Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Cuyahoga County Opiate Task Force and the Ohio PTA

Dear PTA Leaders,
The Cuyahoga County Opiate Task Force and the Ohio PTA are asking for your assistance in the ongoing battle to halt the opioid epidemic.  It has become evident that prevention is the only long-term solution.   You can be a catalyst in helping to save children's lives by starting a conversation with your school administrators that evaluates current and future drug education programming.  This is an important piece in plans to launch a statewide pilot initiative called the Drug Education School Challenge (D.E.S.C.).
Please take a moment to read, print and organize the files listed below.  You can access them via the Google Drive link in this email.
First Step - Print and staple the Documents for PTA Leader in the following order:
  • Dear PTA Leader Letter
  • School Information Questionnaire - Student Education
  • School Information Questionnaire - Parent Education

Second Step - Print and staple the Documents for School Administrator in the following order:

  • D.E.S.C. Overview for  School Administrators
  • Drug Education Programming Considerations
  • Drug Education Programming Resource List
Next Steps
  1. Meet with your school administrator, bringing the above documents.
  2. Complete the School Information Questionnaires with your administrator.
  3. Scan the completed School Information Questionnaires and email them to Ohio PTA by Friday, June 16, 2017.  Although participation is optional, all PTAs that send in the completed surveys will be entered into a raffle for a $50 VISA gift card.
If you have questions or would like to hear more about the D.E.S.C., please join us for an informational statewide call hosted by Ohio PTA on Tuesday, May 30, from 8-9:00 p.m.
Dial-in number: (641) 715-3580 / Access code: 332-160
You can also email Ohio PTA at at any time.  Your feedback will guide the scoring framework that will ultimately provide public and monetary recognition to schools participating in the D.E.S.C. for the 2017-18 school year.

Thank you in advance for supporting this collaborative pilot initiative, especially at this busy time of year.  Together we can make a difference in the futures of Ohio’s children and families.


Sheila Ragland
President, Ohio PTA

The Power and Peril of Myth for Today’s College Students

Source: National PTA One Voice Blog
Posted: 23 May 2017 09:52 AM PDT

Originally published on 

We are now entering what is perhaps my favorite time of the year: graduation season. As a veteran faculty member and administrator, I have fond memories of commencement ceremonies, seeing the joy and pride in the faces of graduates and their families and knowing many of the stories behind those smiles.

While graduation season is filled with inspiring stories of persistence, sacrifice, and accomplishment, it also gives rise to some lingering myths about our students and what it takes for them to get to graduation. These myths hurt students because they help preserve a status quo in which not enough of them succeed. We can and must bust these myths.

MYTH 1: College is not for everyone, and too many people are going to college. When many people hear the word “college,” they think only of four-year universities and rightly argue that not everyone needs a four-year degree.

But in today’s world, it is important to define college as a meaningful credential after high school – everything from short-term certificates in areas such as information technology to doctorates that can take up to a decade to complete. By that standard, we don’t have enough people going to college. Leading labor market projections show that our economy could face a shortfall of up to 11 million credentialed workers by 2025. And the data are clear that today’s labor market clearly favors those with post-high school education, with nearly all of the post-recession jobs going to those with more than a high school diploma. Additionally, it is becoming more difficult to earn a family-supporting wage with a high school diploma or less.

It is time to stop arguing over whether everyone needs college and instead focus on the kind of college that different people need. Otherwise we have no hope of reaching a national attainment goal of 60 percent of adults with a credential of value – or coming anywhere close to it.

MYTH 2: Students don’t make it through college because they are not college material. I’ve had the opportunity to observe and be part of conversations with policymakers and opinion leaders, and the discussion of why students drop out nearly always ends up in some version of the film Animal House…students weren’t motivated to study and/or partied too much. It’s a convenient and time-honored narrative.

Unfortunately, the facts indicate otherwise. Four in 10 of today’s college students are 25 or older, more than one-quarter of them have children, nearly two-thirds of them are working while enrolled, and one-third of them come from households earning $20,000 or less per year. These students are plenty motivated. But they are also juggling work, family, and studies with little margin for error, and are trying to navigate institutions that are not prepared to teach when they are ready to learn and not equipped to help them plot a course. And the story of students being able to work their way through college is heartwarming but hopelessly outdated.

Institutions like Sinclair Community College saw that, and began to develop tools that helped students understand and take ownership of their path to a degree, no matter where it started. And they got results. Students participating in their technology assisted advising program graduate at twice the rate of students who do not.

