Thank you for all you are doing to support children and families. With the new school year underway, our local units, councils and state volunteers are already hard at work providing programs and services to our communities. Simultaneously we are looking to recruit and engage new members, expanding our ability to positively impact the education, health, safety and well-being of ALL children. 

As we endeavor to grow our PTA community, it is imperative that we embrace new members and welcome the rich dimensions of diversity, thoughts, and experiences they bring. In doing so we will add vibrancy and strength to our efforts to help every child reach their full potential.

I am so proud of our Florida PTA family that continues to show their strength, resiliency, and generosity by supporting vulnerable children impacted by trauma, as well as everyday circumstances that affect their well-being. We need to continue our efforts to look below the surface and truly understand the challenges faced by the families and students in our school communities every day. Talk to your school and district administrators. Connect with your school’s guidance counselors and school social workers. Reach out to other community partners. Use state and national PTA resources to help guide your journey to transformative family engagement.   Be sure to include the student voice. In every school, in every community, we have an opportunity to build partnerships and take action that can have a real and lasting impact on children.
We look forward to sharing your successes so that our PTA family can learn from your example. Please continue to share your “Mission Moments” by emailing us at 

I hope you enjoy an awesome year!

Linda Kearschner
President, Florida PTA
New E-learning Course
Are you a local PTA leader who wants to learn practical strategies to make your family engagement practices more transformative? National PTA’s  new e-learning course  is designed to help PTAs be role models and advocates for more equitable and effective family engagement practices in their schools. This 25 minute course describes the “four 'i’s” of transformative family engagement - being inclusive, individualized, integrated, and impactful - and gives you examples of what they look like in action.  PTA log-in required .
From Reports to Results
Workshops will be held throughout the state to help you decipher your school, district, and state report cards and the data used to determine the information. Data is an important tool that can and should be used to advocate for our children. For more detailed information on each county's dates, times, and locations, please click here.
Resolutions Information
Legislative Priorities
Please take a look at Florida PTA's Legislative Priorities Brochure . This brochure will give you a clear picture of where Florida PTA stands on issues affecting children. Please be sure to share with your membership! Visit our website for more information.
Treasurer Notes
Welcome to the new school year from your Florida PTA Treasurer Karen Mazzola!  Thank you for your participation at Innisbrook! With over 1,000 leaders in attendance it in no way encompasses all our PTA/PTSAs so please contact me, your county council leadership, or region representative if you need assistance. It has been my goal to empower the leadership closest to you and for all to remember to use your resources.  There are 14 County Councils and 7 Florida PTA Region Representatives around the State to serve you. Each are designated to a particular geographical area. They should be your first and are your closest link to assistance!

We can also make ourselves available to conduct trainings at your local unit, for your whole PTA or in your county. All requests must be approved but please email me at and I will assist with coordination of requests. Have a wonderful year!

As long as your officers have been registered with FLPTA, you should have received your Kit of Materials. If you need to me send the PowerPoint presentations from Leadership Convention, let me know.

For Treasurer "Did You Know" questions and answers, please click here .
Leadership Development Commission
Greetings PTA family!!!

Thank you, thank you, thank you for investing in your personal and professional growth and development by attending the 2019 Florida PTA Leadership Convention!

It was a pleasure to meet and connect with many of you and to see you engaged, networking, and enjoying the many opportunities that our event afforded each of our participants. I am hopeful that you found workshops or roundtables that solidified your reason for being in attendance. I also hope that you recognize the need to continuously participate in trainings that expose you to new/updated information on your PTA roles, keep you relevant on PTA issues, and provide you with space to further development as a nonprofit leader.

We’ve already begun working on the 2020 Leadership Convention and I welcome your ideas and suggestions on how we can make it the best experience for you. Feel free to drop me a line or two, at , on how you envision an awesome gathering of like-minded bodacious leaders who are intent on making a difference for our children.
Our Leadership Spotlight series will resume in the next edition of our newsletter. Keep an eye out for an inspirational article that will no doubt encourage and enlighten your own leadership journey.

May the 2019 – 2020 school year be the best one yet for you and your family.

Carolyn Nelson-Goedert
Vice President of Leadership Development
Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion
Who are we?

According to the National Center for Education Statistics , public elementary and secondary school enrollment increased from 47.2 million to 50.4 million between fall 2000 and fall 2015 and is projected to continue increasing to 52.1 million in fall 2027. Additionally, the racial/ethnic distributions of students in public schools have been shifting. While many may limit their diversity focus to race/ethnicity, there are additional aspects of diversity that should be considered in relation to the needs of our students and families. The whole child concept dictates that we look at other aspects of diversity such as culture, disability, religious or spiritual beliefs, gender, socioeconomic status, generational, and the often-overlooked family structure.

