Friday, February 28, 2014

WSPTA College Scholarship Applications Now Available

The Washington State PTA awards college scholarships to entering college freshmen graduating from high schools in Washington State. Two thousand dollars ($2,000) are given to recipients entering four-year post-secondary institutions. One thousand ($1,000) dollar scholarships will be awarded for community colleges, voc-tech schools or other accredited institutions. Applications are due May 1, 2014 and are available through an online application.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Congressional STEM Competition

This year, Congress is hosting the first ever Congressional Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Academic Competition.  It is also known as the “House STEM App Challenge.”  Students from across the country will compete by designing and exhibiting their application for mobile, tablet, or computer device on the platform of their choice.  They must demonstrate their application with a YouTube video explaining how it works and what they learned over the course of the competition.  Submissions are accepted between February 1 and April 30, 2014.  For more information, and to register, go to http://reichert.house.gov/serving-you/congressional-stem-competition.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

NBC News Parent Toolkit Now Available

Last fall, NBC News launched a digital "Parent Toolkit" to educate and empower parents with easily accessible resources to help support their child's academic development at all grade levels. In continuing to build on the tool, NBC News recently launched a Spanish-language version of the website and mobile app. PTA members from across the country have provided feedback and insight to NBC News to help inform the toolkit as it has been developed. To access the Parent Toolkit in English and Spanish, visit ParentToolkit.com.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Upcoming Award Deadlines

The following awards will be presented at the upcoming WSPTA Convention on April 25-27. Applications are due on March 1, 2014:
  • Leadership Academy, click here
  • 100% Membership Award, click here
  • WSPTA Outreach Champion Award, click here
  • Outstanding Communication award

14 in 14 PTA Membership Challenges

The National PTA Membership Committee is excited to announce the launch of 14 in ’14 National PTA Membership Challenge! Every PTA in the nation, is challenged to recruit and report 14 new members. For each 14 new members a PTA signs up between February 1 and May 31, the PTA receives an entry for a chance to win $1,000 from the National PTA.

When a PTA in Washington state has 14 new members signed up, they send a list of the new members, a National PTA 14 in ’14 Entry Form, and a check with the membership dues attached to the Washington State PTA office. At that time, the state office will send off their membership form to NPTA for inclusion in the NPTA $1,000 lottery for the 14 in ’14 contest nationwide. The National PTA drawing for the $1,000 cash prize will occur at the 2014 National PTA Convention and Exhibition. These forms are due by April 14, 2014.

In addition to the National PTA contest, Washington State PTA will also enter 14 in ’14 recipients into a Washington State PTA contest to receive a $500 grant towards attending the Washington State PTA Convention at the Bellevue Hyatt Regency Hotel on April 25-17, 2014. The final date to be entered in the Washington State PTA 14 in ’14 drawing is April 14, 2014. There will then be twelve (12), $500 grants, drawn at random in the WSPTA 14 in 14 lottery.

KCTS 9 Seeking Golden Apple Award Nominations

Do you know a deserving individual or program making a difference in our schools? Nominate them for a Golden Apple Award.  The KCTS 9 Golden Apple Awards recognize outstanding contributions made by people and programs in Washington state schools.  Winners will receive a cash award and be featured in a statewide primetime special on public television.  Nomination forms can be found online http://kcts9.org/education/golden-apple-awards.  Feel free to contact KCTS 9 with questions via email GoldenApple@KCTS9.org or phone 1.800.766.0900.

Monday, February 24, 2014

FedEx/Kinkos Partnership With WSPTA

The Washington State PTA is pleased to announce a new partnership with FedEx/Kinkos, which will benefit local PTAs in many ways such as providing discounted prices for their high quality photocopying and other professional services. As part of the special rates PTAs will receive, black and white copies will be available at just 3.8¢ (single-sided) a piece; color copies will be available at 37¢ (single-sided) a piece and PTAs will receive 20% off on all other production services. To receive these discounted services, simply provide WSPTA’s account number at the checkout or online whenever you are ready to place your order. For more information on this exciting opportunity, click here.

WSPTA Partner: GET

No matter how old your child is, it’s never too early to start saving for college. GET is Washington's 529 prepaid college tuition plan, committed to helping Washington families by offering a safe and secure way to save for their children's college education.  We encourage you to help spread the word to fellow members who could benefit from saving for college. Learn more and enroll online at www.get.wa.gov.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

2014 Annual WSPTA Convention

Plan to attend the convention on April 25-27, 2014 at the Bellevue Hyatt Regency Hotel. This year’s convention will feature
  • 8 class sessions including PTA and the Law workshop and new and specialized Professional Growth & Development class sessions!
  • Engaging keynote speakers including Otha Thornton, president of National PTA!
  • Elect statewide officers and vote on bylaws and resolutions!
  • Exhibits, recognition area, networking, awards, Reflections ceremony, and much more. 
Registration will be available soon on the WSPTA website www.wastatepta.org.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Town Halls

Here is the list of town halls across the state which will be starting tonight.  The PTA is coordinating to get as many of our members as possible to attend these meetings in person or on the phone.  Our goal is to continue to push for Education Funding and the promise of McCleary.  Legislators will soon be talking about budgets before leaving for the year, this is the best opportunity to share our message with them directly from members residing in their home districts.  

Here is the expanded list- Note that we have sorted them by Regions.  Some of the times are still TBA as we have not heard back from legislators.  https://wastatepta.capwiz.com/wastatepta//issues/alert/?alertID=63093711

Our Kids, Our Future

The Our Kids, Our Future campaign is led by a group of Washington education organizations. The goal is to highlight excellence in Washington State public schools. www.ourkidswa.com/

Friday, February 21, 2014

Question of the Week

QUESTION:     

Our PTA recently voted in a new secretary after the office was recently vacated by the individual who was elected last spring and received training at the WSPTA Convention. Does this new officer also need to receive training for us to be compliant to the WSPTA Bylaws?


