Monday, April 27, 2020

Joint Letter to Policymakers

National PTA has joined many other organizations in a letter to policymakers to express our opposition to any effort to insert a new private school voucher program, including a proposal announced by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to provide “microgrants” to students, in the next COVID-19 relief package. DeVos’s “microgrant” proposal is simply a private school voucher program by another name: it would provide direct federal grants for educational expenses, including private or for-profit online learning courses and services provided by private schools.

We recognize the hardship many students and families are currently facing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has led to an unprecedented interruption to our school systems, which has forced students and educators out of the classroom and left children and families without the same access to educational programs and services. It is during this challenging time that the federal government should focus on providing more resources to our public schools and public school educators, who are best equipped to serve all students, rather than siphoning limited resources to private schools and for-profit online learning programs. 

Public schools provide education to 90% of our country’s students. Private school voucher programs undermine our nation’s public schools by diverting desperately needed resources away from the public school system to fund the education of a few, select students in alternative settings. Voucher programs have proven ineffective in improving students’ academic achievement, lack accountability, and fail to provide students with the rights and protections they would receive in public schools. Funneling federal dollars to private and unaccountable education providers in a time of hardship for schools, educators, students, and families across the county is especially bad policy.

This proposal would allow for broad, unaccountable use of taxpayer funds. Private school voucher programs are rife with accountability problems. They generally do not require participating private schools to comply with the same teacher standards, curriculum, reporting, and testing requirements as public schools. Without the inclusion of accountability measures and oversight provisions, there is a great risk for waste, fraud, and abuse. This program, for example, could divert relief funds to unqualified, unaccountable online vendors, which by design, cannot provide the same well-rounded, comprehensive education as in a brick-and-mortar school. The effectiveness of these programs has been shown repeatedly to be academically inferior. Congress should not send federal dollars to such an unaccountable program. 

This program will not help the students most in need. According to reports, this voucher program would direct funding to students with disabilities and low-income students. But voucher programs have been shown time and again to fail to meet the needs of students with disabilities. Private schools accepting vouchers would likely have no obligation to accept nor appropriately serve students with disabilities. And, voucher schools often cannot provide the same quality and quantity of services available to students in public schools, including those mandated under each student's IEP. Given the additional challenges online classes present for some students, these vouchers could not possibly address the needs of these students, or fund the accommodations and services required by the student’s IEP. Moreover, school closures required to address the current public health crisis have revealed stark equity gaps among students in this country. A better use of funds is increasing the capacity of public schools to serve all students. 

Microgrants may be appropriate for higher education, but not for K-12 education Microgrants may be appropriate for financial assistance for students attending colleges and universities, but not for K-12 education. Higher education is voluntary and costly, and microgrants in that context are an evidence-based practice to help students remain in college in the face of unexpected financial challenges. Our nation’s public elementary and secondary schools, on the other hand, are compulsory and free for all students. Thus, it is unnecessary to provide this type of financial assistance for K-12 students; and, it is inappropriate to use the term as a ruse for creating a new private school voucher program.

In conclusion, this unprecedented pandemic should not be exploited to promote unaccountable, inequitable, and ineffective private school vouchers. We urge you to reject any effort to force private school vouchers into the next COVID-19 relief package.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Math Resources for Parents

Ohio PTA and ODE have partnered to communicate additional math resources to our parents as they navigate working remotely and helping their children learn remotely during this time. 

Resources for Parents

Articles for Parents to Help their Children with Math

K-5 Math Resources for Children


6-12 Math Resources for Teens

  • Exploding Dots by Global Math Project is a fun, exciting way to think about math. It is an astounding mathematical story that starts at the very beginning of mathematics—it assumes nothing—and swiftly takes you through a wondrous journey through grade school arithmetic and beyond. Elementary and middle school students can see arithmetic algorithms as a beautiful story and delves into concepts that are a part of advanced high school mathematics.  It uses video and interactive resources to help kids reason about math. It offers low tech options as well.
  • Estimation 180 helps students build number sense one day at a time. Students are given a situation and then make a low, high, and strategic estimate. Then they can compare their estimates with others and the exact answer.
  • YouCubed by Jo Boaler is an online resource for a variety of math tasks. These tasks can be sorted by grade level and topics. Each task has a printable worksheet attached.

