Spring has sprung and our state’s legislative session has begun! One of those brings new growth, new opportunities, and makes children happy. The other brings…well…let’s just say new opportunities. Each year we prepare for session by tuning in to the new bills that are being crafted and we begin having discussions with key decision makers to find out their position on certain education items. PTA has a presence in Tallahassee from the very first day of committee weeks, which started in December. We’ve had our “ears to the ground”, our “fingers on the pulse” and all of the other idioms that mean we’re on top of things. This year we’re closely following the bill to mandate recess for all elementary school students. We’re speaking to the bills which keep our students safe on campus. We’re working on bills that will take measures to keep children out of adult courts and we are encouraging counties across the state to use alternate measures instead of incarceration, when appropriate.
Our Legislative Chair, Angie Gallo, says this: “The Legislative committee has been hard at work ensuring that all children have a voice. They’ve been speaking in hearings on behalf of Juvenile Justice, public education and all other issues which impact our children. I’m so proud of the way they represent Florida PTA and their tireless efforts on behalf of all families in our state.”
Angie has done a remarkable job meeting with legislators and she has made sure that PTA has a seat at the table during all relevant discussions involving our children. I’m incredibly proud of her and her team. It’s amazing to walk the halls of the Capitol and have folks smile and nod when they see the PTA nametags on our volunteers. It means that we’re making a difference. It means that we’re respected for our passion. It means that we’re taking advantage of those new opportunities that spring has brought!
I ask this of you: if you are coming to the Legislative Conference this weekend, bring your excitement and passion! You’re going to have an amazing experience! If you are unable to attend, please pay close attention as we send alerts and notifications when we need action taken. It’s important that when your voice is needed, you use it. This is the time that we act. This is the time that we use our influence and this is the time we have the power to make positive change!
Make your voice heard! Come participate in our Legislative Conference in Tallahassee March 26-28 to learn how you can influence legislation at the state level. This informative conference is for anyone who wants to see change that will benefit our children.
Florida PTA has been busy working to serve our underserved students! To find out more about Real Talk and the Community Town Hall meetings you have seen around the state, click here to see the article in the Tampa Bay Times.
Inequality in education prevents our state from fulfilling its potential. We cannot afford discriminatory barriers that unfairly limit or deny educational access to students based on factors like race, national origin, gender, disability or living status. Florida PTA, the Florida Coalition on Black Civic Participation, and other organizations have initiated a dialogue around how to improve our state public education system for underserved and vulnerable students, including those facing homelessness and those in the foster care or juvenile justice systems. In 2017, we plan to continue our work to increase access, equity and accountability in our state public education system by recruiting more parents, teachers, and community leaders to become involved and we look to you to help us with this task.
As they are announced, please help spread the word about upcoming RealTalk events to other civil rights and education advocacy organizations and community leaders you know. Information on upcoming events can be found below or by visitingrealtalkfl.org or floridapta.org. Also, if you would like to volunteer to be a part of our effort to improve public schools or you want to share a story about your experience with our state public education system, pleasesign up here to become involved.
Leadership Convention: July 13-16
Leadership Convention is coming…Leadership Convention is coming…
What does that mean you ask?? Well I am glad you asked. Leadership Convention is our annual event for all local unit leaders and members to learn more about PTA. It is a time for networking, collaboration and learning. It is an experience that even the most seasoned PTA leader finds valuable. With over 80 workshops to choose from, there is something for everyone to enhance their PTA knowledge. With workshops, county council gatherings, PTA’s Got Talent, general meetings, policy discussions, exhibitors there to share their information and products and more, there is definitely something for everyone!
Your next question might be, who can attend? That is easy…any PTA member! Members can pay for themselves to attend or better yet, it is an approved and encouraged expense for local unit and county council budgets.
What can PTA/PTSA’s be doing now to get ready? That is another great question! You can start by reviewing your budgets. Verify there are funds available to attend. If funds are available, review your policies and procedures and/or standing rules and apply the process to decide who can attend. If funds are not available, ask these questions: Do we need to make a budget amendment to allot the proper monies to attend? Do we have the funds available to make a budget amendment? Not sure what to do…no worries, ask us! We are here to assist you with these questions and more.
Average Expense for 4 attendees = $1800.00 / an average of 500 hours of Learning PTA Best Practices and Networking Opportunities = A PRICELE$$ cost of preparing for a SUCCESSFUL and POWERFUL school year as a strong PTA/PTSA!r Now!
The Student Involvement Committee has been hard at work to get students involved in PTA. This year we are offering a student reduced rate for students aged 19 and younger for Leadership Convention. We are also going to have our student representatives on the committee teach our courses this year, so you will learn from the students themselves. We are also going to be having a “student track” where you will learn more about certain topics pertaining to students. Now that registration is open, we are challenging the county councils to see what county will send the most students to Leadership Convention! Those students will attend classes and enjoy the convention as participants. Stay tuned for more details!
So students, COME ONE, COME ALL TO LEADERSHIP CONVENTION and learn not just from the adults but from the students as well. Don’t forget, your voices count! Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and SNAPchat as well. We will provide more information shortly.
Student Involvement Committee Chair
Diversity And Inclusion
Tools to Use Advocating for LGBTQ Youth and the Juvenile Justice System
As we advocate for programs that prevent our children from entering into the juvenile justice system, we have tools (support of civil citations, Florida PTA resolution against Zero Tolerance Policies (2015) and National PTA resolution asking for LGBTQ Students to Become a Protected Class (2016)) at our disposal to assist those children that may end up in the juvenile justice system because they are misunderstood or discriminated against, such as minority and LGBTQ community of youth.
LGBT youth make up 5-7% of the overall student population but 15-17% of these youth are found in the juvenile justice system. A troubling finding is that many LGBTQ youth are placed in solitary confinement because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. This becomes a double edge sword. Many of these youth, like others, are referred to the juvenile justice system from school for a variety a reasons. Having programs like civil citation and other diversion programs reduces the number of youth, including LGBTQ children from entering the juvenile justice system and many diversion programs help our children learn the coping skills they need to make better choices.
As Florida PTA advocates for programs that break the school-to-prison pipeline, let’s remember our LGBTQ youth and our advocacy for their health and safety.
General DCCPTA Meeting, Tuesday, April 25 @ 9:30 am - 11:00 am, hospitality 9:00 -9:30 a.m. meeting 9:30 am. Make sure your PTA/PTSA has a representative. Join us at: Duval County Public Schools
School Board Building
Cline Auditorium, 1st floor
1701 Prudential Dr
Jacksonville, Florida 32207