PTA Leaders

Highlight outstanding programs with Unit and Council Spotlight Awards

PTA members bring innovative services to our kids and schools each and every day. And the California State PTA Spotlight Awards are here to help recognize and share units’ special programs.  Applications must be mailed to the California State PTA office and received no later than 5 p.m. on February 1.

The application process for 2017 is now closed.


PTA units can apply for awards for:

  • Programs for Student Achievement
  • Environmental
  • Family Engagement
  • Membership and Outreach
  • Collaboration
  • Advocacy
  • Student Involvement.

PTA councils can apply for awards for:

  • Advocacy
  • Collaboration
  • Communication
  • Leadership Development

Download the application.


For more information on these unique recognitions, please contact the California State PTA Spotlight Award Committee Chairman at

2016 Unit and Council Spotlight Award Honorees

ADVOCACY – Robinson Elementary PTA, Saddleback Valley Council, Fourth District PTA
Robinson Elementary PTA organized a program called Ability Awareness. The program teaches students about children with special needs with exercises at various learning stations. They learn sign language, practice braille, work with wheelchairs and walkers, or wear earphones to muffle sounds. They also learn how to trust walking blindfolded while using a blind cane. These lessons helped students begin to understand the challenges faced by their peers with special needs, and has created a real community at their school.

COLLABORATION – Kentfield Schools PTA, Out of Council, Sixteenth District PTA
The Kentfield Safe Routes Task Force includes local government representatives, law enforcement, school administration and the parent community. Parent volunteers provide in-person outreach and information at back-to- school events, post notices on their website and on social media, send direct mail and newsletters to parents and connect through a community message board. Special Wednesdays are designated as “Go Green,” where students and families are encouraged to participate as walkers and riders on their way to and from school. About 20 volunteers act as neighborhood captains, who report on unsafe conditions for walkers and riders. These safety issues are tracked and remedied through advocacy efforts of the task force.

ENVIRONMENTAL – Henry W. Longfellow Elementary PTA, Long Beach Council, Thirty-Third District PTA
The Longfellow Green Team is a group of students, volunteers, parents, staff, teachers and administrators who are committed to helping children and their families be more aware of the environment, the resources we have, and living in a more sustainable “green’ way.  The Green Team runs a number of concurrent and complementary programs including: lunchtime recycling, cafeteria food donation (“Food Finders” program), Walk-to-School Wednesdays, uniform swap, Friday recycling, utilizing terracycling programs and awarding students at monthly assemblies for being “caught” utilizing green practices.  Longfellow’s Green Team is committed to practicing the three R’s – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

FAMILY ENGAGEMENT – Alice McLellan Birney Elementary PTA, Redondo Beach Council, Thirty-Third District PTA
Family nights filled with food, entertainment, games and crafts encourage involvement at Birney Elementary. One such event was a holiday multi-cultural night with a potluck of favorite dishes from the various cultures of the school community, including curry, hummus, meatballs, baklava, sauerkraut, kugel and many other exotic dishes. Students and parents entertained the crowd with songs in French, a Spanish dance, magic and more. Holiday traditions were shared with each other. The togetherness of these nights has brought about a positive impact in the school community.

MEMBERSHIP AND OUTREACH – Portola Hills Elementary School PTA, Saddleback Council, Fourth District PTA
Portola Hills PTA implemented several membership drives encouraging people to join PTA. Each drive was unique in the method of communication, including principal emails, postings on the PTA website, Facebook page, class standing posters, teacher emails, and information on the back of membership forms. The incentives were likewise unique, from snow cones for joining to free front-row parking and tickets to the Fall Fair Event, to Scholastic Bucks for the classroom, and having their artwork displayed in a prominent location for the entire year. The message about joining PTA was clear and consistent, and exceeded previous year’s membership by more than 110 members!

STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT – Miller School PTA, Escondido Council, Ninth District PTA
Miller PTA organized a program to introduce students to art history, including elements and techniques. At least one standard from the California Visual Arts Standards per grade level was selected to both challenge and reward students. Objectives were created, along with a monthly curriculum of objectives. Because the school does not staff an art teacher, volunteers were enlisted as docents. Student work is displayed throughout the school and the program has sparked enthusiasm and excitement throughout the student body.

STUDENT INVOLVEMENT – Escalona Elementary PTA, Norwalk-La Mirada Council, Thirty-Third District PTA
Red Ribbon Week was taken to a whole new level. Along with the usual activities most schools enjoy, Escalona PTA included a blood drive with a goal of obtaining 20 donated pints – they received 34 pints! Students wrote more than 400 letters to men and women in the Armed Forces thanking them for their bravery and service. Several students had their hair cut at an assembly and donated it to Wigs for Kids. On crazy sock day, students collected and donated 578 pairs of new socks as part of a NED presentation assembly. The week was complete with their Annual Book Character Parade. These activities tapped into student generosity and sense of community, while promoting self-esteem and social awareness.

ADVOCACY – Irvine Unified Council of PTAs, Fourth District PTA
Irvine Unified Council organized a “Sacramento Safari” for 31 students from six high schools. Students learned to advocate for Irvine and California educational issues and policies. Students attended panel meetings to learn about current educational issues before heading north. Meetings at the Capitol were arranged through a lobbyist with Irvine Unified School District. Upon return from Sacramento, students have been in-demand speakers for the remaining year at council meetings, school board presentations, at LCAP reviews and other special events.

COLLABORATION – Palos Verdes Peninsula Council of PTAs, Thirty-Third District PTA
Palos Verdes Peninsula Council organized and promoted a symposium on human trafficking. They partnered with the local Chamber of Commerce, American Association of University Women, League of Women Voters, library district and their county supervisor. The symposium included speakers working in the area to prevent and stop human trafficking and supporting victims. A victim was also presented to share her story, and an expert from Children’s Rescue Alliance offered suggestions for keeping children safe from predators. The goal was to make parents and children more aware of why and how predators operate, and ultimately make children less vulnerable to strangers.

COMMUNICATION – ABC Council of PTAs, Thirty-Third District PTA
ABC Council collaborated with their school district and adult school to host a Parent Leadership Conference. Parents, principals and community leaders attend. A breakfast is served and during the first hour, attendees are introduced to local school officials and community leaders. A keynote or panel of parents share how their involvement has helped their child succeed in school and the reward reaped by the entire family. Entertainment is provided by students, often a Reflections Art Program award recipient. The school district superintendent also shares information on items of interest, including the Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) and information on new state standards. This conference has sparked interest in parents for joining the PTA.

LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT – Torrance Council of PTAs, Thirty-Third District PTA
After attending the Torrance Unified School District’s Annual English Language Multi-Cultural Committee Parent Education Conference for many years, the Torrance Council decided to become an active participant. They developed a workshop session to show parents of English-learners (EL) how to be involved in their child’s school, PTA and other opportunities. The workshop addressed difficulties in promoting PTA membership and involvement among the very diverse student groups and families. In addition, research was shared showing the positive aspect for being an involved parent. This conference attracted more than 400 EL parent participants.