Wednesday, November 29, 2017

PTAs and Schools Awarded Grants to Engage Families in STEM Education

PTAs and Schools Awarded Grants to Engage Families in STEM Education

Grants support STEM + Families initiative to increase student access to STEM experiences

ALEXANDRIA, Va., (Nov. 29, 2017)—National PTA is pleased to award over $97,000 in grants this fall to PTAs and schools across the country to engage families in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. The grants are part of the association’s STEM + Families initiative.

“Family engagement is essential to strengthen STEM education, bridge the STEM gap and help all children realize their fullest potential,” said Jim Accomando, president of National PTA. “We are pleased to equip PTAs and schools nationwide with resources to engage families in STEM education and help foster children’s understanding of and excitement for STEM.”

Thirty local PTAs have been selected to receive a $1,000 National PTA STEM + Families Science Grant, plus $400 in materials to conduct science experiments with families. Minnesota PTA, Ohio PTA, Oklahoma PTA, Rochester Community PTA in Mich. and Wake County PTA Council in N.C. also have been chosen to receive a science grant of $3,000 each, plus $1,000 for materials. The grants are sponsored by Bayer.

Thirty-five PTAs have been awarded a $1,000 National PTA STEM + Families Math Grant, sponsored by Mathnasium.

With the math and science grants, the PTAs and schools will:
  • Engage families using fun, hands-on learning experiences at math nights and science festivals
  • 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 opportunities and professional mentors

In addition to the grants, 50 PTAs have been selected to receive a package of educational games from logic and STEM game maker ThinkFun to use to host a STEM + Families game night. One hundred PTAs also have been chosen to receive a mini game package from ThinkFun.

“We are grateful to Bayer, Mathnasium and ThinkFun for supporting the efforts of PTAs to engage families in STEM education and increase access to STEM experiences for all students,” added Nathan R. Monell, CAE, National PTA executive director. “Including families as meaningful partners in STEM education and career pathways is critical to inspire the next generation of STEM professionals and ensure the long-term economic success of our nation.”

STEM + Families is a national effort to engage entire families in STEM experiences at school, at home, in the community and with digital learning environments to support students’ success in STEM. The goal of the initiative is to spark an interest in STEM education, inspire families and communities to explore STEM education and career opportunities, and engage family members in shared learning experiences.

National PTA announced the grant and game package recipients live on Facebook. Visit National PTA’s Facebook page to view the video.

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, visit

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

Sunday, November 26, 2017

"Giving Tuesday"

Greetings Child Advocates and Friends of Ohio PTA!

I am excited to let you know that Ohio PTA is taking part in Giving Tuesday on November 28th!  Never heard of it? It is a fast-growing movement to encourage a day of charitable giving after the gift buying days of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  This is one of just a few days each year when people actually LOOK for somewhere to donate their money! It is an opportunity to support a cause or organization that they care about, a nice thought as it follows several days focused on consumer spending and getting some good deals. And where can you find a better deal than contributing to Ohio PTA’s scholarship fund and helping students achieve their dreams of going on to post-secondary education?

I am asking you to take part in Giving Tuesday by donating yourself and helping me spread the word about this new way to give. Our campaign theme is “Give $10, Get 10 Friends.” I am asking you to go to our Ohio PTA Facebook page, donate $10 (or more) for scholarships by clicking on the donation button link, then share that link with 10 friends and invite them to match your donation OR use this link

Giving Tuesday is truly an international movement and a great chance for all of us to spread the word about the important work we do for children and families throughout Ohio.  Please help Ohio PTA continue to fulfill the PTA vision of making “Every Child’s Potential a Reality.”

Thank you for your participation!

Susan Hans,

Ohio PTA President

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Shop Safely on Black Friday & Cyber Monday

5 Ways to Shop Safely on Black Friday & Cyber Monday

Source: National PTA One Voice Blog

The holiday shopping season now begins online on Thanksgiving (Brown Thursday), continuing through Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Some retailers have even taken it a step further: Mall of America and several other retailers have announced that they will be closed on Thanksgiving—making it a “cyber-only” day for many shoppers.

