The Voice | Fall 2015

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Texas Parent Teacher Association Fall 2015

Welcome to the new membership year!


PAGE 24 Johnny Quinn’s tips for juggling studies with extracurriculars

PAGE 8 PTA can have the power to involve the whole commuinty and be an asset to making a successful Title I School

PTA, lets engage! I want to thank you for getting our 2015-2016 PTA year off to a great start. In addition to all the members we are gaining this year, there are many new PTA CommYOUnities! As we continue moving into the fall season, I look forward to the new partnerships and growth we will experience as a PTA family, united by the desire to back the future of our students. Speaking of family, I encourage you all to register for the Family Engagement Conference in Dallas this February. Engagement is crucial in our children’s lives and if we are not engaged, we are not being proactive. Whether you are new or seasoned to PTA, I know that each and every one of you became a member of this association for a reason. Let’s come together for this conference to make those reasons shine! By joining forces and learning more about our roles as leaders in our CommYOUnities, we can continue striving to improve the lives and education of our children. 2

Texas Parent Teacher Association The Voice

PAGE 14 Tips for how to keep your child reading

In addition to Family Engagement Conference, we look forward to scholarships, Reflections, LAUNCH and many other happenings. I appreciate all of your hard work and advocacy efforts that you’ve passionately worked for so far this year. Continue reaching out to students, school administrators, local business leaders and other members of your community to join the PTA family. Let’s continue to back the future of our children. In this issue of The Voice, you will see how these partnerships benefit everyone involved, no matter the financial situation of the community. You will also see a school that reinforces a positive campus culture, so much so, this school has no need for an In School Suspension (ISS) program. Everyone has been doing a great job promoting the back the future and CommYOUnity brands. Keep up the great work! Wishing you a successful year, Leslie Boggs Texas PTA President


PAGE 18 One Texas middle school has reduced bad behavior around campus by celebrating the good things that students accomplish throughout a normal day

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Public Education: A Priority for Everyone PTA’s Presence in a Title I School Keeping Your Child on a Cycle of Reading Praise Over Punishment System in Schools Juggling School with Extra-Cirrculars Recipes for the Fall Season Curbing Your Child’s Candy Consumption New PTAs in the State of Texas

So, what’s your line? So is PTA a luxury or necessity? The answer to that question depends on how we convey our message. If you approach a potential new member and say, “I’d like for you to back the future and join PTA, but I know you don’t have the time, money or the interest,” the person will most likely not become a member and consider PTA irrelevant. However, if you enthusiastically state, “Our campus and students are counting on you to back the future and we need your voice as a member, your time or both,” all of a sudden PTA becomes relevant, important and necessary. It is critical we don’t talk people out of supporting PTA. It is not our place to predetermine if someone has the financial resources, time or interest. Our job is to convey the need and let them decide how they will spend their money, time or both. Many times campuses are labeled in certain ways. We need to be careful not to decide in advance that someone won’t join or get involved. Some of the most active and vibrant PTAs are ones that have challenges, but also are the ones where parents, students and faculty put family engagement (and PTA) first! So, what’s your line? I hope we will all strive to ask before we write off anyone! Kyle Ward, CAE Executive Director 3

Scholarship Opportunities through Texas PTA for 2015-2016

Summer 2015 • Vol. 106, No. 3 408 West 11th Austin, TX 78701 • EDITORIAL TEAM Executive Director Kyle Ward, CAE Associate Executive Director Darren Grissom

Texas PTA offers $1000 scholarships to graduating high school seniors and $500 scholarships to faculty members! Join your PTA or PTSA to find out more about these scholarship opportunites or visit to apply.

Creative Design Specialist Rolando Sepulveda Digital Media Specialist Brianna Vela TEXAS PTA BOARD OF DIRECTORS President Leslie Boggs President-Elect Lisa Holbrook

All funds for the scholarships are provided by gifts to the Texas PTA Endowment Fund.

Secretary Sheri Doss Treasurer Beth Crymes Vice President Programs & Resources Heather Ashwell-Hair

A completed electronic application must be received by December 1, 2015 to be eligible for consideration.

