Registration is now open for the 43rd Annual WSPTA Legislative Assembly!
PTA delegates from across the state will come together to update the WSPTA legislative platform. At legislative assembly, discover the power PTA has to advocate for the success of every child – the whole child. In PTA every member has an equal voice, and your input matters a great deal to the success of PTA's grassroots member-driven platform. PTA is needed more than ever right now, and you can help!
Key Things to Note:
During the 43rd annual Washington State PTA Legislative Assembly, delegates will decide the public policy positions that guide state and local advocacy work for WSPTA and its associated local PTAs and councils. To learn more about being a voting delegate, visit WSPTA's Legislative Assembly Voting Information page which includes the 2021 Voters’ Guide that has been created to help delegates prepare for the caucusing and general sessions.
The Washington State PTA legislative platform is a two-year platform to mirror the Washington state legislative cycle. On the even-numbered years, the new platform is voted on by members at the legislative assembly in the fall. The top five issues become our short-term platform and consist of our priority issues when advocating throughout the year. Other issues are placed on an “also supported” list. Learn about WSPTA's current legislative priorities and other supported issues by clicking here.
Be a part of the process and help direct the course for WSPTA advocacy by serving as a delegate for your PTA! If you are interested in attending Legislative Assembly as a delegate for your local PTA, contact your local PTA president.
Check out the Legislative Assembly web page to learn more about this year's event.
Calling all Advocates!
It's time to get started on PTA Advocacy for the 2021-2022 school year.
Here are 6 Advocacy Action Items to add to your PTA's back to school list of things to do:
Bonus Advocacy Action Item: Let’s Vote Challenge! National Voter Registration Day is September 28th! Did you know that Local PTAs/PTSAs can run voter registration drives? You can also include the graphic below in your e-news and on social media to encourage your members to register to vote! For WA state, voter information and registration can be found at http://vote.wa.gov/ and is provided in multiple languages!
Marie Sullivan, Washington State PTA Legislative Consultant, hosted a legislative session recap on June 8. Over 300 bills were passed by the Washington State legislature despite the challenges of the pandemic. WSPTA had some great wins on our Top 5 issues and supporting resolutions.
If you would like to view Marie’s recap, it was recorded and can be found on the Washington State PTA YouTube Channel. Her final end of session report will be out soon!
Questions about how you can get involved in Advocacy? Email firstname.lastname@example.org!
Thank you to all that attended our fourth membership meeting of the school year! Each general meeting provides us with an opportunity to connect with our wonderful local PTA leaders and community partners and learn more about the great things happening across our district.
A little bit of fun:
We started off our meeting with a 30 minute “social” time. We invited all to join us to chat with Council and other local PTA leaders. We had great conversations and learned that “Flight” was the most desired superhero power in our fun poll!
Our guest speaker this month was Superintendent Dr. Michelle Reid who graciously answered questions regarding the upcoming shift to hybrid learning in NSD. A great range of questions were asked including but not limited to: how PTAs can support the return to classrooms, the thinking behind the hybrid model, vaccination progress for teachers, when the learning model will be decided for Fall, what hybrid will look like for those 100% remote, and the latest updates on SBAC testing. We thank Dr. Reid for taking the time to join us during such a busy and stressful time.
After approving our minutes from our January general meeting, we moved on to hearing the Treasurer Report for the month of February. We then moved on to learning about our 2021-2022 preliminary budget. Our budget committee worked along with our Treasurer, Liz Nord, to evaluate what our needs would be for next year taking into consideration the decrease in memberships that we had experienced in 2020-2021 possibly continuing next year. A few changes were recommended, such as lowering our income expectations and cutting costs where we could (obtaining a smaller PO Box, lowering line items such as hospitality, grants, office supplies, etc.). We also added line items for our new DEI (Diversity, Equity & Inclusion) position and our new Mental Health committee. The preliminary 2021-2022 budget was approved by a unanimous voice vote.
Next up on the agenda was electing our 2021-2022 officers! Thank you to our hardworking Nominating Committee, Grace Jurado and Liz Nord, for putting together a rocking slate for next year! Liz Nord read the Nominating Report. The self-nomination period was held with no others submitting their names for nomination. The election script was followed with a reading from the WSPTA bylaws. A motion was cast to accept the slate as presented, seconded, and unanimously approved by a voice vote.