MYTH 3: Income might be a barrier to a college degree, but race isn’t. I wish more than anything that this statement was true. But it simply is not. Our colleges and universities have made great strides in expanding access in the last generation – the share of non-white students has doubled. At the same time, attainment gaps between white and black students and white and Hispanic students have stubbornly persisted and even worsened over the same period.

The good news is that an increasing number of institutions are taking action to close those gaps, and some, like Georgia State University, already have. And they will tell you that they didn’t get there through big pronouncements or massive infusions of funding (in fact, many did in situations of declining funding), but by doing the small things right, like helping students correct course registration mistakes that, left unchanged, would have eventually led to dropout.

Myths aren’t in and of themselves bad things – some of the richest stories of all time trace their roots back to ancient Greece and Rome. But when it comes to our students and what they can bring to our communities and our economy, mythology needs to give way to reality.

Dan Greenstein is the director of postsecondary success at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Friday, May 19, 2017


The Cuyahoga County Public Library is offering the GED/Family Literacy Program this summer at the Parma and Maple Heights branches. 

Incentives include daily free lunch, free books, and a free Kindle for those meeting certain requirements.
  • Adults with children entering 1st through 5th grades are eligible to register and attend this program.
  • Class will run June 13 through August 3 at CCPL Parma and Maple. Class days and times are: T/W/TH 9:30 - 11:30 a.m.
  • The Adults will be in GED classroom, while the children are in another room engaging in literacy and arts activities.
  • Adults and children will come together for free lunch and shared activities 11:30-1:00.
  • GED class will integrate family literacy information.
Advance registration is required. For details & registration:

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Funding INFOhio!

Calls to the Senate are critical to sustaining the funding for INFOhio in the budget.
It is imperative that every State Senator receives many calls, weekly, to maintain the restoration of INFOhio’s $1.1 million funds for digital resources for Ohio schools that is in H.B. 49.
The Senate will have to cut millions from the budget to make it balance. Some reports say they will have to cut up to $800,000,000. Your calls are needed to keep the INFOhio funding in the budget.
  1. Call your own State Senator! Calls are more effective than emails. Please call. To find your legislator click here. Please call members of the Ohio Senate leadership too.
  2. Encourage teachers, parents, administrators and students to take action IMMEDIATELY and call their State Senator.
When you call, leave a message that includes a story about how you use INFOhio digital content with students and please include the following information:
  • In the proposed biennium budget (FY18-19), the $1.1 million funding INFOhio lost two years ago has been restored on line #130411 in H.B. 49. Please sustain this funding.
  • With this funding, INFOhio will provide BookFlix, Storia, World Book, Science Online, Ancestry Library Edition, and the EBSCO databases. These are key tools that positively impact the third-grade reading guarantee, new state standards, and college and career readiness.
  • If schools purchase this digital content on their own, the cost will be $51.8 million. The cost to my district would be $____. As opposed to getting the resources from INFOhio for $0.00. (You will find the cost to your district in the Resource Cost Calculator.)
For additional information regarding how you can help restore INFOhio’s funding, consult the INFOhio Advocacy page. You will find a Resource Cost Calculator that will help you determine how the cut in digital content could financially impact your district. You will also find a way to search for your own legislator.
Thank you all so much for organizing calls to your legislators and making calls yourself. Grassroots efforts do work!

PTA Digital Day of Action!

PTA Advocate,

Join National PTA and other education advocates from across the country today in a digital day of action to protect public education!  The Washington Post is reporting that President Trump's proposed budget is set to be released next week with massive cuts to public education and a new proposal to use public funding for private school vouchers.

Email your Members of Congress to tell him/her to fund our public schools, and keep public dollars where they belong - with the 90 percent of American children that attend public schools!

Monday, May 15, 2017

The 2017-2018 National School of Excellence Program is Now Open


PTAs across the country are beginning their journey to strengthen family-school partnerships at their schools and make a substantial, positive impact on student success.
By enrolling in this program, PTAs and school administrators are making a year-long commitment in identifying and implementing an action plan for school improvement based on PTA's National Standards for Family-School Partnerships.
In August 2018, National PTA will celebrate these PTA-school partnerships by awarding successful enrollees theNational PTA School of Excellence distinction for two academic years.
Enroll now to be considered among the 2018-2020 National PTA Schools of Excellence recipients.

