The goal of the Family Life Commission is to promote healthy family relationships and the resulting success of children in all aspects of their lives. Utah PTA believes that the first and most important teacher throughout a child's life is the parent. The Family Life Commissioner aims to provide information and resources for these parents and families as they encounter the challenges of life, with particular emphasis on early childhood and family relationships.
Parents Empowered has been all over the news for their advertising on the buses. It is some great coverage. Check it out.
National PTA® and AXA Foundation have awarded $1,000 Take Your Family to School Week® Grants to 45 PTAs. Read the news release to find out the winning PTAs.
PTA Take Your Family to School Week is celebrated each February to pay tribute to PTA’s legacy of building family-school partnerships. PTA Take Your Family to School Week will be held February 12–18, 2012 with the purpose of expanding and enhancing family engagement in schools across the country.
National PTA® offers grants to PTAs to implement programs that engage families in the school community. These grants can be used to build positive partnerships with teachers and families, connect parents to their children’s school experiences, and give children fun ways to share what they are learning and doing in class with their families.
Utah has a winner this year. It is Provost Elementary School PTA – Provo Utah
Provost Elementary PTA will host a weeklong event that is dedicated to bringing parents and the community into the school. Each day, the PTA has planned special events such as a family school breakfast, family school lunch and a family activities night. During this week Provost Elementary PTA will also hold a Title 1 night, where the Title 1 Coordinator will be onsite to discuss with the parents how they can help their children reach their goal of a higher education. By partnering with the local universities, Provost Elementary PTA will also begin a program dedicated to translating schools documents into Spanish so that the school can effectively communicate with all parents in the community. The goal of this program is to get parents more involved with their children's academic life and get everyone excited for their further education.
We encourage ALL PTA schools to apply for this grant for next year.
It has been found that families and communities strongly affect children’s school success. Here is a handbook on promoting family and community engagement in your neighborhood. This book has chapters by many of the leading researchers in the field of Family Engagement and covers a huge variety of topics. You can download the handbook for free at the Academic Development Institute’s site at http://www.families-schools.org/downloads/FACEHandbook.pdf
Strengthening Famililes DVD Excellent Family Resourse
I’m a new Family Life Commissioner!
Not only does family life has the greatest impact on the lives of children, but strong families contribute to strong communities. The mission statement for the Family Life Commission is ‘to strengthen the home and improve the quality of life for all Utah children’. This may sound like an overwhelming goal but many small steps can have a big impact.
Studies have shown that effective parents accomplish three tasks:
1) Bond with their children. They communicate love and respect. They have fun together. Children feel secure.
2) Teach and guide their children. They set clear and consistent rules or boundaries. They show interest in their children’s intellectual, physical, emotional and spiritual development.
3) Stay involved in the lives of their children. Many parents pull back when their children reach adolescence. This is when parental monitoring and involvement are essential. Plan now to provide activities that will help parents with these tasks. Here are 5 steps to help you work your plan.
Step one: Check out the resources available at the Utah PTA Family Life Commissioner page found on this website and in the handbook. There you will find areas of focus for the Family Life Commission, national and state PTA programs that you can adopt or link to yourown activities, short articles that can be used in your PTA newsletters to promote effective parenting, and links to partnering organizations with additional resources for your activities.
Step two: Sign up for The PTA Parent Newsletter at http://www.pta.org/. This email newsletter from National PTA will give you additional program helps and parenting tips for your own newsletter, along with material under Parent Resources on pta.org.
Step three: Determine local needs and resources. If a needs assessment was done, decide how Family Life Commission activities can meet these needs. Help establish the budget for the work of your commission.
Step four: Calendar your activities. See below a few of the PTA events that you can link to your activities. Coordinate with other PTA officers; some events involve Safety, Health, or other commissions as well as Family Life. Dovetail activities to accomplish more than one commissions objectives. Pace yourself. If one month includes a big activity that will require a lot of volunteer time and preparation, schedule an easier event the next.
Having a Family Life “Parenting Tip” in each of your newsletters will help to keep the goals and activities of your commission “on the front burner.”
Step five: Recruit volunteers from diverse neighborhoods to build excitement for the activities you plan. Consider using the “Three for Me” program (http://www.pta.org/three_for_me.asp) to encourage parental involvement. Communicate the vision of what these activities could accomplish and delegate the legwork. Be sure to express appreciation for their help!
The work you do as Family Life Commissioner can help parents become more effective. What greater service can PTA give? Best wishes for great new PTA year!
