Thursday, August 31, 2017

Reflections Toolkit

Reflections Toolkit

Everything you need to host your 2017-2018 program!

1. Getting Started

Within Reach Call for Entries Flyer2. Promote Your Program

3. Organize Artwork for Judging

  • Collect and qualify submissions by category and division.
  • Provide instructions to your judges using this template Reviewer's Packet.
  • Collect scores, rank submissions and assign awards by category and division.  

Reflections Celebration Guide4. Celebrate Your Participants

5. Wrap Up and Report Program Success

Questions? Please contact your state PTA for state program instructions, deadlines and award announcements.

Proud Sponsors of National PTA’s Reflections Program

Park West Foundation

4 Ways to Engage in Your Child’s Education

Source: PTA One Voice Blog

This piece was originally featured in Mediaplanet.
Over 40 years of research shows that regardless of a family’s income or socioeconomic background, students whose families are engaged attend school more regularly earn better grades, enroll in higher-level programs and have higher graduation rates.
Here are four ways you can help your child reach their full potential:

1. Talk about school matters at home

Encourage your child to talk about their day and express any concerns. It will help you understand your child’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as what activities they like and don’t like. Two-way communication is essential to developing an active and positive relationship and an open, ongoing dialogue is critical to keep your child safe, happy and learning.

2. Be a partner in your child’s learning

Every child’s education experience is unique, and ensuring it remains a positive one is a shared responsibility between families and educators. It is important to develop a relationship with your child’s teacher, keep the lines of communication open and work together to support your child.

3. Advocate for your child  

You are your child’s best advocate. It is important to speak up for your own child — and every child in your school community — to ensure they are treated fairly and have access to opportunities that will enable them to reach their full potential. Use your voice to advocate with local school boards and state and federal government to ensure your child’s school has the resources to provide a world-class education to every student.

4. Join up with your PTA

Get involved with your local parent teacher association. Families are busier than ever and as an on-the-go parent, you will find support from others in PTA who share your questions, concerns, hopes and dreams for their children. You will also be part of a dedicated network of families, educators, businesses and community leaders who are working to ensure all children — including yours — receive a high-quality education.

The work your family does at home to support and reinforce what your kids are doing in school will have a significant academic impact. Don’t strive for perfection — remember that involvement looks different for every family — and any level of involvement in your child’s education will help ensure they have every opportunity for success.

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.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Hurricane Harvey

National PTA and Texas PTA Support Families, Schools Impacted by
Hurricane Harvey

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (Aug. 30, 2017)–National PTA President Jim Accomando and Texas PTA President Lisa Holbrook issued the following statement regarding Hurricane Harvey:

“National PTA, Texas PTA and PTAs across the country extend their thoughts and prayers to the millions impacted by Hurricane Harvey. We are deeply concerned for the children, families, teachers, schools and communities affected by this catastrophic storm.

“As the nation’s oldest and largest child advocacy association, it remains our duty to help restore learning environments and support families and educators in their efforts to rebuild and recover. Following this type of tragedy, our mission becomes that much more important. We are committed to doing everything we can to assist those affected and help children and educators transition back into the classroom.

“Texas PTA has launched a Fill the Backpack initiative and will work closely with local school districts to provide important supplies for students and teachers to be ready to learn on the first day back in the classroom. Additionally, through Sept. 30, Lone Star Statewide PTA in Texas will dedicate 100% of local membership proceeds to assist with relief efforts. To join Lone Star Statewide PTA and/or make a monetary donation to support the families and school communities affected by Hurricane Harvey, visit Texas PTA’s Fill the Backpack donation page.

“National PTA also encourages people to donate to the association’s Disaster Relief Fund, which was established to respond to tragedies that grievously disrupt a school or education system.

“When frightening incidents occur, such as Hurricane Harvey, children may experience a range of emotions, including fear, confusion, sadness and anger. National PTA offers tips to help families and educators have conversations with children to help them deal with these emotions. The tips can be accessed at”

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. For more information,

About Texas PTA
Texas PTA is the largest grassroots organization in Texas with half a million members - parents, teachers and others who have a special interest in children, youth, families and schools. Texas PTA is a noncommercial, nonsectarian-nonpartisan organization that does not endorse any candidate or political party. For more information on Texas PTA, visit www.txpta.orgor contact the state office at 800-TALK-PTA.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The Value of a PTA Volunteer / Welcome Back to School

Source: National PTA One Voice Blog

This blog was originally posted on The Voice of NYS PTA.

