Wednesday, August 15, 2018

School of Excellence: Bringing the National Standards to Life

Source: National PTA One Voice Blog

The benefits of family-school-community partnerships are many: higher teacher morale, more parent involvement, and greater student success are only a few. That is why PTA developed the National Standards for Family School Partnerships. The standards are the foundation for the National PTA School of Excellence program and are embedded into our practice. They articulate what family engagement should look like at the school level.  These standards are in use by school, PTA and community leaders nationwide as a framework for thinking about, structuring, and assessing family engagement.
Here are some actual examples of how some 2017-2019 National PTA Schools of Excellence brought the National Standards to life in their schools.

Standard 1: Welcoming All Families

  • Bob Beard Elementary PTA in TX
We have welcoming signs all over our school.  Our Festival of Nations event is a wonderful opportunity for our families to come celebrate the diverse cultures represented at our school.  Beard families provided music, games, traditional clothing, dance and food from 23 nations across the globe represented by 44 of our Beard families.  We hosted both a dance for our boys to bring their special ‘gal’ (mom, aunt, family friend) and another dance for our girls to bring their special ‘guy’.  We hosted ‘Family Movie Night’ where families brought tents, sleeping bags and chairs along with picnics to all gather around and bond while watching a movie together and then hanging out. Also, 2 Grandparents Breakfasts, College Night, Open House and Howdy Nights to just come explore and get to know each other, Pizza Nights with our WATCH D.O.G.Z. and kids, our Fear-Factor eating contest between our two administrators brought hundreds of families to come out, bond and cheer them on.  Career Day brought many family members to school to teach our students about various occupations, and Kinder Round Up brought our new little ones in with their family members to explore and meet other families.  National Walk-to-School Day was really fun as we had hundreds of moms and dads and family members all walking and biking their little ones to school that morning.  We also hosted 2 Beautification days on Saturdays that brought our family and community members out by the truckloads with their gardening and yard tools to spend time together making Beard a more beautiful place.  We are a No Place for Hate campus.

Standard 2: Communicating Effectively

  • Leroy Collins Elementary PTA in FL
We communicate in a variety of ways, allowing us to reach every family. The Principal sends out a weekly telephone call-out every Sunday evening, letting families know what is coming in the follow week. Both Collins & the PTA send out Parent Link text messages with importation information. We also utilize Peachjar to send home flyers as well as sending paper flyers home. We have websites (www.collinspta.net , collins.mysdhc.org), a PTA facebook page (CollinsElementaryPTA). When notices were sent home to families regarding the Partnership Survey, every student was sent a flyer in both English & Spanish providing them with information about the survey and a link to follow. They were also directed to our Facebook page and website where links were posted to access the surveys directly. Paper surveys were also available. Our school website has every staff member’s email address listed to contact them directly. Through various methods of communication we’ve ensured that everyone knows what’s going on at our school and exactly how they can help if they choose to. We’ve promoted volunteer opportunities on signup.com, on PTA FB page, text, emails, flyers, and in personal conversations at various events.

Standard 3: Supporting Student Success

  • Hightower Trail MIddle School PTSA in GA
Given that our main goal this year was to support the implementation of college and career-ready standards, we focused on involving students and parents in the communication and activities regarding these standards.  The PTSA worked closely with the administration and counseling department to provide several opportunities for students and parents to learn and be involved including: a parent seminar with the principal on how to read your student’s Milestone/EOG test scores, Q&A documents on understanding your student’s progress reports and test scores, Move On When Ready open houses, several coffee with the counselors sessions for parents on study skills and organization, and also our annual college and career week.  This week features a day dedicated to supporting your high school, college spirit day, dress to impress day and career look alike day. Teachers do lessons about careers and they discuss the college they attended. We also feature teachers on the morning news show. Our Career Day was highlighted on Cobb TV. We also held three STEM career events for each grade level.  Every student is also given an account for the career cruising program which is an Internet-Based Career Interest Inventory. The students choose three possible careers based on their interests. The 8th graders receive a core guidance lesson on high school, college, and careers and each student develops a four-year plan. As a result of our efforts, our ‘Always’ score went from 42% to 50% for the question on the transition to high school and increased from 38% to 47% on the question regarding sharing information on student achievement data.

