campaign's Welcoming Schools Program for an Every Child In Focus Leadership Series webinar.
Attendees will gain an understanding of how to best support LGBTQ students and reduce their risk of being bullied, as well as ways to advocate for all students.
Featured Speakers
  • Laura Bay, National PTA President
  • Johanna Eager, Director of Welcoming Schools at The Human Rights Campaign
About the Every Child in Focus Leadership Series

National PTA's Every Child in Focus initiative is a campaign to strengthen family engagement in schools by celebrating the achievements and reporting the disparities within diverse populations, and sharing resources and advocacy tools to help understand the needs of every child.
Through its Every Child in Focus Leadership Series, National PTA is hosting a series of virtual events for PTA leaders, educators and family and community engagement professionals to share effective family engagement and community outreach strategies.
National PTA Headquarters