October is Principal Appreciation Month

October is Principal Appreciation Month. Site administrator support is a key component to PTA success– and the principal is a large part of that! Here are some tips for forming a stronger relationship with your site administrator:

  • Set a positive, collaborative and respectful tone.
  • Make sure you have consistent, two-way communication.
  • Work with your school–you are part of the team to make your school successful.
  • Attend training yourself and bring your site administrator.
  • Don’t forget that your principal is part of your team.

For more information including a self assessment for principals and unit leaders you can visit our resource page.

Meet the Board of Directors: Heidi Goddi

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 of Convention Heidi Goddi.

Heidi Goddi, Vice President of Convention, has been involved in PTA for 21 years. Her favorite thing about PTA is empowering and educating our members.

Heidi’s husband, Martin, teaches sixth grade and has recently joined her in PTA leadership. He stepped up to be our District President in 2017 and currently chairs the California State PTA Student Involvement Committee. They have two children who are the light of their lives. She couldn’t be more proud of them. Paige, 27, is a 911 dispatcher and getting married this September. Brad, 25, works as an automotive technician for Toyota. Her pets include a cattle dog named Spots, who is constantly herding us, three cats, Fang, Flash and Jack, who were born wild, and a beta fish named Catnip.

Heidi has worked for worked Thrifty Supply Company, a wholesale plumbing, heating and industrial water works supply company for 35 years. She loves to garden, go motorcycle riding, kayaking, and craft things with her hands. She has made jewelry, dabbled in water colors and acrylics, and her most current obsession is crocheting.

“I love the way that PTA levels the playing field. It doesn’t matter where you live, how much money you make, if you graduated college or not. PTA gives you what you need to be the best advocate for all children.”

Why Wednesday? 10/16/2019

It’s Why Wednesday! Why should your unit budget to attend Convention?

Convention is THE place to come for:

  • Training opportunities
  • Amazing speakers
  • Networking with other PTA leaders from around the state
  • Participating in the business of the association
  • A unique opportunity to meet vendors

Classes have included: key officer training (President, Secretary, Treasurer, Parliamentarian, and others), classes for Council or District leaders, managing conflict, communication strategies, tips for managing teen stress, running your Reflections program, membership, and many more classes.

We have special events, our Reflections gallery, a vendor hall, the PTA Store to visit, and lots of fun to be had!

In addition to all that we also do the business of the organization. We approve amendments, vote of a legislative platform as well as legislative policies and procedures, and adopt resolutions. In the conventions that take place in odd years, we also elect officers.

Plan to join us in Riverside May 15-17, 2020 for the 121st California State PTA Convention!

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Other than skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women. Mammograms are the best way to find breast cancer early, when it is easier to treat and before it is big enough to feel or cause symptoms.

Each year in the United States, more than 245,000 women get breast cancer and more than 40,000 women die from the disease. See detailed statistics. Men also get breast cancer, but it is not very common. Less than 1% of breast cancers occur in men.

Most breast cancers are found in women who are 50 years old or older, but breast cancer also affects younger women. About 10% of all new cases of breast cancer in the United States are found in women younger than 45 years of age.

There are different symptoms of breast cancer, and some people have no symptoms at all. Symptoms can include—

  • Any change in the size or the shape of the breast.
  • Pain in any area of the breast.
  • Nipple discharge other than breast milk (including blood).
  • A new lump in the breast or underarm.

If you have any signs that worry you, see your doctor right away.

Some main factors that influence your risk for breast cancer include—

  • Being a woman.
  • Being older (most breast cancers are found in women who are 50 years old or older).
  • Having changes in your BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes.

Most women who get breast cancer have no known risk factors and no history of the disease in their families. There are things you can do to can help lower your breast cancer risk.

Although breast cancer screening cannot prevent breast cancer, it can help find breast cancer early, when it is easier to treat. Talk to your doctor about breast cancer screening.



Our Children Magazine

The Fall 2019 version of National PTA’s magazine “Our Children” was just released. There are lots of great articles including 10 Questions You Should Ask About Your Child’s Curriculum, How to Navigate Speech and Language Services in School, Get Your Morning Routine Back on Track, and lots more! The edition was mailed to PTA members, but it can also be accessed online. A few of their articles are even in Spanish.

One of our favorite articles is “5 Things I Learned as a PTA Volunteer”. Author Sarah Marjoram learned in her 11 years serving at a unit in Georgia that:

  1. Volunteers Make School Better
  2. PTA Isn’t Intimidating
  3. You Can Play To Your Strategies
  4. Volunteering is Networking
  5. Showing Up Matters

We hope that you will find her article on pages 18-19 and share it with other parents at your school. Like all of our California State publications, you are free to use the articles with the parents at your unit. We suggest sending them home on the backs of fliers or using them for parent education mini-classes at your association meetings.