Standard 4: Speaking Up for Every Child

  • Casey Elementary PTA in MS
While our state legislatures convened, we supplied parents with links and bills as they pertained to education in MS. We supplied names and phone numbers of the House and Senate members so they could contact them to express their opinions of the bills that were on the floor. We also participated in PTA day at the Capital.  Parents were invited each month for all PTA board meeting to express ideas or concerns within the school so we could in turn work with the principal to improve our success rate. It was with these efforts and working with the community volunteers that our 3rd grade class passed state testing at 100%!

Standard 5: Sharing Power

  • Allen Elementary School PTA in TN
We encouraged participation and represented our PTA/school during the district’s Superintendent search.  Our PTA was represented at every Superintendent Parent Advisory Board meeting, stake holders meeting, public meet-and-greet, and Board of Education meeting.  We provided parents with pertinent information regarding every candidate (access to resume, interview summaries, etc).  We encouraged our parents and community to reach out to our school board leaders via phone/email with their superintendent choice.Collaborating with the community – We have worked hard this year to partner with our community to achieve student success.  Registration Day Ice Cream Social:  Prior to the first day of school, PTA invited families to join us for an ice cream social to learn more about PTA and local organizations that benefit our students.  During the ice cream social, PTA hosted local organizations allowing parents to network with PTA Board Members, administration, teachers, support staff, and local organizations.

Standard 6: Collaborating with Community

  • Westerly PTA in OH
Through the Cyber bullying program all students in both grades (3rd and 4th) at Westerly took part in classroom cyber awareness lessons and anti-bully prevention activities during their scheduled library time. Through these activities, the focus was to give all students guidance and ability to understand and prevent them from being victims. This collaborative approach with Mrs. Basel (School Counselor) and Miss Harris (School Librarian), Mr. Reynolds (Technology Director) and Detective Krolkosky (BVPD Detective) educated children about the basics of going online, and  helped them become safe, responsible and respectful digital citizens.
To learn more about how your PTA can bring the National Standards to light and earn a National PTA School of Excellence designation, visit PTA.org/Excellence or email Excellence@PTA.org.


Amy Weinberg is the Manager of Programs & Partnerships at National PTA. 




Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Go Back to School Thinking About Your End Game

Source: National PTA One Voice Blog


It begins again! When’s the first PTA meeting? When is Open House? Do we have enough volunteers? Where’s the budget? Who has the membership forms? It’s easy to get lost in the chaos of preparing PTA for a new school year. Want some advice? Think about the “end game” to help you focus on what matters. It’s so much easier to get to where you want to go if you know where you want to end up!
How many young people will your PTA touch this year? How many will decide to be a writer because of the PTA assembly, shine in a PTA Reflections program, get active in a PTA fun run, or have their futures open wide during a STEM night? Start planning and counting now. When the school year ends, will your PTA be able to say it positively influenced the lives of 100% of the children in your community? Think about the excitement your PTA can generate as you work toward that goal and think about how great it will feel to achieve it.
How many families will your PTA benefit this year? How many adults will get involved in their child’s education, have fun as a family, advocate on behalf of a child, or create a healthier, safer home environment because PTA provided the opportunity and resources? Start planning and counting now. When the school year ends, wouldn’t you love to report that your PTA made a positive difference in the lives of 100% of the families of your community? Think about the partners and members you can attract as you work toward that goal and how amazing it will feel to have that type of impact on children and families.
How many community members will your PTA influence this year? What services and programs can be made available through partnerships, how many non-parent adults will be become school supporters, how many resources can become available to families, children and schools because of the relationships your PTA builds? Start planning and counting now. When the school year ends, wouldn’t it be deeply satisfying to report your PTA’s role in improving your community and increasing the support it provides to children, families and schools?
PTA’s mission is to make every child’s potential a reality by engaging and empowering families and communities to advocate for all children. Who wouldn’t want to be part of that movement as a member, volunteer or leader? PTA is out to change the world. How will your PTA take us all one step closer to our end game?

