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Communicating with Confidence – PTA Publications

PTA Publication Types


PTAs are encouraged to communicate with PTA members and the school community. Each unit must determine what will best meet the needs of its members and community, and what will fit within its budget. Options include:

  • print publications such as newsletters and fliers
  • emails
  • e-publications such as electronic newsletters
  • websites
  • social media
  • banners and posters
  • text messages

Plan PTA Communications

Plan PTA communications that inform the community about PTA activities and school functions.

Identify the Target Audience. It is important to clarify who you want to reach. Is your publication written for parents? for students? for teachers?

Choose the Right Tool. Decide how best to communicate with your audience. Consider using multiple tools to carry the message.

Prepare the Right Message. Review and refine each article to clearly and concisely convey the message.

Use the PTA Style Guide. Refer to the California State PTA Style Guide for grammar specific to PTA, helpful punctuation, writing reminders and correct use of the PTA logo.

Incorporate the PTA Logo into all PTA communications. An organization’s logo catches the reader’s eye and makes an instant, familiar connection. This PTA logo can be downloaded and customized for use by units, councils and district PTAs.

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Guidelines for PTA Publications


Adhere to PTA noncommercial, nonpartisan and nonsectarian policies.

Communications must be cleared with the PTA president and school principal before printing, publishing or posting. The principal is responsible for the accuracy of school information and compliance with the State Education Code and school district policy. The PTA president is responsible for the accuracy of PTA information and compliance with PTA policies. (Article VI, Section 1i, Bylaws for Local PTA/PTSA Units).

Publication best practices:

  • Create a visual identity. PTA publications should be consistent in appearance and easily identifiable.
  • Date all publications.
  • The name of the unit, council, district and state PTA should be on each publication.
  • Publications should list PTA contact information—units should use school address; council and district PTA should use office or mailing address.
  • Include references to other PTA resources such as council and district PTA, California State PTA and National PTA publications, websites and social media sites.
  • Develop a plan to reach all members.

In PTA publications, publish only a summary of actions taken from PTA association meeting minutes. Do not publish, without written permission, photos or personal information about students or adults. Use of photographs or videos of children requires a Photography Release form, available in English and Spanish.

Advertising and Sponsorships

PTAs may be approached by commercial businesses or individuals seeking a presence in their publications. All advertising should be screened to ensure it meets PTA’s high standards and legal obligations.

The California State PTA strongly recommends finding sponsors rather than accepting advertising. See Sponsorship vs. Endorsement. Thank funders and sponsors. One sentence should do it! To preserve the PTA’s tax-free income generated from a sponsorship, the acknowledgement thanking the organization must not actually promote the sponsor, its product or services. Become familiar with the noncommercial policy.

  • The Sunshine PTA expresses grateful appreciation to the following merchants for making this publication possible:
  • The Sunshine PTA expresses thanks to Neighborhood Bank for the use of its parking lot for the car wash.
  • Sunshine PTA thanks Romano Pizza for the generous offer to donate 10 percent of all sales made on Saturday.

Mailed publications should meet the guidelines of the US Postal Service. Learn more about nonprofit mail content eligibility.

For any publication containing advertising, use the following disclaimer:

The mention of any business or service in this publication does not imply an endorsement by the PTA.

Copyright Laws

PTA must abide by federal copyright laws governing printed matter, poetry, art, music and computer software. Republish articles, art, photographs etc. abiding by all laws and in an ethical manner.

For complete copyright information, go to copyright.gov.

California State PTA articles and artwork may be used by unit, council and district PTAs without permission. Read National PTA materials carefully to determine when permission to republish is required. Always credit the source.

  • It is most important that anything copyrighted, including original artwork, not be reproduced on an item to be sold or to advertise an event. Permission must be secured to avoid litigation. The artist or the syndicating company will generally require a royalty on each item sold and a specific number of complimentary copies of the item.

When showing movies during school or at after-school events or fundraisers, PTAs must observe movie/video copyright laws, site licensing, and promote the event only as permitted by the site license.

Best practices for Improving Content

  • Ask for feedback. Use an opinion poll, a questionnaire, or interactive questions on social media.
  • Publicize: coming events, the results of past events, membership campaigns, and PTA award recipients.
  • Remember, people don’t read, they skim. Use bullets, quotes, charts and graphics.
  • Proofread everything. Have two to three people proofread before anything is distributed.

