The Voice | Winter 2014

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Diane Dobis and Mary Lovell of the CarrolltonFarmers Branch ISD Council were joined by Texas PTA Vice President Field Service Catherine Carlin for the Council’s unforgettable rally in early September at Ranchview High School.

(Above) Texas PTA President, Leslie Boggs, speaks about the importance of back the future during Midland/Odessa’s event.

Cover photos are from C-FB ISD’s rally.

Throughout Tex PTA at www ownership their sch

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will go down in history as the beginning of a bright new chapter for Texas PTA. We launched back the future, which will be the brand of every PTA in Texas for many years to come. It centers on the belief that an investment in the education of Texas children is an investment in our communities’ future.

xas, we are asking every person in every community to back the future by joining The long-term outcome for PTAs in Texas will depend on the sense of p that all community members feel about their personal role in ensuring the success of hools. 2014 is just the beginning of this movement.

e brand was introduced during the back-to-school time frame, with grassroots events across the state that began to put the concept into action. From Diboll to Dallas and Round Rock to Richardson, momentum was strong from the beginning and keeps getting stronger. Orange yard signs with a student silhouette cropped up in yards, storefronts, and campuses. Declarations of support appeared on decals and email signatures that read, “I am ________, and I back the future!” On social media, green back the future logos replaced personal photos as profile pictures. Proud members of PTA were easily identified by their matching T-shirts. Our goal to provide everychild. onevoice.® found new resonance in special events that brought entire communities together, excited to back the future and join (or renew with!) PTA. I have been so impressed by the creative efforts of our Locals and Councils to raise support for PTA in their communities. You clearly realize the great potential that back the future has to grow, diversify, and strengthen your membership. And importantly, you understand that a stronger membership means a stronger impact on children and communities. Now that we are a few months into the year, let’s take a moment to remember a few of the countless stories in this historic chapter for Texas PTA.

Senator Eddie Lucio Jr., Harlingen Mayor Chris Boswell, Superintendent After the huge success of C-FB Dr. Art Cavazos, and other community ISD’s back the future rally in early leaders stood up to back the future September, Superintendent Dr. during an unforgettable event at Bobby Burns asked the Council Zavala Elementary in late August. The PTA to partner with him in next month, Senator Lucio continued hosting additional events his strong support by co-hosting throughout the year. The with Texas PTA several meetings next rally, back the throughout the Rio Grande Valley future: part deaux, with leaders of over 20 school districts. will be Wednesday He told these leading educators evening, Dec. that PTA is the answer to their family 3, at RL Turner engagement and parent education High School. needs, and that he counts on Texas PTA to help him make informed decisions on legislative issues affecting children. Senator Lucio also coauthored a newspaper editorial with me encouraging community-wide membership in PTA, which was picked up by several news outlets including the McAllen Monitor.

A mid-August event in the garden of Houston ISD’s Travis Elementary brought together many families and the news media. Interest continued to grow, eventually leading Houston Mayor Annise Parker and the Houston City Council to declare October as back the future month in Houston.

Texas PTA PresidentElect Lisa Holbrook (center) joined Sinclair Elementary Principal Abigail Taylor (left)and PTA President, Yolanda Silva (right), during a Houston City Council meeting to support a back the future proclamation. Abigail is the Texas PTA 2014 Elementary Principal of the Year.

The Round Rock ISD Council hosted an energetic press conference at Bluebonnet Elementary on the first day of school, with Superintendent Dr. Steven Flores speaking about the importance of back the future. The Austin FOX TV station interviewed several PTA supporters during a live news feed.

I was pleased to be part of the back the future event that Midland and Ector County ISD co-hosted on August 28. Odessa College brought a charter bus packed with students and faculty including the President and Dean. Community members also attended as well as numerous news reporters.

Spring Branch ISD Council was part of two football games held during “rivalry weekend.” Numerous community officials, state legislators,

educators, students, and Texas PTA leaders participated in presentations during half-time, bringing special attention to back the future.

The Dallas ISD Northwest Council and the Dallas ISD Trinity Council came together in early August to successfully showcase back the future during the Dallas Mayor’s Back to School Fair at Fair Park.

Humble ISD Council’s back the future event in mid-October left the crowd inspired. The School Board president told the crowd how important their involvement in PTA was, especially during the upcoming legislative session. The event provided a great opportunity to celebrate the 19 schools in Humble ISD that already reached 100% faculty/ staff participation to receive the Texas PTA Golden Apple Award this year, thanks to a motivational challenge from Superintendent Dr. Guy Sconzo. (The Golden Apple deadline is not until March 15; visit our Membership Awards web page for more information.)

