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:

October 29 Webinar: “Arts Education in the New Normal: Essential Resources for Right Now”

UPDATE: To watch a recording of this webinar, click here.
Join us for an interactive webinar on Thursday, October 29 at 4:30 pm in which California State PTA and our partner agencies will discuss the newest resources and essential information about arts education in the new landscape of distance learning.
Participants will be the first to access the newly revised Parent Guide to the new Arts Standards!
Featured speakers include:
  • Erin Jenks, California State PTA
  • Sarah Anderberg, California County Superintendents Educational Services Association
  • Letty Kraus, California Department of Education
  • Aaron Bryan, Fresno County Superintendents Office
  • Pat Wayne, Create CA

Attend the ACSA/PTA Family Engagement Webinar on October 21

Please join us on October 21 from 4:00-5:00 pm for a webinar about communication and family engagement strategies and resources during the pandemic.

This webinar is being co-hosted by California State PTA and the Association of California School Administrators (ASCA), and panelists will include:

  • Celia Jaffe, President of California State PTA
  • Carol Green, President-Elect of California State PTA
  • Javier Montijo, PTA Ninth District
  • Lisa Borrego, San Juan Unified School District
  • Claudia Medina, Alameda Unified School District

Click here to register:

Guidance Document for School Reopening

PTA recently created a document that provides helpful guidance on an issue that many of you may be facing right now: school re-opening. To read the document in its entirety, click here.

California State PTA’s “School Reopening Principles” are based on our organizational goals and purposes, input from our local leaders and from our parent listening sessions last summer, our longstanding educational and legislative stances, and the most current information from reliable educational and health agencies. We encourage local PTAs and school districts to adhere to these principles during important conversations regarding school reopening.

The decisions facing schools, PTAs, and families on important issues of educational opportunity and health are complex, and we hope that California State PTA’s Principles for School Reopening will assist you with these crucial conversations.

2020-21 Financial Mailing

PTA Leaders:

To help you successfully run the financial side of your PTA, every year California State PTA compiles a packet of financial information and resources.

These materials include:

  • Tax filing information
  • Workers’ compensation insurance information
  • TOTEM e-membership system information
  • 2021 Convention save-the-date flier
  • PTA Store flier, with new items
  • CETF flier, with information about how to get low-cost or free internet access and computers
  • The PTA Insurance Guide
  • Much more!

There are three ways to get the 2020-21 Financial Mailing:

  1. Wait for a hard copy to arrive in your mailbox in early October
  2. View or download the entire Financial Mailing in PDF format:
    • Get the main packet in English here, or in Spanish here.
    • Get the 2020-21 PTA Insurance Guide (saved in a separate PDF) in English here, or in Spanish here.
  3. View or download just the sections you need in PDF format:


State Superintendent Launches New “Education to End Hate” Initiative to Combat Bias, Bigotry, and Racism

The following press release is from the California Department of Education:

SACRAMENTO — On September 21 State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced a new, multifaceted “Education to End Hate” initiative designed to empower educators and students to confront the hate, bigotry, and racism rising in communities across the state and nation. Under a new effort outlined during a virtual press conference, the State Superintendent said that the California Department of Education (CDE) will lead a series of strategies—including educator training grants, partnerships with community leaders, and virtual classroom sessions—that leverage the power of education to create a more just society.

“We do not need any more evidence that our country is facing two pandemics: coronavirus and hate. It feels like every day we are seeing heartbreaking examples: more anti-Semitic behavior, bullying of Asian American students because of our President’s rhetoric, Islamophobia, discrimination of our LGBTQ neighbors, and violence directed at people of color,” Thurmond said. “It’s time to double down on our efforts to combat all forms of hate, bias, and bigotry. By digging deeper into the complexities of our diverse and difficult histories—not denying or ignoring them—I believe education can provide the pathway to healing, understanding, and racial and social justice.”

