Friday, September 28, 2018

High Impact Family Engagement- Parent Teacher Home Visits

Jackie Arendt, Ohio PTA VP of Leadership and I were privileged to attend a training session for Brook Park Memorial (BPM) staff conducted by the Parent Teacher Home Visits Project (PTHVP). What is the PTHVP? It is an organization dedicated to building trusting, personal relationships between teachers and their students’ families through teachers visiting families in their homes.

A group of teachers at Brook Park Memorial volunteered to be part of a pilot program of teachers visiting families this coming school year. Staff from the St. Paul Minnesota area PTHVP worked with about a dozen BPM teachers a few days before school started in August.

Jackie and I were struck by the enthusiasm of both the BPM teachers and the St. Paul trainers. The PTHV trainers shared their personal experiences with home visits. When their children were younger, they had received home visits as parents. They saw that it made a difference in their children's progress in the classroom. Those positive experiences caused them to join the PTHVP as trainers.

Listening to them, it became clear that parent teacher home visits can truly build long lasting and very personal relationships between staff and families. The first visit is structured as an exchange of information on the student’s talents and aspirations. Parents and teachers discuss their hopes for the student and the school year. It is not centered on academic skills or test scores or grades- it is sharing dreams…and in the process building trust and understanding. Trust is important as an opportunity to build bridges to families, especially those who may have had negative or minimal experiences with schools in the past. Visits conducted later in the school year focus more on curriculum and student skills.

Where is the PTA presence in this high impact family engagement practice? Well, the BPM staff asked their PTA to partner with them in conducting the pilot. PTA officers and members would be the “test” visits and then communicate to other parents about their experiences with parent teacher home visits.  This is a win-win effort for everyone at Brook Park Memorial. The enthusiastic staff volunteers gain a partner in PTA and all families at BPM learn about the benefits of parent teacher home visits.

For another take on building personal relationships in schools, read this article by Sean Arthur, National PTA’s Senior Manager of Education Initiatives, on exchanging stories as a first day of school activity. During his time as a teacher, Sean realized that learning about students’ lives made a difference in engaging them in class throughout the rest of the year. Click here to read Sean’s article. What really makes this a powerful example of collaborative trust building is that both Sean and his students share their stories with each other.

High impact engagement- whether between families and schools or teachers and students- means both sides share knowledge and both sides learn. This boosts student achievement for every child. What can your PTA do to make family engagement at your school more high impact and transformational? Tell us by applying for the Ohio PTA Family Engagement Grant now! Apply here.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Ohio PTA Family Engagement Grants Available!


Ohio PTA is offering FIVE Family Engagements as part of our National PTA grant from the new Center for Family Engagement. Applications are due October 12.
                       Ohio PTA Family Engagement Grant

Ohio PTA was one of five states chosen to receive a National PTA Innovations in Family Engagement Grant. Family engagement is the heart of the PTA mission. For over 110 years, PTAs in Ohio have been connecting families, schools and communities to make every child's potential a reality. Ohio PTA and the National PTA Center for Transformative Family Engagement are united in our effort to expand our mission through transformative family engagement. We believe family engagement practices must reach every family and impact every child. Family engagement should view parents as equal partners in facilitating student success and should be woven into the fabric of our school policies. Learn more about family engagement at

Friday, September 21, 2018


Dear Education Advocate,

For many years a tax loophole has permitted taxpayers to profit by financially supporting private school voucher programs. This profitable tax shelter has fueled rapid growth in these voucher programs, leading to a major transfer of public dollars into private schools. Moreover, these profits come at the expense of state and federal budgets and do not find their way into public schools or public services.

The IRS has proposed regulations that would shut down this tax shelter and could significantly weaken the popularity and growth of these voucher programs. However, private school choice advocates have been flooding the IRS regulations comment section asking that the IRS maintain this tax shelter by providing a special exemption for private school tuition tax credits that will allow them to continue to receive a federal tax credit for donating to private schools.

We need your help to tell the IRS not to create a special carve-out in these regulations for donations to private schools.  All you need to do is click on the “Take Action” button below to submit a comment to the IRS. Thank you for your continued support for public schools.

Thank you,
National PTA

📣📣📣📣📣Ohio PTA Board of Directors📣📣📣📣📣


Thursday, September 20, 2018

Ohio PTA Science Festival Grant

Ohio PTA Science Festival $500 Grant Available!

STEM careers are expected to be one of the fastest growing job  categories in the next decade. However families and students are often unaware of how many different types of jobs exist in the STEM area. There are jobs  at many education levels from postsecondary certificates all the way to doctoral degrees. Building parent and student knowledge of STEM career pathways requires sparking an interest in the STEM fields. A hands on parent-student event such as a Science Festival demonstrates that  STEM activities are easy, fun and can be done at home.

One $500 grant will be awarded in October 2018 to a PTA serving a  school with students in at least ONE grade in grades 2-5.