First make a budget plan,and stick to it and make a list of people you are giving gifts to. Get baskets, color cellophane and bows from discount stores to wrap the gifts. Keep the family involved by letting them help wrap some gifts. - Dorothy, PSE PTA, Houston I carve out a marathon shopping day during the week, wrap whenever I can, and skip the baking - because I am only a mere mortal! - Marsha, Scobee Elementary PTA, San Antonio I am NOT a shopaholic. I collect small gifts through the year and toss them in a box in my closet. Thanksgiving weekend, I pull out the box and my shopping is done. I don’t have to face a mall! - Michelle, BISD Smithfield Middle School PTA, North Richland Hills

When we add the chaos of the holidays to our already busy lives it’s easy to loose focus on what is truly important, our family. It’s the small things that matter the most. Take time to experience and enjoy everyday, especially holidays, with them and make memories that last forever.

Your V

- Susan, Henry Middle School PTA, Cedar Park

I have found that I reduce holiday chaos by nurturing myself. I make time to go for at least a 30 minute jog everyday.

You gave us so on holida

Once I let go the fear of disappointing others and - Selina, Woodcrest chose what was best for Elementary PTA, Port our family, our holiday Neches season became much more enjoyable. That is Instead of traditional what my kids remember. Christmas fare, let each family member choose a I also don’t stress about favorite food item for the making everything Christmas meal. It makes Pinterest perfect. for a crazy meal, but is - Kaci, Chapel Hill low-stress and fun for all. Academy PTA, Fort Worth

I manage by being grateful and having an attitude of forgiveness. I know people get stressed so if I’m joyful and peaceful, then maybe I can pass this on to them. - Yolanda, Lewisville

- Susan, Willow Creek Elementary PTA, Saginaw I count my blessings when I get stressed. I remind myself that the purpose of life is to love and serve others. - Tracy, Leander


ome great tips ay chaos!

I love the holiday season, but as a single mom it can get crazy! I schedule free time during the week to share with my family. For PTA events, we try to double up on volunteers so no one person is overwhelmed with any task. So far so good! - Kay, Covington Middle School PTA, Austin I usually have 3 top priorities for the day. If there are other things to be done they come after the top 3. If I don’t get to them they shuffle to the next day. - Shelli, Scharbauer PTA, Midland

Donating to families in need at the holidays is a great way to teach your kids about helping others and appreciating what they have. - Gina, Lone Star PTA, Keller My kids prefer fun/ special family moments vs. the constant events. Your kids anticipate and enjoy YOU more than anyone else. - Tanya, Commonwealth Elementary PTA, Sugar Land We all have the power to re-write our own inner Holiday Script! Recognize when it’s time to let go of old family traditions.

I will make sure that the whole family gets out and does a little exercise to keep stress from entering our lives as we celebrate the holidays. We do the Turkey Trot 5k on the morning of Thanksgiving. - Pam, Wheelock PTA, Lubbock Don’t worry! You have plenty of time to enjoy your family and just relax. Either way, it will get cleaned up tomorrow. -Nelly, William Lipscomb PTA, Dallas

Since we have high school students, I make sure to send an email thank you to teachers. - Ann, Humble Certain years I have taken food for the office Remembering the reason staff the last day before for the holiday (NOT the holidays with little how perfect I can make treats. it) keeps me sane and as relaxed as possible. - Jennifer, Austin Council Spending time with PTA, Austin family and friends is my main focus. - Paige, Ross Sterling Middle School PTA, Humble

When the clock strikes twelve on January 1, we will celebrate a new year and a wonderful new headquarters to serve Texas students and back the future for the next century.

We will soon return to 408 W. 11th Street, the exact spot where Texas PTA Founder Ella Caruthers Porter dedicated our first office in 1937 in downtown Austin. Our plan is to be “open for business� in the new building on January 20. Member funds and dues were not used to build a new office, as land sale proceeds allowed us to complete this project debt free. Volunteers are the heart of our association. One of the most important aspects and focus of the new building is the Volunteer Training Center (VTC) which spans the entire second floor and will accommodate up to 120 people in classroom seating. Selected Texas PTA trainings will be hosted in the VTC, including Lone Star Leadership Weekend. Those entering the third floor, the main Texas PTA lobby, will immediately see the beautifully restored 1937 front door of our old building, which is now