Vice President Membership Elizabeth Campbell, J.D. Vice President Leadership Chris Zimmer Vice President Field Service Catherine Carlin Directors-at-Large Pierr Castillo Frances Fass Lee Guerra Fred Henley, J.D. Sylvia R. Reyna, Ph.D. Neil Shelby Greg Smith, Ph.D.

The Voice, the official publication of the Texas Congress of Parents and Teachers, is published four times a year — 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 Y express written permission. Texas PTA materials may not be CM duplicated by any other organization or person without written permission from the editor. MY COVER PHOTO BY HARRY HARJABRATA





Texas Parent Teacher Association The Voice

Te xa s P TA / Fe b r u a r y 2 6 - 2 8 / D a l l a s 2 0 1 6

Re g i s t ra t i o n o p e n s N o v e m b e r 2



Public Education A Priority for Everyone by Greg Smith, Ph.D. Clear Creek Independent School District Superintendent, Texas PTA Director-At-Large Texas PTA, its Local and Council PTAs, and educators across this state work every day of every month for every year to provide opportunities for every child in Texas. They do this wholeheartedly because they know the success of any community is measured by the success of its children. Communities across Texas are strong today because of this shared belief and because parents like you are engaged, informed and the best advocates for all children. As an educator for more than 30 years and a proud PTA member, I have worked in schools where parent involvement was noticeably absent and in schools where parents were truly partners in education. You don’t have to master the state assessment to figure out which schools increased student achievement. Simply stated, we can’t provide a world-class education without you. We have seen your tremendous impact during the past two legislative sessions. Parents like you told our legislators that a one-size, highstakes approach to education is not what you signed up for when you sent your child to school. Business owners, some of them your neighbors, told lawmakers that they were looking for critical thinkers, innovators and team-members; workforce attributes that cannot be measured by multiple choice tests. Educators, like those in your neighborhood school, told policymakers that the system was neglecting children from discovering their unique talents and gifts. Because of this collective voice, our valued legislators reduced the number of End-of-Course Exams from 15 to five. Innovation zones have been approved to allow school districts to work outside the confines of mandates and pave a new pathway for students in other school districts. Students are now allowed to pursue coursework that match their passion in ways previously restricted. There is one bill which still requires your attention and input. House Bill 2804 gives the Texas Education Agency (TEA) the green light to overhaul the way our schools and school districts are measured. We all recognize families and businesses want to live and work in vibrant communities with strong ties to a school district that graduates students who are college, career, and life ready. Our students deserve it and taxpayers expect it.


Texas Parent Teacher Association The Voice

photo by Ismael Barraza

Ratings or other distinguishing grades are important tools to determine those outcomes. Under this legislation, the TEA will establish three domains where the final grade will result in an A through F rating for each school. The first domain accounts for 55% and is solely based on the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR) results. The second domain, valued at 35%, consists of indicators such as attendance, graduation and dropout rates, military enrollment, career and technical certifications, as well as advanced placement participation. The third domain, a mere 10%, is comprised of local factors to be determined by what you value in your respective community. In our school district, we asked our community how they would judge the quality of the education system. They overwhelmingly stated they value varied opportunities to meet the needs of children. They want a robust college preparatory program. They want vibrant extracurricular programs that build student confidence and character. Interestingly enough, they rated the results of the STAAR test as the least important indicator of a successful school district. A commission will soon be formed to work through the details of this important legislation. There are fans and foes of letter grades. Advocates say it will inspire low-performing schools to do better. Opponents are concerned this will further stigmatize poor communities. Regardless of where you stand on this issue, please make sure your voice is heard. Whether you are motivated to make an impact in the classroom, on the school board, or on the floor in Austin and Washington D.C., there is an important home for you in public education. Stay Connected, back the future, and join your community’s PTA!

