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Your 2016-2017 Back-To-School Kit Is Officially Live!

It’s that time of year again!

The 2016-2017 National PTA Official Back-To-School Kit is finally here! As always, it’s jam-packed with tools, resources and info—all specially designed to help you run your PTA. It’s a one-stop click for everything you need to know.

For the second year, the kit is completely digital and mobile-friendly. This means you can view the website from your phone, tablet or other mobile devices. Having the Back-To-School Kit with you while you’re on the go is a big perk. We guarantee it will help you be more efficient and productive as a PTA leader.

Registration is a very simple process. Here is how to get your kit:

  1. Go to President Laura Bay’s welcome video and the homepage are open to everyone.
  2. Once you begin to use the site, you’ll be prompted to register. There is also a "REGISTRATION" tab on the top right corner of the homepage.
  3. Fill out all of the required information.
  4. Once you’ve completed your registration, you’ll receive an email with a link. Click the link to set a username and password.
  5. After your username and password are set, you can access all areas of the Back-to-School Kit.


For a Back-to-School Kit FAQ, log onto or contact us at

Coming Soon: NEW and Improved Online Membership System
Dania Welch, Membership / Insurance Manager

In late August, we will be rolling out a new and improved Online Membership System for the next school year on a brand-new platform.

What You Should Know:

  • Online register links and the portal access links will all CHANGE.
  • As you requested, more data fields will be available on the online registration form.
  • Custom fields will be available for each unit to add to the "Add Paid Member" data entry form as well.
  • 2015-16 member details will be exported into the new system, so you have the historical data available and the ability to renew memberships.

We will do our best to give you more details as soon as they are available. We know that you need to develop your new Membership Forms for printing and to make changes on your websites over the summer. We apologize that there will be a delay again this year.

If you have any questions about the new membership system, please contact Dania Welch, Membership / Insurance Manager at the state office at or 518-452-8808.

Wanted: School Supplies
Carol Raymond, Operations / Events Manager and Aimee Tweedie, Communications / Marketing Manager

Howdy Partners!

We are Rounding Up donations for school supplies to benefit the Watson Williams Elementary School in Utica, NY.

Find your region's donation request in our flyer here and bring those new school supplies to be dropped off at the donation location at the NYS PTA 2016 Summer Leadership Conference.

Receive a raffle ticket upon receipt of your donation for a chance to win a prize!

Not registered to attend SLC but still want to donate? Contact your Region Director.

It's Time to Pass the Baton
Antoinette Darden-Cintron, Leadership Development Coordinator

It’s the end of the year and elections have taken place. But have you had a transition meeting for returning and newly elected officers and chairmen?

A transition meeting is critical to all officers and chairs feeling supported and prepared for their leadership roles!

Check out this leadership transition list for guidance in preparing for this most important meeting!

How to Prepare for Your Annual Audit
Sean Hannam, Treasurer

Now that the school year is over, it's time to gather the information you will need to give to your Audit Committee.

Things that should be in your file include copies of:

  • last years' audit report
  • 990/990-EZ/990-N tax return and receipts
  • last years' budget
  • PTA meeting minutes
  • treasurer’s reports
  • bank statements and copies of canceled checks (front and back)
  • copies of bills and vouchers paid

I recommend starting a file/envelope/binder containing the information that you will need early in the year, and then adding information every month, so you already have what you need for the Audit Committee ready to go when they meet.

Starting to gather these documents early in the year will help you at the end of the school year, when life is a lot busier.

For more information on the audit process and record keeping, check out the NYS PTA Resource Guide, Section 5, Finance and Insurance.

Summer is a Time to Gear Up for Advocacy
Susanne Smoller, Legislation Coordinator

As PTA leaders begin to plan for the coming year, it is important to infuse advocacy into your activities. We cannot lose sight of the fact that advocacy is the cornerstone of PTA.

However, advocacy is often not what PTAs include in yearly planning. This is usually because leaders do not know where to begin. This is where training becomes so important.

Both National PTA and NYS PTA have resources that provide wonderful training and resources to begin to develop leaders.

National PTA has some advocacy tools and videos that can be used by anyone. The NYS PTA advocacy page includes all the advocacy positions that can be used by local regions, councils and units to construct strategies.