Translating Materials

PTAs should work closely with the school to meet the language needs of those who receive association publications. To translate information and materials, seek help from:

  • bilingual parents on the executive board;
  • teachers or support personnel in the classrooms or the school district; or
  • foreign language departments at local high schools, community colleges and universities.

Consider providing translated content in one of the following ways:

  • Present side-by-side translations of articles on each page, or
  • Print or post a separate issue.
  • Offer all information in English with short recaps of major information in languages needed in the school community.
  • Have a bilingual point person to contact or a Web page with information available in each target language.
  • Develop audio or videotapes of recorded newsletters, notices and parenting tips in different languages and post on your website.
  • Learn how to reach out to members in your community whose native language is not English.

The California State PTA offers Outreach Translation Grants to unit, council and district PTAs for written or verbal translation of PTA materials into other languages

Publication Preparation

Efficient and timely distribution is crucial to the publication process.

  • Set a publication schedule at the beginning of the school year and share with contributors.
  • Send publication article reminders as the due date approaches.
  • Ask board members to contribute articles and reports about their projects and events.
  • Advise contributors that material will be edited for space and form (grammar, punctuation, spelling and accuracy of information) for all publications.
  • Remember to allow time for review of the publication and approval by the PTA president and school principal before distributing.
  • Include the cost of materials, supplies, copying, software, service provider subscriptions and equipment in the association budget.

Publication Distribution

Send copies of unit PTA publications to council and district PTA presidents. Share your publications with the California State PTA by mailing to the state PTA office or emailing communications@capta.org. If the publication is in print form, leave several copies in the school office.

Use your publications as a PTA marketing tool. Distribute them to school district superintendents and trustees, businesses, chambers of commerce, service groups, city offices, police departments, libraries, recreation departments, after-school day-care centers, preschools, media outlets, county supervisors, junior colleges, and local state legislators.

Electronic Communications


Website

A website is a useful tool for promoting and providing resources. It is usually the first point of contact for persons interested in finding out more about your PTA.

  • Plan the design and content of the website strategically. Simplicity is the key to user-friendly design.
  • Budget for website development and maintenance. Websites may be hosted by the county office of education, the school district, or by a service provider paid for by the PTA.
  • Do not post PTA bylaws, minutes and financial reports on the website except in summary form.
  • Update your website content regularly. Forward approved copy to the website manager with requested posting dates and removal dates.
  • Link to information on the California State PTA, National PTA websites, council and district websites.
  • Permission should be obtained prior to posting any name, photograph, or contact information on a website. Observe copyright laws. Use a Photography Release form, available in English and Spanish.

PTA Email Accounts

Create PTA position-specific email addresses, e.g. ABCPTAPresident@xxx.com, called email aliases. The email alias does not change from year to year but is passed on to the position successor. Email alias addresses are set up to automatically forward email to the personal email accounts of board members. Update email aliases, forwarding addresses and passwords at the beginning of each term.

Email Distribution Lists

Email distribution lists are a cost-effective and efficient way to share information with committees, board members and the membership. Some service providers allow a user to set up a group distribution list at no charge. Blind-copy recipients to avoid publicizing members’ personal email addresses. Abide by the email limitations of personal email service providers to avoid triggering spam filters.

Provide an unsubscribe option. Honor all requests to unsubscribe.

E-newsletters

An e-newsletter is a time- and cost-effective way to share information with a large number of people. Typically it is an informational update sent via email to members of an electronic distribution list.

Use an online marketing company to send e-newsletters. Such companies offer excellent e-newsletter templates and allow your PTA to create distribution lists that are not limited by personal email restrictions.

Graphic elements are blocked for some email recipients. Use a text-only format or send an email that includes the hyperlink to a newsletter posted on the PTA website

Convert your newsletter to Portable Document Format (PDF) before emailing to ensure that all recipients can open the document. Include a link to the Adobe PDF Reader website so members can download the PDF reader free of charge.

Keep the e-newsletter brief. Provide short summaries for each topic, adding links to additional information available on the unit’s website.

For template and design ideas, refer to the California State PTA e-newsletters.

Social Media

Guidelines for social media remain the same as for every PTA publication.

  • Maintain PTA’s high standards of respect and courtesy.
  • Observe the PTA’s nonpartisan, noncommercial, nonsectarian policies, “do no harm” to an individual or an organization, and be knowledgeable about PTA positions.
  • PTA social media site administrators should be appointed to review the site posts and messaging daily, if not more frequently.
  • Follow the guidelines established by each social media site. Use the Photography Release form available in English and Spanish when publishing photographs.
  • Be cautious with censorship. Social media sites encourage members and partners to share insights freely. Remove postings or comments to your social media pages or accounts only when they violate PTA social media standards of respect and courtesy, or violate our nonpartisan, noncommercial, or nonsectarian policies. Refer to National PTA Social Media Tipsheets.

