National PTA Reflections Results for 2020-21

By the Reflections Committee

A total of 13 students from California received recognition for their creative accomplishments from the National PTA Reflections program. You can see a list of all the 2020-21 California Reflections awards here.

National PTA Reflections – Outstanding Interpretation
Mark Wagner
Dance Choreography – Special Artist Division
Dana Hills High School, Fourth District PTA
“I Speak With My Dancing”

Artist Statement: I matter because I am different. I speak with my dancing.

National PTA Reflections – Award of Excellence
Hailey Johnston
Film Production – Middle School Division
Nick G. Parras Middle School, Thirty-Third District PTA
“I Matter Because I’m Me”

Artist Statement: I Matter Because is a question you ask yourself all the time but you don’t have to have a reason. You matter because you are you and THAT is what matters.

National PTA Reflections – Award of Excellence
Gabriela Korszyk
Film Production – Special Artist Division
Covina High School, First District PTA
“Meant to Be”

Artist Statement: I matter because I am worth it. God doesn’t make mistakes. I am handicapped but I’m surrounded by loving people and I’m grateful for it. I’m meant to be.

National PTA Reflections – Award of Excellence
Eva Whittemore
Literature – Primary Division
Dixie Canyon Elementary School, Thirty-First District PTA
“Things My Teacher Should Tell Herself”

Artist Statement: Everybody knows that teachers matter, but teachers may not know how much they matter. I named my poem “Things My Teacher Should Tell Herself” because it’s hard to do school over zoom and some of the work is hard to do alone. My teacher should tell herself that she’s doing her best.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

National PTA Reflections – Award of Excellence
Amira Olin
Literature – Middle School Division
Walter Reed Middle School, Thirty-First District PTA
“Equity, Equality, Discord and Disunity”

Artist Statement: This poem expresses the importance of not allowing race, color, image, gender and other differences separate or hinder us individually and as a group. It urges us to speak up and standup for what is right or what we believe in. We should all strive for equality, inclusivity and equity for a better society because we are all of one world. I matter because I represent society in a world full of disparity. I matter because I exist. I matter because we matter!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

National PTA Reflections – Award of Excellence
Lukas Shen
Photography – Middle School Division
Foothills Middle School, First District PTA
“Mitakuye Oyasin”

Artist Statement: Mitakuye Oyasin is a phrase from the Lakota language that my dad introduced me to. It means “we are all related”. I was looking through a photography magazine, and I saw a picture of a Native American with war paint. I created a graphic of different colored lines, each representing a different ethnicity. With a black background behind me, I projected the graphic on my face and used a remote to take this self portrait. We’re all related because all ethnicities make up the human race.

 

National PTA Reflections – Award of Excellence
Kotaro Fujita
Photography – Special Artist Division
South High School, Thirty-Third District PTA
“Because I am a Japanese American”

Artist Statement: This family photo of my parents, sister and my hand. My parents came from Japan 30 years ago. I was born in the United States. I love both America and Japan. I want to be a bridge between the two Countries.

 

 

 

 

 

National PTA Reflections – Award of Merit
Islelamia Bruner
Dance Choreography – Middle School Division
Mountainview Elementary School, Thirty-Fourth District PTA
“Freedom”

Artist Statement: I Matter Because this year has been a struggle for my culture. The Hate that we are given, has torn me apart. I just want this dance to let people know that we won’t go silent until our voices are heard. Let this dance give a message of where we have come from and we have always stood for Freedom. All lives do matter, but we are not added to that equation all the time. We won’t go silent.

National PTA Reflections – Award of Merit
Alice Finkelstein
Dance Choreography – High School Division
Carlmont High School, Seventeenth District PTA
“United Existence”

Artist Statement: In this piece, I express my place in this world and how I come to realize that I matter. At first, I do not understand the role that I have, but then suddenly, I become aware that everyone in this world is interconnected: we rely on each other for help and support, and everyone is capable of making others feel loved, appreciated, and significant. This is the manifestation of why I matter, and why everyone else in this world does. I matter because I have the power to make others matter. Together, we have the power to transform our world.

National PTA Reflections – Award of Merit
Namya Jha
Film Production – Primary Division
Foster City Elementary School, Seventeenth District PTA

Artist Statement: I made this movie based on the topic – “I matter because……”. It was such a fun to do it with my family (my Mom and Dad gave the voices for Mumma and Daddy Dogs 😀 ). It was pretty hard work to write story, script, dialogues and finally recording, editing, setting up background music and images but I enjoyed it a a lot.

