Start Planning for Take Your Family to School Week

National PTA’s Take Your Family to School Week (TYFTSW) is Feb. 11-17, 2017. The week is timed to honor our Founder’s Day (Feb. 13) and celebrate PTA’s long legacy of family engagement. Although February seems far away, with the holidays coming up it will be here before you know it! Now is a great time to start planning your Take Your Family to School Week celebrations.

Take Your Family to School Week is a great time to:

  • Engage the whole family in reading activities to support children’s literacy skills and help foster a love of reading.
  • Empower families with tools to adopt more active, healthy lifestyles.
  • Showcase how students use technology in the classroom, help close the homework gap by increasing technology access and digital learning at home and support families in creating safe digital environments through the Smart Talk.

This year, in partnership with Chrysler Pacifica and Google Chromebooks, National PTA will provide 55 local PTAs with $1000 to host a Take Your Family to School Week event. All grant recipients must be in good-standing with their State PTA and be a 501(c)(3) organization. Below are four quick steps to take advantage of this opportunity:

  1. Visit PTA.org/TYFTSW to download the grant requirements and a practice grant application.
  2. Use the practice application to design your Take Your Family to School Week event and to save your great ideas.
  • The grant application page will automatically refresh if it is left open. Please use the word document to craft your event and then copy and paste when you are ready to submit.
  1. Complete the grant application by Friday, Nov. 17 to be considered for a $1,000 Take Your Family to School Week Grant.
  2. Celebrate Take Your Family to School Week with hundreds of other PTAs across the country Feb. 11-17, 2017.

A Take Your Family to School Week toolkit will be made available to all PTAs hosting an event during the week. This digital toolkit will include documents that help you plan, promote and report the success of your event. Be on the lookout for helpful resources around your Winter Holiday Break.

National PTA encourages all PTAs to participate in this opportunity and to begin planning for Take Your Family to School Week!

Fire Up Your Feet!

This post was also featured on Together Count’s blog.

Fire-Up-FBObesity prevention has been identified by PTA members as a top priority for health and safety.  School nutrition has long been a key component to PTA’s history, yet PTAs are relied on to raise much needed funds for schools often through food-based methods. As a member of the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation and a Together Counts™ Ambassador, we promote energy balance and encourage schools to make healthy changes having to do with more activity to balance calories consumed. This year schools began implementing “Smart Snacks” that ensure all food sold to kids during the school day is healthy.  PTAs and families play a critical role in supporting the new nutrition guidelines as any fundraisers, school stores or vending machines running during the school day must meet these new standards.  PTAs and school groups therefore needed a healthy, easy choice for school fundraisers.

Fire Up Your Feet, a program launched in partnership between National PTA, Safe Routes to School National Partnership and Kaiser Permanente as part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Active Schools program, gives families, students and schools tools to create fun, active lifestyles that inspire our children and their families and schools to be healthy and physically active by walking before, during and after school.  The program, available to any elementary and middle school (grades k-8) nationally, offers an online activity tracker and school fundraising component that supports annual PTA annual fun runs or walkathons, with 75 percent of the money raised going back to the PTA or school, which is more than the typical amount of 60percent.  The Fire Up Your Feet Activity Challenge award program, which has awarded more than $115,000 and more than 1,100 K-8 schools, is also available in sponsored regions.

For many years now, Jenkins Middle School PTA has supported students, families, and staff by raising funds.  They decided that Fire Up Your Feet was a wonderful way to engage students, staff, families, and the community in increasing health and wellness. They kicked off their Fire Up Your Feet Activity Challenge with a before school walk around their track, with 100 parents, staff, and students energetically completing laps while logging their hours for the challenge. As a result, they received a $200 award.  Bathgate Elementary PTA proudly walked to school on October 8 (Walk to School Day) with almost 85 percent of the students participating.  They used their activity challenge award to purchase additional PE equipment and provide CPR and First Aid training.  Rainbow Elementary PTA used Fire Up Your Feet to support their “Walk Around the World Challenge, where families logged in almost 2,300 miles and over 79,000 minutes of exercise.

Parents are a key part to the coordinated approach to child health.  Through Fire Up Your Feet National PTA is giving families the tools they need to model positive health behaviors, meet their required amount of daily physically active and burn energy together.  And, it helps PTAs fully supporting the positive changes happening at school while still meeting the obligations of bringing much needed funding into the school.

In addition to this program, we’re proud to announce year three of our partnership with Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation and their Together Counts program to bring schools an incentive toward healthy lifestyles through the Healthy Lifestyles: Energy Balance 101 grant.  The application is open now, with a deadline of June 19, 2015.  Go to PTA.org/awards to find out how your PTA can get involved.


Heather Parker, MS, CHES is the Senior Manager for Health and Safety at National PTA, where she serves as in-house expert on child health and safety and develops new programs, materials and resources to support PTA’s health and safety efforts.