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.

President’s Corner

Greetings,

With Thanksgiving behind us I hope you all had a chance to share some family time and are able to plan for the upcoming Holidays, which are right around the corner.  Even though we all would like to take a time out, there are many things happening across the state that I would like to share with you.

As you know we have been heavily involved with the ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act replacement for NCLB no child left behind). I have asked for parents to provide comments and feedback of the good, bad, and things they would like to see different at isbe.net/ESSA. We have a new deadline for comments, which is Dec 27th, 2016.

What I am very proud of is the work and collaboration between agencies that has taken place. Both the State Board Of Ed and the Governor’s office have been very open and inviting to all stakeholders across the state for their comment and suggestions. Instead of working in the typical silos we are all working together.

However, with that said THIS is our opportunity as parents to establish the next 10 years of our children’s future and get it right. Our voices are important! Your feedback is critical!! Let’s ensure we have been heard because our children deserve a better future and outcome.

I also want to highlight that legislatively enacted was a commission called IBAM (Illinois Balanced Accountability Measure). Their charge is to ensure there is a good accountability system in place throughout the state’s education system. We have been working very hard and the draft of the quality framework can be found also on ISBE’s site at http://isbe.net/BAMC/default.htm  Standard 6 is Family and Community Engagement which is where we are currently reviewing and making recommendations.

We also have been working on strengthening partnership throughout the state with like-minded agencies. I want to share what the Chicago Public Libraries are doing and if you don’t have something similar in your area maybe we can have those discussions on how to share resources to get these examples around the state instead of re-inventing the wheel.

CPL’s Winter Learning Challenge is coming up shortly and it would be a great program to highlight!

This winter break, Chicago Public Library is excited to present the 2016-2017 Winter Learning Challenge: Mix it Up!  From December 19 through January 9, children are encouraged to explore chemistry as they read, discover and create. Children can visit chipublib.org/mixitup to find book suggestions special programs and hands-on activities that explore chemistry and the properties of matter. From creating slime to making bubble solution to cooking with an adult, children will get their hands dirty as they learn about the world around them. Log sheets in English and Spanish are available on the website. In order to complete the challenge, children need to read for at 20 minutes a day for at least 5 days and draw or write about an activity they did. Completed logs can be brought to a neighborhood library by January 17 for a special prize.

We all know reading and expanding opportunites is crucial to our children’s success. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to offer something like this to ALL the children across the state?

Hopefully you are also on our Advocacy list and have received our communication on our Call to Action. Lead in the water SB 550, need of passing a budget that is comprehensive and fully funded for our Illinois families and children, as well as, energy drinks not being sold to minors HB 5726 are key issues in our state.

Some PTA’s have an environmental committee and to those chairs I would like to share my experience at Standing Rock in North Dakota. It was a humbling experience to see, hear, and witness a different culture and way of life. You can reach me at mrodriguez@illinoispta.org for more details if you would like.

Have a blessed, happy, safe, and healthy holiday season.

Here to serve,

Matthew John Rodriguez

IL PTA President

 

 

 

President’s Corner

Greetings,
First and foremost, I wanted to make sure I wish all of you a happy and safe Thanksgiving. This is a time where I feel reflection is really important. Reflection on our country’s history, on our elders, past generation’s challenges, and what their triumphs were. Together we make a better future for our families and children. Let’s keep up the great work! A very sincere THANK YOU to each of you for all the hard work you do every day on behalf of children and families.

Second, I would like to share with you a statement put out by National PTA regarding the next administration just in case you didn’t receive it. This is a document from the National PTA outlining the process to be used in transitioning from the current administration to the in-coming administration.

It is vital to remember that our positions and priorities are based on the adopted Legislation Platform of the Illinois PTA, along with the legislative positions established by the National PTA. Our positions and priorities are not dependent upon who is in office, but in our approach to working with those in office. Our priorities at the state level include, but are not limited to:

  • adoption of an adequate, equitable and sustainable budget that provides for the needs of the most vulnerable citizens of Illinois;
  • passage of SB550 which requires the Dept. of Public Health to adopt rules for identification of and testing of representative samples of potable water sources in all public schools where a health hazard has been identified, and provide for replace of such service lines by the end of 2019;
  • passage of HB5726 which would make the provision of energy drinks to anyone under the age of 18 unlawful. This is based on the amount of caffeine found in said drinks, and correlates to the adoption of the Powdered Caffeine Act.

As you can see from the corresponding document, National PTA has outlined its continuing priorities, and plans to work with the President-Elects “transition team” to keep those priorities at the forefront of our work to make every child’s potential a reality.

Here to serve,
MJR

President’s Corner

Greetings,

I hope all of you were able to join us in Decatur, IL at Millikin University last Saturday for our 3rd Spotlight event. For those who couldn’t we had over 350 families registered for the amazing celebration of the arts. Not only is it a chance to celebrate all of the creativity expressed by our children across the state, but also it provides an opportunity to learn different art techniques led by the Milliken University students. Families were able to share the learning experience, get ideas for home projects, and see their children celebrated. Hope to see you at next year’s celebration with the theme of “what’s your story”

I also wanted to let you know that I presented on behalf of Illinois PTA in Anchorage, Alaska last Friday. Definitely would have earned frequent flier miles. The presentation was on “Engaging Hispanic Families.” We really had a great discussion on diversity in general and cultural competency. It was an honor to meet some of the members from Alaska and discuss their challenges and successes.

As we gather the resources for your next upcoming LUP (Local Unit Packet), please send any suggestions you think would be helpful to info@illinoispta.org. I want to make sure every unit gets off to a great start and with SO many resources available for every level of expertise the feedback would be helpful.

Finally I want to note that we will be presenting and exhibiting at the ISBE Statewide Bilingual Conference on May 7th. Armen Alvarez from NPTA will present in Spanish and I will do the English session on building upon leadership skills, titled BPAC to PTA Team Leadership Transition.

Please sign up here for next steps.