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.
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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 PTA.org.”

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.

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!