Grant Requirements
1)   Apply by October 5, 2018
2)   Host your Science Festival for at least 50 families by March 31, 2019
3)   Submit 5 photos to Ohio PTA for use on social media
4)   Submit a 150 word summary of how you planned and ran your event

Does your PTA want to host a fun evening of science-oriented family learning? Click to apply now!

Questions? Email

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

$335,000 in Funding and Products for PTAs!

Bayer, Mathnasium, ThinkFun and littleBits

ALEXANDRIA, Va., (Sept. 19, 2018)—National PTA announced today that $335,000 in funding and products will be awarded to PTAs across the country over the next three years to increase family engagement in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. The funding is part of National PTA’s STEM + Families initiative and builds on the more than $100,000 in funding that was awarded to state, council and local PTAs in the 2017-2018 school year.

“Thousands of students and families across the country participated in events featuring fun and meaningful hands-on STEM experiences last school year,” said Jim Accomando, president of National PTA. “We are thrilled to provide more PTAs and schools with resources to engage families in STEM education, show children how much fun STEM can be and educate families about STEM careers and education pathways, which is essential to bridge the STEM gap and inspire the next generation of STEM professionals.”

As part of the grant program, an initial 30 local PTAs have been selected to receive a $1,000 National PTA STEM + Families Science Grant, plus $250 in materials to conduct science experiments with families. Five state/regional/council PTAs have also been chosen to receive a science grant of $3,000 each, plus $500 in materials. Additionally, 10 PTA recipients of previous STEM + Families Science Grants will receive renewed funding to continue their work bringing families together for meaningful STEM experiences. The 45 awards and three grant opportunities are sponsored by Bayer.

Another 35 PTAs have been selected to receive a $1,000 National PTA STEM + Families Math Grant, sponsored by Mathnasium. These PTAs will partner with their local Mathnasium Learning Centers to host a math night for families at their schools.

In addition to the initial science and math grants, 50 PTAs will be selected to receive a package of educational games from logic and STEM game maker ThinkFun to use to host a STEM + Families game night. Another 25 PTAs will be awarded fun, modular electronic invention kits from littleBits, a new supporting sponsor of STEM + Families. The deadline to apply for the games and invention kits is midnight on Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018. 

“We are pleased to have littleBits join our STEM + Families initiative and are grateful to all of our sponsors for supporting the efforts of PTA to engage families in STEM education,” added Nathan R. Monell, CAE, National PTA executive director. Families play a critical role in children’s academic success and have the biggest influence on children’s educational and career decisions. Families must be included as meaningful partners in STEM education and career pathways to help all children realize their full potential and ensure the long-term economic success of our nation.”

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

About Bayer: Science For A Better Life
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 2017, the Group employed around 99,800 people and had sales of EUR 35.0 billion. Capital expenditures amounted to EUR 2.4 billion, R&D expenses to EUR 4.5 billion. For more information, go to www.bayer.usBayer is the presenting and founding sponsor of National PTA’s STEM + Families initiative, helping the association launch the initiative in 2015.

About Mathnasium
The math education authority for grades 2-12, Mathnasium is North America’s leading math-only supplemental education franchise. Its mission: to provide children with the strong math foundation they need to succeed in school and in life. The result of 40+ years of hands-on instruction and research, the proprietary Mathnasium Method™ teaches children of all skill levels in ways that make sense to them. Franchising since 2003, Mathnasium now has over 900 Mathnasium Learning Centers worldwide and is ranked #28 in Entrepreneur’s 2018 Franchise 500®. For more information, visit Mathnasium.comMathnasium has been a founding sponsor of National PTA’s STEM + Families initiative since 2016, providing support for the “M” in STEM.

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. ThinkFun has been a supporting sponsor of National PTA’s STEM + Families initiative for two years.

About littleBits
littleBits is the New York-based education startup that invented the electronic building block. These magnetic “Bits” snap together to turn ideas into inventions, transforming the way kids learn so they can grow up to be tomorrow’s changemakers -- no matter their age, gender, race, nationality, or ability. Up to 40 percent of the kids using littleBits kits are girls, which is four times the industry average.

littleBits was founded in September 2011 by Ayah Bdeir, an engineer and interactive artist. An alumna of the MIT Media Lab, Ayah’s TED talk: “Building Blocks that Blink, Beep and Teach” about littleBits has garnered more than one million views. littleBits, itself, has won more than 150 awards in tech, education, and toys -- including The Toy Association’s 2018 Creative Toy of the Year, Common Sense Education’s “2018 Top Pick for Learning,” CNN’s “Top 10 Startups to Watch,” and one of CNBC’s “Next List.” A STEAM leader at home and in the classroom, littleBits has sold millions of kits in over 70 countries.

For more information, please visit littleBits is the newest supporting sponsor of National PTA’s STEM + Families initiative.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Dear PTA Advocate and Leader,

We are proud to share a new initiative launched today by National PTA that includes grant opportunities and program possibilities for your PTA and school / district.  Digital Safety is an important concern of many parents and the information will help educate and engage your families -- the grant opportunity is an added bonus for your PTA!

