6 Things to Do in Orlando During #PTAcon16

FloridaPTA leaders, parents and education and industry experts from across the nation will come together in Orlando, Fla. for the Think BIG… Think PTA! 2016 National PTA Convention & Expo June 30 to July 3.

Why not plan your family vacation with us at the same time? Orlando is a great city—full of fun, warm weather and family-friendly activities. We want you to experience all it has to offer. While you join us for #PTAcon16, hopefully you can find time during your stay to enjoy:

  • Thrills! Fun! And even more thrills! Stop by the Universal Orlando Resort and explore their three different theme parks, including a stop in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley for a tasty pint of Butter Beer. Cool off at the Universal’s Islands of Adventure and get splash-happy with your favorite cartoon characters in the water rides of Toon Lagoon. Then, ride through the Jurassic Park jungle and snap pictures of the nine-foot-tall velociraptor!
  • Mickey, is that you? There’s no better place to feel like a kid again than at Walt Disney World. This wondrous world of childhood magic consists of four theme parks: Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Epcot and Magic Kingdom Park. Be sure not to miss the nightly fireworks! End the day with the Wishes Nighttime Spectacular right in front of Cinderella’s Castle. Heads up: BIG news is coming to Disney World. Read more
  • Explore Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort. Since you’ll be lodging at this resort, we want to make sure you take advantage of it to the fullest! And you don’t have to be a guest at the resort to partake in some of the awesome activities it has to offer. Unwind and relax at the Mandara Spa. Visit the in-house art gallery, The Galleriá Sottil. Do a little shopping at their Disney souvenir shops, Disney Cabanas and Disney Garden or at Lamont’s, their classy boutique. There’s nothing like fine dining, so end your day with a bite to eat at one of their amazing restaurants.

For more info about the Think BIG… Think PTA! 2016 Annual National PTA Convention & Expo, visit PTA.org/Convention. Hope to see you there!

Ebony Scott is the communications intern at National PTA.

End Bullying From #Day1

Day1-ImageAccording to StopBullying.gov, an average of 49% of youth in grades 4-12 are bullied (there is also bullying in preschool-grade 3). More than 70% of youth have witnessed bullying in their schools. Sadly, the old adage “Sticks and stones….” is a falsehood. The effects of bullying can lead to poor academic performance, depression and physical issues. This is an issue we can stop through proactive conversations with kids about treating people with respect and kindness. When bystanders intervene, instances of bullying stop 57% of the time.

To help communities start to have these critical conversations, the family of Tyler Clementi created a program in 2010 in response to the bullying their son endured as a freshman at Rutgers University by his roommate and others. A bright, talented and creative young man, Tyler became a victim of cyber-bullying in college which ultimately led to his death by suicide. Tyler’s family wanted to do something to stop any other person from being bullied. They formed the Tyler Clementi Foundation and spoke with experts, parents, educators and kids, who all told them that the best way to end bullying is through prevention. This led to the birth of the #Day1 Campaign to end bullying.

The #Day1 Campaign is a free, research-based and simple-to-use program that supports and ensures that everyone is on the same page when it comes to bullying behavior and expectations within school. It does so in the following ways:

  • Recognizes a person of leadership such as a teacher, principal or coach
  • Provides clear language that addresses specific harassing and bullying behavior
  • Offers tools for bystanders to become “upstanders”
  • Ensures there is verbal confirmation that the expectations are understood

This program is not intended to replace any current programming in a school. It simply outlines what bullying is and offers additional tools to end it. It’s been used by schools and community groups all over the U.S. to supplement their anti-bullying programs.

How Can Your PTA Help?

Encourage school and community leaders to bring the #Day1 Campaign to your schools, community groups, teams and after-school groups. Parents, students and coaches have all used the #Day1 program with their communities and you can, too. Simply go to Day1Campaign.com and download sample toolkit materials. They are available for all age groups so they’ll work for all schools. Feel free to make this program your own! As long as the wording stays the same, you can custom-fit the #Day1 Campaign for your school. After you use #Day1, let us know how it has made an impact!