Some dates you might want to incorporate into your activities in the coming year:
September : Turn Off the TV Week—http://www.tvturnoff.org/
September : Family Day – A Day to Eat Dinner with your Children — www.casafamilyday.org and www.parentsempowered.org under resources and then downloadable. You could also do this activity in Nov. for National Family Week.
November : National Family Week—http://www.nationalfamilyweek.org/
February: Apply for a Grant for this activity from National PTA. Take Your Family to School Week this is also a good time to include White Ribbon Week activities. See www.womenfordecency.org look for White Ribbon Week Resources.
April : Child Abuse Prevention Month, including bullying prevention, internet safety, etc.
http://www.preventchildabuseutah.org/ April Turn off TV Week.
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
Congratulations to the 2010 National PTA Take Your Family to School Week Award Winners: Canyon Rim Academy PTA and Jordan Ridge Elementary PTA!
If you would like to nominate a school for the PTA Take Your Family tto School Award, please download the PTA Take Your Family to School Week Award Form - http://www.utahpta.org.previewdns.com/pta/family/familytoschool/take_you....
Current Coalition Members:
PTA MORE - Men Organized to Raise Engagement
PTA MORE is a National PTA program, and is a coalition of like-minded organizations that work to ensure greater father and male involvement in programs that support the safety, health, and academic and social development of all children. You can get additional information at http://www.pta.org/pta_more.asp.
Read this article by Carey Casey about a new movie that fathers.com is promoting entitled "Courageous"
Over the weekend I was privileged to be in Atlanta with Brian Blomberg from our staff for the red-carpet premiere of the movie Courageous, which opens nationwide on September 30th. The star-studded event took place at the historic Fox Theatre, and there was an overwhelming positive response to the movie's many moving and funny moments from the 4,000-member audience.
Since fathers.com is a promoting partner for the movie, Brian and I were able to meet all the actors and many other people responsible for making the movie happen. You can see photos from our trip here.
Ready! Set! School!
Ready! Set! School! provides activities and resources to help parents prepare their pre-schoolers for kindergarten. Parents can be their children's first and best teachers.
"Raising Readers" is a new 8-minute video starring parents and their young children. Through common everyday activities, the video shows fun and easy ways to build strong muscles for getting young children ready to read. The video clearly demonstrates listening games and writing tasks that research shows makes a difference in preparing children for reading success. When parents and children watch the film together, the fun and learning begin!
Utah Education Network
The Utah Education Network has many resources for Early Childhood, such as parenting tips, helps for kindergarten readiness and building literacy skills, and information on safety, nutrition, health and fitness for young children.
A new way of leading: Building family-school partnerships for student success - When planning a program, look at each of these standards and see if your program uses each piece. If it does, then your chance of having a successful program will increase.
PTA's National Standards for Family-School Partnerships:
In the 2002 research review A New Wave of Evidence: The Impact of School, Family, and Community Connections on Student Achievement, Anne T. Henderson and Karen L. Mapp conclude that there is a positive and convincing relationship between family involvement and student success, regardless of race/ethnicity, class, or parents’ level of education. To put it another way, when families are involved in their children’s learning both at home and at school, their children do better in school. The report also points to specific types of involvement as being especially beneficial to children’s academic success.
For more information, please read Findings that support PTA's National Standards for Family-School Partnerships.
A Family Education Plan is a framework to achieve successful life-long learning, the outcome of which will strengthen and enrich the overall well-being of the family. This program is intended to be a hands-on support to assist parents as they pursue a continuum of learning, develop parental leadership, and fulfill their important responsibility as their child’s first teacher and educational advocate.
For more information on the Family Education Plan, please go http://www.utahpta.org/fep
Three for Me is a free PTA program designed to effectively involve parents and families in support of children and their education. The website below tells you how to register for free, use their free handouts and forms, and get ideas for increasing involvement. Parents are asked to sign a pledge that they will volunteer 3 hours during the school year to help their child be more successful in school. Volunteer hours can be counted whether they are at home or school. The pledge helps parents realize the value of their participation in the educational success of their student and will help to increase parental involvement.
For more information go to the Three For Me website.
The PTA Goes to Work program is designed to help parents of elementary, middle and high school students engage in career-planning to help get their child on the path to an exciting and rewarding career. There are lots of resources available to utilize this program fully.
This is a national movement to inform parents that the parental engagement fostered during frequent family dinners is an effective tool to help keep America’s kids substance-free. Family Day reminds parents that Dinner Makes A Difference! and National PTA is a partner in this movement.