the entrance to the Board Room. Just outisde the Board Room will be the permanent recognition for the PTAs, indivdiuals and businesses who are donors to our 408x408 campaign. See how you can support this effort to sustain the mission of PTA here! The third floor will also boast the “Wall of Honor,” a photo tribute to all past Texas PTA Presidents. Just off the Board Room is the President’s Office which will serve as a working office for the President when in Austin, and will also showcase 100-plus years of furniture and other memorabilia with sentimental and historical significance. The bricks paying tribute to individuals and PTAs that were located in front of the old building will now grace two levels of the building just outside the VTC and Board Room. Much thought and work went into the design and layout of the new building to maintain

certain historical aspects while capturing the needs of today’s PTA and volunteers to keep us relevant. We invite all members to Austin to tour the new headquarters. It belongs to you! Attendance at the February 25th Rally Day is one opportunity to see the office. An official grand opening celebration is scheduled for May to allow more time for transition to the new headquarters. Stay tuned for details on the grand opening. Texas PTA looks forward to the year ahead as we back the future, making sure every YOU is part of the PTA !

— Allison Strupeck, Director of Member Services, Texas PTA

• Join the shopping frenzy, and join PTA! Work with your local mall or popular retailer to have a PTA table inside the store or at the entrance on Black Friday and other shopping days during the holiday season.

Membership is a year-round effort. The most successful PTAs realize that recruiting and retaining members does not • Promote healthy lifestyles with stop after the kids start a back the future fun run. The school. Back to school entrance fee could include may be behind membership dues. us, but • After a holiday break is a great time back the to capture the energy of a new future is just semester. Have back the future beginning! activities in January when there is renewed focus on education!

Whether you already • Welcome families and faculty “back to school” after the winter hosted a break with back the future goodies. huge Order back the future decals, event, posters, T-shirts, and more from the S.T.A.R. Co-op. or you haven’t • Have a contest for studentput a back produced videos that use the back the future the future phrase/theme. Recognize the finalists and have the public sign in your vote for their favorite. Post the own yard yet, now is the videos onto social media. perfect time of year to heat up your outreach. • Buy back the future T-shirts and then sell them to your members, either for a discount (meaning your PTA helps subsidize the cost) or at a mark-up (this is a fundraiser for your PTA).

No matter where you are in the journey of developing a larger, stronger, more diverse membership for your Local PTA, • Bring together PTAs in the same here are some ideas to keep district, city, feeder pattern, or Council for a group event. back the future warm through the winter. See more ideas on the next page

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• Declare a sporting event at your Help your business community campus to be back the future night. understand how backing Work with the coach and have the the future of their local team run through a huge banner, students ultimately ask the cheerleaders to spell out backs their own future. “B-T-F,” blanket the place in back Successful schools are the future yard-signs, and give free everyone’s business! admittance to all PTA members • Partner with a popular business who show their membership card to do a back the future rally (with the option to join your PTA at night. You promote the event to the door). drive customers to them, and they • Brainstorm with your principal. allow you to recruit members in return! 1. Can the next faculty meeting have a back the future theme, with computers set up for teachers to join your PTA at the meeting through

2. Could employees who join PTA have a jeans pass for designated days during the school year, and another jeans pass if they pledge to wear a back the future T-shirt with their jeans? 3. Are there any school events coming up that can become a “back the future” night? 4. Can back the future information about joining your PTA be included in any materials sent home from school about selecting courses and preregistering for next year?

• Have a “best group selfie” contest – small groups of students or families taking their own picture with back the future posters, T-shirt, and yard signs. • Ask your Chamber of Commerce to allow your PTA a few minutes at the next chamber meeting. You can show the back the future video, and speak from your heart on what back the future means to you.

• Work with your School Board or City Council to make a Board or Council meeting back the future night. Pass a Board Resolution that promotes back the future. Get permission to show the short back the future video. Provide each Trustee/Council member with a back the future yard-sign at the meeting, and take some good photos to celebrate their support. • Feature the back the future logo on school spirit wear, school magnets, school marquee, school social media, school letterhead, parent handbook, and anywhere else that the school will let you! • Work with local realtors and builders to include back the future PTA information in their packet for moving/new residents and model homes.