Deborah Walsh is the National Service Representative Manager for National PTA.




Wednesday, August 8, 2018




National PTA Board of Directors Adopts Position Statement on
Safe and Supportive Schools

Statement outlines association’s belief that teachers and administrators should not be armed

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (August 7, 2018)—As schools across the country are increasingly impacted by violence and natural disasters, National PTA’s board of directors adopted a new position statement on safe and supportive schools during its August board meeting. The statement calls for a multi-faceted approach to address school safety that involves all stakeholders, especially students, parents and families.  

“School safety is a critical priority for all parents, families, educators, students and community members that cannot be taken for granted. Every child has a right to learn and grow in a safe and supportive environment,” said Jim Accomando, president of National PTA. “National PTA recognizes that school safety is a multi-faceted issue with no one clear solution for each community. We believe any effort to address school safety must involve all stakeholders who should consider a variety of factors, including the physical and psychological safety of students.”

As outlined in the position statement, National PTA promotes the establishment of and support for school safety policies and procedures that emphasize family engagement, adequate funding for student supports and services, and conditions that create and foster positive and welcoming school environments. The association also promotes the implementation of evidence-based policies and best practices articulated in A Framework for Safe and Successful Schools, which was written and has been endorsed by the nation’s leading education stakeholders and practitioners.

The position statement further states that National PTA believes the most effective day-to-day school climate is a gun-free campus—which includes not arming teachers and administrators—but defers to local, collaborative decision-making regarding the presence of law enforcement for school building security. If the decision is made to have a Student Resource Officer (SRO) or other security agency within a school building, the association believes there must be a clearly defined memorandum of understanding between the law enforcement agency and the school that articulates the role of the SRO.

“National PTA believes teachers and administrators are there to educate our children and should not be acting as armed security in classrooms,” said Nathan R. Monell, CAE, executive director of National PTA. “Families, students, educators, administrators, counselors, law enforcement, community leaders and elected officials must work together to ensure students feel safe and schools and communities have the resources and capacity to provide a positive and healthier environment for all students.”

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, visit PTA.org.

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





Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Seven Tips for Parents for the Beginning of the School Year

