The Voice Winter 2018

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How One PTA is Forging Friendships


Buddy Bench

A MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT February is a month of celebration as we recognize women who were the driving force in founding what is known today as National PTA. During my tenure serving on the council executive board, I was involved with the planning and preparation for Founders’ Day. We hosted our event on campus and rotated year to year based on location. Initially it was potluck-style but evolved into a catered meal. As a member of the Texas PTA Board of Directors, and most recently as President-Elect and now President, I have had the opportunity to attend several Founders’ Day celebrations and they are all as unique as the council that is hosting. I have been to schools, hotels, special event facilities, and most recently aboard the USS Lexington in Corpus Christi as they celebrated their 75th anniversary. As much fun as these events are, I believe it’s essential to peel back the festive atmosphere, varied entertainment, delicious food, and creative themes to take a deeper look into what we are all collectively doing. Two women in 1897 had a bold idea, revolutionary for its time, and that was to gather together to learn and share how to be adequately prepared for motherhood. Equally important was to champion causes impacting their children and others on a regular basis.

Our own founder, Ella Caruthers Porter, a single mother of three, heard the call at that convention in February 1897 and founded Texas PTA in October 1909. Although not a part of February’s anniversary, I contend we are still honoring her as well as three others — Phoebe Apperson Hearst, Alice McClellan Birney, and Selena Sloane Butler — when we celebrate Founders’ Day. All of these women were courageous thinkers and filled with a calling to do more. I am asking all of us to carry on this legacy established all those years ago. I am asking that we stay focused on growing members, engaging and empowering our families and communities, developing leaders, and advocating for all children. We must do this with unbridled enthusiasm and unparalleled passion if we are to carry out this allimportant legacy. Our children and their futures depend on it!

Lisa Holbrook Lisa Holbrook Texas PTA President

TABLE OF CONTENTS 4 6 8 10 14 18 19 20 Advocacy & Legislative Updates

Buddy Bench: How One PTA is Forging Friendships Life’s Simple 7 For a Healthy Heart

Rx Economics: Ask Your Pharmacist

Know the Signs: Pediatric Hypertension

Hannah Crawley: Reflections Theme Winner Healthy Lifestyles: Hey, What’s Cooking? Healthy Recipes: Falling for Yogurt

A MESSAGE FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR February is the month we talk about cupids, buy Valentines, and jest about love being in the air. Parties at our children’s schools, couples getting engaged, and heart-shaped cookies are all part of the month with red and pink. February is a happy month, and we all need that. Recent news stories about abused and neglected children remind me that not only is February an unhappy, loveless month for many children, some boys and girls and young men and women never have a happy month. Most recently we heard about the horrific story of the 13 brothers and sisters in California, formerly of Texas, who suffered years of abuse from their parents; and young Sherin Matthews from Richardson who was found dead after she was put outside alone for hours in the dark by her parents. For these children it was never a happy month, not even a happy minute or day. So often we talk about PTA being a membershipbased association that advocates. These two high profile abuse cases are examples of society and the system failing our children. It’s a reminder for all us as Texas PTA, the voice for every child, to speak up and encourage others to speak up when abuse is suspected. Only after the arrests in California and Richardson did neighbors speak up about the parents’ suspicious behavior. Unfortunately, it was too late. Being advocates for children means we act sooner than later, even at the risk of being wrong.

These cases, too, remind us that abuse does not always occur at the hands of strangers. Parents can be the abusers. As PTA leaders, we must remain vigilant and keep a check on what’s happening: in the classroom, on campus, and possibly at home. It’s reasonable to wonder whether the children in California could have led happy childhoods if neighbors spoke up much earlier. What then can PTA do? Start with your PTA meetings. Invite guest speakers to discuss the warning signs of child abuse and what to do if it’s suspected. Hold one or several parent education nights either on campus or off. Bring the call to action into the community by visiting home owner association meetings, community centers, and civic clubs. (A few years ago, Texas PTA unveiled a new branding campaign including CommYOUnity. Keeping children safe goes far beyond school grounds!) Let’s work together so that every child has a happy month, twelve months a year. Here’s wishing all of you a happy February filled with heart-shaped balloons and cookies. No doubt PTA members have the biggest hearts of all!