We Need Your Help!

We hope you and your family members are healthy and safe during this time. As a valuable member       of our PTA family, we wanted you to be the first to know what we've been working on over the last few months.

We are so excited to tell you that we are launching a new membership campaign this summer—and         we need your help! The campaign will focus on the value of PTA and the idea that PTA is no longer            a noun, it’s a verb—an action plan working to support the success of all children.

So how can you help? We want you to record a short video answering the question:                                “How do you PTA?” Your submission could be featured as part of a video that we will release                    when we launch our campaign. Instructions for recording and submitting your video are included                  at the end of this email.

If you don’t want to film a video of yourself, you can still participate! Please email your answer to Send your submission by May 1 at 11:59 p.m. EDT.

We look forward to learning how you PTA!

Thank you,
Your friends at National PTA

How to Record and Submit Your Video

  1. Prepare
    1. We want to know “How do you PTA?” Please practice your answer.
    2. There is no wrong way to PTA but examples can include anything from                                      “At Waynewood Elementary, we PTA to raise money for art supplies and                                  science equipment” to “I advocate for stronger school safety policies” or                                         “How do we PTA? We appreciate teachers!” and “I PTA  to bring parents and                           teachers together.”
    3. Find a well-lit location, preferably with natural light, but make sure you are not                             lit from behind to avoid dark shadows.
  2. Record
    1. Record your video horizontally.
    2. In 10 seconds or less, answer “How do you PTA?”
    3. Repeat your answer three times, counting to five between each answer.
    4. Complete the video by stating your name, city, school and email address.                           Please spell out your email address.
  3. Submit
    1. Save your video file using the following naming convention “FirstName_LastName_SchoolName”.
    2. Upload your video to our PTA Dropbox Folder at If you never have used Dropbox, you will                        need to create an account.
    3. If your video is selected, we will contact you via email and provide you with a                        video release form.
Submit Your Video

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Use Healthy Habits All Year Long!

Source: National PTA One Voice Blog

Remind kids to continue using healthy habits during the spread of COVID-19

No matter the time of year, everyday preventative hygiene habits should be taught to children to help
curb the spread of germs. Especially in our current public health climate, it’s more important than
ever to teach healthy habits to your children. Lysol and National PTA endorse following the following six steps that are recommended by the CDC to help stop the spread of COVID-19:[1]
  • Wash Your Hands: The number one thing you should be doing is washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Be sure to wash between your fingers and underneath your nails as much as possible.
  • Cover Your Mouth: Make sure that you are covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throwing it directly in the trash. If you don’t have a tissue, use the crook of your elbow and not your bare hand so you don’t spread the germs when you touch something.
  • Avoid Touching Your Face: Be conscious of touching your eyes, nose and mouth as it is an easy way to transfer germs to yourself.
  • Disinfect Frequently Touches Surfaces: Make it a habit to disinfect frequently touched surfaces, like doorknobs and light switches, on a daily basis to help curb the spread of germs.
  • Practice Social Distancing: Put distance between yourself and others whether or not COVID-19 is spreading in your community. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting sick.
  • Stay Home When You Are Sick: Sometimes it’s easier said than done, but stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care.

To learn more about healthy habits for children, please visit For more information about COVID-19, please visit
[1] “How to Protect Yourself

BIG Announcement!

Ohio PTA is excited to announce that we’ve teamed up with MemberHub to provide their valuable online tool to all PTAs in Ohio…free of charge! MemberHub makes it easier to run your PTA -- engage families, raise funds, stay in good standing, and more. You’ll save hours on admin tasks, so you can focus on connecting with your children and engaging your school community.

MemberHub is valued at $1,200 per year, but your PTA will be getting it for free because MemberHub and Ohio PTA want to further the PTA mission through easy-to-use technology.
Check out this video to see how Lacy Elementary uses MemberHub and stay tuned for more info!

You can also find more information at

If you have questions about our state implementation of MemberHub, please contact Brandy Shaffer at the Ohio PTA office by emailing

We look forward to helping support you. Thanks for all you do for children in Ohio!

“Within days of using MemberHub and setting up my contacts, I realized how easy it is to navigate and communicate with families instantly.”
— Marissa, Northside School teacher

Stay safe, sane, and healthy precious volunteers! 

