Tuesday, October 31, 2017

School Safety Requirement in Ohio

The Ohio Department of Education would like your assistance in getting a message to schools about compliance 
with a school safety requirement. Since the new school safety law went into effect in January 2015, the 
Center for P-20 Safety and Security has worked hard with each school in Ohio to have a compliant safety plan. 
In 2017, we have begun to enforce the final component of the law — the Emergency Management Test or EMT. 
The EMT requires schools to test their school emergency management plans and report to the Ohio 
Department of Education certain data about the EMT. To assist schools, we have provided resources and 
FAQs at saferschools.ohio.gov, click on the blue emergency management test button on the right. 

Schools with plans deemed compliant in 2015 and 2016 are required to complete a test and report it 
by Dec. 31, 2017. Please let your schools know that this requirement must be fulfilled by the end 
of this year or superintendents and principals could be referred to the Office of Professional Conduct.

If your schools believe they have completed this requirement, they can check in SAFE to see the date of 
their EMT in the EMT column. If a school still sees “add 2017 EMT,” please call (614) 644-2641 for assistance. 
If you have additional questions, call the Center for P-20 Safety and Security at (614) 644-2641 or send 
an email to saferschools@dps.ohio.gov.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Take Your Family to School Week GRANT $1,000!!!

For over 120 years, National PTA has been encouraging families to get more involved in their child’s education. Help us celebrate PTA’s long legacy of family engagement during National PTA's Take Your Family to School Week—Feb. 11-17, 2018

Apply to Win 2018 Take Your Family to School Week Grant

In celebration of National PTA’s Founder’s Day, this year, we are excited to support local PTA’s in hosting multiple family engagement events throughout Take Your Family to School Week (TYFTSW). This grant, sponsored by Chrysler and Google Chromebook will provide $1,000 to 55 local PTA’s who commit to hosting two events that focus on at least one of the following PTA programmatic themes: 
  • Multicultural Celebration: Plan an event where students, families and school staff are engaged in learning about the various cultures represented within your school community. (Grades K-12)
    • New Multicultural Celebration Guide Coming Soon!
  • Health and SafetyHost healthy, safe events for all students and the entire family. Build on the work you have already done during Healthy Lifestyles Month, check out these event ideas! (Grades K-12)
  • Literacy: Immerse the whole family in a new book by reading together. (Grades K-5)
    • New Literacy Event Guide Coming Soon!
  • Digital Learning: Invite families to experience how students are using technology in the classroom. (Grades K-12)
    • New Digital Learning Event Guide Coming Soon!
TYFTSW Grant Requirements

Applications must be completed and submitted online by midnight, November 17, 2017.


Email Programs@PTA.org or call (800) 307-4782.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

GAO Report Validates Brady Center’s ASK Program As Most Effective National Safe Storage Awareness Program

PTA Leaders,

We are pleased to share with you that National PTA President Jim Accomando was invited to bring the voice of families and child advocates to Capitol Hill in a press conference on gun violence with Senators Patty Murray and Ed Markey, Brady Campaign Co-President Kris Brown, American Public Health Association Deputy Executive Director Susan Polan and Injury Free Coalition for Kids Co-Director Dr. Mike Hirsh.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) today released a report on the effectiveness of firearm storage awareness programs and the need for increased funding for gun violence prevention research. The report found the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence’s ASK (Asking Saves Kids) program to be the most effective national safe storage awareness program.

President Accomando’s participation in the press conference was an important opportunity to demonstrate our association’s dedication to preventing and eliminating gun violence in schools, communities and at home to keep children safe. It was also an important opportunity to show our commitment to advocating for legislation and appropriations to research the causes and effects of gun violence, as adopted during our 2017 Convention in Las Vegas through the amendment to our resolution on the Sale, Resale and Destruction of Firearms. Further, it was a critical moment to show our support for our partner the Brady Campaign and its ASK program.  

Please see below a press release on the GAO report with a quote included from President Accomando.