ANSWER:    

Your PTA fulfilled its requirement when the first individual who served as secretary received training. However, your new secretary will benefit from the leadership training that is offered by the Washington State PTA and we encourage you to take advantage of upcoming opportunities. Training offered at region conferences are available free of charge and help your leaders become more knowledgeable and skillful as officers, which benefits your entire PTA. For information about upcoming region conferences, go to “calendars” tab on your region webpage on the WSPTA website.

WSPTA Office is Moving

As you are aware, the Washington State PTA office is moving. Please note the new address and phone number of the Washington State PTA: 1304 South Fawcett Avenue Suite 300, Tacoma, Washington  98402; phone 253-214-7410. The Washington State PTA office will be closed from Noon on February 21 to Noon on February 25 for the move. 

According to the IRS, it is the local unit/council responsibility to notify the IRS of the change to the State PTA office address. To make this process easier, the WSPTA has prepared a letter for you to send the IRS. Please download this letter, date the top, sign the bottom (and include your PTA position) and send to the IRS as soon as possible. Upon receipt of this letter, the IRS should make the appropriate change(s) in their records. It would be very helpful if you would send a copy of the letter to the State PTA office. 

If the WSPTA office is your registered agent for the Secretary of State Charities Program or Secretary of State Corporation Division, the address change has been taken care of for you. No further action is required. 

Thank you for your patience and understanding during this process, you are appreciated!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Change of Address for Registered Agent

As you are aware, the Washington State PTA office is moving. According to the IRS, it is the local unit/council responsibility to notify the IRS of the change to the State PTA office address. To make this process easier, the WSPTA has prepared a letter for you to send the IRS. Please download this letter, date the top, sign the bottom (and include your PTA position) and send to the IRS as soon as possible. Upon receipt of this letter, the IRS should make the appropriate change(s) in their records. It would be very helpful if you would send a copy of the letter to the State PTA office. Thank you for your patience and understanding during this process, you are appreciated! 

FedEx/Kinkos Partnership with WSPTA

The Washington State PTA is pleased to announce a new partnership with FedEx/Kinkos, which will benefit local PTAs in many ways such as providing discounted prices for their high quality photocopying and other professional services. As part of the special rates PTAs will receive, black and white copies will be available at just 3.8¢ (single-sided) a piece; color copies will be available at 37¢ (single-sided) a piece and PTAs will receive 20% off on all other production services. To receive these discounted services, simply provide WSPTA’s account number at the checkout or online whenever you are ready to place your order. For more information on this exciting opportunity, click here.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

National PTA and Lifelock Form Partnership to Empower Kids to be Safe Using Digital Technology

National PTA® and LifeLock, Inc. have partnered to raise awareness about the long-term impact of online activity and encourage students to be good digital citizens. The program is designed to empower students with the knowledge and skills to be safe when using the Internet and mobile technology. National PTA and LifeLock are kicking off their partnership today in conjunction with Safer Internet Day as designated by ConnectSafely.org.

FDA Campaign to Prevent Youth Tobacco Use

The Real Cost” campaign, launched by the FDA, aims to reduce tobacco initiation rates among youth who are open to smoking and reduce the number of youth already experimenting with cigarettes that become regular users. Currently, more than 10 million youth in the United States fall into this category.

2014 Annual WSPTA Convention

Plan to attend the convention on April 25-27, 2014 at the Bellevue Hyatt Regency Hotel. This year’s convention will feature:
  • 8 class sessions including PTA and the Law workshop and new and specialized Professional Growth & Development class sessions!
  • Engaging keynote speakers including Otha Thornton, president of National PTA!
  • Elect statewide officers and vote on bylaws and resolutions!
  • Exhibits, recognition area, networking, awards, Reflections ceremony, and much more!
Registration will be available soon on the WSPTA website www.wastatepta.org.

Monday, February 17, 2014

PTA Founder's Day: February 17

The idea for this organization was conceived by Alice McLellan Birney and on February 17, 1897, her idea became a reality. Her first supporter was Phoebe Apperson Hearst, the 55-year-old widow of the Senator from California and mother of one son who already was a prominent newspaper publisher on the West Coast. Phoebe Hearst insisted that the Congress be open to fathers, as well as mothers, and was responsible for establishing and supporting the first free kindergarten in the nation. Abby Williams Hill, a railway artist from Tacoma, started the work of the Congress in the state of Washington in 1905. As a railway artist, she traveled all over the Northwest, painting scenic pictures for railroad companies to use in advertisements to draw tourists west. During her travels, she often spoke to local women’s groups about beginning the work of the Congress in their towns.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Your Child's Future is Being Decided Today

There are decisions being made right now in Olympia about the future of your children, and we need your help to let your voice be heard.  With your help, we can make significant strides to close the achievement gap and meet the promise of fully funding basic education.  Please join thousands of other PTA members by signing up for our Legislative Action Alerts and keep informed on the actions taken on your behalf by reading our Grassroots Blog. 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

WSPTA College Scholarship Applications Now Available

The Washington State PTA awards college scholarships to entering college freshmen graduating from high schools in Washington State. Two thousand dollars ($2,000) are given to recipients entering four-year post-secondary institutions. One thousand ($1,000) dollar scholarships will be awarded for community colleges, voc-tech schools or other accredited institutions. Applications are due May 1, 2014 and are available through an online application.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Telling Your Story

Engage your members by informing them about what PTA does for kids. Share your story. How does your PTA support student learning and teachers? How does your PTA support parent engagement and community building? What programs and activities are made possible at your school because of your PTA and how do these activities contribute to the school environment and families in your community?

