November 30, 2018 
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  December is the Month to Remember Those Who Help Build Our Foundation.....  

Alumni/community members are the foundation and backbone of units. The December membership contest is geared to revisit those we may have forgotten to extend membership opportunities to.

Consider presenting a past member with a 'thank you' honorary membership. The unit pays the $4.00 fee on the recipient's behalf, and presents them with a token of their appreciation. Minimal cost that leaves a lasting impression!

To help promote the December membership contest, we are asking each unit to expand their membership by 5 alumni/community members and ask, "Who will be our special alumni/community 5 members?"

*Alumni/Community Members Award contest rules: Register and pay dues for alumni/community members representing at least 15% of your total membership by December 31. Your school building parents, teachers/staff and students DO NOT QUALIFY for this award. Alumni/community members come from those outside of your school building, although they may or may not belong to other school PTAs. Give the Gift of Membership!

*Enter & Identify members with the "Community Member" selection.

  Thank You! Thank Our Teachers!  

During this holiday season, NYS PTA gives special thanks to our amazing teachers, educators and school-related professionals who support, teach and care for our children!

So on #GivingTuesday this week, we asked you to support our teachers!

Our Giving Tuesday donations will be used to fund a new initiative, The "T" in PTA Matters.

This new initiative will fund multiple $100 classroom grants for our great educators in this school year!

If you haven't already donated to this new initiative, you can still help us help our great teachers. It's not too late to make a #GivingTuesday donation HERE. You can donate a suggested amount or any amount you like.

You can also donate to our Annual Giving campaign, which supports all NYS PTA programs and scholarships.

Last, if you are shopping online, you can use our NYS PTA Amazon Smile link to help support NYS PTA programs and scholarships.

  Report from the 2018 Annual New York State PTA Convention  

I have the greatest life in the world. I would not trade it for any other. I am a teacher. I spend my days working with kids. This year I have lived the honor of being the 2018 New York State Teacher of the Year. It has been an incredibly unique opportunity to go all over the country to meet extraordinary people, learn, present, represent our profession, and grow as a person and as an educator.

On September 12, 2017, I was named in Albany. A week later, the Brockport Board of Education recognized me. Many current and former students came along with friends, fellow teachers and members of the community. Who put together the most wonderful reception in our cafeteria for this event? The Brockport PTA did. It made me feel special and loved. When people in a hometown do something like this, it creates joy and unity. Six weeks later, I was honored when the Genesee Valley PTSA asked me to join them at their annual dinner. I am a teacher, not a presenter, and at that time, I was still learning. However, I felt the kindness and interest that PTA always has. A year later, it meant the world to me to present in Saratoga at the 2018 NYS PTA Convention. That was just a few weeks back.

This year's New York State PTA Convention was wonderful. However, for me, it was also special. As I delivered the keynote speech, I recognized two faces that stood out in the crowd. They were not PTA members, but rather they were two Brockport Students (from where I teach): Maddie Cherwonik and Victoria Lesniak. Though I love parents and the PTA, I have devoted my life to our students. Maddie Cherwonik was my 4th grader just a short seven years ago. Seeing them, along with Mrs. Bonisteel, Mrs. Pye and Mrs. Lesniak (all very active supporters of our very own PTA) took a wonderful event and made it a special moment. Add to that, all of the PTA members I had time to attend sessions with, talk to, and swap stories with were kind, excited for school, and truly possessed the essence to a supportive unit with the best interest of students and teachers in mind.

I believe that special moments encapsulate what PTA is all about. A special PTA torch seems to be handed from person to person each year to make a lot of magic come true in our schools. It has happened for decades. I was fortunate to have this event happen on a weekend. It gave me time to talk with many people from around New York about their PTA groups in their towns. The bottom line is, there are a lot of good people in our communities that care deeply for our schools. It was evident in the sessions and conversations I had at the conference. Genesee Valley PTA was well-represented.

For every parent that goes the extra mile by supporting PTA, thank you. You are supporting a unique group that is wonderful for our students and schools.

Your Friend and Supporter,

Christopher Albrecht
4th Grade Teacher, Fred W. Hill School
2018 New York State Teacher of the Year

  Get Ready for Advocacy in 2019  


"Advocate Today for a Better Tomorrow"

February 10-11, 2019 at the Hilton Albany

From the Capital to the Classroom... Be a Part of the Action!

  • Hear from legislators and decision makers to learn how you can be effective and successful in your advocacy efforts.
  • Get the latest information about the state budget and the legislative issues focusing on children and youth.
  • Join us for our annual NYS PTA Lobby Day in the Capital.

Save the Date!

You won't want to miss National PTA's premier advocacy conference this Spring in D.C.!

At this year's National PTA Legislative Conference we will "Take Action for Kids" - because the best advocates are proactive on behalf of kids and families.

We'll hear from Washington D.C. influencers, get face-to-face advocacy training from experts, and get a chance to speak one-on-one with federal policymakers!

Please join us in our nation's capitol, March 12-14, 2019. Early-bird registration is officially open, which means if you register before December 18, you'll save $30! Visit for more information!

  Is There a Leader in You?  

Advocating for our families and making every child's potential a reality takes the passion and dedication of many volunteers.

Leaders at the state level of PTA come from all corners of our state. The legacy of NYS PTA continues to thrive because of the leaders developed from local unit, council and region PTAs, as well as those who bring specific volunteer and/or professional expertise to our advocacy.

