President’s Corner

Hello and welcome again,
Don’t forget to #Thankateacher during this Teacher Appreciation Week. They are the lifeline of our children’s learning experience! As we finish up and come to the end of our terms let’s make sure our hand-off goes as smooth as possible. We all should have our books in order and gear towards finalizing our school year. Most schools are ending the first week of June. Please ensure your treasurer has all the receipts and expense forms that need to be addressed. Other things I suggest are the procedure books, instructions, lists and any other pertinent info be given to the next chair or officer coming in. Some units have an old/new board meeting. This is a great way to make sure everyone meets their new teams and start building those communication/relationship blocks.

There are some things that I also want to mention as key news happening in this crazy world of education. As we, along with NPTA, are disappointed in the movement backwards on nutrition standards, I would hope we continue to reduce the amount of children facing obesity in the state of Illinois. Our most vulnerable children facing scarcity in meals are also going to be impacted and I don’t know about you but it breaks my heart to know food is a luxury in the land with the most abundant resources.

Attached you can read the NPTA’s statement

There is quite a bit of concern with the billion-dollar budget cut to education just announced. Yes that is billion with a B! With education never being fully funded and teachers not being paid as much as they should be there is much work to do in our advocacy efforts for our children’s education sake!! While some good things came out of the funding bill such as more funding for Special Education, Title I, Student Support and Academic Enrichment other crucial areas are far from being adequate. We have advocated and are still voicing our support for the Statewide Family Engagement Centers (SFEC’s) to be funded as per the ESSA Plan Title IV Part E. We reached out to Senator Durbin and Senator Duckworth as well as had a follow up conversation with Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi from Illinois District 8 here at home. He again personally stated his support.

Attached you can read the NPTA’s statement

Thank you so much for all that you have done this year,

Matthew John Rodriguez

Illinois PTA President

President’s Corner

It is National Volunteer Appreciation Week I want to take this opportunity to not only Thank You all for taking time away from your families, missing events, etc. but also for committing to this awesome mission of ensuring every child’s potential becomes a reality! I truly appreciate each and every one of you!

With our 115th year convention just passing we have overcome challenges and many obstacles yet still have plenty of work to do. We were honored to have Secretary of Education, Beth Purvis, speak on actions being taken around the state, the ESSA plan finalized, the Children’s Cabinet created to address early learning needs, and the concentration of the Governor’s P-20 Council. We also were blessed to have National PTA board member, Jesus Holguin, with us and he not only did fantastic workshops on Diversity and Multiculturalism as well as Raising Your Voice for Special Needs Students he also installed our newly elected officers. Thank you to our partners AIM, Legoland, Grom Social, sponsors and vendors. I also want to thank all of the volunteers who made our convention EXCEPTIONAL we could not have done it without you! Great job!!

As we move into the end of our legislative session our President Elect, Brian Minsker, has testified to the education committee regarding HB 2808. It is an honor to be sought out for testimony and we will continue to represent you in all of our actions.

Spring is here and I know we are all getting ready to wind down the year. Please do not forget to register your units with your new officers and their information. We want to make sure the right individuals receive all the information we have to share on next year’s resources to ensure a fantastic start.

As one last note do not forget to attend our Spotlight Event on May 13th at Milikin University in Decatur. I promise not only will the children have an awesome time working with the University students you will also be amazed by all of the talented artists that we have around the state.

You are very much appreciated every day!!

Here to serve,

Matthew John Rodriguez

Illinois PTA President

President’s Corner

Maricela Arias-Cantu, Daniel Jackson, Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi, Matthew John Rodriguez, Lisa Garbaty, Vanessa Richardson, and Deb Strauss

We were blessed to meet with quite a few Representatives in the House and both of our Illinois Senator’s offices.

Everyone we met with was SO passionate about kids and families. They were very informative as well as reinforcing that they NEED PTA’s voice to be loud, front, and center, as it has been these 120 years.

HB 899 at the federal level is written to get rid of the Federal Department of Education as of Dec 31, 2018.

