Wow, September is here and already nearly gone! September is PTA Membership Month and PTAs/PTSAs across the state are focusing on their Membership campaigns. You may be asking yourself how they are doing this if we cannot be “in the schools”. Many are finding success with the MemberHub platform. While many of our units remain using virtual communications only, the MemberHub platform allows you to take memberships electronically. We have a few units reporting an increase already! Remember when we are asking people to join PTA, we need to be inclusive and ask EVERYONE. PTA represents ALL children; in turn your PTA membership and board should be reflective of your community.

We continue to engage our families and communities, building relationships and having real conversations about real issues across the state, all in the best interest for our children and families. We may not always agree but we will stay steadfast to the mission and vision of Florida PTA. We invite you to join us for our Get Engaged Wednesdays. We have new ZOOM meetings with a variety of topics to engage and inspire our leaders and members. You can check out our website for previous recordings by clicking here https://floridapta.org/get-engaged-wednesdays/ We hope to see you for our next one on October 7th!

To our family members recovering from Hurricane Sally, we are thinking of you and sending love and hope. While we cannot be with you right now to hug and hold you, you are in our hearts and thoughts.
Many of you have reached out to see how we can assist our fellow PTA family members recovering from Natural Disasters. The easiest way is through the National PTA Disaster Relief Fund. The Disaster Relief Fund was established to respond to tragedies that grievously disrupt a school or education system. In the event of a disaster, state leaders and the National PTA will work together to disperse funds to the areas of greatest need. Your support ensures that schools and communities have the resources they need to restore normalcy in the face of hardship and adversity. You can learn more here: https://member.pta.org/Get-Involved/Donate

resilience or re·sil·ien·cy [ ri-zil-yuhns, -zil-ee-uhns or ri-zil-yuhn-see, -zil-ee-uhn-see ]
noun
  • the power or ability to return to the original form, position, etc., after being bent, compressed, or stretched; elasticity.
  • ability to recover readily from illness, depression, adversity, or the like; buoyancy.

We are all going through a lot right now, please remember self care. Taking care of yourself ensures your well-being and that you are available to take care of others. Check out this interesting article on the 7 C's of Resilience and why it is important, https://www.everydayhealth.com/wellness/resilience/

Jennifer "Jen" Martinez
President | Florida PTA
Get Engaged Wednesdays
Mark Your Calendar!

October 7th is our next Get Engaged Wednesdays discussion entitled What Are Resolutions And How Do We Use Them? We have two discussion times: 12 & 7 PM. To register, click the link below!

Advocacy Commission
Greetings Advocates!

In accordance with our mission to advocate for all children, your FLPTA Legislation Committee presented its first Get Engaged Wednesday trainings on September 23, 2020. The topic: Voter Engagement & Elections: What PTAs Can Do. When we say it is not too late, it is not too late! Check out the training by clicking on this link.

The nonpartisan [no political party connection] activities highlighted are: 
              Promoting or conducting voter registration
              Educating Voters on election process
              Hosting or Co-sponsoring a Candidate Forum that invites ALL Candidates
              Inviting ALL Candidates to appear at PTA Events
              Distributing Sample Ballots
              Sending ALL Candidate Questionnaires and sharing responses with your members
              Sharing Voter Guides
              Meeting with candidates introducing them to PTA
              Sending letters to the candidates introducing them to PTA
              Including Election related deadlines on social media/newsletters/emails
              Promoting early voting and vote by mail options
              Educating voters on the proposed Constitutional Amendments

You will also see a list of resources, a link to register for both the State and National Voter Voice, as well as dates to save for future trainings

Please know that your FLPTA Legislation Committee is here to partner with you throughout the year and to provide training and support to local units, county councils and region representatives. Our committee members live around the state and we can make arrangements to travel, teach, or co-teach via Zoom. Just let your FL PTA Legislation Chair Karen Mazzola know your needs at legislation@florida.pta.org.