For Immediate Release
Contact: James Tyll, (202) 370-8131 media@bradymail.org

GAO Report Validates Brady Center’s ASK Program As Most Effective National Safe Storage Awareness Program
Notes Discrepancy in Funding for Gun Violence Research Relative to Gun Violence Mortality Rates
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) today released a report on the effectiveness of firearm storage awareness programs, ultimately finding the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence’s “ASK” program to be the only national safe storage program that has been independently evaluated and found to be effective. The report, entitled “Personal Firearms: Programs that Promote Safe Storage and Research on their Effectiveness,” was prepared over a two-year period in response to a request by the Congressional HELP (Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions) Committee.
The report also points out that funding for gun violence prevention research is disproportionately low relative to health issues with comparative mortality rates. According to the report, government-funded research for gun violence is .7 percent of that for sepsis, which has a comparable mortality rate, and the publication volume for studies on firearm-related deaths is about four percent of that for sepsis.
Brady Campaign co-President Kris Brown heralded the release of the report. “The GAO’s findings confirm what we at Brady have long known—ASKing saves lives. Each day, seven children are killed by guns. 1.7 million children live in a home with a loaded, unlocked gun. It’s crucial to know which programs work to spread awareness of guns in the home. At the same time, the report’s finding of the lack of funding of gun violence research relative to other health issues is alarming. Gun violence is an epidemic -- and we need to attack it like every other public health epidemic -- through research and data tracking to fund programs that work.”
The report evaluated 16 programs, both regional and national, that are aimed at spreading awareness of the importance of safe storage of firearms. Brady’s ASK campaign was found to be the only national program that effectively promotes awareness of safe storage through its parent-centered program that urges caregivers and parents to ask if there are guns safely stored in the homes where their children play. The NRA’s Eddie Eagle program, aimed directly at young children, was found to have no effect on participating children’s behavior around guns.
“Child and school safety starts at home. When families store their guns responsibly, they’re much less likely to end up in schools and tragedies are less likely to occur. It is critical that guns are kept safely away from kids and that we, as parents, ask if there are guns in the homes where our children play,” said Jim Accomando, president of National PTA. “National PTA is proud to support the ASK campaign and collaborate with Brady to help prevent gun-related incidents and keep children safe. The association is also committed to advocating for legislation and appropriations to research the causes and effects of gun violence. In order to fully understand and address this epidemic gripping our nation, we need to first understand the causal relationships and the effects such violence has on our communities.”
HELP Senate Committee leaders lauded the report’s findings.
“There is so much we can and absolutely should be doing to address gun violence—but as this report makes clear, one simple, critical step is to gain a better understanding of how to encourage the safe storage of guns,” said Senator Patty Murray (D-WA).“I’m hopeful that every Senator will take a close look at the findings in this nonpartisan report, and join Democrats, the Brady Campaign, and families nationwide in pushing for stronger investments in gun violence research.”
"If we want to stop this tragic scourge of gun violence, we need better information about what is causing it and what can be done to prevent it,” said Senator Ed Markey (D-MA). “We need to study gun violence like the public health crisis that it is. This new GAO report outlines how important it is to give the medical, scientific, and public health community the resources they need and support a federal research agenda into gun violence. I thank the Brady campaign for their leadership on this issue and look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to make critical investments in protecting lives."
Brady’s ASK campaign, developed in conjunction with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), raises awareness among parents about the importance of asking if there are guns where their children play, to ensure guns stay out of kids’ hands. The program also emphasizes the importance of medical and health professionals to talk to parents and patients about guns in the home, gun safety and safe storage. For more information about the program, visit http://www.askingsaveskids.org/.

The mission of the Brady organization and its Million Mom March is to create a safer America by cutting gun deaths in half by 2025. For more insight on gun violence prevention, follow us on Facebook and Twitter @BradyBuzz. About Us: The Brady Campaign and Center, united with the Million Mom March, is a national network of over 90 grassroots chapter affiliates mobilized to prevent gun violence at the community level. The network has played a vital role in expanding Brady background checks in the six states that have passed legislation since the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut and produced the largest national protest of gun violence in U.S. history - The Million Mom March, Mother's Day 2000.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

National PTA Supports Families, Schools Impacted by Wildfires in California

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (Oct. 13, 2017)—National PTA President Jim Accomando issued the following statement regarding the wildfires in Northern California:

“National PTA is deeply concerned for all of the families, schools, and communities affected by the wildfires burning in California. Our thoughts, prayers, and sympathies are with everyone impacted by these devastating fires.

“As following the recent hurricanes, we remain committed to doing everything we can to support the families and school communities affected and assist them in their efforts to rebuild and recover. We urge everyone to donate to our association’s Disaster Relief Fund, which was established to respond to tragedies that grievously disrupt a school or education system. One hundred percent of donations to the fund will go directly to PTAs and schools in need and will help provide important supplies for students and teachers when schools reopen.

“In addition to National PTA’s Disaster Relief Fund, California State PTA has teamed up with Redwood Credit Union, the Redwood Credit Union Community Fund, Senator Mike McGuire and The Press Democrat to establish the North Bay Fire Relief Fund. We also encourage our members to donate to the fund and/or the American Red Cross Canyon Fire 2 Relief Fund to support relief efforts and provide aid to those impacted by the fires.

Our country has endured unprecedented natural and man-made disasters the last couple of months. The need to give has never been greater and our mission at PTA has become that much more important.

We know we can count on our PTA members across the country to come together to help meet the needs caused by the wildfires and give our children and school communities what they need to thrive.”

National PTA President Jim Accomando shared information about the association’s Disaster Relief Fund live on Facebook. Visit National PTA’s Facebook page to view the video.

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, visitPTA.org.

