Florida PTA     1747 Orlando Central Parkway     Orlando, Florida     32809     407-855-7604     800-373-5782
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This time last year, I was packing my bags for National PTA Convention in Las Vegas. I can remember the anticipation, the anxiety and the excitement. Is it odd that I feel none of those this year? While I'm honored to be a presenter in two workshops and to walk across the stage representing our great state, I feel...well, honestly, I feel stressed. I'd rather be working on OUR convention, focusing on OUR delegates and finalizing the details of OUR workshops. I've been to New Orleans hundreds of times, unlike Las Vegas which was a first. I keep trying to figure out what can possibly get me excited this time.

While these thoughts are swirling around my head, it hits me, just like a bolt of lightning. Is this how some folks feel about OUR Leadership Convention? Do they wish they could just focus on their local and county trainings? Do they dread the packing and the time away from families, just to attend another convention with the same workshops, different faces? Holy Revelation, Batman! Have I start thinking like a "one and done"?!

So, I slapped myself in the back of the head (that's an NCIS reference, ya'll) and told myself to recall all of the fantastic memories that each and every convention has created for me. Deep down, I know that no matter how much I dread the drive, the moment I pull in and recognize a familiar face, I'm all in. Once I make it to the registration desk and see the line of folks, chattering about who's here, who's teaching, what's going on after hours, I'm ready to jump in with both feet and get my name badge swag on! While the "getting there" may be an effort, the "being there" will fit like a warm pair of slippers. And speaking of fitting, my slippers are the only thing that still fits this year...just saying.

So, if you are on the fence about coming to OUR Leadership Convention next month, just because you've been there and done that, why don't you give yourself a big slap on the back of the head and remember what a great time you had last time! I give you my word that if you just make the effort to get there, you won't regret one single minute!

See you in a few weeks!!!!!

Cindy Gerhardt
Do You Know A Hero?
Do you know someone in your school or county that has been a hero to their community?  Have they given of their time to help provide food, clothing or shelter to those in need?  Do they reach beyond the walls of the school and look for ways that they can give back? 

If the answer is YES, please send me their story!  I'd like to recognize a few of our HEROES during this year's Leadership Convention.  Feel free to include pics!  

If you submit their information as a surprise to them, please let me know that in your email.  I look forward to reading some incredible stories!!

Need to reserve your hotel accommodations?  Call the resort directly at 855-778-4018 and ask for the  special Florida PTA rate!

If you have registered but have decided you'd like to attend a ticketed event (Awards lunch, Diversity & Inclusion breakfast, boxed lunch, and/or PTA's Got Talent), register again and use the code "ADDMEAL18".

Did you say Scavenger Hunt?

 Voting Delegates for Leadership Convention
Procedure: Voting Delegates at Leadership Convention 2018
As this is an election year at Leadership Convention, all attendees (including voting delegates) must bring a valid ID to register at Leadership Convention 2018.
Per the Florida PTA Bylaws, voting delegates are elected by the general membership or Board of Directors. Please refer to the Florida PTA Bylaws, Article XVI: State Convention, Section 3 (set out below).
FLORIDA PTA BYLAWS: Article XVI: State Convention
Section 3. Each local association that has forwarded its individual membership dues as shown on the books in the state office as of May 1, shall be entitled to be represented at the annual convention by its president or an alternate officer, and one delegate or alternate, plus one delegate or alternate for each one hundred members or major fraction thereof. Newly charted and reinstated PTAs which have come into membership with the Florida PTA after May 1, shall be entitled to the same ratio of representation as other PTA units. These voting delegates and their alternates shall be elected in an open meeting or at a meeting of the executive board and shall have been members in the unit for at least thirty days prior to the time of their election.
Each county council shall be entitled to be represented at the convention and region meetings by its president or an alternate officer and one additional delegate or alternate for each ten local units or major fraction thereof in council membership, the delegates and alternates to be elected by the executive board or in open session.
According to the above-referenced Bylaws requirement, Florida PTA cannot make changes to voting delegate status at Leadership Convention, without presenting signed meeting minutes from the local unit (or County Council) PTA.
If you have any questions, please contact Jean Hovey ( executive.director@floridapta.org) or 407/855-7604, ext. 301.

Wow...that is a wrap!  It is hard to believe how fast this year went by let alone the past two years. These past two years have been amazing! I am thankful I had the opportunity to visit and participate in 13 of our PTA counties. Keep it up guys, you are doing great! It was awesome to see firsthand the many programs and events our county councils and local units are doing for our schools and communities. You all truly are heroes for ALL children!

