The Voice (Back to School 2018)

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LAUNCH PAD A PTA Story Mindfullness in the Morning & More!

A MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT Welcome to the 2018-2019 school year! Excitement is in the air. Anticipation is all around. Hope is in abundance. The fragrance of a fresh new beginning whirls around us. It’s a new term and I’d like to say “welcome” to all of the new PTA leaders and “welcome back” to those returning. I’ve certainly hit the ground running as your new Texas PTA President. Prior to school beginning, I had the privilege to conduct a leadership development training for a wonderful group of teachers at Indian Springs Elementary in Comal ISD. The excitement and energy from the teachers filled the room as they began to plan for the upcoming year. It was a great reminder of how the partnership between the PTA and school can work together to ensure that our children receive all that they deserve to be successful. “In this complex world, it takes more than a good school to educate children. And it takes more than a good home. It takes these two major educational institutions working together.” - Dorothy Rich, author of MegaSkills As we ease into back-to-school activities and start planning all of the PTA activities for the year, let’s remember that the 86th Legislative Session is just around the corner. This upcoming session is certain to

bring light to issues including school safety, bullying, and a continued effort to provide adequate funding for public education. As advocacy is one of our founding principles, it is important that we begin educating ourselves and our community on the issues affecting the livelihood of our children, that are likely to be addressed this upcoming legislative session. If you have not already signed up for our Action Alerts on Voter Voice (https://, please do so today. You will begin receiving Texas PTA’s very informative advocacy newsletter, Under the Dome, to begin your education on the issues for this upcoming legislative session. Texas PTA is also working on some new programming to engage families in your PTA community, and leadership development opportunities to assist in your own leadership growth. Be sure to stay in the loop by connecting with Texas PTA on social media. If you are a friend of mine on Facebook, then you know that I have an affinity for positive and encouraging quotes. I leave you with one of my favorites … “History will judge us by the difference we make in the everyday lives of children.” - Nelson Mandela

Sheri Doss President

A MESSAGE FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR In June, I was fortunate enough to be a part of our annual student awards ceremony recognizing the outstanding 2017-2018 Reflections winners. More than 1,000 people were in attendance with winners, parents, guardians, friends, and sponsors traveling from across Texas to Austin. I extend my grateful thanks to our sponsors Whataburger and Lifetouch for all they did to make this event extra special. This past school year’s Reflections theme was “Within Reach.” After the ceremony concluded, a special artist’s mom approached me and offered her heartfelt, genuine thanks to PTA for hosting the Reflections program. With tears in her eyes, she said, “This program allows my son to be successful with something. You will never know what this means to us.” I replied, “Every child. One voice.” “At the end of the day, the most overwhelming key to a child’s success is the positive involvement of parents.” - Jane D. Hull

TABLE OF CONTENTS 3 4 6 10 Clean Bus Grant Application

Outstanding Educators of the Year 2018 LAUNCH PAD: A PTA Story

Vaccination from a Parent’s Perspective

As I left the ceremony, I reflected on what this mom said to me. Her comment was about Reflections, but her sentiment goes beyond just one program. Since 1909, Texas PTA has worked tirelessly to ensure every child has opportunities to succeed. Whether it’s health and safety initiatives, public education advocacy, or programs like Reflections, PTA demonstrates time and time again that while raising money to support our campuses is some of what we do, we are so much more. The new school year is in full swing now. Thanks to our PTAs and volunteers for what you do to ensure more and more students receive those chances to know and feel success. PTAs make the difference, one student at a time. I can’t wait until next year’s student awards ceremony to see and hear more stories about how we make a difference in the life of a student. Here’s to you, PTA!

Kyle Ward, CAE Executive Director

13 16 18 20

Healthy Lifestyles: Mindfullness in the Morning Fall into Flavor Recipes for Autumn Print & Cut! Lunch Box Notes Save the Date: Rally Day 2019 Play Your Part in Reflections 1

Back to School 2018 • Vol. 112 408 West 11th Austin, TX 78701 • EDITORIAL TEAM Executive Director Kyle Ward, CAE Associate Executive Director Darren Grissom Communications Manager Amy Perry Creative Design Specialist Vanessa Diamos TEXAS PTA BOARD OF DIRECTORS President Sheri Doss President-Elect Suzi Kennon Vice President Field Service Marisol Randle Vice President Leadership Lisa Johns Vice President Membership Marni Kaner Vice President Programs & Resources LaDorshe Damron Secretary Tim Greenwell Treasurer Heidi PeCoy Directors-at-Large Andy Burnfield Beatrice Cruz Cindy Cruz-Davis Risa Ginther Patrick Sanders Pat Sanford

