The Education Commissioner is a strong supporter of public education and works to maintain the integrity of our public education system. The Education Commissioner will also work to support, build, and enrich the educational process at all levels of PTA.
The Education Commission can encompass many different areas of focus and we want to help you zero in on the topics that are most useful to you. We will also try to keep current on events that might complement the activities of your school. Our Resource Guide and Parent Guides for core education standards may also help you to become the person at your school with answers regarding education.
In addition, during the 2012-2013 school year, we will be emphasizing three specific areas: family engagement in education, support for special needs students and their families, and college and career preparation to prevent dropouts. We will look for greater help for secondary PTAs this year. Watch for more information on these topics.
I would love to hear from you about what has been effective in supporting education in your school and community.
Have You Heard?
Current short spots for events or programs related to education
Look for purple text for information for parents. PTA leaders can use this for newsletters or email to parents. Look for red text for information for PTA leaders. Blue text indicates an online link.
* Are you already hearing about summer boredom from the kids? Here are some great ideas for keeping young minds whirring all summer.
* Parents! Keep your kids reading to prevent academic losses over the summer. Browsing at the library is fine but if you are interested in finding specific books that will interest and challenge your young reader, the State Office of Education can help you with a book list.
Choosing a book can be like choosing a pair of shoes. Try out lots of styles and colors! But for the best fit, measure your feet and choose shoes with "a little room to grow". The Lexile site helps you measure your children's reading level and narrow the field by their interests. The book list it provides for your child gives you thousands of titles to choose from.
Happy summer reading!
*Elementary PTA leaders: We hope you received and distributed the Summer Reading Calendars from the Governor's Office! Encourage summer reading to prevent a reading set-back when school starts.
*If your school plans to hold one or more literacy activities or events during the next year, now is the time to schedule them. Find information on Jumpstart's Read For the Record (October), KUED's Reading Marathon (November), Read Across America (March--Dr. Seuss' Birthday!), or Drop Everything and Read "DEAR" (April -- Beverly Cleary's Birthday!). Remember, 20 minutes a day can do a lot. Find more ideas on the Literacy Programs page or in the Education Commissioner Handbook. Good luck!
*Hey, secondary school leaders! Thinking ahead to next year with an eye on promoting Math among your students? Consider hosting national math contests at your school, such as the AMC, MathCounts, NA&T, and USAMTS. The website for the AMC is a little tricky to navigate for beginners; they seem to assume that you already know what is what! That's why I linked you to the FAQ page. Through the end of June, new schools and those that have been absent for the past three years can use the coupon code "50MM13All" to register for all four of next year's national contests for just fifty dollars total. See the STEM programs page for dates of the competition tests.
*Could your school use additional computers? Here is a way you can help provide them: The Federal Government requires that used, surplus equipment, that is useful for education, be made available to schools or non-profit educational entities. It is called the Computers For Learning program Ownership is transfered at no cost to the school but the school must pay for shipping and handling. Click here for details about how to apply to receive computers and other peripherals.
The mission of the Education Commission is to:
The Education Commission provides an "umbrella" for many PTA projects and activities. The Chair of the Book Fair or the Dropout Prevention program, the organizer of the Read-Athon or the Geography Bee can be your local connection to the Education Commission at Utah PTA.
Click on one of the focus areas below to find resources that might be just right for your school!
Find resources for these areas of focus by clicking on the boxes above!
Dear PTA friends!
More than 30 years of research shows that family involvement promotes student success. No matter what their family income or background may be, students with involved parents are more likely to:
For more information, please read Family-School Partnerships on the National PTA Website - http://www.pta.org/family_school_partnerships.asp
When you are planning activities for the month of February, think about this:
PTA Take Your Family to School Week is just one of the PTA programs revitalizing parent involvement in education. PTA has worked to bring families and schools together since its founding on February 17, 1897. Each local unit should host an event during that week, because research shows that when parents and families are involved, students achieve and have more success in school. There are many resources available to help you run this program. Click on the link below to find FAQs, Event Ideas, Timeline & Planning for the event, and lots of downloadable posters, signs, and commitment cards. Many of these resources are in English and Spanish.
For more information on PTA Take Your Family to School Week, please visit: http://www.pta.org/take_your_family_to_school.asp
Add something fun to your reading at home. Find a collection of classic books, children's books, young adult books, and others, online. You may recognize some of them from your Grandmother's book shelf!
Elementary School PTA leaders!
Make reading a daily activity that is fun for the whole family!