No kid deserves to go through life being attacked. Through the collaboration of parents, faculty, staff and the community, we can address bullying and finally put an end to it from #Day1.

For more info, email us at or find our twitter @TylerClementi.

Katey Aquilina is the coordinator of the #Day1 Campaign of the Tyler Clementi Foundation.

Consider a “Digital Diet” for Your Family


As tablets, smartphones and other personal technology devices play an increasingly dominant role in all of our lives, finding a good balance seems to be a tricky endeavor in many American households. Both parents and teens log more than five hours a day on their devices (outside of work and school), often during family dinners and while spending leisure time together. Many people also use these devices for hours each day with earbuds or headphones.

Finding balance is critical for many reasons, including children’s communication health. Dedicated time for verbal exchange— listening, talking, reading and interacting face-to-face —is essential for young children’s speech and language development. It is critical that time spent alone with devices (even on educational apps!) does not take away from time for interaction with parents. This “talk time” is also a precursor for reading, academic and social success. The benefits extend to older children as well, whose brains are still developing throughout the teen years, as well as family relationships.

Too much time on digital devices doesn’t just negatively impact communication health and academic success, it also has an effect on physical health. There has been a tremendous increase in hearing loss among children recently. Noise-induced hearing loss is a preventable problem, but once it occurs, it is irreversible. Earbud and headphone misuse can be especially problematic.

May is Better Hearing & Speech Month, a great time for technology-dependent families to introduce some better habits. (The exception being for children who require assistive devices to communicate.) A recent survey from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) showed that once parents and teens learn more about the potential negative effects of tech overuse, they are willing to change their habits. Being mindful of balance is also key as we approach summer, when increased leisure time often means even more tech time for kids. Here are some “digital diet” tips from ASHA:

  1. Create a family technology plan—together. An agreed-upon set of rules is a good way to keep everyone on track. Schedule regular check-ins to determine whether you’re actually substituting tech time with more quality time together. Surprisingly, most teens whose parents set rules agree that the rules are fair—and parents report they work.
  1. Designate tech-free zones in the home. The kitchen, bedrooms, the family room…there may be one place in your home that you can keep devices out of, as a general rule. This helps with the temptation to constantly check your phone or jump at the sound of every incoming notification. It makes a difference to even have 30 minutes free from tech distractions.
  1. Talk instead of text, when possible. Texting offers tremendous convenience for parents to get in touch with their kids. But texting is not a replacement for verbal exchange. Tone, facial expressions and other nonverbal signals are just some of the ways in which texting falls short (and no, emojis don’t do the trick). Try to avoid texting your child when both of you are at home, as a start.
  1. Resist overreliance on technology to pacify boredom. Technology is an easy way to keep even the youngest children entertained. However, the best opportunities for conversation, learning and bonding are often found in situations that may be viewed as boring, such as while running errands or on a long car trip.
  1. Always practice safe listening, especially when using earbuds or headphones. Teach kids to keep the volume down (a good guide is half volume) and to take listening breaks. These are messages kids need to “hear” from their parents.

Remember, if you ever have concerns about your child’s hearing or speech/language skills, consult a certified audiologist or speech-language pathologist.

thumbnail_Handelsman, Jaynee DSC_3889 16x20 copy

Jaynee A. Handelsman, PhD, CCC-A is a pediatric audiologist and the 2016 ASHA president.


Child Nutrition Bill to be Debated in House Education Committee

It’s just common sense: healthy students make better learners, and school meals are an opportunity for children to receive more than half of their daily nutrient needs. Ensuring children have access to nutritious foods in schools is critical to their success.

The U.S. House of Representatives’ Education and the Workforce Committee will hold a markup of the House’s child nutrition reauthorization bill, titled the Improving Child Nutrition and Education Act of 2016 (H.R. 5003), at 11 a.m. on May 18.