Print Communications


Fliers

Fliers are a good way to publicize upcoming events.

Fliers should:

  • Have limited text and plenty of “white space” so that the information stands out.
  • Provide the who, what, when, where and why.
  • Use graphics and fonts sparingly.
  • Use the PTA logo.

Use the customizable membership marketing flier to tell prospective members about your PTA.

Grief-Sensitive Schools: Building Healthy Coping Skills

Adopted May 2021 – Health & Community Concerns Commission

California State PTA understands that everyone copes with death and grief differently. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), grief is a normal response to loss. California State PTA understands that people experiencing grief can be influenced by developmental level, cultural traditions, religious beliefs, mental health, disabilities, family, personal characteristics, and previous experiences.

According to Dr. David Schonfeld, Director of National Center For School Crisis And Bereavement Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, common grief reactions include:

  • Fears and anxiety; school avoidance
  • Sleep problems; change in appetite
  • Difficulties with concentration and academic performance
  • Sadness and depression
  • Anger and irritability; distrust and suspiciousness
  • Alcohol and other substance use
  • Physical symptoms
  • Grief
  • Guilt

The CDC maintains that children may have a particularly hard time understanding and coping with the loss of a loved one. California State PTA believes that parents cannot protect children from loss and the pain it may cause, but parents can play a major role in helping children feel secure and cope in the healthiest way possible. It is important for parents or caregivers to engage with their children over their grief to promote healthy coping and acceptance. Parents may also need to obtain mental health services for the adolescent and family to deal with grief.

Ways Parents Can Help a Grieving Child:

  • Take care of you. Grieving children do better when they have a healthy adult providing support and understanding to them.
  • Be honest with your child. Discuss the tragic event with your child in a simple, direct and age-appropriate manner. Be honest and share clear, accurate information about what happened. Children need to hear the truth from someone they love.
  •  Let your child share their story about what happened. Let them ask you questions and answer their questions as best as you can. Do not be afraid to say, “I don’t know.”
  • Acknowledge your child’s grief. Recognize that your child is grieving. Be careful not to impose your grief on your child. Allow them to grieve in their own way. It is normal for children to move in and out of grief reactions.
  • Tell your child stories about your own life — times you were afraid, sad or angry. Tell them how you dealt with these situations and what you learned
  • Be creative. Give your child a creative outlet to express their feelings. This can be done through drawing, writing, doing crafts, listening to music, or playing games.
  • Maintain clear expectations. Keep rules and boundaries consistent. Children will often use their pain as an excuse for inappropriate behavior. While you should always acknowledge the grief your child is experiencing, you should also teach them to be accountable for their choices, no matter how they feel.
  • Reassure your child. Remind your child that they are loved and that you are there for them. Children often fear that you or other people in their life might die. Let your child know the plan if such an event occurs.
  • Create rituals and new family traditions. Rituals can give your family tangible ways to acknowledge your grief and honor the memory of those who have died. Lighting candles, recognizing special occasions, sharing stories about those who have died or volunteering with a local charity as a family are some of the ways you can incorporate new traditions or rituals.
  • Be patient. Grief changes us in many ways. Be patient as you and your child experience your grief. Be patient with your child with repetition. A child often has to come back to the same details and questions.

According to the National Association of School Psychologists, school-based support and increased understanding are essential when a student experiences the death of a loved one. While each student will be affected differently depending on their developmental level, cultural beliefs, personal characteristics, family situation, and previous experiences, there are some strategies that can be helpful in supporting bereaved students.

California State PTA believes that schools have a unique and essential role to play in supporting grieving students. According to the Coalition to Support Grieving Students, many educators feel under-prepared to help. A study conducted by the American Federation of Teachers revealed that only 7% of classroom teachers have received any amount of bereavement training and 92% of them said childhood grief was a serious problem that deserved more attention from schools.

According to the Coalition to Support Grieving Students, students often have difficulty concentrating or learning while they are grieving. For grieving students, just being at school can be a challenge. The school can work with grieving students to adapt their course demands—postponing a test, allowing a student to complete a paper instead of taking a final, providing alternative activities that better match the student’s current state of mind.