The following is a suggested timeline for planning:

  • July through September: Determine key issues, committee and budget requirements for the year. Study all National and PTA legislative publications, including Advocacy Newsbriefs, Basic Policy and proposed Convention resolutions. Develop relationships with local, state and federal legislators.
  • November: Attend the NYS PTA Annual Convention, November 11-13. Inform your members and community about actions taken at Convention. Advocate for a position statement or resolution.
  • December through February: Begin work if planning on submitting a resolution to NYS PTA.
  • March: Attend the Key Advocacy Partner Training and Lobby Day in Albany (date to be determined). Participate in Virtual Lobby Day (Date to be determined).
  • April: Deadline for resolution submission April 15.

Congratulations, you have just begun your advocacy efforts. Stay connected with NYS PTA advocacy by watching for email alerts, plus announcements on Facebook and Twitter.

Please reach out to me (at or any member of the Advocacy Team.

Have a great year!

Tech Tip
Judy Van Haaren, Vice President

Looking for online safety information for your children?

Visit and check out Net Cetera, a guide from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which covers a wide range of online safety topics including socializing online, protecting their privacy and much, much more.

It’s Not Too Early to Start Thinking About PARP
Stephanie Avidon, PARP Specialist

Summer is the perfect time to start planning your PARP (Pick A Reading Partner) program for the 2016-2017 school year.

Check out the PARP Toolkit giving you everything you need to know about putting on a PARP program at your school.

Whether you are starting from scratch or looking to expand your existing program, there are suggestions for themes, samples you can use, plus examples of past NYS PTA PARP winners. It’s a great tool to help make your unit PARP Chair's job easier.

Click here to go to the Toolkit.

If you have questions along the way, reach out to your region PARP Chair or email me at

Award News
Lynn Petrofsky, Awards Specialist

Does your unit have an Awards Committee? Do you have PTA members, teachers, students or community members that go over and above for PTA and the youth in New York State? Are you aware of all the awards and recognitions that NYS PTA has to offer to recognize outstanding people and programs?

When appointing your chairs and forming your committees for the upcoming school year be sure to include an Awards Committee.

Two new awards that NYS PTA offers are:

Family Engagement Award in Honor of Jami-Beth Knapp

Family engagement in education is a critical strategy for ensuring students’ academic achievement, graduation from high school, and overall success in life.

Jami-Beth Knapp believed this to be true. She worked within her school and community to teach and mentor others – the true meaning of family engagement.

This award will recognize an individual or group of individuals who demonstrate innovative and unique strategies to encourage and involve parents as equal partners in their child’s education. NYS PTA will bestow this honor on an individual or group of individuals who meets the criteria.

Community Service Award

It is important to recognize groups of individuals for their dedication and achievement to the children and youth of New York State. This award is for a group of individuals who have given their time, energy and resource to support the mission and purposes of the PTA.

The NYS PTA Community Service Award is given to acknowledge those groups of individuals.

If you would like more information on these awards and the other awards and recognitions that we have to offer, click here.

How to Make Your Reflections Program a Success
Amanda Tobias, Reflections Specialist

As a new school year begins, so does another season of Reflections. Here is some information so you can start the Reflections program off right.

The 2016-2017 Reflections theme is “What Is Your Story?”

The single most important advice I have to share is “surround yourself with friends or teammates dedicated to the success of your PTA’s Reflections Program.” A Reflections Chair is not expected to know it all. There are many resources available to assist you.

As a Reflections Chair, your main responsibility is to ensure that the winning entries from your PTA have the best possible chance to advance to the next level. Here are a few points to keep in mind:

I am always here for you, as NYS PTA Reflections Specialist. Please do not ever hesitate to contact me with your questions or concerns. I especially love hearing about your successes! My email is

Don’t hesitate to reach out to your Region Reflections Chair. They are also a wealth of information and are available to help you.

Verify, verify, verify that the entries received at your level conform to the rules. Only entries that conform to the rules are eligible to move forward in judging. If you receive a child’s artwork in an unacceptable format or size, use the opportunity to create a teachable moment.

National PTA Rules for Participation can be found here.

Prepare yourself. Spend time learning the rules and how to use the online system for registering your PTA and advancing student entries. Making time to understand the program will give you the know-how to talk your unit chairs through any obstacles they may encounter.

The National PTA offers several different webinars on planning and promoting your Reflections program. Make sure your unit is in good standing. Only Local PTAs in good standing may participate in the National PTA Reflections program.

The three criteria used to determine if a unit is in good standing are:

  • Membership dues are paid
  • Insurance premiums are paid
  • Bylaws are valid and up-to-date

Happy Reflections Season!


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