To learn more visit, email or call (800) 307-4782.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Student Artists Honored for Creative Talents in 2016-2017 National PTA Reflections Program

 Students to be recognized at 2017 National PTA Convention & Expo in Las Vegas

ALEXANDRIA, Va., (May 10, 2017)—National PTA is pleased to announce the winners of its 2016-2017 Reflections® student art awards program. Seven students from across the country have been honored with the Outstanding Interpretation Award, and nearly 200 students have been recognized with Awards of Excellence and Merit. The awards honor creative interpretations of the theme “What Is Your Story?” in the areas of special artist, dance choreography, film production, literature, music composition, photography and visual arts.

We applaud all of the students across the country who participated in the 2016-2017 Reflections program, and we are thrilled to recognize the award winners for their remarkable talents and creativity,” said Laura Bay, president of National PTA. “Participation in the arts is essential to students’ academic achievement and social and emotional development. The arts inspire creativity and self-expression and help build children’s confidence and sense of accomplishment.”

During the 2016-2017 school year, tens of thousands of students in schools nationwide and in U.S. schools overseas submitted original works to be considered for PTA’s highest honors in the arts. Outstanding Interpretation Award recipients will receive an $800 scholarship to further their artistic talents, and their local PTA will be awarded $200 to support arts and culture in their community. Award of Excellence recipients will receive a $200 scholarship. All national award recipients receive a medallion and certificate.

The following students have been recognized with the Outstanding Interpretation Award:

Hannah Curtis
Midway High School PTA, Waco, Texas
Special Artist: “Who I Am”

Madison Warnick
Mountain View High School PTSA, Orem, Utah
Dance Choreography: “Human”

Nico Chilla
Cupertino High School PTSA, Cupertino, Calif.
Film Production: “Being Human”

Emma Liu
Urbana Middle School PTSA, Ijamsville, Md.
Literature: “The Sun Above Me”

Albert Wang
Falcon Cove Middle School PTA, Weston, Fla.
Music Composition: “Bears in The Valley”

Rachel Doyle
Syosset High School PTA, Syosset, N.Y.
Photography: “Out Of The Darkness”

Kassandra Burger
Mentor High School PTSA, Mentor, Ohio
Visual Arts: “The Story of My Life”

These students are invited to present their works on stage at the 2017 National PTA Convention & ExpoSaturday, June 24during an awards celebration. The award recipients will also be honored in a student showcase in January 2018 at the U.S. Department of Education’s LBJ Building in Washington, DC. The ceremony will open an exhibition of their artwork, which will be displayed in the building through the end of February 2018.

Each year, the National PTA Reflections program encourages students of all ages to explore and be involved in the arts. Through the program, National PTA and PTAs across the country encourage students in preschool through grade 12 to create and submit original works of art in the medium of their choice—dance choreography, film production, literature, music composition, photography or visual arts—that reflect on the annual theme. There also is a special artist division to provide all students the opportunity to participate in the program. Submissions are reviewed by visual, literary and performing art experts, and students are recognized for their artistic ingenuity in bringing the theme to life.

“For nearly 50 years, the National PTA Reflections program has been bringing the arts to life for millions of students across the country,” added Nathan R. Monell, CAE, National PTA executive director. “National PTA remains committed to the importance of arts in education, and continues to work to ensure all students have access to art programs and classes in their schools and communities.”

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

National PTA Statement on FY2017 Appropriations Bill

ALEXANDRIA, Va., (May 9, 2017)—President Trump signed a spending bill that funds federal programs and services through September 2017. The bill cuts overall funding for education by $1 billion and does not include funding for the Statewide Family Engagement Centers (SFECs) program.

“National PTA is extremely disappointed that funding for education is reduced by an astounding $1 billion and that the SFECs program is not funded in the bill,” said Laura Bay, president of National PTA. “Opportunity starts and ends with access to a great education. Federal investment in education and family engagement are critical to children and the nation’s long-term success.”

National PTA is disappointed that the bill cuts vital funding for public education by $1 billion, including a $200 million cut to teacher and principal professional development grants among many other education programs. However, the association is encouraged to see that an additional $100 million is designated for Title I—which aids schools with high percentages of children from low-income families—as well as an additional $90 million for special education grants through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The association is also pleased that $400 million has been designated for Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants to ensure students receive well-rounded educational opportunities, learn in healthy and safe school environments and have opportunities to use technology in the classroom.