California State PTA supports the Grief Sensitive School Initiative which is defined as an accredited K-12 public or private institution that commits to help provide a supportive environment for students who have experienced the death of a love one. Schools implementing the Initiative provide specific professional learning opportunities, share information with the school community about Grieving Students.org, increase awareness of the issue of grief at school, and review relevant school policies and procedures.

Schools can be the best setting to provide services to students and staff after a loss that affects the school community:

  • Schools provide a familiar environment
  • Large numbers of students can be served
  • Many children will benefit from supportive services that can be readily provided in a school setting
  • Students coping after the loss can be monitored over time and referrals for clinical services can be facilitated as needed
  • Parents may be more willing to accept services provided in school settings, where the stigma associated with mental health services may be decreased

According to the School Crisis Center schools should listen, acknowledge feelings, and be nonjudgmental to students experiencing grief. School personnel should express feelings in an open, calm, and appropriate way that encourages students to share their feelings and grief. Some fairly simple interventions can help students navigate their experience more successfully and better manage school, friends, family and their own emotions. Taking the time to listen and acknowledge feelings in a nonjudgmental way, encouraging students to share their feelings and grief, and avoiding making assumptions and imposing their own beliefs on students creates a safe school environment for students to express themselves and cope more effectively.

To assist schools in helping students cope with grief, the California Department of Education has provided some helpful resources that are applicable for coping. For more information, contact your school district’s coordinator for crisis response or your county office of education. Counseling and student support specialists (school counselors, school psychologists, school social workers, and school nurses) and local mental health specialists can assist in working with individual students and staff.

https://www.schoolcrisiscenter.org/

https://www.schoolcrisiscenter.org/projects/coalition-to-support-grieving-students/

https://childmind.org/guide/helping-children-cope-grief/

https://childrengrieve.org/resources/10-ways-to-help-a-grieving-child

https://www.nasponline.org/resources-and-publications/resources-and-podcasts/school-climate-safety-and-crisis/mental-health-resources/addressing-grief/addressing-grief-tips-for-teachers-and-administrators

https://chilliwackhospice.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/7-A-Helping-the-Grieving-Student.pdf

https://grievingstudents.org/gssi/

https://www.aft.org/press-release/training-gap-limits-educators-ability-help-grieving-students

https://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/ss/cp/tragedy.asp

https://www.cdc.gov

schonfel@usc.edu

 

Social Media Guidelines for PTA Leaders and Members in California

Each PTA District, Council or Unit can create its own policies for members who use social media and identify themselves as PTA leaders or members. The California State PTA Social Media Policy is included as an example. 

The California State PTA uses social media and encourages leaders at all levels to participate in an engaging and productive exchange. The community-based aspects of social media can benefit PTAs in reaching out to new audiences and engaging an existing base. However, use of social media carries with it certain responsibilities. To assist leaders and members in making responsible decisions about using social media, we have established the following guidelines:

Guidelines

For our purposes, social media includes all means of communicating or posting information or content of any sort on the Internet – whether or not these channels are associated or affiliated with a PTA – Ultimately, you are solely responsible for what you post online.

Leaders and members may associate themselves with the organization in different ways—explicitly – by stating in a profile or on a site a PTA title or involvement and/or implicitly—by posting photos, graphics or other information that identifies them as a PTA leader or member.

You speak for yourself but your actions reflect on the organization. Do not post confidential information, accusatory statements, or any defamatory information. Be respectful, truthful, discreet and responsible no matter your privacy settings.

Consider the following:

If your profile picture identifies you as PTA, be aware when posting comments on other sites, both public and private. Remember PTA’s Noncommercial, Nonsectarian, Nonpartisan policies when posting on public sites (i.e., newspaper comments, public blogs, trade publications and other)

Privacy settings are no guarantee of privacy. Search engines and other technologies make it impossible to take something back once it’s been posted. Screen shots, forwards and other technologies can spread messages quickly beyond your intended circle of friends or followers.

Mistakes happen. If they do, apologize.

Resources and Subscriptions

Check out our resources on the California State PTA website: capta.org

Website: capta.org
Provides up-to-date information on PTA programs and policies with how-tos for running your PTA.

PTA in California
Official magazine of California State PTA with a wealth of news and information for PTA members.

PTA Connects
Monthly e-newsletter sent by email to PTA members and leaders.

SMARTS
E-newsletter designed to spread the word about the benefits of arts education. Sign up to subscribe at capta.org.

Leadership Essentials
E-news sent regularly by email to PTA leaders. Information includes timely information and reminders about issues, tasks and responsibilities of PTA leaders at any level.

