Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month


Did you know that Hispanic Heritage month is celebrated in the United States from September 15 — October 15? We celebrate the contributions that Hispanic and Latino Americans have made to the vitality, history and culture of North America. Hispanics and Latinos are those whose Spanish speaking ancestors came from the Caribbean, Central America, Mexico and South America. 

Legislation was brought forward by Edward R. Roybal (D-Los Angeles) for Hispanic Heritage week and signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson on September 17, 1968. During Ronald Reagan’s presidency, the week was expanded to a month and enacted into law on August 17, 1988.

The month was not randomly selected. Several Latin American countries celebrate their revolt against Spain from September 15 — October 15. These independence days are also known as “Fiestas Patrias”: 

  • September 15 – Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua
  • September 15-16 – Mexico
  • September 18 – Chile
  • September 21 – Belize
  • October 12 – Dia de la Raza; Indigenous Peoples Day; Columbus Day – the discovery of America in 1492

A few notable Hispanics include:

Jose Mariano Hernández became the 1st Hispanic from the Florida Territory to serve in the US Congress beginning on 01/03/1823.

Richard Edward Cavazos was the 1st Hispanic American US Army 4-Star General; recipient of the Distinguished Service Cross in 06/14/1953.

Cesar Chavez was the best known Hispanic American civil rights activist and labor leader using non-violent tactics making the farm workers struggle a “moral cause” in 1962.

Dolores Huerta is a Hispanic American labor leader who co-founded the National Farm Workers Union in 1962; directed the Delano grape strike of 1965.

Rita Moreno is the 1st Hispanic American to win an Oscar in 1965, a Grammy in 1972, a Tony in 1975, and an Emmy award in 1976.

Ramona Acosta Banuelos became the 1st Hispanic American U.S. Treasurer on 09/20/1971

Roberto Clemente was the 1st Hispanic MLB player elected for induction in the Baseball Hall of Fame on 03/20/1973.

Dr. Ellen Ochoa a NASA Research Engineer and 11th Director of the Johnson Space Center; 1st Hispanic American female astronaut; took her first venture on the shuttle Discovery on 04/08/1993

Sonia Sotomayor was sworn in as the 1st Hispanic American Supreme Court Justice on 08/08/2009.

Susan Martinez was the 1st Hispanic American female elected as Governor of New Mexico on 11/02/2010

Mario J. Molina was the 1st Hispanic to win the Nobel Prize in Chemistry (co-recipient) in 1995 for his discovery of the Antarctic ozone hole and the effect of chlorofluorocarbon gases on the Earth’s ozone layer.

Gloria Estafan has won 3 Grammys and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom on 11/24/2015 for her contributions to American music.

Hispanic heritage children’s books:

Cockcroft, James (2000) Latino Visions: Contemporary Chicano, Puerto Rican & Cuban American Artists

Hollihan, Kerrie Logan (2010) Hispanic Heritage Month

Kimmel, Eric A. (2004) Cactus Soup

Manzano, Sonia (2015) Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx

Martinez, Claudia Guadalupe (2014) Pig Park

McNelly McCormack Caren (2009) The Fiesta Dress: A Quinceañera Tale



¿Sabía usted que el mes de la Herencia Hispana se celebra en los Estados Unidos del 15 de septiembre al 15 de octubre?   Celebramos las contribuciones que los hispanos y los latinos han hecho para la vitalidad, la historia y la cultura de América del Norte. Los hispanos son aquellos cuyos antepasados de habla hispana vinieron del Caribe, Centroamérica, México y América del Sur. 

La legislación fue presentada por Edward R. Roybal (D-Los Angeles) para la semana de la Herencia Hispana y firmada por el presidente Lyndon Johnson el 17 de septiembre de 1968. Durante la presidencia de Ronald Reagan, la semana se amplió a un mes y se promulgó en ley el 17 de agosto de 1988.

El mes no fue seleccionado al azar.  Varios países latinoamericanos celebran su revuelta contra España del 15 de septiembre al 15 de octubre.  Estos días de independencia también se conocen como Fiestas Patrias: 

  • 15 de septiembre – Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras y Nicaragua
  • 15-16 de septiembre – México
  • 18 de septiembre: Chile
  • 21 de septiembre: Belice
  • 12 de octubre: Día de la Raza; Día de los Pueblos Indígenas; Día de Colón – el descubrimiento de América en 1492

Algunos hispanos notables incluyen:

José Mariano Hernández se convirtió en el primer hispano del Territorio de Florida en servir en el Congreso de los Estados Unidos a partir del 01/03/1823.