Funding for family engagement programs like SFECs is a top priority for National PTA, particularly as the Every Student Succeeds Act is being implemented. The SFECs program would provide states and districts with the capacity to support implementation and enhancement of meaningful family engagement policies and initiatives. It would also empower parents and families with the resources they need to ensure their children are provided the best opportunities to thrive and learn. Family engagement in education has demonstrated direct benefits to student achievement and school improvement.

“National PTA is encouraged by the increases for Title I and special education,” said Nathan R. Monell, CAE, National PTA executive director. “However, we are deeply concerned about the decrease in overall funding for education and the lack of funding for the SFECs program. National PTA remains committed to advocating to ensure Congress and the Administration adequately invest in public education and family engagement programs in fiscal year 2018. We must make every child’s potential a reality in order to improve our nation’s economic competitiveness.”

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.

Dear Extraordinary Teacher

Source: National PTA One Voice Blog

Dear Extraordinary Teacher,

On behalf of America’s students and families, we would like to take a moment during Teacher Appreciation Week to thank you for your work and impact that extends far beyond the boundaries of the classroom.

Look up “teacher” in the dictionary and you will likely find this definition: one who instructs. But there are a few adjectives missing from this definition … patient, knowledgeable, dedicated, compassionate, inspirational … the list goes on. As a caring professional who connects with students—and strives to discover what they’re passionate about to unlock their potential—you do so much more than simply instruct.

You’re constantly evaluating what works and what doesn’t, making quick adjustments on the fly, and assessing who gets it and who needs a little extra help. You come in early and stay late to give students the one-on-one attention they need. You inspire a lifelong love of learning and guide children’s futures. You advocate for children and your profession. And, in the midst of it all, you create safe spaces where kids can be themselves, dig into your own pocket to buy sneakers for a child in need or replenish classroom supplies, heal boo-boos, give hugs, and offer warm, encouraging and affirming words.

For you, there is no such thing as “other people’s children.” There are only your kids—the students you love and nurture as if they were your own. We not only thank you for all you deliver to children; we are proud to stand with you in everything you do to make sure students in every community have access to the great education they deserve. Together, we are making a difference for our nation’s students.

Thank you for being extraordinary and inspiring students to reach for the stars.

With much gratitude,

Laura Bay
National PTA President

Lily Eskelsen GarcĂ­a
NEA President

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

National PTA Honors Educators Nationwide During Teacher Appreciation Week

ALEXANDRIA, Va., (May 9, 2017)—Teachers deliver so much to students—inspiration, knowledge and motivation. To thank, support and elevate teachers and the important contributions they make, National PTA encourages everyone to recognize and celebrate educators nationwide during Teacher Appreciation Week (May 8-12) and on National Teacher Day (May 9). 

We encourage everyone to join us in celebrating Teacher Appreciation Week by thanking the teachers in their lives,” said Laura Bay, president of National PTA. “I’ve seen firsthand the profound difference teachers make in the well-being and long-term success of students. Teachers inspire a lifelong love of learning and help guide children’s futures. It’s important that we honor our teachers, who lend their passion and skills to educating our nation’s children.”  

During Teacher Appreciation Week, recognize and give thanks to the teachers by:

  • Sharing a photo or story of a teacher on social media using #ThankATeacher
  • Sending heartfelt letters, cards and messages of appreciation
  • Creating artwork, poems and video messages
  • Recognizing teachers with awards
  • Decorating schools and teacher’s lounges
  • Hosting surprise assemblies and other events
  • Volunteering in classrooms to help teachers

This week, National PTA will announce the winners of the #ThankATeacher Contest, who will receive over $20,000 in prizes.Two grand prize winners will be selected to each receive a Google Express shopping spree worth up to $4,500 to help spruce up their school’s teachers’ lounges. Four first place winners will receive a wellness delivery worth up to $2,500 each to help stock up their teachers’ break rooms. All winners, including 25 runner up winners, will receive a Google Home for their school.

Three PTAs also will receive a library of 100 “I Can Read” books including characters like Pete the Cat, Amelia Bedelia, and Biscuit delivered at a school event featuring a children's book author or costume character from HarperCollins Children's Books. Ten additional PTAs will receive an “I Can Read” book set for their school.

Teachers change the lives of millions of children every day, and their work and impact extends far beyond the boundaries of the classroom,” said Nathan R. Monell, CAE, executive director of National PTA. “It is important that we elevate and support teachers during Teacher Appreciation Week and throughout the year for the pivotal role they play in our children’s lives.”

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