Tell the story about your PTA’s past accomplishments and what you are doing in your school today. Show them how PTA makes the best use of the members’ time, dollars, and commitment.

When PTA members see the value the association brings to the children and families at your school, they are more likely to join PTA and contribute their time and talents to your efforts.

Share the story of the origins of PTA and how it has shaped the nation. For over a century, PTA has successfully advocated for child labor laws, universal kindergarten, federally funded school hot lunches, juvenile justice system reform, and a number of other improvements in public safety, education and child welfare.

Share how PTA continues to shape our nation through legislative advocacy at the state and federal level, as well as in the local community. PTA, more than any other organization, is equipped to tackle the tough issues our children face today. Through pooled resources, legislative advocacy, effective leadership, PTA is a powerful force that can make a difference in the lives of all children. At the local level, PTAs have influenced decisions made by local school boards and in their cities and counties.

It starts with you! Now is the time to communicate the value of PTA to your members. Encourage everyone to be involved in your mission for kids--including moms, dads, grandparents, teachers and staff members as well as the greater community. People can contribute even when they no longer have children at your school. Together we can support children and build communities for a strong and healthy state and nation.

Reach out to the entire population of your school. Make a special efforts to include those who have not participated before. Diversity brings more perspectives to the table and can strengthen the effectiveness and relevance of PTA in a school. Your PTA can help all children by first reaching out to all parents.  Tell the story of your PTA to everyone and ask them to join! 

Preventing Theft in Your PTA

We would all like to think that no one in the PTA family would steal from the PTA, but the fact is that each year right here in Washington at least a few people do. There are several easy and common-sense steps your board can take to prevent such theft.

First, be vigilant (and relentless) about getting a treasurer’s report to the board each and every month, whether your board is meeting or not. Reports should be built around the approved budget and should include:

  • bank balance(s) at the beginning and end of the month;
  • expenses and income since the last report for each line item; and
  • expenses/income for the year to date (since June 1, 2013.) 

If there is no board meeting during the month, the report should be mailed or emailed to each and every board member.

Second, compare the amount which the treasurer’s report says is in each bank account to the balance that is shown on the most recent bank statement for each bank account each month. The bank statements for all accounts should be reviewed, signed and dated monthly by a non-signer and the comparison can be made at that point. The amounts may not be identical, but they should be close and the treasurer should be able to precisely explain any differences.

Third, compare the account balance (the amount of money your PTA has after all expenses for the month have been deducted and all  income has been added) shown at the end of last month’s report to the balance shown at the beginning of this month’s report. They should be the same.

Fourth, if you know that funds should have been deposited or spent during the past month, take a moment to see where that transaction is reflected on the treasurer’s report. For example, if you had a fun run last month, you should see income showing up on the line item for fundraisers in the income portion of the statement. Likewise, in the months when membership dues should be sent to your council or to the WSPTA (October, January and May) you should see an expense reflected on the membership dues line item in the expenses portion of the report.

Finally, if you do not understand something on the treasurer’s report, ask. It is likely that if you do not understand, someone else does not understand also and is not speaking up. It is your responsibility to monitor the fiscal activity of your PTA and it is your right to get the information you need to do so.

In most areas of our lives, politeness and trust are keys to successful interactions with others. That is true in PTA as well, without a doubt. But when politeness and trust get in the way of board members’ asking for what they need in order to understand the finances of their PTAs, bad things can (and sadly, sometimes do) happen.

Top Reasons to Attend Convention

1. Be Inspired. Convention is the place where PTA leaders go to be inspired, and truly understand the power of this association and what it has accomplished for kids.

In 1929, Washington State PTA president, Mrs. Stellah Irvin wrote, “There are thousands of boys and girls coming to many crossroads in their lives every day and they are putting their hands trustingly in ours for guidance. May we secure sufficient education and understanding from PTA to guide their footsteps wisely.”

Reflecting on these words from the past, one can’t help but wonder how PTA has helped shape our nation. Its advocacy efforts have led to laws to protect children and youth. Its programs and activities have helped educate parents on topics relating to the welfare and education of their children. In fact, PTA has continuously placed the health, welfare, safety and education of children in forefront of our nation’s consciousness for 100+ years.

2. Leadership Education. Convention classes and general sessions help PTA leaders understand the issues, and learn the skills to be powerful and effective leaders and advocates.

Not only will convention help expand your vision of the PTA, it provides an opportunity to fulfill your PTA’s bylaw requirement for obtaining PTA leadership training for incoming PTA leaders. Convention classes cover a wide variety of leadership education topics that will help new PTA leaders as well as seasoned leaders. There are classes for every skill level.

3. Network. Get to know other PTA leaders from around the state, your council and region and bond and plan with your own board.

Convention is the best time of the year to meet other PTA leaders and learn about the programs and activities they are doing. There is no need to re-invent the wheel. It is also a great opportunity to meet vendors and develop new ideas for school assemblies, field trips, fundraisers and a wide-variety of enrichment opportunities for your students. Build on successful programs and introduce new programs for a fresh, new, and exciting PTA year!

Past WSPTA president, Mrs. C.V. Aspenwall wrote in 1927, “The task of the PTA is to stir the parenthood of the nation into a more serious attitude toward the problems with children.”