The Voice, the official publication of the Texas Congress of Parents and Teachers, is published four times a year in fall, winter, spring, and summer. Call 1-800-TALK-PTA or visit us on the web for more information. Disclaimer: Articles and advertisements in The Voice do not necessarily represent the viewpoints or policies of Texas PTA. Texas PTA does not endorse non-PTA products or services mentioned in this publication. Reprint permission: Unless otherwise noted, PTAs may reproduce and distribute the materials from The Voice without express written permission. Texas PTA materials may not be duplicated by any other organization or person without written permission from the editor.


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Attention PTAs:

Let your school districts know about an exciting grant opportunity through Texas PTA! $330,000 is available, so act today. Texas PTA is reimbursing schools in the state of Texas for the purchase of a new (model year 2010 or later) bus to replace an older diesel school bus. Funds are awarded for up to 100% of the purchase price. Terms of eligibility and application available online for download. Visit


O F T H E Y E A R • 2018


Bobbie Steiner

Rosanna Martinez

Elementary Principal of the Year

Elementary Teacher of the Year

Faubion Elementary, Leander ISD

Mary Lou Fisher Elementary, Northside ISD

Do you know educators who back the future of every child in your community? Do you know an amazing teacher, principal, or superintendent who gives a little bit extra to make sure all 4

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Andrew Kim

James Cross

Dionne Johnson

Superintendent of the Year

Secondary Principal of the Year

Secondary Teacher of the Year

Comal ISD

Cinco Ranch High School, Katy ISD

RL Turner High School, Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD

students are successful? Share the Love and nominate those outstanding educators for what they are – the best in Texas!



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In an affluent Dallas suburb, a very unlikely anomaly was occurring. A once vibrant PTA was fading. Opened in 2001, Ida Lee Bright Elementary is one of the first elementary schools in Frisco ISD. Bearing the namesake of a former educator who taught school in Frisco from 1974-1984, Bright has a long, rich history of providing strong education with one of the most diverse student populations in the city. Over the years, many things changed. The student population got older, growth and expansion changed demographics, new schools were built, people moved out, and people moved in. We began to struggle with many of the same issues that PTAs of Title I schools struggle with. One thing became very clear — Ida Lee Bright Elementary PTA was struggling. It needed “something”, and it needed “something” fast. What it needed was a re-LAUNCH!


The decision by FISD to implement the International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme at Bright Elementary felt like the start of something amazing. You could feel it in the air. The buzz around the community was exciting, exhilarating, and positive. Bright Elementary would undoubtedly need a prepared, strong, and goal-oriented PTA that could back the future of the school and its amazing students!

Because of my service on PTA in prior years, I was aware of the annual Texas PTA kick-off event, but I never imagined how powerful it could be until I attended. In years before, I may have shrugged it off and showed little to no interest in attending, but this time it was different. This time my name was on the line. I began researching and reading all the marketing material about Texas PTA LAUNCH 2018. To my surprise, the event was held in our backyard making it much easier for many of our newly recruited PTA Board Members to attend. It was almost as if it was meant to be! The more I read, the more excited I became. LAUNCH was the perfect opportunity to reinvigorate our newly formed PTA. At LAUNCH 2018, Ida Lee Bright Elementary PTA had a record number of attendees! We were SEVEN STRONG: Natalie Villareal, Anne Deegan, Parvathi Sivaraman, Valerie Linck, Juanita Olivares, Rebecca Lewis, and Crystal Hahn.

As the newly elected PTA President, I knew the task at hand would be overwhelming. Rebuilding a PTA was not something I thought I would be doing to start the new year. Understanding the importance of finishing the school year strong, I knew that the first item of business would be recruitment. Recruiting, coordinating volunteers, and organizing leaders was the only way to rebuild our PTA. When that was done, our focus could turn to learning, developing, bonding, and growing as a PTA which included members that never served on a PTA before.