Dates to Remember
October 5th: Deadline to register to vote
October 24th: Deadline to request a ballot by mail
October 24-31: Early voting period [dates/hours vary by location
November 3rd: ELECTION DAY
Leadership Development Commission
If you attended our Virtual Leadership Convention this year, we want to remind you that you have access to ALL of the recorded workshops! You can check it all out on our password-protected page on our website (contact the Florida PTA State Office if you forgot the password). Please use this link to check out our workshops: https://floridapta.org/2020-leadership-convention-workshops/

Enjoy watching and learning all you can to make your PTA run more smoothly this year!

Announcing the gift card winners from the random drawing for those amazing attendees who completed the Leadership Convention survey: 

$10 - Edward Shuler from River Ridge Middle School in Pasco;
$10 - Saba Aamir Quiet Waters Elementary PTA in Broward;
and the grand prize of $100 goes to Giselle Charles from Palm Beach County Council of PTA/PTSA! Congratulations to all!
 
The countdown is on for our 2021 Leadership Convention, July 15-18. 2021! Make sure to put it on your calendar, and that it is included in this year's budget! Be sure to keep an eye out for registration links and more information to come, because you won't want to miss it!
Who can join PTA? Anyone can join PTA, so join a local unit today!
PTA Membership "Did you Knows?"
Did you know that anyone can be a PTA member? That's right! Some membership categories to consider to retain or increase membership are Alumni, Community, and Grandparents.

Did you know that any PTA member can run for an elected board position or serve as a member of the board? Yes, that is correct. In order to serve you must be a PTA member.

Did you know that the school principal is a member of your board, provided that they pay their membership dues?

Did you know that virtual and home school students can be PTSA members just like students that are brick and mortar?
Take a look at this article from our Membership Committee entitled "PTA Pretzels: Embracing New Diversity".
Scholarships
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Attention High School Seniors
Did you know that if you are a member of a local PTSA unit you can apply for a Florida PTA Scholarship? That’s right, we have scholarships!!! We are giving out scholarships to high school seniors who plan on attending a university, trade/vocational school, community college, or private college.
In the coming months the Florida PTA website will have more information on the process for applying for the scholarships. We are proud to announce that with our fundraising efforts this year, we are able to award more than 6 scholarships! So keep those donations coming in for the scholarship fund and let us continue to grow our scholarship opportunities. If you have any questions, please email me at scholarship@floridapta.org.
Reflections Theme Search
Did you ever wonder how the Reflections program chooses its annual theme? YOU choose it! You can submit a theme and if yours is selected, you will receive $100! The possibilities are endless, so take a look and submit your idea. The deadline is November 1st.

School of Excellence
National PTA School of Excellence recognition program opens the lines of communication and critical thinking within school communities to make data-driven decisions that yield positive, long-term results.

National PTA's School of Excellence enrollment application is open! Please visit this website for more information on the program and what you need to apply.
The deadline to apply is October 1st.
Election Information!


In a few weeks you will be asked to use your voice in the form of a ballot. Whether you are voting on a presidential candidate, a state representative or senator, or an elected position in your local county, it's important for you to remember this: your vote counts. I know we hear that many times, along with the saying "You can't complain if you don't vote." Well, it's all true. It is an exercise in democracy. It is what separates us from those countries who are ruled by monarchies or dictators.

This year, every state representative is up for re-election, unless unchallenged. That is quite an opportunity for our state. This is our chance to say that we either support those who have been the decision makers or that it is time for a change. But let me be clear. A vote cast for popularity and not based on factual information is not an exercise in democracy. It's an act of flippancy. It shows a lack of concern and is merely a check off of your to-do list. Remember..."Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education." - Franklin D. Roosevelt

There is still time to research facts, voting records, and the candidate's positions on the issues that are important to you and to our children. Most of those facts will not come from social media, news outlets or television ads. Most of the information found there is skewed to fit a certain view. Make sure that you look for unbiased websites, stating facts and not opinions.
Finally, remember that regardless who wins it is important that they know who you are and where PTA stands. There will be a time when we ask for your voice in Tallahassee and D.C. as bills are moving and those legislators need to hear from us. But before then, once elected, they need to meet you. Whether you send an email or make a visit while they are at their home office, or schedule a virtual meeting, let them know that you are an advocate for ALL children and that we will be there to help them make the best decisions possible.
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