Media Contact
Heidi May Wilson, National PTA
hmay@pta.org, (703) 518-1242

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Update from Florida PTA: All Children are Our Children

The following was shared by Cindy Gerhardt, President of Florida PTA.
Resilience.  That is our word for this year.  We are showing the capacity to not only recover quickly from the damage and chaos that Hurricane Irma brought to our communities, but we are being propelled back into the role of caregiver and advocate.  Only 10 days after Irma made landfall, Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.  While we know that many students from the Florida Keys, where schools have been extremely damaged, have been relocated to schools in Miami-Dade, we are now seeing hundreds of families from Puerto Rico migrating into areas in Central and South Florida.  We know that they are coming with very few possessions, scarce documentation and some with little mastery of English.
Here’s our call to action.  If your school is receiving these displaced families, please be mindful of what they have been and are still going through.  Most have lost everything.  If you can, put together a welcome package with basic toiletries, school supplies, spirit t-shirts, etc. – something that will help them feel some sense of normality.  Work alongside guidance counselors and other school staff to help meet other needs that may arise.  Some may be staying in short-term housing, some in shelters, some with local family members.  If possible, let’s reach out and see how we can help with food, clothing and other necessities.
In the next phase, we will be working with district personnel and state decision-makers to ensure that our schools are set up for success as they absorb these new families.  We’ll encourage common sense waivers and accommodations as we move forward to navigate the day-to-day curriculum and achievement expectations already in place for our schools.
Please stay tuned for more updates as we send them, and more importantly, please keep us posted on ways you and your volunteers are helping to provide a smooth and less distressing transition for these families and their children.  We will show them that our words are true when we say ALL Children are OUR Children!
Cindy Gerhardt
Florida PTA

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Cultivating Online Safety with Proactive Parents and Schools

Source: National PTA One Voice Blog

The internet can be a wonderful tool to learn and explore new concepts, as well as a way to connect with people and cultures far away. However, we also know that the internet can be a serious source of distraction and danger, especially for its youngest users. These risks are why setting boundaries and encouraging balance for online use is so important.

Parents often feel overwhelmed by the drama that seems to accompany the technology in kids’ back pockets. And they’re certainly not blowing the issue out of proportion. A 2016 Common Sense Media study found that a whopping 50% of teens feel addicted to their phones, and one-third of families reported fighting about negative effects of phone use daily.

We Are Not Powerless
But rest assured, as parents and educators, we are not powerless in the fight to help our kids become healthy, well-adjusted adults with actual social skills beyond Snapchat. In fact, research shows that we can make a huge difference in our kids being able to navigate the online world well, especially when it comes to helping with conflict resolution. In a 2015 CNN documentary, sociologist Robert Faris, a school bullying and youth aggression researcher says, “Parent monitoring effectively erased the negative effects of online conflicts.”

Engagement is Key
Most parents I’ve talked to want to do a better job setting boundaries and talking to their kids about online safety, but they sometimes don’t know where to start. One tool we recommend is an online resource called The Smart Talk. It’s an interactive tool that families can use to set boundaries in “stone” and talk about what responsible tech use in their home should look like. We’ve found it to be a great template to cover several online safety topics as a family, and it really assists you in unearthing your own values regarding technology as you work through it. It doesn’t just help you create a contract, it helps create conversation.

Working Together: Parents & Schools
Online drama affects schools and homes alike. That’s why it’s so important to find ways we can work together to build healthy structures and expectations for kids’ online activity. Sometimes we only respond when a negative situation blows up, but if we can make the switch to become proactive in our school communities, we will be better able to prepare kids to make good choices online. One proactive strategy is to plan a PTA event for National Safer Internet Day, Tuesday, Feb. 6. This is a great way to foster community and discuss strategies to keep kids safe online!

Seize the Day
We’ve often heard the distance between Kindergarten and Senior year is one blink—it goes by quickly. With technology evolving every day, and our kids growing up in the blink of an eye, it’s time for us to seize the day in developing strategies for internet safety, both at home and in our schools. Let’s work together to proactively teach our kids that boundaries and balance online are crucial to their successful futures.

Sarah Siegand is an author and co-founder of Parents Who Fight, an online safety campaign to give parents tools and encouragement to protect their kids online. She is a member of her local PTA in Nashville, TN.

Monday, October 2, 2017

*2 Things - IRS and Ohio Attorney General (CORRECTED POST / EMAIL ADDRESS)

Please remember to make sure that your PTA files the necessary IRS and Attorney General filings for the fiscal year July 1, 2016, to June 30, 2017.

Filing the 990 form with IRS will protect your tax exempt status, which is not an easy task to get reinstated. 

Not filing the AG filing can result in fines levied against your PTA.  

1.  The Ohio PTA Office has been notified about a PTA unit who registered with the State of Ohio AG Office and never filed consecutive years (it had been three years since their initial filing). They received an invoice from the Attorney General's office this past week in the amount of $1,000 for past fees and fines.  

2.  Another PTA registered for the first time this year. The AG office notified them that they need to file for the previous years missed (three years). Ohio PTA does not know whether there will be fines levied against this PTA.

What we know now, is that the Attorney General's office is tracking non-profits and their filing habits to maintain their exempt status. In both cases, the fees the PTA units would have had to file each year would have been minimal ($50/year)   (Both the IRS and AG are keeping track of non-profits.)

Please connect with your treasurer to be sure that these tax-exempt requirements are followed.  Once your unit files the necessary documents, please forward the receipt to soa@ohiopta.org

Please keep your Tax Exempt Status safe and be fiscally responsible on behalf of your PTA unit. Don't procrastinate, file TODAY...the tax filing deadline is next month - November 15, 2017.