Scholarships Texas PTA awards several $1,000 scholarships for high school seniors. The deadline for student applicants is December 1! We also award faculty members $500 to go towards continuing education. Apply today at Members of the Texas PTA Advisory Council have scholarships available too! Texas Classroom Teachers Association (TCTA) The TCTA Scholarship Program was designed for Texas students who show great potential but who have faced hardships or challenges that may make higher education or career/vocational training difficult or even impossible to attain without assistance. High school-level teachers or counselors may nominate students for these scholarships, which are awarded in amounts up to $5,000 per year for tuition and required fees at accredited two- or four-year colleges, community colleges or career/technical schools. Nominations for the 2015-16 cycle will open in early 2015. Find criteria and further details at

Association of Texas Professional Educators (ATPE) The ATPE Foundation is dedicated to the advancement of public education and the success of Texas schoolchildren. The ATPE Foundation Scholarship program awards ten $1,500 scholarships to outstanding college students currently enrolled in educator preparation programs. These scholarships will be awarded to undergraduate college students and graduate students. The ATPE Foundation reserves the right to award a lesser number of scholarships if the foundation does not receive a minimum of 10 qualified candidates with complete submissions. A qualified candidate is defined as someone who has followed all of the criteria and guidelines. All entries must be postmarked no later than June 1, 2015, if mailed, or received by midnight on the same date if faxed, emailed or uploaded to the website.

the same with warm-weather clothes you are putting in storage bins. 4. Tech

— Catherine Sneed, Design Specialist, Texas PTA

1. Backpacks

2. Lunch boxes

Clean out all the lost papers and vacuum any crumbs or dirt you can’t shake out. Check the tag for washing instructions, or hand wash and hang for several days to dry. Check for loose zippers, buttons or Velcro. Repair any weak spots to ensure the backpack makes it through the rest of the school year.

Similar to backpacks, a good shake and disinfecting wipe should do the trick here, check the label or instructions that come with it for washing instructions. 3. Closets Try on all winter gear as you take it out of off-season storage. Donate what’s been outgrown since last winter. Do

Our phones and tablets are some of the dirtiest things in our house! Hopefully you are planning some “unplugged” time for your family. Find an guide online to cleaning your specific device. Don’t forget your desktop computers or laptops the kids use for homework! Those mice and keyboards can carry germs too! 5. School supplies

sharpened too many times. Replenish dried up glue sticks and test batteries in calculators. Your homework station will be ready for the start of the new semester in no time! 6. Extracurricular equipment What extracurricular equipment could use some TLC? Whether it’s a tu-tu, clarinet or cleats, see if your kid’s equipment can be safely washed or disinfected. 7. Car seats or kid’s spots in the car

Whether a 6-hour Hopefully your trip or a trip across kiddos won’t town, most of us be doing much will be travelling school work during during the their break. Have holidays. Another all the kids in your great thing to house (even the clean during the highshoolers!) Help break is your car/ you go through booster seats, or your school supply your kid’s spots in stash. Throw out the car. You might pens and markers just be cleaning that are out of up crumbs, or you ink and pencils could find that lost that have been library book!

The 84th Legislative Ses

and w — Ellen Arnold, Governmental Affairs Consultant, Texas PTA

Before we know it the Texas Legislature will return to Austin for the 84th Legislative Session.

While more than 6,500 pieces of legislation will likely be filed during the five-month session, the only constitutional requirement of the Texas Legislature is to pass balanced budget. There is much speculation about whether they will be able to accomplish this goal during the regular session. This session will be a one of change. All state-wide elected officials will be new to their jobs, including a new governor, attorney general, comptroller of public accounts,

agriculture commissioner, land commissioner, and lt. governor who will oversee the Texas Senate. There will be 6-9 new state senators out of 31, and almost half the Texas Senate will be comprised of freshmen and sophomore members. The House will have a high percentage of freshman and sophomore members as well. The Legislature will likely pass a “maintenance of effort” or status quo budget for public education in anticipation of the Texas Supreme


what you need to know. Court ruling on the most recent school finance lawsuit.

justice reform, support for early childhood education, support for policies that encourage Once the Supreme Court healthy lifestyles, rules, probably in late opposition to vouchers spring of 2015, the Texas for private schools, and Legislature will likely regulation of e-cigarettes return to Austin for 30 with restricted access by day special session(s) to minors. deal with the court ruling on school funding. Texas PTA has a very ambitious agenda this session. The priorities, listed on the next page, include increased funding for public schools, state assessment reduction in lower grades, funding for an increase in school counselors, juvenile

Texas PTA will monitor more than 500 bills for their effect on Texas students and no doubt add to the issues on which we will advocate.

