URGENT National PTA, “PTA Takes Action” Action Alert

Unfortunately, the Statewide Family Engagement Centers (SFECs) program was NOT funded in the Senate Labor, HHS & Education (LHHS-ED) FY2017 subcommittee appropriations bill today. Call your senator to tell him/her to fund the Statewide Family Engagement Centers (SFECs) in Fiscal Year 2017. Some of you may have called your senator earlier this week but we need you to call again!

The full Senate Appropriations Committee will vote on Thursday, June 9 to fund education programs.

Before 5pm on Wednesday, June 8, call your senator and tell him/her to support funding for the Statewide Family Engagement Centers (SFECs) grant program to make sure families are equal partners in their child’s education!

President Barack Obama (US)
(202) 456-1111 (Capitol)

Vice President Joe Biden (US)
(202) 456-1111 (Capitol)

Senator Claire McCaskill (MO)
(202) 224-6154 (Capitol)
(314) 367-1364 (District)

Senator Roy Blunt (MO)
(202) 224-5721 (Capitol)
(816) 471-7141 (District)

Representative Emanuel Cleaver (MO-005)
(202) 225-4535 (Capitol)
(816) 842-4545 (District)

The SFEC program was included in Title IV, Part E of Every Student Succeeds Act of 2016—the new education law replacing No Child Left Behind. SFECs are designed to build capacity for states and school districts to systematically embed family engagement policies and practices in schools. The SFEC program will provide much needed professional development for educators and school leaders to strengthen school-family partnerships and parent-teacher relationships.

Talking points to use when contacting your Senator:

  • Provide your name and title/role with PTA
  • Ask your senator to ensure there is funding for Statewide Family Engagement Centers in the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill for FY 2017.
  • The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) authorized this important program at $10 million.
  • 86 national and state organizations support funding this program at its authorized level of $10 million.
  • Say “As a constituent, parent and advocate, I know the importance of family engagement in schools. Will the senator support investing in this critical program in the final bill?”

If they ask or you would like to expand upon the importance of funding SFECs, below are a few additional talking points that you could use:

  • Over 40 years of research shows that family engagement is critical for student success. Students with engaged families attend school more regularly, earn better grades, enroll in advanced-level courses and have higher graduation rates.
  • Teachers are also more likely to remain in schools where families are involved and they can develop trusting relationships to help students and families succeed.
  • An investment in SFECs and family engagement is important to ensuring not only that families are meaningfully supported and engaged in the education of their children, but that our nation’s students are fully prepared for higher education, workforce and career opportunities in the 21st century.

Urgent Call to action! Improve Family Engagement in Your Child’s School

Thank You, Teachers Project


Contact: Thank You, Teachers Project, 240-604-7384 Megan Scribner, [email protected]


A heart-filled project to lift up teachers, one thank you letter at a time

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 2, 2016 — Every day in classrooms across the country, dedicated professionals put in long hours educating students, preparing lessons, grading homework, engaging with families, collaborating with colleagues, and overcoming obstacles. Their work is vital to children, parents, communities, and our future, yet rarely do teachers receive the thanks they deserve. The new Thank You, Teachers Project wants to change that by sending a wave of gratitude to teachers across the country, one thank you letter at a time.

“Teachers have one of the most challenging and important jobs in our country; they give their all but receive little recognition” said Thank You, Teachers Project Founder Megan Scribner. “The Thank You, Teachers Project offers a space anchored in gratitude, where individuals can take a moment to reflect upon and share the profound impact teachers have had on their lives, and where teachers, in turn, can be strengthened with pride, recognition and well-deserved kindness.”

The Thank You, Teachers Project provides an online space where individuals of all ages can post thank you letters to the beloved teachers in their lives (past and present). Participants are invited to remember the special teachers who mentored them from kindergarten through college….in the classroom, on the field, in the art studio, on stage, in the library, or even in the principal’s office. Parents are encouraged to help their children participate.

To send a letter to a teacher, visit the Thank You, Teachers Project online and fill out the Thank You, Teachers form. Letters will be posted on the Thank You Letters Gallery and on the Teaching with Heart, Fire & Poetry Pinterest site.

Visitors are encouraged to read the thank you letters posted on The Gallery and Pinterest pages. Participants can also follow the progress of the project via the Teaching with Heart, Fire and Poetry website, Facebook page and on twitter @poetry4teachers. Posts should include the hashtag #tyteachers.

On June 30th, the name of one lucky teacher will be drawn from the submitted thank you letters for a free gift copy of Teaching with Heart – a best-selling poetry anthology in which teachers reflect on their favorite poems and how these poems help them sustain their energy and passion for teaching.

All visitors to the Thank You, Teachers Project will have the additional opportunity to thank their admired teachers with the choice of two special gift packages. With the Thank You Letter Package, teachers will be mailed a printed copy of the thank you letter, fit for framing. A copy of the letter will also be sent to the teacher’s principal or supervisor to help the teacher receive proper recognition on the job. The cost for this gift package is $10.00, which covers the cost of formatting and posting the letters, shipping and handling – and helps to support this effort.

The Thank You Letter & Book Package includes all of the above plus an autographed copy of Teaching with Heart. The cost for this gift package is $30.00. These letters and gifts offer a heartwarming means of recognizing and thanking teachers at the end of the school year.

In conceptualizing this special gratitude project, Scribner drew on her experience as co-editor of Teaching with Heart, as moderator of the Teaching with Heart, Fire and Poetry website, and as an active leader in her community schools. Through all these efforts, she has worked to give voice to teachers’ hopes and fears, courage and heart – and, in turn, to help renew and inspire teachers.

“Teachers sustain our society by developing the next generation of citizens, thinkers, artists, professionals and parents,” Scribner said. “Yet, the demands and pressures can be overwhelming, and the burn-out rate is climbing. We want to give something back to them.”


Thank You, Teachers Project:

The Thank You, Teachers Project provides an online space where people can post thank you letters to the special teachers in their life. By publicly thanking these teachers – recognizing the exceptional and difficult work they do each and every day – we honor and celebrate all teachers!

Teaching with Heart, Fire and Poetry:

Teaching with Heart, Fire and Poetry is an online community blog for teachers to share about their work and life. The online community was inspired by Teaching with Heart and Teaching with Fire, best-selling poetry anthologies where teachers reflect on their favorite poems and speak about who they are, why they do what they do, and how they keep their heart and commitment alive in their teaching.

Megan Scribner has three decades of experience as an editor, including co-editing three poetry anthologies: Teaching with Heart, Teaching with Fire and Leading from Within. She designed and moderates the Teaching with Heart, Fire and Poetry website and blog. A recognized community leader, she has held many leadership roles in local PTAs and, in 2012, received the Takoma Park Azalea Award for School Activist. She continues as an active volunteer in her community and committed to honoring and supporting teachers.