Hello Portland PTA Members,

Back-to-School, either means tears of joy or tears of sorrow for most parents. But whichever side of the fence you are on, it means a fresh start for both students and parents. It’s a chance to try something new with a PTA Committee, get involved with PTA Leadership or connect with other parents in your community when you make time to attend PTA meetings. No matter your past involvement with PTA, you have a fresh start to get involved with your PTA and community. So, take a minute this week to mark your calendar with the PTA meeting dates and make plans to attend your Back-to-School Night or the first family event.

Back-to-School is also a chance for a fresh start for those of us here at Portland Council PTA! We have recently undergone a website make-over and are excited with the results of our site. We think the updated website will be easier for our members and leaders to access the information and news that they need. We've also restructured our PTA communications and beginning this month, "Member News" will be published bi-monthly. PTA Leaders will continue to receive monthly "Leader News" from us. We will continue to publish "hot topics" or special time sensitive news bulletins as they arise. In separating the two formats, we feel that we can better serve both members and leaders while maintaining a high level of communication for both groups. We appreciate the positive feedback that we have received concerning our newsletters and we are confident that this new structure will meet the needs of our organization.

In closing, here’s to fresh starts for all and enjoyable school days, may 2017-2018 be a great one for your family!

~Portland Council PTA

Fall 2017 Member News:

Celebrating Volunteers Across the District:

As last school year wrapped up, Portland Council PTA and PPS co-hosted the annual Volunteer Celebration to honor some of our hardest working volunteers. Each school was invited to send their best and brightest volunteers to the dinner and awards ceremony. An amazing 200,000 volunteer hours were logged in school databases. This doesn't’t include the hours that many spend on behalf of PPS students working at home when the kids are in bed, or our School Board Directors, all volunteers for our district. Thank you to the many volunteers in our District, for your dedicated work last year!

During the Volunteer Celebration, Portland Council PTA proudly awarded two outstanding individuals with recognition for their work with students and their communities. Hayhurst Principal, Deanne Froelich received the PTA Teacher of the Year award and Creston K-8 Reading Specialist, Greta Bergren received the PTA Teacher of the Year award. Thank you to both Ms. Froelich and Ms. Bergren for their work with PPS Students and Families! Read more about these amazing educators here.

PPS also recognized five outstanding volunteers in our district for their work on behalf of PPS students. Darcy Mundorff, Dena Whipple and Melissa Light received the Superintendent's Award and Mee Cha and Daniel Gaard received the PEMCO Award. Thank you for your contribution to PPS!

You can see photos from the event here.

STEM Education:

Last spring, Portland Council PTA partnered with OregonASK to bring parent led STEM event training to PTA leaders, helping them engage all families in their communities with STEM education and to create positive STEM identities for students. Our six pilot schools completed their events and we are pleased with the success of this program. 100% of leaders who participated felt that the training left them prepared to implement their events, that the resources provided were helpful and their events were successful for the families who attended. Families surveyed following events overwhelming responded that they enjoyed the events, were encouraged to work together as a family, felt that STEM skills will be useful for their children in the future, that their child is capable of becoming a STEM related professional and that they feel inspired to continue STEM activities at home with their children.

Thank you to the parent volunteers, afterschool partners and school staff at Boise-Eliot/Humboldt, Creston, Faubion, Hayhurst, Scott and Vestal for participating in this pilot program and promoting positive STEM identity for families. They created events that engaged all families in a meaningful way!

Following the positive result of our pilot program, we were honored to share the outcome and success at the National PTA Convention in June. Participating in the Convention as a presenter was a great experience and it was fun to share our work with a wider audience.

National PTA's STEM + Families Initiative is now fully underway with PTA grant opportunities for furthering passion for science, technology, engineering, and math through fun activities involving families. There will be much more to come with this exciting program!

Student Health & Safety:

Disasters don’t plan ahead, but you can.” September is "Disaster Preparedness Month" and with hurricanes, wildfires and earthquakes going on in the world around us, we should all take action to prepare for natural disasters. We are all able to help first responders in our community by training how to respond during an emergency and what to do when disaster strikes — where we live, work, and visit. The goal of National Preparedness Month is to increase the overall number of individuals, families, and communities that engage in preparedness actions at home, work, business, and school. The first step is to make a plan. Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so create a family plan today. Find more information here on creating a family plan.

    Portland Council PTA Clothing Center:

    The Portland Council PTA Clothing Center served nearly 2000 students last school year and over 300 students in the first 2 weeks of this new 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 also help us by sending volunteers to work at the Clothing Center. If you work for a company that donates time to organizations, or matches your volunteer time with a gift/donation, we'd love to be considered.

    Thank you to all the individuals that generously donated funds to the Clothing Center last school year! 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.
    Lisa Kensel
    Portland Council PTA
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