National PTA and many school nutrition advocates are concerned with the House bill in its current form as some of the provisions are expected to roll back years of progress toward healthy and nutritious school meals. The following are just a few of the provisions in the House bill that would negatively impact your child’s access to healthy foods in schools.

The House bill would roll back nutrition standards at your school

The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA) was passed by federal lawmakers in 2010 to improve the nutritional value of all foods and beverages sold in schools. HHFKA requires a school lunch to include a fruit or a vegetable, whole-grains and low-fat dairy products. It also sets limits on calories, fats, sodium and sugar content. To date, the United States Department of Agriculture has reported that 98.5% of schools are successfully meeting the updated nutrition standards. National PTA has helped further these efforts in schools through our Healthy Lifestyles program and Healthy School Meals Grants. However, the House bill would roll back these efforts by allowing popular foods in certain regions of the U.S. (such as biscuits, grits, white rice and others) to be exempt from the whole grain requirements as well as delaying the implementation of sodium reduction targets in school meals.

The House bill would allow school fundraisers to be less healthy

National PTA has also been working with schools to implement healthy and nutritious fundraisers that adhere to the Smart Snack guidelines that went into effect in 2014. PTAs across the country have been working hard to improve school meals and other food items sold during the school day. Thus, PTA cannot support the House bill’s language that would exempt school fundraisers from the Smart Snack guidelines when countless schools have proven to hold successful fundraisers that are healthy and nutritious, such as selling healthy snacks at school stores and school-wide run-a-thons.

The House bill would restrict access to school meals in low-income neighborhoods

The Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) was included in HHFKA to allow schools and districts with high poverty rates to provide free breakfast and lunch to all students who attend that school or district. This has reduced the administrative burden on schools and the stigma children and families face while participating in the free and reduced-price school meals program. The House bill would hinder access for 7,000 schools and millions of children from receiving healthy school meals by increasing the eligibility requirements to participate in the program. Find out if your child’s school would be effected by this provision by visiting this searchable database.

The House bill would limit the number of times your school can contact families and encourage them to participate in the school meals program to only twice per school year

This provision in the bill is of great concern to PTA as one of our founding principles is our dedication to engaging families in their child’s education, which research has shown improves student outcomes. Limiting the amount of communication a school may have with families on any issue is detrimental to the school environment and student learning. Parents and families have a right to know what school-based opportunities are provided to their child throughout the year, which includes the health and nutrition of their child.

Sign-up to receive our PTA Takes Action e-newsletter and follow @NationalPTA on Twitter for updates on the bill and information on other National PTA legislative priorities.

Joshua Westfall is the government affairs manager at National PTA.

Combating Sexual Harassment in Schools

genderbasedviolenceAs parents, we worry. It’s in our nature. Our kids’ very first day of school marks a milestone that signals the beginning of their academic career—a journey we are prepared to take with them. We relax as the days become weeks, months and years, but then that nagging anxiety begins to creep back in when our child is on the doorstep of high school.

Pushing through the double doors of high school means ratcheting up your vigilance. It means having more in-depth conversations about topics like the dangers of drug and alcohol consumption, driving while texting and yes, even sex. Sex might be the most difficult topic to speak frankly about, but it’s a conversation worth having, especially given the alarming numbers from the Centers for Disease Control. Among U.S. high school students surveyed in 2013:

  • 47% engaged in sexual intercourse
  • 34% engaged in sexual intercourse during the previous 3 months, and, of these
  • 41% did not use a condom the last time they had sex
  • 15% had engaged in sex with four or more people during their life thus far

But there’s more to discuss than risky sexual behavior. The AAUW published findings of a survey in a report titled, Crossing the Line: Sexual Harassment in School conducted in the 2010-2011 school year. The survey questioned 1,965 public school students in grades 7-12 about sexual harassment in all its forms; bullying, teasing and touching.

The survey found that about 48% the students in grades 7–12 experienced some form of sexual harassment at school during the 2010–11 school year. Nearly half the students encountered sexual harassment in person and 30% encountered sexual harassment through texting, email, Facebook or other electronic channels. Many experienced sexual harassment both in person and electronically.

