Message from Our MOPTA President

Hello Missouri PTA Members,

Our 104th Annual State Convention scheduled for May 1-3, 2020 has been canceled as well as the Reflections Student Showcase scheduled for Sunday, May 3.

Delegate registration fees that have been paid will be fully refunded. Payments made by PayPal will be refunded through PayPal. Those individuals, units or councils that paid by check will receive a check from Missouri PTA. Thank you in advance for your patience and understanding while we process these refund payments.

Missouri PTA cannot make any changes in hotel reservations made by delegates. Individuals will need to contact the Hilton Frontenac directly at ph. (314) 824-6015.

Sadly, we are unable to come together as planned to celebrate the talent of our young artists that were recognized at the state level of Reflections this year. Nevertheless, we want to make sure they are aware of how proud we are of their achievements. Plans are being developed regarding the program recognition and awards. We will update you when these details are available. If you have an “outside the box” idea, email reflections@mopta.org !

Being at home right now allows me to work on all those unfinished projects, try some new crafts and clean house. My husband keeps saying, “Stop moving the furniture!” Most of all, it is an opportunity to wear my PTA hat more. Your Board of Managers continues to work hard to serve you while ensuring the safety of their family and their own. We are striving to find ways to navigate the challenges and opportunities before us. We will keep you updated!

Stay healthy PTA Family!

Susan Rupert
President
Missouri PTA


Reflections Announcement

Missouri PTA is so proud of all of our State Reflections Award recipients! Recognizing the creative efforts of our Missouri students is of the utmost importance and while sadly we have to cancel the State Showcase in May, we are working to display the artwork digitally. We are working on the details of this new experience and will be in contact with local leaders and families as we know more and fine tune some details. Thank you to all of our participating Reflections units and to the award recipients!

Reflections is timeless and enduring and we will overcome the current challenges to bring Arts
Education to the forefront. Stay tuned for details and the announcement of the 2020-2021 theme and
logo!


National PTA Frequently Asked Questions Regarding COVID-19

The outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) is a rapidly evolving public health situation. State and local PTAs must follow the direction and guidance of their respective health and education departments.

In order to assist and support the most vulnerable children and families, PTAs should reach out to their local school districts and departments of health to determine high-need areas and collaborate with community groups—such as food pantries—to provide essential services and support.

We have compiled a number of resources for our community to use to help navigate the pandemic.

How do I talk to my child about the Coronavirus?

Children, as well as adults, are likely to experience anxiety in this uncertain time. Several resources have been created by leading mental health experts on how to have age-appropriate, fact-based and reassuring conversations with you children about the outbreak and the steps they can take to stay healthy.

How to Talk to Your Child about the Coronavirus, Kids Health

Talking to Children About COVID-19 (Coronavirus): A Parent Resource, National Association of School Psychologists

Parent/Caregiver Guide to Helping Families Cope with the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), National Child Traumatic Stress Network

Where can I go for information on the Coronavirus and its impact on education and children?

There are several resources available for parents about the Coronavirus. The U.S. Department of Education (ED) has resources to assist education leaders in protecting student privacy and ensuring students with disabilities continue to receive services required under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) during school closures due to the outbreak.

The ED also released important information for K-12 educators on flexibilities the Department could grant when it comes to the accountability standards required by law under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). We particularly recommend reviewing COVID-19 (“Coronavirus”) Information and Resources for Schools and School Personnel.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has additional guidance and further resources, including:

Colorín Colorado is a good resource for English Language Learners and their families, as well as educators. We particularly want to call attention to their Multilingual Coronavirus Resources for Schools.

What if I do not have internet access in my home? What is being done to support equitable access to the internet for student learning?

Several internet providers have announced that they will make their services available for free for households with K-12 and/or college students who don’t already have internet through the company. Further installation fees may also be waived for new student households. Please contact your local internet provider for additional information.

National PTA has joined several other education groups in calling for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to temporarily allow schools to utilize E-Rate program funding to provide Wi-Fi hotspots or devices with Wi-Fi capability to students who lack internet access at home. This action would help ensure that all students can remotely continue their education during the current public health emergency.