Congratulations to our incoming 2021-2022 officers!!
Tracy Jokisch, our Emergency Prep and Safety Co-Chair, gave us an update regarding the bulk purchase of Stop the Bleed kits for district schools. There will most likely be over 500 kits ordered in total, which will include 2 kits per school contributed by Council. In conjunction with the Stop the Bleed effort, Clark Combs, district Eprep specialist on the district Safety and Security team, has been offering virtual ACT training to staff.
Diana Christiansen, our Council Vice President of Advocacy, gave us an update regarding the exceptional attendance by WA State PTA members at this years National PTA Legislative Conference. It was great to see big representation especially at “Hill Day” when attendees met directly with legislators and their staffers. Check out our NPTA LegCon recap here!
We got an update on the Reflections program. 55 pieces were forwarded to the state competition and we were waiting to hear results. (Results now in - check them out here!) The Council Reflections Celebration website was a big hit allowing many families – as well as family and friends around the country! - to experience all the works of art from artists all over the district. Next year’s theme was announced as, “I Will Change the World By…”.
Diana Christiansen and Karrie Palis announced that our Council Recognition Awards Nominations were open. They are looking for nominations for the following awards: Outstanding Educator, Outstanding Advocate, Outstanding Student Advocate, Outstanding Service, Golden Acorn, Honorary Life Membership. They are also looking for members to join their committee to review nominations and select winners.
Melissa Kline gave an update regarding membership. Three (3) PTAs had reached 100% staff membership and, in total, we have reached 4,826 members which is 62% of last year’s number. Melissa also gave an update about the newly formed Mental Health Committee. The committee had their first meeting recently, at which they discussed goals and things they would like to work on which included communicating about mental health awareness programs.
Lauren Lewis, our Council F.A.C.E. (Family and Community Engagement) Chair, talked about the Equity Inventory Committee, which was established to assess where our Council stood in regards to equity and diversity. The goal of the committee was to look at all facets of our operation through a DEI lens and then to make suggestions on areas that we could improve on. Lauren was also working on finding a presentation about how to navigate the US high school system that could be offered to families in our district that speak other languages or who have moved here from other countries. Natalie Campbell, the District Partnerships and Volunteer Coordinator, said that we could partner with her and Elizabeth Meza to bring something like this to the district. It was also noted that through the Council Educational Speaker and Community Events Grants program, Woodin Elementary was offering "Guide to Helping Your Children Succeed in Elementary and Beyond", presented by Sistema Escolar, USA, to district parents.
District and Community Reports:
School Board Director David Cogan presented an update in regards to Northshore School District that included, but was not limited to:
Natalie Campbell, NSD Partnerships and Volunteer Coordinator, reported the following:
Carmin Dalziel of the Northshore Schools Foundation gave updates regarding her organization and their work to support NSD:
Our last guest was Patsy Treece of the Citizens for Northshore Schools group to talk about Bond and Levy support. Her group’s purpose is to give citizens information about the bond and levies on the ballot and to urge them to vote. Bond and levy votes only happen every four years. Bonds need 60% to pass and levies need 50%. She was looking for volunteers to serve the group and was particularly interested in adding diversity so that all voices could be heard. She also asked if PTAs could add a line item to their budgets to help support the Citizens group. Learn more about Citizens for Northshore School here.
Our next membership meeting will be held on Monday, June 7th. We hope to see you there!
National PTA hosted the 2021 Legislative Conference (LegCon) March 9-11. This year’s LegCon was held virtually, making it possible for over 50 WSPTA Members to attend, including Northshore Council PTSA Leaders Nancy Chamberlain, Diana Christiansen, and Rachel Fitzgerald.
LegCon attendees were able to participate in a variety of PTA Advocacy Spotlights and Workshops. Some of these included “Driving Digital Equity”, “Advocating for Federal Resources”, “Keeping Students Safe at Home & School”, and “Supporting and Educating Families During the Pandemic”. One of the highlights of LegCon 2021 was the Mental Health Panel that provided attendees with a spirited discussion of the importance of mental health.