Today, our task is still the same. It is our duty and privilege to stir the decision-makers in our state into supporting all children. This association can make a difference for children and YOU can help. Attend the WSPTA Convention on April 25-27, 2014 at the Bellevue Hyatt Regency Hotel. Registration information will be posted on the WSPTA website soon! www.wastatepta.org

Program Ideas to Increase Male Engagement in PTA

As things start to gear down after the holidays, I would like to remind you how important it is to reach out and engage men in not only what our PTAs are doing but also in what is happening inside our schools. Studies show students perform better when mothers and fathers are both involved in the education of their children. Men and women think differently and bring different perspectives and skills to school and PTA activities. School communities and PTAs thrive when both men and women participate. Yet men remain a largely untapped resource.  Listed below are some ideas that male’s themselves have said would be of interest to them.

  • Building projects: Building projects appealed to men because of the truly hands-on nature of the event/opportunity. Men can actually see the results of their involvement, and they provide skills that might otherwise cost school or PTA hundreds of dollars.
  • Beautification/repair project: The hands-on aspect of cleaning-up, landscaping, painting, refurbishing, and building projects around a school appeals to men and they feel a sense of accomplishment when the project is done.
  • Helping directly with children: Helping directly with children was cited by male respondents as a way to get fathers involved. More often than not, these opportunities would take place at school during the school day, although several could be modified to take place on the weekend or after school. 
  • Bike rodeos: Encouraging bike safety, rules of the road, bike tune-ups, and riding proficiency competitions, bike rodeos make a big splash with both kids and dads.
  • Lunch buddies: Even with hectic schedules, some male respondents said the hook that got them into PTA was their participation in a lunch buddies program. The buddies meet with their children weekly or monthly, mentoring them over lunch.
  • In-class reading: Captivating learning minds with powerful stories written by great authors appealed to many respondents.
  • Career days: Offering expertise on their professions, and career tracks in general, appeals to many men.
  • Dads’ clubs: Several schools indicated that they had a separate meeting for males. Participants indicated that because of the meeting time, camaraderie, and focusing on a “special project,” the clubs worked for men.
  • Barbeques/cookouts: Barbeques are often popular to start or end a school year, when the weather might be more cooperative for outdoor activities. They can be themed to welcome in the year and introduce parents to one another. Respondents suggested field day/picnic-type activities such as sack races, cakewalks, dunk tanks, and musical chairs.
  • School carnivals: Males indicated that they would volunteer for school carnivals; helping with tickets, rides, concessions. Problem solving, public interaction, and seeing accomplishment results were cited as reasons for participation.
  • After parties: Popular with junior high and high school parents, “after parties” are safe, adult-supervised activities after graduations, proms, homecomings, and other school evening events.
  • Talent shows: Helping with staging, programs, lighting, ushering, and preparations were opportunities that male respondents believed would make new male members interested in volunteering for PTA.

Excerpted from National PTA /Male Engagement

Foundations of Outreach & the 2013-2014 Plan

What is Washington State PTA outreach? How do we engage all children, families and communities in Washington state, especially those from underrepresented groups who may have differences in age, culture, economic status, educational background, ethnicity, gender, geographic location, language, legal status, marital status, mental ability, national origin, organizational position, parental status, physical ability, political philosophy, race, religious, sexual orientation, and work experience? Join us for the answers.

Family Engagement – Seattle’s Story 
Come learn how the Seattle PTSA Council formed a collaborative community partnership with Seattle Public Schools to reach out to underrepresented parents and teach them how to navigate their school system and effectively advocate for better educational outcomes for their children. The council utilized the National PTA’s Urban Family Engagement Network (UFEN) to help local units increase the number of families in urban areas who understand specific ways to collaborate with schools to support their children’s education.

Engaging Multicultural Voices
Washington State PTA’s outreach vision is the diversity that is present in our communities is reflected in our membership. This is critical if we are sincere about accomplishing the WSPTA mission of making every child’s potential a reality. Come have a conversation with diverse opinion leaders from around our state and learn how we can better engage diverse families in our schools and communities.

With your support, the good work will continue in 2014-2015! 

WSPTA Outreach Actions in 2013-14

In 2014 WSPTA outreach has been all about YOU! The board and the outreach team worked to help you better engage and serve diverse children and families in your communities by providing the resources you need.

1. Offered outreach skills training to build leadership capacity to outreach to and engage families. Specially-created training was designed to help you:

  • Experience classes that give you the critical skills you need to effectively engage families.
  • Form partnerships and strengthen relationships with outreach teams from across the state.
  • Acquire skills in cross-cultural competence, community PTAs, community project management, community planning, scanning and organizing, public speaking, meeting facilitation, conflict management, and much more.
  • Acquire credentials to engage families in accordance with WSPTA standards.

2. Identified regional projects that cultivate 2-way dialogue with families and communities and help them work together toward the academic success of their children. Here’s a summary:

Region Outreach Focus

  • Region 1 - Address hunger and homelessness among teens
  • Region 2 - Provide community resource information to families of children with special needs, financially struggling families and the PTA leaders who serve them
  • Region 3 - Facilitate dual language early education reading group in Spanish and Russian
  • Region 5 - Introduce middle and high school students to community professionals in a unique career-day program
  • Region 7 - Expand outreach support to local units by hosting a day-long training intensive
  • Region 9 - Collaborate with diverse community leaders to build outreach awareness and partnerships 
  • Region 11 - Build partnerships throughout the region to address issues facing families and build stronger PTAs
  • Region 15 - Conduct “Finding Your Voice” training for families

3. Will showcase outreach results in every outreach workshop at the WSPTA Convention in April:

Supporting the PTA Legislative Program

WSPTA needs volunteers to come testify on the bills identified by our legislative team that help move our platform forward.  This is a great way to learn the legislative process in Olympia.  You will receive training on developing your message for legislators.  We are there to help you through the process which can have a large impact for children across the state.  With our collective voices we give everychild.onevoice!