National PTA Reflections – Award of Merit
Alexandra (Jordan) Schneider
Film Production – High School Division
Laguna Beach High School, Fourth District PTA
“Each Player Matters”

Artist Statement: The year 2020 has presented many adversities and tremendous amounts of change. My work presents that each player matters within a team. I chose to display my teammates to show that their actions impact the team significantly. Hence, their efforts have affected me for the better, helping me stay motivated despite the changes.

National PTA Reflections – Award of Merit
Sivaluxmy Sivalogeswaran
Music Composition – Primary Division
Northwood Elementary School, Sixth District PTA
“You know that I matter for everything”

Artist Statement: This year, the number of natural disasters has increased in the US. I live in San Jose, California. I experienced earthquake, wild fire, air pollution, and global warming. I am not able leave my house because of Covid-19 and smoke from the wildfire. But, staying inside my house is also not safe when there is an earthquake. I am a little girl I have lots of dreams. When I grow up I will invent new technologies to solve all these problems to make this world a safe place for all. Therefore, I matter to this world now more than ever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

National PTA Reflections – Award of Merit
Ellie Lam
Music Composition – Intermediate Division
Longden Avenue Elementary School, First District PTA
“A Ripple of Kindness”

Artist Statement: I matter because I make a difference to the world by smiling, caring for others, and showing them kindness. This is especially important during the pandemic, where a lot of people are losing their jobs and loved ones. Smiling, caring for others, and showing kindness can make a person feel better about themselves throughout the day. By showing others you care, that person will in return pay it forward to others, creating a ripple effect and making the world better. I wrote this song to dedicate it to those who lost their jobs and loved ones.

Are you feeling engaged with your school site?

Family Engagement is at the heart of what we do in PTA — but do you feel like you are running out of ideas for good programming? The Family Engagement Commission is hosting a workshop that will help you with just that at our 122nd Annual Convention. This is a great chance to hear about great practices from across the state and to share what you have done at your school with others.

Title of Presentation: Are you feeling engaged with your school site?

Brief Description: An opportunity to hear from Lisa Borrego, who works for the California Department of Education about various Family Engagement programs from different school districts across California. It will be an interactive workshop with lots of discussion and idea-sharing in the Q & As.

Three Takeaways:

  • Will have a better understanding of Family Engagement across California
  • To have insight of what is Authentic Family Engagement.
  • How to implement best practices at your school site.

Presenters: Lisa Borrego, CDE; Deborah Johnson, California State PTA Family Engagement Commission Vice-President; Nha-Nghi Nguyen, California State PTA Family Engagement Commission Vice-Chair

If you haven’t already, click here to register for Convention 2021.

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Screenagers NEXT CHAPTER: Uncovering Skills For Stress Resilience

The Family Engagement Commission is excited to share a little teaser about its upcoming Convention workshop. You won’t want to miss the showing of the documentary “Screenagers NEXT CHAPTER,” as well as the discussion that happens afterward!

Title of Presentation: Screenagers NEXT CHAPTER: Uncovering Skills For Stress Resilience

Brief Description: An opportunity to examine the science behind teens’ emotional challenges, the interplay of social media, and most importantly, what can be done in our schools and homes to help them build crucial skills to navigate stress, anxiety, and depression in our digital age. It will be a workshop with lots of discussion in the Q & As.

Three Takeaways:

  • Will have a better understanding of teens’ social and emotional challenges
  • To have insight of can be done in our schools and homes to help build crucial skills to navigate social and emotional challenges.
  • How the interplay of social media impacts the social and emotional challenges.

Presenters: Lisa Tabb, Co-Producer “Screenagers” and “Screenagers NEXT CHAPTER: Undercovering Skills For Stress Resilience”; Deborah Johnson, California State PTA Family Engagement Commission Vice-President; Nha-Nghi Nguyen, California State PTA Family Engagement Commission Vice-Chair

If you haven’t already, click here to register for Convention 2021.

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It’s Time for a Renewed Focus on the Old LCAP

This article was written by Kathleen Fay, member of the California State PTA Legislation Team.

A school district’s Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) is an important tool that requires a district to identify goals, address priorities, allocate funds, implement actions, provide services, and measure results to improve student outcomes. The annual LCAP review should provide opportunities for robust parent involvement as a fundamental part of the planning process.  However, this LCAP process was turned on its head last year with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Quarantines and school closures necessitated changes in the usual LCAP planning process. First, an Executive Order extended LCAP deadlines, then legislation eliminated the annual LCAP update altogether. Taking its place was the Learning Continuity and Attendance Plan – by no coincidence also abbreviated as LCAP – to be used as a planning tool to address issues of distance learning, live student interactions, and attendance. The “new LCAP” included strategies to ensure a full curriculum, train staff, and address resources and technical support during the crisis. And it was all to have been put together with parent input and reported publicly.