Complete information and downloadable resources to run this program are available at http://casafamilyday.org.
National PTA® presents a new innovative opportunity from Comcast®. Internet Essentials provides affordable Internet service to households with children who receive free school lunches under the National School Lunch Program.
Families who participate in the program will receive the following:
1) ACQUIRE MATERIALS: Assist with the distribution of Internet Essentials information and materials to those you serve. To order these materials, please visit the Internet Essentials Partners Portal to register your PTA® chapter as an Internet Essentials partner.
2) HELP SPREAD THE WORD: Actively spread the word and help encourage participation in the Internet Essentials program. For example, you can:
3) ENCOURAGE PARTICIPATION: Help kids in your schools who you think might qualify for Internet Essentials by signing up at InternetEssentials.com.
For more information please see: http://www.pta.org/4766.htm
October is National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month, so I thought it appropriate to spend a little time talking about how to help your kids deal with bullies.
Of course, no dad ever wants his child to be bullied, but for all of the press that bullying gets, I have to say that in most cases (but certainly not all), parents can help their children deal with teasing and bullies without stepping in directly.
Here are eight tips dads can use to help their kids resolve issues with bullies.
Tip #1: Look up the school’s policy on bullying. Thankfully, this problem is already on the radar for many schools and administrators, and many have published recommendations for how to handle it. They may even have a no-tolerance policy and expect to be informed at the first sign of bullying. Remember, you’ll want the school’s cooperation if the bullying continues for your child, so make every effort to comply with policies.
Tip #2: Coach your child not to retaliate. This could lead to serious injuries, and it sends the message that violence is acceptable.
Instead, “teach your child to be assertive, but not aggressive,” says Allan L. Beane, PhD, a former teacher and an internationally recognized expert on bullying. “Coach your child on how to look, walk, and talk like a confident person.” Talk about non-verbal cues like eye contact, facial expressions and posture that your child can adopt to so that he or she exudes confidence. Over time, your child can learn to deflect the taunts and teasing.
Tip #3: Talk to your child about appropriate responses that will help your child deflect the taunts and teasing. Help your child figure out what might work, and what might not work.
In the same conversation, see if you can help your child come up with solutions to avoid situations that allow the bully to taunt your child. There’s strength in numbers. If your child has a large group of friends, he can find ways to make sure he is surrounded by these friends while in the hallway or on the bus. This might curtail the bullying.
Tip #4: Distinguish between regular bullying and extreme bullying. Regular bullying usually doesn’t lead to any physical harm. Extreme bullying does. Watch for warning signs that your child is a victim of an extreme bully. Dr. Beane lists the following:
Tip #5: Sometimes – but not often – dads may need to step in and take action to protect our children. If you believe your child is a victim of extreme bullying, or if you believe your child is responding severely to regular bullying, step in and do what is necessary to protect your child. You might need to place a friendly call to the school, or you might need to make an aggressive requirement that the bully be supervised by an adult at all times. The key is to stay in close contact with your child to make sure you have a grasp on how severe the bullying is.
That said, you should probably contact officials and not the parents. You never know what is going on in a child’s home life, or how the parents (who won’t be objective) will respond.
Tip #6: Give your child perspective on the situation. The bully might come from a tough home life and lack self-control and discipline. Ask your child questions like, “Why might he be doing this to you.”
The key, here, is to let your child know that he or she does not deserve to be bullied. At the same time, you allow your child to feel compassion for the bully.
Tip #7: Become a WatchDOG. One of the greatest programs we offer at the National Center for Fathering is WATCH D.O.G.S., which puts adult male role models, most of whom are fathers, in the hallways, classrooms, lunchrooms, libraries and playgrounds. Many of the schools that have WatchDOGS tells us that their discipline problems have dropped dramatically as a result of having these dads roam the halls. And many schools see a connection between having WATCH D.O.G.S. dads in the school and less bullying. The dads set a positive example for the kids, support the educators, and help provide a safe and secure learning environment.
Tip #8: And – one last angle on the bully problem – if your child isn’t currently a victim for bullies, you might suggest that he take a more active role in standing up for other kids when he sees teasing going on.
Carey Casey is the CEO of the National Center for Fathering, a nonprofit organization dedicated to finding 6.5 million fathers who will make the Championship Fathering Commitment. NCF believes that every child needs a dad they can count on, and uses its resources to inspire and equip men to be the involved fathers, grandfathers and father figures their children need.