Seven Tips for Parents for the Beginning of the School Year

July 24, 2018 by DRO Attorney John Price / special education
DISCLAIMER: This blog is meant to be used as a general resource for parents. It does not constitute legal advice. If you have specific questions about your child, please contact our office at 614-466-7264 and select option 2 for intake.
As a parent of a school-age child with a disability, the last thing you may want to think about during the summer is your child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) for the upcoming school year. This is understandable because the process can be daunting and emotionally draining, but summer is a great time to take stock of where things stand with your child’s educational program, particularly as it relates to his or her long-term goals and trajectory.
Here are a few tips on what you can do as the school year approaches to try to make sure your child has the most productive year he or she can have.
1. Get organized. Use this time to figure out a system for keeping things organized. Start a folder or a binder that contains the IEP, Evaluation Team Report (ETR), progress reports, prior written notices, behavior sheets, daily communication sheets, school work, and other documents the school sends home. Your system could be as simple as a binder with tabs or a folder, as long as it works for you. This will allow you to keep track of what your child is doing and have a record that will be important if you run into conflict.
2. Review your child’s ETR. ETRs are critical in the special education process not only because they determine eligibility but because they also drive your child’s goals and—in turn—services and placement. All too often, teams only think about evaluations every three years, which is when the law says they have to be redone. But, in terms of childhood development, three years is a long time. Review your child’s evaluation to see if it still paints an accurate picture of your child’s levels. Compare it to any outside evaluations done by private professionals and your own observations. If you think the report is no longer accurate or complete, write a letter to your special education contact documenting your specific concerns and request a formal re-evaluation.
3. Review IEP goals. Goals should be (1) individualized, (2) data-driven, (3) skills-based, (4) challenging, and (5) measurable. They should flow logically from skill deficits identified in the evaluation. Each goal should state your child’s present level of performance in measurable terms that mirror the goal language, establishing a baseline that everyone can understand. To determine if a goal is objectively measurable, read the goal and see if you could test the child yourself at home and determine if he or she met the goal. If not, there is a good chance the goal is not measurable. The goal should also be challenging, as the law requires districts to maintain high expectations for students with disabilities. Look at your child’s previous IEP goals. If you’re seeing the same goal year after year, that is a problem, as it indicates either that the goal is inappropriate or the services provided are ineffective. If your review reveals any problems, set up an IEP meeting as early as possible to revise the goal.
4. Build relationships. Once you know who will be working with your child this year, start building a relationship of trust with those people very early on. Contact your child’s teacher, paraprofessional and related services provider and ask to set up an informal time for you to chat so that they can get to know you and your child. Let them know you want to be an active part in your child’s education. They will appreciate the gesture, and it will give you an opportunity to give them a fuller picture of your child.
5. Set up a plan for regular communication. You cannot fully serve your role in the IEP process if you do not know what is going on in the classroom. That is why it is critical for you and the team to develop a plan for regular communication between you and your child’s teacher. The form and frequency of the communication will depend on the specific circumstances. Some examples are daily tracking sheets that the child takes to and from school or daily or weekly emails. The important thing is that it is regular and in writing, so that you know how your child is progressing, and you have a record if a dispute arises.
6. Familiarize yourself with your rights. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) firmly establishes parents as full and equal members of an IEP team. But you cannot exercise your rights if you do not understand them. Read A Guide to Parent’s Rights in Special Education, which you can find online here, or you can request one from the school district. You can also utilize DRO’s resource page here. And of course, you can contact our office with specific questions.
7. Let go of grudges. For many parents, this is a hard one. You should use the new school year as an opportunity for a fresh start. Keep your focus on your child’s services and what will help them develop from this point forward. If you believe your child has been denied a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) in the past, use the procedural safeguards available to you to request a remedy, such as compensatory education. If you believe your child’s placement or services are inadequate, use the IEP process to advocate for changes. Personal animosity, however, is not useful, and you will be better served if you leave any hard feelings out of it.




Thursday, July 26, 2018

Serve on the Ohio PTA Board!



Are you enthusiastic about PTA, committed to children, and looking for a new challenge? The Ohio PTA Nominating Committee is seeking highly qualified and motivated leaders to serve on the Ohio PTA Board of Directors for the 2019-2021 term. Elections will be held during the 113th Ohio PTA Convention, April 12-14, 2019, at the Embassy Suites in Dublin, Ohio. All Board positions are open with the exception of President, President-Elect, Secretary-Treasurer, VP Leadership and VP Field Service, which must be filled by those with prior service on the Ohio PTA Board of Directors, according to Ohio PTA bylaws. Serving on the Ohio PTA Board of Directors requires a state-level commitment and vision and is a truly rewarding experience. Persons who desire to be a powerful voice, a relevant resource, and a strong advocate for all Ohio children are encouraged to apply. All Ohio PTA Board members are unpaid volunteers.

Please email the Nominating Committee Chair at da12@ohiopta.org for an application, a copy of Board job descriptions, or for more information. Completed application forms are due to the Ohio PTA office by September 15, 2018.  





Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Apply for Grants Now!



STEM + Families Science Festivals
June 22, 2018 - August 26, 2018
National PTA and Bayer have teamed up to promote Science Festivals with two unique grants available depending on your type of PTA. The 2018 - 2019 National PTA STEM + Families Science Grants sponsored by Bayer will award $1,000 to 30 local PTAs to host a STEM + Families Science Festival, and $3,000 to five State, District, Council or Region PTAs to partner with local PTAs in hosting Science Festivals. Learn more and apply.