Legislation Action Report
E-news summary of actions taken on legislation of interest to California State PTA. Includes general bill information and the positions taken by California State PTA.

Legislative Alerts
E-news updates on current legislative and other measures and issues that affect children and youth, and provide opportunities to take action in support of PTA positions. Sent to subscribers of our Sacramento Update and all unit, council and district PTA presidents and legislative officers. Sign up to subscribe at: capta.org

Sacramento Update
E-newsletter addresses state and federal legislation issues that affect California’s children and youth. Sent by email to legislative subscribers.

Membership Monday
Each Monday from mid-July through October, be on the lookout for “Membership Monday.” This special newsletter will be sent to all unit, council and district membership chairs, communications officers and presidents.

Service Mailing
Contains ideas for running your PTA with tips and how-tos to boost membership, leadership, programs and family engagement. Provides updated resources for PTA finance, bylaws, scholarships, grants and awards, children’s issues, communications and more.

Insurance Mailing
Annual mailing sent to PTA leaders containing the Insurance and Loss Prevention Guide, annual insurance premium notice and other California State PTA resources and materials. Not available online.

Convention Mailing
Annual California State PTA Convention e-publications sent by email to PTA leaders and members. Contain convention registration and workshop information with attendance requirements, forms and directions. Provide overviews of convention activities, speakers and the agenda for handling the organization’s business at convention.

Running Your PTA Made Easy
Brief 24-page guide with tips and encouragement for PTA leaders. Available in English and Spanish.

Job Description for Communications

Download the Communications Job Description

The PTA communications leader helps PTA members and the general public understand that PTA:

  • Positively impacts the lives of all children and families; and
  • Is a relevant, inclusive, influential volunteer-powered association working for the well-being of children and youth.

Obtain (from predecessor) and study the procedure book and other materials related to performing the duties of communications leader:

  • Print publications: past issues, deadline schedules, duplicating process and mailing permit information, templates.
  • Electronic communications: email account names and passwords, web hosting information, domain name information, social media usernames, logins and passwords, webmaster contact information.
  • Calendar of events and contact information for PTA officers and chairmen.
  • Budget
  • Names and contact information for local media contacts.

Download or obtain the Communications section of the California State PTA Toolkit to learn the basics of PTA communications, responsibilities, publications and available resources.  See PTA Style Guide.

Subscribe to California State PTA’s and National PTA’s print and electronic publications and communications.

Meet with communication board members (newsletter editor, social media chairman, website manager, etc.) before the beginning of the school year to develop a communications plan. Work closely with the school principal and the unit president.

Attend communications-related workshops and trainings.

DEVELOPING A COMMUNICATIONS PLAN

Develop a communications plan by first establishing your PTA’s communication objectives.  Solicit feedback to verify that current communications are meeting member needs. Determine:

  • Who is the target audience? Consider who you want to reach.
  • What are the right communications tools? Determine the best way to reach your audience.
  • What is the right message for each tool? Think through what needs to be said and how and where to say it. Be concise and to the point.

Consider using:

  • Newsletters (digital or print)
  • Website
  • Emails
  • Mobile
  • Social media
  • Video
  • Fliers
  • Banners
  • Word of mouth

Review PTA calendar of events. Schedule website, social media updates, event promotion and publicity around these dates.

Set submission deadlines for the year for all publications. Create a content calendar for social media and website postings.

Develop a budget to support the plan.

Present the communications plan to the executive board for approval.

A successful PTA communications plan should:

  • Adhere to PTA noncommercial, nonpartisan and nonsectarian policies.
  • Inform every family in the school of the aims and accomplishments of the PTA.
  • Encourage and highlight attendance at PTA meetings and family engagement in PTA projects and activities.
  • Foster cooperation with the school in keeping parents informed about school functions, regulations and/or procedures on child-related issues.
  • Inform the community about PTA activities and school functions.
  • Express appreciation to those participating in or contributing to programs.
  • Tackle barriers such as language and culture.