The coronavirus pandemic is shining a bright light on the so-called “homework gap” experienced by 12 million students in this country. The gap refers to those students who do not have internet access at home and are unable to complete their homework—at a time when over 70% of educators assign schoolwork that requires the internet.

As a parent, how can I support learning at home?

Recognizing that not all families or children will have the resources to access and leverage digital learning opportunities, PTAs should work with their local school and district to understand what plans are in place or are being developed to equitably support student learning during school closures. PTAs can (and should!) work with schools to help develop student learning plans during school closures and help communicate these plans to families.

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), has developed 10 Strategies for Online Learning During Coronavirus Outbreak. The Today Show has curated some free educational activities that students and families can engage in here.

What is being done to ensure vulnerable youth have access to school meals?

Nearly 22 million students depend on subsidized breakfasts and lunches served at schools. All Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) programs—including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); Special Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC); and the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs—have flexibilities and contingencies built-in to allow them to respond to on-the-ground realities in the event of a disaster or emergency situation. You can view the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service Response to COVID-19 here.

PTAs should connect with their local schools and district to learn about the plans for meal distribution and how best to support and promote those efforts. Members of Congress have introduced bipartisan legislation, COVID–19 Child Nutrition Response Act to protect students’ access to school meal benefits during school closures related to COVID-19.

What legislative action is Congress taking regarding the Coronavirus?

Legislation is currently pending in Congress. Specifically, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201) responds to the coronavirus outbreak by providing paid sick leave and free coronavirus testing, expanding food assistance and unemployment benefits, and requiring employers to provide additional protections for health care workers.

Additionally, members of Congress have introduced the Supporting Students in Response to Coronavirus Act (H.R. 6275) which will provide needed resources to early childhood programs, K-12 schools and institutions of higher education. The legislation will provide $3 billion dollars in grants to provide support services to students, including mental health and technology and funding to clean school facilities.

You can write to your elected officials about these and other bills using our Take Action Network.

What if I have concerns about end-of-year state testing?

The U.S. Department of Education has issued guidance on assessments and accountability. The Department of Education generally does not grant statewide waivers of assessment requirements under section 1111(b)(2) of the ESEA.

However, due to the unique circumstances that may arise as a result of COVID-19, such as a school closing during the entire testing window, it may not be feasible for a State to administer some or all of its assessments, in which case the Department would consider a targeted one-year waiver of the assessment requirements for those schools impacted by the extraordinary circumstances.

States with schools that must close due to the COVID-19 may also want to consider whether it is possible to adjust or extend the testing window to accommodate as many students as possible, including students in schools that were closed for some period. Please contact your state PTA and/or our SEA with questions about testing in your state.

What type of consideration should be taken regarding the 2020 National PTA Convention & Expo?

National PTA continues to closely monitor all developments and restrictions created by the spread of COVID-19 and the impacts on our June 2020 Convention.

We have extended early-bird registration to April 20 and we will communicate any convention-related decisions to our membership in a timely manner.

Learn more about the event at PTA.org/Convention.


Missouri PTA Announcement

Hello Missouri PTA Members,

In response to the health information and recommendations related to the coronavirus outbreak, many school districts have closed and suspended building access to groups that utilize their facilities. Missouri PTA knows this combined with the CDC guidelines for meetings/gatherings creates many concerns for our PTAs across the state.

I would like to address our nominating and officer election process.  The March 31 deadline for providing officer information to our state office is set in our bylaws and is a requirement of good standing.   This date cannot be changed without a bylaws amendment approved at our state convention. We understand that units/councils could be delayed in completing their election process and forwarding this information to the state office. Please be assured that Missouri PTA is sensitive to these extenuating circumstances and will support our units and councils every way
we possibly can. Once officer information is received, units’ and councils’ good standing status will be updated accordingly.

Good standing is a factor when verifying eligibility for awards, recognition, scholarships, grants, etc. The Missouri PTA Executive Committee has voted to exempt applications from the 2020-2021 officer information submission deadline of March 31. This exception will end on September 1, 2020.

