As the year closes, this is a great time to reflect both on what we have accomplished so far and where we are going. In this issue, you will see a small sampling of PTA “Mission Moments” from across the state. There is no doubt that PTA volunteers have hearts that give all year round.

This is especially evident when our members go above and beyond to support and celebrate the season with their school communities. Snowflake decorations, giving trees, musical programs, food pantry drives, classroom festivities – these are just a few of the ways our PTA members are sharing holiday happiness right now.

Yet we know that there are many who feel overwhelmed at this time of the year. Here are a few simple Happiness Habits that “can help us through the turbulence that swirls around the holidays”. 

Please also take some time just for you. We all need to take a few moments to slow down, unplug and unwind. Our PTA world will not come to an end if you take a break every now and then to go “off the grid” for a brief time. In fact, you will probably find that those close to you and those you serve enjoy the benefits of a happier, recharged you!

Thank you for the gift of you. Your dedication, your generosity, your spirit are what make the difference in the lives of ALL of OUR children. 

May your holiday celebrations be filled with all the simple joys of life!
With best wishes,

Linda Kearschner
President, Florida PTA
Leadership Spotlight

Happy Holidays!

Our Leadership Spotlight for this month takes us outside of the great state of Florida and over to Texas for a visit with our National PTA President Elect Leslie Boggs. Leslie's journey will no doubt be an inspiration to many of us who have not traveled a traditional path. Enjoy!

I welcome feedback on the leaders who have been showcased in our spotlight. If you know of a leader whose unique path could inspire others to step forward, send me an email at vp.leadership@floridapta.org .  Wishing you and your families good health, happiness, and joy throughout the holiday season.

Carolyn Nelson-Goedert
Florida PTA VP for Leadership Development
#FPTACultivatingLeaders
Name: Leslie Carrell Boggs
 
Position:  National PTA President Elect
 
1 st PTA Position: Dennis Chavez Elementary PTA Treasurer
 
Most challenging obstacle:  Within each new position lies challenges of communicating effectively what the role’s duties and obligations are and how they impact not only the Board I sat on but with the parents and families our PTA engaged. Then with each position comes the responsibility of engaging those parents and families in understanding what our PTA goals and achievements are and how important it was for us to have/need their voice, their membership, to help empower our PTA to become as strong a voice as it should be within our community, our state. This challenge replicates itself to a certain extent when I went from PTA to PTA throughout my children’s education since each school’s goals and achievements were different and so were the families we engaged.

Mission Moments



We are so proud of all the great things happening around the state!

Advocacy
After many months of candidates, campaign commercials, an election, and a few recounts, all the positions are filled. Now the real work begins. All our legislators have been sworn in, the Senate committees have been set, and the House committee chairs have been announced with the committee member announcements coming shortly. The first committee week is just around the corner with more to come in January and February, before Legislative Session begins March 5, 2019.

The Florida PTA Legislative Committee has been actively working, attending training, following bills as they are filed, and planning for our Legislative Conference. Are you planning on attending LegCon? LegCon is our annual event held in Tallahassee in which attendees learn about the legislative process, review PTA position statements for advocacy, and hear from legislators and other experts on bills Florida PTA is closely monitoring. This year, LegCon will again take place during Children's Week and will begin on Sunday, March 24, 2019 and will continue through Tuesday, March 26, 2019. Mark your calendars and start making your plans NOW to attend! More details will be posted shortly and registration will open after the first of the year. We look forward to seeing you in Tallahassee!

Are you following the work of our Advocacy team? Follow us on Twitter - @FLPTA_Leg for the latest on the work of your Legislative Committee. Want to get in on the conversation? Join our Florida PTA Advocacy group on Facebook! Your Advocacy commission is working hard to advocate for all our children!
Monthly Membership Roundup
December's Challenge ...  

No matter what your family's holiday traditions are, one thing is pretty common, the spirit of giving. There is no group more generous than PTA folks! So, in the spirit of the season, your challenge is to Give the Gift of PTA Membership! This gift is more than a membership card, you are sharing the VALUE of PTA, so be generous! Check out the list below for some ideas to get you started.

