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!
Washington State PTA held its 41st Annual Legislative Assembly October 26-27th at Bellevue College. The theme was “Superheroes of Advocacy”, and Northshore advocacy heroes made up more than 10% of the total attendees statewide!
A Focus on Mental Health
Additional workshops, panels and classes to help legislative assembly attendees become better superhero advocates included:
New this year was a student track of classes and workshops:
Updates to the WSPTA Legislative Platform
The “work” of legislative assembly is to adopt new public policy positions for WSPTA and its local PTAs, councils and members to advocate on. These include both short-term legislative issues, which are actionable in Olympia, and long-term positions which can be used at any level of decision-making: school, school district, city, county, state and nationally.
Since the WSPTA Legislative Platform runs on a two-year cycle, this year delegates only had one new issue to adopt for the 2020 platform: Equitable Identification of Highly Capable Students. Delegates also amended the top 5 issue Prevent Gun Violence. The new and revised issues can be found on the 2020 WSPTA Legislative Platform (be on the lookout for new and updated one-pagers for each of the issues coming soon).
Delegates also adopted a new permanent legislative principle on Family and Community Engagement, and four new permanent resolutions. Three of the new resolutions are fundamental to how PTAs should address their mission, outlook on membership, and fundraising. The titles of the new resolutions are:
In addition, delegates also amended fifteen existing resolutions with updates to ensure their continued relevance for ongoing advocacy work.
The list of all WSPTA resolutions can be found on the WSPTA Resolutions webpage (updated text for all of the new and updated resolutions will be available soon!).
Stay engaged in PTA advocacy!
Northshore Council PTSA held its first general meeting of the 2019-2020 on Monday, September 16, 2019 at the NSD Administration Building. Co-Presidents Grace Jurado and Stacey Meyer called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. and took a few moments to introduce this year's Council board members before diving into the agenda.
Council business included a review of the minutes from the May meeting, updating Council's Standing Rules for 2019-2020 (link available soon!) and a review of the end-of-year financial report for 2018-2019 as well as financial reports from July and August. Vice-President Jane Chiodo encouraged local PTAs to apply for an Educational Speaker and Event Grant (the first application deadline is coming up on October 11th!). Cindy Jensen, our Council Reflections Chair, then spoke briefly about the Reflections program and the value of sharing this opportunity in our local PTAs that encourages students to express themselves creatively through this national arts recognition program. Co-VP of Advocacy, Nancy Chamberlain, took some time to promote the upcoming WSPTA Legislative Assembly, taking place October 26-27 at Bellevue College. Then the floor was opened for nominations for the Council Treasurer position, but there were no takers. We are grateful to Tricia Woods for continuing to serve in the role as we work to find a new Treasurer (contact Grace Jurado and Stacey Meyer if you are interested in learning more).
We also heard from district leaders, including School Board Director Jackie McGourty and NSD Partnerships Coordinator Natalie Campbell, each of whom shared information, updates and answered questions about recent projects and current initiatives.
The last part of the meeting was focused on outreach and advocacy.
Kelly Hennessey is the Coordinator of Threads & Treads, a clothing resource for Northshore families that is operated by Canyon Park Middle School PTSA. She came forward to share information about the work they are doing to serve the community and asked for the support of Northshore PTAs as they work to expand their outreach to include Saturday hours. An exciting moment came as Northshore Schools Foundation (NSDF) Executive Director Carmin Dalziel committed the foundation's financial support to help ensure those Saturday hours through the end of the school year! Thank you NSDF!!!
Finally, the membership of Northshore Council PTSA voted to adopt a Furniture Tip-Over Prevention Resolution. The idea to make this a PTA resolution came from Moorlands PTA member (and librarian) Crystal Ellis. Crystal lost her two-year old son to a tragic accident involving an unsafe dresser. She has turned her grief into action, founding Parents Against Tip-Overs and advocating with members of Congress for legislation that would lead to safer furniture. Northshore Council PTSA will now submit the Furniture Tip-Over Prevention Resolution for adoption at the National PTA Convention in 2020.
The meeting closed with some fun door prize drawings followed by Fall Training classes on a variety of topics, including Treasurer Basics, How to Be a Membership Chair, Volunteers: Find Them and Keep Them, as well as Secretary: More than Just Minutes.
Council meetings are a great way to network with other PTA leaders and learn about what is happening in the district and PTA. We hope you'll join us at our next general membership meeting on Monday, November 18th!
The membership of Northshore Council PTSA adopted a Furniture Tip-Over Prevention Resolution at its membership meeting on September 16, 2019. The full resolution is available for download below:
The idea to make this a PTA resolution comes from Moorlands PTA member (and librarian) Crystal Ellis. Crystal lost her two-year old son to a tragic accident involving an unsafe dresser. She has turned her grief into action, founding Parents Against Tip-Overs and advocating with members of Congress for legislation that would lead to safer furniture. She has even testified before Congress for passage of a law to improve and make mandatory regulations to prevent furniture tip-overs.
The bill, the STURDY act, has now passed the US House of Representatives with bipartisan support:
Northshore Council PTSA will now submit the Furniture Tip-Over Resolution for adoption at the National PTA Convention in 2020.