Please consider joining this good work on behalf of Texas children by signing up for Under the Dome at www.txpta. org so that you can stay abreast of important policy discussions that will take place this session. Join other PTA members from across the state for Texas PTA’s Rally Day on February 25, 2015.

Public School Funding Pursue an adequate and equitable solution for school funding while maintaining accountability and responsibility for educating the whole child. Texas PTA advocates for a new funding system and for adequate funding for public education that includes funding for enrollment growth. Texas PTA supports funding for these programs: • Early childhood education, both pre-kindergarten and quality child development center programs • School and community library programs • Middle and high school counselors

Juvenile Justice Reform Support legislation to increase the age for mandatory prosecution as an adult, allowing non-violent offenders who are 17 years of age to be charged as a minor.

HB 5 Implementation Monitor changes to graduation requirements, the new Community and Student Engagement SelfEvaluation and assessment, particularly the newly combined Reading and Writing EOCs.

Early Education Support policies that increase the quality of early childhood programs in public schools and child development center settings.

Vouchers Oppose voucher programs.

State Board of Education (SBOE) Support refinements to the TEKS that reduce the number taught in each course. Monitor legislation impacting SBOE.

Electronic Cigarettes Restrict access by minors; define e-cigarettes as tobacco product

Incentivize schools State of Texas and school Assessment of districts to maintain a Academic Readiness focus on educating (STAAR) Pursue reduced emphasis on statethe whole child Seek opportunities to strengthen the community and student engagement evaluation of schools so that is a relevant component used to determine a school’s overall health. Work with Texas Education Agency to identify other key indicators of strong schools to incorporate into the state’s school accountability system.

Healthy Lifestyles

mandated testing, focusing on grades 3-8; monitor changes to STAAR End-ofCourse exams for high school students, and limits on benchmark testing for all tested grades. Support refinements to the TEKS that reduce the number taught in each course. Consider limiting state testing to Readiness Standards.

Other Issues to Monitor

Support programs that promote Virtual Schools Network – Monitor movement, activities, healthier food choices and menus, and that promote legislation. school, family and community Charter Schools – Monitor changes participation. made to the charter school program through Senate Bill 2 as well as new legislation filed.

Planning Timeline November 2014 1. Sign up for Under the Dome for updates 2. Encourage participation in Rally Day 2015 3. Arrange for travel and other logistics

December 2014

Rally Day Update It’s not too soon to begin planning your PTA’s trip to Austin for Rally Day 2015. This year Rally Day will take place on February 25th at the Texas Capitol.

What’s Rally Day? It’s an opportunity to

1. Register online for Rally Day 2. Finalize logistics for Austin trip to Rally Day 3. Decide if you will bring a gift or PTA symbol to legislative meetings 4. Encourage participation in Rally Day

January 2015

• Travel to Austin to speak to your legislator about issues of concern to your PTA and to Texas PTA

1. Set up meetings with your state legislators and legislative staffers beginning the third week of January.

• Learn more about the issues that are impacting public schools

2. Confirm travel arrangements

• To network with parents from other parts of the state with common concerns

3. Purchase Rally Day T-shirts

February 2015

• To watch the policy making process in real time

1. Confirm your meetings with legislators and legislative staffers

…..and it’s FREE!! There is no fee to participate in Rally Day.

2. Participate in Rally Day 2015

Rally Day Webinars

Rally Day Schedule

Texas PTA will offer Rally Day webinars on three topics to help you prepare for the upcoming Rally Day and legislative session:

9:30 - 11:10 am Legislative Caucus

Policy Issues and Tips January 6, 2015 | 10 AM – 11:30 AM Setting up and Conducting a Meeting with a Legislator January 15, 2015 | 10 AM – 11:30 AM Each webinar will be offered one time and then will be made available on the Texas PTA website and through social media. Use the links to register for the webinars you would like to attend.

The goal of this two-hour caucus is to ensure PTA members are prepared, not just for today’s activities, but prepared to return to their respective communities comfortable with advocacy and well-versed on issues critical to student success being debated by the 84th Texas Legislature.

11:30 am Rally on the South Steps of Capitol Noon - 5:00 pm Lunch & meetings with your legislators 3:30-5:00 pm Attendee reception at the newly-opened State Headquarters at 408 W. 11th. State leaders will be on hand to receive feedback on legislative visits.

To RSVP for yourself or a group to attend Rally Day, or receive more information, visit

Getting Ready for Local PTA Elections — Allison Strupeck, Director of Member Services, Texas PTA

With winter barely upon us, it is hard to imagine that officer elections for the next school year are already around the corner.

