Show Your PTA Value with YOU Belong in PTA

With the 2022-2023 school year well underway, PTAs and PTSAs are hard at work with their initial membership drive, inviting people to join their local units or renew their PTA/PTSA memberships. Encouraging people to join doesn’t end with the back-to-school membership drive though. It’s an ongoing, year-round initiative.

To support your commitment to membership growth, National PTA developed the YOU Belong in PTA Suite of Membership Resources with easy, meaningful and fun ready-to-use flyers, customizable templates, social media posts, and a guide to help you create your own messages that show the value you provide to your communities throughout the year.

The YOU Belong in PTA suite of materials were designed based on research and marketing best practices. National PTA used two very important lessons discovered through the research done for our award-winning PTA for Your Child Membership Campaign:

Lesson 1:  The number one reason why people don’t join PTA is because no one ever asked

Lesson 2:  People are most willing to join when they see the value PTA provides.

The research showed three key areas where PTA excels in offering families value for their child:

  1. PTA’s ability to create connections
  2. PTA helps parents support their child
  3. PTA allows people to amplify their voice 

The main reason people join PTA/PTSA is to support their children. They see PTA as the way to be connected, to support their children’s education and to speak up for their children when necessary.

It’s important to understand the reasons why people choose to join PTA because knowing common motivations can be used to recruit others. To grow membership, PTAs need to show they provide value for families to make it worth giving their time, resources (connections, money, talents, etc.) or efforts.  How many times have we heard “I first joined PTA for my child. I’ve stayed for ALL children.”?

It’s also important to remember that the perception of value is in the eye of the beholder. What may be of value to one parent or caregiver may not be of value to another. Successful membership drives include learning about the needs of different potential audiences so that you can speak to their needs. As PTA/PTSA leaders, we need to think from their perspective and know what they value when we’re inviting them to join.

To communicate value that matches your potential PTA members, the YOU Belong in PTA kit includes several print-and-go pieces, social media ready messages and customizable pieces with language provided in the How to Create Your PTA Value Message Guide.

We created this kit based on feedback we received from PTA/PTSA leaders in our annual Membership Survey. Our leaders told us that the main obstacle in growing and retaining members is that “our members don’t seem to see value in PTA.” They also asked for “easy-to-use resources to help in communicating the value” that local PTAs/PTSAs provide to the community and the value of PTA in general.

To include our growing community of Spanish speakers, the entire suite of materials is also available in Spanish.

Many people take a wait and see approach to what PTA has to offer when you first ask them to join. That’s why asking to join PTA needs to be an ongoing effort. Use the YOU Belong in PTA resources to always be ready to ask based on the opportunity offered. If your PTA/PTSA organizes a Reflections event, use the YOU Belong in PTA/PTA Supports Your Child’s Education pieces (they are all colored in green). If your PTA/PTSA is holding a town hall meeting to get to know the candidates and their positions, have a YOU Belong in PTA/PTA Amplifies Your Voice flier (colored in blue) to thank everyone for attending and support your work by joining PTA. If your PTA/PTSA is having a Coffee with the Principal meeting, have a YOU Belong in PTA/PTA Creates Connections flyer (colored in orange) to share with your attendees.

Think about what every activity or event you plan accomplishes and use the YOU Belong in PTA pieces that best conveys the value your PTA/PTSA is providing. If you don’t have time to customize the piece, simply use the print-and-go materials as needed. There are endless possibilities in using these materials – in your eNewsletters, bulletins, posters, reports, etc. Every single communication effort, whether it is in-person, virtual or hybrid, is an opportunity to ask people to support your PTA/PTSA work with their membership.

Our YOU Belong in PTA webpage is full of links to many other resources (QR codes, Membership Campaign toolkit, how to make a logo for your PTA/PTSA and more) you can use to personalize your flyers and directly link them to your PTA/PTSA. 

Based on our webpage activity, National PTA knows many local leaders are taking advantage of the YOU Belong in PTA Suite of Membership Resources. We’d love to receive samples of how your PTA/PTSA is using them by emailing a picture or document at membership@pta.org.

