Celebrating 100 Years of Advocating for Children
Maryland PTA took part in the Maryland Task Force convened in 2014 to make a recommendation on when the school year should start. The Task Force met for nearly a year and the final report suggested that it would have little impact on education. We don't agree.
As parents who work closely with local school systems, Maryland PTA supports preserving and protecting the rights of local communities and their respective boards of education to adopt school calendars that meet their unique needs. Local boards serving the needs of parents, teachers, school children and the community is the wisest choice in our opinion.
We also disagree that the change to a start date post-Labor Day will have little impact on education. While those individuals who are able to prolong their summer vacations will enjoy the additional time, there are many children who need school facilities for every day needs, like school lunches and a safe environment to learn and play, and who look forward to the start of school to have a routine that includes socializing with fellow students and teachers. Adopting a school calendar that takes into consideration teacher and employee contracts, as well as meets the overall needs of ALL students would be a wiser choice. Now, many students may be faced with a school calendar that will impact the observance of local traditions such as winter breaks, religious holidays and Spring break so that families who can afford a trip to the shore can prolong their enjoyment.
I would feel differently, if the Governor indicated that the reason for the post-Labor Day start time meant that he would earmark the additional funds for education but unfortunately, we have seen only cuts to date. Providing full funding for education is also a "family issue", Maryland's children need the resources for their schools so that they can have a 21st Century Education.
Elizabeth Ysla Leight
National PTA and Amazon Bring Kindle E-Readers to Schools for
Family Engagement and Literacy Efforts
ALEXANDRIA, Va., (Oct. 26, 2016)—National PTA and Amazon are pleased to award a classroom of Kindle e-readers to local PTAs and schools across the country for family engagement and literacy efforts. The donation of Kindle e-readers is part of the PTA Family Reading Experience, Powered by Kindle program an ongoing collaboration between National PTA and Amazon to encourage family reading, promote a love of literature and support student success.
“Families play an essential role in helping children develop their literacy skills. And e-readers are a powerful tool to engage children in reading,” said Laura Bay, president of National PTA. “We are thrilled to equip local PTAs and schools with Kindle e-readers for family engagement and literacy efforts.”
PTA Family Reading Experience, Powered by Kindle is a national program that engages the whole family to support the development of literacy skills and foster a love of reading. Through a set of fun, educational activities, the program empowers families with information and tools to use at home and new ways to explore books together.
“Research shows that engaging children and their families in reading increases the amount of learning children take away from a book. Research also shows that when families read together, children do better in school and beyond,” added Nathan R. Monell, CAE, National PTA executive director. “We are pleased to continue our collaboration with Amazon to empower families to read together and support children’s growth as readers.”
PTA Family Reading Experience, Powered by Kindle was launched in 2013. Since joining forces, National PTA and Amazon have brought more than 2,500 Kindle e-readers to students, families and schools nationwide.
“At Amazon, we are dedicated to helping students become passionate readers and we believe that reading is fundamental to education,” said Arthur van Rest, Director, Kindle E-Readers. “We are excited to continue our collaboration with the PTA on this program to help inspire a passion for reading in students across the country.”
All PTAs and schools are encouraged to host PTA Family Reading Experience events using the digital toolkit available at PTA.org/Reading. PTAs that register their PTA Family Reading Experience events will be eligible to receive a classroom of Kindle e-readers.
About National PTA
National PTA® comprises millions of families, students, teachers, administrators, and business and community leaders devoted to the educational success of children and the promotion of family engagement in schools. PTA is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit association that prides itself on being a powerful voice for all children, a relevant resource for families and communities, and a strong advocate for public education. Membership in PTA is open to anyone who wants to be involved and make a difference for the education, health, and welfare of children and youth.
Amazon is guided by four principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. Customer reviews, 1-Click shopping, personalized recommendations, Prime, Fulfillment by Amazon, AWS, Kindle Direct Publishing, Kindle, Fire tablets, Fire TV, Amazon Echo, and Alexa are some of the products and services pioneered by Amazon. For more information, visit www.amazon.com/about.
