Spring 2011

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					The Voice
  Spring 2011
    Message From The Texas PTA President                                                                                           How Well Did We “Build For Success”?
    by Sharon Goldblatt, Texas PTA President
                                                                                                                                     Congratulations to all the local            Two new award categories were         2012 Membership Themed Recruit-
                               Warmer         has resources and information for all.        Part of the new beginnings in          PTAs who received one of the 3,133         added this year: The Membership          ing Kit. Members will be credited
                            temperatures,                                                spring is the search for new PTA lead-
                                                                                         ers. I hope you are always looking        membership awards distributed              Chair Challenge and the Applause         to the 2010-2011 membership year
                            brighter             I hope that you were able to attend
                            colors, fresher   the Texas PTA Rally Day and An-            for members who want to take an           through January. This is compared          award (for newly chartered PTAs and      if reported by March 15 and will be
                            smells, new       nual Convention. If not, we missed         active role in PTA. I know you will       to 2,617 awards at this time last year.    schools with at least a 25% decrease     credited towards the Spring Member-
                            beginnings …      you! We know that many of you had          encourage all to become engaged           Texas PTA led the country with the         in enrollment). These PTAs were          ship Increase Award. Membership re-
                            these are the     planned to attend but were forced to       in their children’s education. Make       most successful back-to-school cam-        recognized with 223 and 106 awards,      ported after March 15 will be credited
                            parts of the      stay home because of the weather.          sure you are inviting all – parents,
                                                                                         grandparents, teachers, neighbors,        paign and was recognized by Nation-        respectively. All award criteria and     for the 2011-2012 membership year.
                            new year that     However, with the Texas Legislature
                            I love. A new     in session, your continued attention       community leaders, business partners,     al PTA President, Chuck Saylors.           deadlines can be found at http://www.
    year brings new opportunities. Just       to what is happening at the Capitol        etc. – to become involved. Read your                                                 Next year’s theme, “Team Up”,
    as the new flowers begin to bud and       is more important than ever before.        bylaws for the basics of nominating          Unfortunately, membership report-       awards/.                                 was revealed at the 102nd Texas PTA
    bloom, so do the ideas for ways to        Read the information in this issue,        committees and elections, but, for        ing slowed down after the fall push,                                                Annual Convention in Austin. Re-
    make our PTAs successful!                 and be sure that you are signed up at      more information, refer to the Texas
                                                                                         PTA Handbook under “Nominations           and it is actually decreasing from last       The current Membership Chair          cruiting resources are available now
                                              the website to receive the legislative
      As you read through this issue, you     updates so that you can be ready to        and Elections,” beginning on page         year. We need each PTA to confirm          Challenge is from February 1-April       on the membership theme webpage
    will see, through the broad range of      email or telephone your senator or         90, and the website under “Forms and      that all membership dues collected         30 and challenges you to recruit 25
    topics, how Texas PTA is working          representative when necessary. Of          Documents.” The future of your PTA        have had the state and national por-       brand new members during your            bers/membership-theme/. We can’t
    to meet the various needs of all of       special note is the Fund Texas’ Future     is in your hands!                         tions submitted to Texas PTA. Look         campus spring open house/orienta-        wait to see all the creative ways this
    our members. The subject matter           Day on March 2. We need you to                                                       over the “building plan” one more          tion for incoming students. Attach the   theme is used.
    ranges from membership campaigns          email your state representative, ask-
    to healthy lifestyles to safety while     ing him or her to make funding Texas                                                 time to make sure no one has been          Membership Chair Challenge coupon
    walking or driving to legislative pri-    public education a priority! If they                                                 missed in the recruiting efforts. Dues     on top of membership roster and
    orities. When you go to our website,      do not hear from you, they will not                                                  postmarked by March 15 will be in          dues report. One submission will be
    make sure you notice the new buttons      have the reason to vote in the best                                                  this year’s membership numbers.            randomly selected to receive a 2011-
    on the top right-hand corner, where       interests of our children. Go to http://
    information has been divided into
    categories for parents, educators and     school-finance/ for more information.
    students. From cradle to career, PTA
                                                                                                                                   New Membership Theme - Team Up!
    Parent Involvement – What Goes Around
    Comes Around
    by Kyle Ward, CAE, Executive Director

                               So often       walk or run. The highlight is award-       when I thought about how I not only           TeamTA p!U                                                   Team Up!
                                                                                                                                                                                                       n PTA
                            we talk about     ing the “Silver Shoe” to the class         contributed to his class winning, but           Join P
                            how parent        each month that achieves the most          that this program promoted exercise
                            involvement       laps overall.                              and healthy lifestyles. Now I really                                                Team Up!
                            impacts our                                                  understood what parent involvement                                                   Join PTA
                            children. Re-        I was fortunate to be able to par-      truly means!
                            cently I saw      ticipate. Not only did I need the
                            firsthand how     exercise, it was so much fun seeing          So while parent involvement results
    being involved at my son Bryce’s          and talking to students and faculty.       in academic achievement for our
    school made a difference in my at-        For me, the big news was that Bryce’s      students, it also makes a difference
    titude at work and as a parent.           class won. I did not know this until       in parents. That walk was only about

                                              the end of the day when my cell            30 minutes, and the impact it made

                                                                                                                                                go p
      Once a month at our elemen-             phone rang. Bryce called and was so        on my child, his class and me as a
    tary school, our physical education       excited that Ms. Ramsey’s class won        parent will last forever! I encourage                                                                Download graphics from the Membership Theme page of
    teacher, Mrs. Ayers, hosts a “Silver      the Silver Shoe and that my participa-     us all to get involved, not only for                                                                 the Texas PTA website, or purchase your fliers and post-
    Shoe” event. The purpose is to pro-       tion helped make a difference.             our children, but as a booster shot for                                                              ers in the Texas PTA online store! Watch for the new 2011
    mote healthy lifestyles by engaging                                                  parenthood.                                                                                          Membership Recruiting Kit!
    students, faculty and parents to either     After he hung up, I just glowed
    Student Page Introduced On Website                                                                                                  Talk of Texas - Best Practices
      Texas PTA is proud to unveil our new “student” page on the Texas PTA website as a resource for students and PTSA leaders.         by Kris Vaughn, Texas PTA Membership Chair
    The page,, includes resources, articles and links on issues affecting
    today’s students including bullying, dating violence, scholarships and community service. Access is also available through            Bridlewood Elementary PTA in Flower Mound customized the membership theme to best fit their campus and needs.
    a “FOR STUDENTS” button in the upper right hand corner of each page on the Texas PTA site.                                          They used “Bridlewood PTA is Building a Foundation for Success”, utilizing books as graphics and the foundation of
      Parent Teacher Student Associations (PTSAs) are PTAs with the added component of students who may serve in leader-                knowledge. Did you enjoy the ideas provided through Bridlewood Elementary’s membership campaign? Want to see
    ship positions. Any high school PTA may convert to a PTSA by adopting a motion from the membership and amending                     your great ideas spotlighted on the Talk of Texas-Best Practices page? Share you story with us at
    their bylaws. PTSAs allow students to be part of the decision-making body of the PTA. Michaela, a high school freshman
    says, “I’m excited about the chance to be a part of something that makes my school better.” Other students feel the same
    and enjoy the chance to be included.

                                                                 An additional new resource on the student page is the PTSA bro-
                                                               chure. The new student brochure is “teen-targeted” and can be used
                                                                                                                                        Bridlewood PTA Built Successful Foundation
                                                               to recruit students as well as to inform adults about a PTSA. Scroll
                                                               down to the Resources section for a direct link to the brochure and        Bridlewood PTA tweaked the global PTA theme of Building Success and adopted the slogan: Bridlewood PTA is Build-
                                                                                  download for free. Brochures can also be pur-         ing a Foundation for Success. They utilized books as the visual model, noting that books are the foundation of knowledge.
                                                                                              chased in full color from the Texas PTA
                                                                                              online store. As always we welcome                                               Posters:
                                                                                              and look forward to your feedback.
                                                                                                                                        The membership bulletin board dis-
                                                                                                                                        plays book die cuts with a teacher’s
                                                                                                                                        name on each book. The numbers
                                                                                                                                        on the books represent the number
                                                                                                                                        of students in the class and the
                                                                                                                                        number of families in the class that
                                                                                                                                        have joined the PTA.
    PTA President Spurs Membership
    Published in the Mansfield News-Mirror, February 16, 2011

      Janet Brockett Elementary school’s            In the past year Brockett has been       to attend.
    Parent Teacher Association president          received several awards, including the
    Rachel Williams sees volunteerism in          Mansfield school district’s Early Bird       “We had never seen the fathers of
    all of the parents at the 600-plus student    Achievement award, which is given to       some of these girls since they’ve been
    campus.                                       PTAs whose membership rosters and          at the school,” said assistant principal
                                                  dues reach 25 percent of the student en-   Deborah Maybry. “And here they were
      Even if that participation means just       rollment, and the Golden Apple Award,      all dressed up and looking good.”
    visiting the Mansfield school’s campus        which recognizes campuses for 100                                                                                                                                               Once a class reaches 100% mem-
    for lunch.                                    percent participation among faculty.         Williams, a former banker, began                                                                                                   bership, they are presented with a
                                                                                             volunteering with her kids’ PTA in 2004                                                                                              membership cone and the class is
      Since taking over Brockett’s PTA              Brockett’s Watch Dads of Great           when the family lived in Las Vegas. She
    a year ago, Williams has doubled the          Students program was also recognized       has three children in Mansfield schools,                                                                                             rewarded with a popsicle party.
    school’s membership and has received          with the Men Are Really Super Award,       an 8-year-old daughter and 6-year-old
    100 percent participation from teachers       which recognized PTA’s that have at        son at Brockett and a 13-year-old at
    at the south Arlington campus.                least 50 men in the group.                 Coble Middle School.                                                                         Bridlewood tracks the check drive donations via colored book spines.
      “From the start, I let all of the parents     Recently, Williams raised funds and        Part of the allure of joining the                                                          They offered a tiered level of contributions this year, and the book spines
    and teachers know that there’s a role         organized a Daddy-Daughter Dance,          PTA in Las Vegas was that campus                                                             represent each donation made at each level (platinum, gold, silver, and
    for everyone in the PTA,” Williams            where more than 250 people partici-        fundraisers and field trips sparked her                                                      bronze). They are also coloring in their Bronco (school mascot) to show
    said. “You can do as much as you like.        pated.                                     interests, she said. But after moving to                                                     progress towards their goal.
    And for some, their membership dues                                                      the Mansfield school district in 2008,
    may be their only contribution. But             “We were able to create a moment in      she was introduced to a much bigger
    I let them know that their dues go a          these young girls’ lives that they will    educational world.                                                                           They had a wonderful time launching the campaigns and building support
    long way.”                                    never forget,” Williams said. “They’ll                                                                                                  for their school. They are looking forward to announcing the final results
      Brockett is a Title I campus, which         know how a man is supposed to treat          “Children lean more when they are                                                          of the campaigns on October 1.
    means there is a high percentage of           them for the rest of their lives.”         exposed to a lot,” Williams said. “There
    students who are eligible for free or                                                    are some things you can’t really appre-
    reduced-cost lunches. But that hasn’t           Several men came as stand-in dads        ciate inside of a book.”
    discouraged participation, Williams           for the students who didn’t have a
    said.                                         father in the home or were unavailable
    ARISE Colonia Residents Form PTA                                                                                                          Secret Life Of The American Pedestrian
    by ARISE E-Newsletter, February 2011                                                                                                      by David C. Hancock, Director/Editor of “The Road Beacon”