Thank you so much for all you do for ALL children and to advance PTA’s mission to make every child’s potential a reality.

Ivelisse Castro | National PTA Membership Outreach Team

Inclusion Matters: Engaging Families of Students with Disabilities

Student with a disability

A few years ago, a flyer came home from my child’s high school announcing the first annual sensory-friendly school dance. Knowing that a school event was planned with the needs of all students in mind made me, a parent of children with disabilities, feel that my family was included in a meaningful way. When I found out the event was planned by other families like mine—not by the school or PTA, I was deflated.

My middle school aged son is one of the seven million students in the U.S. who receive special education services. That means that nearly 14% of all students in the U.S have been identified as having a disability that requires support at school. And that even doesn’t include students who haven’t been identified as having a disability or students who have a disability, but don’t need special education support.

Inclusion and Belonging are at the Heart of Family Engagement

When we use statistics and numbers, it’s easy to overlook the people behind them. Simply put, those numbers mean there are a lot of families like mine craving meaningful connection and inclusive family engagement.

The updated National Standards for Family-School Partnerships ignites my hope that education leaders, including PTA leaders, can help meet the needs and desires of students with disabilities. The six standards outline exactly not just why, but also how, leaders can advocate for students with disabilities. Here’s how that looks:

  1. Welcoming all families into the school community requires an understanding of the barriers families face. Students with disabilities and their families may feel isolated and excluded from school communities due to barriers you are not aware of. Simply asking families what they need to feel welcome is advocacy and builds a sense of belonging.
  2. Communicating effectively with families of students with disabilities is not always easy. Many of us have had negative experiences, some of which are based on the misunderstanding that we do not want to be asked about how PTA can accommodate our children’s disability. Even acknowledging that you are not sure what to ask is a start.
  3. Supporting student success means creating safe and supportive spaces where it’s believed that all students can succeed. Talking to families to let them know that you believe their children can meet their full potential is key in supporting success. You can start by asking one simple question: Do you have suggestions for how we can better or more authentically represent disability in our PTA?
  4. Speaking up for every child takes some pressure off families like mine, who are used to speaking up for our children’s rights and for educational policies and services that support our kids. When you speak up for and with us, you become an additional voice of support, a person we can trust, and someone who sets the standard for speaking up against bias.
  5. Sharing power requires you to be open to new ideas and different perspectives. It is also realizing that you can learn from families of students with disabilities. If you’re unsure if every voice is represented and considered in the decisions you make, ask: Do you feel comfortable raising disability-related concerns?
  6. Collaborating with the community means recognizing that the disability community extends beyond your school district and beyond the families in front of you. Include organizations that have their pulse on what’s happening in the disability community and people who are united by the experience of being disabled.

Building strong family-school partnerships is a shared responsibility

As a PTA leader, you can take the lead in applying the updated National Standards for Family-School Partnerships to your relationships with families of students with disabilities. But strong family engagement only happens when all parties are engaged. That’s why I’ve partnered with National PTA to create a series of fact sheets, questions, and conversations starters for each standard.

You can help enhance communication practices between school administrators and parents like me by sharing Strengthening Family-School Partnerships for Students with Disabilities.

National PTA has also published several policy resources, including a Position Statement on The Education of Students with Disabilities, Resolution on High Expectations for Students with Disabilities, and a Position Statement on Safe and Supportive Schools to support inclusive advocacy efforts at the local, state, and federal level.

Amanda Morin is an educational consultant, a former teacher and early childhood specialist, special education advocate, and author of five books, including The Everything Parent’s Guide to Special Education. She is also the mother of three children, two of whom have disabilities.

The Personalized Learning Children Deserve

Smarter Balance The Personalized Learning Your Child Deserves

Looking for resources to personalize learning and support teachers in meeting your child’s individual needs? Smarter Balanced tools go beyond end-of-year testing! 

We support teachers in meeting the individual needs of children throughout the year with lesson plans and classroom assessment. Our tools help to provide accurate measures of achievement and growth while challenging students to think critically and solve real-world problems.

