Grow Your PTA Membership with Diversity & Multiculturalism!

Diversity_CrowdMore than ever, families, students, teachers, administrators, and business and community leaders have more reasons to work together for the educational success of children. Why? The Huffington Post states public school demographics will experience a record multicultural growth by 2022. The findings discuss growth in terms of diversity and multiculturalism. These two terms are used by many people, but what do they mean? And how can PTA membership prepare for this growth?

It is important to understand the relationship between diversity and multiculturalism. Diversity and multiculturalism may sound similar, yet they are very different. Simply, diversity can be defined as we are all different from each other. The recognition of diversity within organizations or settings is valuing differences and similarities in people through actions and accountability. However, multiculturalism is the preservation of different cultures or cultural identity, which is identified as first recognizing a person by her or his ethnicity. Diversity can exist in the absence of multiculturalism.

Many people are familiar with efforts to embrace diversity while preserving multiculturalism is not as familiar. As your PTA becomes more familiar with creating diverse and multicultural events for your school and community, take into consideration the necessary steps to strengthen your PTA membership. Be prepared to meet the future of record multicultural growth!

Take steps now to produce a membership growth plan based upon diversity and multiculturalism. Your plan should be three basic things: 1) adaptable, 2) specific, 3) and simple. It should also be dynamic and focus on ways to analyze community demographic trends and new membership opportunities. Review your plan and update it periodically to represent the diverse demographics of your PTA, school, and community.

Embracing diversity and multiculturalism helps Today’s PTA continue to grow and expand our vision. Try the listed three steps to grow your membership and share your experience with me in the comment box below.

Remember, you still have time to participate in the 14 in ’14 National PTA Membership Challenge.

I wish you success!

Armen Alvarez is multicultural membership development manager for National PTA.

Diversity in Leadership: What’s Your Motivation?

Membership_DiversityBeing a PTA leader is much more than managing duties and responsibilities. Being a leader also includes the ability to identify and empower others to carry out the mission and vision of PTA. One of the questions you may ask as a leader or emerging leader is: What motivates others to stay engaged in the work of PTA?

Do you remember when you started in PTA? Do you remember the motivations that led you to take a leadership role? The first question is easy to answer, but for the second one, you might have to think a little bit more. However, the answer to the second question is why you are still actively involved in Today’s PTA. It is precisely that motivation that others see in you and should encourage them to seek PTA leadership roles.

Your unique motivation helps build a diverse and active PTA leadership team. Motivation comes from the Latin word motivus  or  motus  meaning  “cause of motion”.  The Free Dictionary defines motivation as, “the psychological feature that arouses an organism to action toward a desired goal; the reason for the action; that which gives purpose and direction to behavior.” It is your motivation that keeps us aligned with the vision and mission of the association. Therefore, identifying leaders is not difficult, but it is important to identify your motivations and how these impact leadership growth and development for aspiring PTA leaders.

  • To assess your leadership motivations, ask yourself:
  •  What motivates you to stand up as parent leader?
  • How do you see yourself contributing to PTA one year from now?
  • What do you expect to achieve as a leader?
  • Which areas of your leadership are you looking to develop?

These questions will help you to bridge a relationship with other PTA members and align your motivations to help advance the PTA mission and vision.

Megan, my former PTA leader and mentor, asked me the same questions.  Megan was willing to support my leadership development through challenging personal times. As a minority, I wondered if I was right for a PTA leadership position. Yet, under her mentorship as a PTA leader, I felt confident and secure. Her motivation inspired me!

My circumstances, as a parent with younger children and limited time, were not a barrier because Megan helped me assess my unique motivations and focus on my leadership potential. In time, I returned the favor by identifying another emerging PTA leader!

Seeking diverse leadership is rewarding. It is how we grow Today’s PTA. I wish you much success in your current PTA leadership role or path to leadership.

Armen Alvarez is the multicultural membership development manager for National PTA.

Olé! Turn Spanish to English with one “Click”!

Greetings PTA family,

Translate_ImageI hope you enjoyed the holidays with your family and all your dreams come true in the New Year. My dream for 2014 as National PTA’s multicultural membership development manager is to support efforts to grow the PTA family by recruiting diverse members and leaders.

One of PTA’s goals is to create outreach to non-English speaking communities.  For instance, did you know you can translate the PTA website from English to Spanish with just one “click”?  Go to the toolbar, click the “Select Language” drop box and choose “Spanish”. With just one click, the website will switch from English to Spanish! Olé!