ENSURING QUALITY COMMUNICATIONS

  • Make sure that all publications material is cleared with the principal and PTA president prior to publication or posting.
    • Principal is responsible for the accuracy of school information and compliance with the State Education Code and school district policy.
    • PTA president is responsible for the accuracy of PTA information and compliance with PTA policies.
  • Use the PTA logo in all communications.
  • Abide by copyright laws and republish articles and art in an ethical manner.
  • Do not include photographs of or specific information (names, class, email, address, etc.) about adults or students without written permission.
  • Keep your message brief and to the point.
  • Create visually interesting communications with careful use of photographs, bullets, quotes, charts, and graphics.
  • Date all materials.
  • Have 2-3 people other than the author proofread prior to publishing or posting.
  • Arrange for translation services.
  • Learn more

CREATING MEDIA NEWS

Local media may be interested in news coverage of your PTA event or project if it:

  • Piggybacks on breaking news.
    • Be prepared to be one of the experts and demonstrate that PTA is a voice on the issues being debated.
  • Ties in with anniversaries and annual happenings.
    • Identify events or dates related to schools and children (i.e.  Back-to-School) and find a way to tie them to PTA  programs.
  • Spotlights a special event.
    • Announce activities that may be of interest to a large audience and invite local VIPs.
  • Uses a “hook” or “angle.”
    • Tell the story in a new way. Provide a new angle.

ONGOING RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Give a regular communications report to your PTA.
  • Use PTA publications to promote PTA events and share information.
  • Maintain an up-to-date website.
  • Use social media to communicate with members.
  • Encourage officers and chairmen to contribute short articles and reports for the newsletter, website, or social media site.
  • Provide media releases as requested.

Dangers of Energy/Caffeinated Drinks

Adopted January 2009 – Reviewed, retitled and deemed relevant May 2016 – Revised and retitled March 2019 – Health & Community Concerns Commission

Caffeine drinks are everywhere, promising to keep a person energized, revved, and alert. California State PTA encourages PTAs to:

  • Educate parents about the caffeine content of various caffeine and energy drinks.
  • Understand the short-and-long-term effects of caffeine on the health and well-being of children and youth.
  • Encourage parents to limit their children’s intake of caffeine.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, sports drinks and energy drinks are significantly different products, and the terms should not be used interchangeably.

  • Sports drinks are flavored beverages that often contain carbohydrates, minerals, electrolytes (e.g., sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium), and sometimes vitamins or other nutrients.
  • Energy drinks typically contain stimulants, such as caffeine and guarana, with varying amounts of carbohydrate, protein, amino acids, vitamins, sodium, and other minerals. The main psychoactive ingredient in energy drinks is caffeine, typically containing from three to five times the amount contained in cola, with the highest concentrations found in energy ‘shots’.  Energy drinks are not suitable for rehydration.

The American Academy of Pediatrics maintains a position that stimulant-containing energy drinks have no place in the diets of children and adolescents.  Furthermore, frequent or excessive intake of caloric sports drinks can substantially increase the risk for overweight or obesity in children and adolescents.

The stimulant effect of caffeine increases the heart rate. In higher doses, caffeine can cause more significant effects on the heart by changing the speed and regularity of the heartbeat.

Other caffeine related health concerns include:

  • Dental erosion
  • High blood pressure
  • Gastrointestinal disorder
  • Shakes, tremors and chills
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Agitation
  • Disruption in the classroom
  • Dehydration
  • Dizziness

Energy drink labels often state that they are not recommended for children, but sales of the drinks are not restricted by age as are products that contain tobacco and alcohol. California State PTA believes it is important for parents to monitor and understand the effects of energy drinks and coffee beverages on children and youth.

California State PTA encourages legislation that requires caffeine content be included on the labels of all energy and caffeinated beverages purchased in cans and bottles and posted in establishments that sell caffeinated drinks.

https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/127/6/1182

https://www.healthychildren.org

Founders Day

Founders Day is a perfect time to renew the dedication to the Purposes of the PTA that were defined by PTA’s founders more than a century ago. Each year in February, PTA honors the three founders as well as past and present PTA leaders. Through special programs and events, PTA also attempts to increase the awareness of its members and the community by highlighting achievements, activities, projects and goals.

The Founders Day celebration was created in 1910 by Mrs. David O. Mears, a charter member of the National Congress of Mothers founded by Alice McLellan Birney and Phoebe Apperson Hearst in Washington, D.C., February 17, 1897. The Founders Day observance has continued through the change of organization names in 1925 to the National Congress of Parents and Teachers, and the uniting in 1970 with the National Congress of Colored Parents and Teachers, founded in 1926 by Selena Sloan Butler, to become the National PTA (A Brief History: Working Together for Children Since 1987).

Issues concerning immigrants, homeless children and families, the unemployed and the uneducated, and numerous health and safety concerns still need attention. However, through PTA advocacy to enact and enforce laws, children’s health is better protected and children are better fed, housed and educated, with parents more involved in their upbringing. The vision of PTA’s founders has been realized in many ways, and now it is up to present PTA members to continue the vision.

