Greetings to all our PTA Members and PTA Officers!

Spring is on the way and that means that spring break is nearly here! That's a perfect time to get out and be more active with your children, possibly take a break from your work and volunteer duties, and slow down and be present with your children. It's also a good time to practice some self-care to recharge your batteries and refresh yourself for the remainder of the school year.

In this newsletter, you will find some information on promoting a healthy lifestyle for your children and talking about weight, ways to engage young readers improving outcomes at school, start a walking program in your community and other upcoming events and ideas as the school year progresses.

At the bottom of our newsletter, PTA Officers will find information specific to their roles in PTA and opportunities especially for leaders. Thank you for reading and have a great month!
Health and Safety:

Parents often have an easier time talking to teens about sex, drugs, alcohol and smoking than discussing weight. This is because the information on those topics is at the ready and there is not as much out there on how to approach the sensitive topic of weight. It can really feel awkward to have a conversation about weight with your teen. With childhood obesity tripling in the past 30 years, and eating disorders also at an all time high, it is important to have conversations with your teen about positive body image and a healthy lifestyle. Find out what not to say to kids about their weight here. Need help in discussing healthy habits with your teen, to help them reach a healthier weight? See more information here. Body image can be important to consider for even the youngest children. Find ways to talk to younger children in a compassionate and healthy way here.

March is "Read Aloud" Month!

Research shows that reading aloud is the single most important thing you can do to help a child prepare for reading and learning. Reading aloud to older children will ignite a passion for books that can last a lifetime while they learn to think better and imagine more richly.Find great books to read aloud to your children or students, age birth to five, here!

All Members & Leaders Plan to attend the Portland Council Spring Meeting:

Date: Wednesday, March 9, 2016 at 6:30-8:00 pm

Location: Faubion at Tubman, Portland Public Schools, 2231 N. Flint Ave, Portland, Oregon 97217

Portland Council Board Elections for 2016-2018 will be held and special guest PPS Superintendent Carole Smith, will be giving a District update and speaking to the 2016-2017 Budget.

Save the Date! Grant Workshop Opportunity:
Friday, May 6, 2016
8 AM to 3:15 PM

GPA & WVDO Grants Conference – Increasing Community Impact through Grants

  • Fine tune your strengths and build new skills.
  • Topics include funder research, proposal writing, budgets, collaboration, logic models, with a Meet the Funder opportunity plus more.
  • Special meeting of education grant professionals over lunch.
  • Continental breakfast and lunch provided!
  • Door prizes!
  • Planning for a grant professional’s happy hour afterward, is under way!

Location: Kellogg Building, Portland Public Schools, 3330 SE 69th Ave, Portland, Oregon 97206

: $85 Grant Professionals Association (GPA) and Willamette Valley Development Officers (WVDO) members. All educational attendees may register for $85. Please indicate that you are a K-12 attendee so that a choice session specific to K-12 education may be added to the workshops.

Registration: will open in mid-March. Registration can be found here soon.

Earn Funds when your PTA refers a driver!

If a PTA successfully recruits a school bus driver and the driver completes the training course and 90 working days, then First Student will write a check for $500 to your school.

For additional information please contact First Student:
6755 NE Columbia Blvd.
Portland, Oregon 97218

Safe Routes to School:

When it is safe, convenient, and fun to walk to neighborhood schools, our children are healthier, streets are safer for everyone, and communities thrive. When children are healthy, they are ready to learn The fact is that not every community has a safe route to school for all students. Safe Routes to School programs can assist you in setting up a program in your community and promoting . Whether you are a PTA Leader or a Member, you can help with creating a community of students who are mobile citizens.

Start a School Walking Program:
1. Engage- ask parents in your school community to join you for an organized walk.
2. Brainstorm- think of fun ways to promote walking such as walking clubs or asking administrators to lead a walk.
3. Motivate- encourage friendly competition such as class vs. class challenges and recognize those who walk the most days per month

Sign up to participate in Fire Up Your Feet to earn rewards for your school during the month of May. Register today!

PPS Volunteers:

If you are a volunteer in Portland Public Schools, you need to process a criminal records screen (background check). This is an easy process that you can complete online. Once approved, background checks are good for 3 years. There is a backlog of requests in the fall after school begins. Consider renewing your background check now, when it doesn't take as long. PPS requires a background check on any volunteers who have the potential for direct, unsupervised contact with students such as in the classroom or on field trips.

PTA Leader Announcements & Information:

  • Oregon PTA Awards extended until March 15, 2016: Who is your Volunteer of the year? Honor your PTA's best and brightest! Find applications and more information here in the forms section of your Leadership Guide.
  • Membership Challenge: The PTA with the most NEW members entered each month November-April will receive a $25 Fred Meyer gift card. Just enter members each month and remit your dues payment to Oregon PTA and you are automatically entered. The last day of each month, Oregon PTA will note the PTA with the most new members for that month and notify them that they won.
  • Portland Council Principal and Teacher of the Year: Do you have a wonderful principal at your school? Or perhaps a terrific teacher? Portland Council has two awards to honor a special teacher and principal. These awards will be given out at the annual Volunteer Celebration held in May. Nominations are due April 15, 2016. Find Nomination forms and more information here.
  • PTA Leadership Conference: Join Oregon PTA on April 15-16, 2016 at the Eugene Hilton for the 103rd Leadership Conference!Gather with other leaders and members from around the state to celebrate our accomplishments, learn about issues that affect our children and plan for the future of PTA! There is lots of fun planned and some great workshops and training. Workshop topics include data privacy, closing the achievement gap, cultural diversity and cultural competency, earthquake safe schools, handling difficult situations and more. Find more information here.
  • The Portland Council Clothing Center:Thank you to everyone who has contributed time, donations or clothing to the Clothing Center so far this year! We are in need of people to assist with the sorting of donated items, as we have received quite a few donations. We will have shifts for sorting clothing every Tuesday 9am -Noon. As you spring clean, please think of the Portland Council PTA Clothing Center for any gently used clothing, shoes or coats that you may be discarding. If you have questions or need assistance with anything Clothing Center related, please contact Sharon Meigh-Chang, PTA Clothing Center Director at 503.293.0783 or via email.
  • Portland Council PTA now has a Blog! Leaders can find information, resources and tips/hints on running your PTA. You can view our new blog here.
  • A Better Oregon: If you have not had a representative from Oregon PTA or the A Better Oregon campaign come visit your PTA and provide information, please contact us. We will assist in connecting you with the campaign staff to make arrangements to visit. Not familiar with the ballot initiative to raise large corporation taxes to fund education, health care and senior services? Find out more here!
  • National PTA’s Healthy School Meals Grant: provides local PTAs with tools to use in partnering with schools to improve the quality of school meals. School meals are an opportunity for students to receive one third of their daily nutrient needs. Grants of up to $2,000 will be awarded to PTAs who can most clearly demonstrate their capacity to partner with school administrators and food services providers to implement the requirements of the healthy school meals grant program. Deadline to apply is April 4, 2016. Find more information here.
Lisa Kensel
Portland Council PTA
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