You may think once your child has graduated high school there’s less cause for alarm, but that’s unfortunately not true. The statistics for sexual assaults on college campuses are worse than those of high school and have garnered the attention and alarm of students, school administrators and elected officials like President Barack Obama. In response, more focus has been placed on supporting Title IX.

Title IX is a United States Education Amendment that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in federally-funded education programs and activities, which includes all public and private schools, colleges and universities receiving federal funds. A lesser-known part of Title IX requires that every public school designate a person to be the Title IX coordinator. This person should be visible and students and staff can reach out to this person in the event of a discriminatory incident. If a complaint is filed, the coordinator oversees the school’s response to comply with and carry out its responsibilities as laid out in Title IX. They also identify and address any patterns or systemic problems that rise to the surface. In order to do their job successfully, this person must understand the requirements of not only Title IX, but of the school’s policies and procedures on sex discrimination as well. To reduce sexual harassment incidents, training for students must be conducted on Title IX and sexual violence.

k12More and more high school students are actively addressing the issue of sexual harassment and assault through programs such as the SafeBAE program. The SafeBAE program encourages students to form an on-campus group to help educate students on this very sensitive topic. SafeBAE receives tweets from all corners of the country and posts the latest news on topics related to sexual assault. Other programs and resources for students, families and schools include NotAlone, Coaching Boys into Men and Shifting Boundaries.

So, now we ask “What can parents do?”

Ask the principal of your school:

  • Does my school have a Title IX coordinator?
  • Do the students know who this person is?
  • Does the school offer any training for teachers, students and parents?
  • What is the school’s policy on sexual harassment?
  • Do they discuss the sexual harassment policies in health classes?

Most importantly, have a frank discussion with your child. If we partner with our schools to educate our children earlier about the damaging emotional, educational and physical effects of sexual harassment in elementary and secondary schools, maybe we won’t have to worry so much about the first day of school in college.

Bonnie Cannon is a National PTA Board Member, National PTA Health and Safety Committee member and President of Park Hill High School PTA in Kansas City, MO.

Lysol Helps Parents and Teachers Create a Healthy Classroom

Lysol is a financial sponsor of National PTA and has been invited to submit a blog post as part of their engagement with PTA. National PTA does not endorse any commercial entity, product or service, and no endorsement is implied by this content.

Implement Healthy Habits for a Successful School Year

Did you know that 38 million school days each year are missed due to influenza alone[1]? When children miss school, they miss out on valuable social and educational moments. Teaching children healthy habits like proper hand washing at an early age has been shown to reduce student absenteeism and illnesses in families[2]. When kids practice healthy habits like proper cough and sneeze etiquette, they are less likely to spread germs around the classroom and less likely to bring them home.

That’s why the National Parent Teacher Association has teamed up with Lysol and the National Education Association (NEA) to spread the word about healthy habits, starting with changes you can make at home. You can implement healthy habits into your children’s routine in a few easy ways:

  • Teach Proper Hand Washing Techniques: One of the most effective ways to help stop the spread of germs is washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water. To ensure children are washing for at least 20 seconds— the amount of time needed to kill and remove germs —encourage them to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice while rubbing their hands together to keep track of time.
  • Share Healthy Habits, Not Germs: Teaching healthy habits to your children at home can start a broader movement around keeping germs at bay. By demonstrating healthy habits at home, such as regular exercise, eating a balanced diet and disinfecting germ “hot spots” (especially light switches, door knobs and countertops), parents are encouraging children to share their knowledge with their peers. Those peers share with their friends and the cycle continues.
  • Support Schools One Clean Surface at a Time: Lysol and Box Tops for Education have partnered to promote healthy habits and support schools across the U.S. by providing classroom disinfecting products eligible for Box Tops redemption. Encourage teachers to add Lysol Disinfecting Wipes, now eligible for Box Tops redemption, on their school supply lists to help kill 99.9% of bacteria and viruses on commonly-touched surfaces around the classroom. It’s an item that both moms and teachers can proudly stand behind!

