re·sil·ience /rəˈzilyəns/
noun
1. the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.

Once again our Florida family’s resiliency is being tested, but I am encouraged and amazed by so many early offers of support.  It’s been just a few weeks since our friends in Virginia and the Carolinas were affected by Hurricane Florence and now Florida has just sustained yet another catastrophic storm with Hurricane Michael wreaking devastation across a wide swath of the Panhandle, as well as Alabama, Georgia and the Carolinas. Thousands of Florida families have been traumatized as homes, neighborhoods and communities have been destroyed. Schools in several counties remain closed and are still assessing their facilities. Many schools have been used as emergency shelters and some are so damaged that returning students will be displaced to double sessions in other host schools or to other makeshift facilities. Our hearts and prayers are will all those who have been affected.

PTAs and schools in need of disaster assistance may post requests using the Disaster Recovery Request form on the Florida PTA Resources web page . PTAs and individual donors are able to offer support via our matching service. At no time will personal information be shared. Additional state specific resources may also be accessed through Florida PTA’s Hurricane Recovery webpage. 

Florida PTA will also be applying for support from the National PTA Disaster Relief Fund for Florida’s affected school communities. This fund was established by National PTA to help with disaster assistance and respond to tragedies that disrupt schools and learning. National PTA also offers resources to help families and educators have conversations with children to help them deal with the fear, confusion, sadness and anger they may feel after incidents like Hurricane Michael. These resources and other tips are available at PTA.org .

We urge everyone to utilize and share these resources and donate via the Florida PTA Disaster Recovery matching program or via the National PTA Disaster Relief Fund to support the recovery of those PTAs and schools most affected by this tragedy. There is no question that our members’ enormous hearts embrace and understand that “ALL Children are OUR Children”.  Thank you for all you do.

  “To fight for change tomorrow, we need to build resilience today.” 
Sheryl Sandberg

Linda Kearschner
Florida PTA | President
Greetings from the Leadership Development Commission! The primary goal of our commission is to provide personal and professional leadership development opportunities for all members and potential members of Florida PTA. With that goal in mind, this month we're introducing a new feature, our Leadership Spotlight series. Each “spotlight” will feature a self-written interview which outlines a personal leadership journey. You might recognize a few of the leaders that are featured, but many will be new to you. Since no two leadership journeys are the same, each segment will provide you with insights on how to reach the next level on your leadership journey. Stay tuned for the roll out of tools designed to assist you in charting your course.

Fiduciary Accountability is EVERY PTA BOD Member’s Responsibility
All PTA BOD members are responsible for financial compliance. As BOD members charged with protecting member interests and the association’s resources, we must all support PTA best practices and be proactive in addressing any financial concerns.


View our Leadership Learning Moment #4:
"Let's Effectively Review A Treasurer's Report"
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Monthly Membership Roundup & Reflections
November's Challenge ... Every other year, November takes on a whole new meaning. Talk of turkey and pumpkin pie gives way to calls for change and partisan disagreements. As members of PTA, no matter what side of the aisle we choose to sit on, there are two things we know with absolute certainty: 1) voting is not just a right, it is a civic duty, and 2) children are a most critical resource, worthy of our focus, our time, and most importantly our voice. To honor this, the November monthly membership challenge will focus on VOTING!

Many of your municipalities have already opened for early voting. Whether you are advocating for local education funding, or just encouraging your community to rock their vote, its time to reward your efforts! This is a 2-part challenge, so pay attention. 

Part 1 - "I voted" selfies! The local unit that submits the most selfies with voters and their "I voted" stickers will win. Make sure you ask permission from your voters, because we will be posting your successes on our social media! Email your pics directly to membership@floridapta.org by November 7th. Make sure to include your name and school in your submission.

Part 2 - Once the voting ends and the dust clears, it's time to start developing relationships with your newly elected officials and building on existing relationships with returning representatives. What better way to show the value and strength of PTA, than by adding these representatives to your membership rolls! Don't forget to take pics with these new members as well; they are a great way to show your community's support for your school.  The local unit who adds the most elected officials to join their PTA will be the winner! Submit your results by December 7th to be considered.

Enter Florida PTA's Monthly Membership Roundup Challenge for your chance at GLORY!

For more information and to enter to win, click here .
The new Reflections information packets and entry forms are now on our website (also available in Spanish!).

Students can enter their artwork under the following categories: Visual Arts, Photography, Dance Choreography, Musical Compostion, and Literature.

Due dates for each county can also be found on our website.

With elections coming up, be sure your PTA is following the guidelines set forth for non-profit organizations. PTA is a non-partisan association.

Congratulations to the following schools for taking on the September Membership Roundup Challenge!

Elementary (a tie!):
Lincoln Elementary - Hillsborough County
Ridgecrest Elementary - Pinellas County
Chaffee Trail Elementary - Duval County

Middle:
No submissions :(

High:
Largo High - Pinellas County

You all are amazing! Keep your eyes peeled for an email from our Membership Chair with info on your prize!
Regions & Councils
Have you ever thought, "How does that PTA do it? How are they able to pull off such great events or get so many volunteers?"  Well, have you ever thought to ask them?