A successful election is important to a smooth transition for a PTA from year to year. Each Local PTA gets to decide when to hold the annual election of officers; this information is included in your Local PTA’s Bylaws.

Most PTAs choose to hold annual elections in March or April, which means your Nominating Committee should be elected and begin its work in January or February. The following information serves as a general guide to the Local PTA election process, and more details can be found on the Texas PTA website. Establishing the Nominating Committee and Chairman The number of members on this committee was determined by the Local membership and is noted in the Local bylaws. Immediately after the members of the Nominating Committee

have been elected, the committee members should meet to elect their chairman. They should also schedule a time and place for their first meeting. Nominating Committee Roles and Responsibilities Officers holding a current position are not automatically slated. Solicit suggestions for nominees from the membership. Select one nominee for each officer position, and be prepared to state qualifications of nominees. Give careful consideration to qualifications of candidate, and check the bylaws for duties of each officer.

Meetings of the Nominating Committee

Contact prospective nominees while committee is meeting. Allow time for nominee to consider the position before asking for his/her decision. You don’t have to ask the person currently serving in an office to repeat in that office. Treat all candidates in a fair and consistent manner. Do not allow a committee member who is being considered to be present during the discussion regarding his qualifications; he/she can be present for the discussion of other candidates for that office, and he/she may vote. Make decisions of the committee by ballot and majority vote.

More information specifically about Nominating Committee meetings, is available here. Election Script For a sample election script, visit, choose the Resource Library, then click Members, and then Elections. Submitting Leader Information After your officers have been elected in the Spring, be sure to submit ALL of their names and contact information to Texas PTA online through your free account at PT Avenue, so that they receive important news and resources. For more information about PT Avenue and, visit our Frequently Asked Questions web page.

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LOCAL PTA ELECTIONS: TOP 10 QUESTIONS 1. Do I have to be a member and have a child at the school in order to run for a PTA position? No, you do not have to be a member and you do not have a child at the school in order to run. You must however become a member before taking office. Our website has more information about Officer Qualifications, here.

2. Do we need a nominating committee? Yes, your PTA should elect a nominating committee per your bylaws. The committee chair is chosen within the committee following the general vote. 3. Can I join my PTA and vote at the same meeting?

immediately report your membership afterwards to Texas PTA. 4. What if we are not able to fill a position? The incoming Executive Board will fill the vacancy with an election by the board and fulfill the responsibilities of the vacancy until the position is filled.

Yes, you can join at the 5. Who runs the election start of the meeting meeting? and vote during the meeting. Your PTA should The seated president will run the election meeting.

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LOCAL PTA ELECTIONS: TOP 10 QUESTIONS Continued 6. Can teachers serve on the board? Yes. 7. Do the people who are slated by the nominating committee have to be approved by the board? No, they do not need to be approved by the Executive Board or by the Principal. The slate is presented to the membership in advance of the election meeting. 8. I wasn’t slated for a position, but I still want to run for office. You can run from the floor during the election meeting. 9. Who can attend a nominating committee meeting? Only those people who are on the nominating committee should be present at the committee meeting(s). 10. Which positions are slated by the nominating committee and elected by the general membership? Officers of the PTA should be slated and elected. All standing committee chairs are appointed by the president.

Ideas for Holiday Leftovers from Chef Harris — Harris Esperanza, Eurest executive Chef

what to do with all the left overs. I was kind of at a loss for words. “Holiday left overs, From my standpoint the where do I even begin? possibilities are endless I’ve been working in and if anyone knows hotels and restaurants what to do with the left since I was 16, I’ve overs it’s my crew and seen more turkeys than anyone would ever care I. Let’s start with the turkey. First de-bone to imagine. I’ve seen it, put the carcass in good ones, bad ones and a few catastrophe’s a pot with some leeks and cover it with water. in between. Then toss in a couple of Even to this day between bay leaves and some my wife and me, in two black peppercorns, let separate kitchens, feed it simmer for a couple over 1000 people during of hours and you have Thanksgiving alone. This turkey stock. This will be means we start prepping good for soups, sauces several days ahead of time and start waking up earlier and earlier every day leading up to the day of the event. We season and roast close to 100 turkeys, peel and dice 3-4 hundred pounds of potatoes, I think you get where this is going. By the time we sit down to our own family Thanksgiving dinner I’d rather have a cheeseburger and some great fries, she on the other hand still wants her turkey. I have to say that I was ecstatic when the PTA asked me about

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or even gravy for your next turkey and the best part is that you can freeze it. We use the mashed potatoes for simple things like potato for hash or potato soup. Roasted Turkey and Potato Hash 3 Quartered Yukon Gold Potato ½ C Roasted Turkey ¼ C Turkey Stock ¼ C Corn 1/8 C Celery, small diced 1 Egg Yolk 2 T. Olive Oil 1. Sauté potatoes in olive oil, once browned and

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fork tender add celery and corn and roasted turkey. 2. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 3. Add the turkey stock and bring to simmer. 4. Plate the hash, garnish with celery leaves and egg yolk.

