Greetings to all our PTA Members and PTA Officers!

April 10-16, 2016 is National Volunteer Appreciation Week. We'd like to thank all of our Leaders and Members for the countless hours you spend ensuring that children in Oregon are able to reach their full potential. When you give your time to your school, education advocacy or other youth opportunities, you are making a valuable contribution to the future of your community and our state. It is with deep gratitude that we say thank you for all you do.

In May we will honor our teachers for their commitment to our children, as May 2-6, 2016 is National Teacher Appreciation Week. In this newsletter, you will find information on ways you can celebrate staff in your building, advocate for education issues at the state level, give feedback on testing and natural disaster preparation, discover STEM opportunities for high school students and much more.

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!

Teacher Appreciation:
Teachers are real life superheroes. They educate, innovate, encourage and support. Every day they touch the lives of millions of children and their work and impact extends far beyond the boundaries of the classroom. Will your PTA sponsor a breakfast, give gifts or mark the week with something special for your teachers? Every family member can thank a teacher and show their appreciation. Don't be afraid to send a note to school thanking your students teacher for their dedication kindness, support and heroism to all the children that they teach.

Take the time to celebrate these real life superheroes during PTA Teacher Appreciation Week, May 2-6, 2016. Find a special promotional toolkit for PTA Leaders and Parents here.

Find other ideas on thoughtful ways to express your gratitude here.

STEM Opportunity for all high school students:
Invention Bootcamp will give 25 motivated high school students throughout Portland training and access to rapid prototyping tools while developing their design process, creative and critical thinking skills and introducing them to entrepreneurship. Students from communities underrepresented in STEM fields are highly encouraged to participate. The camp is a four week, intensive education experience for high school students, led by PSU faculty and undergraduate engineering students. Students will learn basic skills to develop a prototype by completing class-wide projects. In parallel, students will apply these skills to creating their own invention. At the end of Invention Bootcamp, students will present their invention to the public. Invention Bootcamp is free for participants. Find more information and apply here.

Offer feedback on how statewide testing impacts:
The Oregon Secretary of State Audits Division is conducting a performance audit of the use of statewide summative assessments, with a focus on the Smarter Balanced Assessment. They are conducting a survey of parents to find out whether Smarter Balanced testing impacts you and your family. Your responses will help them make recommendations on how to make improvements in the system. Please help by filling out this survey. The survey should only take about 5-10 minutes to fill out. The majority of questions are multiple-choice but also provide an opportunity for your additional comments or input in associated comment boxes. For your survey responses to be included in the survey results and analysis in the public report, the survey must be completed by the end of the day on April 18, 2016. Your responses are anonymous.

Oregon Department of Education and ESSA:
Oregon has started the implementation of the new federal education law: Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). This law replaces the former No Child Left Behind and gives much more flexibility to states to work to get their education systems meeting the needs of their students. It is a huge opportunity to avoid the traps of the past and renew our work to help all students learn and grow. Workgroups have started the work of implementing the new federal law at the state level and your voice is important to how the law impacts the education of every Oregon student.

Find more information here:

ESSA Essentials: What you need to know

Oregon Department of Education ESSA page

Oregon PTA has been involved with the work groups on ESSA implementation. These workgroups focused on Standards and Assessment, Accountability, School and District Improvement and Educator Effectiveness. Find out more about the work groups here.

Natural Disaster Preparation:
How do you prepare for natural hazards? Help make Portland ready - take this ten-minute survey to tell the City of Portland how you prepare. The information you provide will help City of Portland government offices prioritize projects and better understand how to communicate with you about natural hazards.

Take the Portland Preparedness Survey.

Hand to Hand:
Donations are needed. Please collect items for this community donation event benefiting local agencies supporting those in need, for donation on April 17, 2016. The Portland Council PTA Clothing Center is honored to be a beneficiary of Hand to Hand.

Find out how you can help the organizations involved by visiting Hand to Hand.

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.

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

PTA Leader Announcements & Information:
  • 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. Congratulations to Roseway Heights PTA, who won the February Challenge! They entered 142 members in February!
  • 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! A lot of fun has been 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: 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.
  • Teacher Education Scholarship: Last year, Oregon PTA provided eight $500 scholarships and one $1000 scholarship. Donations are needed to continue this valuable opportunity to help future teachers in our state. Portland Council PTA helps in this effort by bringing donated gift baskets (similar to what your school auction might have) to the upcoming Conference for raffle. If you can help in this endeavor, individuals or PTA's can donate a gift basket for the raffle. For any questions please contact Nayeli Leonard of Meriwether Lewis PTA via email.
  • 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 has been extended to April 22, 2016. Find more information here.
  • School Bus Drivers Needed: 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 at 503-284-6466.
  • Elections will be happening soon for PTA's across our area. Nominations are an important part of that process and contribute to the success of your PTA's future. Here are some tips to make the Nomination process easy.
Lisa Kensel
Portland Council PTA
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