Scott Meeks | Communications Manager, National PTA
The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science
Teaching (PAEMST) is the highest honor bestowed by the United States
government specifically for K-12 mathematics and science (including
computer science) teaching.
BALTIMORE EDUCATOR NAMED 2016-17
TEACHER OF THE YEAR
Athanasia Kyriakakos, an art teacher at Baltimore City’s Mergenthaler Vocational Technical High School, last week was named the 2016-2017 Maryland Teacher of the Year.
Dr. Karen Salmon, State Superintendent of Schools, made the announcement at the 26th Annual Teacher of the Year Gala. The event attracted scores of educators and dignitaries, including Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford, Comptroller Peter Franchot, Maryland Secretary of State John Wobensmith, Sen. Paul Sarbanes, Rep. John Sarbanes, Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, and State Board President Andrew Smarick.
Each day, Sia works to expose her students to the world outside the school. “I believe in them and teach them to believe in themselves,” she said. “This is my greatest contribution to education. Every child who comes into my classroom learns through the journey of art that they can succeed in anything.”
Governor Larry Hogan and Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford congratulated Maryland’s new Teacher of the Year.
“Maryland’s success and our economic future is directly tied to the strength of our educational system, and great teachers make all the difference,” said Governor Hogan. “I congratulate Sia, and celebrate her outstanding work along with all of the finalists. They are having a positive effect on the lives of our children and are helping change Maryland for the better.”
Lt. Governor Rutherford said Sia’s teaching has illuminated new worlds for her students. “Sia provides her students with many gifts, and they leave her classroom with new ideas to make Baltimore and Maryland a better place to live,” he said. “Her principal calls her an advocate, ambassador and leader. But Sia says, quite simply, she’s a teacher.”
Sia describes her work as a collaboration with her students. “I give my students a toolkit of strategies to help them reach their potential in art and also in their lives,” she said. “Together, we become cultural ambassadors and break the boundaries of poverty, the restrictions set upon them by the adversity of living in an urban environment -- and we do it all through art.”
Dr. Salmon said Sia not only believes that every student can learn and succeed; she does everything in her power to make it happen.
“Sia uses every tool in her toolbox, finding new ways to engage her students,” Dr. Salmon said. “It is clear that they respond to her creative methods. One of her former students wrote that Sia opened her eyes and gave her hope in the future. I cannot think of a better description of great teaching.”
Selecting Ms. Kyriakakos for the award was not an easy task for the judges. The other outstanding finalists were: Katrina Griffin, Anne Arundel County; Donna Miller, Calvert County; Anne Highfield, Cecil County; Michael Williams, Montgomery County; Tamara Forte, Queen Anne’s County; and Christy Briggs, Wicomico County.
The finalists were selected by a panel of judges from key Maryland education organizations representing principals, teachers, school boards, teacher unions, parents and higher education. Finalists were measured against a rigorous set of national criteria that include teaching philosophy and results, community involvement, knowledge of general education issues, and suggestions for professional and instructional improvement.
The 2016-2017 Maryland Teacher of the Year was announced at Martin’s West in Baltimore. The winner receives cash awards, technology equipment, national travel opportunities, and a new car valued at more than $25,000, donated by the Maryland Automobile Dealers Association.
Ms. Kyriakakos is the second Baltimore City teacher in a row to receive Maryland Teacher of the Year honors. She succeeds Ryan Kaiser, a teacher at The Mount Washington School. Maryland has had a history of national success with its Teacher of the Year Program. Since 2006, Maryland has had three of its State Teachers of the Year selected as National Teachers of the Year.
Advocacy and the ESSA
As you continue to advocate on behalf of students in our state, Maryland PTA wants to bring to your attention the following information.
The U.S. Department of Education recently posted an updated set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) concerning the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The Department has prepared these FAQs to support states and school districts in understanding expectations during the transition to full implementation of the ESSA. They recognize there are questions that are still not addressed in this document; but will continue to update and add to these FAQs over the coming months.