                                                                                                                                                 When I get home from work each day, I look forward             Each of us, whether
      ARISE colonia residents formed              of our PTA is that the meetings be             to ask questions, most of which are          to getting in my daily exercise by walking or running          on foot or in the
    the first community PTA in the                conducted in Spanish. The informa-             answered. We invite school board             around my neighborhood in the suburbs of Denver. I             driver’s seat, have a
    nation. Now in their second year,             tion sent from schools to parents is           members, and other speakers to our           get home, change into my running or walking clothes,           right to get to our des-
    ARISE S. Tower Community PTA                  mostly in English, and at times the            meetings. They use simple terminol-          stretch out my sore muscles and open the door to the           tination safely. Here
    has more than doubled their member-           Spanish version is not translated              ogy that we, as housewives, under-           fresh air. As I start to walk, I breathe deeply for the        are a few tips to get us
    ship to 75. In an effort to empower           correctly. It’s important for us to            stand. This has helped us tremendous-        first time as I take in the afternoon air. Step by step is a   all there:
    more immigrant parents, the women             have access to information regarding           ly. Schools send us information with         release from the day’s work activities. As I approach the
    have extended leadership to other             our children’s education in Spanish.           vocabulary that we don’t understand,         end of the sidewalk, my worries start to increase, I look        • If a car or a pe-
    parents interested in starting their          Another one of our basic challenges            because we never or rarely ever use          around for cars and watch the eyes of drivers as they          destrian has the right
    own PTA.                                      is transportation. The majority of             those words.                                 drive by to make sure they aren’t about to turn. I walk        of way, give each
                                                  families in the colonias have one car,                                                      into the crosswalk wondering if the drivers will stop, do      other their designated turn;
       Proyecto Juan Diego and Mano               and the husband usually takes that                With the support of this PTA,             the drivers see me and will I make it to the other side?         • If a pedestrian is at a cross walk in front of you, it is
    a Mano showed their support for               car to work. How can we make it to             mothers have begun to support their          As I make this both relaxing and stress filled journey         the law in most states and a courteous gesture to stop and
    families from Brownsville colonias            the meetings when most of us live far          children in a way that wasn’t possible       each day, I can’t imagine my life without those walks but      let pedestrians walk safely across;
    by having ARISE facilitate this work-         from the schools?                              for them before. The state offers so         realize what an ordeal it is to cross a high traffic street      • If you’re a pedestrian or a driver, never enter the
    shop. ARISE S. Tower PTA traveled                                                            many programs that we are either not         as a pedestrian. You have what it seems like 100 feet to       crosswalk until you see the pedestrian or car stop. You
    to Brownsville to share the steps in-           Our PTA has been very successful             aware of or simply don’t understand          cross and only a few seconds before the “orange hand”          can’t be too careful;
    volved in creating a community PTA.           in our community for the following             very well. We want to know and               starts blinking at you, warning to indicate the impend-          • It is a good idea at night for pedestrians to wear
    Eva Carranza, president of ARISE S.           reasons: The meetings are conducted            understand all the changes in state          ing rush of traffic in your direction. You hurry across,       reflective clothing to be more visible;
    Tower PTA, spoke on the importance            in Spanish, they are located in our            and federal laws in regards to educa-        just hoping the right-hand turning drivers don’t hit you         • As you walk across any intersection, make sure the
    of a PTA and why other communi-               neighborhoods (ARISE provides                  tion. That is a necessity for us. It is      as they make their turn swerving around you, just barely       driver sees you before you walk in their path. Even give
    ties need to organize and have their          transportation to women who live in            also important for us to support other       missing your legs as you walk by. Whew...I made it! I          them a little wave to make sure their eyes catch your
    voices heard.                                 neighboring colonias), and are sched-          communities so that they too have            realized after making these almost “risky” walks each          movement.
                                                  uled at a time that works for us (in the       these tools in their hands.”                 day, that there’s got to be a better way for drivers and         • As winter weather continues, be careful of ice on the
      (translated) “The main requirement          mornings). We have the opportunity                                                          pedestrians to co-exist in this asphalt paradise.              streets and slow down around intersections. You never
                                                                                                                                                                                                             know when you might slip.
                                                                                                                                                I did a little research on the U.S. Department of Trans-
                                                                                                                                              portation website, and found out thousands of people in          All of us are in this together and we all want to arrive
                                                                                                                                              the U.S are hurt each year in car and pedestrian crashes       home safe. Watch out for each other, be courteous and
                                                                                                                                              on our nation’s roadway.s This was way more than I             think about your own safety – we are one community!
                                                                                                                                              would have ever thought.
                                                                                                                                                                                                             Sources: U.S. Department of Transportation

                                                                                                                                 p of
                                                                                               ent Eva Carra nza speaks to a grou
                                                                            ARISE PTA Presid
        A resident from the co                                              parents in Browns
                               mmunity voices her
        community PTA is ne                       thoughts on why a
                             eded in this area.

    ARISE is a grassroots organization of women for women. It is about building on strengths and respecting the dignity of each indi-
    vidual. It’s about spirituality, cultural values and personal growth. It’s about connecting women with each other and strengthening the
    fabric of their communities. It’s about teamwork and putting personal ambition aside in favor of common goals. It’s about inspiring
    hope and a sense of possibility. For more information, visit
6                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         7
                                                    New PTAs                                                                       National PTA Healthy Lifestyles Award Winners
    Area 1:                                   Area 7:
    Nolan Richardson Middle PTA, El Paso      Jim G. Martin Elementary PTA, San          Area 17:                                      National PTA has announced the winners of the 2010 PTA Healthy Lifestyles Grant. Twenty-two PTAs will receive up to $1,000
     - President, Fadia Champlain             Antonio                                    Young Women’s Leadership Academy,         to support good nutrition and physical activity to address the nation’s childhood obesity epidemic. Currently, one third of American
    Mission Early College PTSA, El Paso        - President, Lucy Gonzalez                Ft. Worth                                 children and youth are either obese or are at risk of becoming obese. Further, the reduction and often elimination of recess during
     - President, Betty Bradford                                                          - President, Sandra Hernandez            the school day has limited the amount of physical activity that students receive throughout the school day. In response to this, PTA’s
    Riverside Rebels’ PTA, El Paso            Area 10:                                   Hazel Harvey Peace Elementary PTA,        Healthy Lifestyles Grant program is working to emphasize the important role that families can play in keeping their children healthy
     - President, Mercy Baeza                 McDonald Junior High PTA, Katy             Ft. Worth                                 and ready to learn.
                                               - President, Tosha Jefferson                 - President, Toni Johnston
    Area 5:                                                                              James M. Steele Accelerated High School       Texas PTAs that earned the grant award were:
    Troy Community PTA, Troy                  Area 12:                                   PTA, Roanoke                                  Howe Independent School District (ISD) PTA – Howe, TX (President: Carolyn Cherry)
      - President, Agostine Trevino           Burley Primary PTA, Lufkin                    - President, Bryan Buchleiter              Howe ISD PTA will use the grant funds to let students and their families sample a variety of fruits to introduce them to the dif-
    Clarke Elementary PTA, Ft. Hood            - President, Amanda Henson                                                          ferent healthy snack options available. The PTA will pilot a Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program. In conjunction with the Fresh Fruit
      - President, Paula Kemble                                                          Area 18:                                  and Vegetable program, the PTA will host the Howe PTA Health and Fitness Fair in the spring which will showcase health and fitness
    S. C. Lee Junior High PTA, Copperas       Area 13:                                   Grand Prairie ISD Special Education       professionals, the local health department, local fitness clubs, and the Grayson County Agriculture Extension. Portable kitchens will be
    Cove                                      J.L. Everhart Elementary PTA, Longview     PTA, Grand Prairie                        set up in order to demonstrate how to cook
      - President, Angela Gunter                - President, Heidee Lail                  - President, Alexandra Flores            healthy meals and snacks.
                                              George Washington Carver Elementary
    Area 6:                                   PTA, Marshall                                                                            Mesita Elementary PTA – El Paso,
    Barrington PTA, Austin                      - President, Susan Beene                                                           TX (President: Silvia Ortega)
     - President, Joanne Diaz                 Waskom Middle School PTA, Waskom                                                         Mesita Elementary PTA is plan-
    Hutto High School PTA, Hutto                - President, Brandy Johnson                                                        ning a Fitness Week. During this week
     - President, Deanne Andersen                                                                                                  the school will encourage students and
    Ralph Pfluger PTA, Buda                   Area 15:                                                                             families to Walk to School. They will also
     - President, Teresa Garcia               Anna Middle School PTA, Anna                                                         have a Fittest Class contest, in which the
    Coupland PTA, Coupland                     - President, Ann Goade                                                              entire school will compete, and a nutri-
     - President, Amy Schroeder                                                                                                    tion seminar to help show families that
                                                                                                                                   important changes in these meals can
                                                                                                                                   help their children avoid future health
    Million Hours Of Power                                                                                                         issues. They will also invite parents to
                                                                                                                                   participate in PE time, so that they can be
      To combat historically low male participation in parent involvement groups, National PTA’s MORE (Men Organized to            physically active with their child. Other
    Raise Engagement) Alliance and the National Fatherhood Leaders Group have teamed up to launch A Million Hours of               Fitness Week activities will include a park
                                                                                                                                   playdate and a sports night.
    Power, an initiative to inspire 350,000 American men to dedicate three hours of service to the education, health and well-
    being of children.