1. Combine all ingredients.

Corn Bread Stuffing Falafel

3. Deep fry for 3-4 minutes, until golden brown.

1 C Stuffing Âź C Diced Granny Smith Apples 1 Egg, scrambled

2. Press into silver dollar sized patties.

4. Serve on pita with a few leaves of spinach, turkey gravy and fresh sliced green apples.

As we prepare for the holiday rush with shopping, school supplies, sports and schedules, we’re reminded that education is at the core of our community and that PTA plays a critical role in the success of our schools and students. — Darren Grissom, Associate Executive Director, Texas PTA

We’ve all seen the positive impact that active parents and families can have on student achievement, and our shared vision of making every child’s potential a reality is creating new opportunities in classrooms, caring mentors and strong family-school partnerships. It would be easy to rest on the accomplishments of our first 106 years of service to Texas families, but now is the time for us to rededicate and reinvest in our

commitment for the future generations of young Texans. Texas PTA is leading the way with the construction of your new headquarters at 408 West 11th Street in downtown Austin. After nearly 75 years at 408, we will return there next February to begin a new century of family engagement, parent education and advocacy.

the first 408 donors will be recognized and honored in a permanent display located in our You also have the unique new headquarters, opportunity to help opening in 2015. Each ensure our continued visitor or dignitary who success through the walks through the doors 408 x 408 campaign. of Texas PTA will know Your support of this that you, your business or campaign is more than a PTA/PTSA is a passionate donation, it’s an outward advocate and steadfast and visible statement voice for every child. 408 that you believe in the x 408 donors will also be power of family and that publicly recognized in the work of PTA in our our annual report, local communities is valuable print media and on the and meaningful. Texas PTA website. From Beaumont to Supporting the El Paso, Harlingen to programs and services Amarillo and everywhere of PTA should never in between – the 408 be a burden, so we’ve x 408 campaign gives provided the options every parent, teacher, of one, four or twelve administrator, community installments to allow for member, business easier participation. owner and PTA/PTSA the chance to back the Visit today to future for tomorrow and be one of the first 408 to beyond. help Texas PTA back the future for years to come! For a tax-deductible contribution of $408,

PTAs pledged members

making Connection Day 2014 a success! 0


Independence Elementary School PTA in Keller won the “Museum in the Classroom” from Dinosaur George valued at Connection Day Pledges over $3,500! Haggard Middle School PTA in Plano won $2,500 worth of T-shirts/spirit-wear of their choosing from Gandy Ink. Creekside Elementary School PTA in Lewisville, Covington Middle 25000 School PTA in Austin, and Stephen F. Austin High School PTA in Austin won the back the future prize packages! 20000


Thanks again to all of you that participated for your hard work to 10000 back the future for your child, school, PTA and ! 5000 0

5 Tips to Avoid Holiday Theft

5. Create categorized inventory lists

The holidays are a cheerful time, but while you’re celebrating, someone may be eyeing those new gifts. Beware of the burglars waiting to get their hands on your presents. According to Nationwide claims data over the past three years, there were nearly 15,000 home thefts during the holidays and travel months of November, December and January.

Put your gift list-making skills to good use and keep an ongoing record of items in your home. Free apps like Know Your Stuff can help you take inventory with preprogrammed categories and locations.

Here are 5 tips to help avoid being a victim of theft over the holidays: Brought to you by Nationwide Insurance®

1. Save the status updates for later Four out of five burglars used social networks last year to find out when people were not home. Telling friends and family your holiday plans on social media may seem harmless, but that social media message can be an advertisement to burglars that says, “I’m not home.” Don’t let your social media behavior while you’re gone put your home at risk for a burglary.