As California now looks (hopefully) towards a post-pandemic school year, districts must return to the original LCAP model to examine how students were supported throughout the pandemic, what was done to mitigate the impact of COVID-19, and consider the effects of issues such as pupil learning loss; student and staff mental health and social-emotional well-being; pupil engagement and outreach; nutrition; learning continuity; attendance; infrastructure needs; and any ongoing response to COVID-19.

In short, it’s time for school districts to take an honest look at the results of the last year and then make practical plans on how to repair any damage. This is something that PTAs should strongly encourage members to take part in – through multiple public input opportunities. These meetings should be open to input from all parents and community members. It is up to us to speak for every child with one voice.

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School Reopening Advocacy: What Can Your PTA Do?

This article was written by Shereen Walter, California State PTA’s Director of Legislation.

Now that the Governor and Legislature have come to agreement on the details surrounding the $2 billion to incentivize schools to reopen for in person learning, what can you as a PTA do?

First of all, remember that your PTA represents ALL parents – those who want their kids to return to school, those who are more cautious and those who are not ready for their children to return to school full time. You need to be speaking for “Every Child, One Voice.”

Stick to the PTA talking points outlined in the two California State PTA documents:

Some of the issues surrounding school reopening that you can advocate for are:

  • Parent Communication and Input – School Districts must prioritize strong two-way communication with parents as they prepare and execute reopening plans. The voices of parents representing the diversity of the community need to be included in decision making.
  • In-Person Attendance – Parents should be able to choose whether their child returns to school in-person depending on the health of the child and their family situation.
  • Mental Health Is Important – Schools must provide adequate resources to meet the mental health needs of students and staff to support their individual needs.
  • Expanded Learning and Learning Loss – Parents should be providing input into the types of programs needed to address learning loss and that also meet the social emotional needs of the whole child. School districts are developing their plans now to address learning loss caused by the pandemic, including after-school, summer, and child-care programs.
  • Realistic Timeline – Schools need to open as soon as practically possible while protecting the health and well-being of students, staff and families.
  • Technology Access – All students who continue on a hybrid or distance learning model need to have appropriate Wi-Fi and a computer or laptop so that they can adequately access remote learning.

…and now for a few cautions.

  1. Offer quotes to the media in writing. This prevents you being quoted out of context, incorrectly, or from accidentally stating your personal opinion rather than the stance of PTA.
  2. Stick to PTA talking points on the social media accounts of PTA.
  3. Opinion pieces can only be written with the approval of your executive board and must contain only PTA positions.
  4. PTA leaders can not use their PTA title or affiliation in speaking in opposition to a PTA position.

Last of all, PTA must remain neutral in a dispute arising from school employer-employee negotiations. For more detailed information, see this webpage.

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Book Club Discussion: “White Fragility” by Robin DiAngelo

Our Legislation Team decided that a book club would be a good way to begin discussions around race, equity, inclusion and justice. They created a list of books dealing with these topics and began to read down the list. To read more about this process, please read our previous blog post about the book club.

Today we are going to share the resources and study questions from the book White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo. In this book DiAngelo examines how white fragility develops, how it protects racial inequality, and what we can do to engage more constructively.

The primary goal for white people working to understand racism is not to learn how racism impacts people of color. The primary goal is to recognize how the system of racism shapes our lives, how we uphold that system, and how we might interrupt it.

Definitions:

Prejudice is prejudgment about another person based on the social groups to which that person belongs.

Discrimination is action based on prejudice.

When a racial group’s collective prejudice is backed by the power of legal authority and institutional control, it is transformed into racism, a far-reaching system that functions independently from the intention or self-image of individual actors. Racism is a structure, not an event.

Questions for Discussion:

1. “We are taught to think about racism only as discrete acts committed by individual people, rather than as a complex, interconnected system.”
“Only bad people who intended to hurt others because of race could ever do so….any suggestion that we are complicit in racism is a kind of unwelcome and insulting shock to the system.”

“Our simplistic definition of racism – as intentional acts of racial discrimination committed by immoral individuals – engenders a confidence that we are not part of the problem and that our learning is thus complete.”

“Racism goes beyond individual intentions to collective group patterns.”

“If I understand racism as a system into which I was socialized, I can receive feedback on my problematic racial patterns as a helpful way to support my learning and growth.”

How can we use this definition of racism as a systemic structure, and not acts of individuals to create awareness and acknowledgement that racism exists and how we might work to interrupt it?