Representative Carol Alvarado gives speech on the impact of e-cigarettes at Texas PTA’s Rally Day event photo by Ismael Barraza

Texas PTA Announces Legislative Honor Roll for 84th Session by Ellen Arnold, Governmental Affairs Speaker Joe Straus Honored as Texas PTA Legislator of the Year A few weeks ago, Texas PTA presented Representative Joe Straus of San Antonio, the Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, with the 2015 Legislator of the Year. Speaker Straus has been a staunch advocate on behalf of the children of Texas for many years. In his fourth term as Speaker of the House, Straus has proved he is truly a friend of Texas children through his support of several pieces of legislation impacting children and youth including: • Earmarking $1.2 billion in new money for public schools. • Encouraging a bi-partisan group of House members to work throughout the interim to develop a new system of school funding and prioritizing the legislation that resulted from the work, HB 1759, for debate in the House. In the end, the members were not prepared to move forward with the legislation, but an important debate was begun. • Supporting and encouraging the development of a new system of accountability for public schools that focuses more broadly on the work of schools. • Supporting fast track legislation to offer an alternative for this year’s seniors who have passed all required courses but been unable to pass one or two end-of-course exams. • Supporting legislation to create an alternative method of assessing writing, and legislation requiring state-mandated assessments to be validated by an independent entity and ensuring that there are appropriate limits on the length of time a test may take to be completed.

President Leslie Boggs and Executive Director Kyle Ward present Speaker Joe Straus with his Legislator of the Year Award

Speaker Straus’ actions improved our system of public schools, expanded opportunities to some of our most at risk students, and in doing so helped to re-enforce Texas PTA’s mission to make every child’s potential a reality. In addition, twelve legislators were added to Texas PTA’s Legislative Honor Roll for their work during the 84th Session of the Texas Legislature that ended in June. Visit for more background information on the other policy makers who made our Legislative Honor Roll this year! 2015 Legislative Honor Roll Representative Carol Alvarado, D-Houston Representative Trent Ashby, R-Lufkin Representative Jimmie Don Aycock, R-Killeen Representative Joe Deshotel, D-Beaumont Representative Marsha Farney, R-Georgetown Representative Donna Howard, D-Austin Representative Dan Huberty, R-Houston Representative John Otto, R-Dayton Representative Gary VanDeaver, R-New Boston Senator Juan Hinojosa, D-McAllen Senator Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo Senator Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood

• Supporting legislation requiring the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills to be reviewed. 7



Texas Parent Teacher Association The Voice

H E FA M I LY The bond that makes PTA the difference. by Brianna Vela, Digital Media Specialist


Family Engagement

“Our focus is not on making money.”


hether the texts and phone calls come in at 6:45 a.m. or 9:00 at night, Faubion Elementary’s Principal, Bobbie Steiner, and PTA President, Liz Summers are in constant communication with one another.

“Our goal is to help foster get parents out and about with their kids.”

“It’s truly a marriage between us,” Principal Steiner said chuckling. As this Leander ISD elementary school celebrates its 40th birthday, the relationship between principal and the school’s PTA grows stronger each and every year. “I’m so excited to see our PTA thriving,” Steiner said. “Before our most recent PTA board, it was difficult to make quorum at the meetings,” Steiner said. Faubion Elementary considers the school a family and consistently strives to make students feel like this is their second home. Liz Summers became a part of the Faubion family when her 7 and 5-year-old sons entered the school. Before becoming a full-time, stay-at-home mom and PTA president, she taught for eight years in a neighboring district. “I love being in the school,” Summers said. “As a parent knowing what teachers go through, it has been easy for me to volunteer through PTA.”


Texas Parent Teacher Association The Voice

The cost to join Faubion Elementary’s PTA is $6.00 per year. With National PTA and Texas PTA dues, this means the school is getting $1.50 back per membership. “Our focus is not on making money,” PTA Treasurer Suzanne Vocal said. “Our goal is to help foster engagement. We are creating so many different initiatives designed to get parents out and about with their kids and socializing with one another.” To see how they could expand these initiatives, officers Liz Summers (President), Suzanne Vocal (Treasurer), and Sara Ziedzialkowski (PTA Store Manager) attended Texas PTA’s Summer Leadership Seminar, LAUNCH in Dallas this past summer. Vocal described her three days at the conference: “It was important we went. There was a great mix of classes we needed as leaders and classes we needed to excel in each of our own operational tasks. We came away a lot more confident in how to do our jobs on a day to day basis. We also learned how to bond our team, communicate and work through conflict. It made us a lot more prepared going into the school year.