Kyle Ward, CAE Executive Director

Cedar Hill ISD Council of PTAs

Manor New Tech Middle School PTA • Manor ISD

Alice W. Douse Elementary PTA • Killeen ISD

Mark Twain Dual Language Academy PTA • San Antonio ISD

Barrett Elementary PTA • Crosby ISD

Mary Huppertz Elementary PTA • San Antonio ISD

Bluebonnet Trail Elementary PTA • Manor ISD

McNutt Elementary School PTA • Arlington ISD

Bryant Elementary PTA • Katy ISD

Norman Elementary PTA • Austin ISD

Carter Junior High PTA • Arlington ISD

Oak Meadows Elementary PTA • Manor ISD

Decker Elementary PTA • Manor ISD

Parsons Elementary PTA • Lubbock ISD

Douglass PTA • San Antonio ISD

Peach Elementary PTA • Arlington ISD

Early College High School PTSA • Round Rock ISD

Piedmont Global Academy PTA • Dallas ISD

Emeline Carpenter Elementary PTA • Nacagdoches ISD

Price T. Young Elementary PTA • Marshall ISD

Gus Birdwell Elementary PTA • Spearman ISD

SCW Texan PTA • Lubbock ISD

Heritage Elementary PTA • La Porte ISD

ShadowGlen Elementary PTA • Manor ISD

Highlands Elementary PTA • Cedar Hill ISD

Vincent Middle School PTA • Beaumont ISD

Katherine G. Johnson STEM Academy PTA • Greenville ISD

Vista Ridge Middle School PTA • Keller ISD

Lago Vista High School PTSA • Lago Vista ISD

Washington Heights Elementary PTA • Fort Worth ISD

Lagos Elementary PTA • Manor ISD

West Main PTA • Lancaster ISD

Logan Elementary PTA • El Paso ISD

Wilmer-Hutchins High School PTSA • Dallas ISD

Manor Elementary School PTA • Manor ISD


Winter 2018 • Vol. 110 408 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 Lisa Holbrook President-Elect Sheri Doss Secretary LaDorshe Damron Treasurer Lisa Johns Vice President Programs & Resources Sylvia R. Reyna, Ph.D. Vice President Membership Larriann Curtis Vice President Leadership Heather Ashwell-Hair Vice President Field Service Suzi Kennon Directors-at-Large Lee Guerra Choni Hajibashi Fred Henley, J.D. Neil Shelby Lizeth LoCicero Ralph Rodriguez Tim Greenwell

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.


TEXAS PTA OUTSTANDING EDUCATOR AWARDS! The deadline for nominations is Wednesday, February 28, 2018. 2

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Grow your PTA membership by 5% for a chance to win one of three $1,000 cash prizes from Chrysler. Local PTAs will receive one entry for each month that their membership exceeds the qualifying total through April 30, 2018. *Monthly entries into the Drive for 5 campaign are retroactive to August 2017. 3

ADVOCACY & LEGISLATIVE UPDATES Long-Range Plan for Public Education Survey Deadline March 2, 2018 The State Board of Education is asking for the public’s input on a new Long-Range Plan for Public Education, which will establish goals for Texas public schools through the year 2030. The survey will help set educational priorities, covering five areas: 1. The desired outcome of public education; 2. Educator preparation, recruitment, and retention; 3. Equity and access to funding, technology, and advanced courses; 4. Student engagement and empowerment; 5. Family engagement and empowerment. The deadline to submit feedback is March 2, 2018. Visit the TEA website to get started:

Long-Range Plan for Public Education Community Meetings Last year, The State Board of Education appointed the Long-Range Plan for Public Education Steering Committee. Per the TEA website: “The steering committee will recommend long-term goals for Texas schools and will identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and challenges of the system.” Over the past few months, members of the steering committee have held community meetings across the state. These events have been a great opportunity for both educators and parents to hear from one another as a new plan for all public school education takes shape. There are two more meetings scheduled: February 20, 4:00 – 6:00 pm • Travis State Office Building, Rm 1-104, 1701 N. Congress Ave, Austin February 28, 6:30 – 8:30 pm • Region 16 Education Service Center, 5800 Bell Street, Amarillo Visit the TEA website for event registration:


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Mark your calendar! July 20 – 22, 2018 Hilton Anatole, Dallas, Texas 5