Back in October of 2013, delegates from around the state met at the 2013 Legislative Assembly and Advocacy Training at Marriott Hotel in SeaTac to learn about issues that impact children around the state and to add supported issues to our platform.  The top five issues from the 2012 Legislative Assembly remain the top five issues during the 2014 legislative session.  We are in the process of building the issue teams based on our top five issues.  The issue submitter teams have been contacted to work the issues through the upcoming legislative session under the direction of the legislative team.  We encourage anyone interested in learning more about the legislative process to join one or more issue teams. You will have opportunities to work with the legislative team to develop relationships with legislators over the course of the session.  In addition you can also learn to provide written or oral testimony for Senate and House committee hearings.

We will help you every step of the way. Please review the platform at http://wsptaleadershipnews.blogspot.com/2014/01/wsptas-short-term-legislative-                    
platform.html and if you are interested in joining a team, please send an email to ptalegdir@wastatepta.org

Building a Community Through Advocacy

PTA has a long history of standing up for the health, welfare and education of children. Every person who takes a stand for children makes a difference and is an advocate for children.

If your PTA doesn’t have a legislative chairperson yet, volunteer to be the person who fills this role.

Educate yourself and others on the issues being voted on and discussed at your school district, city and county meeting as well as those that have committees and commissions working on their behalf. If there is opposition, take time to look at their point of view. Treat others with courtesy as you need to establish and maintain good working relationships. Make your voice heard whenever discussions involve the issues that impact children’s lives.

Advocacy makes PTAs stronger and improves communities. Local units have had successes with local issues from crosswalk and sidewalk improvements near their schools to endorsing successful school board levies and bonds and supporting school improvement projects.

Your voice is also needed at the state and national levels. See the article in the right column for more information on the state legislative process and how  you can be involved.

Grassroots Connection Blog

The WSPTA legislative team will keep you up-to-date on legislative news, progress, issues and supporting research through the Grassroots Connection Blog.   To read more about the Grassroots Connection blog, go to http://wsptagrassroots.blogspot.com/. 

Focus Day 2014

PTA advocates from across the state gathered in Olympia for WSPTA’s annual Legislative Focus Day on February 4, 2014 to speak up for funding and policies that will help all children reach their potential.

Delegates received Focus Day briefings at the United Churches of Olympia in the morning from President Heather Gillette, Legislative Director Sherry Krainick and staff.  At noon, 200 delegates rallied under the Capitol Rotunda; heard from WSPTA President Heather Gillette; Governor Jay Inslee; Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos; Rep. Pat Sullivan; Sen. Rodney Tom; Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe; Rep. Chad Magendanz; Rep. Ruth Kagi; Rep. Ross Hunter; Sen. Andy Hill and the Governor’s Senior Education Policy Advisor, Marcie Maxwell.  First Lady Trudi Inslee was also in attendance.

In addition, meetings with Legislators were scheduled throughout the day to meet the needs of their schedules. 

State Reflections Committee Processing Entries

While local units are starting to wind down from all the hard work and dedication they poured into their local program. The WSPTA Reflections Committee is pleased to announce the state Reflections award winners: http://www.wastatepta.org/programs/reflections/WSPTA_Reflections_Winners.pdf.

Washington State leaders have done a phenomenal job of adhering to National PTA’s request to use the online system.  We have over 3,000 entries that were entered online this year!  Some of the difficulties that leaders had last year were addressed and corrected, and happily I can report that National PTA is working to continually improve the online system, making it user friendly for all of our volunteers.

We on the state committee are working to do our part by addressing some of the issues leaders are having with the Reflections guide, and we are hoping you will anxiously anticipate some of the upcoming changes.  I would really like to encourage any unit or leader to attend a Reflections class at our annual convention or one that is offered in your region.  It’s a great way to network with others on how their program is run.  You will also receive clarifications on rules like how to mount paper entries, what are acceptable formats and which unaltered forms are required for entry to be judged at state.

Thank you to ALL the countless volunteers and leaders across our state who provided this invaluable program to students this year!  Access to arts is just one of the ways that PTA advocates for children so please take time to celebrate all of your success! 

Mid-Year Membership Focus

Otha Thornton our National PTA President spoke these words at a recent PTA leadership convention.
“PTA participation gives us the courage, confidence and collective voice to confront the most pressing issues, like school violence or funding [cuts], that are preventing our children from reaching their true potential.” 

Let’s look to increase membership so we can have a loud voice for our students.
Membership is currently at 129,949, which is 7% down over this time last year. We have a goal of 145,000 and as of now we are at 89% of our goal. 

Why membership is important:
  • Olympia is up and running and think about how many students we speak for in the House and Senate. When we speak, it is the children we have in mind. 
  • We need to boost our numbers as we aim to increase our funding for the important work we do on behalf of students in this state.
  • Membership is the life line that sustains this organization and it’s many programs and activities that benefit children and families.

Look at what you have done so far this year in your unit for your school community parents and teachers. Do people know that it is thanks to PTA that a book fair runs or a social event happens? Don’t be afraid to ask your members if they know how PTA benefits the school. If we all did that, our voice would go through the roof as we advocate for kids at every level and grow our membership.

Look to increase your numbers and go for Platinum level membership award. That is a 20% increase in your membership over last year’s ending number. Number crunch and come up with a number then start to train up your new membership committee by letting them loose on boosting membership the second half of the year.

Be informed ~ Be Active ~ Be your kids biggest fan ~ Be PTA. 