We also spoke to our principal on a daily basis while we were there, discussing what we learned. Now, we have been at the school every day since LAUNCH and we feel that has made a big difference in how we communicate with the school’s staff and with parents. We are making sure our PTA goes to LAUNCH every year.” Just weeks after LAUNCH, Faubion Elementary grew to 100% staff PTA membership. “When we came for Teachers Week, I met with staff about the start of a new year and discussed what the PTA and I talked about over the summer,” Steiner said. “They (staff) were immediately on board. I told them, ‘This is a partnership. They (PTA) can’t do it without our help and we can’t do it without theirs.’”

As staff got on board with the PTA, so did more and more parents. The first PTA meeting of the year, Steiner witnessed triple the amount of regular attendees. “We had a lot of great parents come out of the wood works!” Summers said excitingly. “Parents that may have wanted to volunteer in the past but didn’t know how to, were signing up for co-chair positions.

“PTA can’t do it without [the staff’s] help and we can’t do it without theirs”


Steiner and Summers are well aware of the socio-economic backgrounds of the majority of their students. Faubion Elementary is a Title I school where the average income of student’s families ranges from one end of the spectrum to the other.

“We are taking it one step at a time as parents, teachers, neighbors and community members,” Steiner said. “These students’ parents work hard and they may not be able to be here for everything, but their hearts are. If they support us, we are going to walk their kids hand in hand while keeping them informed so they can be a part of it.”

“I grew up in a home with low socio-economic status,” Steiner said. “No one would have ever known though because my mom was the best role model I could have had. She told me, ‘You work hard every day and you can make it happen.’”

The Faubion family has a lot to look forward to this year. With a recently approved courtyard for the front of the school and an immensely popular “Glow Run” in the spring, this elementary and PTA continue to thrive and flourish thanks to the combined efforts of everyone involved.

Steiner brings this motto of hard work to her campus. By getting to know each child and their parents, her staff and the school’s PTA do all they can to make each child’s potential a reality.

“Every one of these kids in the school has the potential... they just need their cheerleaders.”

“I know that socio-economic status doesn’t need to be an excuse, so I don’t accept it as an excuse,” Steiner said. “Every one of these kids in the school has the potential to go to any college or wherever they want to go. They just need their cheerleaders.” Parents take notice of this combined force between school and PTA. Special Education Assistant Deanna Amey says it makes a difference. “Faubion PTA wants to listen to both parents and teachers in order to help make things happen for them,” Amey said. “They have the mindset that everyone is going to get involved and I think that works really well for them.”


Texas Parent Teacher Association The Voice

These students’ parents work hard and they may not be able to be here for everything but their hearts are.

Principal Steiner, Faubion Elementary School


READING is a Cycle Worth Repeating by Nicole Cruz, Sharyland High School Librarian Ann Likes Red by Dorothy Seymour was the first book I could read independently. My mother must have read it to me and listened to me reading it to the point of memorization. I read Ann Likes Red to my daughter when she was only a few days old along with other children’s classics like Good Night Moon, Love You, Forever, and The Runaway Bunny. During a summer visit, my grandmother placed a worn copy of Gone with the Wind in my 7th grade hands. I gave the same book to my 13-year-old this summer. The value of reading is a powerful cycle in my family. This educational cycle should be repeated by each generation.


Texas Parent Teacher Association The Voice


A love for words, language, and story starts in the home. Parents, guardians, and grandparents empower their children and future generations when they develop a love of reading and model it to their children. As a school librarian, I recommend the following five strategies to develop life-long readers: Gift books, periodicals, and eBook gift cards instead of video games, tech gadgets, and toys.

one Role model reading. Our actions speak louder than our words. Your child will emulate your habits. Talk about the books you read and have read and why you choose certain authors, series, or genres.



Enroll your child in a public library summer reading program or visit your child’s school library regularly. Many schools now offer Family Reading Nights or weekend hours for parents who work outside the home.

Read aloud to children at any age. Engage them in discussion about the themes and characters in stories or current issues in a newspaper. Ask them to share their opinions with you. Listen to them.


Praise and reward your child for reading. If they just read the latest book in a popular series, make a point of taking them to the movie when it is released. Ask them how the movie was similar to or different from the book.