Let’s consider for a moment how a diverse family structure and/or living arrangements could potentially impact the PTA/PTSA at your school. How many of your families are living in homes with both parents, single parent (divorced or never-married), foster parent(s) (or state as legal guardian), adoptive parent(s), blended (biological parent and another parent figure to whom s/he may or may not be married), unmarried biological parents, LGBTQ parent(s) or non-parent relative(s) such as guardian(s) (grandparent, aunt, etc.), or that may even homeless? How do these areas affect the at home learning environment of our students? Is there an impact on the student’s readiness for learning in the classroom? This extended look could reveal additional areas of stress that impact our members. This is a great opportunity for your local unit to provide programs or services to assist families in need. Knowing who we are could also go a long way toward growing your membership.

Gamal Mack
Florida PTA Diversity, Equity, Inclusion Chairman
Family & Community Engagement
“If you want to bring fundamental change in people’s beliefs and behavior, you need to create a community around them, where those new beliefs can be practiced, expressed and nurtured.” – Malcom Gladwell

Thank you for joining our team at the Florida PTA Leadership Convention. Attendance at our various workshops and meetups was a clear indication that Family and Community Engagement continues to be a driving force in the mission of PTA. We are looking forward to a wonderful year with our local units, Regions, and County Councils.

Whether you celebrate any of the activities listed below or would like to learn something new, we wanted to share information from our diversity calendar. Feel free to send us other important dates by sending an email to . We’ll use your information to educate others in future newsletters. 

September 12:  Ethiopian New Year. Rastafarians celebrate the New Year on this date and believe that Ethiopia is their spiritual home.
September 14:  Elevation of the Life Giving Cross (Holy Cross), a day that commemorates the cross used in the Crucifixion of Jesus in some Christian denominations.
September 27:  Meskel, religious holiday in the Ethiopian Orthodox and Eritrean Orthodox churches that commemorates the discovery of the True Cross by the Roman Empress, Helena, in the fourth century.
September 28:  Teacher’s Day in Taiwan. This day is used to honor teachers’ contributions to their students and to society in general. People often express their gratitude to their teachers by paying them a visit or sending them a card. This date was chosen to commemorate the birth of Confucius, the model master educator in ancient China.
September 29:  Michaelmas, or the Feast of Michael and All Angels, is a minor Christian festival dedicated to Archangel Michael that is observed in some Western liturgical calendars.
September 29-October 1 (sundown to sundown):  Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year celebration, marking the creation of the world.

Family and Community Engagement Committee 
Leadership Convention Management
It was great to see many familiar faces and so many new faces at our Florida PTA Leadership Convention in July. Our team of fabulous volunteers was excited to share so many new workshops appealing to our diverse audience of members and leaders from around our state! Whether you attended a class specific to your PTA role such as PTA Board Fiduciary Responsibilities, or sessions to broaden your own knowledge (i.e. School Choice- Current Options & Future Trends, Making Sense of Standards, Curriculum & Assessments ) or attended a session with a goal of starting or strengthening a program at your school (i.e. Hosting a Resource Fair, Running a School Store, Grant Writing or STEM + Families) , we hope you found them to be of value. We also hope you partook in a few of the personal professional development sessions as well, be it Identifying & Coping With Stress – The Importance of Self Care, Byte Sized, How to Build a Website, or Quick & Nutritious just to name a few. Just like you, your parents and teachers may appreciate it if your PTA had sessions or presentations on a diverse array of topics – something to help them or their family personally might entice them to attend. All workshop presentations can still be found on the app if you want to share with your local unit members.

It was great to have so many special guest presenters sharing their knowledge and information this year on topics such as Florida School Food Recovery Initiatives, Social Emotional Learning, School to Prison Pipeline, English Language Learner Advocacy, Leading with Inclusion and End Family Fire (responsible gun ownership).

Hopefully your PTA members that attended Leadership Convention are now sharing the resources they picked up from the exhibitor booths and at the special Resource Fair; and talking about Keeping on Mission, Let’s Talk Team, Leading the PTA Way or avoiding the PTA FLU : Is Your PTA Ailing (yes, all of these were workshops too) and making plans to help strengthen your unit this school year.