Managing Conflict on a Board

Tips for avoiding conflicts: 

  • Avoid argument. Whenever you have a group of people with different backgrounds, views, opinions and beliefs, there is a possibility for opposing views. More important than winning or proving you are right, is expressing your ideas in a clear and compelling manner. If you disagree with another person on a board, express yourself in a respectful and thoughtful manner.
  • Express appreciation for the people on the board. Thank others for their time, effort, help, suggestions and work. Praise people for work well done.
  • Be positive. Smile and be friendly. Try to find good in every person and situation. 
  • Listen attentively. A lot of conflict can be avoided by listening more than speaking. Ask questions for clarification. Try to understand other points of view. Be open to other views.
  • Think before you speak. Be aware of the feelings and sensitivities of other people.

Tips for managing conflicts:

  • Ask those who disagree to paraphrase one another’s comments. This may help them learn if they really understand one another.
  • Work out a compromise. Agree on the underlying source of conflict, then engage in give-and-take and finally agree on a solution.
  • Ask each member to provide input on what possible compromises could be made. Select a compromise that is agreeable to everyone and make sure it meets board goals. 
  • Conflicting sides could write down main concerns or questions. This would allow each side to signal their major concerns about the other side’s position and the answers may lead to a compromise.
  • Convince team members they sometimes may have to accept a compromise for the greater good of the organization. 

Your PTA’s Nominating Committee

An organized nominating committee is essential to the health of your PTA and to ensure leadership growth. It is the time of year where PTAs will begin to hold elections for nominating committee members and officers for the 2014-2015 PTA term.  When nominating individuals to serve on your PTAs nominating committee, you should be looking for people with tact, integrity, discretion, and the ability to stand up for what they believe in. Sound judgment, familiarity with the needs of your PTA and the skills of evaluating possible nominees are essential.

Remember that your PTA officers must be elected prior to April 30th. Using this date, work backwards to build a timeline that will work for your PTA and give your nominating enough time to seek nominations hold interviews and post a nominating committee report at least 15 days prior to the meeting when the elections will be held.

Once your nominating committee is elected, it is important they have a meeting with the PTA president to go over this timeline and learn the expectations of their role as a committee.

The nominating committee notebook should include the following information: (located on the WSPTA website and in the Nominating Committee section of the Leadership Packet)

  • Date the nominating committee report is due to the board of directors.
  • Dates of PTA events for the year.
  • List of active PTA members
  • A sample recommendation for nomination form.  This is the form that will be sent to members for recommending someone to the nominating committee.
  • Contact information for the council officers, service delivery team members and the region director. (These individuals may serve as resources for your nominating committee.)
  • Copy of the local unit or council standing rules
  • Copy of the WSPTA Bylaws – or know where to find them
  • Job descriptions for applicable positions. (If your PTA doesn’t have job descriptions now is a good time to build some.)

The nominating committee’s major role and responsibility is to nominate the best qualified candidate(s) for each office. This requires giving careful consideration, both as individuals and as a committee, to the requirements and scope of the offices to be filled as well as to the qualifications and abilities needed to fill them, and to match these requirements to the qualifications of members.
Individuals that can’t serve on the nominating committee are as follows:

  • Anyone that served last year
  • The current sitting PTA president
  • No school district or administrator can serve on the nominating committee for the council with in the district where he or she is employed.

Remember it is important that this process be followed. Building an understanding for the importance of a nominating committee and working through these steps will help your PTA find qualified individuals to serve on your board of directors. 

Family and Community Engagement

Family and community engagement in children’s education is essential to help every child reach his/her potential. Studies have shown that when families are engaged in their children’s education, student achievement improves, test score increase, and students are more likely to graduate. There are several approaches to family/community engagement and PTAs should look at how they are supporting each of these:

Engaging Home/School Connections--includes participating in parent/teacher conferences, helping with homework, communicating with teachers, and providing a home environment that encourages and values education. This is the most important type of parent engagement as it relates to student achievement. 

PTAs should encourage all parents to build home/school connections and increase their engagement in their children’s education at home. Your PTA can help inform parents of the importance of getting engaged in their children’s education through articles in PTA newsletters, information on bulletin boards, PTA websites and new student welcome folders.

Supporting Education--such as volunteering at school and in PTA. Volunteering at school and at PTA events enhances student learning and opportunities at schools. Volunteering is also very rewarding for parents as it gives them a glimpse into the activities at the school and provides an opportunity to get to know other parents and the teachers and support staff at the school. 

Look for ways to get more families and community members involved in your PTA. Try to connect individuals skills and interests with volunteer opportunities. You can do this by asking what skills or interests individuals have that they may be willing contribute to the learning environment, what activities they may be interested in volunteering in, and the times and days they would be available. 

Hosting Parent Education Programs--includes programs PTA provides to help parents learn to be engaged in their children’s education, educate parents on various issues affecting their children, and provide support to families. PTAs should develop a plan of the educational programs they plan to offer each year. Advertise these events well in advance so parents can make plans to attend.

Providing Advancement Opportunities--includes participating in PTA leadership training opportunities to learn new skills to advance to higher levels of advocacy and leadership involvement. PTAs should always be on the lookout for those who are interested in willing to receive training to serve as leaders in this association. 

Provide all elected and appointed officers with opportunities to receive leadership training by the Washington State PTA. There are many opportunities to receive leadership training, including region conferences, PTA and the Law workshops, and the Washington State PTA convention on April 25-27, 2014.

Advocating For Children--involves individuals who have received advanced training through PTA and are willing to speak up on behalf of children at school board meetings, city and county government meetings, as well as testifying at state legislative proceedings. 

Every PTA should appoint a legislative chair. In addition to attending local school board meetings or city and county government meetings, PTA legislative chairs also follow the state PTA’s legislative efforts and helps to mobilize their members to respond to action alerts.