HB 610 is written to get rid of the school breakfast and lunch programs, the nutrition requirements (despite Illinois’s 30.6% obesity rate in our kids entering Kindergarten), vouchers, and more.

There are at least 3 bills scaling back on teacher preparation rules. Making it easier for non licensed or appropriately trained teachers to be in charge of our children’s education.

The devastating cuts to Medicaid would lose funding for our school nurses, our aids helping our most vulnerable special needs students, and much more that we do not realize is affected.

Lakeisha Steele, Matthew John Rodriguez, Lisa Garbaty, Deb Strauss, Maricela Arias-Cantu, and Vanessa Richardson

At the state level we are also watching many dangerous bills but one example is HB 443 the voucher bill. (Committee hearing is March 29th at 10am in Springfield) Making it so that the Illinois School Board of Education provide vouchers to fund private and non public schools. Taking away dollars away from already very grossly underfunded public schools. (Note: Families that spend more than $250 a year on non public schools are able to have that expenditure as a tax deduction) in addition to that they are asking to acquire these additional funds from ISBE. What tax incentives do families with public school students get? Right now the bill has 255 opponents and 3 proponents. This is how we can fight. Our voices count!!

I can go on and on but the bottom line is we are under attack and our children and families at the end of the day have everything to lose and nothing to gain.

With our 115th year anniversary underway, I want to tell you we are fighting as fiercely as ever! Sometimes the right thing is not the popular thing but our children and families deserve to be defended and be provided with the best possible future they can have. Our entire team is dedicated to you. You may ask why does your membership matter? The answer is because we all need a champion in our corner to fight when we are down and we all need people around us to fight the good fight even when we are up. Your membership matter because it’s your voice in all these crucial matters that we carry with us at every meeting across the state and country. That’s why it matters. United together we provide a stronger impact. Your voice matters, EVERY voice matters. EVERY CHILD ONE VOICE!!!

Don’t forget to come to our annual convention April 7, 8 at the Hilton in Lisle. Our guest speaker will be The Illinois Secretary of Education, Beth Purvis.

Here to serve,

Matthew John Rodriguez
Illinois PTA President

President’s Corner

As the year continues, I know everyone is really busy with this year’s school activities. The Illinois PTA has worked with the Illinois Fatherhood Initiative for many years and I would like to encourage you to have your children write about their favorite Male role model.

All children from grades K-12 can now enter this awesome yearly contest and express why their father, step-father, uncle, grandfather, father figure, or what their perfect father figure would be. Please share this with all of your units. The date has been extended to March 15th so ACT NOW.

I hope all of you enjoy this contest as much as I do. Attached is the contest rules, entry form and instructions. If you would like to be involved in judging the entries please do not hesitate to let me know at mrodriguez@illinoispta.org subject title: Essay.

I would also like to encourage you not to be discouraged if you have not met your membership numbers yet. Our Membership Director Julie Holdeman, is here to help with ideas, communication, and resources. She will be hosting the free webinar Rejuvenate Your Membership: A Mid-Year Push of 2017! on February 20th at 1pm and 7pm.

Take advantage of the final months of the school year. Winter is a great time to rejuvenate your membership campaign by reaching out to retain past PTA members, board members or staff and to welcome new members to your PTA. One process or attempt to gain members is not effective in retaining or growing your membership. Illinois PTA is happy to offer this webinar with ideas to reach out and welcome new members to your PTA.  This webinar will address:

  • Myths of why people don’t join or have misconceptions about the PTA and how we can reach out to them
  • How to promote your past, current, and future programs, events, resources or services provided.
  • Host a PTA “Refer A Friend” Challenge
  • Host a “Thank PTA” campaign- thru membership
  • And more ideas to try with your PTA.

Learn about how your PTA could be entered to win an IL PTA Membership Incentive.  PTA members are the driving force of our association. Your local unit needs members as leaders, volunteers, & proud supporters. Illinois and National PTA needs every member to build a constituency, giving us influence to advocate for positive legislation for our children. Help our numbers grow so that we can all make an even larger impact for our children and families.