2. DiAngelo suggests that one of the most effective barriers to talking about racism with white people is the good/bad binary. How have you seen this binary underlying common white responses to charges of racism? How might you respond when the binary surfaces in discussions about racism?

3. “Most of us can acknowledge that we do feel some unease around certain groups of people, if only a heightened sense of self-consciousness. But this feeling doesn’t come naturally. Our unease comes from living separate from a group of people while simultaneously absorbing incomplete or erroneous information about them.”

What can be done to change this?

4. “While implicit bias is always at play because all humans have bias, inequity can occur simply through homogeneity; if I am not aware of the barriers you face, then I won’t see them, much less be motivated to remove them. Nor will I be motivated to remove the barriers if they provide an advantage to which I feel entitled.”

“To understand race relations today, we must push against our conditioning and grapple with how and why racial group membership matters.”

How do you see these statements applying to PTA?

5. If we accept that racism is always operating, the question becomes not “Is racism taking place?” but rather “How is racism taking place in this specific context?” How does awareness of that change how we think about our lives and our actions?”

6. “Individualism claims that there are no intrinsic barriers to individual success and that failure is not a consequence of social structures but comes from individual character.”

Does this perception play into societies misunderstandings about affirmative action and why affirmative action programs haven’t changed our racial outcomes? How can we work as individuals or as PTA to change this world view?

7. “The metaphor of the United States as the great melting pot, in which immigrants from around the world came together and melt into one unified society through the process of assimilation, is a cherished idea. Once new immigrants learn English and adapt to American culture and customs, they become Americans. In reality, only European immigrants were allowed to melt. regardless of their ethnic identities, these immigrants were perceived to be white and thus could belong.”

Why is the idea that the U.S. is a “melting pot” problematic?

8. Anti-blackness – the ultimate racial “other”!

  • Kidnapping & 300 years of enslavement
  • Torture rape and brutality
  • Medical Experimentation
  • Share cropping
  • Bans against testifying against whites
  • Mandatory segregation
  • Bans on black jury service & voting
  • Lynching and mob violence
  • Imprisoning people for unpaid work
  • Bans on interracial marriage
  • Redlining
  • Employment discrimination
  • Educational discrimination
  • Biased laws and policing practices
  • White Flight
  • Subprime mortgages
  • Mass incarceration
  • School to prison pipeline
  • Disproportionate special ed referrals and punishments
  • Testing, tracking, school funding
  • Biased media representation

It’s a system, not an event

The concept of anti-Blackness pushes back against the idea that all ethnic minorities have the same lived experiences and can be shoved under a singular umbrella” Simply put: All People of Color (POC) do not face the same gravity of harm. The sooner we recognize the extreme barriers facing Black POC, the sooner we can address the anti-Black narrative and policies that are disproportionately killing them.

Thoughts on this? Were times tough for your immigrant ancestors? If so, in what ways does DiAngelo say this is still not the same as being Black in the U.S.?

9. As I move through my daily life, my race is unremarkable. My presence is not questioned. I belong. Try to identify at least 3 ways white racial belonging has been conveyed to you in the last week.

Once we have been made conscious of what has always been all around us – the consistent reinforcement of white superiority/privilege – what are the options you can generate in your life to challenge and dismantle this historical and dominant view system?

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March 31st is National Crayon Day

Take some time with the family today to celebrate both National Crayon Day and the end of Arts Education Month. Our Communications Commission created these coloring sheets that highlight PTA’s advocacy efforts over the years — enjoy coloring them with the family or your PTA unit.

              
PDF version                         PDF version                  PDF version                  PDF version                 PDF version                PDF version

 

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What’s Happening in PTA? April 2021 Edition

Please find below a listing of California State PTA’s April training and advocacy opportunities for our leaders and members. We hope you will join us for some of these offerings:

 

Thursday, April 1 Social Media Kit Reveal 

Join our Communications Team from 7:00-8:00 p.m. as we reveal the April kit themed “Appreciation.” In PTA you can never say thank you to our volunteers or the school staff enough, so our kit is focusing on just that. Join us at 7 p.m. on Thursday night to learn how to use the kit and get your communications questions answered.

Click on the link to register: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84963519701?pwd=L2hwOWNSK1ZmSHg0c0xpSnNmTjQ2dz09

Wednesday, April 7 Legislation/Advocacy Webinar

Join the California State PTA Legislation Team for their monthly webinar from 7:00-8:00 p.m. Get all of the updates on our advocacy efforts at the state and national level. You won’t want to miss it!

Click here to register: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/rt/31940121174953740

Wednesday, April 14 School Reopening Webinar

Join us from 5:00-6:30 p.m. for an online briefing and listening session where we’ll provide an overview and discussion of what we know regarding school reopening requirements, funding and programs. We also want to hear what you have to say, and what you need from us.

