October 2016
Florida PTA 1747 Orlando Central Parkway Orlando, Florida 32809 407-855-7604 800-373-5782
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I was truly hoping that during my two-year term I'd never have to write an article or issue a statement using the word "hurricane". I know that even though the intensity of the storm wasn't as predicted, we have many families and communities that are impacted. Some are still without power and basic needs. I've heard a few stories of those who had minimal damage reaching out to those with greater needs. That's what we do as a family. We lift each other up. Let's also remember our extended family in those states that were also touched by flooding and heavy winds. Many lives were lost and their recovery will be ongoing. If you have a way to help, please do so.

So, let's now focus on what else we do as a family. We not only use our hands, but our voice as well. In a few weeks you'll be asked to use your voice in the form of a ballot. Whether you're voting on a presidential candidate, a state representative or senator, or an elected position in your local county, it's important for you to remember this: your vote counts. I know we hear that many times, along with the saying "You can't complain if you don't vote." Well, it's all true. It's an exercise in democracy. It's what separates us from those countries who are ruled by monarchies or dictators.

This year, every state legislator is up for re-election. That's quite an opportunity for our state. This is our chance to say that we either support those who have been the decision makers or that it is time for a change. But let me be clear. A vote cast for popularity and not based on factual information is not an exercise in democracy. It's an act of flippancy. It shows a lack of concern and is merely a check off of your to-do list. Remember..."Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education." - Franklin D. Roosevelt

There is still time to research facts, voting records, and the candidate's positions on the issues that are important to you and to our children. Most of those facts will not come from social media, news outlets or television ads. Most of the information found there is skewed to fit a certain view. Make sure that you look for unbiased websites, stating facts and not opinions.

Finally, remember that regardless who wins it is important that they know who you are and where you stand. There will be a time when we ask for your voice in Tallahassee and D.C. as bills are moving and those legislators need to hear from us. But before then, once elected, they need to meet you. Whether you send an email or make a visit while they are at their home office, let them know that you are an advocate for our children...for ALL children and that we will be there to help them make the best decisions possible.
The first best decision is now yours. GO VOTE.
Cindy Gerhardt

Congratulations are in order for Joe Gebara, Florida PTA's Vice President for Educational Development, as he was named National PTA's Advocate of the Month. Joe traveled to the White House September 12th to speak on a panel about the importance of innovation and collaboration in high schools.
He was joined at the event by Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho and President of the United Teachers of Dade, Karla Hernandez-Mat. The Miami-Dade school district leaders along with parents and teachers worked together to pass a $1.2 billion school bond measure- to improve access to quality technology and enhance opportunities for students- to be college and career ready.
Parent-school partnerships are important relationships to build on to make every child's potential a reality which Joe has shown through his work in Miami and throughout Florida.

Wow, what a great month we had in September! Thank you to all of our County Councils and Region Representatives and a special thank you to our local units for kicking off our September membership drive! We are off to a great start with over 17,000 members - this is a nearly 63% increase from last year! At the rate we are going, there is no doubt Florida will be taking home the Gold in Las Vegas during our National PTA Convention in June!
  • This month we would like to recognize our schools with 100 or more members. If you are a school with 100 or more members, we encourage you to send an email to membership@floridapta.org with the name of your school, County Council or Region Representative.
  • Calling all County Councils and Region Reps, the Battle of the Counties begins this month! Each month the county with the most increase from last year will be crowned the County Council of the Month. Let's see who will be crowned the Best of the Best! #FLPTA
Fun Fact: Did you know that PTA does more than fundraising and have mom's social hour? That's right! What separates PTA from other childrens' organizations is advocacy! While relationships may form during raising funds for items that benefit the well-being of our children, joining PTA adds another voice when we are advocating on many levels! This is one of many reasons to join PTA today!
Florida PTA is G.R.E.A.T (Grow, Retain, Encourage, Achieve, Thank)!!
Charmain Postel
Membership Chair

National PTA and Guitar Center have teamed up to bring resources to families, schools and PTAs across the country to inspire students' creativity through the National PTA Reflections arts in education program.
As part of the collaboration, Guitar Center will donate musical instruments to a number of local PTAs across the country to support their arts education efforts, inspire students to participate in the National PTA Reflections program and spark students' interest to create music. Local PTAs will also have the opportunity to tap into a wide range of support from Guitar Center locations in their areas, such as having Guitar Center instructors serve as judges for their Reflections programs. With studios in nearly 100 stores, Guitar Center Lessons provides a world-class music education in many genres for musicians of all ages and skill levels.
Guitar Center's sister brands include Music & Arts, which operates more than 140 stores specializing in band & orchestral instruments for sale and rental, serving teachers, band directors, college professors and students, and Musician's Friend, a leading direct marketer of musical instruments in the United States.
For all of the Reflections forms and information, visit our website!