I invite you to explore this new function, share it with your family and friends, and Spanish-speaking communities. Don’t forget, most of our PTA fliers and resources are available in Spanish and English too. Take a few minutes to look around for Spanish resources and invite others to do the same.

Becoming familiar with Spanish-translated PTA resources can help your PTA grow! Here are events to help you promote diversity and multiculturalism at your PTA:

  • Take your family to School Week – Check out the National PTA’s Take Your Family to School Week Multicultural Event Guide  to maximize your PTA’s opportunities to welcome all families to your events during Martin Luther King Day, African American Heritage Month, Cinco de Mayo, or any other celebration in your community. TYFTSW is held February 17-21, 2014.
  • An Evening with Today’s PTA Event – Appealing to diverse communities with various interests is important. Consider hosting “An Evening with Today’s PTA” to share your PTA’s diversity and unique school and community benefits. How? I can help you! Email me for more information on this year-round opportunity.

There are many ways to expand our diverse PTA family and carry on the mission of “Every child. One voice.” If you have a story to share with National PTA about how you are growing diverse membership, please tell me your story! Send a picture along with your story of 300-400 words to  Your story may be highlighted in an upcoming Membership Monday!

Happy New Year!

Armen Alvarez

Armen Alvarez is the multicultural membership development manager for National PTA.


Accion por la educación!

Read this post in English.

Desde era niña, siempre escuché a mis padres decir que la educación es el legado más importante que los padres transmiten  a los hijos de generación en generación, lo que implica sacrificio y la perseverancia de los padres. Hoy el reto como padres es asegurarnos de que nuestros niños estén preparados para que puedan competir en el mundo del trabajo como profesionales capaces, tomar decisiones difíciles y que puedan llevar a cabo tareas complejas. Es aquí que cada año escolar en la vida estudiantil es crucial para nuestros hijos para que alcancen las habilidades académicas de acuerdo a su etapa de crecimiento.

Me acuerdo de mi primera experiencia en la escuela con mi hija mayor, me sentí abrumada por las tareas y la imposibilidad de mi hija del poder adaptarse en el primer grado. La adaptación fue crucial para mí también, porque como una madre sin completo conocimiento del funcionamiento del sistema educativo me sentí perdida y sin ayuda. La transición de la guardería a la escuela era como un gran salto de la vida. Fueron muchas reuniones, correos electrónicos y notas enviadas a la maestra que me permitió entender cómo ayudar a mi hija.  Pero lo que realmente hizo que la diferencia fue que sin saberlo mí esposo y yo diseñamos un plan de acción para la educación.

¿Cómo redactarlo y hacerlo posible? Para ello es necesario familiarizarse con lo que es necesario e importante para su niño en cada etapa de su vida como estudiante. No todos los niños tienen las mismas habilidades de aprendizaje y de trabajo de los padres es apoyar y descubrir cómo aprenden nuestros niños, ya que todos los niños tienen la capacidad de aprender. Es importante involucrarse en la escuela y visitar regularmente el aula y el profesor. El modelar a su hijo que tiene un interés genuino a que sobresalga hacia adelante en la vida, y sobre todo a confiar plenamente en su capacidad de aprender. Participe en conversaciones acerca de cómo ha ido el día en la escuela. Hable acerca de los futuros planes de carrera, a partir de una edad temprana, lo que siempre es beneficioso más temprano que tarde para intercambiar ideas y establecer altas expectativas en la vida.

La educación es una parte integral en la vida de cada familia y determina la capacidad de nuestros hijos a encontrar su lugar en la sociedad como ciudadanos productivos. Les animo a iniciar o continuar el plan de acción individual para la educación de acuerdo con los estándares académicos requeridos por grado académico del estudiante. El trabajo es duro, pero vale la pena cuando vemos a nuestros niños a alcanzar sus metas académicas. Busque el apoyo del grupo de padres o de la PTA para que participe efectivamente en las decisiones escolares que beneficiarán a su niño y todos los niños de su comunidad.

Armen Álvarez – Gerente Multicultural en Desarrollo de Membresía

Action for Education

As a child, I always heard from my parents that education is the most important legacy that parents passed down from generation to generation, which involves the parents’ sacrifice and perseverance. Today the challenge as parents is to make sure that our children are prepared so that they can compete in the professional world as capable professionals and great decisions-makers who can carry out complex work tasks. Each school year, it is crucial for our children to reach academic skills according to their stage of growth.

