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Building an Advocacy Toolkit!

Questions about how to get started in becoming a PTA Advocacy Leader.  National PTA has resources avaliable to help you build your Advocacy Toolkit!  Everything from “How to Lobby the PTA Way” to “Conducting Visits with Members of Congress.”  So what are you waiting for? Click the link to learn all you can about being an Advocate for Children!

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National Standards for Family-School Partnerships.

Standard 1: Welcoming All Families into the School Community

Standard 1: Welcoming All Families into the School Community
Families are active participants in the life of the school, and feel welcomed, valued, and connected to each other, to school staff, and to what students are learning and doing in class.

Standard 2: Communicating Effectively

Standard 2: Communicating Effectively
Families and school staff engage in regular, two-way, meaningful communication about student learning.

Standard 3: Supporting Student Success

Standard 3: Supporting Student Success
Families and school staff continuously collaborate to support students’ learning and healthy development both at home and at school, and have regular opportunities to strengthen their knowledge and skills to do so effectively.

Standard 4: Speaking Up for Every Child

Standard 4: Speaking Up for Every Child
Families are empowered to be advocates for their own and other children, to ensure that students are treated fairly and have access to learning opportunities that will support their success.

Standard 5: Sharing Power

Standard 5: Sharing Power
Families and school staff are equal partners in decisions that affect children and families and together inform, influence, and create policies, practices, and programs.

Standard 6: Collaborating with Community

Standard 6: Collaborating with Community
Families and school staff collaborate with community members to connect students, families, and staff to expanded learning opportunities, community services, and civic participation.

Did you attend the More Than a Score Rally?

Colorado PTA partnered with Colorado Education Association to participate in the More Than a Score Rally! Parents, Families, Students and Educators participated in a Statewide Day of Action to tell our legislators that our children are More Than a Test Score!

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The Pioneers of Child Advocacy in Colorado

As Colorado’s original and largest parent engagement group,  Colorado PTA represents a lot of voices—and legislators recognize this fact when Colorado PTA takes a stand on an issue.  When it comes to making positive change in Colorado’s schools and families, Colorado PTA is a formidable force with more than a century-old track record in being an influential partner in state and local governments.

Some of the highlights of Colorado PTA’s century of activity include:
  •  Establishing a Better Babies Movement, focused on promoting infant care (1914)
  • Initiating an Act to create and establish a Child Welfare Bureau in the State of Colorado (1919)
  • Supporting public education in rural communities in Colorado (1922)
  • Fighting for an increase in public school funding (1937)
  • Promoting inclusiveness by establishing the first Spanish-speaking PTA in Colorado (1937)
  • Establishing a Girls Loan Fund for advanced education (1946)
  • Recruiting over 126,000 members (1953)
  • Promoting first Project Head Start program (1967)
  • Establishing the Reflections Art program, which was adopted by national PTA (1969)
  • Spreading awareness about the link between good nutrition and learning (1970)
  • Advocating for seat-belt safety (1982)
  • Serving as an ambassador for drug/alcohol awareness initiatives (1988)
  • Opposing school vouchers as a violation of Colorado’s Constitution which resulted in the victorious 2003 lawsuit, Colorado PTA v. Owens (1993)
  • Declaring an anti-discrimination clause including LGBT community (1994)
  • Fighting for releasing volunteer crossing guards from civil liability (1996)
  • Championing Amendment 23, which requires an annual increase in K-12 funding (inc. special education and transportation) by inflation +1 percent through 2010 and inflation thereafter (2000)

Every year, Colorado PTA plays an active role in advocating for our children statewide.  To allow every child to reach his/her potential, Colorado PTA has set goals to realize a fully-funded, quality education system for all children; updated school nutritional standards; school and internet safety;  quality and affordable after-school programs;  better access to and preparation for college;  small class sizes and more. Contact our Public Policy Director or your local PTA Advocacy Liaison for more information!

The purpose and mission of PTA is child advocacy. The role of your Advocacy Liaison is to communicate and connect the business of Colorado PTA to the Local Unit (your PTA) and notify your members of opportunities to become engaged and involved at their local level, county level, state level and nation-wide. The Colorado PTA Legislative Committee meets at 6:30 p.m. on the 2nd and 4th Mondays of each month during the Legislative session (January to May) and on the 2nd Mondays the rest of the year.  Your Advocacy Liaison, as well as Local Unit Leaders, will receive information about the issues PTA is focusing on.  Please ensure that your Advocacy Liaison or an alternate leader presents this information to your membership at your PTA meetings and/or via email, to enable every member of PTA to be educated and involved in this effort. Everyone is welcome to attend our Legislative Committee meetings! As you know, your members are automatically members of Colorado PTA and National PTA, and we want to ensure that your membership has every opportunity to receive all information and benefits that PTA provides.  We thank you for your commitment to PTA and to your membership, and we look forward to your advocacy partnership this year!

 What does a PTA Local Unit Advocacy Liaison do?

A “liaison” is someone who is a channel of communication between groups of people.
The Basics:

 

Serve as a link between your local PTA unit and the state PTA.

When the Council, Region, or state PTA shares information with you regarding legislative and advocacy issues, make sure it gets distributed through your unit’s usual communication method (i.e., newsletter, email, or website) and share this information at your PTA’s regular business meeting – much like the report given by your membership chair or treasurer.

Take an active interest in programs and policies at your school.

