How to Apply for CA State PTA Scholarships and Grants

by California State PTA Scholarships and Grants Committee

California State PTA is pleased to offer these scholarship and grant opportunities to you and your PTA. The deadline is coming up fast for two: October 1st. Don’t miss out, here’s a quick rundown!

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 to the state office by October 15, 2021. Follow this link to apply online or download an application to submit by mail or email.

PTA ProgramGrants:

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, 2021
  • 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, 2022. More information can be found here.

Family-School Partnership Standard #3: Supporting Student Success

By Heather Ippolito, VP Family Engagement

As we continue our series about the  PTA National Family-School Partnership Standards  we want to remind you that we have several blog posts around this topic: 

The third standard of supporting student success encourages families and school staff to continuously collaborate to support students’ learning and healthy development both at home and at school, and to have regular opportunities to strengthen their knowledge and skills to do so effectively.  Here are some ideas of ways to bring this standard to life on your campus:

  • Help parents understand what their child needs to succeed in school by holding grade-level meetings to cover the state standards, assessments, and expectations at the beginning of the year.  
  • Testing data can be confusing to families.  Parents should be given resources to fully understand their child’s assessment reports and the school should also share full-school data with families.  This could be done at a coffee with the principal, a parent night event, or at a PTA/PTSA Meeting.
  • Parent conferences or goal-setting meetings are a great way for families and school personnel to connect, but these should be two-way conversations– not just an opportunity for the teacher to do all the talking.  Parents should be encouraged to share their hopes and goals for their child and to convey their families’ cultural experiences that may influence how their child learns. 
  • Families should be encouraged and welcome to participate in classroom and on-campus activities (when it is safe to do so).  The PTA can help facilitate this by making sure families are aware of the volunteer opportunities and any of the requirements necessary to participate (district training, fingerprinting, etc.).
  • Parents also need to understand how they can support learning at home.  Teachers can be a huge help with this by sharing ideas with families including visiting museums, seeing movies or concerts, or other opportunities for learning outside of the classroom walls.  The PTA can also support this by bringing educational experiences onto the campus to help ensure that every family can participate.
  • After-school or summer learning can also be beneficial to students.  PTA can help facilitate classes or other educational experiences to make learning fun for the kids and keep the learning happening outside of the traditional school day. 
  • California State PTA has an online Resource Library to help parents find resources to continue learning at home.  You can search by keyword, grade level, school subject, or type of resource (video, website, PDF, etc.). 

Do you have a great suggestion for supporting student success?  Please share it with us and you may be featured on our social media.

Standard #2: Communicating Effectively

by Heather Ippolito, VP Family Engagement

In July we introduced the PTA National Standards for Family School Partnerships and Standard 1- Welcoming All Families on this blog.  Today we are going to share some tips and best practices for Standard 2: 

Communicating Effectively

The school, district, the PTA, and families need to engage in regular, two-way, meaningful communication about student learning and engagement opportunities.  This is one area that we hear complaints about regularly– parents feel like information is just pushed out to them– they are not being invited to participate in the conversation.  Parents want to be heard, to share their thoughts and opinions, and to feel included in what is happening at the school.  

Here are some tips for communicating more effectively with the families on your campus:

  • Use terms that your parents can understand– many families don’t understand educational jargon and abbreviations so try not to use them!
  • Get to know your families to discover how they like their communication– are they on specific social media platforms, do they prefer email, texts, phone calls, fliers, or a combination of things.  
  • Communication must be in a family’s home language.  There are lots of tools to help with this– from Google Translate for your website to using school staff as translators and interpreters.  Note:  Translators transpose writing into a different language and interpreters translate speaking into a different language. 
  • Family nights at the school site offer a chance for families, teachers, and administrators to interact and have meaningful conversations about curriculum and other issues that impact our children.  Use these events to build relationships so families feel able to turn to the school when they need help for their children.
  • Be consistent with your communication.  Post to your social media regularly and/or have a monthly newsletter.  Families like to know that they will be receiving information from the PTA and the school regularly.
  • Survey families to identify their issues and concerns, and plan with school officials for ways to respond to those.

If you see a great example of family engagement, we want to hear about it.  Take a moment to complete this simple form so that we can recognize units, councils, and districts that are doing amazing work in the area of family engagement!

PTA Membership: Teacher is Our Middle Name

By the Membership Services Commission

In the PTA universe, we know how important our teachers are! Having the teachers and administrators at your school join your PTA and participate in your programs is a great way to encourage children and families to join as well. A collaborative partnership among all the adults at the school is one of the best ways to strengthen communication between families and schools. 

So as you plan and promote your PTA membership campaign this back-to-school season, encouraging teachers to join PTA should be one of the focal points. (And don’t forget other school staff as well.)

We’ve put together a list of ideas and some helpful tools to help you get teachers on board. 

  • TALK with teachers about the value of PTA. Provide breakfast or a snack for teachers and use the opportunity to discuss the value of PTA at your school. Back-to-School night can also be a good opportunity to speak with both teachers and parents about supporting PTA.
  • SHARE information about PTA’s Continuing Education Scholarships. PTA offers scholarships to teachers, school nurses, counselors and volunteers to continue their education.
  • REMIND teachers and staff about PTA’s advocacy work. PTA is much more than a local fundraising group for your school –  we are an advocacy organization focused on student success!
  • ENLIST the support of your principal. A principal’s encouragement for teachers to join PTA can go a long way.
  • OFFER incentives to join. Award teachers and staff with a lunch or celebration when 100 percent teacher membership is reached, or offer teachers who join reimbursements for classroom supplies.

Questions about running your PTA membership campaign? Contact us at membership@capta.org.

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Family Engagement: A Hot Back-to-School Topic

As the summer ends, many workshops, webinars, and virtual conferences are preparing educational leaders, teachers, and parents for the return to school.  Our Family Engagement Team has attended several of them. 

Here are some of the take-aways:

  • We can no longer move forward with families on the sidelines of education.  The pandemic brought families into the classrooms as learning went virtual and parents were forced to monitor/assist with their child’s learning.  Now that these lines of communication and collaboration between our schools and our families have been opened it is critical that we continue on this path.
  • We have spoken for years about the impact of family engagement on students (higher test scores, better attendance, etc.) but we need to mention the impact of family engagement on families as a whole.  Dr. Karen Mapp sites the following things that parents experience as a result of being involved on their child’s school campus:  
    • Their role perception shifts from just a “mom” or “dad” to a “teacher”, “mentor”, or “expert”
    • They gain confidence in their ability to shape and influence their child’s learning
    • They have an increased sense of accountability and begin to advocate for all children
    • They become empowered to take on new challenges– that could include serving on district committees, running for school board, etc. 
  • Family engagement is not a program but a practice— something that every school, administrator, and teacher needs to embrace so that our children can be the best they can be.  Families must be part of the team of experts.
  • Families are as vital to student success as school climate and teachers. A 20-year study from schools in Chicago found there are 5 essential supports for successful schools:  leadership (administration), professional capacity, parent/community ties, student-centered learning climate, instructional guidance (professional development). 
  • Social and emotional learning (SEL) is of particular importance this year. SEL has been a huge topic in most of the workshops about returning to school.  If you want more information to understand just what SEL entails and how families play a major role in social and emotional learning, watch this five-minute video from the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL).

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