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Whether you’re a first-time PTA Leader, or a veteran attendee, LAUNCH has something for you! With more than 150 workshops offered and 200 booths in the exhibit hall, your weekend will be filled with valuable information, networking opportunities, and priceless experiences with passionate Leaders! (from the Texas PTA website) From the moment we walked in the doors at the beautiful Hilton Anatole in Dallas, we were prepped and met with well-organized maps, printed programs, a PTA tote bag, a mobile app, and so much more!

LAUNCH was so well organized and jammed pack full of different training sessions, workshops, and leadership talks that challenged the thinking of our group. Each training session focused on achieving the objective of the session and allowed PTA Leaders and other attendees to be a part of the discussion. The facilitators had breath of perspective and offered a “bag” of effective tools.

A lot of hard work has been underway since attending LAUNCH. Our Board and committee chairs have grown to over 25. We have increased engagement and expanded programs drastically, with parents asking to volunteer regularly. There were so many key take-aways and I credit LAUNCH for providing the perfect “LAUNCH PAD” for our newly built PTA.

For those of us that were very new to PTA or never volunteered before, training sessions allowed introverted attendees to sit back, take notes, absorb, and think individually. The entire event was tailored to ensure that everyone contributed, and everyone took away information that was sure to make their PTA year a success!


Vaccination from a Parent ’s Perspective BY JINNY SUH, LEAD AT IMMUNIZE TEXAS

As a parent, you have to ask yourself, do you care about children – not just your own, but others too?


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After a summer filled with fun and sun, here in Austin, it’s time to get back to school. I’m excited about what the new year is going to bring; I’m looking forward to meeting my older son’s new teacher, getting to know his new classmates, and working with my PTA as I take on the role of Treasurer. One of the things I expect out of my child’s school is a safe environment and that includes safety from preventable diseases like measles and whooping cough. My background in science and, more importantly, my love for my children and the sense of duty I feel towards my community, led me to the decision to fully vaccinate my children on schedule. I consider it my responsibility to take action where I can to protect my kids from things that can harm them. I also owe it to my community to do my part to ensure that we are protected from the threat of an outbreak. As a parent, you have to ask yourself, do you care about children – not just your own, but others too? And what about the little babies too young to receive their vaccines? Or the elderly? Or the immunocompromised?

Thankfully, if you vaccinate, you can be rest assured that evidence and science are on your side. The vaccines we have on our schedule have been proven time and time again to be effective. For instance, the MMR shot provides the best protection from measles, mumps, and rubella. Let’s take an even closer look at measles, which is a highly contagious and harmful disease. A schedule that includes both prescribed doses of the MMR vaccine is 97% effective at preventing measles. Before the measles vaccine program was introduced, 3-4 million people got measles every year in the U.S and almost 50,000 people each year were harmed by the effects of measles – encephalitis, sickness requiring hospitalization, or death. The vaccine led to a more than 99% reduction in measles cases. This is an amazing accomplishment that deserves celebration. I am so happy that there is almost no chance that my children will have to consider measles (or any other vaccine-preventable disease) a normal part of their childhood. My kids are miserable enough when they have the common cold; I can’t imagine how horrible and frightening

Texas PTA would like to welcome our Healthy Lifestyles partner, Pfizer. Pfizer believes that all people deserve to live healthy lives, and this drives their desire to provide access to medicines that are safe, effective, and affordable. 11

a case of measles would be. I am also grateful that the prevention mechanism, vaccines, have also been shown to be safe. In the US, the vaccine injury rate is incredibly low – less than 0.003% of the total vaccines given. A child is more likely to be injured while riding their bike, playing outside, or even walking. Furthermore, the major science, medical, and public health organizations and agencies – American Academy of Pediatrics, CDC, NIH, National Academy of Sciences and WHO – agree that vaccinations are beneficial and safe. Despite all of the science and evidence that supports the effectiveness and safety of vaccines, we still have individuals who choose not to vaccinate their children for non-medical reasons. Sadly, the number of those individuals has grown and shows no sign of stopping. In 2003, Texas had less than 3,000 non-medical exemptions filed statewide; compare that to the last school year (2017-18) when almost 57,000 non-medical exemptions were filed. This is a 20-fold or, in other words, a 1900% increase in the number of non-medical exemptions in Texas. The vast majority of Texans still vaccinate, but now it’s not just up to us to do the right thing by vaccinating on schedule, but to also speak up about the benefits of vaccines. Similar to our responsibility as parents to do what we can to protect our kids from harm, we must also do what we can to fight the misinformation that is circulating and stem the growing tide of antivaccine sentiment before it further damages our community protection from diseases like measles and an outbreak hurts our children and loved ones. From one parent to another, I ask that you vaccinate your children. It’s the right thing to do and protects your kids and benefits countless others, the science supports your decision to vaccinate, and it’s more crucial now than ever before to keep our kids safe from disease and the lies that are threatening to harm them.


