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In This Issue
Upcoming Events

February 27-28, 2016
NYS PTA Legislation/Education Conference
Albany, NY

February 29, 2016
NYS PTA Lobby Day
Albany, NY

March 8, 2016
NYS PTA Virtual Lobby Day

March 19, 2016
NYS PTA PARP Conference
Melville, NY

July 22-24, 2016
NYS PTA Summer Leadership Conference
Utica, NY

NYS PTA Addresses National PTA Position on Student Assessment
Bonnie Russell, President

NYS PTA continues to recognize that parents are a child’s first teacher and respects the rights of parents to make decisions on behalf of their children.

National PTA, in their recently published position paper, states that although it respects the right of parents, it “does not support state and district policies that allow students to opt-out of state assessments designed to improve teaching and learning”.

NYS PTA believes that there are both advantages for participation and potential consequences for non-participation. NYS PTA urges parents to consider both their child’s best interest as well as implications for others in reaching whichever decision they elect.

Update on the Treasurer
Bonnie Russell, President

NYS PTA Treasurer Neil Johanning has tendered his resignation effective on February 4 due to personal reasons. Per our procedures, the executive committee has ratified the president's appointment of Sean Hannam to the position of Treasurer effective February 5. (Also per our procedures, there will then be nominations and a vote for that position at the next Board of Directors meeting which will be held on February 27.)

Sean brings with him his board experience of close to three years as Membership Coordinator and as a member of the staffing, strategic planning and technology (chair) committees (which he will remain on at this time).

Sean is from the Niagara Region where his wife Christine is also on their region board. He has children in the 5th and 8th grades and we look forward to the viewpoint and experience he will bring to our executive committee. We congratulate Sean on this new position.

We also thank Neil for his commitment and hard work to our association as the Treasurer over the past four years, and we wish him well as he shifts into his new position as a consultant where he will help Sean through the transition.

Join Us at the PARP Conference!
Stephanie Avidon, PARP Specialist

By now you should have received a registration packet in the mail. For more information and to register online, click here or log onto

Here are the specifics…

Saturday, March 19, 2016
8:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m.
Melville Marriott (Long Island)
Melville, NY

Keynote Speaker:

Pam Allyn, Executive Director & Chief Storyteller, LitWorld
“Every Child is a Super Reader: 7 Strengths to Open a World of Possible”

Workshops Include:

  • How to PARP: The Secrets to Running a Successful PARP Program
  • Region Winners Tell All
  • Reading in a Techie-Driven World
  • Expand PARP Programs Beyond the Early Years
  • Public Libraries: Your Passport to Reading
  • Leveraging Bilingualism as an Asset in the Life of a Child
  • Literacy: A Foundation for Success
  • Unlock Your Reading DNA
  • Q&A Session

This is a conference for parents, teachers, administrators and librarians. Please help us pass the word along. All current and future PARP Chairs should attend, as there are workshops for the first-timer and the seasoned PARP person. March is the perfect time to start thinking about next year (even if you are still planning one or just finished doing one).

Please also let your teachers, librarians and administration know about this as they, too, will benefit from attending.

We hope you will join us!

Submit Your PARP Program for a PARP Award
Stephanie Avidon, PARP Specialist

The PARP Application for the 2016 Pick A Reading Partner Award is now available. Click here for details or visit

If you hosted a PARP program this year, enter it for a PARP Award. Each region selects one winner and then NYS PTA selects one winner from that group as the 2016 NYS PTA PARP Winner, which will be recognized at the NYS PTA 2016 Annual Convention.

All applications must be postmarked by June 15, 2016 and sent to your Region Director. Any questions, contact your Region PARP Chair or email

Insurance Bills for 2016-2017
Neil Johanning, Treasurer

We’ve already let you know that the insurance rate for next year will be going up.

The other big announcement is that your unit will be receiving its bill by email to your unit president instead of the usual paper bill.

The bill will be tailored to the number of buildings your unit has. The email will contain a link to the Cheddar Up system that will allow you to pay your bill online with your PTA checking account number and routing code.

You will be asked to fill in your PTA unit code, unit name plus contact information of the person paying the bill.

There will be a 45 cent fee to pay via “eCheck” on Cheddar Up; less than the cost of a stamp! If you prefer, you may still send in your check via the USPS.