                                                                                                                                                                                        BRING THE
                                                                                                                                      For more information on this grant
                                                                                                                                   program, visit
      Three hours of service—truly a small amount of time to invest—from 350,000 men totals more than 1 million hours of           healthy_lifestyles_grant.asp.
    true power to the lives of children, resulting in educational, social and physical benefits to kids across the nation.
                                                                                                                                      Other resources:

                                                                                                                                                                                    DINOSAURS TO YOUR
      “Give a little, change a lot” will be the rallying call to action for the Million Hours of Power grassroots campaign. Re-
    search proves that parent involvement leads to student success in school and life. Children perform better in school when         •    PTA Healthy Lifestyles Awards
    both the mother and the father or a male role model are both involved                                                             •    Event Ideas from Past Award
    in the education of their children.                                                                                                    Winners - National PTA

                                                                                                                                      •    PTA Healthy Lifestyles - PTA
                                                                                                                                           Great Idea Bank
      The Million Hours of Power campaign will encourage men to dedi-
    cate three hours of their time to the health, education and well-being
    of children in their families and communities during the 2010-2011
    school year. Working with the National Center for Fathering, PTA
    will provide a tracking tool so you can log your hours and watch the
    campaign’s progress toward 1 million hours (see link above).
       The hope is that once men see how much reward they get for so
    little effort, then they will develop greater habits of engagement and
    responsibility to children and families. Visit
    htm to contribute your three hours of power.                                                                                                                                                        Contact us today!
8                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             9
     To Pray Or Not To Pray                                                                                                          To Pray Or Not To Pray (cont.)
     by Elizabeth Campbell, Texas PTA Inclusiveness Chair                                                                            by Elizabeth Campbell, Texas PTA Inclusiveness Chair

        In response to the title of this ar-    ees, volunteers and partners as we       ences is to start with our Mission. Of      you cannot imagine that praying is              expression of religion in “public”               The good news is you are still read-
     ticle, you might think: What? When?        work collaboratively to achieve our      course, we must remain true to the          inconsistent with our Mission. How-             contexts.                                      ing, which means that you are inter-
     Where? And “Of course, I can if I          association’s goals.                     Mission of our Texas PTA, which             ever, how do you know that no one                                                              ested in finding a solution.
     want to.”                                                                           is to make every child’s potential a        objects or feels excluded? He or she               For example, the website for the
                                                  Thus, in order for our members to      reality by engaging and empowering          may simply be embarrassed about                 Bellingham Herald reported on Janu-               As Inclusiveness Chair, my practi-
       Perhaps you have attended a PTA          work collaboratively and to respect      families and communities to advocate        questioning your approach to organiz-           ary 12, 2011, that Michael Newdow,             cal recommendation to PTA leaders
     meeting or other function with a for-      each other -- including those who        for all children.                           ing the meeting. And, how are you               a California attorney who is an                (again, not intended as legal advice)
     mal agenda or program. And perhaps         have different backgrounds and                                                       demonstrating the ability and desire            acknowledged atheist, is bringing              is to follow our committee agenda
     the meeting/program leader -- which        perspectives--we must be mindful           If someone has an objective that is       to advocate for all children if you             several U.S. Supreme Court chal-               template for meetings -- which does
     could be you -- started the event          of the unintended consequences of        inconsistent with our Mission, that         appear to embrace some (those who               lenges to the reference to “God” by            not include an agenda item for prayer.
     by offering a brief prayer or asking       seemingly harmless gestures.             objective should not be pursued.            pray) and exclude others (those who             the federal government His separa-             The Texas PTA Handbook, page 219,
     someone else to say a prayer.                                                                                                   do not).                                        tion of church and state challenges            Please visit the Texas PTA website for
                                                  Another area of interest from a          Thus, leaders within our PTA or-                                                          include: (1) objecting to “In God We           more information.
       Sound familiar? Sound plausible?         context perspective is the fact that     ganization should start with carrying         Now, consider this perspective.               Trust” as the national motto, espe-
     Sound inappropriate?                       we are trying to grow Texas PTA as       out our Mission and move from there         You are an active member of your                cially because it appears on our U.S.            For other events and programs,
                                                an organization. In order for us to      to affirmatively make every effort to       Local PTA, and you want to stay                 currency; (2) objecting to the phrase          limit the agenda or program to the
        It is certainly true that some or-      expand our membership, we likewise       include people and their differences        involved. However, your Local PTA               “So help me God” in the presidential           business elements of the event.
     ganizations and some events rou-           must be mindful of practices that        (except, as I said, as to the Mission it-   president starts each meeting, pro-             oath of office; and (3) objecting to the
     tinely incorporate prayer or words         might cause existing members to drop     self). Our members, likewise, should        gram, event and school visit with a             phrase “under God” in the Pledge of              As the richness of society grows,
     of inspiration into most, if not all, of   out or discourage new members from       be committed to the Mission and to          few words of prayer. You are not ac-            Allegiance.                                    our children will benefit by hav-
     their sponsored events. Here is the        getting involved.                        embracing other members and leaders         customed to praying in private, much                                                           ing our members focus on ways to
     challenge: Not all participants pray.                                               with differences.                           less having your volunteer member-                In addition, there are many lower            be more inclusive in our PTA ef-
     Plain and simple.                            But, sometimes, it is not easy to                                                  ship organization incorporate prayer            court challenges to prayer or refer-           forts. Mistakes will occur along this
                                                embrace differences -- that is, people     The Praying Leader                        into every activity. “Why can’t we              ence to religion in public school              journey. A sincere “I am sorry” is an
        The issue is not one of separation      who come from different back-              What if, as a PTA leader, you feel        just go about the business of PTA?”             districts, and the dispute can become          appropriate response, and then we
     of church and state. The Texas PTA         grounds or have different beliefs than   comfortable starting a PTA meet-            you wonder. You feel isolated and               rather contentious.                            resume our journey.
     is neither. But the issue can become       the “majority.”                          ing with a brief prayer? After all,         uncomfortable. You are too afraid
     complicated, especially if public                                                   that’s the way other meetings you           to speak up for fear of having your               Choose Option “I” for Inclusive-
     school premises are used for PTA             One way to cope with the tension       attend start off, and the other PTA         beliefs rejected or ridiculed.                  ness
     meetings and teachers are present.         that can be created by these differ-     members do not seem to mind. And,                                                             Maybe you are cautiously read-
     However, this article is not intended                                                                                            On-Going Legal Challenges Raise                ing this article and not feeling so
     to be an analysis of legal issues nor                                                                                           Awareness                                       good. No worries. Moving toward
     is this author expressing a legal opin-                                                                                                                                         inclusiveness is a journey with a few
     ion -- one way or the other.                                                                                                      For many years, there have been               bumps to be expected along the way.
                                                                                                                                     highly publicized challenges to
        The issue I would like to address is
     one of inclusiveness -- and the ten-
     sion created by the exercise of prac-
     tices which may appear to promote or
                                                                                                                                     Texas 8th Graders Earn Top National Rank-
     embrace certain religions and, in fact,
     exclude or alienate people who do not
     embrace those religions.
                                                                                                                                     ings On Science Exam
                                                                                                                                     According to test results recently released by the Na-                  36th. Texas Hispanics and African-American subgroups represent
       The Texas PTA values diversity and                                                                                                                                                                    a substantially larger percentage of kids than in most other states
     inclusiveness:                                                                                                                  tional Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP),
                                                                                                                                                                                                             and therefore their results, which are influenced by higher percent-
                                                                                                                                     every major ethnic group in Texas scored higher on the
                                                                                                                                                                                                             ages of economically disadvantage and Limited English Proficient
        Diversity: We acknowledge the po-                                                                                            redesigned eighth-grade NAEP science test than did their                kids, lower the overall average scores for the state. This is why it
     tential of everyone without regard to                                                                                           peers nationally, and white students earned the second-                 is important to break down the results by subgroup to reveal an
     at least the following characteristics:                                                                                         highest score in the country. Hispanic students in Texas                accurate picture of where our Texas students really rank. This is a
     age, culture, economic status, educa-                                                                                                                                                                   phenomenon known as Simpson’s Paradox if you’d like to Google it
     tional background, ethnicity, gender,                                                                                           rank 7th in the nation and African-American students
                                                                                                                                                                                                             and learn more.
     geographic location, legal status,                                                                                              rank 8th. Fourth graders also did very well on the NAEP
     marital status, mental ability, national                                                                                        science exam. White students earned the third highest                   Source: Friends of Texas Public Schools e-newsletter, February 15,
     origin, organizational position, pa-                                                                                            score in the nation; African-American students rank 4th                 2011.
     rental status, physical ability, politi-                                                                                        in the nation among the 50 states; and Hispanic students
     cal philosophy, race, religion, sexual                                                                                                                                                                  For more on this story, visit
     orientation, and work experience.                                                                                               rank 19th.
        Respect: We value the individual                                                                                                                                                                     news_release.aspx?id=2147495390&menu_id=692.
     contributions of members, employ-                                                                                               EDITORIAL NOTE: When scores of these subgroups are averaged
                                                                                                                                     together Texas 8th graders rank 26th and Texas 4th graders rank
10                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  11
                                                                                                                                                         Texas PTA Legislative Priorities 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               tion and health education
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Reinstate physical educa
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   ments at secondary levels
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           ood support
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             y habits learned in childh
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Research shows health                                       s and
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  pment of children’s bodie
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   proper growth and develo                                      ood.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   health outcomes in adulth
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    brains and promote better                                    to learn-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   physical health are linked
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Because good mental and                              l predictor of
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     health is a critica
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    ing ability and because good                              ls provide
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                essential that Texas schoo
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    future productivity, it is                             that support
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                learning environments
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     students with access to
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     healthy lifestyles.