I’ve been blessed to work at every level of librarianship in my school district. This June I witnessed students from my first group of kindergarteners graduate from high school. I remember singing the “A is for Alligator” song with them or reading Brown Bear, Brown Bear to them when they were five sitting on the alphabet carpet. In junior high school, we explored the characters and time periods in The Watsons Go to Birmingham, Code Orange, and The Outsiders. As high school students the

same readers were analyzing Fahrenheit 451, Dracula, Lord of the Flies, and Bless Me Ultima. The leap from Brown Bear, Brown Bear to Bless Me Ultima is not so intimidating when parental encouragement, guidance, and role modeling is in place. Spend time with your child and influence the future by valuing reading. I’m grateful my mother never grew too tired to read Ann Likes Red or make one more saturday trip to our small town library. We still share our favorite books today.


Keep up to date with Texas PTA’s Advocacy efforts in and out of the Legislative Session! Sign-up for Under The Dome to get the latest updates!




ixteen K-5 students— and one lucky teacher— will win a Samsung tablet or laptop by entering the How Do You Take Care of Texas? elementary school art contest!

The contest begins January 4, 2016; artwork must be received by March 2, 2016. For more exciting details, visit <> or e-mail <>.

Texas Commission on Environmental Quality


Texas Parent Teacher Association The Voice

2015 Grand Prize Winner Ava White



Visit to shop for essential sharing tools, accessories, and resources to make your PTA successful!

Items include PTA shirts, awards, resource guides, gifts, jewelry, bags, and necessities for running your PTA

Awards certificates, and ribbons for this year’s Reflections theme “Let your Imagination Fly” are now available! 17



ove r

t n punishme

by Brianna Vela, Digital Media Specialist 18

Texas Parent Teacher Association The Voice



iddle school can seem to exist as a space of uncertainty for both incoming students and their parents. The leap from elementary school to classroom rotations, after school activities, and the everyday challenges of becoming a teenager, has the potential to terrify everyone involved. With a reputation to act out in class or misbehave in the hallways, middle schoolers are many times treated as delinquents rather than teenagers. To combat these stereotypes and eliminate the status quo, educators of Blalack Middle School in Carrollton Farmers Branch ISD began to research problem-areas in their school and begin building a positive atmosphere for all. Providing an environment where students can feel safe and respected, and parents and staff are welcomed and encouraged, has been the goal of BMS Principal, Dr. Lance Hamlin, since he arrived in 2011. “Too many times, teachers are engaged in negative conversations with students, which does not allow teachers and students to have positive relationships,” said Dr. Hamlin. To help build these positive relationships, he began searching through records to determine when and where students were having behavior issues and what specific actions were leading to student referrals for In School Suspension (ISS). “For example, we saw the lockers were consistently a problem area,” Dr. Hamlin said. “Students were not

getting to class on time because they were hanging around and storing things in the lockers they weren’t supposed to. So we don’t use them anymore.” In addition to identifying where negative behaviors were taking place at the school, Dr. Hamlin envisioned where he would like the school to be; he desired a campus atmosphere where positive reinforcement reined over a culture of punishment. This is when he brought the U.S. Department of Education’s program, Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support ®, commonly known as “PBIS”, to Blalack Middle School. “The program was created to celebrate the positive behaviors the students exhibited on a campus,” Dr. Hamlin said. “Typically, schools spend more time on negative behaviors and the PBIS program emphasizes spending more time celebrating the students that are caught doing great things.” PBIS works in multiple ways:

1. Students are given a “trust card” when they start a brand new school year. As long as they model good behavior throughout the week, they keep their trust cards and are given various incentives throughout the day and year.


Mat Hudnall, a 7th grade Science teacher and PBIS Program Ambassador, is in charge of incentives for the program. “A trust card to these students is considered gold,” Hudnall said. “The idea is not to focus on punishment, but an opportunity for us to build a better relationship with that student.” When a student has a behavior issue, the trust card is taken away for at least 24 hours by their teacher. Once it is returned, the student meets with that teacher to discuss what actions led them to the situation and what should be done next time. Students who don’t have trust cards are last in line for lunch and must stay to help clean the cafeteria when everyone is done eating. They also do not get to participate in school activities such as ice cream socials. To also encourage responsibility, students are not allowed to participate in these rewarding incentives when leaving their card at home.