Look for a program that suits the needs of your students among the many that are available in our own communities.
Partner with the community to energize your events!
Here are a few links that might help you create a great literacy event at your school:
STEM is the acronym used to refer to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. A student's proficiency at STEM subjects gives the student confidence and greater problem solving skills. It is also a good predictor of post-high school success, employment security, and lifelong income.
Consider activities to support STEM subjects at your school.
I welcome your contributions. Contact me with your suggestions. Also if you have tips for successful activities, I'd love to hear from you.
In Secondary Schools, we include the students in our PTA organizations, making them PTSA!
Together we can help them prepare for life after high school. Some of the resources that may be helpful to you in planning programs or activities -- or just having available information -- are below. Just click on the words that are highlighted in blue.
Find out what you can do to help your child prepare for life after graduation. Check out the new website at Step Up Utah! This site has information for parents and students, K-12, on how to prepare for college or other post-high school certificates. It's never too early to start thinking about it. Parent of elementary school students will find information and a kids fun page.
PTA leaders, talk to your school counselors or administrators to help plan events around college and career readiness. Step Up Utah has resources for you.
Utah Futures helps students prepare for their future careers with individualized plans. Check it out with your student!!
March 2 Success is a free tool to help middle and high school students prepare for success in college.
Utah Women and Education is focused on encouraging women to be prepared for, start, and finish a college degree.
The Museum in the Classroom -- or Home
The National Gallery of Art’s Children’s Video Tour - Time Travel is an exceptional online resource that takes students on a tour into famous paintings by Vincent Van Gogh, Rembrandt Van Rijn, Leonardo Da Vinci, Claude Monet and more. Each featured painting has a video that brings the painting to life by providing commentary about the artist, the model(s), and interesting details about each work of art. Students can explore “Saint George and the Dragon” by Raphael or learn details about Mary Cassatt’s career by clicking on her painting, “The Boating Party.” If you can’t take your students to the museum, this is a wonderful way to bring the museum to your students.
There are many reasons that children should learn to save and spend money wisely. Parents may be interested in resources that help them to teach financial literacy at home. PTA leaders may want to craft an activity at the school around this theme too.
Check out Money as You Grow, an online, interactive tool to give families a guideline for teaching kids 3 to 18 (and even beyond) important money lessons, like how to make good choices when spending, how to avoid debt, and why it's important to save for an emergency.
Civics Education has a champion in Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. The project she is promoting is called iCivics and can be found at this website. It features games that kids can play from the website and also has lesson plans that can be adapted for the classroom or an AfterSchool program. Click here for a blog report on Justice O'Connor's motivation and involvement.
Find resources as varied as our country at Kids.gov.
A series celebrating the 225th Anniversary of the United States' Constitution was developed by Lydia Nuttal in Morgan, Utah and is being used in the Morgan School District. It is found on the Morgan City website. It is called "Forgotten American Family Night Stories" and is easily adapted to family, PTA meeting, classroom, or after school program use. Ms Nuttall holds the copyright but has given permission for non-commercial use.
Contact Deon Turley, Education Commissioner
Did you know:
The trick to effective advocacy is knowing who to go to for any given problem. I am posting information about issue that PTA is advocating below. The title indicates the level where your advocacy is appropriate. Some topics apply to more than one level.
The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) continue to draw voices of opposition. It looks like it will not be going away anytime soon. I have posted historical information about Utah's adoption of CCSS as part of its own education standards elsewhere on this website.
The Utah PTA general membership passed a resolution in support of Utah's education standards based on Common Core Standards in May of 2012 [see the resolution here]. The debate was lively and we heard from most, if not all, of those who ultimately voted in opposition. Their opposition was based on the effect of PTA taking a stand on such a controversial issue. The final vote was to pass the resolution by over 97%. It was a vote that put the children ahead of the organization.
One of the concerns of those opposed to the adoption of CCSS is that the federal government would some day require states to adopt them as National Curriculum standards or lose all federal education funds. The actions of the Supreme Court in regard to the Affordable Health Care Act in June 2012 informs us about the likelihood of this occuring.The Affordable Care Act mandated expansion of Medicare or losing all federal Medicare funding. This part of the law was struck down in the Supreme Court, stating that the Federal Government cannot change the rules regarding federal funds (which would apply to Title 1, Title 3, etc. as well) later in the game. This ruling is a triumph for states-rights advocates; it also takes away this argument from the anti-Common Core contingent. [more on the ACA ruling implications for education]