How One PTA is Forging Friendships BY MELISSA WITHAEGER Providence Elementary in Denton ISD recently unveiled a Buddy Bench on their playground which was purchased through a grant obtained by the PTA. The idea started when Providence first grade teacher Donna Lewis approached Melissa Withaeger, PTA Secretary (currently PTA President), last school year with the idea of installing a Buddy Bench on campus. Lewis had read about the bench in an article and thought it would be a great idea for Providence to have: “As a teacher, I monitor the students on the playground for safety but there really isn’t a way to know if a child is feeling sad or lonely because they have no one to play with. A Buddy Bench creates that ‘safe’ place for a child to sit if they have no one to play with, if they are feeling sad and lonely, or if they are new to campus and are having a difficult time fitting in.”

The Buddy Bench allows our students to recognize when their peers need a buddy, and to immediately show empathy by helping students join others in play and conversation. - JAIRIA DIGGS, PRINCIPAL 6

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The idea of the Buddy Bench hit close to home for Withaeger. Her son would occasionally come home and share that he had no one to play with at recess. She did some additional research with Lewis on the cost of the bench and then approached the PTA Executive Board with the idea of purchasing the bench. Since advocating for all children is one of the core values of the PTA, the Executive Board approved Withaeger’s request to apply for a grant to make the bench a reality. She recalls, “The number one priority of the Executive Board is to make sure all children feel included on campus and in the activities we sponsor. Introducing a Buddy Bench on campus was going to help us get one step closer to meeting that priority.” The PTA was awarded a grant through the Walmart Community Grant Program a few months later. The money was earmarked to the school for the purchase and installation of the bench. The school selected a districtapproved vendor and picked up the installation cost.

I thought it was just a dream, but next thing I know I was given the task of researching benches and getting quotes. Today, a year and a half later, I am proud to see that dream become a reality on our playground. - DONNA LEWIS, 1ST GRADE TEACHER


The Buddy Bench has been very well received by the students and staff of Providence. Immediately students were seen role playing on the bench, taking turns between being the child who needed the buddy and being the students inviting that child to play. The students have quickly learned how valuable the bench is in making sure their peers have someone to play with. Fourth grader Brienne says, “The bench is important because it makes sure all of the kids have someone to play with. If a kid is sitting on the bench then they don’t have anyone to play with. You should go over and ask them to play.” The teachers have also been educating their classes on how to utilize the bench. Lewis says, “I have explained to my first graders the purpose of the bench and to look out for students who may need a friend. The very first day the bench was installed there was a little boy fairly new to campus. He said he had no one to play with, so I waved over a few of my students and off they went! Since the bench was unveiled, I have felt like the Buddy Bench coach, educating first graders about the purpose of the bench and how to use it.” Providence Principal Jairia Diggs was excited to see the bench installed on campus because it ties right into the core values being taught at school. Diggs says, “Here at Providence, each six weeks, our students learn about character traits as we collectively learn about and focus on a specific core value that we want our students, staff, and Providence community to embody. One of our Patriot Core Values is empathy. Our Buddy Bench allows our students to recognize when other students need a buddy and to immediately show empathy by helping these students join others in play and conversation. Our campus is so very proud to have a PTA who supports character education in addition to academics. With the joint efforts of Ms. Lewis and our PTA, our students are able to practice engaging in empathy on a daily basis through the use of our Buddy Bench.” Withaeger encourages any PTA wanting to put a Buddy Bench on their campus to seek out grant opportunities in their community. You may reach out to the Providence PTA by emailing Withaeger at The Providence PTA can be followed on Twitter @ProvidencePTA and on Facebook @providencepatriotspta. 


BY DR. ARNOLD FENRICH Heart disease is a very serious health condition that keeps the heart or blood vessels from working properly. When our heart and blood vessels are working at their best, blood flows easily and is circulated around the body freely. If there is a clog in our blood vessels or if our heart is not pumping blood properly, this prevents blood from being delivered to many important parts of our body. Not having blood constantly delivered to the many important parts of our body can cause serious illness or even death. Making small changes in your life can add up to a big difference in your heart health, even for children and teenagers! A good start is to review the American Heart Association’s “Life’s Simple 7” (



 KEEP A HEALTHY WEIGHT About one in three American kids and teens is overweight or obese. Obesity and extra weight is harmful to almost EVERY organ in the body. Being overweight can lead to many diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, asthma, and even some types of cancer. Making active choices such as taking the stairs rather than the elevator or adding short episodes of walking to the day can help you control your weight and help your heart. A good plan includes at least 60 minutes daily of physical activity that makes you breathe hard or sweat, like brisk walking, bike riding, or running.