Ohio PTA encourages you to take a moment learn more about the program and apply for a grant!  You can't win a grant unless you apply for it!  What a great opportunity to show your parents the benefit of being part of PTA!

If the links below do not work, please cut and paste the following link into your browser:   

Your Ohio PTA Advocacy Team

 * * * * * * * * * *
National PTA Launches ‘PTA Connected’ 
to Help Families Navigate the Digital World

ALEXANDRIA, Va., (Sept. 17, 2018)—National PTA announced today the launch of PTA Connected, an initiative to educate and engage families in digital wellness, security, access, equity and literacy. The initiative formalizes and builds on the association’s work in the digital space in response to the growing needs and interest of parents nationwide. National PTA is launching PTA Connected with support from presenting and founding sponsor Symantec. Additional founding sponsors of the initiative are Facebook, Google and AT&T.

“Parenting in the digital age is increasingly complex, as families strive to help children act safely, responsibly and thoughtfully online,” said Jim Accomando, president of National PTA. “National PTA has been working for more than five years to explore and address these issues. We remain committed to this important work and are proud to formally launch our PTA Connected initiative.”

PTA Connected combines National PTA’s work into a multi-dimensional program that will deepen the understanding and knowledge of parents, families and teachers about digital safety tools and resources; mobilize PTAs, schools and communities to engage families around best practices and shared learning; and generate collective impact.

With the support of corporate and non-profit collaborators, National PTA will educate parents and encourage dialogue to help them guide their children in the digital world and make the best possible decisions for their families. Training and grants will also be delivered to state and local PTA leaders across the country to lead community conversations—giving parents a space to network and share successes and worries about parenting in the digital world as well as share ideas, resources and tools to help keep children safe online.

As part of the launch of PTA Connected, National PTA also announced today a first phase of grants for local PTAs.
  • Twenty-five local PTAs will also be selected to receive a $1,000 grant sponsored by Symantec to host an event in conjunction with Safer Internet Day, which will be celebrated Feb. 5, 2019.
The deadline to apply for this first wave of PTA Connected grants is Oct. 14, 2018. The next phase of PTA Connected will launch with Google in the coming weeks.

“Symantec has supported National PTA’s education and awareness-raising efforts in cyber safety for many years. Today, we are proud to announce our pioneering involvement with and sponsorship of PTA Connected,” said Cecily Joseph, vice president of Corporate Responsibility for Symantec. “Together, we can provide parents with tools and resources that help teach safe internet habits to their kids and support their educational growth, while helping to create an internet where they can safely explore and feel empowered.”

“National PTA is grateful to Symantec, Facebook, Google and AT&T for supporting our efforts to help families navigate the digital world. We are pleased to continue our work together through PTA Connected,” added Nathan R. Monell, CAE, National PTA executive director. “As parents, we want our children to connect, learn and have fun through technology—and at the same time, stay safe. National PTA has been and remains committed to fostering safe, positive use of technology and the internet among youth as well as providing families with tools to help their children be successful both online and off.” 

Sunday, September 16, 2018

National PTA Designates Sept. 17-21 ‘Back-to-School Week’

ALEXANDRIA, Va., (Sept. 14, 2018)—National PTA has designated Sept. 17-21 Back-to-School Week to celebrate back-to-school season. Throughout the week, National PTA will share tips and resources on social media using #PTABackToSchool and at to help PTA leaders, parents, students and teachers have a successful new school year. National PTA Back-to-School Week is sponsored by Office Depot, Inc. and Instagram.

“At PTA, we are committed to supporting and making a difference for students, families, educators and schools. We are excited to establish our official Back-to-School Week and share resources and tips to help everyone involved in education have a great new school year,” said Jim Accomando, president of National PTA. “We hope everyone will celebrate with us on social media using #PTABackToSchool. Together, we will make the 2018-2019 school year a huge success.” 

As part of Back-to-School Week, National PTA has launched a comprehensive webpage with a wide variety of resources. The association has also assigned each day of the week to highlight and share tips and resources for the stakeholders who play an essential role in supporting children’s learning and success.

·         Monday, September 17 – Back to School for PTA Leaders
·         Tuesday, September 18 – Back to School for Parents
·         Wednesday, September 19 – Back to School for Students
·         Thursday, September 20 – Back to School for Teachers
·         Friday, September 21 – Office Depot Day

Additionally, during the week, National PTA will be making announcements on new initiatives, grant recipients and new grant opportunities, classroom surprises and more.

Back-to-school is always an exciting time of the year. It can also be a bit overwhelming for students, parents and teachers alike—with new people to meet, new goals and material to teach and learn,” said Nathan R. Monell, CAE, National PTA executive director. “We are grateful to Office Depot and Instagram for their support of our Back-to-School Week and efforts to help students, parents, teachers and PTAs start the school year strong and stay on track to success.”

For more information about National PTA’s collaborations with Office Depot and Instagram, visit our Sponsors & Partners webpage.

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