STEM + Families Math Grants
June 22, 2018 - August 26, 2018
National PTA and Mathnasium are partnering to empower families to support student success and fill a critical gap in STEM education. The 2018 National PTA STEM + Families Math Grants sponsored by Mathnasium award 35 local PTAs $1,000 to host one STEM + Families Math event with students and families at their Elementary School. Learn more and apply.



Healthy Lifestyles Grant
June 22, 2018 - August 26, 2018
National PTA and GOYA-Move are partnering to support Healthy Lifestyles month by offering $1,000 to 15 local PTAs who commit to hosting a "Get Off Your Apps" Physical Activity Event at their elementary and middle schools during the month of November. Learn more and apply.





Tuesday, July 24, 2018

National PTA Executive Director Elected Chair of Learning First Alliance Board





National PTA Executive Director Elected Chair of Learning First Alliance Board

ALEXANDRIA, Va., (July 17, 2018)—The Learning First Alliance (LFA), a partnership of leading education associations representing more than 10 million parents, educators and policymakers, has elected Nathan R. Monell, CAE, executive director of National PTA, as chair of its Board of Directors for the 2018-2019 term.

“Nathan has a strong record of leadership and excellent association management skills, which will guide LFA as we work toward the continual, long-term improvement of public education and helping every student succeed,” said Richard M. Long, executive director of the Learning First Alliance. “His knowledge of the issues facing public education, students and families will help LFA work to advance public education at this critical time.”

As chair, Monell is committed to furthering the collaborative work of LFA’s diverse membership.

“I am very pleased to lead the Learning First Alliance at this important time for public education,” said Monell. “The voice and leadership of all stakeholders in the education community are needed more than ever to ensure that all students receive a high-quality education in a safe, healthy and supportive environment. I look forward to working with the Board of Directors, members and partners of LFA to advance public education and make sure every child has every opportunity to succeed and grow into a happy and healthy adult.”

National PTA's mission is to make a difference for the education, health, safety and well-being of every child and make every child’s potential a reality by engaging and empowering families and communities to advocate for all children.

Monell has spent his career working to improve the lives of marginalized individuals, including work with youth and adult mental health services, educational and employment outcomes, health and substance abuse prevention service, and housing and social services for families. Prior to joining National PTA in 2015, he served as president and CEO of the National Council for Community and Education Partnerships, the advocacy, technical assistance and training organization for the federal GEAR UP program (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs).

In addition to Monell, LFA’s Board of Directors also elected Marla Ucelli-Kashyap, Assistant to the President for Educational Issues at the American Federation of Teachers, as its 2018-2019 secretary/treasurer. JoAnn Bartoletti, executive director of the National Association of Secondary School Principals and 2017-2018 LFA chair, also will serve on the executive committee as immediate past president.

Since it was incorporated in 1996, LFA has brought together the leading national education associations, which collectively represent 10 million parents, educators and policymakers, to collaborate on a variety of issues. Monell and Ucelli-Kashyap were instrumental in the development of LFA’s most recent publication, The Elements of Success: 10 Million Speak on Schools that Work, a compendium of research and best practices for building successful schools that is being used at schools and school districts across the country. Over the next year, LFA will convene several meetings between its members, business, policy and philanthropy communities to further the research and ideas presented in the Elements of Success.

About the Learning First Alliance
The Learning First Alliance is a partnership of leading education organizations with more than 10 million members dedicated to improving student learning in America's public schools. Alliance members include: American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education; AASA, The School Superintendents Association; American Federation of Teachers; American School Counselor Association; Consortium for School Networking; Learning Forward; National Association of Elementary School Principals; National Association of Secondary School Principals; National Education Association; National PTA; National School Boards Association; and National School Public Relations Association. To learn more about LFA, visit http://www.learningfirst.org/.




