Contact Colorado’s Members of Congress

Every Coloradan has two U.S. Senators and a U.S. Representative (also known as a Congressman or Congresswoman).  Both Senators represent the state as a whole and have district offices throughout the state. Colorado has divided into seven Congressional Districts and each District has a Representative. Representatives have several offices within their districts to serve their constituents. Representative and Senators have offices in Washington DC as well. DC offices are primarily concerned with the legislative business of Congress. District offices focus on constituent services. Contacting a district office is often the best way to identify which staff member can help you with your request whether that person is in the same office or in DC. Methods of Contact In-person meeting or invitation to an event – The legislator’s website typically has an online form to use for scheduling requests.  Making a scheduling request well in advance of a meeting or event date is recommended. Postal Mail – Postal mail can be sent to the member’s office in Washington DC or a district office in Colorado. Be sure to allow a few weeks for screening and delivery of postal mail to Washington DC. Phone calls – Typically, Congressional websites do not include a directory of staff. If you don’t have a contact person for the matter, you can call the general number for the office and the staffer answering the phone will help you identify the right contact person. If you are unsure where to call, it’s best to start with the district office. Emails – Congressional websites typically do not include email addresses for staff either. Use the contact form to lobby on a policy issue or ask a question. Request a response and include your contact information if you would like to hear back from the member of Congress. It may take days or weeks for a response...

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...

Tip Sheets for Families, Caregivers and Early Learning Educators

Research has found that providing children from birth to five with consistent, language-rich experiences – such as talking, reading, and singing – can have important benefits on their brain development and future school success. However, many families lack access to the types of resources that can help them make the most of these language building experiences. This creates a gap in the quantity and quality of words that children learn, which directly impacts their opportunities to succeed in school and later on in life. As the result of a commitment made at the White House Summit on Early Education convening focused on increasing the quantity and quality of words that children learn, the U.S. Departments Education and Health and Human Services, in partnership with Too Small to Fail, have created the “Talk, Read, and Sing Together Every Day” tip sheets. Made specifically for families, caregivers and early educators, these resources can help enrich a child’s early language experiences by providing research-based tips for talking, reading, and singing with young children every day beginning from birth. All tip sheets are available in English and Spanish, and can be downloaded for free on our website. It’s Never Too Early to Help Your Child Learn —Talk, Read, and Sing Together Every Day! English | Spanish Tips for Families English | Spanish The Benefits of Being Bilingual – A Review for Teachers and Other Early Education Program Providers English | Spanish Tips for Using Language at Home and in the Community English | Spanish Tips for Infant & Toddler Teachers and Caregivers English | Spanish Tips For Preschool Teachers & Other Early Childhood...

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...

TAKE THE PLEDGE!

Every child in the United States should be well-nourished, physically active, healthy and ready to learn. Sadly, they’re not. One in three kids in this country is either overweight or obese. But they don’t have to be. Schools are a big part of the solution and you can be too. It’s going to take a nation of moms, dads and other caring individuals – people just like you – to raise their hands and lend their voices to the fight against childhood obesity so every kid can be healthy and ready to learn. Working together, we can give kids the keys to health and academic success, one school at a time. So take the Every Kid Healthy Pledge and ask your friends and family to do the same.      Visit Action for Healthy Kids now to take the...

PTA E-Learning Library

To access our e-learning courses, you will need an online National PTA profile. For assistance with creating a profile or registering for a course, please read the e-learning registration guide. Also, make sure your computer meets the minimum system requirements. Para obtener instrucciones en español sobre cómo crear un perfil e inscribirse para un curso, por favor lea la Guía de inscripción para aprendizaje electrónico. PTA Essentials PTA Basics: Discover PTA’s history, structure, programs, and the issues for which it advocates. (approx. 40 min) Effective Advocacy for Your Child: Organize around local issues and address them to benefit the needs of children and your community. This course is designed for emerging local leaders, but all are welcome to attend. (approx. 30 min.) National Standards for Family School Partnerships: Explore how the National Standards for Family School Partnerships creates a framework for engaging families in meaningful ways to support student success. (approx. 30 min.) NEW! PTA Nuts and Bolts Series  Board Basics: Learn the basic governance structures behind most PTA units. (approx. 40 min.) Conceptos básicos para las juntas (Board Basics in Spanish): Aprenda las estructuras básicas de gobernación detrás de la mayoría de las unidades de la PTA. (approx. 40 min.) ¡NUEVO! Local Unit President: This course is an introduction to the roles and responsibilities of the local unit PTA president. (approx. 30 min.) NEW! Local Unit Secretary: This course is an introduction to the roles and responsibilities of the local unit PTA secretary. (approx. 30 min.) NEW! Local Unit Treasurer: This course is an introduction to the roles and responsibilities of the local unit PTA treasurer. (approx. 40 min.) NEW! Leadership Enhancement Creating and Delivering...

PTA Three for Me

Three for Me is a PTA program designed to effectively involve parents and families in support of children and their education. This program will help PTAs and parents find different ways to volunteer at home, in school, and in the community—all which support student learning. This way, parents can volunteer when they have time during the day, in the evening or on the weekends. Three for Me online resources include: Creative ways to connect all families to their child’s school and education Ideas to strengthen home-school-community partnerships Resources to motivate parent forum for program and idea sharing Helpful ways to track volunteers and the positive impact they are having on student success Get Three for Me started at your school or organization today and put a new face on parent involvement. Resources Promise Cards in English and Spanish to distribute to families who promise to volunteer. Promise Cards (fillable) Promise Cards (Spanish) Promise Cards (non-fillable) Certificates to customize and distribute to families who donate their time to volunteer. Available in English and Spanish, as well as in black and white or full color. Certificate (fillable) Certificate (Spanish) Certificate (non-fillable) Benefits for Your School is a tip sheet for families to help them understand the value of their donated time. Benefits Tipsheet Visitor Badges in English and Spanish. Visitor Badge Visitor Badge (Spanish) Additional Three for Me resources include a leader’s guide and, a volunteer tracking spreadsheet, sign in sheets, and surveys that can be customized and downloaded. Leader’s Guide Volunteer Sign-In Volunteer Badge Volunteer Survey Volunteer Hours Spreadsheet Volunteer Survey (Spanish) Background Language Not a Barrier for Hispanic Parents Looking to...
Leveraging Networks of Support:  A Unified Voice

Leveraging Networks of Support: A Unified Voice

The multi-level layered, organizational model of PTA provides its members with an extensive network of support as well as a unified voice.  The issues that affect our children extend beyond their individual schools.  PTA’s state and nationwide networks provide parents and teachers with a forum and tools to collectively influence the decisions that affect children not only at their schools, but also throughout their districts, within their state, and across the nation.  This mission is unique to the PTA. Did you know that Colorado PTA has nearly 25,000 members?  PTA membership expands to over 6 million when adding in all 50 states . In addition to its own nationwide network of members, Colorado PTA leverages its voice by advocating at the State Capitol and partnering and collaborating with reputable local, state and national education, health and advocacy organizations as well as state and federal government agencies....