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MIND FULL NESS IN THE MORNING by Healthy Lifestyles Liaison Karen Burnell

Mindfulness in the morning? What does that really mean? Well, it can mean different things to different people. The morning can be a very hectic time, and rightly so, but that doesn’t mean you have to speed out the door without breakfast — laser focused on the tasks at hand for the day. Think about being present over being perfect. We strive so hard for perfection that it can take a toll

on our overall health, and health means so much more than being physically fit. The way we start our day can affect our mental, emotional, and physical health. So, think of your alarm clock as a reset button and not a snooze button. Really? What does that look like? First things first, you have to do what works for you and your family. Next, try to follow these simple tips. 13



As I think back to my childhood, one of my fondest

Not everyone is a morning person (myself included)

memories is having breakfast as a family. We may not

but working out in the morning does have its

have always had time for sit down dinners between

benefits. From ensuring it happens before the start

both my parents working and our commuting to

of a long day to increased energy levels and focus,

extracurricular activities, but somehow my parents

morning work outs make sense. However, “moving”

carved out time for family breakfast. And breakfast

our minds can go well beyond the traditional

sure has changed over the years. There are plenty

thought of exercise. Deep breathing, listening

of unhealthy options that do more harm than good.

for silence, or gentle stretches can all be equally

So, remember:

important in waking up your mind for the day.

PAC K YO UR PROTEI N Any style egg

ADD S O M E AC T I VI T Y Whether you like to

and some veggies are a sure win. Opt for

get up and run a 5K before the sun rises or get in

plain yogurt topped with fruit instead of

ten minutes of ab work before the kids start stirring,

fruit flavored yogurt which may have more

a little physical activity in the morning can equate

sugar than you think. Smoothies can be a

to a morning cup of java.

quick and easy breakfast, but make sure you are adding veggies and protein.

B R E AT H E Deep breathing and a focus on your breath may sound a lot easier than it really is.

FAT IS BACK I can’t deny that

Closing your eyes, clearing your mind, filling up

following what research says about

your lungs, and exaggerating each exhale can take

food is confusing. With ever-changing

some practice. But once you’ve got the hang of it,

guidelines, it’s almost best to stick to as

try adding light stretches to move your breath to.

natural as possible (think olive oil instead

Even the smallest of movements can directly affect

of margarine or sugar/stevia instead of artificial

your mood and alertness to tackle the day.

sweeteners). So, consider adding healthier fats like avocado to toast instead of jelly. You never know,

G E T YO U R Z Z Z s We all know this, but somehow

you just might like it!

it gets overlooked. Research is showing the need for more than 8 hours of sleep. Consider turning off

C H EC K YO U R CARBS It’s pretty simple. Avoid

the TV at least one hour before bed and keep your

simple carbs like bagels, white breads, and other

room dark and cool for optimal sleep. Still sluggish

refined flour foods. Try to reduce the sugar in your

later in the day? Try taking a 10-15 minute power

grains. For example, combine one plain bag of

nap (yes, it can be done!) at your desk instead of

oatmeal with one flavored bag, then save half for

a flavored coffee drink (a.k.a. liquid desserts). Just

the next day. Look for cereals or granola bars with

remember, you need sleep before your body can

less sugar — approximately no more than 6 grams

move properly.

of sugar per ounce (30 grams). Craving waffles or pancakes? Go for a whole wheat variety and try a nut butter on top (instead of a sugary syrup) for added protein.


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MAKE UP YOUR MIND Being intentional and creating habits does take some effort. Think about other habits you have


created in the past (good or bad) and remember

Meal preparation doesn’t have to mean eating

what it took for that to happen. They say it can take

the same thing over and over. It can be as simple

at least 21 days (and sometimes longer) to develop

as eating leftovers from a breakfast casserole

a new habit. Just try to stick with it as best you can

made over the weekend or making pancakes and

until it seems more routine and less like work.

freezing them.