Encouraging family/community engagement is one of the most important activities of the PTA as it relates to the mission of the association. Examine what your PTA is doing in each of these areas and make a plan to expand your efforts to help strengthen your PTA and school community.

Question of the Week

QUESTION:    
When doing our financial review our CPA came across a question that asks if we have Fidelity Bonding Insurance. What is this?

ANSWER:    
The Bond policy covers anyone who your organization trusts with the money.  This can be a president, treasurer, volunteer, committee chairperson, courier or others. It is not required; it is up to the PTA if they want to add this coverage.  If you decide to add this insurance, a safe practice is to take your annual budget and carry a bond for that amount.  If you are unsure about how much to carry, then project what your biggest fundraiser of the year will bring in and carry a bond for that amount.  Please call your insurance company for additional information regarding this coverage.

PTAs May Order Awards Online to Honor Local Unit Service

Local Units may order Golden Acorn awards, Honorary Life Membership awards, Outstanding Advocate, and Outstanding Educator awards may be ordered at http://store.wastatepta.org/. These awards may be purchased by either check or credit card with a portion of the funds contributed to the WSPTA Scholarship Program. From these contributions, WSPTA is able to provide grants to freshman students entering post-secondary education.
  • A Golden Acorn Award is presented, by a local PTA unit or council, to a volunteer in recognition of his/her dedication and service to children and youth. Since the beginning of this program, more than 44,000 Golden Acorns have been presented to volunteers throughout Washington State.
  • The purpose of the Honorary Life Membership is to recognize an individual who has contributed significantly to a PTA at the local unit, council, or state level. This award can be given by a PTA unit, council, or region.
  • The Outstanding Advocate Award recognizes and honors individuals for their advocacy work on behalf of children and youth. This award can be given by a PTA unit, council, or region. There is also a separate Outstanding Student Advocate award available.
  • The Outstanding Educator Award recognizes individuals who have provided outstanding educational opportunities for children and youth that are beyond the normal scope of their jobs.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Region Director Elections

Ballots are due back to the office postmarked by March 1 in order to meet the quorum required to elect a region director. For more information, click here. The nominating committees in regions 4, 12 and 15 were unsuccessful in identifying a nominee. Anyone interested in self-declaring should contact ptavp@wastatepta.org by February 15.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

14 in '14 PTA Membership Challenges

The National PTA Membership Committee is excited to announce the launch of 14 in ’14 National PTA Membership Challenge! Every PTA in the nation, is challenged to recruit and report 14 new members. For each 14 new members a PTA signs up between February 1 and May 31, the PTA receives an entry for a chance to win $1,000 from the National PTA.

When a PTA in Washington state has 14 new members signed up, they send a list of the new members, a National PTA 14 in ’14 Entry Form, and a check with the membership dues attached to the Washington State PTA office. At that time, the state office will send off their membership form to NPTA for inclusion in the NPTA $1,000 lottery for the 14 in ’14 contest nationwide. The National PTA drawing for the $1,000 cash prize will occur at the 2014 National PTA Convention and Exhibition. These forms are due by April 14, 2014.

In addition to the National PTA contest, Washington State PTA will also enter 14 in ’14 recipients into a Washington State PTA contest to receive a $500 grant towards attending the Washington State PTA Convention at the Bellevue Hyatt Regency Hotel on April 25-17, 2014. The final date to be entered in the Washington State PTA 14 in ’14 drawing is April 14, 2014. There will then be twelve (12), $500 grants, drawn at random in the WSPTA 14 in 14 lottery.

WSPTA Office Moving Next Week

Please note the new address and phone number of the Washington State PTA, delayed until February 24, 2014: 1304 South Fawcett Avenue Suite 300, Tacoma, Washington  98402; phone 253-214-7410.

US Naval Academy and NROTC College Scholarships Information Brief for High School Students, Parents and Educators

Learn about the prestigious Naval Academy and NROTC Scholarship Programs and how to earn an appointment to the Naval Academy – scholarship value over $400,000 or an NROTC scholarship, accepted at over 160 universities nationwide – equivalent to $180,000! An informational meeting will be held on Sunday, March 9 from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm at the University of Washington Campus (Architecture Hall, Room 147.) Parking information is available here.

WSDOT Pedestrian and Bicycle Program and Safe Routes to School Program Call for Projects

The “call for projects” for the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) Pedestrian and Bicycle Program and Safe Routes to School Program are now open.  Applications are due for the Pedestrian and Bicycle Program on May 11, 2014.  Applications are due for the Safe Routes to School Program on May 5, 2014.  All materials for the “call for projects” are posted on the WSDOT websites Pedestrian and Bicycle Program or Safe Routes to School Program.

A no-cost webinar will be held on March 3, 2014 to provide an overview of both programs, including the evaluation criteria and application materials.  More information on the webinar including registration details, is available on the WSDOT Pedestrian and Bicycle Program and Safe Routes to School Program Call for Projects Webinar website. 

Department of Revenue Determines PTAs Are No Longer Required to Pay Sales Tax on Popcorn Sales

The Department of Revenue has determined that PTAs are no longer required to pay sales tax on popcorn sales and other concessions no matter how often a PTA sells it. They are viewing these activities as fundraising activities, and as such are exempt from sales tax. However, student stores which are ongoing, are still required to pay sales tax. PTAs now will follow the rules on their website for ASB and Booster clubs. Here’s a summary: 

Tax exempt activities include soliciting contributions of and selling goods or services. For example: 
Auctions 
Bake sales 
Car wash receipts 
Concession sales (including popcorn)
Raffles 
Meals 
Sales of “booster” items (such as periodic T-shirt sales, unless the PTA keeps the T-shirts on hand)
Yearbook sales 

PTAs may purchase the goods they will resell during periodic fundraisers without paying retail sales tax by providing the vendor with a reseller permit. Reseller permits are issued to businesses that make wholesale purchases. PTAs will have to apply to the Department to receive a reseller permit. Applications are available on the Department of Revenue website or you may contact the Department of Revenue.