  • A core principle of our system is accessibility and equity for students. Our tools include unmatched accessibility features designed to support students and remove access barriers—allowing them to demonstrate what they know and can do.
  • We offer easy-to-use instructional strategies and activities that enhance teaching and learning and support flexibility, autonomy, and equity.
  • We support teachers around decision-making with actionable information for daily instruction, planning throughout the year, and data for local, regional, and statewide improvement.

We are committed to doing what is needed to equip both educators and parents with tools that help them clearly identify where students are in their learning and what information they can use to support growth.

We know that parents want to be highly involved in their child’s education, and desire clear information about where their student excels or needs help; actionable resources; and feedback about their student’s progress. Whether it’s learning about the tools available to students or the types of content they’re learning, it’s important to have a bigger picture of your child’s education. Teachers are essential partners and trusted messengers when it comes to conveying information about student progress to parents.

Parents can continue to engage in their child’s education and help pave each students’ path toward growth by diving into insightful resources. With a complete picture of their child’s learning, knowledge and skills, parents can start smarter conversations with teachers about what they can do to support learning at home. 

Check out these Smarter Balanced tools today! 

  • Guides to help parents understand their child’s score reports,
  • Tips for making the most of conferences with their child’s teachers, and
  • Practice tests, sample items, and more!

Learn more about Smarter Balanced family resources at: https://smarterbalanced.org/our-system/students-and-families/ 

Author: Bryce Carpenter, Ph.D., Executive Administrative Officer, Smarter Balanced

Smarter Balanced is a member-led public agency that equips educators with tools to support students on a path to progress. As a member of the executive team, Dr. Carpenter’s focus areas are workforce development, strategy, governmental & external affairs, and communications. Dr. Carpenter is a lifelong public servant who believes in the transformative power of education and has committed his career to serving children and those who serve them.  

6 Ways to be a Reasonable, Unbending Advocate in a Divided World

PTA is committed to building community to support our children and their families across the country. I am always so amazed by all that PTA leaders and members do to make a positive impact, especially amid so many issues facing our children, families, schools and communities today. The expected challenges we typically experience throughout the school year have only been enhanced during the COVID-19 pandemic, social injustice, political division, school shootings and violence—and so much more.

The latest nation’s report card and emerging research has revealed what we already suspected—that our children have been deeply affected by all of these occurrences. And our support is needed now more than ever to address their needs and set them on the path to academic success in a healthy and safe environment—with a bright future ahead.

As PTA leaders, you have had challenges of your own. Not having the same access to the school building has made it difficult to connect with school staff and families to do what you do best— solve the toughest challenges and meet the needs of your community. But do not lose heart. As we have for over 125 years, our persistence and unified voice enables us to continue to push for change and pull our resources together to meet the critical needs of our communities.

And keep in mind, the loudest, harshest and most divisive voices don’t represent the majority of parents. We know from research that PTA is in the mainstream, and we should lead from the broad middle, while remembering that all viewpoints are welcome because our mission is to help every child—that means every student, every family, every school and every community.

While we may not agree on all things, we must work together as one unified PTA to achieve impactful and lasting change for those we serve.

Here are six ways to be a reasonable, yet unbending advocate in this divided world. You can also watch this speech I gave on this topic to offer thoughts on how you can partner with your communities and PTA peers to achieve our mission and make a difference in the lives of all children.

  1. Surround yourself with a team of leaders who are willing to enter the fray as your partners and create a connection with them.
  2. Refuse to allow others to divide and conquer. We cannot say we are carrying out our mission if we allow others to marginalize issues we know that matter.
  3. Control the narrative. Don’t allow others to label your opinions. When you hear divisive terms on controversial topics, counter them with the simple words that express what you know to be true.
  4. Engage everyone, not just who you agree with. If you live in a bubble with only people who agree with you, you cannot grow and you cannot influence the world view of others.
  5. Take care of your mental health. Caring for our mental health could also be aided by getting perspective. You don’t have to feel miserable to be engaged and you don’t have to embrace division in your work on creating change.
  6. Continue to speak your truth. Fight back. Now more than ever, our students and our education system need us to stay engaged. A writer put it this way, “[Speak] in a healthy and productive way. Grace does not require you to take abuse.” Remember the families and students who rely on us to work together to help lead them to a better future.

