Parent Checklist

paren_checklist_thumbnail.pngThe parent checklist includes questions and resources that parents and caregivers can use to help ensure their children are getting the education they deserve.
It was created in collaboration with U.S. Department of Education, America Achieves, National Council of La Raza and the United Negro College Fund. The checklist also offers key questions, tips for educational success and resources for parents.
Read the Parent Checklist

Urban Family Engagement Network Map

The Positive Relationship Between Family Involvement and Student Success

In the 2002 research review A New Wave of Evidence: The Impact of School, Family, and Community Connections on Student Achievement,Anne T. Henderson and Karen L. Mapp conclude that there is a positive and convincing relationship between family involvement and student success, regardless of race/ethnicity, class, or parents’ level of education. To put it another way, when families are involved in their children’s learning both at home and at school, their children do better in school. The report also points to specific types of involvement as being especially beneficial to children’s academic success.
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The “T” in PTA stands for teachers!

Sometimes we forget that the “T” in PTA stands for teachers. Teachers and school staff members are crucial partners in our children’s success. Encouraging them to join your PTA should be a focus of your membership campaign. Here are some ideas for getting them involved:

Getting Teachers Involved!
  • Arrange to provide a breakfast for teachers prior to the start of the school year. Use this breakfast as an opportunity to talk to the teachers about the value and importance of joining your PTA.
  • Award teachers and staff with a party or lunch when 100% teacher and staff membership is reached.
  • Request a bulletin board or showcase at your school to display current information about PTA activities.
  • Use back to school nights as an opportunity to speak with both teachers and parents about the importance of joining PTA. Prepare a short presentation. Be sure to have the permission of your principal.
  • Include PTA materials in information packets given to teachers and staff at the start of each school year.
  • Enlist the support of your principal. A principal’s encouragement to join can go a long way.
  • Print out personal invitations asking teachers and staff to join and include a membership envelope. Remind them that for the cost of a few coffees at Starbucks they can support our national organization of more than six million members!

Some other ideas: Parent Involvement is what PTA does best and it’s the law. Remind teachers and staff that PTA helps them to fulfill the Parent Involvement mandate of No Child Left Behind.  Get to know your teachers. Sometimes teachers or staff may be reluctant to join because of a prior bad experience with PTA. Apologize for whatever may have happened and talk to them about how PTA’s work benefits not only the children but the teachers as well.  The teachers and staff expect to be asked to join. If they expect it and you don’t ask, they might feel they are not needed or welcomed. Remember to ask.  Remind teachers and staff that PTA is more than a local fundraising group for their school. It is an organization focused on the education, safety, and well-being of children.

Looking for more ways to get engaged?

Check out our Committees page and click on each title to see all of the different ways you can get involved with The Colorado PTA!

Make sure you also check out our resources for advocacy effortscommunities, school accountability committees, male involvement in the PTA, take action/news, and military alliance for parents and partners!

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Colorado Department of Education’s PEP Conferences

Colorado Department of Education’s PEP Conferences are designed to promote family and school partnerships that are essential in supporting students with disabilities and their families in schools and the community.  PEP brings parents and professionals together by sharing ideas, discussing concerns, celebrating successes and obtaining information related to parenting, educating and partnering to support student learning. PEP Conferences are offered at no cost to attendees. To learn more about PEP Conferences and to register, please visit the Parents Encouraging Parents (PEP) Website

Early Childhood and School Readiness Legislative Commission

Pursuant to state law, the ECSRLC must meet at least four times per year to study issues concerning early childhood and school readiness. Topics to be studied include: health care, mental health, parental involvement, family support, child care, and early learning. The commission is required to solicit input from the public, especially from those who have expertise in early childhood and school readiness issues. The commission is also required to meet with the Early Childhood Leadership Commission, which is a group focused on improving outcomes for young children ages birth to eight, to discuss policy concerning early childhood and school readiness.

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Trainings and Professional Development

More training and resources provided by The Colorado Department of Education

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Family Engagement Promising Practices Training Materials

The purpose of the Family Engagement Promising Practices Training is to help schools and districts implement comprehensive, sustainable partnership structures for student success.

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A Letter from The Colorado PTA President

On behalf of Colorado PTA and our 25,000+ members, we would like to thank Governor Hickenlooper, and the State of Colorado for proclaiming October as Parent Involvement month.  I would also like to thank Lieutenant Governor Joe Garcia and Commissioner Robert Hammond for their support of parent involvement. Parent involvement is crucial for student success, and is key to ensuring that we have a viable workforce for the future.  As a co-owner of a small business this is important to me, but student success is especially crucial to me as a parent. A groundbreaking study in 2010 on school improvement found that parent involvement was identified as the key ingredient for school turnarounds.  So not only does parent involvement support student success – it supports effective school reform.  This study specifically evaluated school improvement in low-income, urban schools.  They found that elementary schools with strong parent involvement were 10 times more likely to improve in math and 4 times more likely to improve in reading than schools weak in parent involvement.  For school improvement to be successful, schools must treat parent involvement as an integral part of the school. In 1997, National PTA convened the many different stakeholders whom we represent to develop the National Standards for Family-School Partnerships, which for the first time, articulated what parent involvement should look like at the school level.  In 2001, National PTA updated the standards, and now these are in use by schools, PTA and community leaders nationwide including the Colorado State Advisory Council for Parent Involvement in Education, as a framework for thinking about, structuring, and assessing family engagement. While researcher Joyce Epstein paved the way for parent involvement, two researchers and long-time PTA friends, Anne Henderson and Karen Mapp, continued to strengthen the importance of family engagement in their 2002 study, “A New Wave of Evidence:  The Impact of School, Family, and Community Connections on Student Achievement.”  They found evidence clearly supports that when parents and families are involved at home and at school, children do better in school!  This includes higher grades, passing classes, and regular attendance at school.  This is true no matter what the family income or background may be! Parent involvement is a shared responsibility and my hope is that all parents and families:

  • Feel welcome in their child’s school
  • Experience effective, two-way communication
  • Are given the opportunity to support their student’s success
  • Feel comfortable to speak up for their child
  • Are asked to share the power in their school by being a participant in school decision making

It is through collaboration as parents, teachers, administrators, staff, and community that we will give the children of Colorado the greatest gift of all, a bright future. Michelle Winzent Colorado PTA President

National Standards Implementation Guide

The benefits of family-school-community partnerships are many: higher teacher morale, more parent involvement, and greater student success are only a few. That is why PTA developed the National Standards for Family-School Partnerships Implementation Guide, a tool for empowering people to work together with an end goal of building family-school partnerships and student success.

For each of the six National Standards for Family-School Partnerships, this online guide provides:

  • An explanation of each standard and its importance
  • Insights to help convince educators of the standard’s value
  • A success story from a school community
  • Action steps for your school community
  • Resources to enhance your understanding

The full guide, downloadable as a PDF, provides additional details, background, research, and success stories.

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The National PTA Urban Family Engagement Network

Increases the number of families in urban areas who understand specific ways to collaborate with schools to support their children’s education. Families learn how to navigate the local school systems and effectively advocate for better educational outcomes for all children.

Download the Flyer in English or Spanish

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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...