PTAs may make sales on behalf of for profit businesses to raise funds while providing the opportunity for persons to purchase goods at a discount. The PTA solicits the sales, collects the money, retains a commission or portion of the amount collected, and sends in the order to the business with the balance of the amount collected. While the PTA qualifies for the fundraising exemption, the for profit business does not.

Under this circumstance the PTA must:
Make sure that the for profit business is registered to collect sales tax in Washington. 
Collect retail sales tax on the gross amount of the sale. 
Turn over the collected sales tax to the business for reporting to the Department of Revenue.

The commission amount retained or received by the PTA is exempt from tax.

If you have any questions regarding these changes, please contact the WSPTA office at 
253-214-7410.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Informational Webinar in Applying for Smart From the Start Grants

National PTA and the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation will host a webinar on February 18 to review the grant requirements, online application process and resources available. Register below for the live presentation or watch the recording. PTAs that participate in the live webinar will receive five bonus points toward their application score. Register now: Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 3 p.m. EST/Noon PST.

Monday, February 10, 2014

National PTA Reflections Theme Submission Winner

Congratulations to Mercedes Messer from Meeker Elementary PTA 5.7.30 for winning the Reflections theme search contest for the 2014-2015 year. Her winning submission and the theme for next year’s Reflections program is, “The world would be a better place if….”

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Legislative News and Activity Posted Daily

Legislative news and activity is being posted daily to the Grassroots Connection blog.  You can follow actions in Olympia and in Washington, D.C.  The WSPTA posts the daily E-Wire, which gives an update on activities in Olympia and includes news clips from around the state and country that impact the lives of our children.  We also post information from National PTA on policy updates in Washington, D.C. that impact the lives of our children.  You may subscribe for email updates from the Grassroots Connection blog here.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

National PTA Advocacy Awards

National PTA® is pleased to announce the recipients of its 2014 Outstanding Advocacy Awards, which honor parents and youth from across the country for their leadership and dedication to being strong advocates for education and issues affecting children. The honorees will be recognized during the 2014 National PTA Legislative Conference on Wednesday, March 12 during the PTA Takes Action Dinner at the Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel in Arlington, Va. Click here for this year’s recipients.

Friday, February 7, 2014

WSPTA College Scholarship Applications Now Available

The Washington State PTA awards college scholarships to entering college freshmen graduating from high schools in Washington State. Two thousand dollars ($2,000) are given to recipients entering four-year post-secondary institutions. One thousand ($1,000) dollar scholarships will be awarded for community colleges, voc-tech schools or other accredited institutions. Applications are due May 1, 2014 and are available through an online application at: https://washingtonstatepta.starsscholarshipsonline.com/STARS/default.aspx#

Thursday, February 6, 2014

WSPTA Office is Moving

Please note our new address and phone number starting February 12, 2014:

Washington State PTA
1304 South Fawcett Avenue
Suite 300
Tacoma, Washington  98402
253-214-7410

Please note our office will be closed from Noon on February 12, 2014 to Noon on February 14, 2014 for our move.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Your PTA May be Able to Win an Award: Honor Unit, Standards of Excellence, Outstanding Local Unit of the Year!

The following awards will be presented at the upcoming WSPTA Convention on April 25-27:
  • The Standards of Excellence is a tool to encourage the use of the best practices of PTA management. If your unit has not participated in awards, the Standards of Excellence is a great place to start. Local unit application form; due March 1. Council application form; due March 1.
  • The Honor Unit award recognizes PTA units and councils that have gone significantly beyond the attainment of excellence and have demonstrated exceptional qualities that merit replication by others. Local unit application form; due March 1. Council application form; due March 1.
  • The Outstanding Local Unit of the Year (elementary & secondary) awards identify and honor those PTA units that, when compared to all others in their unique environment and within their own special circumstances, are the most representative examples of local units that exemplify the purposes and mission of PTA. Outstanding Local Unit award form; due March 1. Two awards are given each year – one to an elementary PTA and one to a secondary PTA.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Has Your PTA Unit, Council or Service Delivery Team Been a Mentor This Year?

Mentor-A-PTA award - The purpose of this award is to recognize local units, councils and service delivery teams for their mentoring of other local units, councils or service delivery teams by providing assistance to their adopted PTA entity. Mentor-A-PTA award form; due March 1. 

Jan Harp Domene Diversity and Inclusion Award

National PTA is now accepting applications for the 2014 Jan Harp Domene Diversity and Inclusion Award. This award recognizes PTAs that best demonstrate outstanding achievement in the areas of diversity and inclusion, as well as efforts to end discriminatory practices. Applications must be submitted online by Friday, March 14 at 8:00 p.m. EST/5:00 p.m. PST. More information is available here.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Region Director Elections

Ballots are due back to the office postmarked by March 1 in order to meet the quorum required to elect a region director. For more information, click here. The nominating committees in regions 4, 12 and 15 were unsuccessful in identifying a nominee. Anyone interested in self-declaring should contact ptavp@wastatepta.org by February 15.

Be Recognized for Excellent PTA Programs and Activities

PTAs Taking Significant Action award – PTAs selected for the PTAs Taking Significant Action award reflect noteworthy projects and activities implemented by small and large, affluent and poor, city and rural PTAs. Recipients are recognized at the State PTA convention and asked to display their projects.  PTAs Taking Significant Action application; due March 1.