I recently attended the Fall Luncheon in the Westchester-East Putnam Region and had the good fortune to hear the keynote speech delivered by Alisa Kesten, Executive Director of Volunteer New York. The mission of the organization is to inspire, mobilize and equip individuals and groups to take positive action to address pressing challenges, support nonprofits and strengthen the quality of life in the community.

Alisa specifically wanted to impress upon those present, the value of serving as a volunteer in the PTA. I would like to share an excerpt of her remarks:
I conducted a very unscientific Facebook poll hoping to illustrate the personal and professional growth each of you can and should expect as a direct result of your volunteer service for your PTA.
I asked my Facebook friends to give a one word answer to this question: Did you ever belong to a PTA? Then I sat back to see who said yes, because I know my friends. I know how active they are at work and in the community. I know their skills, and I suspected that there would be a strong correlation between those who are or had been deeply involved in PTA and their subsequent achievement. I wanted to illustrate how every friend who answered YES had developed a variety of skills – project management, communications, advocacy, financial management, event planning, negotiating, fundraising and more – all honed as PTA volunteers which so many of us have used those skills for positive achievement.
A few of the responses included the following:
  • Some were always attorneys but now have a different specialty as a result of their involvement in schools.
  • Some had been elected to PTA leadership positions. Now many have been elected to school boards, county legislatures, and I know that Congresswoman Nita Lowey always references her PTA roots in giving her the foundation to run for Congress.
  • Many gained confidence in speaking out at public budget hearings or in leading meetings. Now they are at the forefront of issues they care about, with well-practiced communications skills.
  • There was a group who had left the workforce to raise children. But they always volunteered for PTA. Now they are restaurateurs, entrepreneurs, and small business owners whose clients or vendors may have first learned of their talent and character by serving side by side on a PTA committee.
  • So many are now Executive Directors of nonprofits, like me, or program directors or finance directors at nonprofits and foundations. We’ve taken so many hands-on experiences of leadership from PTA along with us every step of the way.
  • PTA members – former and current – are in large corporations and very comfortable in navigating deadlines, personalities, budgets and more because we navigated deadlines, personalities, budgets and more through PTA.
  • And a ton of us continue to volunteer and give back to nonprofits whose missions matter to us and the community.
So thank you for the time you give, the meetings you run, the funds you raise, the events you plan, the letters you write, the e-newsletters you create, the actions you take – but know that you are building a toolbox of experiences that you WILL take with you. Those experiences can help open doors, climb ladders, and be successful in whatever way you choose to define success.
Alisa’s comments are timely as there has been quite a bit of chatter with regard to a recent Facebook post by Lean In. Their post declared that by listing as a credential “member of PTA” on one’s resume, a woman was 79% less likely to be hired. This shocking statement should surely compel us to immediately amend our resumes and make the appropriate changes on our LinkedIn, Monster, Indeed, and ZipRecruiter sites.

Wait! Not so fast! The Lean In post was based on an article written in 2007 based on questionable research from 2001. If in fact someone with an agenda commissioned a survey 15 years ago to accomplish some unknown purpose, it probably wasn’t accurate then and certainly isn’t relevant today.

In fact, the actual opinions of the real people follow Lean In’s bold statement. Scroll down and the truth is embedded in the comments. The life experiences reflected by the comment section paint a different picture! PTA provides the opportunity to hone and widen the scope of one’s skills by working alongside men and women from all walks of life representing nearly every profession. The transferable skills an individual develops as a PTA member working for child advocacy are enumerated and extolled within the vast majority of comments made on Lean In’s Facebook post.

Take heart! PTA is well worth your time. Be proud! Hiring managers can use people that have strong skills and won’t be put off because you care about your family. Employers that would turn away a qualified candidate because they also possess strong family values are not the norm.