Wow, as you can see there were a lot of workshops for just one PTA member to handle and bring back to your unit! Not to mention all the personal networking, the proposed Bylaws Amendments and the two Resolutions presented and debated during the general sessions. We strongly encourage your unit to start the discussion now and make preliminary plans on how many representatives to send to the 2020 Florida PTA Leadership Convention. Mark your calendars now for the 2020 Leadership Convention which will be held July 16-19!

Student Perspective: On July 18-21, 2019 the Florida PTA leadership convention was held at Innisbrook Spa and Golf Resort. The Leadership Convention is a gathering of all people in the PTA from across the state that come together to discuss business, learn, and create action plans. The PTA comes together to make the community a better place and a better environment for everyone, but especially for the safety, well-being and education of children. At this convention there were opportunities during breakfast, lunch and dinner to have discussions on how the PTA can do good things in our communities. 

Even when the PTA was having fun at the PTA’s Got Talent event, we collected money for student scholarships. The PTA is a team filled with very honorable and determined people. Not only do we work together, but we have all created a bond and become a great family. This convention was very successful. The PTA isn’t always about business but when it is, things get done.

Cedela Fredericks, Broward County
Student Involvement Committee
Schools of Excellence
All Local PTA/PTSA units are invited to register for the School of Excellence program. The Family and Community Engagement Committee is here to support you and provide guidance for your school to achieve this goal. Our hope is that all PTA schools in Florida will become Schools of Excellence. Contact your Florida PTA Family/Community Engagement Committee at for additional information. The deadline for enrollment is October 1, 2019.

Visit the National PTA website for more information.
Media & Marketing
Pencils, Pens and Erasers: just a few of the items you will need for the start of the school year. Don't forget to look over your PTA web site. Make sure the events page is fully up-to-date, make sure the summer photos are taken down and 1st day pictures are front and center. Check the dates on your membership application; this is the 2019/2020 school year. Make sure all your planned events are shown on the calendar. Don't forget to update your volunteer list by adding those Kindergarten parents! Don't download random photos from the internet; pictures are copyrighted. Using a photo without permission could cost your PTA a huge fine! You want your members to come to your PTA web site for all the latest and greatest information; it needs to be updated and accurate. 
Health & Wellness
Here’s a little information about the importance of decreasing SCREEN TIME and how screen time affects the developing brain. New research from the National Institute of Health, in an ongoing study of 11,000 children, has found so far that children that spend more than 7 hours a day on a screen experience “premature thinning of the cortex”—the part of the brain that is responsible for processing information.

The study also found that children who spent more than two hours a day on a screen scored lower on tests that focused on thinking and language skills. They are not learning how to translate skills learned on a 2-D screen to our 3-D world—this affects things like organization skills, math manipulation skills, etc.

Other research indicates that the blue light emitted from screens decreases the body’s ability to release natural melatonin (brain hormone for sleep). It found that screens cut down the minutes people slept and left them feeling groggy in the morning.

Here are some tips to help decrease screen time or behaviors associated with wanting more screen time
  • use a schedule with specific chunks of time where screen time is allowed
  • use first/then (ex: finish your homework, then 15 minutes of screen time)
  • use a timer so your child knows an exact beginning and end of the screen time
  • use a movement break instead of screen time. Go outside on a bike, play ball, etc.. You’ll find the movement has a much better impact on your child’s mood and happiness.
  • try and turn screens off an hour before bed time. (this is a perfect time to READ!)
Save The Date - LegCon 2020
Legislative Conference 2020
Save the Date! Florida PTA’s Legislative Conference will be held on January 26-28 in Tallahassee, FL. This annual event will once again take place during Children’s Week at The Capitol. This year’s LegCon will be redesigned with a different format you won’t want to miss! Registration will open in November so be ready to take advantage of ear ly bird registration. See you there!
Hispanic Heritage Month
In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, Governor Ron DeSantis and First Lady Casey DeSantis invite   all Florida students to participate in the 2019 Hispanic Heritage Month art and essay contests with the theme of   “Celebrating Public Service: Hispanic Heritage Month 2019.”  Students in grades K-3 have a chance to win a cash prize by submitting their original artwork, and students in grades 4-12 can earn a 4-year Florida Prepaid Scholarship through the essay contest. The prizes could transform the lives of a student in your class or school. 

Additionally, students, parents, teachers and principals are invited to nominate full-time educators in elementary, middle and high schools for the Hispanic Heritage Month Excellence in Education Award. 
The deadline for all submissions is 5:00 p.m. Friday, September 13, 2019. 

For more information, please visit the Hispanic Heritage Month website.
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