Speaking of time, remember to take the time and look back on your year to reflect on all the awesome programs and events your PTA had.  Keep in mind, it is also important to reflect on what did not work so we can regroup, redevelop and reengage next year.  Now that school is over we find ourselves thinking, "Okay school is out time to relax"...not so fast fellow PTA leaders!  Summer is typically the busiest time for PTA's as the board turnover process begins, new school year calendar prep, financial reviews, new school year budget prep, Leadership Convention, plus let's throw in the fact that most of us work and have our families to think of...yikes!  We understand that this can sometimes seem overwhelming; we cannot stress moderation enough.  Remember, yes, all those things need to happen, but at a pace that is comfortable for you and your board.  There are many local units that attend the Leadership Convention and work on these items at the same time, but hey, if that doesn't work for you, that's okay.  PTA is not "one size fits all".  We must reflect our communities and their needs but also maintain a proper work/life balance.  I know it's easier said than done because our passion for this great association drives us.  Even though the passion is burning, take the time to relax and enjoy the ride.  It is not all about the quickest to finish; it is about the journey along the way.  Enjoy the journey my friends as the rewards are priceless. 

Jen Martinez
Vice President of Leadership Development
From the Leadership Development Commission

  • Leadership Learning Moments Videos 1-7 now available. You will also see these in the National PTA Back to School Kit!
  • Follow our students on Twitter, @flpta_student
  • Remember to post all of your Day of Service photos using the hashtag #LETTHEMSEEUS
  • School of Excellence enrollment is now OPEN at https://www.pta.org/home/programs/National-PTA-School-of-Excellence
  •  Leadership Convention July 12-15, 2018, REGISTER NOW!
 School of Excellence

There are two types of PTA folks: those who know what School of Excellence is, and those who don't. Okay, there are some others, but you see where I'm going here. No matter which group you fall into, unless you've gone through the School of Excellence process, you may not be familiar with all it has to offer, and how you can strut your PTA stuff with this National PTA designation! I'll let you in on a little secret, Florida PTA local units have led the nation over the last several years in School of Excellence designations. We need you to keep the streak going!

Health & Wellness - Cancer Survivor Month

My name is Madison and I'm a cancer survivor.   Cancer is a true life-threatening illness that greatly affects children's lives. Although I was given the chance to live, many kids are not. As a survivor you realize all that you have been through and the great obstacles that you have overcome. Cancer is a tough disease to beat and is extremely harmful to the body. The side affects are also dangerous later on. Cancer survivors want to step up and help the kids that are going through treatment because they have already experienced chemotherapy in order to be where they are. You meet people that you can relate to and you can help them through things because you have been there. All the love and support from family and friends helps you make it through the intense treatment. I have been off of treatment now for 6 years and am a healthy 14 year old. I enjoy many sports especially competing in national competitions for synchronized swimming. I believe staying fit and healthy plays a factor in preventing any further illnesses.
Madison Cavanaugh 14 years old
Survivor of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia
Diagnosed 9/2008 and finished treatment 11/2010.

Health & Wellness Grants

This year your FL PTA Health & Wellness Committee was able to award nine $100 grants. The recipients of the grants used the funds to either enhance or start some type of health and wellness activity. Some of the activities included a countywide Health & Safety Fair, a morning walking club, a kindergarten water day, and a garden club. One school started a Fitness Club and saw their absenteeism rate go down over 30%!! It's not hard to start some type of health & wellness activity in your school. You can partner up with your PE Department to start a before or after school walking club. Even 20-30 minutes of extra physical activity will make a difference and walking clubs need little to no money to start. Please consider adding a Health & Wellness line to your budget this coming school year.

Debbie Sawa-Szostak
Florida PTA Health & Wellness Chair
 Apply for a Reflections Grant - Deadline is June 30th
For 50 years, the National PTA Reflections arts program has helped millions of students explore their own thoughts, feelings and ideas, develop artistic literacy, increase confidence and find a love for learning that will help them become more successful in school and in life.

The program's golden year vision is to inspire all students and their families to participate in educational activities and celebratory events. In honor of the program's milestone and respect to its purpose and vision, National PTA challenges all PTAs to spark creativity and learning fun by hosting Reflections educational activities for all students to participate in and learn through the arts.

Tell us your plans on how you will deliver Reflections educational activities to all children at your school  and be considered for a National PTA Reflections Grant! National PTA will honor the commitment of two applicants for their projects that will aim to increase access to high quality arts learning and increase participation in PTA Reflections. 2018 Reflections Grants provide your PTA the opportunity to match National PTA's Mary Lou Anderson Endowment dollars with that of school and community partners to accomplish arts education projects.

 Rapids Water Park!

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