Children, teens, and adults who are physically active have healthier bodies and minds than people who aren’t. Regular physical activity keeps your heart healthy and strong and it helps you build healthy muscles, bones, and joints.

Many kids (and adults) have too much cholesterol in their blood without knowing it. Cholesterol is a waxy substance in your bloodstream and cells that your body needs to function. Some cholesterol is important for good health, but too much can hurt your body, your brain, and your heart.

Children and adolescents need at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic activity every day. Examples of moderate activity include bike riding, swimming, and brisk walking. Vigorous activities include jogging, soccer, aerobics, or dancing. If your workout makes you breathe harder and sweat, you’re helping your heart stay healthy.

When too much cholesterol circulates in the blood, it can slowly build up inside the walls of your arteries that feed blood to your heart and brain. Cholesterol combines with other substances in your blood to form “plaque.” This thick, hard deposit can narrow the arteries, make them less flexible, and put you at major risk for heart disease and stroke.

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 DON’T SMOKE, OR USE SMOKELESS TOBACCO OR NICOTINE PRODUCTS Smoking traditional cigarettes or electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes or vapes), or using smokeless tobacco (also called dip, snuff, or chew), are some of the worst things you can do to your body. Just smoking a few cigarettes or using smokeless tobacco a couple of times might lead to addiction and it can be very hard to quit. Using ANY tobacco product damages nearly EVERY organ in your body and can cause heart disease and cancer. Using smokeless tobacco is NOT a safe alternative to smoking! Tobacco contains nicotine, which gives smokers a pleasant feeling. People get addicted to that good feeling. Electronic cigarettes and “vapes” also deliver nicotine. Just because these products are high-tech doesn’t mean they’re safe. In addition to the nicotine, tobacco products contain many other poisonous chemicals. These toxic substances can destroy your body over time, especially your heart and lungs.

 EAT A HEART-HEALTHY DIET Eating healthy foods is one of the most important ways to keep your heart working at its best. Choose foods that help you keep your heart — and the rest of your body — in top shape. Look for foods and drinks that are good for your heart. They should be low in salt and added sugars, and limited in the types of fat that harm your heart. If you eat calories from foods that have unhealthy fats (saturated and trans fats) or foods that are high in added sugars and sodium, you could be hurting your heart. Limit foods that have high amounts of certain nutrients. If the label says the food has unhealthy fats (like saturated and trans fats) try a healthier option. Limit foods that are high in sodium and sugar, or are higher

in calories than similar foods or beverages. Compare labels on different foods to find the best option.

 KEEP YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE HEALTHY Having high blood pressure, which is also called hypertension, can lead to significant damage to your heart or brain. People often don’t have any symptoms when their blood pressure is high. That’s why hypertension is called the “silent killer.” People with high blood pressure are more likely to have a heart attack or stroke than people with normal blood pressure. Fortunately, you can make healthy choices that will help you control your blood pressure. Keeping your weight healthy, eating a hearthealthy diet with low levels of sodium, and getting enough regular physical activity can help keep your blood pressure normal.

 LEARN ABOUT BLOOD SUGAR AND DIABETES Children and teens need to watch what they eat for many reasons. One of them is that a healthy diet can help prevent diabetes, a dangerous disease that increases your risk of heart disease and stroke. In diabetes, the body has problems either using or making a hormone called insulin. Insulin is important because it helps your body turn sugar and other food into energy. When the body doesn’t have enough insulin, it causes too much sugar to build up in your blood, which can cause damage to your heart and other parts of your body.  Dr. Arnold Fenrich is a pediatric cardiologist at Dell Children’s Hospital in Austin. He is a member of the Travis County Medical Society, the Texas Medical Association, the American Heart Association, and the Heart Rhythm Society, as well as a fellow in the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Cardiology. 9


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Texas PTA would like to welcome our new 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. Look for them at LAUNCH 2018 and the new Health Matters learning track!