Meet the Board of Directors: Deborah Johnson

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 of Family Engagement Deborah Johnson.

Deborah Johnson, Vice President of Family Engagement, has been involved with PTA for 33 years. Her favorite thing about PTA is working with children and families to ensure their success in school and in life.

Deb has a fabulous husband of 35 years and three wonderful children who are all very successful. She is a kindergarten teacher. She and her husband enjoy watching the Oakland Raiders and spending a great day with her family.

Her advice for others is to be a great listener. “If you listen you can solve any problems in your life and in your PTA life.” Her favorite quote is “Just win baby!” She is always there to serve PTA leaders no matter whether she is at work, at a PTA meeting, or at a workshop. “I’m just a phone call and an email away.”

Mental Health Day

World Mental Health Day is observed on 10 October every year, with the overall objective of raising awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilizing efforts in support of mental health.

The day provides an opportunity for all stakeholders working on mental health issues to talk about their work, and what more needs to be done to make mental health care a reality for people worldwide.

Mental health in childhood means reaching developmental and emotional milestones, and learning healthy social skills and how to cope when there are problems. Mentally healthy children have a positive quality of life and can function well at home, in school, and in their communities.

Mental health is important to overall health. Mental disorders are chronic health conditions—those that go on for a long time and often don’t go away completely—that can continue through the lifespan. Without early diagnosis and treatment, children with mental disorders can have problems at home, in school, and in forming friendships. This can also interfere with their healthy development, and these problems can continue into adulthood.

Mental disorders among children are described as serious changes in the way children typically learn, behave, or handle their emotions, which cause distress and problems getting through the day.

Among the more common mental disorders that can be diagnosed in childhood are attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, and behavior disorders. Other childhood disorders and concerns that affect how children learn, behave, or handle their emotions can include learning and developmental disabilities, autism, and risk factors like substance use and self-harm.

Symptoms of mental disorders change over time as a child grows, and may include difficulties with how a child plays, learns, speaks, and acts or how the child handles their emotions. Symptoms often start in early childhood, although some disorders may develop during the teenage years. The diagnosis is often made in the school years and sometimes earlier. However, some children with a mental disorder may not be recognized or diagnosed as having one.

Childhood mental disorders can be treated and managed. There are many treatment options based on the best and most current medical evidence, so parents and doctors should work closely with everyone involved in the child’s treatment — teachers, coaches, therapists, and other family members. Taking advantage of all the resources available will help parents, health professionals, and educators guide the child towards success. Early diagnosis and appropriate services for children and their families can make a difference in the lives of children with mental disorders.




Why Wednesday? 10/9/2019

It’s Why Wednesday! What are the frequent errors units make on PTA tax forms?

Filing Your Tax Forms

If you are like a lot of people, the thought of dealing with tax forms or the IRS in any capacity makes you shudder. Unfortunately, all nonprofits have tax forms that they have to file every year. Fortunately, PTA has resources to make tax filings easier and for many of you, your tax filings can be done online, with very little angst.

Now, about those forms…Every nonprofit in California, which includes EVERY PTA, is required to submit tax filings to three different government agencies: the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) and the California Attorney General’s Registry of Charitable Trusts (AG/RCT). These forms are due 4 ½ months after the end of your fiscal year. It sounds complicated but what it means is that if your fiscal year ends on June 30th, then your tax forms are all due by November 15th. If your fiscal year ends on May 31st, then your forms are due by October 15th.

So now that we know that you have to file and your tax filings are probably due soon, let’s talk about a really important term: gross receipts. In general, your PTA’s gross receipts will be the total of all the income you’ve received during the fiscal year from all sources less the portion of your membership dues which are forwarded to your Council or District. Think of it like this:

(All Income) – (Membership Dues forwarded to Council/District) = Gross Receipts

Now let’s talk about the three forms you need to file…

IRS 990 Series

There are three versions of this form: 990N, 990EZ and 990. If your PTA’s gross receipts were less than $50,000 AND your PTA’s gross receipts are usually less than $50,000 then you can file the 990-N electronic postcard. (“Usually less than $50,000” means that the average gross receipts over the past three years is less than $50,000.)