In addition to sharing great PTA ideas, members participated in NPTA’s first ever Virtual Hill Day. Hill Day provides the opportunity for PTA Advocates to meet with national congressional officials. In the pre-Covid times, this would have involved traveling to Washington D.C. to meet in person with elected officials. This year, however, advocates met virtually allowing a lot more members to participate in the meetings with our Senators and Representatives.
Highlights from Hill Day
During the Virtual Hill Day visits, PTA called upon our Members of Congress to:
Advocates representing Northshore PTAs were able to meet with staff members from the offices of both Senator Cantwell and Senator Murray as well as Representative DelBene. During these meetings, attendees were given exciting updates about the COVID Relief Bill which will have over $100 billion for K-12 education. Washington is expected to receive $1.8 billion of that funding. Some of the big features this bill is addressing include childcare issues, after school and summer learning, head start, and higher education.
PTA Members Speak Their Own Truth to Advocate for Every Child
Many members shared personal stories and related them to our asks from congress. One of the most memorable stories was when former Seattle student, Aneesa Roidad, spoke on the importance for students to have access to nutritious food to be able to be focus on learning during the school day. She explained that it is important to improve and fully fund the Child Nutrition Reauthorization. She also emphasized the need for students to feel safe in their schools and how this especially impacts students of color and marginalized students. She asked Senator Murray and Senator Cantwell to support infrastructure funding for schools in the Reopen and Rebuild American’s Schools Act of 2021 so that buildings are clean, safe, and healthy.
Another powerful Hill Day testimony came from Olena Bedendo who shared how difficult it was for her children to keep up in school this year due to a pause in the ESL and reading programs that her children are eligible for. Her story emphasized how important Family Engagement is in a child’s education. One of National PTA’s asks is to increase federal funding for Statewide Family Engagement Centers to $20 million. Currently only 13 states have these programs because they are not fully funded (WA State is not one of them). We know that students whose families are involved in their education attend school more regularly, earn better grades, enroll in more challenging academic programs, and have higher graduation, which makes it even more important to advocate for!
Shannon Otto also provided moving testimony when she spoke on supporting policies which protect all students, including those from historically marginalized populations and communities. Shannon is part of the View Ridge Elementary community, a school which made the news this year because staff members locked a student in a cage on the playground routinely. (Click here to read an article published by KUOW Public Radio about the incident.) Shannon, along with the other advocates from Washington State PTA, asked Senator Murray to reintroduce the Keeping All Students Safe Act, which she has sponsored in past years. Senator Cantwell’s assistant said she would speak to the senator about our concerns.
It was inspiring to hear the personal testimonies as PTA members were advocating for every child. The many events of LegCon 2021 gave advocates a voice nationally and strengthened their PTA knowledge in many different areas. If you want to learn more about how you can increase your advocacy efforts – locally, state-wide, or nationally – visit our Advocacy Page or contact Council’s VP of Advocacy, Diana Christiansen.
PTA Advocacy is still going strong!
Read below to hear about some of the things that have been happening recently and find out how you can still get involved at both the State and National levels!
PTA Supports Clean Drinking Water in Our Schools.
WSPTA supports House Bill 1139, which would pay for and require testing for lead and remediation of public-school outlets that have elevated levels of lead (above 5 ppb). We encourage you to ask questions, educate your parents, and advocate where necessary for clean drinking water. Read this Seattle Times article for more information on the proposed bill. View the bill itself here to find out more and even comment directly on the bill by clicking the “comment” button on the upper right.
PTA Call to Action: Addressing Firearm Safety Measures to Increase Public Safety
We have the opportunity to restrict the access of these most deadly weapons in SSB 5078, which would limit the sale and transfer of high-capacity magazines over 17 rounds. This common-sense legislation was requested by our Attorney General’s office. PTA Advocates can write their legislators and encourage their friends and community members to take a few minutes for the safety of our kids. Add your personal request or story into the accompanying message provided in the Action Network link. Legislators have told us that hearing your personal touch makes a huge impact!
Reopening School Buildings - Role of PTAs
PTA is the oldest and largest child advocacy organization in the United States. Washington State PTA and all its affiliated PTAs have the mission to advocate for the health, safety, well-being, and education of the 1.1 million K-12 students across all of Washington state. The role of PTA in advocacy regarding students returning to learning in school buildings is complicated and you may find yourself asking "What CAN PTA leaders do?". WSPTA has put together this resource to help local leaders navigate this unprecedented time.
