Listening Sessions on Race and Racism: Jan. 25-28

The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee of California State PTA is excited to host three Zoom “listening sessions” in January 2021 around race, racism and PTA.

We want to hear from our members of color, in order for our organization to begin to improve the PTA experience. We aim to listen to your authentic voices to help guide us in making all our members feel included, valued, and respected.

We acknowledge that our members experience PTA differently because of different aspects of their identity, so each listening session is aimed at a different racial/ethnic identity group. Each session will be a safe, confidential space for members of that particular group to honestly share, without the burden of code-switching* while participating.

  • January 25, 6:00-7:00 pm: For Black/African American/multi-racial Black persons, facilitated by a Black/African American person.
  • January 26, 6:00-7:00 pm: For those Indigenous to California lands or multi-racial Indigenous, facilitated by a person Indigenous to California.
  • January 28, 6:00-7:00 pm: For non-Indigenous, non-Black persons of color or non-Black non-Indigenous multi-racial persons, facilitated by a non-Indigenous, non-Black person of color.

*  Code-switching is the practice of changing the way you speak or act in order to fit in with the dominant cultural group 

Each session will be recorded and PTA leaders will listen to them afterward for learning purposes, but we will not divulge any personal information from any session.

Click here to read a document which explains in further detail the why and how of the listening sessions.

Who Should Participate

We are looking for both unit board members and unit non-board members, as well as council/district representatives; at least half of the participant group will be unit-level members who have not participated at the council or above levels, and at least a quarter will be unit non-board members.

We are also looking for regional representation, elementary and secondary representation, urban/rural/suburban representation, Title 1 and non Title 1 schools and districts, white-passing/non white-passing.

How to Participate

Interested persons should contact Marilyn Cachola Lucey in one of the following ways:

  • Via email to
  • By text message to 925-708-5030
  • By phone call (please leave a message) to 925-708-5030

There is no specific application, but we do need the following from potential participants:

  • The name under which your PTA membership can be verified
  • Your email or phone number
  • Your self-identified race and self-identified gender
  • How many children you have in elementary/secondary school
  • Whether you are from an urban, rural or suburban community
  • Whether your school/school district is Title 1 or not Title 1
  • Whether you are a unit board member, a unit non-board member, or a council/district/state board member
  • Whether you are white-passing or non white-passing

Interest will be taken on a rolling basis; interested parties will be notified by January 23rd.

Additional listening sessions for additional identity groups will be organized contingent on approval of PTA leadership.

Convention 2021 is Going Virtual!

After many weeks of careful consideration, California State PTA has decided to hold an all-virtual convention next May.

On Saturday, November 7, the Board of Managers acted upon the recommendation of the Board of Directors and approved a virtual Convention 2021. The BOD & BOM concluded that this is the most responsible choice, based on the results of the convention survey, analysis of numerous financial scenarios, and evaluation of the latest public health guidelines and predictions about the COVID-19 pandemic.

While we are disappointed that we will not be able to see all of you in person, we feel that health and safety factors outweigh the joy of bringing everyone physically together. Furthermore, based on the success of the all-virtual Statewide Association Meeting last June and the Virtual Summer Leadership Academy in July and August, we are confident that Convention 2021 will be an engaging and exciting event.

We look forward to bringing you an innovative virtual experience during 2021, including an online vendor fair, numerous training sessions, 2021-2023 officer elections, the Reflections art gallery, and other business of the association.

Look for information on the convention page, in your email and on social media in the coming weeks and months about dates, registration procedures, and the program of events.

We hope to see you there!

Virtual School Smarts Program Launch Meeting – Nov. 20

Join us via Zoom on Friday, November 20 from 3-4:00 p.m. to learn more about the award-winning School Smarts Parent Engagement Program’s transformation to a virtual environment.

For the past 10 years School Smarts has inspired more than 10,000 parents to more deeply engage in their child’s school experience.

The seven-session School Smarts program provides training and knowledge to help parents understand how they play an integral role in their student’s educational outcomes. Each session offers opportunities for participants to share their own experiences, ask questions, and consider how they can take a more active role in their child’s education.

School Smarts graduates are able to:

  • Explain why parent involvement matters so much
  • Identify ways to prepare their child for a successful high school experience to support college and career possibilities
  • Summarize ways to learn how their child is doing in school
  • Describe how to cultivate relationships with the school board, principal, teachers and staff
  • Share how to prepare for a successful parent-teacher conference
  • State different ways to practice leadership within a school community
  • And, much, much more!