  • Are there people who volunteer at your school who aren't members? Maybe they don't realize everything that PTA does, not just on your campus, but for children across the state and country. Gift them a membership, and take the opportunity to share with them how they can transform what they are doing already into a powerful voice for ALL CHILDREN!
  • Sometimes the cost of membership can be a burden and families must prioritize their needs, even when the value of PTA is clear to them. Work with you guidance counselor or social worker to provide memberships to families that want to be engaged, but are experiencing financial hardship. Remember to respect privacy. Ask the staff member to send a letter to families offering them the membership. If they accept, their name can be shared with the membership chair.
  • One of the first challenges a lower-income or Title I school faces when trying to start, or restart, a PTA unit is asking for dues when they are still trying to share the value of PTA with a community that may be unfamiliar. Make their job easier by sponsoring their first 10 members needed for chartering! For only $35, you or your local unit can make a difference in the lives of children you may never meet. You'll make a difference in the PTA leaders' lives too, by allowing them to focus on the mission and values of PTA without the ask. Not sure how to get started? Reach out to your County Council or Region Rep and see if there is a school in your area that could use a hand. Can't find one?  Email membership@floridapta.org, and we'll get you connected!
  • Are their people in your life or your community that are dedicated to making every child's potential a reality? Maybe your neighbor that is a retired teacher, or the grandma that comes in to read to the little kids, or how about your local librarian? Give the gift of membership to that person and acknowledge their contributions to our shared mission. Watch their eyes sparkle like tinsel!
  • Do you sometimes find yourself frustrated trying to explain why someone should join PTA? Give the gift of PTA to a stranger this holiday season, and ask them WHY NOT PTA? Everyone has the power to be an advocate! Don't forget to get their name to add to your rolls!

Have another great idea for Giving the Gift of PTA? Email us at membership@floridapta.org ! We love pictures too!  You might just see your school recognized for your great work!

Don't forget to enter Florida PTA's  Monthly Membership Roundup Challenge  for your chance at GLORY! Entries are due by 1/9/19.
Scholarships
Florida PTA is pleased to offer four (4) non-renewable scholarships to graduating seniors. The four are in the areas of traditional college, community college, fine arts schools, or technical/vocational schools. If you have a graduating senior or run a PTSA in a local high school, please share this information and check our website for the scholarship application and requirements.

Due to an extraordinary fundraising year last year, we will be able to offer additional scholarships based on the criteria above. The Scholarship Committee has also voted and planned for an additional scholarship to be awarded to a student with disabilities (SWD) or a student with a specific learning disability (SLD). The committee will need to verify with the student’s guidance counselor about the IEP or 504 Plans for any applicants. All children are our children and we want to encourage every student’s desire to continue their education.

The application deadline is February 1, 2019 , please share this information and apply online to the Florida PTA website . We look forward to receiving your applications and please feel free to contact the chair, Robin DeVault, at scholarship@floridapta.org.
Learning Moment/Marketing/Health & Wellness
We are very excited to share our new Leadership Learning Moment video, Fiduciary Responsibilities. As a PTA member, we ALL have a fiduciary responsibility. Check out this brief video to learn more. We encourage you to like, comment and share this video with your board members throughout the year. Always remember, we are here for you!

Stay tuned for additional topics and trainings. 
From Health & Wellness

Your Florida PTA Health & Wellness team wishes you a very happy, restful, and enjoyable break. We hope that you take the time to step away from all the electronics that seem to consume our waking moments and just spend some quality, old-fashioned time together.

Attached are some suggestions and guidelines from ASHA (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association), regarding technology use ( please click here).

Happy Holidays everyone!
Let's take a selfie!

How many times have you said or heard that? Social media is so much more than the selfie; it is a way of communicating with your PTA members that is fast, efficient and convenient. Social media gives PTA units a voice; it personalizes the PTA "brand" and helps you to spread your message in a relaxed and conversational way. If you are having trouble keeping your information up-to-date, find a PTA member to tap into and utilize their passion. Teach your volunteers to amplify your messages by hitting “share ”, which sends your message to all their own social profiles and connections widening your circle of influence.

The best tip: be consistent and accurate, and keep your information current. Focus on being a resource, useful and entertaining to your core audience. Use visuals, take pictures and videos and post them to your site and then write or tell the story behind them. When you post, speak/write as if you were speaking to a person one on one or in a small group. Talk normal, be social! Make a sincere effort to become a trusted member and a valuable resource to your community. Now let's go take that selfie!
Awards
Nominate a School Crossing Guard of the Year
Crossing Guards are the unsung heroes of the community working to keep our youngest citizens safe.  Please take a moment to appreciate your guards, nominate a guard, and distribute this information. 

For the 2018  Florida School Crossing   Guard of the Year  award, three (3) outstanding guards will be chosen from across the state from three (3) different agencies.
 
You may nominate as many guards as you feel are deserving and meet the criteria.  Each nominee will still receive a personal letter and special lapel pin sent to them via their supervisor. It will not indicate who nominated them, but expresses gratitude for their outstanding service and lets them know they were nominated for this honor.   
 
You do not have to use the nomination form ( click here for the nomination form ) but you are encouraged to consider the criteria outlined when nominating a guard for consideration.

The deadline to submit a nomination is December 31, 2018 with winners announced February 1, 2019. Nominations may be submitted via the link above, e-mail to  cgadministrator@dot.state.fl.us , via fax at 850-414-4221 or mail/deliver to (Attention: FSCGP) FDOT, Safety Office, 605 Suwannee Street- MS #53, Tallahassee, FL 32399-0450
2019 Leadership Convention
Thank You To Our Sponsors