Washington state legislators are well into their session. Some highlights of what they have done so far:
To see current bills and their progress check out WSPTA's Week 8 Bill Status Report.
Don't forget about National PTA LegCon 2021 which starts next week!
There's still time to join NPTA March 9-11 for their first virtual Legislative Conference! You can now register up until the last day of the conference. Don’t miss this opportunity to network with other PTA leaders and learn how to advocate for every child. Check out the full schedule of events and workshops. Read about the benefits of attending LegCon and be sure to register today!
Ways to Continue PTA Advocacy Education for You & Your Members
Since Focus Week, Washington State PTA members, including two Northshore Council Board Members - Nancy Chamberlain & Melissa Kline, have been testifying at our state legislature regarding Washington State PTA’s top 5 issues as well as our also supported issues. To read more about what’s been happening and the testimonies made, check out the weekly Legislative Session Reports from WSPTA: Week 1 Report, Week 2 Report, Week 3 Report, Week 4 Report.
Want to know how you can get involved? Visit WSPTA's PTA Takes Action page for more information!
Legislative session is upon us and starting Monday, January 18th, it's
WSPTA's Focus on Advocacy Week!!
Here's a brief run-down on what you can expect out of this week long event and how you can get involved!
When is Focus on Advocacy Week?
This week long event runs Monday, January 18th through Friday, January 22nd.
Who should participate?
Anyone who wants to advocate for students, teachers, or their school community! Advocacy is for everyone and now is the perfect time to get involved.
Where does this take place?
This year, Focus on Advocacy Week is virtual! That means anyone wanting to participate can do so from their phone or computer.
What is the Legislative Session?
The Legislative session is the time when our senators and representatives work on bills. They will be
debating, reading emails, and holding meetings about current bills for the session.
What is Focus on Advocacy Week?
Focus on Advocacy Week is the week where we as PTA members focus on calling, writing, and having meetings with our
legislators. We do this to get our Legislative Priorities into the hearts and minds of our elected officials and to educate them on what our members need and want.
Why does Focus on Advocacy Week matter?
This is the best time to get our priorities heard by our representatives. Washington State PTA members voted and approved our top 5 issues that we believe lawmakers should work on. Now is the time that we bring these issues to the forefront of their work. See below for a list of our Top 5 Issues as well as how PTA plans to put equity at the center of everything we do with our 2020-2022 Legislative Priorities.
How can someone participate?
1. Sign up for the WSPTA's Action Network Group to get timely alerts.
2. Find your Washington State Legislature Representatives.
3. Set aside time during Focus on Advocacy Week to call and email. WSPTA has designated each day next week to a different focus topic:
◘ Monday, January 18 – Call to Action: Focus on anti-racism
◘ Tuesday, January 19 – Call to Action: Focus on equity
◘ Wednesday, January 20 – Call to Action: Focus on mental health and wellness
◘ Thursday, January 21 – Call to Action: Focus on preserving and flexing funding
◘ Friday, January 22 – Call to Action: Focus on safety and emergency preparedness
4. Read the January 11 Focus on Advocacy Weekly Report by Marie Sullivan, WSPTA Legislative Chair, which includes the status of current bills.
5. Spread the word! Invite others from your PTA community to join you in connecting with state legislative leaders. Don't forget to share about Focus on Advocacy Week through your PTA channels such as your website, emails, or social media.
Learn more about the WSPTA legislative priorities:
Check out the image below from WSPTA to see how PTA is putting Equity at the Center of Everything We Do with our 2020-2022 Legislative Priorities. Click here for a printable version.
This year's Advocacy Week will be held January 18 – 22, 2021
In addition to our ongoing efforts, WSPTA will be asking members to take action from home or your phone throughout an entire week. To participate, subscribe to the WSPTA Action Network to stay informed. Once subscribed, you'll receive an email notification when a new issue arises and there will be a pre-written email ready to go, which you can customize and edit so you can tell YOUR story and make your voice heard.