Richard Edward Cavazos fue el primer general de cuatro estrellas del ejercito que fue hispanoamericano; receptor de la Cruz de Servicio Distinguido en 06/14/1953.

Cesar Chávez fue el activista de derechos civiles hispanoamericano más conocido y líder laboral que utilizó tácticas no violentas haciendo que los trabajadores agrícolas lucharan como una “causa moral” en 1962.

Dolores Huerta es una líder laboral hispanoamericana que cofundó el Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores Agrícolas en 1962; dirigió la huelga de la uva Delano de 1965.

Rita Moreno es la 1a hispana hispana en ganar un Oscar en 1965, un Grammy en 1972, un Tony en 1975 y un premio Emmy en 1976.

Ramona Acosta Banuelos se convirtió en la 1a Tesorera Hispanoamericana de los Estados Unidos el 09/20/1971

Roberto Clemente fue el primer jugador hispano de la Liga Mayor de Béisbol elegido para la inducción en el Salón de la Fama del Béisbol el 03/20/1973.

Dra. Ellen Ochoa ingeniera de investigación de la NASA y 11a Directora del Centro Espacial Johnson; 1a mujer astronauta hispanoamericana; tomó su primera aventura en el transbordador Discovery el 04/08/1993

Sonia Sotomayor fue juramentada como la 1a Juez de la Corte Suprema Hispanoamericana el 08/08/2009.

Susan Martínez fue la primera mujer hispanoamericana elegida como Gobernadora de Nuevo México el 11/02/2010

Mario J. Molina fue el primer hispano en ganar el Premio Nobel de Química (co-receptor) en 1995 por su descubrimiento del agujero de ozono antártico y el efecto de los gases de clorofluorocarbono en la capa de ozono de la Tierra.

Gloria Estafan ha ganado 3 Grammys y fue galardonada con la Medalla Presidencial de la Libertad el 11/24/2015 por sus contribuciones a la música estadounidense.

Libros para niños de la herencia hispana:

Hollihan, Kerrie Logan (2010) Mes De La Herencia Hispana

Lopez, George (2013) No Voy a Mentir

Meet the Board of Directors: Heather Ippolito

We want you to get to know our Board of Directors better, since they are all here to serve you! Let’s meet our Vice President for Communications Heather Ippolito. 

Heather Ippolito has been involved for 20 years in PTA. Her favorite thing about PTA is her love of seeing the faces of children and families together during PTA events. “There is nothing better than seeing families having a wonderful time together!”

Heather is a teacher by trade who has been on a very extended leave while raising her daughter. She plans to return to substitute teaching this year while she works on obtaining her administrative credential. 

Heather is married to her high school sweetheart, Ron, who is a junior high school teacher. They have a musical theater-loving, clarinet-playing daughter named Libi who is in 7th grade. Their dog, Bella, enjoys barking at the neighbors and chasing bunnies out of the yard. 

Heather loves to travel with her family. They have visited all 1,111 California historical landmarks — so she has probably visited your neck of the woods during her travels. When the family is not traveling, you will find them using their annual pass at Disneyland. Her favorite quote is, “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.”  by Walt Disney. In her free time, Heather scrapbooks, collects Dopey memorabilia from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and spends time with her many friends.

If she could give one piece of advice, it would be to breathe! “In PTA things often don’t go as planned, so you need to be able to take a deep breath and go with Plan B.”

Why Wednesday? 9/18/19

It’s Why Wednesday! Q: Why hasn’t your PTA applied for one of our grants yet?

We offer grants to units, councils and districts in four different areas. Here is a little more information about each of them:

  1. Parent Education Grant — Parenting is hard. There is no manual to guide us through, so many parents turn to the PTA for educational opportunities. This grant can be used for parent education programs or projects that your PTA develops.
  2. Cultural Arts Grant — Arts education is not only an important part of a comprehensive education, but it is often students favorite part of the school day. The arts are a wonderful way to celebrate the cultures and diversity of the students on your campus. The cultural arts grant can be used for assemblies, docents, and other student-centered programs that support the arts or diversity and inclusion on your campus.
  3. Outreach Translation Grant — Every member matters at your PTA meetings and your school events, but often times communication is challenging with the diversity of languages on your campus. Use this grant to translate PTA written materials or oral presentations so that every member of your school community can participate in your events.
  4. Healthy Lifestyle Grant —  We want our children and families to have healthy minds and bodies. This grant can be used to implement programs to improve the health of adults and children in your community. Ideas for these grant funds include classes, health awareness weeks, health fairs or other safety programs.

We look forward to receiving your grant applications no later than October 15th. Learn more and apply at www.capta.org/grants.