                                                                                                                                                                     •	 Maintain
                                                                                                                                                                         projected enr g levels for public school
                                                                                                                                                                                         ollment gro                      s, which incl
                                                                                                                                                                                                        wth.                                udes
                                                                                                                                                                    •	 Maintain
                                                                                                                                                                                   funding for
                                                                                                                                                                        grams.                    school and
                                                                                                                                                                        •	 Loan Sta                                            library pro-
                                                                                                                                                                                      r Libraries
                                                                                                                                                                        •	 TexShare
                                                                                                                                                                       •	 K-12 dat
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             t programs
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Fight Obesity - Suppor
                                                                                                                                                                       •	 Telecom
                                                                                                                                                                                                     Discount Pro
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            nt, activities,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     that promote moveme
                                                                                                                                                                  •	 Maintain
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             and menus,
                                                                                                                                                                 •	 Texas PTA
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      healthier food choices
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             family and
                                                                                                                                                                                  supports sma
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       and promote school,
                                                                                                                                                                     there	is	no	s                 ller
                                                                                                                                                                                    pecific,	single class sizes for students.                                                                                                                                                                                                 Texas PTA supp
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              orts a compreh
                                                                                                                                                                     guarantees                      	class	size	tha                    While
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   n.                                                                                                                                                                        ensi
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           community participatio
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              to protect the
                                                                                                                                                                     classes gen
                                                                                                                                                                                   success for
                                                                                                                                                                                                  students, we        t	automatic
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ally	                                                                                                                                                                                                  health of workers ve statewide smoke-free law
                                                                                                                                                                                  erally lead to                  kno                                                                                                                                                                                                         dangers of seco                 , especially our
                                                                                                                                                                    especially wh                  greater studen w that smaller                                                                                                                                                                                                              ndhand smoke.                    youth, from the
                                                                                                                                                                                    en paired wit                    t achieveme
                                                                                                                                                                    involvement                      h quality inst                   nt,                                                                                                                                                                                      Secondhand smo
                                                                                                                                                                                  .                                 ruction and
                                                                                                                     Pursue an                                                                                                       parent                                                                                                                                                                                                        ke
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               children and yout causes more than one milli
                                                                                                                                adequate                           In tough bud                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    h each year, inclu                on illnesses in
                                                                                                                     solution fo            and equita                             get times we                                                                                                                                                                                                                               lower respirato
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               ry tract infection     ding 150,000
                                                                                                                                 r school fu            ble        scalpel rath
                                                                                                                                                                                er than a buz
                                                                                                                                                                                                    hope policym
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    akers will use                                                                                                                                                                                            ma. Exposure
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              to second-hand
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  s and 26,000 new 300,000
                                                                                                                                             nding whi                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  cases of asth-

           Every Child’s Potential
                                                                                                                      maintaining                       le
                                                                                                                                                                   get cuts and
                                                                                                                                                                                  revisions to
                                                                                                                                                                                                 z saw when
                                                                                                                                                                                                                con                     a                                                                                                                                                                                     and impairs lung                   smoke decrease
                                                                                                                                     accountabi                   to maintain                    class size sta sidering bud-                                                                                                                                                                                                                     function in child
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    ren and youth
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    s lung efficienc
                                                                                                                      responsibili               lity and         directly tied
                                                                                                                                                                                its strong bus                   tute
                                                                                                                                                                                                  iness and eco . Texas’ ability                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     of all ages.
                                                                                                                                   ty for educ                                  to its commit                     nomic climate                                                                                                                                                                                              Food service emp
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  loyees, many
                                                                                                                                               ating the          children.                      ment to the                          is                                                                                                                                                                                     50% higher risk                     of them 18 and
                                                                                                                               whole child                                                                      education of
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  its                                                                                                                                                                                        public. These
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                of dying from
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                lung cancer than
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    under, have a
                                                                                                                                             .                   Incentivize                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                ronment, free
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            young people
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             deserve to wor          the general
                                                                                                                                                                              schools and                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   from second-h                     k in a healthy
                                                                                                                                                                cus on educat                 school district                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                and smoke.                        envi-

                Is A Reality
                                                                                                                                                                                 ing the whole                 s to mainta
                                                                                                                                                                local level for                     child through            in a fo-                                                                                                                                                                                       Just as the state
                                                                                                                                                                                 arts instruc                       support at the                                                                                                                                                                                                              regulates the
                                                                                                                                                                                               tion and phy                                                                                                                                                                                                                should be serv                      temperature at
                                                                                                                                                                                                              sical activity                                                                                                                                                                                                                ed in                                 which food
                                                                                                                                                                                                                             .                                                                                                                                                                                             Texas should regu restaurants in order to prot
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 late smoking in                   ect consumers,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Pass statewide                           ers.                                    workplaces to
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    protect work-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Law – Pursu               While forty-five
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            percent of Texa
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 protections fro             e            a comprehensi
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          ve smoke-free
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              ns are currentl
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                y covered by
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 m second-han             communities with                  ordinance, man
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               smoke for yo                      d                            out the ability                 y Texa
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               to pass ordinanc ns live in
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            uth and youn                 these localities
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           are at the mer                          es. Workers in
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  working in se           g adults       to set smoking
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            cy of individua
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            l business own
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                rvice industry                                                                                ers
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               .        The legislation
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          will be modeled
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        smoke-free laws                      after
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            passed in 29 othe comprehensive statewide
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       including restaura                        r states, covering
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             nts and bars.                             worksites
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       rate rooms for                        Legislation will
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         smokers and non                       not allow sepa
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       ances in public                       -smokers or vent                   -
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         worksites.                              ilation allow-

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           threat to
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       are the greatest
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 related diseases                            adequate
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Obesity and diet-                         part, by a lack of
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 today caused, in
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              children’s health                                -to-school programs
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     consumption. Farm                    ses by serv-
                                                                                                         uct which                                                                                                                                                                            fruit and vegetable                  r diet-related disea
                                                                                    and chemical prod                                                                                                                                                                                                             ity and othe
                                                              abis is an herbal                       n by the brand                                                                                                                                                                          help combat obes                             s and providing nutr
                                            Synthetic cann                        . It is best know                                                                                                                                                                                                                 in school cafeteria                              for
                                                               cts of cannabis                          Dascents,                                                                                                                                                                              ing healthy meals                                 child preference
                                            mimics the effe                        known as Genie,                                                                                                                                                                                                                     rtunities to increase
                                                               Spice. It is also                         synthetic                                                                                                                                                                             tion education oppo                         rams also help incre
                                            names K2 and                              r names. When                                                                                                                                                                                                              Farm-to-school prog
                                                                 ck Out and othe                               that they                                                                                                                                                                        healthy foods.                                    uce and help local
                                             Zohai, Sage, Kno                              , it was thought                                                                                                                                                                                                                 locally-grown prod
                                                                    first went on sale                      s. Laboratory                                                                                                                                                                                                ,
                                             cannabis products                          ure of legal herb                                                                                                                                                                                       the demand for fresh
                                                                 ct through a mixt                              under vari-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                farms have economic
                                             achieved an effe                           not   the case. Sold
                                                                  showed this was                              e gas sta-                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Force,
                                              analysis in 2008                           shops and at som                                                                                                                                                                                                                              l Coordination Task
                                                                es, online, in head                         but the prod-                                                                                                                                                                                      ncy Farm-to-Schoo                                      and
                                              ous brand nam
                                                                     “not for human
                                                                                          consumption,”                                                                                                                                                                                          The Interage                                  for schoolchildren
                                              tions, it is marked ked by users. Although synthetic
                                                                                                                  cannabis                                                                                                                                                                                              ote a healthy diet               and ranches,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 established to prom                sized local farms
                                                                  smo                                         cannabis, it                                                                                                                                                                                               ll to mid-
                                               ucts are usually                          in drug tests for                                                                                                                                                                                       the business of sma                           availability of local
                                                                     positive results                        e.                                                                                                                                                                                                      plan to facilitate
                                               does not produce its metabolites in human urin                                                                                                                                                                                                    has developed a                            ols. The plan seek
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  s to
                                               is possible to dete
                                                                     ct                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              ucts in public scho
                                                                                                                    abis                                                                                                                                                                          grown food prod                             tives that have simi-
                                                                                              d in synthetic cann tries,                                                                                                                                                                                               with existing initia
                                                                       abinoids containe                         coun                                                                                                                                                                             coordinate efforts             the health of scho
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       olchildren and
                                                The synthetic cann made illegal in many European                                                                                                                                                                                                  lar objectives to
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 coordinating exist
                                                products have
                                                                 been                           the USA. Several                                                                                                                                                                                                         farm economy. By                       new but
                                                                   l und  er federal law in                  rgia, Alabama,                                                                                                                                                                       stimulate our local                      by implementing
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     School Programs
                                                but remain lega                         ding Kansas, Geo                                                                                                                                                                                                              e programs, and                            the stan-
                                                                     e it illegal inclu                                                                                                                                                                                                            elements of thes                        opportunity to set
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Support Farm-to-
                                                 states have mad                                           nsas, Oregon,
                                                                                         Michigan, Arka                                                                                                                                                                                                              s, Texas has the                              econo-
                                                 Missouri, Louisian
                                                                       a, Mississippi,                       iders synthetic
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           d choices for           proven strategie
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              food systems, sust
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    ainable farm
                                                 and Illinois. The
                                                                      Drug Enforcem
                                                                                         ent Agency cons
                                                                                        ern.” According
                                                                                                           to the National
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   – Pursu e healthier foo                         dard for vibrant local
                                                                    a “drug of conc                       r states are also                                                                                                                                           te awareness,                mies and healthy
                                                  cannabis to be
                                                                   State Legislatu
                                                                                      res, several othe                                                                                                                                               children, promo
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      olvement and
                                                  Conference of                                               Jersey, New
                                                                                            Michigan, New
                                                  considering legis
                                                                      lation, including
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       community inv
                                                                        ana, and Ohio.                                                                                                                                                                                   opment.
                                                   York, Florida, Indi
                                                                                          include Sachse,
                                                                                                             Dallas, Wylie,                                                                                                                               economic devel
                       and distributio             Texas cities to
                                                                     ban K2 thus far
      Ban possession
                                                                           , McKinney and
                       abinoids such
                                                    Frisco, Plano, Allen
     of synthetic cann             public
                    d educate the
     K2 or Spice an
                        rmful effects.
         about their ha

