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President's Message - August 2016

posted Aug 15, 2016, 11:56 PM by Sduc Pta

What can I say, "I got a selfie with Ben Vereen!"  That was the highlight for me for the month of August as Mr. Vereen paid a visit to help inspire our schools to participate in the Ben Vereen Awards - Wellness Through the Arts (WTA) program at our 2016 Back-to-school Breakfast event held on August 10, 2016. I am constantly seeking ways that our PTAs in San Diego can enhance the educational experience for the students at their schools by building on strategic relationships/partnerships with organizations that share the same passion.  The 2016 Breakfast event broke all records in terms of attendance over the past breakfast events followed by the highest turnout for number of PTA leaders that stayed to get a little bit of training on the role of the PTA President. Sure it helped that I had a celebrity come by but it wasn't Mr. Vereen's "star power" that I was hoping for people to see, it was the message that I was hoping all would listen that we can inspire our youth by having Arts in our schools.  I was so humbled by the emails and in-person positive remarks on the success on the event, many of them coming from Principals.  My goal was to help inspire our school administrators and local PTA Leaders on what PTA can do for their school as well as introduce schools without a PTA a program that they may want to consider participating in.    Naturally, I am slighted that I think PTA is the best avenue to community engagement but I'd rather their be some school-site organization of some kind than none at all.

Another first for Council was that we published a Principal's Handbook and the credit really goes to two very wonderful people, Beatrice Fernandez and Barbara Flannery, whom have done extensive amount of Leadership training throughout the past year that lead to recognizing the need of this book.  We had our first all-board training for current PTA Board members for PTA Units
in SDUSD on August 15 at the California Coast Credit Union office in Serra Mesa (we'll still be providing officer specific training in September).  This was made possible by a partnership between San Diego Unified Council of PTAs and California Coast Credit Union.    I am practicing what I've preached and that is, if you have people on your team that are willing and can help, use them!  As much as I love to help train and be there, due to work schedule i just wasn't able to.  I was fortunate I had someone on the Council team, Derick Boerner to be more specific, that was willing to help out and deliver a great training (as I knew he would).  Looking ahead, I would like to share some things to be mindful of as the next school-year is fast approaching.

Summer for PTA is the time for planning for the next school year and I am tickled pink when I met a Principal that said she had met with her PTA board twice this summer and jokingly thought she would get the summer off. I am elated that a) the PTA board is using the summer to plan and b) so appreciative of the Principal's support of the PTA.  This is a great example of how parent/community engagement is encouraged and will have a positive impact on the students of their school.  Typically in August a PTA board should be looking at the proposed budget presented by the budget committee and no later than the board meeting in September should the board then be approving the recommendation to present the proposed budget to the Association for adoption.  Remember to check the PTA Unit's bylaws as to when each association meeting is held and even when the PTA Board meets.  Remember that the members of the PTA Association has the authority to adopt the budget and it is then when the PTA Board carries out the business of the organization.  The budget is almost like the business plan for the PTA for the fiscal year, showing where the money is going to come from and where the money is going to go (not to forget that it is itemized).  All of this information is available in our President's handbook which we have started to distribute as well as it is available online under Leadership Resources.

Here are some programs to be aware of that your PTA unit can do (you can find these ideas and more off of the National PTA's website):
  • Reflections - National PTA Arts program where students can participate in a variety of categories, our recommendation is to choose the categories that you feel your school community would be most successful at (even if it is just one).  This year's theme is "What's your Story" and I really think that this theme ties well with the Ben Vereen WTA program.
  • School of Excellence -  is a recognition program that supports and celebrates partnerships between PTAs and schools to enrich the educational experience and overall well-being for all students.
  • National Parent Involvement Day - Save the date for November 17 where your school community can show appreciation for the volunteers help your school (whether a little or a lot). 
  • Take Your Family to School Week - This is a National PTA program where schools are encouraged to participate in bring families to schools revolving around a theme.
This is just a short short list of what programs your PTA can do and you can visit our website for more ideas under the Leadership Resources page.  There is so much that the PTA can do for their school and there is so much information that is available at your fingertips.  Don't forget that the San Diego Unified Council of PTAs is here to help wherever we can.  

Lastly I would like to end with a few reminders:
  • Remit your dues as early as possible, the more you send in, the more likely you'll qualify for recognition for Early Bird membership.  Due dates have yet to be determined, however, please use the latest Unit Remittance Form off of our website under the Forms page.  Please be sure to remit $5.75 per capita
  • Training - We have upcoming training to provided more detailed information on the roles of President, Treasurer, and Secretary in addition to other positions on September 12, 2016 - 10 am - 12 pm and September 14, 2016 - 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm at the Ballard Center.
  • General Meetings - The SDUCPTA needs our PTA Unit President's to attend the General Meetings as you count as our voting body and without you, we can't conduct business, we always try to make it worth your time to attend, if the PTA President is unavailable, then send another board member to represent the PTA unit.  The first General Meeting for PTA Unit Presidents to attend will be September 26, 2016 starting at 6:30 pm at the Ballard Center.

As always, I look forward to hearing from you and I am here to help along with the rest of my board mates and leadership team members.

Humbly yours,

Celeste Bobryk-Ozaki
San Diego Unified Council of PTAs