Tuesday, June 24, 2014

WSPTA Scholarship Winners

Congratulations to the following individuals, who are recipients of WSPTA scholarships for the 2014 year:
Ursula Anne Abelsen
Anastasia Charity Borseth
Matthew David Bryson
Shelby Morgan Burkhart
Courtney Gu
Blake Guidice
Brennan Logan Hyden
Sophia Jean Knudson
Melanie Elizabeth Lane
Joya Elisabeth Major

Following is an excerpt from the application of one of our scholarship winners:

Describe personal characteristics that helped you to achieve a specific goal or accomplishment and relate how those characteristics will be influential in meeting your post-secondary educational goals. 
            Gathering the washable window markers, bright red lipstick and strings of Mommy’s beads, my little sister and I would race to make a masterpiece. Two little girls sitting on the arm of the couch, we giggled, drew pictures, and made our best lipstick kisses on my mom’s bald head. It was like this growing up. My mom had breast cancer, but she didn’t make it any scarier than it already was for us. For the past thirteen years, my mom has been battling breast cancer that has metastasized. Growing up around countless doctors and entire days in hospitals to see my mom, I learned the importance of caring for another person and the necessity of a passionate medical team.
            Going to chemo appointments became routine, and we developed our “normal” version of life. We thought she finally won the battle; but my mom discovered another metastasis at the end of my freshman year. When she lost her hair, I shaved my head, showing Mom I was with her every step of the way. Together we were the “Bald Beauties” and talk of the town.
            As we redefined our “normal,” a rare and aggressive form of brain cancer was attacking my dad. Brain surgery was supposed to be the cure. Days after the operation, my dad was able to talk, and even more of a miracle, able to walk. For my seventeenth birthday, I received the best present of my life - my dad took his first steps to me and back to his hospital bed – I got the present of hope. This past summer, my dad broke his spine and pelvis, and due to the necessity to heal, he stopped taking his chemotherapy. As time progressed, his brain tumors went wild, and his last days he spent unconscious, choking on his own saliva. At first, I was terrified, but knowing that my dad needed me, I helped clear his airways until I went home for the night. Peacefully, in his sleep, he passed away, and it has been a rough grieving process. But I know that, although he liked to take care of himself, he was happy to have me by his side until his final moments.
            Trying to recover from my dad’s death, our lives were spinning out of control. My mom’s cancer spread all over her body, causing blockages in her liver, kidneys, and gall bladder. To treat these complications caused a new problem, and the ultimate decision to put my mom on life support was made by our family together. My role changed from daughter to nursing assistant instantaneously. My mom’s strong will to live defied the odds and she was able to get off of her ventilator, but not much longer after that my mom went into hospice care. She passed away in early April of 2014, just six months after my dad died. Although my roles intermixed, I loved taking care of her when she needed it.
            But what does this all mean for me? Due to my parents’ battles with cancer, I understand the finality and also the importance of prevention in deadly diseases. United through hardship, I strived to improve both the lives of my parents, and others affected by disease. To begin making a difference, I organized a 5K community fun run to help combat malaria. I partnered with the UN organization "Nothing But Nets" to send insecticide treated mosquito nets and malaria prevention education to families in rural Africa. Last year, my goal was to send 150 nets, but with the support of my community, I was able to send 648 nets! One day, I want take this onto a larger scale and organize and participate in global initiatives to instill hope in patients across the globe. Recollections of henna tattoos and lipstick kisses on our bald heads and my dad’s first steps toward recovery have been more than just memories; they’ve been motivation.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Kids and Hot Cars - Prevent Heatstroke

Leaving kids alone in cars is not only illegal in many states but, on a warm day, it's downright lethal ... so lethal that 605 children died in hot cars between 1998 and 2013. Click here to learn how, by habitually checking all the seats in your car before locking the door, you can save a child's life.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Cold Water Shock Linked to Drowning

Drowning is a leading cause of injury death among kids of all ages – second only to motor vehicle crashes. Cold water increases the chances of drowning. Every year in Washington state, children die in our rivers, lakes and salt water that are cold year-round. When someone who is not wearing a life jacket is suddenly immersed in cold water, they can drown quickly, even if they are a strong swimmer. The reason is “cold water shock.” Read more at http://www.seattlechildrens.org/safety-wellness/newsletters/goodgrowing/.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Carbon Monoxide Risks With Boating