Reflections Theme Search Contest
Joan Wabnik, Programs Coordinator

Thank you to the 346 creative students across New York that took the challenge and participated in the National PTA 2017-18 Theme Search Contest.

The NYS PTA Theme Search Committee had the difficult task of selecting five entries to advance to National PTA for consideration as the overall theme search winner.

Congratulations! The following themes represent New York at the national level of judging:

  • “Friendship is….” Sophie Weisz, South Grove Elementary PTA, Nassau Region
  • “If I had another chance” Alex Chan, South Grove Elementary PTA, Nassau Region
  • “When I Close My Eyes…” Christelle Julien, Sewanhaka HS PTA, Nassau Region
  • “Power of Words” Alexandria Beckford, Sewanhaka HS PTA, Nassau Region
  • “Once upon a memory” Nicole Pratt, Seaford Manor PTA, Nassau Region

Ultimately, the student who submits the winning entry for 2016-17 will receive $100 from National PTA, and his or her theme will be announced at the National PTA Convention and Exhibition in Orlando, FL.

We are keeping our fingers crossed and wish these students the best of luck at the national level!

PTA Grant for Arts Education
Joan Wabnik, Programs Coordinator

Enhance PTA arts projects in your school community!

The National PTA Mary Lou Anderson Grant provides matching funds up to $1,000 to local PTAs to establish a student-centered arts project or enhance in-school or after-school arts programs in your local community. PTAs serving at-risk student populations are particularly encouraged to apply.

For more information, visit or the Mary Lou Anderson Grant page here.

Review the 2016 call for proposals and submit your application online by 8:00 p.m. EST/5:00 p.m. PST, Friday, March 11, 2016.

The Role Bylaws Play for Your PTA
George Kimble, Bylaws Coordinator

PTA bylaws describe the purpose of PTA and its mission, its basic policies and members’ rights, as well as information about officers, committees and their respective duties.

Unit/Council PTA bylaws are the approved current set of bylaws, signed and dated by the NYS PTA Bylaws Coordinator, PTA President and Secretary, and are kept on file with the Unit Secretary. Your bylaws are good for three years when the NYS PTA Bylaws Coordinator signs and dates them. All units and councils should check their bylaws to be sure you are in compliance.

A copy of the association’s bylaws for the local PTA/PTSA units must be made available to any association member upon request. A copy should be provided to all officers and board members. Each executive board member is responsible for completing a thorough study of them.

Click here to read more about Bylaws.

We Can Be One Regardless of Who We Are in PTA
Milena Din, Diversity Specialist

I was reading an article about the dramatic change in electorate votes, which could happen in the United States if our youth could vote! These students are fourteen years old and over but under eighteen and the other majority group are immigrants who are not citizens and therefore cannot vote.

What if we used our RIGHT to buy MEMBERSHIIP to give OUR STUDENTS a VOICE!

No citizenship required or legal status, no legal age limit, no political affiliation, just the desire to give our children one collective VOICE. Can you imagine millions of members being represented as one VOICE to advocate for the best education our students can get?

How many can we say will stand next to us in advocating for general and special education? Opportunities for pre-K? For full-time kindergarten? Against excessive testing? For the rights of ALL STUDENTS to have the same opportunities to succeed, regardless of their background or economic status? And so much more.


It’s like having a membership for the gym or an activity, but it benefits many who do not yet have a voice.

Will you join to give students that voice that does not whisper in our schools, our local government, our state and the nation, but stands firm and strong?

Indoor Tanning Information
Anne Ehrlich, Health Specialist

The FDA has proposed new regulations regarding the practice of indoor tanning. The comment period runs to March 21, 2016. You can link to the FDA press release and comment form here.

New York has already prohibited the use of these devices by those under 17 years of age, requires parental consent for those aged 17-18, licensing of facilities offering tanning, and informed consent by those using the devices.

A new study shows women under age 30 diagnosed with melanoma had a nearly 100% likelihood of having used indoor tanning facilities. That study is here.

Looking for Volunteers? There Are Apps for That!!
Nori Gartner-Baca, Publications Specialist

Looking for new ways to get volunteers? Sure, we all are. Take advantage of social media tools! Check out this article about a relatively new smartphone app for volunteering. Click here to read the article and learn more about GiveGab. Or, look into VolunteerSpot and Volunteermark.

Think outside the box and look for new ways to introduce PTA opportunities to your school!

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