Every Wednesday on the blog and on social media, we will be answering the most commonly asked questions about PTA. Do you have any questions we can answer for Why Wednesday? There are four ways to send us your questions:

  1. Complete this form: forms.gle/iy6z2mJoQbiehS6L6
  2. Tweet us @CaliforniaPTA
  3. Send us a Facebook message at www.facebook.com/CaliforniaPTA/ or comment on a Why Wednesday post
  4. Email communications@capta.org.

Meet the Board of Directors: Sherry Skelly Griffith

We want you to get to know our Board of Directors better, since they are all here to serve you!  Let’s meet our Executive Director Sherry Skelly Griffith.

Sherry Skelly Griffith has been involved in PTA for 19 years — 15 as PTA parent and 4 as the Executive Director of California State PTA. Her favorite thing about PTA is its mission: a commitment to all children and families.

Sherry has been married for 26 years and has three children: Connor, 25, Alison, 24, and Megan, 22. As the Executive Director, she ensures that California State PTA runs smoothly. Sherry represents PTA on on various state-wide committees and oversees all of the staff and operations at the state office. 

Sherry loves kayaking, camping, hiking, travel, volunteering with foster youth, gardening, flower arranging, cooking, music concerts, and spending time with family and friends. Her advice to others is to maintain balance in your life and be kind to yourself and others. “It has been a privilege to work with leaders advancing the needs of public education and the needs of the whole child for the last 35 plus years.”

New Arts Education Data Released

Every student has the right to a dynamic, creative education, and California Education Code requires it. Yet 88 percent of California schools are failing to meet this standard. This. Must. Change. That’s why California State PTA joined forces with Create CA to launch one of the most impactful public will campaigns for the arts in recent history demanding arts education for all students.

Simply put – arts education should not be optional.

This week, the 2017-2018 arts education data was released and you can see it here:  www.createca.dreamhosters.com/artsed-dataproject-2-2

The good news is that over the past five years there has been positive growth in delivering arts education to students. The bad news is that it will take 45 years for half of California’s middle and high school students to receive the education they are legally entitled to.

California State PTA’s Arts Education Committee Chair Erin Jenks sat down to take a look at how her school district measures up.Here’s what she had to say about the data in her community.

“I am fortunate enough to live in North Orange County, where we have relatively good schools. I have five children and eleven grandchildren and have been a member and serving in PTA for over 25 years. I have been a school district employee for 23 years; first as an instructional assistant and now as a library media tech (I run a high school library at an alternative high school). Between being a mom with all of the fun things that go with that (car-pools, team mom, team dinners etc), I have also had the good fortune to work with kids in my employment. That’s why I continue to serve in PTA – kids matter!

When I was in sixth grade, Fridays were dance days. I remember that everyone loved those Fridays – even the boys. And although Friday was always test day, no one missed because it was dance day. One Friday, the class was being particularly rambunctious and the teacher said she would cancel afternoon dance if we did not settle down.  Needless to say, no one believed her, until she told us no dancing today. I still remember all these years later that collective groan and a palpable feeling of disappointment permeated the entire class room and every student in the classroom was quiet for the remainder of the day.

When I reviewed the Data Project and I looked at the statistics for the school district I grew up in as well as the one that I work at and where my children attended school, I experienced that same feeling of disappointment that I did when that Friday dance class was cancelled. Imagine my consternation that things are not better since my Friday dance days, but are actually worse.

At the school where I work only 34% of students are enrolled in art – visual art 17%, 17% other. There is no dance, no music, no theater. Every day these students struggle towards graduation. Knowing that kids who receive arts education are five times more likely to graduate and that there is inequity in who receives a quality arts education, I am saddened to see that not just my district but so many others have not placed the value an arts education that should be a priority.

Arts matter – dancing, acting, singing, videos, poetry – what makes our souls sing, what makes everything better and easier – the arts.

CreateCA How To Navigate the Data from linda on Vimeo.

Take a closer look at the data for your school district to see how it compares. Share your response with us at arts@capta.org and with your PTA network and School Board.

Together, we must spark a movement with the public, parents, educators, artists and policy makers to demand a comprehensive, sequential arts curriculum for all children in grades K-12. If you haven’t yet, join California’s movement for arts education. Sign up at www.createca.org.

Why Wednesday? 9/11/19

It’s Why Wednesday! Q: Who qualifies for California State PTA grants and continuing education scholarships? When is the application due?

Continuing Education Scholarships:

To help you continue on your educational path, California State PTA is proud to offer several continuing education scholarship programs for school professionals and volunteers.

We have three opportunities available for nurses, teachers and counselors, and PTA volunteers.