Remember not to let the words of uninformed individuals with an unknown agenda minimize in any way the great work and experience gained by being a member of PTA – your efforts ensure a better future for our greatest resource – OUR CHILDREN. Because of the hard work and advocacy efforts of PTA volunteers and members, there are seat belts on school buses, kindergarten in public schools, a federal school lunch program, strengthened child labor laws, and a ban on corporal punishment. These are just a few of the many accomplishments.

Gracemarie Rozea is the president of New York State PTA. 

Monday, August 28, 2017

Welcoming Men to Your PTA / Membership Mondays

Welcoming Men to Your PTA

According to U.S. Census data, there are more than 70 million fathers in the United States. That means there are 70 million possibilities for PTA membership, engagement, and strength for our kids, schools, and communities. Try these strategies:

·      Communicate Directly to Fathers – How you and your PTA speak to members and potential members can impact the level of men’s involvement. Be sure to always explain and emphasize how men’s unique involvement can benefit children in your families and community.
·       Just Ask – Nearly half of men who responded to a recent National PTA survey said they had never gotten involved with PTA simply because they had never been asked. Encourage women in your PTA to invite the men in their children’s lives to get involved, and take your PTA to places with large male contingents – such as service clubs – to share our message and ask for participation.
·      Create Men-Focused Groups and Events – Surveys also show that men prefer to volunteer for hands-on projects and dad-only events that have clear expectations. Organize special events and groups for dads to enjoy together, and define volunteer roles and expectations to encourage further participation.

·       Celebrate Engagement – When you start getting more men involved in your PTA, celebrate! Letting the school community know will help emphasize and publicize your welcoming environment for all parents and members. Thank dads publicly at meetings and in your PTA communications, and always encourage more male membership – we’re all in it together for our kids! 

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Tell Congress to #STOPCutsToClassrooms

PTA One Voice Blog

Posted: 25 Aug 2017 08:27 AM PDT

Our public schools are at a crisis point. Federal funding for public education has remained at 2% of the federal budget for decades, despite the increase in public school enrollment and the rising cost of education resources and services. This disparity between funding and actual cost means that Congress has essentially made cuts to classroom budgets across the nation.

These overall classroom funding cuts couldn’t be coming at a worse time. Today’s classrooms are more in need of funding than ever—most public-school students are now from low-income families, yet federal spending for high-poverty schools has decreased by more than 8% in recent years. There are also more students with special needs in our nation’s schools than ever before, but funding to serve these students has also decreased.

Congress must agree on the federal budget by Oct. 1, 2017. With restrictions on how much the government can spend in fiscal year 2018, there is a strong possibility that funding for education will be cut.
Already this year, President Donald Trump proposed cutting $9.2 billion. More recently, the U.S. House of Representatives proposed a cut of $2.4 billion. Both proposed cuts would be extremely damaging to public schools that already struggle to give students the education they deserve.

All PTA members and education advocates must take a stand. Tell your friends and family to demand that Congress “STOP Cuts to Classrooms” and invest more than 2% in public education before the Oct. 1, 2017 deadline.

One way to spread the word is by doing the National PTA #STOPCutsToClassrooms social media challenge. It’s easy!
  1. First, sign the #STOPCutsToClassrooms petition
  2. Then, take a picture and/or videoof yourself holding the “I signed the petition to #STOPCutsToClassrooms” official sign and post the image on your social media platforms.
  3. Finally, tag up to three friends to encourage them to do the same.
For those who have already signed the petition and taken the challenge, please continue to participate in Funding Fridays every Friday until September 29. Also stay tuned for the release of a #STOPCutsToClassrooms letter to Congress in September.

For more information about the #STOPCutsToClassrooms campaign and to learn more about the state of federal funding for education programs, visit

Joshua Westfall is the government affairs manager at National PTA.

Friday, August 25, 2017

National PTA Announces STEM + Families Grant Program

ALEXANDRIA, Va., (Aug. 25, 2017)—National PTA announced today that $100,000 in funding will be awarded to PTAs across the country this school year to increase family engagement in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. The funding is part of National PTA’s STEM + Families initiative.