The FAQs are posted on National PTA’s ESSA webpage – www.pta.org/essa along with other materials to help you, PTAs, and parents understand the law and how they can be involved in the implementation process moving forward.
Is Your Local PTA Unit in Compliance with Maryland PTA Standards
of Continuing Affiliation?
1) Are the local PTA unit's bylaws on file with Maryland PTA?
2) Is the local PTA unit up to date on membership dues payments to Maryland PTA?
3) Has the local PTA unit paid their 2016-17 insurance?
4) Has the local PTA unit filed the Annual Renewal of Registration Form for Maryland
5) Has the local PTA unit filed a Form 990 with the IRS?
6) Has the local PTA unit completed an audit for the 2016 year and sent a copy to Maryland PTA?
7) Does Maryland PTA have the current officer contact information for the 2016-2017 school year?
If you can say, "yes," to items 1-7 above, Congratulations! Your local PTA unit is in good standing with Maryland PTA Bylaws!
If your local PTA unit has not completed each of these Maryland PTA requirements, they are not in good standing according to the Maryland PTA Bylaws. Please call our office 1-800-707-7972 or e-mail Office@mdpta.org, for assistance.
MARCH 31, 2017 - DEADLINE FOR COMPLIANCE ACCORDING TO MARYLAND PTA BYLAWS.
National PTA and Guitar Center Team Up to Spark Student Creativity
ALEXANDRIA, Va., (Sept. 29, 2016)—National PTA® and Guitar Center have teamed up to bring resources to families, schools and PTAs across the country to inspire students’ creativity through the National PTA Reflections arts in education program.
“Participation in the arts enables students to explore their talents and express themselves while building their confidence and sense of accomplishment. Involvement in the arts is also closely associated with students’ social and emotional development and civic engagement,” said Laura Bay, president of National PTA. “National PTA is thrilled to team up with Guitar Center to provide more students the opportunity to experience the joy and important benefits that come from participating in the arts.”
As part of the collaboration, Guitar Center will donate musical instruments to a number of local PTAs across the country to support their arts education efforts, inspire students to participate in the National PTA Reflections program and spark students’ interest to create music. Local PTAs will also have the opportunity to tap into a wide range of support from Guitar Center locations in their areas, such as having Guitar Center instructors serve as judges for their Reflections programs. With studios in nearly 100 stores, Guitar Center Lessons provides a world-class music education in many genres for musicians of all ages and skill levels.
“Learning to play music can be an amazing, life-changing experience that can help improve a student’s self-confidence, but also boost their academic performance over time,” said Krista Shue, national director of Guitar Center’s Lessons program. “We’re excited about the opportunity to collaborate with National PTA to introduce more children to learning music and fostering the skills necessary to think creatively.”
National PTA Reflections is a recognition program through which students are encouraged to explore their creativity and be involved in the arts—in the classroom and at home. National PTA and PTAs nationwide urge students from preschool through grade 12 to create and submit original works of art in the medium of their choice—dance choreography, film production, literature, music composition, photography or visual arts—that reflect on an annual theme. The 2016-2017 National PTA Reflections theme is “What Is Your Story?”
Submissions are reviewed by visual, literary and performing art experts, and students are recognized each year at the local, state and national levels for their artistic ingenuity in bringing the theme to life. Guitar Center will make it possible for a National PTA Reflections award recipient to travel to the nation’s capital in January to participate in a special ceremony at the U.S. Department of Education.
“The National PTA Reflections program has inspired millions of students to explore their talents and be involved in the arts for nearly 50 years,” added Nathan R. Monell, CAE, National PTA executive director. “National PTA and Guitar Center share a commitment to ensuring all students have the opportunity to experience the arts, as it is essential to helping them reach their full potential and preparing them for long-term success.”
About National PTA
National PTA® comprises millions of families, students, teachers, administrators, and business and community leaders devoted to the educational success of children and the promotion of family engagement in schools. PTA is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit association that prides itself on being a powerful voice for all children, a relevant resource for families and communities, and a strong advocate for public education. Membership in PTA is open to anyone who wants to be involved and make a difference for the education, health and welfare of children and youth.