Monday, July 16, 2018

Membership Matters: Focus on the Mission

Source: National PTA One Voice Blog

FastCompany recently published an article asking, “Which brands inspire consumers the most with their missions?” The article, written by Adele Peters, reports on an annual survey called the World Value Index. The World Value Index evaluates companies, nonprofits and some social movements that have come to be identified as brands–and studies how well their purpose or mission succeeds in inspiring consumers. Do you think your community knows the PTA mission by your activities and actions?
“To make every child’s potential a reality by engaging and empowering families and communities to advocate for all children.”
Enso, which published a list of the top 10 brands on the World Value Index, identified two questions that you can ask yourselves and your board to improve your community’s awareness of the PTA mission:
  1. Are we inspiring our parents to use their power to support the mission?
  2. What could we be doing more of to inspire and engage people in our purpose and create more value?
Take some time this summer to answer these questions with your board.
This past year, National PTA served 16.5 million children out of the 50 plus million children in the USA. Out of all PTAs, more than half—55%—are in Title 1 schools. A recent PTA study asked parents if they believed that their local PTA lived up to the mission. The response was eye-opening as many participants were unaware of the mission.

Once they heard the mission, they felt that ours is a cause that they could support.

We have a great deal more work to do to secure our children’s future. You are our grassroots ambassadors and we need you to live the mission. PTA is about advocacy, family engagement, and student success.

As PTA, we believe in speaking up for all children and our members lend their support on all advocacy efforts both federally and statewide. PTA is the oldest and largest volunteer child advocacy association and has been for the past 120 years. And we’re not slowing down. Over the last year, National PTA endorsed 17 bills and sent over 70 letters to Congress to advocate on behalf of children and families.

We know that parents first want information to help them raise their children. Please take a few minutes to check out the PTA website, where you can find a wide variety of information under the Family Resources tab, such as our parent guides, health, safety and special education information. Or, feel free to share the Our Children Online Magazine, which offers more general parenting advice. As PTA members, you can take those resources and deliver them to your community.

Family engagement resources and activities can be found on our website as well.  The School of Excellence program embodies the values of PTA—school and community improvement through effective family engagement—and can bring the home and school closer together.  The program provides a roadmap on how to implement change in your school. Enrollment starts now and ends Oct. 1, 2018.

National PTA also offers grants for other activities, including arts education and STEM programs. It is important to check the PTA website often.

As you plan for your year ahead, take a hard look at our PTA mission and plan activities that promote student success and family engagement. Our education systems and schools are facing difficult issues such as school safety and budget cuts—so get involved. We need YOU.

Thank you for all that do in the name of PTA for families, children and educators each and every day.

Mary Jo Neil is a national service representative for National PTA.





Saturday, July 7, 2018

Membership Matters: The Annual Report

Source: National PTA One Voice Blog



Ending the year right is as important as getting it started right. One important and valuable step for wrapping up your PTA year is putting together and offering your members some type of Annual Report. This is an end-of-the-year report that sums up all of the great work your PTA has done and is a powerful resource to inspire support for your association.

Among other things, the Annual Report allows:

  • Everyone recruiting members to easily show what your PTA has done and what their membership will support.
  • Everyone who is or has been a member to see what their membership helped to support.
  • Everyone in your community to see what your PTA accomplished.
  • Your PTA to show appreciation for everyone who supported your initiatives with their attendance, volunteer work, support or sponsorships.
  • Your school to show how family engagement contributed to making a difference in your school community.

Putting an Annual Report together is not difficult. You may want to include the following:

  • The total number of members for the year.
  • The PTA mission-related activities/initiatives organized or sponsored by your PTA to support the students, the teachers, the families and/or the community—every group impacted by your work. List all your PTA did throughout the year:
    • to welcome all families
    • to promote two-way meaningful communication
    • to empower families to support their children’s academic achievement
    • to empower families to secure their child’s safety, well-being and best learning, social and emotional opportunities
    • to work alongside your school leaders to secure public funding and resources that support the best learning conditions in your school or community
    • to work collaboratively with the business, faith-based organizations and various other communities your school is part of?
  • A list of all activities organized or sponsored by your PTA that raised funds to support the mission-related activities or initiatives
  • A thank you section with:
    • A list of all volunteers who helped to make possible all activities or initiatives of the PTA.
    • A list of businesses, individuals and/or organizations who supported the work of your PTA.
  • Other special accomplishments of your PTA.
Your annual report document doesn’t need to be wordy. Just a reflection of all the work that you did. I’ve seen annual reports in the form of a written document. I’ve seen annual reports in the form of fun videos with pictures of all the activities the PTA organized throughout the year. Because of this exercise, you may discover your PTA is already doing the work of a National PTA School of Excellence and would only need to register and complete the application process to be recognized.
Distributing your Annual Report via a short message with an attachment or a link to a simple PDF or video shared via social media channels or text is also a great way to inspire your members to renew their membership and to continue to support PTA. We can’t wait to see your annual reports!

