School Year's Eve

Where did the summer go? It’s hard to believe that school has started in several areas of the country. In fact, the Saylors Family started on August 19th.

This is also the time of year when PTA leaders are looking for ways to welcome back their students, teachers and families in an exciting way. That is one of the reasons that National PTA has partnered with Cookie Magazine to launch the School Year’s Eve program. By going to the website www.schoolyearseve.com PTA leaders and families can find expert information and helpful tips for building an exciting back-to-school event.

I am a firm believer that starting off the school year with the students and staff excited helps build a better learning opportunity; School Year’s Eve is a great way to build that event.

Remember, for information and your free School Year’s Eve kit go to www.schoolyearseve.com or www.pta.org

Good luck, have a great back-to-school and a great School Year’s Eve!

Until next time!

Tribute to a Life Led in Service, Senator Edward M. Kennedy 1932–2009

Earlier this year, PTA presented Ted Kennedy with the National Congress of Parents and Teachers Founders Award for his lifelong dedication to service. From his efforts to outlaw segregation through the Civil Rights Act of 1964, to his continual support of Head Start, Sen. Kennedy has played a significant role in far more aspects of federal policy than I can recount. But it is his role in supporting children and families that will always stand out most prominently in my mind.

He was a strong supporter of launching federal aid for public schools, and helped ensure that a free and quality public education would be available for every child. He also helped author bills requiring employers to provide unpaid leave after childbirth and establishing the Department of Defense’s revered child care system. On the issue closest to his heart—healthcare—Sen. Kennedy helped create the State Children’s Health Insurance Program and the Women, Infants, and Children Nutrition Program. As a true advocate for children, he also knew the importance of parent involvement:

“Good citizenship begins at home, with the values that parents teach children. Parenting is a challenge in any era, but never more so than today. Parents know that every hour spent working overtime is an hour away from their children. If they can’t attend a PTA meeting or a school play or a sports contest, they lose an opportunity to learn more about their child at school. They know instinctively that the quality of their skill as parents affects the learning of their children, their sense of the future, and their contributions to their communities in their own day and generation.”

We supported many of Sen. Kennedy’s legislative efforts, including the Public School Repair and Renovation Act, the Keeping Parents and Communities Engaged Act, and his bill to provide relief to students and schools affected by Hurricane Katrina. We were proud to have him as a guest speaker at the 2004 PTA National Legislative Conference, but prouder still of all he managed to accomplish for children during nearly 47 years in the Senate. We now stand in mourning with the rest of America at the loss of a great champion for children.

Until Next time…

Charles J. “Chuck” Saylors

National PTA President

National PTA President’s Update: The State of the Association

You can tell when school is ready to start . . . There is excitement in the air. Parent leaders and school staff are working hard to make sure our students return to an exciting environment.

Preparation comes with quality training, and to that end I want to share my personal excitement over this weekend’s National PTA State Presidents Training and All Committees Weekend. Our staff and volunteers planned a tremendous event, and great things are happening throughout the association as a result! Membership is strong and interest is growing in ways PTA can help a more diverse group of parents and other caregivers, families and communities support those who need it the most: Our children!

In addition to a great training event, the National PTA Board of Directors moved forward in supporting a solid financial business decision. As you may know, 113 years ago PTA was founded and chartered in Washington DC; in the 1930’s the association relocated to Chicago; a central hub for the railroad industry. Several years ago PTA outgrew its building in downtown and has since been working from leased property. From the day PTA sold its building, PTA has been working to find our association a new home.

Last week our Board voted unanimously to purchase a property in the Washington DC area . . . So we’re moving back home! In making this move, PTA will be able to have an appreciable asset for our association, we’ll be in the city that houses the most non-profits in the nation, and we’ll be better positioned to continue being the premier parent association in the country on Capitol Hill.

These opportunities will allow PTA to grow our leadership and service capabilities, thus making us more attractive to a wider array of prospective donors. I hope you share in our excitement!

Thanks for your time and support.

Until next time.

America’s PTA

For over 113 years the PTA has been working hard to meet the needs of families and communities across the nation. As we move forward, we need to ask ourselves some serious questions. Can we expect our association to reflect America’s families if we don’t look like America? Can we afford to keep moving in the same direction?

When PTA was founded the association was made up of mostly white middle-class to upper-class moms who lived in what we would call a suburban community. Today, according to our surveys, the numbers are about the same. Roughly 90% of our members are female, 80% are white, 70% live in suburban communities and over 50% live in households that make over $75,000 annually. America does not look that way. Now let me say right now that we should always honor our past and the dedicated service of those who built PTA into the powerhouse it is today, but in order to remain a leader in the educational community we must expand our reach.

Did you know that today, less than 10% of PTA’s members are male? Did you know that less than 10% are student members? These two facts, along with expanding our reach to all communities, provide PTA some tremendous opportunities. If you agree that we do have exciting opportunities in these areas, then join us in our effort to make our PTA America’s PTA. If not, then why not? Do you see PTA as a relevant resource? Are you helping? If not, why not? We need to know. My e-mail address is csaylors@pta.org. We need your feedback.

Over the next several months you will see PTA expanding our efforts in urban and rural communities. We will be working hard to make sure that all moms, dads, adult role models and communities know the great services PTA can provide. PTA has a rich history of great work; now more than ever, our parents, teachers, students and communities need PTA.

Until next time!