2. Add home security devices to your gift list Adding these items to your wish list can offer some extra protection:

• Sensor-triggered lighting

An inventory list will come in handy if • Motion-activated you have Brand New webcams Belongings insurance* coverage, which can • Smart phone home help replace your insured security belongings if they’re Also look into technology stolen or destroyed – regardless of age or that lets you connect with your phone for 24/7 condition. surveillance when you’re *Optional feature. Exclusions on the go.

3. Close the curtains before turning in Open blinds may invite unwanted eyes, allowing thieves to check out the layout of your home, or view your belongings.

4. Don’t leave ladders up after decorating Ladders can help a burglar gain access to your home. Once you’ve hung the outdoor lights, store the ladders and tools in a locked shed or garage.

and limits apply. Damaged items may be repaired in some cases. Details vary by state and policy language.

Please consult your policy for the specifics of your selected coverages. Subject to underwriting guidelines, review, and approval. Nationwide Insurance is proud to partner with Texas PTA members. Join the Nation today and receive a special discount – just for being Texas PTA member!

What happened to the STAAR Modified Test for students with Disabilities? — Ellen Arnold, Governmental Affairs Consultant, Texas PTA

STAAR Modified will no longer be administered this school year. Texas Education Agency (TEA) has developed a new STAAR Accommodated test which is an online test with many built in accommodations that the student can manipulate. The big news with this new test is that unlike in the past where only students with an IDEA eligibility could take these STAAR versions, now, even students who are not IDEA eligible or have an IEP, but who do have dyslexia or a related disability, can potentially take this new accommodated test. Students with disabilities now have three options for test taking: 1) STAAR with or without allowable accommodations 2) STAAR Accommodated and 3) STAAR Alternative.

The ARD committee determines the appropriate test for each student based on eligibility criteria set by TEA. TEA held trainings in September on both the new STAAR Accommodated

Students with disabilities now have three options for test taking: 1) STAAR with or without allowable accommodations 2) STAAR Accommodated 3) STAAR Alternative and the STAR Alternative 2 for students with significant cognitive disabilities. Visit STAARA for information on STAAR A and STAAR Alt 2, and resources for parents, students and school districts. The website has a parent brochure, educator guides, and eligibility requirements.

The Voice Winter 2014 • Vol. 105, No. 4 7600 Chevy Chase Drive Building 2, Suite 300 Austin, Tx 78752 •

Texas PTA is happy to welcome these new PTAs to our family! Cuellar Cougar Dallas Pricila Carmona Panthers Dallas Letty Murillo British School of Houston Houston Andrea Case Rogers Adkins Elem. Lantana Jennifer Duncan Ridge Creek Elem. Humble Shantelle Wiresinger Dr. Joe J. Bernal Middle School San Antonio Linda Ancira

Bonnie Ellison Elementary School San Antonio Gretchen Cummings

Norman Thomas Elementary Freer Pam Martinez

Reed Elementary Cedar Park Chrissie Poindexter

Collegiate Academy Hurst Christine Enderli

Legacy Elementary Wolfforth Susan Cox Harlingen School of Health Professions Harlingen Tammy SchmidtSwope Elgin Elementary Elgin Marisela Torres Kilgore Primary Kilgore Amy Warner

Jaime Padron Elementary Austin Dinora Varela John H. Cherry Elementary School Bay City Rebecca Morris Diamond Hill-Jarvis High School Fort Worth Sandra Salinas Bulldogs Fort Worth LaShonda Russell

Texas PTA Board of Directors: President - Leslie Boggs

President-Elect - Lisa Holbrook Vice President Field Service - Catherine Carlin Vice President Leadership - Chris Zimmer Vice President Membership - Elizabeth Campbell, J.D. Vice President Programs & Resources Heather Ashwell-Hair Secretary - Sheri Doss Treasurer - Beth Crymes Directors-at-Large: Pierr Castillo Frances Fass Lee Guerra Fred Henley, J.D. Dr. Sylvia Reyna Neil Shelby Dr. Greg Smith Executive Director - Kyle Ward, CAE Designer - Catherine Sneed 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 512-476-6769 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.

The Parent Companion - First Five Years is a brand new website that connects Texas parents to information, inspiration, and resources for children from birth through 5 years of age with a disability. You can search the site by child’s age, agencies, services and transitions,

family life and support, diagnosis/disability or by tips and strategies. The Parent Companion includes family interviews and documents containing easy-to-use strategies for understanding and planning for changes and comprehensive resources.

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.

The Parent Companion is designed to share the firsthand experience, tips, and advice of parents and families from across Texas. Visit www. to begin exploring the resources available.