Visit Lysol.com/HealthyHabits for more information on the Healthy Habits Program.

Rory Tait is the marketing director at Lysol. He drives the Lysol Healthy Habits campaign, a program focused on educating parents across the country on the importance of healthy habits and good hygiene practices.

[1] CDC. “Vital Health and Statistics. Current Estimates from the National Health Interview Survey, 1996.”; Published October 1999

[2] Meadows, Emily, and Nicole Le Saux. “A Systematic Review of the Effectiveness of Antimicrobial Rinse-Free Hand Sanitizers for Prevention of Illness-Related Absenteeism in Elementary School Children.” BMC Public Health. Published November 2004

Seven Things You Need to Bring to #PTACon16


“What am I going to wear? Am I going to get there on time? What am I going to bring?” You’re not the only one asking these questions.

This year’s Think BIG… Think PTA! 2016 Annual National PTA Convention & Expo in Orlando, Fl. is fast approaching and we want you to be prepared!

Here are some items we believe you should bring along with you to this year’s Convention & Expo:

  1. Bottled water: To have the maximum amount of fun, it’s important to stay hydrated! For those moments when it gets a little warm in the room or your throat gets dry, a bottle of water will come in handy.
  1. Cardigan/sweater: A cardigan or sweater can be a great accessory to any outfit. It can also keep you warm whenever you feel those random cold drafts in a room. Instead of suffering through the air conditioning, pack a cardigan or a light sweater. It’s a good way to beat the chill.
  1. Chargers (laptop, phone, tablet, etc.): Make sure to pack a charger for all of the electronic devices you bring on the trip. Charge all of your devices while you are asleep so you can wake up to a full charge. Also try to bring a portable charger along. They are great for on-the-go.
  1. Comfortable shoes: Try not to sacrifice comfort for style. Sometimes networking involves constant walking around and you want to make sure your feet aren’t aching, blistered or just plain worn out.
  1. Extra pens or pencils: One is never enough. You never know if your pen might run out of ink or if you happen to misplace it. Extra pens and pencils can also be great networking tools when someone around you asks for one. Help them out and offer them one of yours, you never know who you may meet this way!
  1. Notepad: I’m pretty sure you don’t want to miss a thing during the presentations. It’s helpful to jot down a few notes here and there. Taking notes could be a good way to reflect on the convention once you get home or if you want to share a few things from the convention with a colleague you can always refer to your notes.
  1. Small healthy snacks (fruit, nuts, etc.): It’s hard to focus on anything when you have an empty stomach. Packing a little something to nibble on in between meals is a good way to bring your blood sugar back up so you can really engage with the BIG things that are happening.

For more information regarding the 2016 Annual National PTA Convention & Expo and registration, visit PTA.org/Convention. Hope to see you there!

Ebony Scott is the communications intern at National PTA.

Voting is Key to Education Reform

Education—the answer to many of the problems ailing our country—is getting the least amount of attention from the candidates on the presidential campaign trail.

According to a November 2015 Gallup poll, only 4% of Americans consider education or education policy to be the most important problem facing our nation. Respondents instead cited the economy, poorly run government, immigration, gun control and health care of most concern. While I agree that these are important issues, we at 100 Black Men of America, Inc. (The 100) believe that without a quality education, many young people, particularly African-Americans, will be condemned to lives of poverty, incarceration and despair.

As a nonprofit mentoring organization, the education of our youth is one of our top concerns. Schools with caring and nurturing environments, high-performing teachers, rigorous curriculum and the proper materials and technology are some of the key ingredients to preparing our kids to successfully graduate high school, handle college-level coursework without requiring remediation, compete in global marketplace and become productive members of society. In our advocacy work, The 100 has sought to raise public awareness about the need to reform our nation’s education system, especially in predominately African-American and low-income communities where far too many of the schools are failing our children. We are working to ensure that every child, no matter their zip code, has access to high-performing schools.