All continuing education scholarship applications are due October 15, 2019. Follow this link to apply online or download an application to submit by mail or email.


California State PTA grant funds are available for PTAs in good standing to develop and implement programs and projects at the unit, council and district PTA levels.

We offer the following grants: cultural arts, outreach translation, healthy lifestyles and parent education. To get more information on the grants or download the application, click here.  

Applications must be mailed or emailed; faxes will not be accepted

  • Mailed applications must be received in the California State PTA office by the close of business October 15, 2019
  • Emailed applications must be received by 11:59 PM PST on October 15

High School Scholarships:

Tell the high school seniors in your life that California State PTA offers scholarships for them as well. High school senior scholarships are due February 1, 2020. More information can be found here.

Every Wednesday on the blog and on social media, we will be answering the most commonly asked questions about PTA. Do you have any questions we can answer for Why Wednesday? There are four ways to send us your questions:

  1. Complete this form: forms.gle/iy6z2mJoQbiehS6L6
  2. Tweet us @CaliforniaPTA
  3. Send us a Facebook message at www.facebook.com/CaliforniaPTA/ or comment on a Why Wednesday post
  4. Email communications@capta.org.

Meet the Board of Directors: Carol Green

We want you to get to know our Board of Directors better, since they are all here to serve you!  Let’s meet our President-Elect Carol Green.

Carol Green has been involved in PTA for 22 years. Her favorite thing about PTA is the people and the good things the association can do for children.

Carol is married to a middle school teacher and has three young adult children and a rescue dog. She works as a public health advocate communications/community relations director.

Carol loves to travel and work in the garden. She and her family loves to spend time at the beach (lots of beaches), Balboa Park, and hiking around San Diego.

Her advice to PTA leaders is to collaborate and invite people to work with you. “PTA is more fund with others and you never know when you’ll meet a great friend.” She has learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

Carol is excited to work with everyone, share ideas, and make a difference for our children and all children in California.

Grandparents Day is September 9

Today is Grandparents Day! In 1969, Russell Capper wrote to President Nixon suggesting a holiday to honor grandparents. Grandparents Day didn’t become a national holiday until 1978, when President Carter signed the proclamation. If it weren’t for Russell’s idea and the help of some persistent senators we wouldn’t have this day to celebrate all the contributions made by grandparents!  Here are some unique ways to celebrate grandparents at your school:

  • Invite parents, teachers and community members to join PTA in honor of a grandparent who has impacted their life
  • Host an event like “Games with Grandparents” where students can bring a grandparent or a special senior in their life to school. Have board games set up in the MPR or a classroom that they can play together
  • Ask grandparents to come read to the children at your school and give them a bookmark made by the students as a thank you gift
  • Have a “Senior” Prom where you invite grandparents to school for a dance. Play oldies music so that the grandparents can show off their dance moves. We promise that everyone — old and young — will have a swell time!


International Literacy Day is September 8

This weekend is International Literacy Day. On Sunday, September 8, countries around the world acknowledge that literacy is a fundamental human right. The theme this year is literacy and multilingualism. If you want to celebrate, here are a few ideas:

  • Encourage your school librarian to purchase books that include every language spoken by families on your campus. This is a great use of book fair proceeds to make sure you have diversity of languages on your school library shelves
  • Have a used book drive at school. Ask families to donate any books they are no longer reading at home, then use those books to have a “shop” where any student can take home a book for free
  • Host a Family Literacy Night. Have centers with crafts and activities based on different books for families to try. Ask your local library to join in so that families can apply for library cards and learn about the services offered at the community library.

If you celebrate International Literacy Day, please share with us what you did on social media. 

Meet the Board of Directors: Celia Jaffe

We want you to get to know our Board of Directors better, since they are all here to serve you!  First up, let’s meet our President Celia Jaffe.

Celia Jaffe, President, has been involved with PTA for 27 years. Her favorite thing about PTA is making a difference for kids and working with people who want to do that too.

Celia and her husband, Harvey, have been together since they were 18. They have two grown children.Their daughter works for a tech start-up in San Francisco and their son works in sports statistics in Chicago. Her entire family loves games, trivia, musicals, Harry Potter, escape rooms and “other nerdy stuff.”

Celia is focused on her presidency right now which is a full time job. She has been a school board member, worked for various foundations and civic groups, and began her career as a high school English teacher.

Celia sees herself as a mixture of extrovert and introvert, “so please come up and say hi when you see me out and about.”

Her advice to others is to “appreciate the people you work with and help set them up for success.”  Her favorite quote is, “Let us put our minds together and see what life we can make for our children.” – Sitting Bull