Every winter, when the General Assembly convenes, PTA officers and members from across the Commonwealth come together to talk with legislators about the challenges that face our schools. 

This year, we are taking Virginia PTA Capitol Day virtual!

We invite you (and PTA members from your school community) to join us for a four-part series of Advocacy Learning Lab webinars to learn the basics of advocacy and get familiar with Virginia PTA's priorities.

Then, #TakeAction4Kids by sharing the challenges and successes you see in your school during a #ConstituentConnection virtual meeting with your legislator or by sharing posts on social media and joining our #VirtualRally on January 14th.


WHY ADVOCACY INSTEAD OF FUNDRAISING?
When we raise money, we are supporting only our own school. But, when we raise our voices and instead ask legislators for funding that prioritizes education, we can raise the bar for every student across Virginia.

Let's break down some facts about education in Virginia and why your voice is important;

Prior to the pandemic, Virginia ranked 41st in the nation for per pupil state spending and 33rd for early childhood education. Fourteen percent of K-12 students in Virginia don't have broadband access at home and twelve percent of Virginia's K-12 students don't have a computer at home. Sixty percent of Virginia's schools are more than forty years old and do not meet modern health and safety standards. The General Assembly has under-funded staffing recommendations made by the Virginia Board of Education for the past decade. The resulting over-reliance on local real-estate taxes has widened opportunity gaps across our state and resulted in staffing standards that allow for part-time principals, deteriorated buildings, varying degrees of technology, no registered nurses and case-loads that exceed the national standard for school counselors, psychologists and social workers.

Take a look at your budget for this year and ask yourself two challenge questions:
  1. Are we trying to raise money for something the school division should provide?
  2. Does the fact that we are paying for it create inequity with other schools?

As school divisions work to provide safe in-person instruction and high-quality distance learning, we know that long standing funding and staffing inequities must be addressed at the state level to protect the health of our students and ensure a quality education! 

AT NO OTHER TIME IN RECENT HISTORY HAS OUR VOICE BEEN SO NEEDED!

Virginia PTA is setting up meetings with legislators, preparing talking points for you and identifying bills that align with our approved resolutions and priorities. We need your voice and your stories!

LET'S RAISE THE BAR TOGETHER!

REGISTER BELOW!
 
ADVOCACY LEARNING LAB WEBINARS
Part 1: Building an Advocacy Climate in Your School
(Thurs. Jan. 7th, 7:00-8:30 pm)
Re-connect with our PTA mission and include advocacy in your PTA work. We will talk about balancing fundraising with advocacy and how to build family engagement and programs that lift-up issues that are important to your community. We will also talk about how to use resolutions and position statements to elevate issues with your school board and legislators, and ways to build community awareness through grass roots and digital advocacy.  REGISTER HERE
Part 2:
General Assembly Preview
(Tues. Jan. 12th, 7:00 - 8:30 pm)
Join us to take a deep look at the basics of education funding, Virginia PTA's legislative priorities and the staffing and equity funding recommended by the Virginia Board of Education. We'll also talk about how the General Assembly works, how to follow the action, contact your legislators, and amplify our priorities. REGISTER HERE
Part 3:
Testing: Measuring Student Growth and School Success
(Thurs. January 21st, 7:00 - 8:00pm)
Join the Virginia Department of Education and Virginia PTA for this special webinar that will help parents understand state and federal testing requirements, the indicators used to accredit schools and what to expect if your school doesn't meet the standards. We will also explore the impact of COVID -19 on school accreditation and changes the Virginia Board of Education is considering as part of the standard revision process.  
VDOE Presenters:  Shelley Loving-Ryder, Assistant Superintendent, Department of Student Assessment, Accountability, and ESEA & Julie Molique, Director, Office of Accountability
Part 4:
General Assembly Wrap-Up and Bringing Advocacy Home
(Thurs. Feb 25th, 7:00 - 8:00pm)
Join us to get an update on what happened in this General Assembly Session, how you can maintain a relationship with your legislator and ways that you can bring new legislation and ideas back to your community to enact change through your local school board.
CONSTITUENT CONNECTIONS
Share Your Story. Ask your legislator to fundraise for your school!
Register to participate in a town hall style discussion with your state delegate and senator.

Dates and times will be based on legislator availability between January 18th and February 5th.

These will be an open conversations to amplify our Virginia PTA priorities, share your personal stories and the challenges or opportunities your school faces to help your legislator #TakeAction4Kids

Your District Advocacy Chair will contact registered attendees in mid January with detailed information about how to participate in the meetings with your legislator. If you live in an area without a District Director, then a member of the Virginia PTA Advocacy Committee will schedule meetings with your representatives and support your Constituent Connection meeting. 
#VIRTUALRALLY
Raise the bar! Join the rally!
  • Post a picture or a 10 second video sharing a top priority for you or your school PTA.

  • Tag a PTA and two friends.

  • Tag your legislators.

  • Share a post!
CALL FOR RESOLUTIONS
Do you know of a situation or concern which affects children and youth and requires a statewide solution? 

Virginia PTA encourages you to elevate your research and your proposed action, opinion or needed solution by submitting a resolution for consideration by Virginia PTA's General Membership at our Annual Meeting on March 20th.  

SUBMISSIONS DUE:
January 11, 2020


AWARD A CHILD ADVOCATE OF THE YEAR!
Do you know someone who has made a significant positive impact for children or a school community through their advocacy efforts? 

Virginia PTA wants to shine a spotlight on their work and inspire others to take action for students.

NOMINATIONS DUE:
FEBRUARY 11, 2020

Questions? Contact Jenna Alexander, Vice President of Advocacy (Advocacy@vapta.org)