Often, we forget that we are part of a larger family, a larger community. We are all here for the same reason, to help ALL Children. Whether you are at a school that might be struggling or one that is doing well, look beyond your walls to the school down the road or across town. Have you thought about partnering up to put a program on together? PTAs can share resources such as volunteers, talents and yes, sometimes even financial resources. If your goal is to help educate the parents and children in the community about challenges in homework or bullying issues, there is a good chance that is happening in more than one school. The more we work together as a team, as a united front, the greater success we have in moving the needle forward for this generation.
 
If you are interested in helping another school or you need a little assistance, remember that first and foremost your County Council or Region Representative is there to help you. If you are unsure who to contact, check out the Florida PTA website and be sure to follow us on Facebook.

Jessica Summers
VP for Regions and Councils
Sharing a PTA Mission Moment
This PTA Mission Moment is shared by Alachua County Council PTA. Please share your “Mission Moment” successes with us at info@floridapta.org

In Alachua County, our county council collaborated with our School District, Alachua County League of Women Voters, the Education Foundation of Alachua County Public Schools, and the University of Florida Education College Council to host several events during September's Public Schools Awareness Month. The culminating event is a forum featuring the Superintendent and several select District Directors addressing some of the current challenges and needs of our school district. The intended audience is the community at large both inside and outside the school district. This year’s forum provided a picture for how the PTA mission is fulfilled on personal, one-on-one levels and through the fruition of relationships built on the PTA mission.

The Saturday morning of the forum, our ACCPTA Executive Board volunteered to cover the foyer of the auditorium. As we checked attendees in and manned tables, the local unit PTSA President noticed a charter school parent of an ESE child upset and wanting to disrupt the forum. She convinced her to speak with one of our officers outside. When another member of our board realized the parent had a child with ESE needs, we asked our ESE Support Chair to join the conversation. Both board members called in the former ESE director and currently parent liaison who was present. She made an appointment with the parent. All left in tears of joy at a communication break through.

Additionally, a parent showed up at our forum with her high school daughter with auditory sensory challenges. The family had recently immigrated to our country from Central America and was learning English. She had some questions about how to get her daughter therapy and counseling treatment, but the language barrier prevented understanding of these needs. Through our PTA relationships and the director of guidance counselors presenting at the forum, we were able to connect a translator and coordinate a one-on-one with the director.

When we hold these large forums, we all worry about turnout and audience. While those things are important, the mission in action is personal for EVERY child, EVERY family. Both of these parental communications ended in tears of hope that their children’s needs would be met through a better partnership with their school district. For us, it was a picture of the PTA mission in action - all left with hope that their child’s potential will be realized through community built on PTA relationships and mission.
Call for Resolutions - First Drafts due Nov. 15
Awards
You can already apply for Membership Awards and want you to keep in mind all the great program awards you can apply for as well! Visit our website to see which awards are available!

Family Engagement
PTA knows the importance of engaging families and community partners in children’s academic, social, and emotional development at school. Shared responsibility among families, community organizations, and schools is key to effective home-school partnerships. While we know these partnerships are in the best interest of our children, implementing active and effective engagement practices is the challenge. There is no magic formula to engage families and community partners, but there are best practices and strategies.

To begin looking at these strategies, it is important to assess the climate of the school. Are ALL families treated fairly and equally as partners in learning? Are they respected regardless of their background or demographics? Are they greeted with courtesy and professionalism by the entire school staff? Do they feel welcomed at PTA/PTSA events/activities?

Communication between home, school and community is also an important aspect to consider. Two-way communication is essential in building a successful partnership. Making sure that parents and the community stay informed and up to date on happenings within the school is just as important as allowing opportunities for their voices to be heard. It opens the door for positive relationships and developing rapport throughout the entire school year.

Another detail to consider, when looking at engagement practices, is parent self-efficacy. Many parents want to be involved, but simply don’t know how. Providing tips or information through workshops, PTA/PTSA meetings, and newsletters can help remind parents of the little things they can do at home.

Shared decision making, another strategy to engage families, is one of the best ways to promote advocacy efforts to parents. This process allows families to exchange ideas, serve on leadership committees such as PTA/PTSA, and work with the school staff and principal to strengthen programs that benefit ALL students.

Finally, connecting the school with the community to obtain additional resources for students, staff, and parents can enhance learning opportunities and build family friendly communities.

Engaging families and community partners is an essential component for promoting schools of excellence with student success in mind. More information on National PTA’s Standards for Family-School Partnerships can be found at www.pta.org/home/run-your-pta/National-Standards-for-Family-School-Partnerships . Be sure to download the National Standards Implementation Guide for more best practices and strategy tips on family engagement.

Michelle Alfred
Family & Community Engagement Chair
Events
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