Founders Day Freewill Offering: “PTA Birthday Gift”

Donations collected during Founders Day observances benefit the entire organization: unit, council, district PTAs, State and National PTA. California State PTA returns one-fourth of its offering to the district PTA and retains one-fourth for its work throughout the state. Half of the offering is sent to National PTA (Unit Remittance Form).

District PTAs use the funds to:

  • Organize new units and councils. Strengthen PTAs and PTSAs. Train leaders through workshops and conferences. Offer leadership training and parliamentary procedure courses. Promote PTA publications and special projects. Plan special contacts with teachers and administrators to increase the value of the PTA to school and community.

California State PTA uses the funds to:

  • Service new units and councils. Strengthen PTAs and PTSAs.
  • Provide special assistance to council and district PTAs through workshops and leadership conferences. Conduct field services in local areas by California State PTA officers and members of commissions. Perform regional extension work throughout the state. Counsel with individuals and groups.

National PTA uses the funds to:

  • Provide requested field services (instructions, guidance and other assistance for California State PTA leaders). Train leaders. Promote contacts with educational groups. Disseminate materials that will further the aims and Purposes of PTA. Hold conferences. Provide extension of parent-teacher services throughout the country.

For details on the responsibilities of Founders Day, see “Job Description for Founders Day.

 

Absentees and Dropouts

There are serious truancy and school dropout problems in California. This issue affects students from all socio-economic backgrounds. Truants and dropouts are prone to committing offenses associated with juvenile delinquency and put themselves at risk physically. Keeping children in school through graduation is a proven method for developing productive and successful adults.

Role of the PTA

PTA believes that all children and youth should have the opportunity to develop to their fullest potential. Therefore, PTA supports programs that encourage regular school attendance.

Recommended Actions

Become familiar with California State PTA convention resolution, School Absenteeism/Dropouts (1986) (Where We Stand, Convention and Board of Managers Resolutions; California State PTA Resolutions Book, www.capta.org). See “Attendance” in the Advocacy Topic Index for related position statements or guidelines.

Support county and/or local School Attendance Review Board (SARB). If one does not exist, support the creation of a SARB.

Encourage daily attendance awards and incentive programs in grades K-12.

Educate parents, students and the community about the seriousness of the problem, and point out that existing California laws mandate that minors between the ages of 6 and 18 years of age must participate in an approved education program.

Reach out to the private sector and allied agencies for participation and support of programs encouraging school attendance.

In cooperation with school personnel, seek assistance from the School/Law Enforcement Partnership Cadre, a trained cadre of educators and officials from law enforcement and criminal justice agencies that assist in building an interagency approach to improving order and attendance, reducing school violence/vandalism, reducing truancy, and encouraging good citizenship.

Support school district alternative educational programs.

Encourage school districts to incorporate self-esteem programs into the curriculum.

Encourage the use of peer counseling.

Additional Resources

School/Law Enforcement Partnership Cadre can provide information. Contact California Attorney General’s Crime and Violence Prevention Center, 916.324.7863, or California Department of Education’s Safe Schools and Violence Prevention Office, 916.323.2183.

California Youth Authority. The Prevention of Truancy (1986), a narrative report on successful truancy prevention programs.

California Department of Education. School Attendance Review Boards Handbook (2002). Available online at the Safe Schools and Violence Prevention Office (http://www.sbcss.k12.ca.us/stuServe/SARB/StateSARBHandbook.pdf) or through the Bureau of Publications, Sales Unit, 916.445.1260.

National School Safety Center. Increasing Student Attendance (1994). Available online at www.schoolsafety.us or by calling 805.373.9977.

U.S. Department of Education. Manual to Combat Truancy (1996). Available online at www.eric.ed.gov, or call 877-433-7827; see www.ed.gov.

Bureau of At-Risk Youth. School Attendance, Truancy and Dropping Out (1998), available by calling 800.99.YOUTH.

Local Agencies to Contact for Assistance:
County Office of Education
County Juvenile Justice Commission and/or County Delinquency Prevention Commission
County School Attendance Review Board (SARB)
County Probation Department, Truancy Mediation Program
County Welfare Department, CalWorks Program
County District Attorney, Truancy Mediation Program

See “Attendance” in the Advocacy Topic Index for related resolutions and guidelines.

How to Make a Study

A study is in order whenever the association (membership) is concerned about a subject or an issue. A study committee must gather facts, investigate carefully and prepare a final report. The possible reasons for making a study are many.