Tentative schedule (likely to change):
Learn more about the WSPTA legislative priorities:
Don't forget to make appointments with your Legislators!
It's important to make appointments as far in advanced as possible. For this year's Advocacy Week, all appointments will be virtual.
Input your address here to get the names of the Representatives and Senator(s) for you, your school district, and their contact information. Members should consult with their local PTA, council, or region advocacy chair for assistance in making legislator appointments. Appointments may begin as early as 8:00 am.
What do you say during an appointment with a legislator? Check out our previous Advocacy blog on writing Your PTA Story for helpful tips and resources. Additionally, WSPTA encourages you to visit their advocacy page, where you will find our 2021 WSPTA Legislative Platform, as well as a detailed one-page handout for each legislative priority in the drop-down lists under “Legislative Platform.” These one-page handouts are great sources of talking points and can be given to legislators as well. In addition, due to the visual opportunities provided by a remote session, WSPTA be uploading position videos, which you can use as a start to your meeting or in advance to explain your support for a legislative priority.
Advocacy Tip: Tell legislators why WSPTA priorities are important to you and ask for their support!
Check out the image below from WSPTA to see how PTA is putting Equity at the Center of Everything We Do with our 2020-2022 Legislative Priorities. Click here for a printable version.
Still have questions about Advocacy or how you can get involved? Contact Council's VP of Advocacy, Diana Christiansen.
Washington State PTA just hosted its first Virtual Legislative Assembly! Throughout the last few weeks, panels and classes were held over Zoom to help educate our Washington State PTA leaders.
The 42nd Assembly then wrapped up October 24-25 with the general sessions and voting on issues and resolutions.
This year's theme was PTA: Now More Than Ever.
During the legislative assembly Washington State PTA and its local PTAs, councils, and members work together to develop short-term legislative issues and long-term PTA resolutions. The issues and resolutions can be used to advocate not only at state level with our elected representatives, but also within schools and districts to help support all children.
WSPTA Top 5 Legislative Issues:
1. Increase Access to Nursing, Mental Health, and Social Emotional Learning Staff
2. Support Students and Preserve Education Funding
3. Increasing Educational Equity by Closing the Digital Divide
4. Supports and Funding for Students with Disabilities and Their Families
5. Prevent and Reduce Gun Violence and Suicide
Also Supported Issues:
♦ Equitable Identification and Services for Highly Capable Students
♦ Mitigating the Adverse Impacts of Climate Change
♦ Safe School Plans and Emergency Preparedness
New and Updated Resolutions:
New Principle under the category of Safe and Nurturing Environments for Children and Youth:
Washington State PTA shall identify and initiate education and action on public policy that
provides safe and supportive settings and climates for children and youth. The association
Information and details about Washington State PTA’s full legislative platform can be found on their website: https://www.wastatepta.org/focus-areas/advocacy/
Our Washington State PTA leaders did a great job leading us through a legislative process that held true to the PTA spirit of consensus.
Northshore PTSA council would like to thank our Washington State PTA Board of Directors, especially our president, Janice Kutzera, for the amazing amount of work they did to make this brand new virtual process not only flow smoothly, but also still allow delegates to use their voices to promote, defend, and oppose legislative proposals. We like to also thank Heidi Bennet, our Region 6 Advocacy Chair, who helped council and PTA presidents by developing a member survey that was sent out to PTA members in our region and informed voting delegates of the priorities of local members. Finally, thank you to our local presidents and advocacy chairs that shared out this survey!
This is an exciting time in PTA to time to get your members involved. We know the state legislature will
have a budget deficit and that school districts are facing added expenses due to the pandemic. We also
know that children and their families are feeling frustrated and isolated. The PTA can help with
education advocacy at a state level and with advocacy at a local level by forming personal connections
to our members. It is time to PTA: NOW MORE THAN EVER.
How can you get involved in PTA advocacy?
1. Make sure you are signed up for advocacy information and action alerts through the Washington State PTA's Action Network!
2. Come to a Northshore Council general meeting or roundtable discussion! Our next General Meeting is November 16th at 7pm. See the full calendar on the Northshore PTSA website.
3. Mark your calendar for FOCUS DAY: January 18th, 2021 which is our opportunity to directly speak to legislators!