“We know—and decades of research proves—that families play a critical role in children’s success. We also know that parents and guardians have the biggest influence on a child’s educational and career decisions,” said Jim Accomando, president of National PTA. “Family engagement is essential to strengthen STEM education, bridge the STEM gap and help all children realize their fullest potential. National PTA is excited to further our STEM + Families initiative and equip PTAs and schools nationwide with resources to engage families in STEM education.”

With the funding, PTAs and schools will:
·         Engage families using hands-on learning experiences at PTA STEM + Families Events
·         Educate families about STEM literacy, STEM careers and STEM education pathways and empower them to support their children’s success in STEM
·         Connect families and students to STEM enrichment and professional mentors

The funding will be granted in phases. An initial 35 $1,000 National PTA STEM + Families Math Grants, sponsored by Mathnasium, will be awarded this fall to council and local PTAs selected through a Request for Proposals (RFP) process. The deadline to apply for this first wave of grants is Aug. 31, 2017.

“Mathnasium is excited to build on our relationship with National PTA by sponsoring the STEM + Families Math Grants,” said Peter Markovitz, founder and chief executive officer of Mathnasium. "We’re honored to work side by side with the dedicated parent leaders of PTA to engage families in math nights, promote the awareness of STEM education and careers, and pursue our mission that all children should understand and master math."

Another $65,000 in National PTA STEM + Families Science Grants, sponsored by Bayer, will be awarded to state, council and local PTAs selected through a second RFP that will be launched later in the 2017-2018 school year.

"Bayer is committed to providing comprehensive, impactful, hands-on programs that will help more families become engaged in science,” said Sarah Toulouse, executive director, Bayer USA Foundation. “We are pleased to support National PTA in their efforts to achieve this goal through STEM + Families.”

In addition to the grant program, National PTA is pleased to announce that logic and STEM game maker ThinkFun has become a new supporting sponsor of STEM + Families. As part of ThinkFun’s support of the initiative, the company will donate educational games to all National PTA STEM + Families grant recipients in the coming school year.

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. For more information,

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 800 Mathnasium franchises in the U.S. and abroad. For more information, visit or call (877) 601-MATH.  

About Bayer 
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 quality of life. 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 2016, the Group employed around 115,200 people and had sales of EUR 46.8 billion. Capital expenditures amounted to EUR 2.6 billion, R&D expenses to EUR 4.7 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 ThinkFun Inc.
For over 30 years, ThinkFun Inc. has been dedicated to creating games that spark curiosity, cultivate confidence, and nurture life-long learners. Its games encourage interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM), while generating excitement for a world of learning through play. Innovation, creativity, value, and fun are the four elements that comprise the development of every game. Ignite the mind, and change the world for each player.

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

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

112th Ohio PTA Convention_Workshops/Vendors Requested

VENDORs & WORKSHOPs requested

Ohio PTA 112th Convention & Exhibition

April 20 - 22, 2018 

DoubleTree Hotel
175 Hutchinson Ave
Columbus, 43235

Interested in advertising in
The Ohio PTA Voice

Please contact

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Back to School 2017: Top 10 Things to Know

Ohio Department of Education

Release date: 8/17/2017
The 2017-2018 academic year is under way across Ohio, and the Ohio Department of Education has some great resources for families as our children head back to the classroom. Here are the top 10 things to know this year:
  1. Students in the class of 2018 have multiple pathways to earn a high school diploma so they can move on to their next steps in education or a career. This fact sheet helps explain those options.
  2. High school seniors can boost their earning power when they graduate from high school with an industry-recognized credential. The Senior Only Credential Program is for students in their senior year who have completed most of their curriculum requirements. Find out more about how an industry-recognized credential can be part of a student’s path to graduation by clicking here.
  3. Create an Ohio Means Jobs K-12 Backpack: With this tool, middle and high school students can explore career interests, launch career plans, build resumes and search for job options. Get started and build yours today.
  4. Early learning experiences last a lifetime. It is key that all families have access to early childhood education information about high-quality early care, preschool, kindergarten and other educational settings to prepare young children for a lifetime of learning and success. The Department has a wide variety of resources for parents of our youngest students.
  5. Special education, for students ages 3 to 21, is guided by federal and state requirements. The Department has created A Guide to Parent Rights in Special Education.
  6. The ability to read is the foundation of learning. Research shows that children who are not reading at a third grade level by the end of grade 3 are likely to have trouble learning in all classroom subjects in higher grades. The Department has resources for families related to early literacy and the Third Grade Reading Guarantee.
  7. Homeless students have rights to the same education as any other student in Ohio. The Department has developed a helpful brochure, A Parent’s Guide to the Rights of Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness.
  8. Keep our schools and students safe: The free SaferOH tip line allows students and adults to anonymously share information with school officials and law enforcement about threats to student safety — whether that involves a threatened mass incident or harm to a single student. Calls or texts to 844-SaferOH (844-723-3764) are accepted and answered 24 hours a day. Click here for more information.
  9. Ohio families can now get the latest education news, search for schools in their neighborhoods and look at their schools’ report cards right from their smartphones or iPads using the new Ohio Department of Education mobile app. Download the app at
  10. Join the conversation: Sign up for text alerts from the Ohio Department of Education at