The State Superintendent’s “Education to End Hate” initiative has three components:

Educator training grants: The CDE will award up to $200,000 in mini-grants to local educational agencies (LEAs) to support educator training in the areas of anti-racism and bias. The grants will be funded by contributions from an ongoing philanthropic partner, the S. D.  Bechtel, Jr. Foundation. Organizations with extensive experience in leading related educator trainings—including Equality California, the National Equity Project, and the Simon Weisenthal Center’s Museum of Tolerance— have already agreed to partner and offer professional development and resources through this program. More details on grant guidelines and the application process will be released to school districts soon.

“The Simon Wiesenthal Center is the preeminent organization fighting anti-semitism, bigotry, and hate globally. Its Museum of Tolerance (MOT) is a proud and trusted partner to schools throughout California in advancing anti-bias education, inclusion, and equity through unique professional development programs and educator resources,” said Rabbi Meyer H. Hay, Executive Director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and Museum of Tolerance. “Committed to confronting hate and promoting human dignity and respect for all, the MOT has also adapted its experiential content for virtual programs for educators, students and parents.”

Virtual Classroom Series: Throughout the month of October, the CDE will host a series of virtual classroom sessions broadcast live throughout the state that will be designed to engage students, educators, and families in a wide-ranging dialogue about the many forms of bias young people across California face—and ways schools can lead efforts to end discrimination.

Roundtable with leaders: In the coming days, the State Superintendent will convene a public roundtable discussion among leaders from prominent racial and social justice organizations, educators, and state lawmakers to brainstorm additional ideas for ways schools can influence the change necessary to ensure a physically and emotionally safe learning environment that is inclusive for all students.

Several lawmakers, who have each worked on multiple fronts to advance equity, on Monday expressed their commitment to supporting this initiative, including:

  • Senator Connie M. Leyva (D-Chino), Chair of the Senate Education Committee
  • Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), Chair of the California Legislative LGBTQ Caucus
  • Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco), Chair of the California Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus
  • Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), Chair of the California Latino Legislative Caucus
  • Assemblymember Monique Limón (D-Santa Barbara), Vice Chair of the California Legislative Women’s Caucus

“Sometimes in our darkest hour is when we do our best work. We know that racism and hate are taught, and we know that children are born loving everyone. You learn what you live, and unfortunately racism and hate are still being taught in living rooms across the state of California and across this country,” Senator Leyva said. “If we learn about each other, the hope is that we won’t hate each other. The hope is that we will know that we have more in common than not. I want to thank State Superintendent Thurmond for always taking on these big issues.”

“In a time when President Trump is attempting to convince Americans that discussing issues like race, gender, and sexual orientation are counterproductive to American ideals, California must take a stand,” Senator Wiener said. “Education is critical in combating hate and bias against LGBTQ people. I am proud to see that California is once again leading the fight against hate.”

“The pandemic brought with it a rise in hate against Asian Americans. We have seen this happen in other moments of national crisis and that’s why I have worked on policies to address bullying and discrimination faced by our students,” Assemblymember Chiu said. “The additional resources and strategies that Superintendent Thurmond has announced today will help ensure that our schools continue to be a safe place to learn.”

“We know our children face racism and bigotry in their lives. Classrooms should serve as safe learning environments that allow students to process and understand these difficult experiences,” Assemblymember Gonzalez said. “Superintendent Thurmond’s initiative will help ensure students, parents, and teachers are prepared with the tools they need to confront racism, bigotry, and hate-based violence and to facilitate honest conversations about the realities students are facing every day.”

“Hate, bigotry, and racism should never be a part of our schools. As children continue their education during a challenging time, we must ensure their well-being is protected,” Assemblymember Limón said. “I applaud the efforts of the CDE and State Superintendent Thurmond to continue prioritizing and taking action on this issue.”

An archived broadcast of the full press conference can be viewed on the CDE’s Facebook page.

Click here to read this press release on the CDE website.

