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Hello Portland PTA members and leaders,

Spring is underway and that means it's budget season at PPS. Every school across our city is facing funding cuts due to reduced revenue coming from the state. PTA Units and Foundations across Portland are having discussions about how to fill the gaps, State PTA Leaders and Teachers are advocating in Salem for increased revenue and parents are personally sharing their stories with Legislators about how the proposed cuts affect their families. April 23-29 is National Volunteer Week and we want to thank you for the hours you give to your communities and for advocating on behalf of all students in Portland Public Schools.

~Portland Council PTA

Member News:

Student Health & Safety

April is Alcohol Awareness Month:
The warmer weather and longer days mean that kids are often spending more time with friends and away from the watchful eye of adults. Most young people ages 12 to 20 do not drink. However, in 2012, about 9.3 million young people in this age group, or one out of four, had used alcohol. Alcohol use can interfere with a students health, academic performance; and relationships with friends and family.While many teens do drink alcohol, underage alcohol use is not inevitable. Families can focus efforts on the factors that protect teens from alcohol use. At the same time, you can work to reduce the factors that increase the chance that teens will drink. See what to say and what to do to prevent underage drinking as well as how to get help if your teen has a drinking problem.

World Health Day Focus- Depression:
April 7th is World Health Day and this year the campaign focuses on depression. Depression can happen to anybody. It causes mental anguish and affects people’s ability to carry out everyday tasks. Fortunately, depression can be prevented and treated. In October 2016, the World Health Organization launched a one-year campaign to ensure that more people with depression, in all countries, both seek and get help.

What causes depression, what are the signs and symptoms and how is it treated? Find out more here.

It's normal for students to feel sad, angry, or moody occasionally, especially during the teen years. Setbacks such as getting cut from a sports team, doing poorly on a test, or having a conflict with a classmate can stir strong emotions — and that's normal, too.
But when a depressed mood lingers for weeks, months, or even longer, and affects a student's ability to function normally, it might be depression. Read more about kids and depression here.

Healthy Schools, Healthy Kids:

Take action to improve children's health! The EPA's comprehensive schools website offers all the resources you need to establish, maintain, or enhance a school environmental health program. Find more information here.

    Science, Technology, Engineering and Math

    Portland Council PTA partnered with OregonASK to bring STEM event training to PTA leaders to help them engage all families in their communities with STEM education and create positive STEM identities for students. Our six pilot schools recently completed their events and we will share in next month's newsletter the success of these programs. Thank you to the parent volunteers, afterschool partners and school staff of Boise-Eliot/Humboldt, Creston, Faubion, Hayhurst, Scott and Vestal for participating in this pilot program. They created events that engaged all families in a very meaningful way and we look forward to sharing this opportunity with additional PTAs next school year.
    PPS News

    PPS Bond- Healthy Schools for All:

    The 2017 PPS Safe and Healthy Schools Campaign is underway and many local unit PTAs are endorsing and supporting the campaign in various ways; meetings, phone calls and personal outreach to neighborhood members who don’t have kids in school. We want to encourage our PTAs to host a bond information meeting at your school. To schedule a presentation at your PTA meeting, contact Bobbie Regan today. To volunteer to help in the campaign, find more information here.

    The campaign has received over 100 endorsements from Portland education partners, public health advocates, environmentalists, communities of color advocates, elected officials, parents, principals teachers and students. Check out the full list of endorsements
    HERE, and contact Aaron at the campaign if you are part of a neighborhood association, PTA, or small business that would like to sign on to join the campaign.

    PPS School Board Candidates Forum:
    Portland Council PTA will be joining the League of Women Voters and Communities and Parents for Public Schools to host the PPS School Board Candidate's Forum on Tuesday, April 11, 2017 at 7:00 pm.

    This is a good time to meet the candidates and hear how they plan to work to support student success in PPS. A reminder that your PTA should not host candidates to speak at PTA meetings, unless you invite all candidates in the race to be present. Because of our 501c3 status, we are not allowed to endorse a candidate. Your PTA can endorse a measure, but not a candidate.

    Date: Tuesday, April 11, 2017
    Time: 7:00 pm
    Location: Multnomah County Building, 501 SE Hawthorne Blvd.

    All candidates for Zones 4, 5 and 6 have been invited. The forum will be taped and televised by MetroEast Community Media and will be available on demand through election day, May 16, 2017, at www.lwvpdx.org

    Forum Moderator: Linda Mather

    PTA Advocacy

    The Oregon legislature started its work in February and they have slogged through many hours in the Ways and Means Committee hearing about the current budget crisis and harm to schools and other programs which are the result of $1.5 billion shortfall in revenue to pay for current services.

    Local school districts are now crafting their budgets for the next two years based on the state budget proposals. Most districts will be facing cuts of teachers, other staff and some will need to cut programs and even days of instruction. Our partners at COSA, OEA and OSBA have created an easy to use reference for local budgets.

    Read the OSBA report on the hearing on budgets here.

    We are most effective in our advocacy work when there are a wide variety of participants. Portland Council PTA President, Lisa Kensel, submitted testimony to the Ways and Means Committee, sharing her personal perspective on the fundraising being done in schools, just to meet basic needs. You can read her testimony here.

    Please join us in telling the Ways and Means Committee (budget writers from House and Senate) what is happening in your schools and also share this information with your own legislators- see contact information here . When we share our stories, we can make a difference.