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Texas is hom
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          e to
                                                                                                                                                              Cyber-bullying is bullying using electronic means including, but not                                                                                                                                                                                         children to and over 35,000 school bus
                                                                                                                                                              limited to, telephones, cellular phones, computers, pagers, elec-                                                                                                                                                                                                              from school                  es that transpo
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           trips and athl                  every day, as                    rt
                                                                                                                                                              tronic mail, instant messaging, text messaging, and websites. A                                                                                                                                                                                                             etic events.                     well as for field
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          posed to high                 Children ridin
                                                                                                                                                              2006 survey by Harris Interactive reported that 43% of U.S. teens                                                                                                                                                                                                            concentrations              g school bus
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          substances not                    of fine particle          es are ex-
                                                                                                                                                              having experienced some form of cyber-bullying in the past year.                                                                                                                                                                                                              only while boa                   s and other
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          but also insi                      rding and de-                 toxic
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        de the bus bec                      boarding bus
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         own emissio                     ause of the                       es,
                                                                                                                                                              Cyber-bullying can occur on or off school property. If the conduct                                                                                                                                                                                                        ns into the bus               intrusion of
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         tinue to be the                  cabin. While               the buses’
                                                                                                                                                              interferes with a pupil’s educational opportunities or substantially                                                                                                                                                                                                         safest way to                 school buses
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        sions from thei                    transport chil                con-
                                                                                                                                                              disrupts the orderly operations of a school or school-sponsored ac-                                                                                                                                                                                                         r diesel engines                dren, the emi
                                                                                                                                                              tivity or event, the school should be able to take action to resolve                                                                                                                                                                                      effects, includin                    contribute to                s-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           g                                a host of hea
                                                                                                                                                              the conflict.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             severity of asth dizziness, nausea, increas                         lth
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          ma attacks,                      ed incidence
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        and chronic                       and
                                                                                                                                                              Parent and student education and staff training are key to ad-                                                                                                                                                   Maintain fu                             To clean up
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Texas’ more
                                                                                                                                                              dressing this newest form of bullying.                                                                                                                                                                                         nding for th              state, with fun              than 35,000
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   school buses,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               School Bus                  e Clean     Environmen
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         ds supplemente
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           d by the Tex             the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Program, th                             tal Quality, has                    as Commission
                                                                                                                                                              A 2004 survey of 1,500 students between grades 4-8 conducted                                                                                                                                                    program fo                   e grant    the Texas Clea
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        n School Bus
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       funded a gran
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       t program call      on
                                                                                                                                                              by I-Safe.Org reported:                                                                                                                                                                                                     r school dis                retrofits for                     Program. The                    ed
                                                                                                                                                              •	 42% of kids have been bullied while online. One in four has                                                                                                                                                  assists in re             tricts that   ogy to clean
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   buses using          program fun
                                                                                                                       Strengthen bullying statute to                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       trofitting die                            up diesel exh               advanced filte
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  r technol-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             engines so                                                             aust.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         they emit fe sel bus
                                                                                                                                                                  had it happen more than once.
                                                                                                                                                              •	 35% of kids have been threatened online. Nearly one in five
                                                                                                                      incorporate a clear definition of           has had it happen more than once.                                                                                                                                                                             inside and             wer toxins
                                                                                                                    cyber-bullying, and to provide tools      •	 21% of kids have received mean or threatening e-mails or                                                                                                                                                                    outside the
                                                                                                                                                                  other messages.                                                                                                                                                                                                                          bus.
                                                                                                                     and resources that enable schools        •	 58% of kids admit someone has said mean or hurtful things
                                                                                                                     to deal with all forms of bullying.          to them online. More than four out of ten say it has happened
                                                                                                                                                                  more than once.
                                                                                                                     Identify student, staff and parent       •	 58% have not told their parents or an adult about something
                                                                                                                                                                  mean or hurtful that happened to them online.
                                                                                                                             education needs.

12                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       13
     Healthier Lifestyles: A New Year’s Resolution!                                                                               Student 2 Student Training Recently Held in
     by Carey Dabney, Texas PTA Healthy Lifestyles Chair
                                                                                                                                  Dallas, Texas
        We Americans love to make               a hefty price tag. Currently, obesity     teach them are the habits they learn    by Ed Veiga, VP for Strategic Communications, Military Child Education Coalition
     New Year’s Resolutions. It must be         and its related expenses cost Texas       and follow for a lifetime. Teaching
     because of that sense we have that         $10.5 billion a year. If we don’t         them healthy habits begins at home,       From as far away as California to         her get through the lunch madness.       adult advisors, attends an extensive
     anything is possible; that we are the      figure out how to stop the rate of        but must be reinforced and supported    as close as the city next door, thirteen                                             three and one-half day, highly inter-
     architects of our own destiny. So          overweight and obesity from increas-      at school and in the community. Na-     schools attended the Military Child           Dan finished up by reporting, “Our     active training to develop the skills
     what if we decided that our New            ing, by 2040 Texas will spend an          tional PTA and Texas PTA are com-       Education Student 2 Student (S2S)           kids are great and your training al-     needed to train other students. It is a
     Year’s Resolution was to become as         estimated $40 billion a year to pay for   mitted to helping parents and schools   training in Dallas, Texas, February         lowed us to show that to the other       curriculum-based program aimed at
     healthy as possible? Could we do it?       chronic diseases that are preventable.    create healthier home and school        10-13. Teams converged from seven           12 schools. We’re very proud of our      making new students feel welcome
                                                                                          environments that support healthy       different states for the long week-         students and look forward to a strong    and accepted. Students are mentored
        There is growing awareness that            That is money out of everyone’s        children and successful students.       end to learn how to plan                                                                              in ways to assist stu-
     the health status of our children and      pocket to pay for higher health insur-                                            and implement the S2S                                                                                 dents as they transi-
     thus of America is in sharp decline        ance premiums; higher cost of goods          For more information go to: www.     program at their own                                                                                  tion in or out of the
     due to poor dietary habits and a           due to increased cost of production and click on         schools.                                                                                              school.
     sedentary lifestyle. The impact diet       because of an unhealthy workforce;        Healthy Lifestyles.
     and physical activity have on a child’s    higher medical bills to pay for both                                                Each school delegation                                                                               Audience: Area
     weight and resulting health prob-          the insured and the uninsured, and                                                included two students,                                                                               school district guid-
     lems is obvious. Less obvious is the       higher social service costs to pay for                                            two school sponsors                                                                                  ance professionals
     impact poor nutrition and fitness have     those too sick to work…the list is                                                and two representatives                                                                              and other professional
     on a child’s growth, development,          endless. What can we do?                                                          of the Navy. Through                                                                                 educators identified
     and learning ability.                                                                                                        the use of icebreakers,                                                                              as faculty advisors;
                                                   We could resolve to become                                                     games, and individual                                                                                student advisors.
        Thirty years ago only about 5% of       healthier in 2011; to use that “can                                               action plans, partici-
     children suffered from obesity. Type       do spirit” we are all so proud of to                                              pants learned the three                                                                                Terminal Learning
     2 diabetes was unheard of in children.     help us make the kinds of changes                                                 research-based modules                                                                              Outcomes: 1. De-
     Today, overweight and obesity in           we know we have to make if we are                                                 taught in the training:                                                                             scribe the challenges
     Texas affects 60% of the population        going to lead healthier, more produc-                                             Academics, Relation-                                                                                faced by students as
     and continues to rise dramatically.        tive lives.                                                                       ships and Finding the                                                                               they transition in or
     Type 2 diabetes is showing up in ever                                                                                        Way.                                        and vibrant S2S club on campus.”                       out of school 2. Apply
     increasing numbers in children as             There is no better place to start                                                                                             The Student 2 Student program         data from the Secondary Education
     young as 5 years old. What hap-            than with our children. The habits we                                               “This was a life-changing experi-         is an initiative of the Military Child   Transition Study 3. Create a school-
     pened?                                                                                                                       ence for me,” said a tenth grader from      Education Coalition. The program         specific Student 2 Student™ program
                                                                                                                                  Kaufer, Texas. “I’ve experienced            is focused on successful transitions     based on academics, relationships,
        Our eating patterns changed. In                                                                                           new things and met new friends. I           for highly mobile students. To date,     and “finding the way.”
     the last thirty years, cheap, abundant,                                                                                      can’t wait to take this program back        nearly 260 high schools have been
     tasty food high in calories and low                                                                                          to my school!”                              trained throughout the world. For          About the Military Child Educa-
     in vitamins and minerals, served in                                                                                                                                      more information on the S2S pro-         tion Coalition: The Military Child
     enormous portions and available all                                                                                            The benefits of the program are           gram, contact Joyce Hodson at 254-       Education Coalition was established
     day long became the norm. At the                                                                                             often realized quickly. Dan Bogdan-         953-1923 or joyce.hodson@military-       in 1998 to help military-connected
     same time, appliances from automatic                                                                                         ski, a counselor at Murietta Mesa                                children meet the challenges that
     garage door openers to riding lawn                                                                                           High School in Murietta, California,                                                 frequent transitions pose during
     mowers became affordable. TVs,                                                                                               reported: When we returned to Mesa            About the MCEC Student 2 Stu-          their educational years. The MCEC
     computers, video games and the inter-                                                                                        High School our students had three          dent Program:                            provides transition services for stu-
     net replaced active play.                                                                                                    new students to welcome. Two of our           Course Description: Believing that     dents, parent workshops, information
                                                                                                                                  S2S students met the new students in        the best support for a transitioning     resources, and counseling resources
        Advertising married both eating                                                                                           the morning and just before lunch and       student is from another student, the     to help military children and families
     and sitting into a multi-billion dollar                                                                                      took them through the lunch process.        Military Child Education Coalition™      thrive in challenging times. For more
     industry whose bottom line means                                                                                             Later that day one of the new students      created a unique initiative called the   information:,
     bigger bottoms for consumers.                                                                                                was asked how her experience with           Student 2 Student™ (S2S™) pro-           or contact Laura Campbell at 254-
                                                                                                                                  S2S went. The girl was brimming             gram. A school team, consisting of       953-1923.
        Those bigger bottoms come with                                                                                            with thanks, especially for helping         two students and two sponsors or
14                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               15
     Publishing The Family Directory In The Digital                                                                                    Publishing The Family Directory In The Digital
     Age                                                                                                                               Age (cont.)
     by Tracie Oken, MyDirectoryMaker Co-Creator                                                                                       by Tracie Oken, MyDirectoryMaker Co-Creator