Need some help? Check out these resources:

Thank you so much for all you do to advance the PTA mission for all children.

Ivelisse Castro is a national service representative for National PTA.



Friday, June 15, 2018

60 Days of Summer Fun - iMom




60 Days of Summer Fun - iMom: Our 60 Days of Summer Fun ideas and activities are simple ways to savor your summer and make unforgettable memories with your kids.





Tuesday, May 22, 2018

We Need All Voices at the Table When Discussing School Safety

Source: National PTA One Voice Blog


We were deeply saddened to hear about the tragic school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas on Friday. It was the second shooting at a high school in the past week and the second mass shooting at a school this year. Every student deserves to learn and grow in a safe environment, and no parent should fear for the safety of their child every time they leave home for school. More must be done immediately to keep our children safe.
After the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February, President Trump established the Federal School Safety Commission led by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. Secretary DeVos held an informal school safety meeting last Thursday to discuss lessons learned from previous school shootings. Today, the Department of Education released a video from the meeting.
We greatly appreciate the Secretary’s commitment to addressing school safety. School safety is a critical priority for all parents, educators, students and community members that should be urgently addressed. While we were pleased that the announcement of the Federal School Safety Commissionmentioned the importance of input from students, parents, teachers and other stakeholders as part of the Commission’s work, the commission has not yet publicly announced opportunities for stakeholders to meaningfully engage with the Commission. We urge Secretary DeVos and the Commission to include parents and educators in all aspects of their work.
National PTA—along with 7 other national organizations—sent a letter to Secretary DeVos urging the secretary to meaningfully engage stakeholders in the Commission’s work. It is imperative that the voices of those who attend, work in, and send their children daily to our nations’ schools are intimately involved in these conversations at the federal, state and local levels.
We know that parent engagement is indispensable to an effective public dialogue. Parents are critical stakeholders in education issues who are reflective of their communities and provide invaluable input and perspective as the key consumers of educational systems along with their children. From our experiences with ESSA and other education initiatives, we have learned that engaging all stakeholders, including parents, is essential throughout the entire policy development process.
Our association recently joined the National Association of School Psychologists, National Association of School Resource Officers, National Association of Secondary School Principals, School Social Work Association of America, American School Counselor Association and National Association of Elementary School Principals to release “Considerations and Action Steps for Implementing the Framework,” a supplemental to A Framework for Safe and Successful Schools. National PTA hopes the Commission will advance evidence-based policy and best practices in creating safe schools in states and districts across the country.
As one of the primary consumers of our nation’s education system, parents are essential partners in education who must be brought to the table to improve school safety. Make your voice heard on this important issue by sending your comments and recommendations related to school safety to safety@ed.gov. We also encourage you to reach out to your child’s school and local education leaders to learn more current school safety measures and policies and collaborate with them on ways to improve the school environment.









Thursday, May 10, 2018

2018 NATIONAL FAMILY AND COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT CONFERENCE



In honor of Teachers Appreciation Week & Mother’s Day, @ielconnects & @FCENetwork is offering $100 off individual & group registration for the National #FCEConf18. Learn more: http://bit.ly/2018FCEConf or email fcenetwork@iel.org This offer is valid now until Monday, May 14th COB and cannot be combined with other promotions or discounted rates (including early bird).