Nathan R. Monell, CAE is the executive director of National PTA.

Ask the Right Questions to Support Student Online Safety

November is Parent Involvement Month, and there are few topics needing our attention more than children’s online safety. But it’s not always easy to know where to begin. What type of digital safety measures should we expect schools to have in place? How do you know if your school or district is following best practices?

We can help! National PTA recently teamed up with education technology provider GoGuardian to create a straightforward resource for parents who want to promote effective digital safety practices in their school community. Inside, you’ll find a list of questions you can ask to better understand your district’s current digital safety plans and to open a dialogue about digital safety in your community.

What’s in your school’s digital safety plan?

Check out this new resource from National PTA and GoGuardian!

Why understand student online activity?

1. Safeguard student mental health and safety.

80% of K-12 parents believe that unrestricted access to the Internet can be harmful to student mental health.

More than 88% of K-12 parents support the use of online tools that help detect signs of students considering self-harm or violence. 

2. Protect children from harmful and explicit content.

71% of K-12 parents have concerns about their child accessing explicit or harmful content on a school-issued device.

92% of K-12 parents believe it’s necessary to have online educational technologies in place to prevent such access.

3. Keep students on task while accessing digital resources.

93% of K-12 parents believe the internet is a useful learning tool that schools should use to enhance learning.

90% of parents believe it is necessary to have online education technologies in place that keep students away from digital distractions.

Source: The statistics above were drawn from a recent blind survey by Morning Consult of a nationally representative group of nearly 2,500 K-12 parents, teachers, and administrators.

Meet Our Sponsor

GoGuardian has been a Proud National Sponsor of PTA since 2018 and is supporting the release of our updated National Standards for Family-School Partnerships—going live this month! GoGuardian and the National PTA are committed to student success. Together, they are working to engage families and educators on solutions to best support student mental health and online safety.

Why We Need a Parent Nation

I like to say that parents are children’s first and best teachers. And since science tells us learning begins on the first day of life—not the first day of school—the job starts early and lasts a lifetime.

A child’s early experiences, particularly those of rich language and responsive interactions with a loving caregiver, fuel early brain development. They catalyze the formation of new neuronal connections at astonishing rates, up to one million new connections per second. This rate of brain growth, linked to language, literacy, math, spatial reasoning and self-regulation, is never matched later in life. The more input a child receives, the stronger these neuronal connections grow—building the foundation for all future learning.

But we don’t do nearly enough to pass that science along to parents—the people in the best position to put it to use. Nor do we share it with society more broadly, so that parents and caregivers might receive the structural support they need and deserve. 

It’s time to remedy that.

I founded the TMW Center for Early Learning + Public Health at the University of Chicago and wrote a book called “Thirty Million Words: Building A Child’s Brain,” hoping to spread far and wide what science has revealed about the role of early language exposure.

Those findings are what motivate me and my team at the TMW Center to develop and study evidence-based strategies that help parents learn and apply the science of early brain development. But evidence-based strategies aren’t enough if you lack the time, resources and mental and emotional bandwidth to apply them. And America doesn’t do a whole lot to provide parents any of the above.

This became painfully apparent the more deeply I engaged with families at the TMW Center. Because our studies followed children from their first day of life into kindergarten, my team and I were getting to know many families up close and over time. The parents’ enthusiasm was thrilling. But real life—unpredictable work schedules, multiple jobs, lack of health care, structural racism, homelessness—would stand in the way of their best intentions again and again.

The bottom line is, we have made it exceedingly difficult for most parents to raise children in our country. It’s almost impossible for some. And until we make it easier for all parents to meet the developmental needs of their children—to fulfill their promise as brain architects so that their children may reach their full potential—our society will fail to reach its own.

We don’t need another research study to show that parents are important, or that rich conversation is key for children’s brain development.

What we need is a parent nation.

A parent nation, as I see it, is a society that cherishes and supports the love and labor that go into nurturing, raising and educating future generations. There is no limit on who can provide that love. So, I want to be clear that when I say “parent,” I mean any caring adult engaged in the work of raising a child.