This new emphasis on “cyber shopping” means that both parents and kids need to be on the lookout for shopping dangers and keep protecting their identity top of mind.
Here are five suggestions that can go a long way towards reducing your vulnerability to identity theft and fraud this holiday season and year round.
  1. Keep a low profile. Avoid sharing personal information to receive promotions and offers. If you need to put in an email address to get a coupon or shop one time on a site, consider using a temporary one. Sites like can help.
  • Don’t save your credit card info on retailer websites, just in case the retailer suffers a data breach. Limit your social media sharing and never post personal information such as addresses, emails, phone numbers or birthdates.
  1. Pay with a credit card … or online/mobile payment. Always use a credit card, not a debit card. You’re not held responsible for unauthorized credit card purchases (beyond, in some cases, a $50 fee), but a thief armed with your stolen debit card could wipe out your entire bank balance—at least until an investigation is completed. Even better, use an online or mobile payment service such as Apple Pay, Android Pay or PayPal.
  2. Take protective measures online. Public Wi-Fi can expose everything you’re doing online. One of the best ways to protect your information online is to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) from a trusted vendor. VPNs provide a “secure tunnel” that encrypts data being sent and received between your device and the internet.
  • Many companies use secure websites—HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure)—to provide online security. You can tell if a website is secure if it has “https” in its URL and has a small lock symbol next to it. However, even though the website itself might be safe, your personal information could still be vulnerable if your network connection isn’t secure.
  1. Watch your accounts closely. Be sure to regularly check your bank and credit card accounts for any unfamiliar charges or activity, and regularly update passwords with unique ones for each site. Online card fraud has risen sharply and this could mean you’re at risk. You can set up text and email alerts to keep track of your bank and credit transactions. Do a weekend recap at the end of a long shopping weekend, and review and shred your receipts when you don’t need them anymore.
  2. Have the Smart Talk. The majority of children receive their first smartphone between the ages of eight and 12. That means managing kids and their devices has become more of a juggling act than ever for parents. LifeLock and National PTA launched The Smart Talk, a free, online tool for families that helps parents have clear conversations with their children about using technology in order to agree on ground rules together. We want our children to learn and have fun through technology, and at the same time, stay safe. The Smart Talk provides an interactive experience that guides kids and parents through a series of questions and conversations about topics such as safety, privacy, screen time, social media, texting, and cameras. After agreeing on healthy limits together, a personalized, official family agreement can be stored on the computer or printed and posted at home. Visit org for more information.
Paige Hanson is the Chief of Identity Education at Lifelock. 

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

National PTA Legislative Conference

You won't want to miss National PTA’s premier advocacy conference this Spring in D.C.!
This year's National PTA Legislative Conference is inspired by the upcoming Olympics—because the best advocates are like athletes, always training and striving to be better.
Please join us in the nation's capitol, March 13-15. Early-bird registration is officially open, which means if you register before Dec. 15 you'll save $30!

We’ll hear from Washington, DC influencers, get face-to-face advocacy training from experts, and get a chance to speak one-on-one with federal policymakers! 

National PTA Advocacy Awards

National PTA is now accepting nominations for the 2018 Advocacy Awards! If you know of an outstanding youth or individual PTA advocate, or a local unit or state PTA that has done great advocacy work, nominate them to receive an award for their efforts from National PTA at the 2017 Legislative Conference. You can also nominate yourself!
 Award Categories:

The deadline to submit a nomination is Monday, Dec. 18

About the Awards
Shirley Igo Advocate of the Year Award
The Shirley Igo Advocate of the Year Award is presented to an individual PTA member, who through their leadership and advocacy efforts, affected federal policy priorities within PTA’s annual Public Policy Agenda. Shirley was a model of public service and volunteerism throughout her life. She was an impassioned and compassionate leader, dedicated to moving PTA forward and committed to ensuring that others would follow.

Outstanding Youth Advocate of the Year Award
The Outstanding Youth Advocate of the Year Award is presented to a young person—who—through his or her creativity, leadership, and dedication, has positively affected policy or change in his or her school or community in a way that aligns with PTA’s mission and goals.