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Take the #STOPCutsToClassrooms Social Media Challenge

Take the #STOPCutsToClassrooms Social Media Challenge
StopCutsSocialChallengePic.jpg62% of voters believe the federal government spends too little on public education (it accounts for just 2% of the budget).
Do you agree? Join National PTA in telling Congress to #STOPCutsToClassrooms.
Sign our petition, print out our official sign and challenge your friends to do the same!
To get the full instructions, visit
PTA Our Children Magazine
10-Day Countdown to School Readiness
shutterstock_388630444.jpgDespite the best of intentions, reading and writing often take a back seat to other activities over the summer—speech-language pathologists working in schools often see a literacy lag as students return to the classroom. Don't panic! Instead, plan to use the 10 days before school starts to get your child up to speed. Read more
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National PTA's Parents' Guides to Student Success
Dad-cooking-while-mom-helps-son-with-homework.jpgWhether they are just starting elementary school or are getting ready to graduate high school, every parent wants their child to have the knowledge they need to be successful in the future. However, sometimes it can be difficult to keep track of everything your child needs to know. That's why National PTA created the Parents’ Guides to Student Success. Read more
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Anaphylaxis: How to Be Aware, Prepared and Ready to Respond
Doctor-Writing-Allergy.jpgAugust is always a stressful time for parents sending their kids back to school, especially for parents of children with severe allergies. Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening allergic reaction resulting from exposure to allergens. Whether your child has a severe allergy or not, it is up to all of us to make sure that we keep schools as safe as possible for all children. Read more.
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Go Back-to-School with USA TODAY
USATBTSMAG2017.jpg Get ready for the school year by checking out the USA TODAY Back to School Magazine.
Find everything from school supplies to creative snack ideas by visiting
What Makes a Good ESSA Report Card?
Did you know that there are four different kinds of report cards? It's true! Student, School, District and State Report Cards are required by ESSA, the new K-12 education law. 
Watch this recorded webinar to learn how these report cards equip parents to make better decisions concerning their children's educational opportunities and become more effective advocates. Watch now!
Become a Monthly Donor to National PTA!
PTAMonthlyDonor.jpgFor 120 years, National PTA has been a powerful voice and advocate for all children. Become a monthly donor and you can make a difference in the education, health and welfare of children across the country. For more info, visit
Sponsored Content
$1 Million Available from Tom's of Maine for Green Classroom Projects

TomsofMaine_BTS(1).jpg This back-to-school season, tell your school's teachers how they can help kids learn about and care for the planet through the Tom's of Maine Green Your School Fund.  
$1 million is available to public schools nationwide—teachers can learn more and submit a project at
HRB_206x150.pngThe Right Part-Time Job May Be Just Around the Corner
Flexible, part-time schedules. Family-like environment. Career growth and opportunities to earn additional income. Consider a career at H&R Block!
Learn more about the Income Tax Course and H&R Block at
National PTA Headquarters
1250 N. Pitt Street
Alexandria, Virginia 22314
Phone: (703) 518-1200
Toll Free: (800) 307-4782
Fax: (703) 836-0942