Just as neuroscience tells us what to prioritize individually as parents, it can tell us what society should prioritize in order to optimize healthy brain development for all children. But if brain science offers blueprints, it is parents who do the building. Parents are the captains of their families’ ships, manning the helm. And just as every captain needs a crew, every parent needs the support and protection—including fair wages, paid time off and a social safety net—that will allow them to steer their families to safety.

I’d love to see parents band together in their workplaces and communities and talk to each other about their needs, hopes and fears. My team and I created an entire curriculum that’s free and downloadable on ParentNation.org for people to start Parent Villages—small groups or parents who come together to create community and push for change. That change could be working to get a lactation room at work, or a childcare center built near public transportation, or any number of things.

Together we can push for families to get the support they need and deserve. Being a parent can bring us to our knees. But it must also rouse us to our feet.

Dr. Dana Suskind is a pediatric cochlear implant surgeon, founder and co-director of the TMW Center for Early Learning + Public Health at the University of Chicago and the author of Parent Nation: Unlocking Every Child’s Potential, Fulfilling Society’s Promise.

4 Back to School Tips for Parents

Practice healthy habits so we can be “stronger together” this back to school season!

Lysol and National PTA hope families everywhere enjoyed their summer vacation and the quality time that comes with it! This school year is the first time many students are back together at school following the COVID-19 pandemic. Children are stronger together in the classroom, so it’s important to follow the below healthy habits to help keep students at school, learning from teachers—and each other—this academic year:

  • Complete all health requirements: Schedule your annual checkups including medical, eye, and ear exams for your child, and ensure they are up to date with their immunizations. This will help ensure your child is ready for the school year.
  • Go to bed on time: We know bedtime can vary over the summer, but it’s important to get back on a regular sleep schedule to be energized and refreshed for the day. Students aged 6-12 should sleep 9-12 hours a night, while students aged 13-18 should aim for 8-10 hours a night. Sleeping the recommended length of time helps students stay focused and improves academic performance.1
  • Get the right supplies: Prepare your student for success by acquiring all school supplies early. Make a list to double check what you may already have at home and pick up everything your child needs to start the year. Each school year presents its own unique challenges, and the correct supplies can help your student be ready to tackle anything that comes their way.
  • Practice healthy habits: Lysol is proud to support healthy habits at home and in school through the Here for Healthy Schools initiative. Encourage teachers, administrators, and school leaders to utilize Lysol resources and downloadable activities on handwashing, germ transmission, and other valuable lessons available through the Healthy Habits Program. Practicing healthy habits can help curb the spread of illness-causing germs in classrooms and support a successful school year!

Healthy habits are important to instill in children so they can feel their best as they come together at school. This year, Lysol captured candid conversations from real students who shared who they really are and said what they really think on topics such as celebrating differences, what they missed about school, and more. Please visit Lysol.com/HERE to watch and learn more.

6 Essential Back-to-School Supplies

Your average school supply list contains the usual suspects: No. 2 pencils, glue sticks, plus folders in every color of the rainbow. But these are just a few of the tools that fuel success in the classroom. Teachers and students need other items you might not immediately think of—and that might be missing from your classroom supply lists. 

PTAs can help source school supplies in a number of ways. Whether you DIY or delegate to a third-party vendor, PTA leaders can work to ensure each classroom list is complete. Here are six items worth considering (and why!).

1. Hand sanitizer and hand soap – As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, healthy habits are a must. Students are encouraged to wash their hands several times throughout the day, especially before mealtimes. Hand soap is most useful for classrooms with their own sinks, while hand sanitizer can get the job done when soap and water aren’t readily available. Either way, students go through these items quickly—which is why it’s important to make sure they never run out.

2.  Lysol® Disinfecting Wipes and Lysol® Disinfectant SprayDisinfecting wipes and sprays from Lysol are essential to help prevent the spread of illness-causing germs and tackle unexpected messes in the classroom. For peace of mind, many teachers disinfect high-touch classroom surfaces like desktops, doorknobs and light switches daily. Include these products on every class’s back-to-school supply list, and you’ll ensure a steady supply through cold-and-flu season and beyond.