2. Students have the opportunity to go beyond simply possessing a trust card. Those who perform exceptional acts of kindness and are caught doing the right thing, are picked out of the hallway crowd by patrolling teachers. Good deeds at BMS can include helping a new student find their class, picking up trash in the hallway or being polite to those around them. If a student is spotted by a teacher, they are given a “PAW” ticket and taken to the front office where a special phone call is made to their parents. “At first, the parent is concerned because phone calls from school are not necessarily looked at as a positive thing,” Hudnall said. “But then a teacher on the phone will tell them, ‘Look, I just wanted to let you know how fantastic your student was. I saw them walking down the hall and watched them help a student find their classroom.’ Parents love it. I’ve had some people cry on the phone.” 20

Texas Parent Teacher Association The Voice

3. Once the phone call has been made, the students get to have their “PAW” ticket placed on the “Hamlin Heroes” board located in the main hallway for everyone to see. Once it fills up like a bingo chart, three students are selected to win large prizes, including bicycles. After the prizes are drawn, the board starts all over for students to continue striving to do the right thing and to be recognized in front of their entire school. “Students have the right to be treated with respect,” said Dr. Hamlin. “And this program is a great way to show that we respect them. Now, negative behaviors are not ignored,” Dr. Hamlin said. “They are identified and teachers and Blalack staff have an opportunity to provide a quick redirection and teach on what the appropriate behavior would look like.”

“Typically, schools spend more time on negative behaviors and the PBIS program emphasizes spending more time celebrating the students that are caught doing good things.” 21

Skyler Courtney, age 13, is one of the students who won a bicycle through the program. “I was walking through the hallway, saw a piece of trash, and I decided to pick it up,” Courtney said. “My Social Studies teacher saw me and decided to give me a “PAW.” Courtney has seen the difference PBIS has made in his classmates’ behavior just in the past year. “Last year, I saw 6th graders going to the office for screaming out in class, but this year I see them going to the office for the phone calls to their parents,” Courtney said. “They are picking up trash, saying nice things to the teachers, and are silent in class.” Since the program’s initiation in 2012, Blalack has made tremendous strides in test scores and has seen a dramatic 77% drop in the number of referrals given out to students. “One year prior to initiating the program, our ISS room was full on a daily basis,” Dr. Hamlin said. “Once we started the program, we closed our ISS room. This is our third year without it - which means students are now back in the classroom not missing instruction. There is plenty of evidence to support the fact that some of our students that used to spend a lot of time in ISS and not pass classes and assessments are now passing,” Dr. Hamlin said.


Texas Parent Teacher Association The Voice

“When students feel respected, cared about, and loved by their teachers, they will work extremely hard for them.” PTA President Catherine Carlin interacts with student’s parents on a daily basis and says they could not be more pleased with the results of this program. “All the parenting classes you may take in life talk about empathy and positive reinforcement,” Carlin said. “This just lines up with that really well. They went from sending kids to detention for misbehaving in class to providing positive feedback for every day actions.” Dr. Hamlin attends every PTA meeting to make sure parents and other PTA members are in the loop with what is going on in the school. “It’s a partnership,” Carlin said. “He wants our members to know they are welcome to the school and just because a child is in middle school, it does not preclude parents from coming to see what is going on in the hallways and classrooms.” Dr. Hamlin hopes that the time spent being engaged in positive interactions amongst students, parents and staff, allow for the creation of a “true family atmosphere.” “This school is a safe place,” said Carlin. “It’s where my child is learning and not being punished all day. Students are being disciplined in a loving way and great things are going on at Blalack. That’s the way it should be.”

When students feel respected, cared about, and loved by their teachers, they will work extremely hard for them.

