PTA members bring innovative services to our kids and schools each and every day. And, the California State PTA Board of Directors are reflecting on strategies to highlight and share those amazing accomplishments. During the first year of the 2017-2019 term of office, we will be looking at multifaceted approaches to reach and recognize local PTAs. The Spotlight Awards Program will not be offered during this time, but please continue to share your PTA success stories with us.
2017 Unit and Council Spotlight Award Honorees
ADVOCACY: Rancho Vista Elementary PTA, Palos Verdes Peninsula Council, Thirty-Third District PTA
Rancho Vista Elementary PTA developed a Special Needs Awareness Week in April to coincide with World Autism Awareness Month, including all of their Special Day Classes (SDC), not just those with autism. This was done in response to the tripling of their SDC population in one year and the addition of staff to assist those students. They added a standing committee to their PTA for the SDC parents to have a voice. This fits perfectly with their 2016-2017 PTA slogan, “Separate, Unique…Together Complete.”
COLLABORATION: San Clemente High PTSA, Capistrano Unified Council, Fourth District PTA
San Clemente High School PTSA collaborated with the San Clemente Wellness & Prevention Center. Housed at San Clemente High School, the center provides a safe and accessible place for students to discuss stressors and conflict and work on positive solutions. Additionally, the center and the PTA worked alongside the City of San Clemente, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, Western Youth Services and many local businesses.
ENVIRONMENTAL: Will Rogers Middle School PTA, Long Beach Council, Thirty-Third District PTA
Rogers Middle School PTA is a strong advocate and supporter of the advisory and elective course Rogers Middle School Green Team (RMSGT). This group’s objective is to beautify the campus and educate students and staff on environmental sustainability. Each Monday the RMSGT is joined by a PTA representative to welcome families at the Recycling Valet Drop Off. They collect cans and bottles to raise funds that are used to operate all aspects of the RMSGT. RMSGT also educates students on trash free-lunch waste sorting and other ways to become good stewards of the environment.
FAMILY ENGAGEMENT: Francis Hopkinson Elementary PTA, Los Alamitos Unified Council, Fourth District PTA
Francis Hopkinson Elementary PTA implemented the “Give an Hour” campaign to increase family engagement on campus with a focus on working parents and grandparents. Families were asked to provide a list of special skills, talents, expertise and hobbies they would be willing to share. The PTA created a spreadsheet of the skills and matched people and projects. Families who didn’t attend PTA meetings or volunteer on campus ended up contributing in large ways.
MEMBERSHIP & OUTREACH: Glendale Mark Keppel Elementary PTA, Glendale Council, First District PTA
Mark Keppel Elementary PTA organized a two-part membership incentive program involving teachers. The goal was 100 percent teacher and 100 percent participation school wide. Teachers were incentivized to join PTA and the teachers helped encourage 100% participation from their classroom parents. Incentives ranged from paying for classroom supplies to pizza and other types of classroom parties for parents joining. Teachers were competing for a grand prize. Membership increased from 702 to 1,152!
PROGRAMS FOR STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT: Robinson Elementary PTA, Saddleback Valley Council, Fourth District PTA
Believing art is a very important part in every student’s educational success, Robinson Elementary PTA created the Chalk Art Festival. A piece of art is submitted from each classroom teacher, then parent volunteers make grids for each piece of art on the cleaned asphalt. The day of the event, canopies are set over each grid and the students work together to draw their classroom’s art piece on the asphalt. Each piece is about 5×7 feet in size.
STUDENT INVOLVEMENT: California High PTSA, San Ramon Valley Council, Thirty-Second District PTA
Recognizing that students with special needs are not always comfortable at school dances, California High PTSA hosted a Winter Wonderland dance during a school day. The goal was to meet the specific needs of the students. Lower sound levels, appropriate lighting, developmentally appropriate activities, dietary-specific refreshments, specially designed sensory stations and a quiet zone were all provided for the students. Nearly 250 students from Cal High and several nearby schools, accompanied by approximately 125 special education teachers, para-educators, aides and parents, enjoyed music, dancing, activities, food and friendship.
ADVOCACY: Laguna Beach Unified Council of PTAs, Fourth District PTA
The Laguna Beach Unified Council of PTAs, in cooperation with the school district and Superintendent, developed the “Count Me In” program. It is a comprehensive year-round youth voter registration drive and was held in conjunction with educating students about their rights and responsibilities for voter registration. Additional voter registration and get-out-the-vote efforts were directed at parents and school staff. Students need to graduate from high school not only ready for college and career, but they should also understand the vital role they play in society as they enter the adult world of civic responsibility.
COLLABORATION: Conejo Council of PTAs, Twelfth District PTA
Because sudden cardiac death is a leading cause of death amongst student athletes, the Conejo Council, in collaboration with the Saving Hearts Foundation and Thousand Oaks High School, held a Free Teen Cardiac Screening. Students between the ages of 12 and 24 were screened, free of charge, during a 20-minute process. More than 330 students were screened during the one-day event, with 15 students receiving recommendations to follow up with their physician. Students attended from every high school and middle school in the community. This event removed the socio-economic barriers for typical screenings, enabling all students to participate.
COMMUNICATION: San Diego Unified Council of PTAs, Ninth District PTA
In July 2016, San Diego Unified Council’s leadership team identified local PTA units that needed additional support in planning for the upcoming year. Directly marketing to PTA officers garnered participation in trainings and events offered throughout the course of the year. Tools like direct marketing (fliers mailed to unit presidents and schools), e-marketing (such as website, e-newsletter, social media and e-blasts) were used to advertise opportunities for trainings. Individuals signed up using Google Forms. As a result, 170 PTA leaders from more than 50 units participated.
LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT: Palos Verdes Peninsula Council of PTAs, Thirty-Third District PTA
The Palos Verdes Peninsula Council takes a four-pronged approach to develop new leaders including conducting monthly meetings with a few key groups; continuing training for many PTA jobs; facilitating a yearlong mentorship program for presidents; and coordinating socials for new PTA unit leaders to meet their council mentors in a relaxed setting. Brunches are held three times per year for unit presidents, exclusive vice presidents and their principals. A small training is provided at the brunches. The school Superintendent also attends these brunches and addresses the group.