3. Sandwich bags – Sandwich bags (ideally with zip-top closure) are super-handy for distributing individual portions of snacks, manipulatives or craft supplies. If students need to pause mid-way through an activity, they are perfect for storing loose pieces until the following day. Sandwich baggies are also useful for securing items that become broken or lost, such as a piece of jewelry or even a baby tooth that comes out during the school day! The list goes on, which is why every classroom should have a stock of sandwich bags (and reuse them as much as possible).

4. Pencil pouches – It’s all too easy for backpacks, desks and lockers to become littered with small school items. Students need an easy way to corral their writing implements, pencil sharpeners and such. Teachers tend to prefer pencil pouches to pencil boxes because they are more durable and less bulky—plus, they often sport loops to fit into three-ring binders.  

5. Earbuds – Technology has an ever-growing presence in the classroom, with many students using school-issued tablets or laptops. Earbuds are a great alternative to traditional headphones because they take up less room. When each student has their own pair of earbuds, they can easily make the switch to independent learning with their devices. Even if your school provides a pair of earbuds, it doesn’t hurt to buy extra, in case they become misplaced.

6. Academic planner – It’s never too early to help kids learn organization and time-management—and for young digital natives, a paper planner or personal organizer can be just the tool they need. Consider putting academic planners on the list for older students who can write proficiently, generally late elementary school and beyond. With an academic planner they can track homework assignments, upcoming tests and other important information (and relish the joy of crossing off those to-dos!). The ideal planner offers weekly and monthly views of their schedule, with the ability to customize school subjects. But many students enjoy the opportunity to pick the academic planner that works best for them.

A thoughtful school supply list captures everything teachers and students need to thrive in the classroom. Take a look at yours and see what items may need to be added—to ensure a fun, productive and healthy year for your entire school community.

Lysol is a Proud National Sponsor of National PTA. This article contains sponsored content from third parties.National PTA does not endorse any commercial entity, product or service.

4 Ways Your PTA Can Simplify School Supplies

From crayons to calculators, students rely on a steady stream of school supplies to make it through the academic year. But securing these items can be a challenge for teachers and parents, especially when supply lists are long and they differ from grade to grade, even from classroom to classroom.

That’s where PTA leaders can step in to support teachers, facilitate student learning and make life easier for families. And no matter how your PTA chooses to get involved, this is also an opportunity to check that your classroom lists include all the essentials, including commonly overlooked items like Lysol® Disinfecting Wipes and Lysol® Disinfectant Spray. If your PTA is looking to help with school supplies, here are four models to consider.

1. Buy in Bulk

How It Works: With teacher supply lists in hand, your PTA can take on the lion’s share of the work by purchasing the necessary items in bulk, either in person or online. Once the supplies arrive, PTA members sort, assemble and distribute the school supply kits to every classroom.

How It’s Funded: In late spring or early summer, the PTA asks for contributions from each family (typically $20 to $45 per student, which is less than they would pay to buy the school supplies themselves). Parents can even make a tax-deductible donation to help cover supplies for those who are unable to pay. Any leftover money can be applied to the PTA general fund, and surplus supplies can be stored for the next school year.

Why PTAs Like It: Not only does this approach reduce much of the burden for teachers and parents, it also opens up short-term PTA volunteer opportunities for people who like to bargain-hunt or who only have a few hours to spare. Another bonus: Every student gets the same brand of markers, folders and so on—thereby leveling the playing field.

2. Work with a Wholesaler

How It Works: A growing number of companies will partner with schools to provide turnkey school supply kits, customized by grade. The PTA takes on the role of hiring and managing the third-party vendor, seeking teacher input and promoting the service to families. The completed kits are shipped to student homes—or, better yet, directly to the school so teachers can set everything up before the first day of class.

How It’s Funded: Parents order their supply kits online from the company (or opt out, if they prefer). Often, your PTA can receive a portion of the proceeds from each box sold.