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You stop at your local pharmacy after work to pick up a prescription that your doctor has phoned in for your daughter. It’s a generic cough medicine and you’re surprised at the register by the $30 copayment. If you’re like most people, you’ll just wince and pay the $30 because your daughter needs the medicine. After all, you’re not an expert on drug costs and you trust your pharmacy to charge a fair price. Many Texans don’t realize that their copayments are not set by their pharmacy, but by their insurer in cooperation with the pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) that administers the prescription drug benefit. Patient co-pays are a longstanding and legitimate form of cost-sharing for medications covered by insurance. However, some health plans and PBMs engage in an unethical practice known as a “clawback,” in which they set a copayment well above a medication’s cash price, then take — “claw back” — most or all of the copayment. In such a situation, patients routinely overpay for the medication without questioning the price or asking the pharmacist if there is a lessexpensive alternative. To worsen the practice, some PBMs forbid their network pharmacies from volunteering to a patient that a medication is available for a cash price that is lower than the copayment. Some PBMs even threaten to expel a pharmacy from the provider network if it informs patients about a clawback or offers the drug at a lower cash price.

Prescription drugs are one of the fastestgrowing healthcare costs and you should carefully watch every dollar you spend on them. Whenever a price for a medication seems too high — especially for a common generic drug — ask your pharmacist if there is a way to purchase it for less than your copayment. Your pharmacy will usually be happy to offer a less expensive option, such as selling you the medication at a cash price outside your insurance plan. If your prescription is for a more expensive brand name drug, ask your pharmacist to discuss with your doctor if there is an effective, lessexpensive generic alternative available. If you take multiple medications, your pharmacist can also advise you if any of them duplicate or diminish the effectiveness of the others. For Ben McNabb, owner and pharmacist in charge at Love Oak Pharmacy in Eastland, helping patients find their medications at a lower cost is both important and second nature to him. “If they’re [patients] not satisfied with their co-pay, the first thing they should do is talk to their pharmacist,” McNabb said. Legislation passed during the 2017 session by State Sen. Charles Schwertner of Georgetown makes it illegal for health plans or the PBMs that represent them to engage in clawbacks in any commercial or Medicaid insurance plan in Texas for which they have issued, amended, or renewed a provider contract as of January 1, 2018. McNabb said the new law is great, but patients still need to get in the habit of asking their pharmacist if they are paying the lowest price for their medications. Where clawbacks 11 11

are concerned, he said, “It’s hard for people to believe that they’re paying more than they need to just to get their medications. They tend to not believe that these big companies may be pulling the wool over their eyes.” For McNabb, whose pharmacy serves a small town of 4,000 along Interstate 20 between Fort Worth and Abilene, what patients pay for their medications can be a major factor in how healthy they are.

Ben and his wife, Heather, outside their pharmacy in Eastland, TX.

“Sometimes, the cost of a drug is the biggest prohibitive factor in someone getting well,” he said. Some patients don’t realize that there are other options. There’s all kinds of solutions.” Though some drugs are expensive and pricing is complicated, McNabb does his best to keep it simple by offering lower cash prices if possible or helping patients find coupons to reduce their outof-pocket cost. He also goes the extra mile each year helping Medicare patients make the most cost-effective choices for Medicare Part D drug coverage plans during the annual open enrollment period. Pharmacies are prohibited from steering patients to any specific plan, but they can help patients understand how Part D drug coverage works and compare the plans’ deductibles, copayments, and other coverage provisions. 12

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“We show them all the plans, not just the ones that may be best for our pharmacy,” he said. “We try to be really fair about it.” McNabb said that during the last two months of open enrollment, plan insights provided by him and his staff helped patients save a projected $60,000 in annual drug coverage costs when selecting a Part D plan. “That makes our day because we feel like we’re making a big impact on their lives,” he said. In understanding how your drug coverage works, remember that each prescription drug plan has a formulary — a list of covered medications divided into tiers based on therapeutic use, cost, and availability. Tier 1 copayments are lower — often $10 to $20 – and include many common generic drugs such as antibiotics, painkillers, or cholesterol drugs produced by multiple manufacturers. Tier 2 and 3 drugs are often patented brand name drugs produced by a single company, or certain limited-production generics. These drugs might have a copayment of $30, $40, or more. Keep in mind that your prescription drug plan’s deductible requirement or out-of-pocket limits can also affect what you are charged for medications. You may pay more out-of-pocket at the start of each calendar year in order to satisfy a plan deductible. But regardless of your plan’s exact coverage provisions, if you think you are overpaying or you don’t understand the price of a particular medication, just ask your pharmacist.  Chuck Waters is the director of marketing, communications, and member services for American Pharmacies, which represents 600+ independent pharmacies across Texas and 19 other states.