Dr. Hamlin, Blalack Middle School Principal




A b


y Quinn, U n ni hn o te J d

St at es O mpian ly

It’s no secret that in today’s culture we are pulled in a variety of directions with multiple sources competing for our time and attention. When it comes to time in a day (24 hours), it is an equal playing field for everyone. It’s how we choose to spend our time that matters most. As adults, we have the power to help students balance the demand of classwork, extra-curricular activities, and sports. We can also help them to manage college applications, ACT/SAT prep classes, and community involvement. It all starts with a plan! 24

Texas Parent Teacher Association The Voice











chool, ex s tra ing l g

ci rr icu

r u lar s, and yo

Be Intentional

e r tu u f

Be Real

A student doesn’t have to be involved in every group, sport, or organization but they should be involved in areas that are of particular interest to them. Take a moment and find out if they have over committed themselves or if their interests have shifted. Just because they enjoyed playing basketball as a freshman, that doesn’t necessarily mean they want to play as a junior. Ask questions, seek information, and help them be intentional in the activities they choose.

Technology has transformed the landscape. Most students carry a mobile device that connects them with their friends, the Internet, and just about anything they can wrap their creative minds around in a matter of a few clicks. Help them understand the power of technology and the responsibility it carries. Be real and authentic with the struggles and problems that teenagers face today. Make it a safe place for a student to share what is on their heart. What an exciting opportunity we have to help encourage, shape, and sharpen our future generation! It’s our responsibility to lean in and share what we have learned along the way in hopes of smoothing out the road for those to come. To help you get started, I have put together a THINK Guide which you can download for free at:

Be Wise









A student can learn by experience but the best way to learn is to borrow wisdom. Help them be wise by seeking advice from positive influences. Maybe that’s a teacher or coach who can provide insight into “what works” and what “doesn’t work.” Teachers and coaches have a vast amount of knowledge that can be tapped into if you simply ask. Administrators, teachers and coaches choose this professional because they genuinely care for the future generation and want to help students reach their full potential.


be a voice for the future Have a response to anything featured in The Voice or have an idea for a story? Send a message to and let us know your thoughts!


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Healthy Lifestyles

Pumpkin Pie Pudding

Family Friendly Enchiladas

Ingredients 1 3.4 ounce box Instant Butterscotch Pudding and Pie Filling 1 1/2 cups cold nonfat milk 1 15-ounce can of puree pumpkin 2 tsp vanilla 1 tsp cinnamon 1/2 tsp ground ginger 1/4 tsp nutmeg Total Time: 2 hours

Ingredients 12 corn tortillas 1 19 oz can of enchilada sauce Âź cup chopped onions 2 cups cubed, cooked chicken meat 4 cups shredded cheese 1 cup sour cream 1 Âź cup chopped tomatoes 2 cups spinach

Preparation 1. Whisk butterscotch pudding and milk for two minutes. 2. Stir in pumpkin, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg, blending well. 3. Pour into 4 dessert glasses or bowls. 4. Refrigerate until ready to serve. 5. Top with a dollop of fat-free whipped topping or a few pieces of candy corn. Serves 4

Preparation 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking dish. 2. In a medium bowl, mix the chicken, onion, 1 cup cheddar cheese, 2 cups spinach and 3/4 cup sour cream. Disperse the mixture evenly among the tortillas. Roll into enchiladas, and arrange in single layer in the prepared baking dish. 3. In a saucepan over low heat, melt together the remaining Cheddar cheese and sour cream. Pour over the enchiladas, and top with tomatoes and olives. 4. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 30 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. Garnish with tomatoes and mild salsa. Serves 4


Texas Parent Teacher Association The Voice

Curbing your Child’s Candy Consumption

Ensure your children drink water and eat food before indulging in candy. Preparing nutritious, proteinenriched meals for children is essential. Make sure your child has proper nutrition in their bodies before indulging in candy. This will help discourage your children from filling up on sweets. It is also important for children to be drinking water throughout the day. Make sure they have a glass of water with their meal before dessert.

Limit the amount of candy your child collects and has access to. Whether the candy stock-pile in your house has built up from trick or treating or has accumulated over time, limit your child’s access to it. Do not place the candy in a place where the child can take from it whenever they choose, but where you can regulate how much is taken out of the candy dish.

Limit how much candy can be eaten in one sitting. Following an evening of trick or treating, a child could desire to eat all the candy they brought home. Come to an agreement with your children about a reasonable intake throughout the night, the following week, and throughout the month. One piece after a meal or a small handful of pieces should be the limit. Eventually, your child may get tired of their options and loose interest in the candy.


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