        Everyone looks forward to receiv-      tion is in it as well. (Ironically, at our   security options for the desktop direc-                                               contact information (without the          ogy there are now more options for
     ing their family directory and with the   school the only abuse we have had is         tory. One is a PDF encrypted with              While this doesn’t prevent the         ability to change or download data).      publishing a family directory than
     ever expanding digital environment        one parent, who was in the directory,        Digital Rights Management (DRM).           directory’s re-distribution it acts as     Searching can be done from any de-        just traditional printing. Your PTA
     (smart phones, iPads, etc.) there are     sending spam emails to solicit his real      DRM is the technology used to              a significant inhibitor since you can      vice with a browser, including smart      needs to consider the security, ease
     new publishing options and security       estate business.)                            protect music and eBooks. Using this       trace copies back to the family who        phones. A good search program will        of publication, ease of distribution
     concerns for your PTA to consider.                                                     method the directory file is licensed      improperly re-distributed it. The          only display the contact details for      and ease of usability by their families
     The good news is that these options           Printing                                 to a single computer so that it can’t      password also limits unauthorized          one family at a time thereby making       when deciding how to publish their
     can save your PTA both time and               Paper printing is still the most         be passed on to another user. While        access should the file find its way        it difficult to “farm” the database by    directory.
     money and provide better security         common form of directory publish-            this is probably the most secure           into unwanted hands. As with stan-         cutting and pasting information dis-
     than a paper version. This article        ing. However, with today’s easy to           publishing option it is also the most      dard DRM there is also the ability to      played on the screen into another ap-        Finally, these options are not
     will explore the following publishing     use, and readily available, scanning         cumbersome to install and manage           disallow printing (although, as noted      plication. A useful feature of online     exclusive of each other and can be
     options and their security implica-       tools it is actually the least secure.       for both the directory coordinator and     above, most families want the option       search is the ability to provide active   used in combination. For example,
     tions to both your PTA and member         When you print on paper you cannot           the family. The family has to install      to print). A protected PDF provides        links where users can click an email      our local high school provides both
     families:                                 prevent families from giving a copy          a reader, then a license key and then      security, is easier to use than standard   address to initiate an email or click a   a protected PDF and online search.
        • Printing – a printed copy of         to a friend or scanning it to a PDF          download the protected PDF file. I         DRM and also allows your families to       phone number to initiate a call (think    This gives their families the ability to
             the directory with physical       and then re-distributing it (in fact         have found that many families have         have a copy on multiple computers.         smart phone). The main drawback to        print and also provides instant online
             distribution.                     we have heard of this happening at a         difficulty navigating the process and                                                 online search is the lack of a printed    and smart phone searching while on
        • Desktop – a directory file that      couple of schools). Most home print-         dislike the restrictiveness of DRM.           Online Search                           copy. However, most people are ei-        the go.
             resides on the reader’s com-      ers now come with features which             Some are also reluctant to install a          Online search is an easy to use,        ther at their computer or smart phone
             puter.                            make it easy to scan a document in           new program on their computer due          secure, low cost publishing option.        when they need to look up informa-            Tracie Oken is the co-creator of MyDirec-
        • Online – the directory data is       minutes. Another drawback to the             to the potential of introducing a virus.   Each family can be provided a unique                                                 toryMaker, the leading Family Directory
                                                                                                                                                                                  tion in the directory.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Publishing software. She can be reached at
             hosted online and accessible      printed directory is the lack of ability                                                username and password with the op-                                         
             through the internet.             to track where unauthorized copies              In addition, if you allow print-        tion to search for family and student         With the progression of technol-
                                               came from.                                   ing (and we have found that almost
         A primary concern we all face is                                                   everyone wants the option to be able
     keeping the directory from falling            Desktop                                  to print) many DRM systems have is-
     into the wrong hands (both for priva-
     cy reasons and to make sure that the
                                                   A desktop directory is a file (typi-
                                               cally a PDF) that resides on your fam-
                                                                                            sues on the Mac operating system that
                                                                                            can limit the effectiveness of DRM                         How Does PTA Make A Difference?
     directory is not used as a marketing      ilies’ local computer. The file is not       security.
     tool). Keep in mind that your families    on the Internet and doesn’t require the                                                 “PTA is awesome because when I would see my mom                    Dr. Benita Ashford, Principal
     have a vested interest in guarding the    family’s computer to be connected to            The second primary security op-         help kids read, I think that is what inspired me to read           Pearl C. Anderson Middle Learning Center
     directory since their own informa-        the Internet to view it. The desktop         tion is a Protected PDF with “social       to younger students and also to volunteer in my commu-             Dallas ISD
                                                                        directory is        DRM.” While an unprotected PDF             nity!”
                                                                        easily distrib-     has no security, and DRM has very                                                                             “The Austin School District values very highly our
                                                                        uted via email.     restrictive security, there is another     Kyrea Eubanks, 4th Grade                                           partnership with parents and educators through our
                                                                        In addition,        option called “social DRM” which is        Mom - April Eubanks, PTA Vice President                            PTAs. We are working to make sure we have strong PTAs
                                                                        parents can         becoming popular. This consists of         Mireles Elementary, Corpus Christi, TX                             in every school. Their ongoing support for students and
                                                                        print just the      password protecting the PDF (us-                                                                              campuses, their role connecting families with schools,
                                                                        pages they          ing either a single password for the        “PTA is like a monument that represents the entire                and their grassroots understanding of the challenges
                                                                        need (class         school or unique passwords for each        community of learners. Partnership with parents and                facing public schools provide an important foundation
                                                                        lists, phone        family) and then watermarking the          teachers could only lead to the continued success of               for the success of public education in Austin and around
                                                                        numbers, etc.)      directory pages with the family’s          our children. Surely there are challenges in these times           the country. “
                                                                        thereby saving      personal information (typically their      with participation in secondary schools, but there are
                                                                        paper and the       name plus either email address or          safeguards for all to be a part of a professional orga-            Dr. Meria Carstarphen
                                                                        environment.        phone number). The PDF can be              nization that foster partnerships with parents. When I             Superintendent
                                                                                            opened and viewed with a standard          think of school and community, PTA is always an avenue             Austin Independent School District
                                                                          There are         PDF viewer and doesn’t require any         to assist schools with building support systems for our
                                                                        two primary         special software.                          children to become successful citizens.”

16                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          17
                                                                                                                                                                                                    You’re Invited
     In The Name Of PTA
                                                                                                                                        2011Statewide Summit
     by Karen Slay, Texas PTA First Vice President

       Many times, a PTA leader may not                  or present title) or a PTA plat-          resumé. Another example is
     be sure when to speak on an issue and               form (newsletter, website, etc.).         that you would not use your
     when not to. Or can they speak at
     all on a particular issue? And when
                                                         - Events/Activities – If the in-
                                                         formation deals with a PTA
                                                                                                   PTA title when sending an
                                                                                                   email that is partisan in nature
                                                                                                                                        to Create Healthier and Safer Communities
     should one use their PTA title? All                 function, activity or event,              to close friends. PTA leaders
     of these are valid questions which                  such as an upcoming parent                may never use their titles when
     deserve clarification.                              education program or the fall             supporting or opposing candi-
       • Who is the spokesperson for                     carnival, the appropriate                 dates.                                                                                               I SUM        DE
                                                                                                                                                 Bringing Together Spheres of Influence:              EW                              MARCH 1 – 2, 2011
            our PTA?                                     spokesperson would be the                 - In the event of a local elec-               Building on the success of previous Texans


            - The PTA president is auto-                 appropriate chair. But the PTA            tion in a community where                     Standing Tall Statewide Summits, our 2011                                            March 1st:

            matically the designated media               president should be the final             a PTA leader is so closely linked             Summit marks a two-day event that will                                               9:00am                 Registration Opens
            spokesperson unless otherwise                editor of the information                 with PTA that community mem-                  bring national and state experts together                                                                   (pre-registration required)
                                                                                                                                                 with participants, centered on merging the
            designated by the board or the               (newsletter, website article),            bers will associate that leader                                                                                                   10:00am – 12:30pm       Morning Presentations
                                                                                                                                                 social sectors that influence students and
            membership. The president                    and the principal is always in-           with PTA regardless of his/her                their community. We will build our statewide capacity to establish                  12:30pm – 2:00pm        Luncheon/Networking
            may choose to delegate this                  cluded in this pre-approval               use of title, that PTA leader                 a community prevention system that delivers and implements the
            responsibility to a more knowl-              process.                                  must use particular care in their                                                                                                  2:00pm – 6:00pm        Afternoon Presentations
                                                                                                                                                 latest proven alcohol and tobacco prevention strategies.
            edgeable or more qualified               •   When should the PTA title be              decision whether or not to pro-
            member, when appropriate.                    used?                                     vide their endorsement.                       Influencing Your Community:                                                           March 2nd:
            Only one person should speak                 - A PTA leader’s title should             - A PTA leader is not prohib-                 Participants will learn about evidence-based community
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      8:00am                 Doors Open
            with the media on a topic or                 only be used when dealing                 ited or prevented from running                (environmental) prevention strategies, take part in strategic planning
                                                                                                                                                 activities, and mobilize to take action on statewide and local                       8:30am – 9:30am        Morning Plenary or Keynote
            situation, in order to prevent               with PTA issues that have                 for or holding a public office.
                                                                                                                                                 strategies. Specific strategies and presentations will be geared to                   9:30am – 10:00am       Break/Visit Agencies’
            information contradiction. Be                been approved by the member-              To ensure the nonpartisan re-
                                                                                                                                                 campus-based prevention.                                                                                    Resource Tables
            certain to follow any school                 ship, or when dealing with                quirements placed on PTA, the
            district procedures before                   normal PTA operations (in-                PTA member must, when cam-                    The Statewide Summit will take place as Texas’ legislative session                  10:00am – 11:30am       Strategy Breakout Sessions
            speaking with the media, and,                cluded in the leader’s duties).           paigning for office or serving in             is underway giving participants the opportunity to visit the Texas                  11:30am – 12:30pm       Lunch
            always, keep the campus prin-                This includes use of past titles          the office, sever his/her identity            Capitol and observe and learn how legislators address substance
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     12:30pm – 5:00pm        Capitol Activities:
            cipal informed.                              as well. For example, a past              with PTA as it relates to that                abuse prevention.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Tour of the Capitol
       • When can the PTA speak on an                    school board member would                 public office.                                                                                                                                             Observe Committee Hearings
                                                                                                                                                 Leveraging Research for Results:                                                                             Observe Floor Debates
            issue/event?                                 not write a letter to the editor                                                        Presentations and breakout sessions are based on recommended                                                 Greet Local Representatives
            - Issue – The PTA can only                   about an issue and use the title       Bottom line, perception is every-                evidenced-based prevention strategies as outlined by the National
            speak on issues where the                    “Former School Board                 thing. In order to protect the PTA, be             Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism in their report, A Call to
            PTA membership has voted on                  Trustee.” Doing so could give        mindful of the light you shine on your             Action: Changing the Culture of Drinking at U.S. Colleges; Surgeons                  Location:
            the position, or the issue is                the impression to the reader         PTA when choosing to speak and                     General reports, including a Call to Action to Prevent and Reduce                    Wyndham Garden Hotel
            covered by a Texas or National               that the school board supports       when using your PTA title.                         Underage Drinking; and the Institutes of Medicine and Centers for                    3401 South I-H 35, Austin, TX 78741
            PTA position or resolution. A                the statements represented in                                                           Disease Control.
            PTA leader cannot express their              the letter to the editor. Past                                                                                                                                               Purpose:
                                                                                                                                                 Making a Meaningful Impact through Collaboration:
            personal opinion on an issue                 titles may be used only in a list-                                                      Learn about practical and effective steps for statewide community                    Bringing together anyone interested in preventing
            when using their PTA title (past             ing of experience, such as a                                                            action to prevent and reduce youth and student access and                            youth substance abuse through collaborating and
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      implementing evidence-based prevention strategies.
                                                                                                                                                 availability to alcohol and tobacco. Engage in discussions and
                                                                                                                                                 become equipped with practical tools to help create and implement
                                                                                                                                                 local, regional, and state plans for environmental prevention.                       Registration:
                                                                                                                                                 The knowledge and skills that participants will take back to their                   Attendance is $50 and meals are provided.
                                                                                                                                                 communities can make a meaningful impact in creating a healthier                     Register at
                                                                                                                                                 and safer environment for our youth.                                                 Limited scholarships are available.