Statement from California State PTA Regarding Ban on Flavored Tobacco Products

Thanks to the efforts of California State PTA and a broad coalition of health organizations and local municipalities, California just outlawed the sale of flavored tobacco products. Senate Bill 793 banned all sales of flavored tobacco and vaping products to both adults and children.

The tobacco industry waged a major opposition campaign, making this a sweet victory.

California State PTA had strong PTA authority for this bill. It had just adopted a convention resolution this summer that specifically called for the prohibition of all sales of flavored tobacco, not just to kids.

Recognizing that tobacco companies were more than happy to prohibit the sale to kids as long as they could continue marketing and selling to adults, convention delegates voted to outlaw all sales. This was to ensure flavored tobacco would not be available as an entry level product to create a lifetime of addiction.

In writing to the legislature, the PTA said:

“Flavored tobacco, and specially flavored e-liquids for vaping promote tobacco use by California’s youth. Over 5.3 million kids in the U.S. now use e-cigarettes. 27.5% of high school students used e-cigarettes in 2019 compared to 11.3% in 2016. Flavors are driving the demand for use. 97% of youth e-cigarette users report using a flavored product, and 70% cite flavors as the reason for their use. While we understand the tax implications and potential loss of revenue as a result of this bill, we believe the health benefits to our children and youth should hold more sway when deciding the future of this legislation.”

Several PTA districts drafted the resolution and worked with the California State PTA advocate in contacting key legislators and the Governor as the bill went through the legislative process. PTA worked closely with a range of state and national organizations to pass this legislation and used Action Alerts as well as the Advocacy Insider newsletter and social media to engage PTA members in this advocacy.

Governor Newsom said, “It will be a point of deep pride and personal privilege as a father of four and as someone who’s had many, many family members die at the hands of the tobacco industry to sign that bill.”

PTA Resolution and Background StatementE-Cigarettes/Vaping, Flavored Tobacco Products and Youth Health

Statement on Passing of Supreme Court Justice Ginsberg

SACRAMENTO, September 21, 2020 – California State PTA mourns the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg while we honor her decades of influential achievements in civil rights.

Justice Ginsburg was a devoted champion of the rights of families and children. Not only did her legal opinions and decisions improve the circumstances for these and other disadvantaged groups, but she blazed a trail by rising to the pinnacle of career success despite having faced personal discrimination as a working mother.

“During her tenure, Justice Ginsburg worked to support family leave, protect childrens’ right to privacy, and combat gender discrimination in schools, among other accomplishments,” said Celia Jaffe, President of California State PTA. “Her legacy reminds us how one person can truly positively impact the lives of all children and families.”


About California State PTA
California State PTA connects families, schools and communities. We are part of the foundation of our public-education system and a trusted messenger to millions of members, parents, families, educators and allied agencies throughout the state. PTA is the nation’s largest volunteer-led child-advocacy association working to drive improvements in the education, health and well-being of all children and families. For more information visit


Heather Ippolito
Vice President for Communications

Ignacio Barragan
Assistant Executive Director

Read the PACE Policy Brief on School Reopening

Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE), in cooperation with California State PTA, produced “Navigating the Uncertainty of Reopening Schools: A Guide for Parents, Families and the Public.” This report summarizes the current state of knowledge about key issues, and suggests a set of questions that parents and educators should ask when considering plans for reopening during the pandemic. This summary infographic serves as a valuable handout for community discussions.

“This report informs parents and helps raise important questions about health, equity, social-emotional issues, and effective teaching and learning,” said Celia Jaffe, President of California State PTA. “We hope that it will prompt discussions among all concerned as to when and how to conduct schooling during the pandemic.”

Judge Rules That UC System Must Stop Considering ACT, SAT in Admissions

On Monday, an Alameda County Superior Court Judge ruled that the University of California system must stop using ACT or SAT test scores for admissions or scholarship decisions. In his ruling, Judge Brad Seligman cited the disadvantages the testing process places on applicants with disabilities, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.

To read the rest of this article on, click here.