Click here to register: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_VOKVSQPQTv-vCOhsVgTprw

Wednesday, April 14 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Webinar

Join the California PTA Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee from 6:30-8:00 p.m. for a webinar where they’ll discuss what we heard and learned from our recent Listening Sessions, get a preview of DEI Convention workshops, and more. It will be a great way to get plugged in. This first webinar is for District Presidents and DEI committees. 

Click here to register: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_RZzeXfpCQ8mDd5jejzpFAw

Sunday, April 18 DEI Virtual Office Hours
2:30-3:30 p.m.
Looking for guidance about how to begin a DEI committee at your unit or council? Seeking feedback or ideas about how to make a prospective program or event as inclusive as possible? Wondering what training, presentations, and resources are available to DEI committees, and how to access them? Sign up for a slot and speak directly with a California DEI committee member. We are here to help. Spaces are limited, so sign up now; you can sign up with a PTA peer or even with your whole committee (Registration link pending)
Tuesday, April 27 Leadership Monthly Meeting

Join Vice President of Leadership Maria Steck and the Leadership Commission from 7-8:30 p.m. as they help you navigate ways to end your PTA term successfully.

Click here to register: https://forms.gle/2Fzchxtufsp4mebv8

 

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What’s Happening in PTA? March 2021 Edition

Please find below a listing of California State PTA’s March training and advocacy opportunities for our leaders and members. We hope you will join us for some of these offerings:

Tuesday, March 2 How to Hold a Virtual Election

Are you wondering how to hold your election meeting via Zoom? Our California State PTA Leadership Team is going to have a mock election meeting on March 2nd at 7:00 p.m. to help our units navigate their upcoming elections.  You must register for this event by clicking on the link. You won’t want to miss it!

Click here to register:  https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScdaUwqxIxAteiuxN62quI24hyMy4IlS_34RFAN9di7c_rxLw/viewform?usp=sf_link

Wednesday, March 3 Legislation Webinar

Join the California State PTA Legislation Team for their monthly webinar from 7-8 p.m. Get all of the updates on our advocacy efforts at the state and national level including: federal and state Covid relief packages and how they help families as well as bills we have taken a position on that are currently before the legislature. 

Click here to register: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/rt/31940121174953740

Thursday, March 4: Social Media Kit Reveal 

Join our Communications Team at 7:00 p.m. as we reveal the March kit themed “Recruitment.” We know you are always looking for great volunteers – whether it’s to serve on the executive board, to chair an event, or simply to help out for an hour.  Attendees will not only hear about the kit and hear some exciting information about the Create CA Public Will campaign’s new social media resources, but they will also get access to our Canva templates to customize our images.

Click here to join: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84963519701?pwd=L2hwOWNSK1ZmSHg0c0xpSnNmTjQ2dz09 

March 9-11 National PTA Legislation Conference While our Leg Conference was last month, National’s is this month. There is still time to register if you click here: https://www.pta.org/home/events/National-PTA-Legislative-Conference
Thursday, March 18: Information Session for returning Board of Managers applicants

If you have previously served on the California State Board of Managers and want to apply for a new role, attend our information session from 6-8:00 p.m. with President-Elect Carol Green to get answers to your questions.

Click here to join: https://zoom.us/j/98990660757?pwd=UUtxZ0s0bjVYYVBIRXJkUFdBekM0Zz09

CANCELLED

Tuesday, March 23:

Leadership Monthly Meeting

Join Vice President of Leadership Maria Steck and the Leadership Commission from 7-8:30 p.m. for another amazing night of training for you and your officers.

Click here to register: https://forms.gle/NeKhXu6EsWB2gMW48

Wednesday, March 24: School Smarts Informational Webinar

Learn more about bringing the new virtual School Smarts program to your school by attending this informational webinar at 10:00 a.m.

Click here to register: https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJ0ud–vrzooG9xFT1InbU49qv3xlEbI93Ct

Thursday, March 25: Information session for new Board of Managers applicants

Have you ever wanted to serve on the California State Board of Managers? If so, we are having an information session from 6-8:00 p.m. with President-Elect Carol Green to give you information and answer your questions.

Click here to join: https://zoom.us/j/93360004665?pwd=L2tsYlBRdzJ4SlVIcWIxeHFwSFlGQT09

Thursday, March 25 Family Art Night on YouTube

From 7:30-8:30 p.m. we are hosting a Family Arts Night on our YouTube channel, where members of our arts committee will demonstrate at-home arts activities that you can do with your children. Click here to watch!

 

 

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