                                                                                                                                                 OL          E
                                                                                                                                             C                        Look for this icon   Summit agenda, speaker details and updated information
                                                                                                                                                                      on the agenda
                                                                                                                                                                      to reflect campus
                                                                                                                                                                                           will be posted online. Visit
                                                                                                                                                                                           for all Summit information. Questions? Call 512-442-7501.

                                                                                                                                             T                        focused topics.

                                                                                                                                                 EW            M
                                                                                                                                                      IDE SU

     Texas PTA On Class Size                                                                                                          Texas PTA
       No doubt the topic of class size is on the minds of parents, educators and legislators. That is why Texas PTA feels it is      On Class Size
     important we communicate with our members so that you know where our association stands on this issue.

       Texas PTA’s first legislative priority is: Pursue an adequate and equitable solution for school funding while maintaining
     accountability and responsibility for educating the whole child.
                                                                                                                                      districts greater flexibility when they
       This Texas Legislative Session is shaping up to exceed the dire predictions about budget shortfalls we have been hearing       are faced with budgeting for the next
     about for the last six months. The base budgets released by the Texas Senate and the Texas House of Representatives il-          two years with fewer dollars. Of all
     lustrate quite clearly the consequences to public education, to services for our most vulnerable Texans, and to the on-going     the unfunded mandates that districts
     maintenance of our state’s infrastructure of a $26.8 billion shortfall.                                                          have, the class size cap of 22-1 is
                                                                                                                                      the most costly. Ideas that legislators
       Most of us are hopeful that these two versions of the budget are a “floor” rather than a ceiling, and that policymakers        are exploring for “helping” school
     will come together to find solutions that will enable us to lessen the impact to Texas citizens. Even with all lawmakers         districts weather the next two years
     working together and a combination of fee increases, loophole closings, business tax adjustments, and use of part of the         include:
     rainy day fund, we will likely see cuts to public education.                                                                       • Doing away with the class size
       How will this impact Texas children? Once the money is sent to districts, the decisions about how to use it will be made         • Raising the cap to allow more
     at the local level. Mandates on school districts influence some of these decisions, but your voice will be needed to help               than 22 students in a class in
     direct your school board and administrators so that they maintain the focus on our children, making cuts and adjustments                grades K-4
     as far removed from students as possible.                                                                                          • Requiring an average of 22
                                                                                                                                             students in grades K-4 on each
        Texas PTA supports smaller class sizes for students in elementary grades. While there is no specific, single class size              campus or on each district
     that automatically guarantees success for students, we know that smaller classes generally lead to greater student achieve-        • A two year moratorium on class
     ment, especially when paired with quality instruction and parent involvement. Texas PTA understands that these are tough                size caps
     budget times and that we are all being asked to tighten our belts. While Texas PTA is fighting to maintain current funding
     levels, unless something dramatic happens, it is likely that school districts will receive less state funding for the next two     Texas PTA is opposed to eliminat-
     years than they received for the current two year budget cycle. It will be the task of local school boards and administra-       ing class size caps in grades K-4.
     tions, with parent input, to decide how to allocate fewer dollars.
                                                                                                                                        Texas PTA believes any adjustment                                    12th and Trinity
       Texas PTA has con-                                                                                                             to the current law must not eliminate
     sidered its position on                                                                                                          class size caps, must contain a parent
     class size caps within                                                                                                           notification piece, and must be very
     the context of the cur-                                                                                                          carefully constructed to give districts
     rent budget crisis and                                                                                                           some flexibility without losing the
     Texas PTA’s goal is                                                                                                              benefits of smaller class sizes.
     to educate the whole
     child. It is impossible                                                                                                            Texas PTA expects to be at the table
     to look only at class                                                                                                            for any discussions about adjusting
     size; Texas PTA must                                                                                                             the class size caps and will fight, if    JOIN US to demand that our lawmakers put education first!
     consider what may                                                                                                                changes are to be made, to minimize
     happen to fine arts                                                                                                              their impact to students.                                Our future depends on it!
     classes and secondary
     class sizes, for exam-                                                                                                             Texas’ ability to maintain its strong
     ple, if school districts                                                                                                         business and economic climate is
     do not have some flex-                                                                                                           directly tied to its commitment to the
     ibility, within tightly                                                                                                          education of its children. In tough
     drawn parameters, to                                                                                                             budget times, we hope policymakers
     adjust to reduced fund-                                                                                                          will use a scalpel rather than a buzz
     ing. There are many                                                                                                              saw when considering budget cuts
     ideas being considered                                                                                                           and revisions to class size statute.
     that will give school
20                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          21
     Green Ribbon Schools
        Green Ribbon Schools’ (GRS) vision is to foster healthier, happier and smarter kids. One of the program’s four corner-
     stones is promoting healthy lifestyles at home and school. To become a Green Ribbon School requires the involvement of
     parents, administrators, teachers and students.
                                                                                                                                  web corner
                                                                                                                                  Web Sites for Parents, Kids and Teachers*
        GRS’ goals are to:
        •  Promote Nutrition, Fitness and Health                                                                                     Texting While Driving Video -
        •  Promote Environmentally-Friendly Campuses                                                                                 AT&T documentary on the dangers of texting while driving. Available on the Texas PTA web-
        •  Promote Outdoor Physical Activity and Nature Play                                                                      site’s new student page.
        •  Integrate Nature in Education
                                                                                                                                    X the TXT -
         GRS provides schools with resources and ideas, allowing schools to create projects based on their needs. The GRS web       Allstate’s “X the TXT” campaign encourages teens not to text and drive. Check out their Face-
     site supports teachers and students in establishing and collaborating on projects, including publishing their results with   book page where they encourage teens to take the pledge and offer campaign thumb bands. Over
     photos and videos.                                                                                                           125,000 people have taken the X the TXT pledge.
        PTA’s can leverage GRS to support healthy lifestyle programs both during and after school. As an elementary PTA
     president said, “I really like your Green Ribbon Model! While I suspect there are thousands of schools doing things, this
                                                                                                                                     Post-It Activity Center -
     gives a recognized framework and a thoughtful goal for campuses to pursue.”                                                     Who knew post-it notes could be so much fun? Check out these teacher-submitted lesson plans
                                                                                                                                  that utilize post-its to teach about things like multiplication and pollen.
        Green Ribbon Schools has been created in partnership with the 60+ members of the Texas Children in Nature Coali-
     tion, including the Texas Education Agency, Texas Parks and Wildlife, Texas Department of Agriculture, Texas Depart-
                                                                                                                                  *Texas PTA does not endorse nor recommend any vendor, their services, or their products.
     ment of State Health Services, the Texas PTA, and the Texas Association of Student Councils.

       GRS was launched in the spring of 2010. Already over 180 schools have registered from across Texas. Green Ribbon
     Schools is provided free to schools by the support of partners such as Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas.
                                                                                                                                  Teen Dating Violence
       Please check out the program at and consider working with your parents, teachers and
     administrators to develop healthy lifestyle programs at your school that make learning both fun and engaging!                  Dating abuse isn’t something anyone wants to talk about,                 sure report they are afraid the relationship would end
                                                                                                                                  but as long as we’re ignoring it, the problem will never                   if they did not give in.
                                                                                                                                  go away.                                                              •    Nearly 1 in 4 girls who have been in a relationship
        For more information, please contact Steve Amos at                                                                                                                                   (23%) reported going further sexually than they
                                                                                                                                    Did you know that:.                                                      wanted as a result of pressure.
                                                                                                                                    •   1 in 4 teen girls say they have been concerned about            People (girls AND guys) can experience several different
                                                                                                                                        being physically hurt by their partner.                       types of abuse which can include:
                                                                                                                                    •   1 in 4 teens who have been in a serious relationship
                                                                                                                                        say that a boyfriend or girlfriend has tried to prevent         •	   Physical abuse: any intentional use of physical force
                                                                                                                                        them from spending time with friends or family; the                  meant to cause fear or injury, like hitting, shoving,
                                                                                                                                        same number have been pressured to only spend time                   biting, strangling, kicking, or using a weapon.
                                                                                                                                        with their partner.
                                                                                                                                    •   Half of teen girls who have experienced sexual pres-            •	   Emotional abuse: non-physical behavior such as
                                                                                                                                                                                                             threats, insults, humiliation, intimidation, isolation,
                                                                                                                                                                                                             or stalking.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        •	   Sexual abuse: any action that forces undesired sexual
                                                                                                                                                                                                             behavior on you by another person. This includes mak-
                                                                                                                                                                                                             ing you do anything you don’t want to do sexually,
                                                                                                                                                                                                             refusing to have safe sex, aggressively pressuring you
                                                                                                                                                                                                             to go further than you want to sexually, or making you
                                                                                                                                                                                                             feel badly about yourself sexually.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Source: or visit the new student page on the
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Texas PTA website.

22                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          23
     Your Opinion Matters...To Your Teen                                                                                                Fight For Quality Pre-K Education
     by David C. Hancock, Director/Editor of “The Road Beacon”                                                                          by Kara Johnson, President and CEO, Texas Early Childhood Education Coalition