How we get there is the real question. One answer is by voting. When we go to the polls in November, it isn’t just to elect the next president. We will have the opportunity to use our voting power to make important decisions about our children’s education. In some states, for example, voters will be asked to decide whether to turn the operational and decision-making control of failing schools in their communities over to their state governments. Others will be asked whether more charter public schools should be opened in their communities to provide families with an alternative to traditional public schools. Still others will be asked how money raised through state lotteries, property and sales taxes and state and federal allocations should be used to support education initiatives.

As voters, we are facing some tough choices. Many of our local public schools are struggling and some even failing, but is a state government takeover the answer? There has been a decades-long imbalance in the distribution of educational quality and opportunity due, in part, to how public schools are funded, but will proposed funding formula changes address those inequities and produce successful outcomes? If we allow more charter schools, will that irreversibly damage our traditional public schools or will the competition make both stronger?

What will become of the children and schools in our communities depends largely on the actions we take as voters. Elections at both the federal and local level—from the school board to the statehouse and from the assembly to the White House—are vitally important. We need to be talking about education in our households and at PTA meetings, in our barber shops and coffeehouses and in our workplaces and houses of worship.

But transformation doesn’t come by talk alone. We also must take decisive action. We can start by increasing our knowledge of the issues, committing to exercise our right to vote, encouraging others in our communities to do the same and then casting ballots for candidates for whom education and the academic success of our children are top priorities.

The choice and the vote is ours.

Brian L. Pauling is national president and CEO of 100 Black Men of America, Inc.


How A Teacher Helped My Son—and Me—Aim Higher

Matthew Rodriguez and sonThis blog was originally posted on Impatient Optimists.

Several years ago, I was taking daily flights between Minneapolis and Chicago, all because of my child’s first-grade teacher. Due to some family troubles, my son, Mateo, was living in Illinois, while I worked in Minneapolis. Mateo’s teacher, Mrs. Woods, called me because she was having trouble getting Mateo to come to school every day.

Now, as the President of the Illinois PTA, I often hear the phrase “high expectations” thrown around, but I saw what that truly means by interacting with Mrs. Woods.

Once I responded to her phone call, she wouldn’t let go for the two years she taught my son. When Mateo wouldn’t complete homework, she would call. When he would act out in class, she would call. Mateo had a week of completed classwork? Positive phone call. There came a point when I realized, not only was Mrs. Woods holding my son to high standards, but she was holding me to them, too. So there I was, taking daily flights to ensure my child was getting the support his teacher said he needed—I’m lucky I worked for an airline!

For two years, my understanding of what it meant to hold my son to high standards grew. Like Mrs. Woods, I learned not to accept Mateo’s excuses; maybe he could get more time or additional help, but he was always held to the same high standard as others.

This Teacher Appreciation Week, I am honored to share the story of my son, who, in spite of his home struggles, learning disability, and other obstacles, is now in college studying communications due to the efforts of teachers like Mrs. Woods.

As a parent, I knew I wanted my son to go to college, but I had doubts about how he could get there. This lines up with recent findings in a report by Learning Heroes, an organization that provides tools and resources for parents to navigate the changes in the classroom. The report found that parents’ expectations for their children, especially among families of color, are high, but the path to earning a college degree is less clear.

When the obstacles for parents feel overwhelming, I breathe a sigh of relief knowing that there are teachers like Mrs. Woods in our schools. Getting so involved in school because of her and my son led me to the PTA and a lifelong commitment to fight for all children.

Teachers today are doing so much more than teaching subjects—they’re creating pathways for students and families, and we owe them our gratitude.

Matthew Rodriguez is president of the Illinois PTA.

7 Ways Teachers Are Using GoFundMe to Make a Difference

In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, we wanted to celebrate seven teachers who embody the GoFundMe spirit of helping people and spreading empathy. We’re always amazed and delighted to see the creative, inspiring ways educators use our platform, and we think you’ll be impressed, too.