I remember my first experience at school with my oldest daughter. I felt overwhelmed by the assignments and my daughter’s inability to smoothly adapt to first grade. Adaptation was crucial for me too, because as a new mother, naïve about many facets of the education system, I felt lost without support. The transition from day care to school was like a big jump in life. Many meetings, emails, and notes were sent to the teacher that allowed me to understand how to help my daughter, but what really made a difference was that, inadvertently, my husband and I designed an action plan for her education.

So, how does one draft it and make it happen? It required familiarizing yourself with what is necessary and important for your child at every stage of his or her life as a student. Not all children have the same learning skills. It is the parents’ job is to support and discover how our children learn because all children have the ability to learn. It is productive to get involved in school and regularly visit the classroom and teacher. Model your child your interest that emerge in life and trust fully in their ability to learn. Engage in conversations by asking how was your day at school? Talk about future career plans, starting from an early age, which is always sooner than later to exchange ideas and set up high expectations in life.

Education is an integral part in the life of every family and determines the ability of our children find their place in society as productive citizens. I encourage you to start or continue the individual action plan for education in accordance with the academic standards required by the student’s academic grade. The work is hard but rewarding when we see our children reach their academic goals. Seek support from your local PTA and get involved effectively in school decisions that shall benefit your child and all children in your community.


Armen Alvarez is the Multicultural Membership Development Manager at National PTA.

¡La PTA celebra la Herencia Hispana!

Hispanic Heritage Awards photo (2)

¡No hay nada mejor como disfrutar de la camarería de amigos, y conocidos! Pero cuando ves un salón lleno de alegría, y del orgullo que todos compartimos de tener el mismo trasfondo histórico, es cuando te das cuenta de que tu familia ha crecido más allá de los límites territoriales de nuestra tierra de origen. ¿Cuál es el punto en común? La respuesta es que todos somos hijos de la Herencia Hispana. He aquí, es en este país de las oportunidades y la libertad donde más saboreas tus raíces y los logros de tus países compañeros como los tuyos. Durante la celebración del 26º Aniversario de los Premios a la Excelencia de la Herencia Hispana (Hispanic Heritage Awards), se palpaba la alegría de una gran familia, que el denominador común es el trabajo duro, la pasión por nuestra tierra y sobre todo la humildad perfeccionista de que todavía queda trabajo por hacer.

La actividad estuvo muy amena, José Antonio Tijerino Presidente-CEO y Miembro de la Junta Directiva de la PTA Nacional, abrió el acto con gran pasión y energía. Tijerino enfatizó que “el trabajo no es en vano, sin embargo nos caracteriza como un pueblo trabajador”, mensaje que se repitió de múltiples formas durante toda la noche. La actividad permitió darle el merecido tributo a la destacada labor de personalidades como Lucero, Eva Longoria, Diego Luna, entre otros. Tanto los galardonados como moderadores de la actividad hicieron hincapié a que la educación es la médula del progreso de nuestras futuras generaciones.

Es por ello, que uno de los premios de mayor impacto fue el Premio a la Educación (Education Award) auspiciado por Target. El cual fue otorgado a Alberto Carvalho, Superintendente de las Escuelas Públicas del Condado de Miami-Dade, también pasado miembro de la Junta Directiva de la PTA Nacional 2007-2009. En otras de sus funciones, es Carvalho el presidente fundador de la Asociación de Administradores y Superintendentes Latinos (ALAS, siglas en inglés).  Las palabras de Carvalho fueron de gran motivación, ya que reseñó su humilde procedencia trabajando en un restaurant en NY, pero su gran deseo de superación y lucha le guiaron a la posición que hoy sustenta trabajando por el avance académico de todos los estudiantes en el sur de la Florida.

Otro gran orgullo a celebrar que no puede pasar desapercibido, lo fue el Premio a las Ciencias, Tecnología, Ingeniería y Matemáticas (STEM Award) otorgado a la Organización sin fines de lucro de la Iniciativa Nacional de Matemáticas y Ciencia (NMSI, siglas en inglés).  Este galardón representa que nuestros estudiantes hispanos estarán preparándose para más del 50 por ciento de los empleos en los próximos años. Este programa también ha alcanzado sobre 60,000 maestros que utilizarán sus conocimientos para preparar a los estudiantes en los Estándares Académicos Fundamentales de los Estados (Common Core State Standards, siglas en inglés).

Es de real motivación saber que los esfuerzos para la educación de nuestras generaciones es un trabajo que parece lento pero está dando sus frutos. Como hispana me siento muy orgullosa de celebrar nuestra Herencia Hispana. ¡Que viva la Herencia Hispana!