    Read the latest news about how the Ways and Means Committee is proposing to address the budget shortfall. They propose to both raise taxes and cut spending to address the shortage.

    See additional photos of Oregon PTAs day at the Sub-Committee Hearing here.

    Supporting Children and Their Families, by Ashley Talmadge

    Grout Elementary is a unique K-5 in inner SE Portland, nurturing an incredibly diverse student body. The families at Grout include immigrants and refugees, along with native Portlanders and folks from other places in the U.S. Almost 20 different languages are spoken, and many children arrive at Grout with little or no experience speaking English. The community reaps the rewards and faces the challenges of learning and growing together each day, and likes to think of themselves as a large inclusive family.

    Following the 2016 national election, a sense of unease could be felt within the halls of Grout. For many immigrant and refugee families, the future suddenly looked uncertain. Families who were not affected directly searched for ways to assure parents and children that Grout would remain a welcoming and safe place.

    The Grout Urgent Need Group began with a simple “call to action” from one concerned parent, and soon blossomed into an active coalition of parents, teachers, and community members. At first, the intention was to affirm the “open door, open arms” policy at Grout, a place where all are welcome and everyone is safe. But after several mothers shared their fears—of being separated from their children, of potential night-time raids and mass deportations—it was clear the group needed to do more.

    After weeks of planning, the Grout Community Conversation took place on February 8, 2017. About 100 participants listened to panelists (immigration attorneys, a social worker, and a police officer), and then broke into smaller discussion groups to ask specific questions. The combined efforts of many individuals and organizations made the event an overwhelming success. Catholic Charities and El Programa Hispano provided the venue and panelists. Grout’s Principal, Annie Tabshy, coordinated interpreters in seven languages. Oregon State Representative Rob Nosse was available to answer questions during the discussion portion. And SUN School personnel provided childcare for about 45 children on site. An amazing example of community at its best!

    Going forward, the Grout Urgent Need Group would like to share information, resources, and news of events with other school communities. Currently the group is compiling a resource list for immigrants, refugees, people of color, and anyone interested in maintaining the safety and well-being of all families and students. For more information, about the Grout Urgent Need Group or to share similar outreach in your community, please contact David Biggs or Zack Duffly via email.

    Portland Council PTA Clothing Center

    The Portland Council Clothing Center has served 1300 students so far this school year! The Clothing Center cannot do it alone and we appreciate everyone who makes this a successful program for our PPS students. Several companies in the area assist us by sending volunteers to help at the Center. If you work for a company that donates time to organizations, we'd love to be considered.

    Thank you to all the individuals that have donated financially to the Clothing Center this past month! We sincerely appreciate your donations and value your support. We use financial donations to purchase warm winter coats for students, as well as new socks, underwear and jeans. If you'd like to make a financial donation to the Clothing Center, you may do so online here.
    Leader News:
    News to Enhance Your Leadership

    Portland Council PTA Principal and Teacher of the Year Award:
    Do you have an outstanding Principal or Teacher that you would love to see recognized? Nominate them for Principal or Teacher or the Year! Find nomination materials here and contact President Lisa Kensel if you have questions. The deadline for submissions has been extended to April 20, 2017.

    Oregon PTA Conference & Convention:
    The Oregon PTA Conference and Convention is coming up this month. There is still time to register for Convention on April 21-22, 2017 at the Holiday Inn @ Wilsonville.

    Portland Council PTA will be holding our spring meeting and elections for our 2017-2018 Board of Directors during the Convention. This meeting will be held on Saturday, April 22nd 10:30-11:45 am. All members and leaders in Region 2 (Portland) are invited to attend and participate in the meeting.

    Registration Fee: $205.00 per person

    Hotel: $119.00 per night including tax and fees
    Registration is open.

    Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici will be addressing our Delegates on Friday, April 21st. There will also be engaging speakers, educational workshops, exciting themed meals as well as honoring Oregon’s Students for their achievements in athletics, art, community service, projects and more.

    Some of the Workshops:

    • Connect Safely: National nonprofit dedicated to children and youth internet safety with programs for parent and child interaction. Learn how to establish best practices.
    • STEM family experience: Learn more on how your PTA can promote and engage families in STEM education.
    • SMART: Promoting equity and inclusion through children's literature.
    • Creating a Healthy School culture together: How PTAs can advance school wellness policies.
    • Earthquake Preparedness: how PTAs can help their schools prepare.
    • AIM, your Liability Insurance Carrier
    • Innovation in Education

    Please see the Conference Registration Book for more details on this engaging and educational weekend.

    Portland Council PTA/PPS Volunteer Celebration 2017:
    Mark your calendar and make plans to attend the annual Volunteer Celebration on Thursday, May 25, 2017. Information will be going out to PTA Presidents very soon for selection of guests. You will not want to miss this night of fun and honor for our best and brightest volunteers across Portland!

    Portland Council PTA Board of Directors Elections:
    Leaders, are you interested in getting involved with PTA at the Council Level? Do you want to further the mission of PTA and help other local units with your knowledge? We are currently accepting applications for upcoming openings on our Board. If you are interested, please contact our Nominating Chair, Jaime Cale via email for more information. Or download nomination forms here.

    Leadership Resources:

    Follow our Blog here for guidance and information as you lead your PTA.
    Consult our website for up to date information and news.
    See our Monthly Leadership Checklists here- we currently have President's checklists available and will be adding additional leader checklists soon.

    Follow us on Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter for resources and information you can share with your communities.

    Lisa Kensel
    Portland Council PTA
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