WAKE UP ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE BED Consider setting an intentional gratitude routine the


moment you wake up. This not only allows you to

Hydrate your brain with water instead of drinking a

focus on the positive instead of the negative, but it

caffeinated “dessert” drink. If you are getting more

also helps wake up your brain, so you’re not tempted

sleep, you might be able to wake up ten minutes

to push the snooze button. Again. And again.

earlier to move your body instead of craving a cup of joe.

MAKE IT AS NATURAL AS POSSIBLE You may not have time for 5 minutes of deep breathing every morning, but take advantage of what you


get. Use red lights to take a pause and reflect on

Set a reminder in your phone, put it on the

your day. Play soft music to relax or just zone out

calendar, or slap a sticky note on your bathroom

in some unusual silence. Utilize your current routine

mirror. Do what you need to do to help create your

so you don’t end up fighting with it. And make it fit

own routine. And make it as organic as possible —

your needs, your time, and your surroundings.

meaning create a list of things that work for you, mix them up if needed, get out of your comfort

START SMALL Pick one or two things to try so

zone some days, and take a day off if you’re just

that you don’t overwhelm yourself. Or consider

not feeling it. Listen to your mind and body, and

simply adding one minute to your routine each day.

hopefully they will listen back.

Just like sore muscles, rushing into anything can have its setbacks. The smaller steps you take, the more likely you will stick with it!



into f lavor


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APPLE CINNAMORNIN’ MUFFINS 2 cups whole wheat flour 2 tsps. baking soda 1 tsp. baking powder 2 1/2 tsp. cinnamon 1 tsp. salt

3 eggs 2/3 cup pure maple syrup 1/3 cup coconut oil 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce

2 tsp. vanilla extract 2 cups grated apple 1/2 cups chopped walnuts or pecan


Preheat oven to 425


Add grated apples and nuts. Stir


Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners

until combined


Combine flour, baking soda, baking


Fill each muffin tin to the top

powder, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl


Bake 5 minutes


Whisk together eggs, maple syrup,


Decrease oven to 350 and bake an

melted coconut oil, apple sauce, and

additional 12-18 minutes

vanilla extract separately

10. Let cool and enjoy!


Pour the dry ingredients into the wet

and fold together



2 1/2 cups apples (peeled, cored, and sliced) 1 cup all-purpose flour 1 cup white sugar 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon 1/4 tsp. salt 1/2 cup softened butter

2 Golden Delicious apples (cored and thinly sliced) 1 1/2 tsps. white sugar 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon DIRECTIONS 1.

Preheat oven to 225


Arrange apples slices on a baking sheet


Mix sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl,

and sprinkle over apples


Bake 45 minutes to 1 hour until apples are

dried and edges curl


Transfer apple chips to a wire rack until

cooled and crispy


Preheat oven to 375


Lightly grease an 8-inch square baking dish


Arrange apple slices evenly in prepared

baking dish


Sift flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl


Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse

cornmeal; sprinkle over apples


Bake 45 minutes until topping is golden

TIP Try pairing with a turkey burger for a leaner lunch option 17

lunch No passing notes in class … but your student will sure appreciate a surprise note at lunch! Brighten their day with one of these messages or write your own.




ROotINg for you!


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y r r be







O a O

Have ! y a d r e p su








! r a t s r e p Su YOU ARE A



Make it your own! Personalize it and add your own twist to the blank lunch notes. Draw and scribble away!

e aay! O v a O uHper d s OO O



OO 19


CAST YOUR VOTE FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION Texas will hold its general election on November 6, 2018 with early voting October 22-November 2. Lend your PTA voice for the future of our schools and vote public education at the polls! To view a comprehensive list of candidates in statewide, congressional, and legislative elections, visit and navigate to ‘November Ballot’ in the top tab.



WH Y ATTE ND RALLY DA Y? Rally Day is an important day in which our advocacy voices quite literally resound throughout the State Capitol. PTAs from across the state stand shoulder to shoulder with the students we champion for — appealing for legislators to back the future of every child by adequately funding public education, working to end bullying, and ensuring the safety and security of our students and schools. Attending Rally Day is an investment of your time and resources Texas students cannot afford to lose.


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Back to School 2018 • Vol. 112 408 West 11th Austin, TX 78701 1-800-TALK-PTA Texas PTA texasPTA txstatepta texas_pta


Texas Parent Teacher Association The Voice