Purposes of a Study

The purposes of a study are to:

Acquire knowledge about a subject;

Respond to a concern of the membership in a particular area (e.g., education, health, safety, community problems, state or local legislation);

Respond to a need or problem;

Gather all available facts and information before acting on an issue that concerns the membership;

Develop information on a subject or issue that the association believes should be presented to the California State PTA Board of Managers, government agencies (e.g., school board, city council, board of supervisors), other groups or the public; or

Develop a resolution for the California State PTA Convention.

Initiate a Study

Initiate a study with a:

Motion from the association membership;

Request from an individual member;

Recommendation from the executive board;

Recommendation from a committee of the association; or

Request from an allied agency, organization or group.

Study Committee

The president appoints the chairman and members of the committee subject to ratification by the executive board. The number and composition may be specified in the motion creating the committee. (If this is done, the phrase “and others as appointed by the president” must always be included as protection against oversight.)

The committee should be composed of at least five but not more than nine people. Members may include:

  • PTA members, officers and chairmen whose duties fall within the subject matter of the study.
  • Administrators, teachers, students (if appropriate), consultants, and/or community members.
  • People with differing points of view on the subject.
  • The association president as an ex officio member.
  • The committee secretary may be appointed by the president or the committee chairman or elected by the committee at its first meeting.

Committee expenses are legitimate PTA expenses.

Study Committee Procedures

Keep minutes to avoid repetition in subsequent meetings, to ensure that all items in the plan of work are covered, to avoid omissions in the final report, and as a record of the committee’s work.

Identify the subject(s) and/or issue(s) to be included in the study.

Set goals. Will the committee gather information, or will it try to develop recommendations for action? If “information only,” how will the information be used? How much time will be needed?

Decide the scope of the study. How much information will be needed to reach the goals? What areas of the subject/issue will the committee try to cover?

Use resources such as films, newspapers, publications, appropriate agencies, and experts in the field of study. All sources should be verified to ensure the accuracy of the information.

Assign responsibilities for research. Each member of the committee should have a specific assignment. Subcommittees may be helpful in completing the research. All research should be available to all members of the committee.

Ensure that all areas of interest on the subject or issue (within the defined scope) are covered. Personal views must not be allowed to intrude.

Conclusions

All possible solutions, conclusions, etc., should be listed with an evaluation of how they will affect the subject or issue.

Recommended Solutions Should be Tested

Are they in accordance with the Purposes and basic policies of the PTA?

Is there a strong possibility they will accomplish the desired results?

Are they practical? Are the necessary resources (whatever they may be) available?

Will the proposed solution create other problems that need to be resolved before implementation?

Are the recommended solutions in the best interest of children and youth?

Do the solutions completely address the subject or issue as defined in the scope, or is more research needed?

The Study Report

The study report should:

Be written by the chairman (the secretary may assist) and approved by the committee;

Be submitted first to the PTA executive board and then to the association;

Include an appendix listing all reference materials used and any other resources;

Include any recommendations for further study, implementation or action; and

Include the time requirements involved in implementing recommendations.

When a Study Is Completed

The association or executive board may refer a study report to another group, although that group had no part in initiating the original study.

Studies forwarded to California State PTA should be sent through channels—unit to council (if in council) to district PTA.

When appropriate, all studies should be submitted to the council (if in council) and to the district PTA, so the information will be available to other units.

All studies referred to another group or submitted through channels should be accompanied by a study letter.

Following the final report, the study committee ceases to function unless given further responsibilities by the executive board or association.

Areas for PTA Involvement

PTAs are encouraged to explore a range of local issue areas, as long as these concerns fall within the scope of PTA activities. PTAs should share their successful programs with their council, district PTA and California State PTA, so that other units with similar concerns may benefit from their successful experiences. Use these tools, tips, and suggestions as a starting point to seek solutions.

Identify solutions and actions that need to be taken.

Contact community agencies for additional information and assistance.

Make an action plan (Action Plans; Event Planning Worksheet).

Educate the community including parents, staff, elected officials, and the general public.

Points to Remember
Be familiar with the basic policies of the PTA (Basic Policies for All PTAs).

Review position statements and convention resolutions of California State PTA and the National PTA (Where We Stand Resolutions, Position Statements and National PTA Quick-Reference Guide).

Review California State PTA Legislation Policies and Legislation Platform.

Utilize existing resources and publications from California State PTA, National PTA, allied agencies, and government sources.