Why PTAs Like It: “Parents love the ease of school supply shopping in just a few clicks. Long gone are the days of hitting up multiple stores to find specific items,” says Jennifer Finnegan, who manages the school supply program on behalf of Haycock Elementary PTA in Falls Church, Va. “The Haycock PTA is happy to provide this convenience, and it’s an easy win for the entire school community. ”

3. Funnel Funds to Teachers

How It Works: Classroom teachers know what they need to support their lessons plans, and they often have brand preferences, too. That’s why some PTAs choose to hold an annual classroom supply fundraising campaign. Then, teachers get to do all the shopping.

How It’s Funded: Families pay into a fund dedicated to school supplies. Some PTAs suggest a per-student contribution, while others follow a pay-what-you-can model. Either way, your PTA may choose to subsidize the fund as needed. The money then gets divided among classroom and specialty teachers, who purchase exactly what’s needed for their students for the entire year.

Why PTAs Like It: This approach gives teachers ultimate control over their classroom supplies, while again saving families time and ensuring equity among students. Meanwhile, kids still get to pick out their highly personal items like backpacks, lunch boxes and water bottles.

4. Close the Gaps

How It Works: Whether or not you pursue one of the options above, your PTA can further help teachers by setting up a grant program to reimburse them for any out-of-pocket expenses, up to a maximum amount (typically $100 to $250) per school year.

How It’s Funded: Your PTA may include this reimbursement program as a line item in your annual budget. Be sure to stipulate which kinds of purchases are eligible (defer to your PTA bylaws and guidelines) as well as the process for submitting receipts.

Why PTAs Like It: There is no question that too many teachers spend too much of their own money on snacks, crafts and other classroom supplies. PTAs can help teachers pay for qualified educational expenses when school budgets and supply lists don’t quite cover it.

Sourcing school supplies is just one more way your PTA can support teachers, parents and students—and help your entire community get off to a strong start each fall.

Here’s to another fantastic school year!

Lysol is a Proud National Sponsor of National PTA. This article contains sponsored content from third parties.National PTA does not endorse any commercial entity, product or service.

5 Tips for Keeping Your Child Safe From COVID at School

Children everywhere are heading back to school and in-person learning. It’s important to keep in mind that many communities continue to be affected by the COVID pandemic.

As of August 22, the risk that COVID poses—based on how many people are getting infected and need hospital care—is medium to high in more than 75% of communities nationwide.

Here are 5 ways to keep your child safe from COVID as they head back to school.

1. Get your child vaccinated as soon as possible

Vaccination is the best thing you can do to protect your child from the dangers of COVID.

Since vaccines became available, people of all ages—including children—who are up to date with their COVID vaccines have been less likely than unvaccinated people to get very sick from COVID.

Everyone 6 months or older should get vaccinated. Find COVID vaccines near you at vaccines.gov.

2. Keep your child home when they’re sick

If your child has COVID or COVID-like symptoms, they should stay home from school to reduce their chances of spreading the virus to others.

If your child tests positive for COVID, follow the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance on when and how long to isolate.

3. Test to prevent spreading COVID to others

You should test your child for COVID immediately if they have symptoms.

If your child was exposed to someone with COVID and doesn’t have symptoms, wait at least 5 days to test them. You may get an incorrect result if you test them too soon after exposure.

If your child tests positive, that means they’re infected with COVID. They should isolate, and you should tell everyone they’ve recently had close contact with, to avoid spreading the virus to others.

4. Wear a mask

Regardless of whether your child is vaccinated, they should wear a mask around others at school when the risk that COVID poses to your community is high.

If your child has been exposed to COVID, they should wear a mask around others at school for 10 days following exposure.

Don’t send your child to school if they have COVID. But if they do go to school with COVID-like symptoms or develop symptoms while at school, they should wear a mask around others.

5. Encourage your child to wash their hands often

Handwashing removes germs from one’s hands. It helps prevent getting infections and spreading infectious diseases to others.  

Encourage your child to wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Handwashing is especially important:

  • After you blow your nose, cough, or sneeze
  • Before and after you eat
  • After you use the restroom
  • After recess or playtime with others

If your child doesn’t have soap and water, they can use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Children 5 and younger should only use hand sanitizer with adult supervision.