There is an increased risk of toxic exposure to carbon monoxide, particularly with older house boats. For more information, go to http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/coboating/pdfs/ntlcaselisting.pdf

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Become a National PTA School of Excellence

National PTA School of Excellence is a recognition program that supports and celebrates partnerships between PTAs and schools to enrich the educational experience and overall well-being for all students. As a National PTA School of Excellence, families feel welcomed and empowered to support student success, and PTA is a key partner for continuous school improvement.
  1. Enroll your PTA between April 1 and Oct. 1. You will receive the "Getting Started Guide," which describes program components, including your first steps to gather feedback from families and set goals with your school partner.
  2. Survey your school community and share the results with National PTA by submitting a Family-School Partnership Scan by Nov. 1.
  3. Receive a customized "Roadmap to Excellencecontaining recommendations that respond to your specific results from the Family-School Partnership Scan.
  4. Complete the National PTA School of Excellence application before June 1, 2015.
  5. Celebrate your excellence! All National PTA School of Excellence recipients will receive a toolkit to support celebration activities.
In the 2014-2015 school year, put your school on the National PTA School of Excellence map. For more information, click here.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Help Decide WSPTA's Positions: Proposals Due June 15 for Resolutions, Legislative Principles and Legislative Platform

For more information on current resolutions, legislative principles and the current legislative platform, click here.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Golden Acorn Awards to Honor Local Unit Leaders and Contribute to the WSPTA Scholarship Program

As the school year winds to an end, I would like to encourage you to honor your local leaders with a Golden Acorn award or another recognition award and contribute to the Washington State PTA Scholarship Program. To order Golden Acorn awards or other recognition awards, go to the PTA store at http://store.wastatepta.org/. (There are no paper forms available for these awards. It is now an online process through the PTA store.)  For information on navigating the PTA Store award section, click here.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

New USDA Rules on School Fundraisers

As reported recently in news outlets and in last week's Leadership News, beginning July 1, 2014, all foods sold to students on the school campus during the school day, including fundraisers, must meet nutrition standards under the Smart Snacks rule. Under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, flexibility was given to provide exemptions for school-sponsored infrequent fundraisers that do not meet the standards. State Child Nutrition Agencies have the authority to set the number of exempted fundraisers permitted per school year. If the State Agency does not designate a number, it is assumed that there are no exempted fundraisers.

This is not being mandated by the Washington State PTA. It is a Federal program and mandated from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The WSPTA is in communication with the Washington State Department of Agriculture on the development of rules and we will share the fruition of those discussions when we hear more.

For additional information regarding the Smart Snacks program, go to http://www.wastatepta.org/about_us/healthy_snacks.html.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Send in Your Local Unit Officers

It is time to email the list of your local unit’s 2014-2015 officers to support@wastatepta.org. Please include the name and number of your PTA, your new officer’s names and email addresses, their title, and the name of the PTA in which they are a member if they are not currently a member of your PTA. Please be specific about title – for example if a VP has a specific function such as membership, legislative, family and community engagement (formerly outreach), or program be sure to include that information. When we receive this information, these new officers will be added to the email list that receives Leadership News as well as information on training, updates, and instructions for the member registration process which we will begin sending in June.

Please note that you don’t need to identify your new officers on the membership enrollment database, just email the list to the state PTA office. However, if you have already identified your new officers on the database, you do not need to send an email as well. Thanks for your help as we make sure your local unit continues to receive the information it needs from the state PTA office.

Monday, June 2, 2014

NEWS to State Supreme Court: Hold Legislature in Contempt

In response to a court-mandated legislative "progress" report from the State to the Washington Supreme Court, the Network for Excellence in Washington Schools today asked the high court to hold the Legislature in contempt. Read the statement issued by NEWS here.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Promoting Financial Literacy in Washington State Students

Financial literacy is a key concern for parents, teachers and businesses across the country. A nationwide report of all states, shows the Washington has earned an ‘F’ grade for how students are prepared in this area. The WSPTA is concerned about this issue, and to start, we want to provide our members with a tool to help their children, so we are collaborating with the company, myjobchart, http://myjobchart.com/cobrand/wapta.

MyJobChart.com is the free, easy to use, online work and reward system designed to organize families and motivate kids to be responsible. The company combines the latest technology with sound finance principles – the result is an engaging platform that tracks accountability and helps kids learn how to earn, save, share and spend money wisely.