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2015 Advocacy Awards

Nominations for the 2015 Advocacy Awards are now being accepted! If you know of an outstanding youth or individual PTA advocate, or know of a local unit or state level PTA that has done great advocacy work, please nominate them to receive an award for their efforts from National PTA! Winners will be announced in January, and will receive their awards at the 2015 Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C.

Like in previous years, advocates may apply themselves in the youth and individual categories, and the winners in these categories will get the opportunity to act as advocacy ambassadors for PTA. Please use the links below to make nomainations. Nominations must be for efforts made in the last year and are due by midnight on Dec. 19. 

PTA Outstanding State Advocacy Award (2014)

New York State PTA

New York State PTA is being honored with this award for their work to educate families, teachers, and communities about the Common Core State Standards. As a result of New York State PTA’s consistent support of the standards, they were asked to collaborate with the New York Education Commissioner on supporting family understanding of the standards. New York State PTA partnered with the New York State United Teachers to craft the Parent’s Guide to Common Core Learning, released in July 2013. To date, the brochure has been distributed to thousands of individuals around the state. New York State PTA also created the “Hear Our Voice” campaign, a highly successful effort to educate and engage families around the Common Core standards.

PTA Outstanding Local Advocacy Award (2014)

Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School PTSA

Appomattox Regional Governor's School PTSA

The Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School PTSA and the Appomattox Regional Governor's School PTSA (Virginia) are being jointly honored with this award for their collaborative campaign to address state funding for full-day Academic Year Governor's Schools in Virginia. Following extensive research of possible solutions to a funding shortage problem, the PTSAs identified a discrepancy in the state funding formula for Academic Year Governor’s Schools that provides considerably less funding for full-day schools when compared to part-day schools. Members of both PTSAs educated themselves around the Virginia budget process and state education funding formulas and united to form an advocacy partnership. As a result of their joint effort, budget amendments to address the state funding discrepancy have been introduced in the Virginia State House and Senate.

Shirley Igo Advocate of the Year Ambassador Award (2014)

Yvonne Johnson

Yvonne Johnson is being honored with this award for her outstanding efforts as a Delaware PTA volunteer and leader. As a result of Yvonne’s advocacy to include more meaningful family engagement in education, Delaware PTA was given a seat as the parent voice on Delaware’s P20 Council, an inclusive organization designed to align Delaware’s education efforts from early childhood to post-secondary education and workforce readiness. Additionally, Yvonne regularly participates in roundtable discussions, contributes op-eds, and provides information to the media related to Delaware PTA’s advocacy, including providing public comments opposing the use of class size waivers which has resulted in Delaware schools districts reconsidering their position on the issue. She has also advocated that PTA representatives be included on a state task force to review and revise Delaware’s charter school code to ensure that parent and community input is a formal part of the charter school application process. Yvonne is the immediate past-president of Delaware PTA, and currently serves as their Federal Legislative Chair.

Youth Advocate of the Year Ambassador Award (2014)

Gabriel Unruh

Gabriel Unruh is being honored with this award for his efforts to save student lives by educating youth on the dangers of texting while driving. Gabriel organized a Kansas City “Arrive Alive” event that brought school, community and law enforcement groups together and was covered by all Kansas City metro news outlets. As part of this effort, he oversaw over 100 volunteers; published editorials on distracted driving in Kansas City local newspapers; and effectively used social media to promote the campaign. The “Arrive Alive” event was attended by over 1,000 high school students and community members, and received support from over 25 businesses and government agencies. The event was such a success that local non-profit organizations and two neighboring districts have already approached Gabriel for next year’s efforts. Gabriel is in the process of submitting to the Missouri Department of Transportation an official action plan and proposal to create a model “Arrive Alive” program for schools across Missouri. Gabriel is a member of the Platte County High School PTSA.

PTA Congressional Voice for Children Awards (2014)

Congressman Aaron Schock (IL-18)

Congressman Aaron Schock has long been a proven supporter of children and youth, having been elected to the School Board in Peoria, Ill. at the age of 19, and serving on the Elementary and Secondary Appropriations subcommittee as a state representative in the Illinois Legislature. In Congress, Mr. Schock has continued his support of children and families by signing on as a cosponsor of Family Engagement in Education Act, supporting reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act-No Child Left Behind, and hosting summer reading programs for elementary students in his district. The Congressman is also a member of a bipartisan coalition supporting public charter schools, as well as a co-chair of the Congressional STEAM caucus that seeks to promote arts in the classroom alongside STEM. Finally, Congressman Schock is also a cosponsor of the FITKids Act to help schools promote healthy lifestyles. Congressman Schock grew up in Peoria, IL, and continues to serve the people of his hometown as their member of Congress.

Senator Barbara Mikulski (MD)

Senator Barbara Mikulski has been a long-time advocate for families and children, serving her community first as a social worker and then as an elected official. In the United States Senate, Senator Mikulski is the Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, where she has fought tirelessly to protect education funding during sequester and budget negotiations and to increase funding for after-school programs. She is also a member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. The Senator is a co-sponsor of the Strong Start for America’s Children Act, a bill that seeks to improve funding for and access to early education. As a member of the Senate Rural Education Caucus, Senator Mikulski advocates for the needs of students living in rural areas, including fair access to federal dollars. She is the longest-serving woman in the U.S. Congress and currently holds the honor of being the Dean of the Women. The Senator is a lifelong resident of Baltimore.

About the Awards

State PTA Outstanding Advocacy Award

The 2014 State Outstanding Advocacy Award will be presented to a state PTA that, through their dedication, leadership and efforts positively affected legislative and/or regulatory policy compatible with PTA’s mission and goals. These efforts must be based on a statewide issue, involve working with multiple organizations or coalitions through grassroots collaboration, and contain a public awareness/advocacy training component for PTA members and the community at large.

Local/District/Regional PTA Outstanding Advocacy Award

The 2014 Local Outstanding Advocacy Award will be presented to a local, district, council or regional PTA that, through their dedication, leadership and efforts positively affected legislative and/or regulatory policy compatible with PTA’s mission and goals. These efforts must include an education/learning component for PTA members and the community-at-large. Working with multiple organizations or coalitions through grassroots collaboration is preferred.  

Shirley Igo Advocate of the Year Ambassador Award

The 2014 Shirley Igo Advocate of the Year Ambassador Award will be presented to an individual PTA member, who through their leadership and advocacy efforts, affected federal policy priorities within PTA’s annual Public Policy Agenda. Shirley was a model of public service and volunteerism throughout her life. She was an impassioned and compassionate leader, dedicated to moving PTA forward and committed to ensuring that others would follow. 

Outstanding Youth Advocacy Ambassador Award

The 2014 Outstanding Youth Advocacy Ambassador Award will be presented to a young person—who—through his or her creativity, leadership, and dedication, has positively affected policy or change in his or her school or community in a way that aligns with PTA’s mission and goals.

PTA Congressional Voice for Children Award

The PTA Congressional Voice for Children Award is given to two Members of Congress each year (bicameral, bipartisan) in recognition of outstanding leadership related to child and education advocacy. Congressional award winners are nominated and selected by the National PTA Legislation Committee and National PTA President.