Behind the Membership Scenes: Welcome to Today’s PTA!

When the PTA membership team was looking for ways to convey the spirit of our members, we wanted to come up with a message that reflected the rich diversity, history, and future of our membership. Most importantly, we wanted your voices to be heard.

We decided that the best way to find out what you’re thinking is to talk to you directly. So we did just that: we asked you about your PTA membership and what keeps you engaged at your local PTA meeting, at your child’s school, and in your community. We asked what matters most to you and how can we continue to contribute to your child’s success.

How did we do it? We invited thousands of you to tell us your stories by email survey, and you responded clearly, loudly, and strongly. You care about your child’s education; you value your PTA membership; and you want other families to be engaged in their children’s future, just as you are.

You want to be engaged in a way that meets your individual lifestyle and the multiple demands of today.  You want to connect with others at your PTA meetings to help build your child’s tomorrow. You want to show the strength of your voice. It was obvious to the membership team at National PTA that your voice is rooted in a rich history, but building in today’s modern setting. Your voice is Today’s PTA!

Today’s PTA describes the tone and path National PTA has created to embody our members mission to connect through advocacy, parent networking, school and community partnerships, and social media to give power to 5,000,000 members nationwide. Today’s PTA is you!

We invite you to continue to share with us on Facebook and Twitter to stay connected, network with other PTA members at our upcoming convention and conferences, and learn how you can become a better leader or advocate in the comfort of your own home through PTA e-learning. But most importantly, the National PTA membership team would like to thank you for making our job to connect with our members and stay engaged easier.  That’s because you are Today’s PTA …connected, dedicated, and powerful.

Joy Lindsey is the Membership Marketing Manager for National PTA in Alexandria, VA. Contact Joy at

PTA’s 2013 Take Your Family to School Week Focuses on Injury Prevention

Take Your Family to School Week will take place February 18-22, 2013.

When visiting schools, PTAs, and other places of learning, you’ll surely meet educators and parents who are passionate about engaging with students and committed to serving the needs of children. Research shows that students with engaged parents are more likely to earn higher grades and pass classes, regularly attend school, have better social skills, and go on to post-secondary education. National PTA created Take Your Family to School Week (TYFTSW) to expand and enhance family engagement in schools across the country, helping parents build positive relationships with school staff, connect with other families, and feel like welcome members in their school community.

TYFTSW has been around for years, and with the help of our partners, AXA Foundation and Safe Kids Worldwide, this school year’s TYFTSW is shaping up to be one of our best yet. For the first time, TYFTSW will center on a critical issue for our nation’s youth: Safety at Home and at Play, a theme focused on child injury prevention. PTAs will bring schools and families together to learn about leading childhood injury risks and what we can do to prevent them. With an eye on providing the most essential educational tools, PTAs are encouraged to collaborate with local Safe Kids Worldwide Coalitions to offer hands-on educational activities that encourage families to work together to achieve safer behaviors.

National PTA, in partnership with Safe Kids Worldwide, will offer special tools for local PTAs and PTSAs to support TYFTSW events.  These tools will include a detailed planning guide on how to plan, host and evaluate all activities; lesson plans and take-home tips sheets; as well as social media and media outreach templates with information on how to promote the Week.

To further support local PTAs, National PTA is now offering a $500 TYFTSW grant.  Funded by the AXA Foundation, the TYFTSW grant is a great way for PTAs to secure the resources needed to host a successful event.  You can find more information on this grant (and others) on the National PTA website.  The online application process is easy and up to 100 PTAs will be awarded funding. To be eligible for consideration, we must receive your application by November 30, 2012 at 8:00 p.m. EST.

Parents and school leaders care deeply about the education and overall well-being of each student, but it’s not always clear how to put these feelings into action. TYFTSW is an indispensable opportunity for your PTA to make an impact on your school community.

Jeff Evans is a Programs and Partnerships Specialist at the National PTA in Alexandria, Virginia.
Contact Jeff at  

Celebrating Advocacy, the Cornerstone of PTA

Left: The first board of managers at the first national convention in Washington, DC.
Right: Outstanding advocates named at the 2012 Legislative Conference in Washington DC. Image courtesy of Lifetouch.

When was the last time you really thought about the existence of child labor laws, juvenile courts, or the availability of hot lunches in school?

Chances are these issues aren’t at the forefront of your mind. Over the past century, these subjects have become an indelible part of our society, so much so that we rarely think about what life would be like if they weren’t around.  All of these landmark policies for children share a common origin; like most efforts related to kids, they started with a parent or group of parents who had the courage and motivation to demand better for their children.

It’s advocacy and it’s what PTA is all about.

Advocacy has been the cornerstone of PTA’s mission since our founding in 1897, during a time when, for many families, an education for children was simply out of reach. Today, advocacy remains at every level of PTA, culminating each year at the PTA Legislative Conference where National PTA recognizes outstanding advocates from across the country.

When you think about being a champion for change, keep in mind that no effort is too small or too big to be considered advocacy. Advocacy is often a gradual process; when PTA members began their push for child labor laws, the change didn’t happen overnight.  With advocacy, being successful on a year-to-year basis does not always mean that your ultimate goal is met. Advocacy takes patience, a consistent effort, and building blocks toward your goal.

As you think about the past year and what you are most proud of as a member of your PTA, consider filling out a nomination form for the 2013 Advocacy Awards for an outstanding advocate in your PTA. State and local award winners will receive a complimentary trip to the National PTA Legislative Conference and a cash prize to help further advocacy efforts. Individual winners (Shirley Igo and Youth Advocate) will receive complimentary travel and registration to the conference.

If you’re interested in more information, please visit the 2013 Advocacy Awards page on the PTA website.

Nominations are due December 5, 2012.  PTA Advocacy Awards are recognized in the following categories: Individual (Shirley Igo); Local/District/Regional; State; and Youth.

Mollie Van Lieu is an Advocacy Specialist at National PTA in Alexandria, Virginia. Contact Mollie at