Diversity & InclusionDiversity & InclusionDIVERSITY  
 Today's PTA recognizes that diversity and inclusion are about more than gender and race/ethnicity. While those remain key, we now define diversity to include the many differences that distinguish people, including mental, emotional, psychological and physical disabilities; learning styles; geographic residence; languages used; cultural heritage; sexual orientation; educational level and more.
The role of PTA leaders at every level - local, state and national - is to engage all families and communities as we build our membership. It is important to have formal roles such as a Diversity Chair to provide leadership, support and encouragement for this effort. These roles will have a variation of names, but having a designated point of contact allows for cohesion and consistency.
Although a Diversity Chair is critical to guide diversity and inclusion efforts, forming a committee for Diversity, Inclusion and Outreach can be even more effective than vesting all responsibility in just one person. Such a committee can include members addressing the particular communities that populate your PTA area and are supported by Diversity Chairs at the state level, and by the National Diversity, Inclusion and Outreach Committee. (http://www.pta.org/diversitytoolkit).
Florida PTA has set in motion a Diversity and Inclusion plan for the next two years that will focus on not only the President's platform items but also the culture of this beautiful state. Over the next 24 months, Florida PTA will postulate thought-provoking questions, trigger conversations, and spark a revolution.
With this in mind, we ask that you take part in the movement by joining us as your Board of Directors completes the following tasks:
  • Complete the Cultural Competency E-Learning course provided by National PTA by 10/30/2016. This course teaches cultural awareness and how to build relationships across cultural groups. We ask that as PTA leaders you too take part in this excellent training and submit your certificate of completion to diversity.inclusion@floridapta.org
  • The Board of Directors has been issued a "Day of Service" Challenge. This day of service is meant to be completed by the BOD individual in support of the President's platform items which focuses on the outreach of underserved children (foster children, homeless children, and children in the juvenile justice system). This should be completed by 6/30/2017 and pictures taken during this experience should be emailed to the diversity and inclusion email with the #letthemseeus.
  • With that in mind, we ask that counties across the state participate in the "County Strong Day of Service" challenge. We urge county members to get together and complete a day of service in support of the President's platform items. This too should be completed by 06/30/2017 and pictures taken during this endeavor should be emailed to the diversity and inclusion email with the #letthemseeus.
  • Lastly, throughout the next 24 months, Florida PTA will use social media via pictures and statistics to educate and advocate underserved children as they relate to LGBTQ students, our culturally diverse students, the importance that men play in our students' lives, and our military families.
The beauty of the world lies in the diversity of its people and we hope to educate, support, and advocate for all our families across this diverse state we love profoundly. We hope that in turn you will join us in creating this change.
Suhailly Morales
Diversity & Inclusion Chair


In less than a month we will be choosing not only the President of the United States, but electing who will represent us in the Florida Senate and the House of Representatives. The Florida PTA Legislation Committee has been hard at work speaking with candidates across the state about our priorities and platforms for the upcoming legislative session.
Our platform for the next two years will be the underserved. We will focus on legislation that affects our most vulnerable children: Foster Care, Homelessness, and Juvenile Justice. We will also be supporting recess and legislation that strengthens our Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK) program. You can stay informed and get up-to-date legislation information by subscribing to Voter Voice. It takes less than a minute so please subscribe today by clicking here.
By Angie Gallo
Legislation Chair

Resolutions Logo
Do you want to help shape the future of Florida's youth? With RESOLUTIONS you can!

Resolutions are an important way for local PTA units and councils to shape the work of the PTA. The passage of a resolution at the Florida PTA Leadership Convention directs the state Board of Directors, Councils, and local units in areas of advocacy, legislative priority, and program development.
Do you have an issue that really concerns you and other members of your local unit/council? Do you want to bring your concern to the attention of other PTA members in Florida? Then get started NOW and have your resolution presented for consideration at the Florida PTA Leadership Convention in July. Only thoughts and ideas for possible resolutions are needed now. Your Florida PTA Resolutions Committee will help you through the rest!

To request a copy of the Florida PTA Resolutions Procedure Guide, email the Florida PTA Resolutions Committee at resolutions@floridapta.org or check the Resolutions page on the Florida PTA website.

By Danielle Thomas
Resolutions Chair

 sunset_yoga_silhouette.jpgTo promote childhood health and wellness, National PTA created Healthy Lifestyles Month. Throughout the month of November, PTAs nationwide participate in PTA Healthy Lifestyles Month by conducting programs and events that promote health education, physical activity and parental involvement. Knowing that a healthy child can achieve and learn more, PTAs are encouraging families to increase their physical activity, eat fresh fruits and vegetables, develop community oriented physical activity programs and promote healthy lifelong behaviors. National PTA's Healthy Lifestyles Month has encouraged PTA to get creative and develop clever initiatives that make living healthy fun.
Check out this link to see how you can implement some ideas to promote healthy lifestyles for your families!

 **Mark your calendars now!**
2017 Leadership Convention will be held JULY 13-16 at Innisbrook Resort!
Thank you to our 2016 Leadership Convention sponsors!

The Florida PTA Store has many great items to help build your PTA spirit! Click on the picture to see all the great promotional items you can use as awards and incentives!