Please complete the Letter of Interest form if you might consider contributing your skills to the work of the NYS PTA. It's a short form that indicates your interests and possible areas of involvement on the NYS PTA Governance Team, or perhaps on a different level such as a PTA region board. Leaders at the PTA region and state level are appointed for one year.

We look forward to hearing from you! Thank you for your willingness to share your time and talents!

  Fast-Approaching Student Award Deadlines! Don't Miss Out!  

Do you know a high school senior who dreams of being a teacher and needs a little financial help? Check out the Jenkins Memorial Scholarship for Teacher Education $3,000 scholarship.

For more information about criteria and the application process, click HERE

Scholarship Applications due December 15.

Do you know of a high school junior or senior who is an outstanding humanitarian? Nominate them for the Youth Humanitarian Award ~ In Memory of Stanley Marcus.

Send your nominees to your region director by January 31, 2019.

Click HERE for more information and the application.

Find your Region Director HERE.

  Your Opinions Are Needed  

As parents and caretakers, you have probably heard in the news, from friends, or from your school that mental health and youth suicide is a growing problem in our communities. We write to you in hopes of gathering your thoughts and opinions about your relationship with your school and supporting your child's mental health needs via this survey.

New York State recently passed landmark legislation mandating mental health education in the classroom, making mental health equally as important as physical health. As schools react, build curricula, and evaluate mental health and youth suicide best practices, we would like to hear your feelings, gather your concerns, and record your ideas.

Your feedback will help inform mental health leaders who are working to support schools in New York State.

Please take 20 minutes to complete this 15 question survey.


Your input is needed! Symantec, a long-time Proud National PTA Sponsor, is seeking feedback specifically from the NYS PTA community as important stakeholders directly impacted by the company's corporate social responsibility efforts. Click the link below to see Symantec's Corporate Social Responsibility Report and complete the survey with your reactions.

As a PTA leader/member, please specify the name either of your state, council, or local PTA (as applicable) when asked at the end of the survey. You will *not* be asked to supply any personally identifiable information in the survey.

Thank you for ensuring that the voices of NYS PTA members are heard!


  Nominate Your Favorite PTA Advocate!  

National PTA is now accepting nominations for the 2019 Advocacy Awards! If you know of an outstanding youth or individual PTA advocate, or a local unit or state PTA that has done great advocacy work, nominate them to receive an award for their efforts from National PTA at the 2019 Legislative Conference. You can also nominate yourself!

Award Categories:

  • Shirley Igo Advocate of the Year Award
  • Outstanding Youth Advocate of the Year Award
  • Outstanding Local PTA Advocacy Award
  • Outstanding State PTA Advocacy Award

The deadline to submit a nomination is Friday, December 14.

  School Safety - Solar Gard Launches New S.A.F.E. Web Series  

As part of their corporate school safety initiative, Solar Gard is pleased to announce their brand-new "Safety Awareness For Education (S.A.F.E.)" web series.

The S.A.F.E. initiative is designed to raise national awareness of the causes and effects of school shootings, and the impacts these tragedies have on a community. Solar Gard S.A.F.E. will also educate the public on how strategic safety measures can save lives and make a dramatic difference in the outcomes of violent attacks.

In Episode 1, Salisbury Township Police Officer (Allentown, PA) Kyle Rehatchek shares the following in S.A.F.E.:

  • How local schools are increasing their security.
  • What other measures are available to consider, including window film.
  • The critical nature of identifying and supporting troubled students.
  • The importance of a comprehensive safety plan.

You can watch Episode 2 and subscribe to the series on YouTube HERE.

You can also follow Solar Gard on Facebook to watch the series and get updated information.

  Wellness Calendar  


International AIDS Awareness Month

National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month

Safe Toys and Gifts Month

December 1: World AIDS Day

December 2-8: National Hand Washing Awareness Week

December 2-8: National Influenza Vaccination Week

December 10: Human Rights Day

Find more health and wellness information HERE on the NYS PTA website.

  Parent Update: Ensuring All Students Receive the Opportunities They Deserve  

Dear Parents,

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and were able to spend quality time with your family and friends. Families are important, and as parents, you provide a nurturing foundation for your children to learn. I am thankful for your support as we work to ensure that each child in New York State receives a high-quality education.

Click HERE to read NYS Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia's letter to parents.

  Parent Resources  

Tear down behavior charts! Behavior charts and similar public shaming methods don't teach self-regulation. They harm vulnerable learners. Bonus: listen to a discussion with the author on why behavior charts are at odds with best practices. From ASCD.

Research found something special about language development and handwriting. Kids who practice handwriting do better at reading and spelling. Why? Forming letters by hand while learning sounds activates reading circuits in the brain. From

"I thought she was my friend until I realized she was mean." What do you do with a mean friend? A teen recounts her experience with a friend who turned mean in middle school, plus ideas for kids' friendship breakups. From Your Teen Magazine.

  Follow NYS PTA on Social Media  
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At Action for Healthy Kids, our grassroots effort have reached 30,000 schools and 1.5 million children nationwide. Our success stems from our approach of mobilizing school professionals, parents and communities to work together to promote healthy school foods, improved nutrition education, and comprehensive physical education that directly impact health and learning outcomes.

Most elementary school fundraisers are too much work for not enough profit. At Boosterthon, we provide a hassle-free fundraiser that raises schools a ton of money. And people actually LOVE it.