KNOW THE SIGNS Pediatric Hypertension by Dr. Adrienne Kilgore Walton, MD, MS

Pediatric hypertension occurs in 2%–5% of all pediatric patients.1 It is one of the top five chronic diseases in children and adolescents, and a growing health problem in the wake of the American obesity epidemic. In the last three decades we have seen an eruption of children and adolescents living with obesity. For the U.S, 2011-2014, the prevalence of obesity was 8.9% among 2- to 5-year-olds compared with 17.5% of 6- to 11-year-olds and 20.5% of 12- to 19-year-olds. Obese children and adolescents represent more than 12 million U.S. children — one out of every six children.1 Obese children have an increased risk of developing a range of health problems, including high blood pressure. 30% of obese children and adolescents have elevated blood pressure.2 However, one need not be obese to have hypertension. This is when its recognition may be most difficult, because patients, parents, and health care providers may not actively look for hypertension in normal weight children. 14

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It is of utmost importance to prevent high blood pressure in children. But, it is of equal importance to recognize signs and symptoms, diagnose, and treat hypertension when it is present. High blood pressure in childhood commonly leads to hypertension in adulthood3 and adult hypertension is the leading cause of premature death around the world.4 Consequences of long-standing uncontrolled blood pressure/hypertension have detrimental effects on the body. Among these include heart attacks, strokes, aneurysms or dissections, kidney failure, chronic headaches, difficulty concentrating, poor school or work performance, and fatigue. Not all of these consequences occur in adulthood. Children with hypertension can also show signs of organ damage, specifically cardiac and pathologic vascular changes. Therefore, it is important to understand the following information.

Hypertension in most cases is a preventable disease. But, when present, it is treatable and in some cases “curable� if the right steps are taken towards the appropriate intervention.

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WHAT IS BLOOD PRESSURE? Blood pressure is the amount of pressure or strength it takes to circulate blood through your body’s blood vessels. Blood pressure is recorded as two numbers: systolic and diastolic. Systolic blood pressure or SBP (the top number) indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your blood vessel walls when the heart beats to send blood to the body. Diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your blood vessel walls while the heart is receiving blood to nourish itself. WHAT DETERMINES NORMAL BLOOD PRESSURE IN CHILDREN AND WHAT AGE SHOULD MY CHILD START RECEIVING ROUTINE BLOOD PRESSURE MONITORING? Normal blood pressure values in children vary by age, sex, and height. In general, there is a range of normal for blood pressures at any given sex and age based on height percentile. For example, the blood pressure normal range of a 6-year-old boy would be different from that of a 13-year-old girl. Beginning at age 3 years old, American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that blood pressure be measured at least once annually. In some cases children with specific health conditions (including obesity, known complex medical entities such as congenital heart defects, chronic lung disease, diabetes, kidney disease, or taking certain medication classes) should begin measurements as early as birth.5

WHAT ARE SIGNS OF ELEVATED BLOOD PRESSURE? Elevated blood pressure and hypertension do not always present with signs or symptoms. This is the scariest part of hypertension. This also underscores the importance of healthy diet and seeing your primary care provider yearly to assess for abnormalities such as elevated blood pressure in individuals who are not symptomatic. Symptoms include recurrent headaches; poor sleep efficacy; poor school performance, inattentiveness, or behavioral changes; vision changes; dizziness; blood in urine; some medications and medical conditions; or chest pain. WHAT CAN I DO AS A PARENT TO ENSURE NORMAL BLOOD PRESSURE AND OVERALL CARDIOVASCULAR HEALTH IN MY CHILD? • Children mirror what they see. As parents we must be good role models. Ensure that your family is eating a well-balanced healthy diet. At the heart of a healthy diet is plant-based living. These include healthy whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Lean meat or plant-based protein and non-fat dairy are also a part of a healthy diet. • Avoid canned items or choose the sodium free variety. Try to limit salt/sodium intake to under 2000mg/day.