An update regarding the status of the 104 th Annual State convention scheduled for May 1-3 is forthcoming. We appreciate your patience in the meantime.

This is an unprecedented situation filled with lots of questions and uncertainty for all of us especially our students. I hope that we, as PTA members will see this as an opportunity to find ways to work with our education partners to support our families.

Susan Rupert
President
Missouri PTA


National PTA Honors Senator Lamar Alexander and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro with Congressional Voice for Children Award

ALEXANDRIA, Va., (March 11, 2020)—National PTA is pleased to recognize Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) with its 2020 Congressional Voice for Children Award. The award honors outstanding leadership and commitment to taking action on issues that affect the education, health, safety, well-being and long-term success of America’s children. Senator Alexander and Congresswoman DeLauro will be presented with the award during the association’s 2020 Legislative Conference.

“Senator Alexander and Congresswoman DeLauro have advanced and supported important legislation that makes a difference for the education and long-term success of every child,” said Leslie Boggs, president of National PTA. “We thank them for their leadership and commitment to taking action for our nation’s children. We are pleased to honor them with our 2020 Congressional Voice for Children Award during our legislative conference.”

Senator Alexander was elected to the United States Senate in 2002. He currently serves as chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and also serves on the Senate Appropriations, Energy and Natural Resources, and Rules and Administration Committees. Senator Alexander has had a long and distinguished career in education, which includes playing an integral role in the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) which contains several laudable family engagement provisions such as the Statewide Family Engagement Centers program. Prior to his tenure in the Senate, Senator Alexander served as secretary of education under President George H.W. Bush.

“Over the last 120 years, PTA has made a lasting, positive impact on our children and their schools. Here’s just one example—PTA was a great partner when Congress worked to pass ESSA, which fixed No Child Left Behind and helped put parents and teachers back in the driver’s seat to help determine their children’s educational experience,” said Senator Alexander. “When President Barack Obama signed ESSA into law on Dec. 10, 2015, he called it a ‘Christmas miracle.’ So, I’m grateful to be recognized by this association that has made such an important impact on our children, and I know will continue to for generations to come.”

Congresswoman DeLauro was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1991. She currently serves as chair of the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Subcommittee, overseeing our nation’s investments in education and child well-being programs. Congresswoman DeLauro has been a constant advocate for children and families and played an integral role in securing $15 million for the Statewide Family Engagement Centers program in the FY20 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies appropriations bill passed by the House of Representatives. She has also led efforts and secured increases for elementary and secondary education, demonstrating her commitment to ensuring every child is able to reach their full potential.

“Day in and day out, National PTA supports families, public education and the well-being of children across the country,” said Congresswoman DeLauro. “Your commitment and dedication cannot be questioned, and our thanks can never repay you for preparing our kids for the road ahead of them. As Chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee that funds the Department of Education, I was proud to secure funding for the Statewide Family Engagement Centers program in last year’s appropriations bill. The SFEC program helps bring kids’ families into the fold to benefit our youngsters’ development and education, as well as provide professional development in that same vein—and I am proud to support it. Thank you for your recognition, which I take not just as appreciation for past efforts, but as a call to keep working. And I will—you have my word.”

“Senator Alexander and Congresswoman DeLauro have worked diligently to ensure family engagement in education is prioritized, recognizing that this is just as important to children’s success as having a great principal and teachers, a strong curriculum and a positive school climate,” added Nathan R. Monell, CAE, National PTA executive director. “We commend them for their efforts, leadership and commitment. They are true voices for our nation’s children and families.”

Every year, the National PTA Legislative Conference brings together PTA leaders and advocates from across the country to take united action on the association’s advocacy priorities.

During the 2020 conference—themed “PTA Takes Action for Kids”—attendees will hear from speakers and participate in workshops to expand their knowledge of federal law and grow their advocacy skills. Attendees will also amplify their voices by meeting with congressional leaders on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, March 11.