Outstanding Local PTA Advocacy Award
The Outstanding Local PTA Advocacy Award is presented to a local, district, council or regional PTA that, through their dedication, leadership and efforts positively affected legislative and/or regulatory policy compatible with PTA’s mission and goals. These efforts must include an education/learning component for PTA members and the community-at-large. Working with multiple organizations or coalitions through grassroots collaboration is preferred.

Outstanding State PTA Advocacy Award

The Outstanding State PTA Advocacy Award is presented to a state PTA that, through their dedication, leadership and efforts positively affected legislative and/or regulatory policy compatible with PTA’s mission and goals. These efforts must be based on a statewide issue, involve working with multiple organizations or coalitions through grassroots collaboration, and contain a public awareness/advocacy training component for PTA members and the community at large.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Advocacy Action Requested

Dear Public Education Advocate,

Right now, Congress is debating what federal programs to fund next year. Make sure they know you demand funds to increase family engagement in public education.

Send a letter to your members of Congress TODAY urging them to fund Statewide Family Engagement Centers (SFECs) at $10 million in fiscal year 2018.

Time is running out, so we have made it easy for you to make your voice heard and increase family engagement funding. All you need to do is click on the “Take Action” button below to send a letter to your members of Congress.

Thank you for your continued support for family engagement in education,

National PTA Government Affairs Team

Tell Your Members of Congress to Invest in Family Engagement!

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Ohio State Board of Education Begins Broadcasting Meetings

The Ohio State Board of Education has begun broadcasting portions of their Board Meetings! The Board typically meets on the second Monday and Tuesday of each month during the business day and is composed of nineteen members.  Eleven of the members are elected and eight members are appointed by the governor. Because meetings are held during the day, it is difficult for many people to attend, but now, you can watch portions of the State Board of Education meetings via The Ohio Channel. 

There are currently 4 videos ranging from 45 minutes to 3 hours from the October State Board of Education meetings. Be sure to visit and click on Live Video Feed and Video Archive under the Topics category to view the videos and learn what our State Board of Education discussed during their October meeting.  

Ohio PTA Director of Education

Katie Holcomb

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

How will your PTA change the lives of children in 2018?

Source: PTA One Voice Blog

The school-year kick-off is past and holiday craziness is on the horizon. Right now it’s time to grab a pumpkin spice latte, sit back and take stock.
Did the membership year start off with a bang? Maybe a mid-year drive is in order. Plan to start right after the holidays when potential members refocus on school. What value has your PTA already delivered? What value do you plan to deliver in 2018? Call attention to your success and ask for support for the future. Position membership in your PTA as a way to support students and PTA.  Ask people to join a successful movement to improve your school community.  People want to be part of successful teams. They want to know that their dues dollars have impact. Tie PTA membership with positive results.
Will your PTA meet its goals? Now is a good time to acknowledge successes and plan next steps. No goals? It’s not too late. Gather the board and decide what can be accomplished in 2018. Focus on empowering families to support student success.  Find a community agency or organization to partner in hosting a family event. Research your school’s goals and brainstorm ways to align PTA’s efforts to achieve goals together. Concentrate on making an impact and providing value to your community.
Are a few overworked volunteers trying to do the work of many? Consider how you ask for help: “Come be part of our success” vs. “We need people” and “400 children and family members had a blast in 2017. We’re aiming at 500 this year. Help us build an even better 2018 Spring Fair” vs. “We need volunteers for the Spring Fair.” Tie volunteer opportunities to outcomes, tell people they will be part of successful events, and help volunteers feel their volunteer hours have an impact. Break down opportunities into small jobs and find ways people can help from home or with their families—look for ways to help people say, “Yes” to the opportunity.
Candy canes will soon replace candy corn and PTA thoughts will take second place to planning family gatherings and holiday celebrations. Now is the time to make plans to jump-start the New Year. How will your PTA change the lives of children in 2018?
Deborah Walsh is a National PTA Service Manager.