• Become knowledgeable regarding the definition of a serving size and recommended caloric intake, because these values are based on age and level of activity of the child or adolescent. Families should also make a point to eat as a family as many times a week as possible. For more information, visit the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion online: • Regular physical activity is important. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends all children and adolescent get 7 hours a week on average of age appropriate moderately evectional activity. Sedentary activities such as video games, television, and computer time should be reduced to less than 2 hours per day. • Avoid smoking. • Get the recommended amount of sleep nightly: For toddlers and preschool age children, this is anywhere between 10-14 hours. In school aged children and adolescents, 8-11 hours.6 • Establish a primary care provider for you and your children. Children should see their primary care provider at least once yearly for a well-child visit. These visits are important in ensuring normal growth and development of your child as well as timely diagnosis and management of health concerns.  Dr. Adrienne Kilgore Walton, MD, MS is a board certified Pediatric Cardiologist with the University of Texas Physician’s Division of Pediatric Cardiology at the McGovern Medical School and Children’s Memorial Hermann in Houston, TX. Appointments may be made to see her in several locations in the Houston metro area by calling 713-486-6755.

RESOURCES 1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Physical Activity and Health. Updated June 4, 2015. Accessed July 18, 2017. 2. McNiece KL, Poffenbarger TS, Turner JL, Franco KD, Sorof JM, Portman RJ. Prevalence of hypertension and pre-hypertension among adolescents. J Pediatr. 2007;150(6):640-644. 3. Chen X, Wang Y. Tracking of blood pressure from childhood to adulthood. Circulation. 2008;117(25):3171-3180. 4. Chobanian AV, Bakris GL, Black HR, et al.; The seventh report of the Joint

National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure: the JNC 7 report [published correction appears in JAMA. 2003;290(2):197]. JAMA. 2003;289(19):2560-2572. 5. Clinical Practice Guideline for Screening and Management of High Blood Pressure in Children and Adolescents Joseph T. Flynn, et al., Pediatrics Aug 2017, e20171904; DOI: 10.1542/peds.2017-1904 6. American-Academy-of-Pediatrics-Supports-Childhood-SleepGuidelines.aspx 17


What made you think of the theme “Heroes Around Me”?

My dad served our country and my mom serves everyone else. They are both my heroes.

I thought of the “Heroes Around Me” theme because my dad is a Navy sailor and he protected our country for 18 years and now is a US Veteran. Then I saw my mom always helping others by volunteering at my school or supporting military organizations. So, my dad served our country and my mom serves everyone else. They are both my heroes and inspire me to do so much in my life and future.

What is your favorite creative outlet? ART for sure. I love art because I get to express how I really feel. I am always drawing and creating new crafts to decorate my room. I have submitted a Reflections art masterpiece since I was in kindergarten and I will continue to support my school’s PTA. Thank you PTA for having an awesome art program so we can share our passion!

Since I became a 6th grader at Cunningham Middle School, my school has given me the opportunity to be part of many clubs such as Chess Club, Robotic Club, Reading Club, Student Council, and Girl Scouts. As a Girl Scout I have learned so much, and what I want to be when I grow up. I want to follow in my dad’s footsteps — a Navy K-9 trainer and veterinarian to help all the animals of the world. I study and train with my dad. He tells me what I need to do. He helps me to reach my goal. I want to make my family proud and I know that they want the best for me, too. There are many HEROES around me. It can be my parents, a friend, or a volunteer in the community, all so special in their own unique ways. Thank you all for inspiring me to do so much more. 18

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Is there anything about yourself you’d really like to share with the Texas PTA community?




Hannah Crawley won last year’s National PTA Theme Search Contest for its Reflections arts program. Her theme, “Heroes Around Me,” will be featured in 2018-2019.

"HEY, WHAT'S COOKING?" by Karen Burnell, Texas PTA Healthy Lifestyles Liaison hether you’re a parent who rushes out the door at 7:00 am on the dot to sit in traffic for an hour, only to then drag your tired body home following a 9-hour work day; or whether you’re a stay at home parent who spends the whole day on your feet (excluding the manic drive from dance to piano!) — for any parent meal planning is the pits. Wouldn’t it be nice to let someone else handle the headache? Well, I’ve started to dabble in the world of meal delivery services … and it’s so nice! There are big brand names like Blue Apron, Plated, and Home Chef, but just Google “meal delivery service” and you’ll see many options. (There are also brands that cater to vegetarian and paleo diets.) As a novice, I started with Blue Apron. And while these meals have been, for the most part, scrumdiddlyumptious, there are a few pros and cons I’ve learned along the way.


cons (Yep, there are a few.)