                                                                                                                                          The 82nd Legislative Session               As the President and CEO of the         within Texas PTA, I encourage you to
                                                                                                                                        brings a whole host of challenges to      Texas Early Childhood Education            take this opportunity to contact your
                                                                                                                                        education advocates. As legislators       Coalition (TECEC), and a passionate        legislator to tell them your story of
                                                                                                                                        grapple with a multi-billion dollar       supporter of quality education reform      why education is critical to the future
                                                                                                                                        shortfall, teachers, parents, adminis-    programs for children ages birth           of Texas. If you do not know who
                                                                                                                                        trators, and advocates fear what may      through college, I am calling on all       represents you, please visit http://
                                                                                                                                        remain after the education budget is      Texans to set aside time this legisla-
                                                                                                                                        slashed. One of the many programs         tive session to advocate for high qual-
                                                                                                                                        advocates fear will go away is Texas’     ity education.                               Finally, if you haven’t done so
                                                                                                                                        pre-k reform program.                                                                already, I encourage you to spread
                                                                                                                                                                                    Study after study has demonstrated       the word about the incredible new
                                                                                                                                          In 2003, legislators from both sides    that the future of our great state is in   Early Childhood PTA initiative that
                                                                                                                                        of the political aisle came together to   jeopardy if we do not invest in the        the Texas PTA recently launched. It
                                                                                                                                        implement what is now a nationally        education of children now. This same       encourages early childhood education
        The first few months of a new year        What can I do to set guidelines?       teens want their parents to set bound-         recognized pre-k reform program that      research points out that the earlier       programs, located in child care and
     always represent a new time in our        You have driving safety laws on your      aries and actually emulate what their          has been proven to prepare Texas’         you invest in the education spectrum,      Head Start centers, to get engaged
     lives. For many of us, that means         side. Many states have laws that          parents do behind the wheel. Help              most at risk children for school readi-   the greater your return on investment.     early in the PTA. Please visit http://
     starting new projects at work and         make driving while using a cell phone     your teen to stay safe and you’ll make         ness upon entry into kindergarten.                                          for more information.
     the start of a new school term for        for 16-18 year olds against the law.      a difference not only in their life; but       As a result, Texas legislators now          Texas legislators have gone on
     our kids. This is also an important       If you want something more “set in        for your whole community                       have a proven solution to the growing     record this session asking for proven        Now is the time to get involved! I
     time of the year in our lives when        stone,” you can ask your teen if he                                                      achievement gap in our state.             solutions to achieving short-and           look forward to working with you.
     many teens are learning how to drive.     or she has any concerns or questions                                                                                               long-term economic growth, better
     Yikes! That big step in a teenager’s      about driving. Then establish rules         Source(s): National Safety Council and the      Despite two federal reviews of the     prepared children for school, in-            Texas PTA Early Childhood Bro-
     life comes with a lot of freedom, but     and consequences based on you and         Colorado Department of Transportation          program, multiple peer reviewed           creased high school graduation rates,      chure
     it also comes with a responsibility to    your teen’s concerns in a Parent-Teen                                                    journal articles, and a report on the     and a solid workforce of the future.
     practice safe driving habits behind the   Driving Contract.                                                                        cost effectiveness of the program by      Texas’ proven pre-k reform program
     wheel. As we all know from growing                                                                                                 the Bush School of Government and         and other innovative K-12 education
     up, driving requires a lot of practice      Your input and example matter to                                                       Public Service at Texas A&M Univer-       programs can do just that.
     and it can be a bumpy road when we        your teen. Even if your teen says it                                                     sity, the pre-k reform program is still
     first get behind the wheel. In fact,      doesn’t at times; surveys indicate that                                                  one of many programs that may be on         As you consider the best role for
     16-year-old drivers are nearly three      isn’t the case. Overwhelmingly, most                                                     the chopping block this session.          you to play as a member and leader
     times more likely to be involved in
     a crash than other drivers. While
     this statistic may sound frightening,
     it reinforces the critical role parents
     can play in keeping teens safe on our
     roadways.                                                                                                                                              MyDirectoryMakerTM is used by over 500 schools nationwide.
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     safety. Other ways you can help your
     children drive safe is to set a good
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24                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     25
     Texting - R U Concerned?                                                                                                    Texting - R U Concerned? (cont.)
     by Scott Brown, Texas PTA Youth Protection Chair                                                                            by Scott Brown, Texas PTA Youth Protection Chair

                                                                                                                                 or texting devices while driving. In                                                      We have posted the link to this
        How fortunate we are to have a relatively new me-          basic can we get and how simple it should be to con-          Texas we do have several regulations           Additionally, there are at least 10     documentary on the Texas PTA web-
     dium to provide entertaining outtakes, video clips and        clude that if you are engaged in texting while driving,       that go various lengths to address          bills that have been filed in this 2011    site at
     stories to share with our friends at various social events.   you simply cannot keep your eyes on the road. We must         the use of wireless communication           legislative session that are intended      resources-for-students/. I would
     I am not talking about a new sport, a new fashion item,       put a stronger emphasis on this and make it clearly un-       devices while driving, and there is a       to add more teeth to existing regula-      encourage all to watch this with the
     or even a new recreational activity, although this could      derstood that this is a socially unacceptable practice.       growing trend in cities and munici-         tions. Although regulating the use         time and energy that is due and think
     be categorized as any of the above. I am talking about                                                                      palities to take stronger action. Here      of texting devices is something that       about sharing this with your friends,
     the increase and proliferation of “texting” and the result-     A 2009 study by Virginia Tech Driving Institute             is a list of the current regulations in     we need to work toward and actively        students and family. This is not just
     ing distractions. Many of us, I am sure, have gotten          revealed that those who resort to texting while driving       Texas governing the use of handheld         support, stronger influence can be         a teen issue; it is a societal issue with
     a chuckle over the woman falling in the fountain at           are 23 times more likely to meet with an accident than        wireless devices:                           achieved and additional effort needs       increasing frequency and growing
     the mall while being distracted by texting and numer-         those who focus on the road. A comparative study of              • Learners permit holders are            to be placed on personal responsibili-     consequences. We all need to be
     ous other clips, blurbs and stories of our neighbors and      texting while driving versus drunken driving statistics               prohibited from using hand-         ty. Parents, peers, friends and societal   more responsible and accept our role
     friends running into fixed objects while engaged in the       published in a leading car magazine in the United States              held cell phones in the first six   influences will have additional and        in curtailing this practice. The truly
     same activity. Because of the increasing frequency of         revealed that texting while driving is even more danger-              months of driving.                  perhaps greater impact and could do        sad element in this is that, almost
     these events, we can relate all too well and find a level     ous than drunk driving. Studies reveal that a person             • Drivers under the age of 17            much to minimize the needless trag-        without exception, these incidences
     of entertainment in this while still being able to sym-       who is texting while driving at the speed of 35 mph will              with restricted licenses are        edies associated with texting while        are 100% preventable.
     pathize with individuals finding themselves in those          cover significantly more distance before bringing the                 prohibited from using wireless      driving. If you are parents engaged
     situations.                                                   car to complete stop as compared to a distance which a                communications devices.             in this practice, please remember             We need to ask ourselves if one
                                                                   drunken driver would cover at the same speed. Accord-            • School bus operators are pro-          that you are leading by example and        life, one injury, one accident is worth
        There is a far more serious side that has emerged in       ing to the texting while driving death statistics compiled            hibited from using cell phones      showing the younger passengers in          someone being distracted for just a
     the past few years concerning the advent of texting.          by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration                 while driving if children are       your vehicle that this practice is okay.   few seconds to view or send a mes-
     For many, texting while driving has moved from an             (NHTSA), 5,870 people died in car crashes in 2008                     present.                                                                       sage -- LOL, MISS U, THXS, C U
     infrequent occurrence, to a habit, and, unfortunately for     alone. The same statistics revealed that 515,000 people          • Drivers are prohibited from us-          Recently I came across this link to      SOON. These are not life or death
     many, to an obsession. A basic understanding that this        were injured in various car crashes in the United States.             ing handheld devices in school      a documentary that was created by          messages, and, yet with increasing
     is an unacceptable distraction to an individual operat-       Around 28 percent of all crashes in 2008 were caused by               crossing zones.                     AT&T. There are many resources             frequency, they are becoming just
     ing a vehicle should not even be a point of discussion.       drivers in the age group of 18 and 29, who admitted to           • Dallas, San Antonio, Austin,           available to all, but I found this one     that.
     It should be obvious to everyone that when you violate        texting while driving.                                                Galveston, El Paso, Missouri        of particular merit and worth the time
     one of the fundamental principles associated with the re-                                                                           City and Stephenville have          to review:
     sponsibility of driving, serious issues are going to arise.     We would like to believe that this is primarily a teen              enacted local distracted driving    watch?v=DebhWD6ljZs.
     The fundamental principle of which I speak is driving         issue and teens are where we need to focus our aware-                 laws.
     rule #1: Keep your eyes on the road. How much more            ness and education efforts. Recent studies show that
                                                                                    the facts do not support this. The
                                                                                    assumption that the number of teen-
                                                                                    agers texting while driving is higher,
                                                                                    when compared to adults, was called
                                                                                    into serious question in a study of 2010
                                                                                    driving statistics compiled by Pew Re-
                                                                                    search Center. That study showed that
                                                                                    47 percent of the adults resort to texting
                                                                                    while driving as compared to 34 per-
                                                                                    cent of the teenagers. The same study
                                                                                    revealed that 75 percent of the adults
                                                                                    resort to phone conversation while
                                                                                    driving as compared to 52 percent of
                                                                                    the teenagers. These numbers could be
                                                                                    argued on many fronts, but the simple
                                                                                    truth is that the issue is not solely with
                                                                                    our teen drivers.

                                                                                       Currently there is no national regula-
                                                                                    tion that governs the use of cell phones
26                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  27
Texas PTA On Funding
Texas PTA urges lawmakers to consider ALL available funding sources, in-
cluding but not limited to the Rainy Day Fund, in order to maintain adequate
funding, including enrollment growth, for public schools. Adequate funding
for public schools must be assured for the long term -- not just today in this             The Voice
                                                                                            Spring 2011 • Vol. 102, No. 2
emergency, and not just from emergency resources like the Rainy Day Fund.
We must pursue an adequate and equitable solution for school funding while                    408 West 11th Street
                                                                                            Austin, Texas 78701-2113
maintaining our duty to educate the whole child.                                 •
                                                                                 Texas PTA Board of Directors:
Texas PTA is hosting a “Fund Texas’ Future” email event on March 2, 2011.        President - Sharon Goldblatt
For details on how to get involved, visit   First Vice President - Karen Slay
                                                                                 Second Vice President - Leslie Boggs
                                                                                 Secretary - Karen Martin

   Today’s family is online...
                                                                                 Treasurer - Lisa Holbrook
                                                                                 Historian - Christopher Salerno, Ed.D.

                                                                                 Region Vice Presidents:
                                                                                 Kerry Bowdry, Region I
                                                                                 Tonita Franklin, Region II
                                                                                 Kari Blocher, Region III
                                                                                 Larriann Curtis, Region IV

                                                                                 Chris Zimmer, Region V
                                                                                 Lois Buford, Region VI
                                                                                 Terri Bieber, Arts in Education Chair

    your PTA be                                                                  Lois Pearson, Board Development Chair
                                                                                 Chris Lloyd, Councils Chair
                                                                                 Lindsay Satterwhite-Preston, Environmental Chair
                                                                                 Carey Dabney, Healthy Lifestyles Chair

    there too?                                                                   Elizabeth Campbell, J.D., Inclusiveness Chair
                                                                                 Renee Walker, Leadership Chair
                                                                                 Leah Filzow-Perez, Legislative Action Chair
                                                                                 Kris Vaughn, Membership Chair
                                                                                 Heather Ashwell-Hair, Parent Education Program-
                                                                                 ming Chair
                                                                                 Scott Brown, Youth Protection Chair

                                                                                 Steve Adjemian
                                                                                 Bessie Wise-Coleman                                                   Virginia Randal
                                                                                 Karen Schultz
                                                                                 Cindy Smith

                                                                                 Executive Director - Kyle Ward, CAE

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