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Help for AP Parents!!

The College Board has gone virtual, almost overnight and they are committed to ensuring every AP student is able to not only continue learning but also take the test and get college credit. Students have completed over 70% of their AP coursework and the College Board is eager to honor their hard work.
Parent Webinar – April 16th
On Thursday, April 16, the College Board will be hosting a parent webinar to share with parents key tips to help their child prepare for this year’s AP Exams. The webinar will be available at the same link on-demand following the presentation. The tests will be 45 minutes long, open book and open note, and given simultaneously across time zones.

AP hotline for help with connectivity and devices
In order to ensure every AP student who chooses to take the test has connectivity and a device, the College Board has set up a fully staffed help desk to work with AP students and parents in need of assistance. Please fill out this simple form and a College Board representative will be in touch with you ASAP.
AP classes are live for students to continue learning
To tune in daily for live AP classes go to
Scholarships for Class of 2021
Just because your junior is learning at home, it doesn’t mean they can’t still be planning for college and applying for scholarships. The College Board Opportunity Scholarships are now open for the class of 2021. This scholarship program is open to all students and it doesn't require an essay, application, or minimum GPA. Instead, it rewards your effort and initiative. Complete key steps along your path to college for a chance to earn scholarships every month.


Now Available: Do-At-Home Inquiry Activities
Teachers and parents across the country are seeking meaningful ways to educate students at home. 

BSCS Science Learning is responding to this need by releasing seven new citizen science lessons that middle and high school students can do independently, or as a class when technology allows.

Each lesson includes do-at-home inquiry activities using data from citizen science projects hosted on FieldScope. Students interpret graphs or maps, or both, and figure out what the data means. In the process, students become increasingly confident in working with data and using visualization tools. As a bonus, each lesson presents an optional opportunity to get outside and participate in a citizen science project!

These seven student-directed activities were transformed from a new set of citizen science lessons that BSCS developed for classrooms. We call these new classroom materials Invitations to Inquiry--and they will be freely available soon. Stay tuned for the official launch this spring!
BSCS is launching a new version of FieldScope in late Spring 2020. This redesigned platform will be mobile-friendly and include enhanced data visualization and management tools for projects and project users. 

If your citizen science project is currently hosted on FieldScope, we'll ensure you have a seamless and easy transition to the upgraded platform.

Stay tuned for more details!
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BSCS Science Learning | FieldScope, 5415 Mark Dabling, Colorado Springs, CO 80918

Monday, April 13, 2020

National PTA Advocacy Updates

Letters to Policymakers

Training Opportunities?

We hope you and your family are healthy and safe. As we continue to deal with COVID-19, Ohio PTA wants you to know that we are here for you. With convention being cancelled, and summer training opportunities uncertain at this point, we would like to know what you need from us. We are willing to have free webinars and virtual training, but want it to be meaningful to you. Please fill out this short form and let us know how we can help!

Friday, April 10, 2020

Legal Aid Services

Legal Aid is excited to share with you a new resource we have launched for workers during this time: the Worker Information Line. Similar to our long-standing Tenant Information Line, the Worker Information Line provides an opportunity for residents of Northeast Ohio to gain clarity and answers to their burning questions about a specific area of the law. The Worker Information Line will inform callers about how to receive their last paycheck, how to apply for Unemployment Compensation (UC) benefits, who qualifies for UC benefits, and more. Cuyahoga County residents can call 216-861-5889. Ashtabula, Lake, Geauga and Lorain county residents can call 440-210-4532.
Callers can leave a message at any time and should clearly state their name, phone number and a brief description of their question. A specialist will return the call between 9 AM and 5 PM, Monday through Friday. Calls are returned within 1-2 business days.
Please share the Worker Information Line page with your networks and on social media! Our Facebook and Twitter feeds will continue to post relevant information, and you can check for brochures, news, and FAQs related to COVID-19.
Reminder: if you or someone you serve is in need of civil legal help, Legal Aid is OPEN and continues serving our clients and our community at this critical time. Online intake is accessible 24/7 and telephone intake is open during select business hours. Our entire team is working remotely to resolve fundamental problems for our clients and work towards systemic solutions related to shelter, safety, and economic security. We stay engaged with clients, colleagues, partners and volunteer attorneys via phone, text, video and email.