If you can’t file the 199-N, then your PTA will need to file either the 990 EZ or the 990, depending on your PTA’s gross receipts and total assets. These are longer and more complex forms and California State PTA strongly encourages any PTA required to file the IRS 990EZ or 990 to seek professional assistance from someone who is experienced in filing non-profit tax returns.

CA FTB 199 Series

There are two versions of this form: 199N and 199. If your PTA’s gross receipts were less than $50,000 AND your gross receipts are usually less than $50,000, then you can file the 199N online.

If your PTA is not able to file the 199N then you need to file the longer 199 form. California State PTA strongly encourages any PTA which is required to file the 199 to seek professional assistance from someone who is experienced in filing non-profit tax returns.

AG/RCT Charitable Trust Renewal Form (RRF-1)

This form is required by the California Attorney General’s Registry of Charitable Trusts. There is only one version of the form, however you may file it online via the AG/RCT’s Charity Registration Online Renewal System. (Please note that this system requires you to request a user ID before you can use it.) If you prefer to file a paper RRF-1 form, it is recommended that you send it via certified mail. If your PTA’s gross receipts were more than $25,000, you will also need to mail a check with your form or submit an electronic payment via the AG/RCT’s Charity Registration Online Renewal System.

In general, the answers to questions 1 through 9 are usually “NO” unless you used a commercial fundraising company or held a raffle. Please be aware that the semi-annual audits required of every PTA are NOT considered “audited financial statements” within the meaning of question 9. If you answer “YES” to any question, be sure to include an attachment with the required additional information. Incomplete forms will be rejected.

In addition, if your PTA files an IRS 990EZ or 990, you must include a complete copy of your IRS tax filing with your RRF-1 form. The AG/RCT’s Charity Registration Online Renewal System allows for IRS filings to be uploaded as PDF files.

A Couple of Important Notes

If your PTA is going to pay a professional to prepare and file your taxes, please make sure that they are experienced in filing tax returns for non-profits. It’s even better if they’re experienced in filing tax returns for PTAs. Just as you wouldn’t take your car to a bicycle repair shop, you shouldn’t take your taxes to a professional who has never filed for a non-profit before.

Even if your PTA is filing the e-postcard versions of the IRS and California forms, you can seek professional assistance. This is a legitimate expense and you are not “wasting” money by paying a professional when necessary. Remember that it is not the Treasurer’s job to file the PTA tax returns. It is the Treasurer’s job to ensure that the tax returns are filed.

If you have questions or need help, please contact your council or district treasurer or visit the California State PTA’s Tax Filing Support Center https://capta.org/pta-leaders/services/tax-filing-support-center/. All tax forms and links to online filing sites can also be found at the Tax Filing Support Center link above.

Get the Lead Out

“I know many parents who had a new water bottle on their ‘back to school’ shopping list,” said Mariaelena Huizar, California State PTA Vice President of Health and Community Concerns. “We’ve got to make sure what’s going in those bottles is safe. For that reason, I’m recommending this Get the Lead Out toolkit to parents. It’s short and gives you concrete tools to work with your school and ensure safe drinking water for our children.”

Everyone agrees that our kids need and deserve safe drinking water at school. Unfortunately, most schools were built with fountains, faucets and other parts that contain lead. So far, over 2,000 water fountains and sinks in California schools have been found to leach lead into the drinking water. And since only a fraction of water fountains have been tested in the state, we are likely only scratching the surface of the problem.

The good news is that parents and school officials working together can solve this problem. The legislature has demonstrated a commitment to help schools address this, with $150 million allocated to lead remediation as part of a new statewide school bond likely heading to voters in 2020. But today’s students are counting on schools to take initiative now to get out the lead.

The California Public Interest Research Group (CALPIRG) has created a free Back to School Toolkit that includes a fact sheet, sample materials for taking action, and links to additional resources. You can download the toolkit here: www.calpirg.org

World Teachers Day

Tomorrow is World Teachers Day– and in the PTA universe, we know how important our teachers are! Having the teachers at your school join your PTA and participate in your programs is a great way to encourage children and families to join in the fun! Students love when their teacher comes to an event and parents like the opportunity to see a teacher outside of parent conference.

Show teachers how much we appreciate all that they do! We know that Teacher Appreciation Week isn’t officially until May, but you can still use some of these ideas to recognize your teachers earlier in the year!

Teachers, did you know that we also have resources you can use with the families in your classroom– many of which are available in different languages? National PTA even has a guide designed especially for teachers on ways to increase parent engagement at your school.

Don’t forget that we are a team– that’s why we are called the Parent Teacher Association! Thank you for all you do on a daily basis to positively impact the lives of children and families at our schools.