This Zoom meeting offers the opportunity to check out the School Smarts program for yourself, and find out how to bring the program to the families in your school community.

Click here to register today:

Help Your Child Succeed in Math with “Discover Math Together”

You don’t have to be a “math person” to help your child be successful at mathematics!

During our “Discover Math Together” virtual learning series this summer, Alex Kajitani, California Teacher of the Year and “The Rappin’ Mathematician,” will lead three sessions that will give parents the confidence, knowledge, and strategies to help their children succeed in math!

Here are the remaining dates, times, and registration details:

  • Session II – Engaging & Amazing Resources for Learning Math Online: Wednesday, July 29, 2020, 4:30-5:30 pm
    This fun-filled session gives parents tips and resources that they can use with their children to learn math, remotely, or any way. Explore and play with some great resources that you can use immediately with your own kids, from virtual manipulatives to engaging websites and videos.
  • Session III – Ten Ways Parents Can Help Their Kids Succeed in Math (Even If They Don’t Consider Themselves a “Math Person”): Wednesday, August 5, 2020, 4:30-5:30 pm
    In this session Alex offers a fun and engaging look at how we can help our kids get excited about math, and see the value of it in their own lives.

Click the following Zoom link to register for any or all of the sessions:

About Alex Kajitani: Alex is the 2009 California Teacher of the Year, and a Top-4 Finalist for National Teacher of the Year. He is known around the world as “The Rappin’ Mathematician,” and was featured on The CBS Evening News, where Katie Couric exclaimed, “I LOVE that guy!” Alex is also on a mission to get every kid in America to learn their times tables, and to make this happen, he created the wildly popular online program

Hear recordings of our online “Listening Sessions” from June 17 and June 25

California State PTA recently held several interactive online networking sessions, hosted by President-Elect Carol Green, where we discussed distance learning and the challenges of parenting during the pandemic. We shared resources and best practices, and learned from parents and guardians what works for you, and what has proved the most challenging.

June 17 – “Connecting with PTA Leaders”

If you’d like to watch a recording of this session, click here.

GUEST PANELISTS: Michael Morgan, Vice President for Membership Services; Mariaelena Huizar, Vice President for Health and Community Concerns; and Otis Cross, Chairman of District Presidents and California Principals who work with PTAs.

June 25 – “Family Engagement — Supporting families and schools during challenging times”

If you’d like to watch a recording of this session, click here.

GUEST PANELISTS: Lisa Borrego, Director of Family Engagement and Partnership Development for San Juan Unified School District, and Marín Trujillo, Coordinator of Community Engagement for West Contra Costa Unified School District.

California State PTA Partners with State Superintendent in Virtual Parent Circle Event to Help Support Families During the Pandemic

State Superintendent Tony Thurmond hosted the first online event for the new Virtual Parent Support Circle yesterday in the form of a panel discussion with California Surgeon General Dr. Nadine Burke Harris and partners from the California State PTA and the Parent Institute for Quality Education (PIQE).

The panel highlighted the diverse challenges our parents are encountering. According to Thurmond, the Virtual Parent Support Circle seeks to reach out and hear directly from parents across California and encourage them to do their best while sharing resources and supports as they cope with distance learning and economic challenges.

“Through this virtual support group, I felt compelled to provide a space to let California parents know they are not alone as this pandemic affects parents differently,” Thurmond said. “Some parents work and don’t have access to reliable child care, or there may be technology limitations and language barriers to consider. Other parents are also teachers, who have poured their hearts into supporting both their own children and their students. As a father of two daughters in public schools, I am committed to ensuring resources—and, yes, emotional support—are reaching parents as they deal with so much uncertainty. The California Department of Education is committed to providing clarity during this unprecedented time.”

Yesterday’s event featured video testimony from parents across the state about their respective challenges and an overview of academic, bilingual, and mental health resources. Dr. Burke Harris spoke about dealing with stress and the importance of daily exercise, and encouraged parents to take care of themselves and reach out to others for support.

This was the first of many events planned for the Virtual Parent Support Circle series. It can be watched via Facebook Live on the California Department of Education (CDE) Facebook page. The PowerPoint utilized during yesterday’s presentation with information on parent resources will be published on the CDE web page in the next few days and then shared on the CDE’s social media. Comments from parents and educators are welcomed at


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Founders’ Day is February 17 of each year — and a special time to reflect the value of PTA.

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In 2017, PTA celebrated 120 years of advocacy. Although the webinar below may be outdated, it offers great information that can be used year after year.

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