About Guitar Center
Guitar Center is the world’s largest retailer of guitars, amplifiers, drums, keyboards, recording, live sound, DJ and lighting equipment. With more than 270 stores across the U.S. and one of the top direct sales websites in the industry, Guitar Center has helped people make music for more than 50 years. Guitar Center also provides customers with an in-house, state-of-the-art lesson facility through its GC Lessons programs in more than 100 stores, where musicians of all ages and skill levels can learn to play a variety of instruments in many music genres. Additionally, Guitar Center’s sister brands include Music & Arts, which operates more than 140 stores specializing in band & orchestral instruments for sale and rental, serving teachers, band directors, college professors and students, and Musician’s Friend, a leading direct marketer of musical instruments in the United States. With an unrivalled in-store experience, an industry-leading online presence and passionate commitment to making gear easy-to-buy, Guitar Center is all about enabling musicians and non-musicians alike to experience the almost indescribable joy that comes from playing an instrument.
Heidi May Wilson, National PTA
(703) 518-1242, email@example.com
Celebrating Gifted and Talented Education in Maryland
2017 CALL FOR AWARD NOMINATIONS
The attached Microsoft Word file provides a review of the information required to submit an Nomination for the 2017 Gifted and Talented Education in Maryland Awards. Click here to Launch the nomination form
Washington County Board of Education Proposed Policy Change May Impact Washington County PTA (Click Here)
Testimony of the President, Elizabeth Ysla Leight (Click Here)
Maryland PTA Structure and Function (Click Here)
Score Report Support
Last spring, your child took a new state test focusing on the critical thinking, problem solving and reasoning skills that students need, which replaced the previous test taken in your state. Results from the new tests are important because they will help teachers better understand where your child does well and where he/she may need some help.
As parents, we all have lots of questions about what score reports from the test means for our children. That’s why in this month’s newsletter, we’re focusing on resources to help you understand your child’s score report, and learn how to use it to support their growth. We hope these resources are helpful to you, and we're here to help!
What's different about the new tests?
Click here for some introductory information on how the new state tests work, and what they are measuring. If you’re not sure which test your child took last spring, select your state from the drop down menu at the bottom of the page for more information.
How can I help at home?
our site, we’ve developed two new one-stop-shop pages (one for Smarter
Balanced and one for PARCC) packed full of useful information for
parents from trusted partners such as GreatSchools, National PTA and
Scholastic. And we’re very excited to share new tools, including
GreatKids State Test Guide for Parents and Skill Builder, which allows
you to search by grade, subject and scoring category to find information
and resources tailored to the areas where your child needs support..
How are they helpful to my child's teacher?
In this video, 2010 National Teacher of the Year, Sarah Brown Wessling, shares information about the new tests, and how they are helpful to your child’s teacher. This video focuses on the Smarter Balanced test, if you live in a PARCC state, click here.
National PTA received a request from PARCC.
If you could find time to take the survey it would be greatly appreciated.
The PARCC states are seeking feedback to ensure they are delivering score reports and other information in a way that is both understandable and useful to parents and students. The answers parents give will provide the consortium with valuable information, and will help enhance the score delivery process for next year.
Useful PARCC Websites
Other Helpful Links
Have you checked the status of your unit's incorporation?
If you are not considered "In Good Standing" by the Maryland Department of Assessments, you need to contact them (410-767-1350) to find out what is required to bring you into Good Standing. Not being in good standing can result in the loss of your incorporation and the protection it provides. It will cause your local to not be in good standing, and thus not be able to participate in several of our programs and benefits. This loss of standing by the MD Dept of State is usually a result of not filing your property tax report.
THIS REPORT NEEDS TO BE FILED WHETHER YOUR PTA/PTSA OWNS ANY PROPERTY OR NOT!!!
Check your status at www.dat.state.md.us
What's going on.......
Maryland PTA Newsletters
.....good things are happening in Maryland!
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