 A good way to do this is by working with your School Accountability Committee (SAC), either by serving as the PTA liaison to the SAC or by sharing information with the person who is. The SAC’s work is largely focused on the school’s and district’s achievement data, the Unified Improvement Plan (UIP), and the school’s and district’s budget.

Familiarize yourself with the 6 National Standards for Family-School Partnerships.

Because so much of PTA’s work is centered around them, make a note to pay extra attention to Standard 4 (Speaking Up for Every Child) and Standard 5 (Sharing Power) – National Standards for Family-School Partnerships.

Other Advocacy Opportunities:

 We understand everyone’s time and interests vary. Advocacy doesn’t stop with the Basics. If you have the time and interest, here are other ways to advocate and become more involved.

  • Take an active interest in key issues affecting children and youth.
  • Be an informed voter.
  • Attend school board meetings and/or be aware of district policies.
  • Attend meetings of the District Accountability Committee.
  • Attend the Colorado PTA Legislative Conference.
  • Know who your legislators are at the state and national levels and who represents you at the city and county levels.
  • Know how elected officials representing you vote on key issues, and visit with some of them.
  • Attend some candidate forums, issue forums, and/or public meetings sponsored by your elected officials.
  • Get on email distribution lists for legislative action alerts, and/or join organizations that advocate on children’s issues.
  • Join the National PTA’s “PTA Takes Action” (Current Engagements).
  • Respond to PTA Action Alerts.
  • Speak up at public meetings on PTA’s issues and positions.

Founders’ Day

Founders’ Day (February 17) is when we celebrate the legacy and work of our founders—Alice McLellan Birney, Phoebe Apperson Hearst and Selena Sloan Butler—to better the lives of every child in education, health and safety. It is a time to reflect and take pride in our achievements, and renew our commitment to be a:

  • powerful voice for all children;
  • relevant resource for parents; and
  • strong advocate for public education.

Our founders represented women of imagination and courage. They had a simple idea—to improve the lives and future of all children. They understood the power of individual action, worked beyond the accepted barriers of their day, and took action to change the world for all children.

PTA Founders Day – 20 Ways to Celebrate

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Is Your PTA an ATM for Your School?

Have you ever felt that your PTA was an ATM for your school principal and teachers? Have you ever felt like your principal thought your PTA budges was his or her discretionary spending fund? Do you get requests from teachers and school staff to fund certain projects and items that really ought to be part of the school budget? You’re not alone. PTAs frequently turn over their funds to school administration for such basics as books, equipment, and maintenance, not to mention extras, such as playground equipment and vending machines. The customs that have developed between PTAs and schools have blurred the line about what PTAs are; what vision, mission, and purposes we follow; and how our funds should be used. Vision, mission, and purposes PTA’s vision is making every child’s potential a reality. PTA’s mission is to be A powerful voice for all children A relevant resource for families and communities A strong advocate for the education and well-being of every child PTA’s purposes, or historical goals are as follows: To promote the welfare of the children and youth in home, school, community, and place of worship To raise the standards of home life To secure adequate laws for the care and protection of children and youth To bring into closer relation the home and the school, that parents and teachers may cooperate intelligently in the education of children and youth To develop between educators and the general public such united efforts as will secure for all children and youth the highest advantages in physical, mental, social, and spiritual education How PTAs work The national PTA organization is...

PTA Election Do’s & Don’t

With the school board elections and potential ballot initiatives, it’s important you and your members are aware of the laws around what your PTA can and cannot do. 1) PTAs CANNOT support/endorse/oppose candidates. This is IRS law. If your PTA endorses a candidate you not only jeopardize your PTA’s non-profit status but the non-profit status of every PTA in Colorado. 2) PTAs CAN support or oppose ballot issues. If your PTA wishes to take a position to support or oppose a ballot initiative you must have a majority vote of your membership (not just your Board) and you must give your membership fair notice that the vote will take place (7-10 days). 501(c)(3) Status and Law. Because PTA is a 501c3 non-profit corporation, the IRS does not allow PTA to support candidates. It is legal for PTAs to inform voters of an election and list ALL the candidates who are running. PTAs may hold candidate forums, as long as ALL candidates are invited. Advocating for an Initiative. Colorado PTA prefers that local units help ballot issue campaigns by providing volunteer assistance with such things as literature distribution, yard signs, phone calling, etc., rather than making monetary contributions. Voter registration drives are encouraged. Campaign Donations. The IRS does not allow local units to contribute more than “an insubstantial amount” of their gross revenue to ballot issue campaigns or lobbying. This is generally viewed as being between 2% and 5% of gross revenue. (Please note that this refers to the total amount given to all ballot issues and lobbying throughout the year.) Because all local units are part of the Colorado...

The Smart Talk

National PTA—in collaboration with LifeLock—has announced The Smart Talk, a new interactive online tool that lets parent-child duos set ground rules together about smart digital habits. With The Smart Talk, you can create a customized, personalized technology agreement with the kid(s) in your life. It all starts with creating your ground rules. Give it a try and then help us promote it by sharing #thesmarttalk on social media and within your PTA networks. Spread the Word Are you a local PTA leader? Spread the word at a PTA meeting or as a topic of discussion for your back-to-school meeting agenda. Consider using our sample digital graphics and social media messaging to post on your local PTA’s social media, and download the printable flier and The Smart Talk Quick Guide to encourage your units about getting parents and kids involved. Sample social media messaging Facebook cover and social media graphic The Smart Talk Quick Guide For more info, please visit TheSmartTalk.org and “Like” #TheSmartTalk on...