1. A complete box of ingredients and instructions arrives on your doorstep. Gone are the days of wrangling children in the grocery store. 2. There’s no waste. If you only need a half a head of cabbage, you only get a half a head of cabbage. The packing is recyclable. And you can even ship back the ice packs for free. (Tip: With no waste comes no back up ingredients. Be careful not to burn or drop anything!) 3. Taste: The ingredients are fresh, and the recipes layered with flavor. 4. Using a service has saved me from the proverbial meal planning rut. I probably would never have tried to prepare Thai chicken curry soup or roasted carrot and kale quinoa salad on my own.

1. It takes time people! There was a lot more chopping and dicing than I was used to. Grating my own cheese from a cheese block — who has time for that? Yes, I know that it’s free from additives, yada yada, but I was not prepared for the time commitment. After practicing with a few meals and learning to prep stuff early (like chopping vegetables the night before), it did get easier. Plus, I learned to prepare one meal on a weeknight and save one for the weekend. (Tip: There are brands that promote “less preparation.”) 2. Cost: Sure, they tout that it’s less than $10 per person, but it’s still pricier than grabbing a bagged meal from the grocery store. I liken it to a tasty restaurant quality meal that we get to eat at home (without the hassle of going out on a weeknight). The cost then doesn’t seem so bad! 3. Calories: I try to stick to a protein meal with a cold vegetable and hot vegetable side. Not all of the meals fit that criteria. There are many meals close to 500-600 calories per serving. (The meals in the 800 calorie range usually have bread or a starchier side.)

Overall, it’s been a fun journey. And it might be just what you need to help manage the dayto-day happy bedlam we call family life!

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Falling for Yogurt SMOOTHIE BREAKFAST BOWL ingredients: • • • • •

1 1/2 cups milk or juice 1 banana, sliced 1 1/2 cups frozen mixed berries Greek yogurt Dry ingredients (oats, granola, chia seeds)


Pour the milk or juice into a blender Add the banana, frozen berries, and Greek yogurt • Blend for 1-2 minutes until smooth • If the smoothie seems lumpy or thick, add a little more liquid (1/4 cup) • Pour into a bowl and add dry ingredients for crunch and texture Try oats, granola, or chia seeds, or go crazy and try all three! • •

MANGO YOGURT BARK ingredients: • • • • • • • •

2 cups nonfat plain yogurt 1/4 cup honey (or maple syrup) 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 1/4 teaspoon fresh lemon juice pinch of salt mango, diced cherries, sliced Your favorite cereal or granola

instructions: • • • • • • • • 20

Texas Parent Teacher Association The Voice

Line a baking sheet with wax paper and set aside Combine yogurt, honey, vanilla, lemon juice, and salt in a large mixing bowl; whisk well Transfer yogurt mixture to baking sheet and spread to an even thickness Top with mango and cherries Add cereal or granola (for extra oomph) Freeze for 2 to 3 hours Cut into triangles and serve Store in the freezer

EAZY PEAZY POPSICLES ingredients: 2 cups mixed fruit (try fresh blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and sliced bananas) • 2 cups plain or vanilla yogurt • 1/4 cup white sugar •

On the cheap popsicle mold: • 8 small paper cups • 8 popsicle sticks

instructions: • • • • •

Blend all of the ingredients together until desired consistency Fill paper cups 3/4 full with mixture Cover each cup with foil and poke a popsicle stick through the center Freeze for 5 hours Remove foil and cup to serve

PB&B PUPPY TREATS ingredients:

32 oz plain yogurt 3 tablespoons peanut butter (try no salt variety for healthier option) • 1 large banana, sliced • 1 tablespoon honey (optional) • •


Blend the ingredients together until creamy • Spoon out and spread onto a silicone mold • Freeze for 2 hours • Pop treats out and serve •


Or skip the mold and dip your puppy’s favorite biscuit treat • Leftover treats store well in an airtight container in the freezer •

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Winter 2018 • Vol. 110 408 West 11th Austin, TX 78701 1-800-TALK-PTA Texas PTA texasPTA txstatepta texas_pta


Texas Parent Teacher Association The Voice