  1. iPads in the classroom to help ESL students learn Englishgofundme1

Mrs. Ellis teaches English as a Second Language in a low-income school in Denver, Colo. She recognized the huge impact having iPads in her classroom could have on her students’ progress in learning to read and write English.

With no funding directly available, Mrs. Ellis turned to a GoFundMe campaign to equip her classroom with the latest technology.

With the help of 20 community members, Mrs. Ellis hit her goal and purchased the iPads. She says, “The kids were so happy to finally get their classroom iPads and use them every day for new learning! Thank you to all the donors who made this possible!”

  1. Getting kids the books they really want to readgofundme2

Stephanie Wilson’s students are ready to develop a lifetime love of reading. There’s just one hitch: it’s a challenge for these underprivileged kids to access the books they really want to read.

That’s where this Champaign, Ill. teacher is taking charge: Stephanie has started a GoFundMe campaign to buy the books her students can’t wait to read, including Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Geronimo Stilton, and Captain Underpants.

In her campaign, Stephanie says, “As a teacher I spend a lot of my own money for things in my classroom and I need help! I want to provide books that my students want to read so that they will learn to love reading! I can’t express in words how thankful I am to those of you that choose to donate!”

  1. A field trip that will create lifelong memories

gofundme3Stella Kim is a special education science teacher who wants to give her students something they rarely experience: a memorable field trip away from the classroom where they can learn, bond, and enjoy themselves.

When Stella’s Oakland, Calif. school denied her request for the field trip because of lack of funds, she took matters into her own hands and started a GoFundMe campaign.

In just 17 days, 39 donors raised $1,585—exceeding Stella’s goal. Now the field trip is booked, and these students have an exciting field trip to look forward to.

  1. An after-school “Running 4 Change” program for at-risk youth

gofundme4Two years ago, special education teacher Isaias Franco started an after-school running program called “Running 4 Change.”

The program lived up to its name: the collective GPA of Isaias’s students increased by 24%, truancy decreased by 15%, and they successfully ran the Seattle Rock & Roll half marathon.

Now Isaias and his student runners are hoping to race in the San Diego Rock & Roll Marathon on June 5. They’ve raised over $2,000 so far and are hoping to hit their goal of $10,000.

  1. Learning leadership skills on week-long trip to Yosemitegofundme5

Sarah Gzesh wants take her students on an ambitious trip to fulfil her Hayward, Calif. school’s mission: to develop leadership skills in all students as they prepare for college.

On a week-long trip to Yosemite, 40 high school juniors and seniors will learn to give back by volunteering at the national park and increase their appreciation of the natural world—all while taking a break from constantly checking their phones.

In just 10 days, community members stepped up and fully funded this once-in-a-lifetime trip.

  1. First grade trip to the San Diego Zoo Safari Parkgofundme6

Lauren Brill and Jennifer Valenzuela spent a month teaching kindergartners and first graders about rainforest and African savanna animals, so it’s only natural they’d want to take the kids to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park to see some critters up close.

The $15 entrance fee and travel costs, however, are out of reach for many of the students’ families, a large number of which are low-income.

That’s why Lauren and Jennifer turned to GoFundMe. In just a month, they hit their goal, thanks to the generous donations of community members. We hope these lucky kids have a wild time at the zoo!

  1. Stephanie’s Science Librarygofundme7

Stephanie Sample is working hard to make sure her classroom is place where students can be exposed to all the possibilities that learning science can offer.

That’s why she wants her students to have a vibrant science library where they can explore topics at their leisure.

To say her GoFundMe campaign for this library was successful is an understatement: “Woke up this morning pretty emotional seeing the generosity of SO many people towards my GoFundMe! I have to continue to add money and items to my list due to amazing contributions (which is just going to make my classroom even more amazing with more books, plants, animals and lab equipment!) My heart is ready to explode!”

GoFundMe is a proud partner of PTA Teacher Appreciation Week 2016.