Notes from the Backpack


Notes from the Backpack

A Podcast for Parents, by Parents

Who answers your questions about homework, bullying, school discipline, the transition to middle school?

Listen to Notes from the Backpack: A PTA Podcast and get the answers to the burning questions you have about how to best support your child's education and development. We know you have a lot to keep up with at home and throughout the school year and these episodes will support you every step of the way!


Real Experts. Real Parents. Real Conversations.

Each 30-minute podcast will give you the inside scoop on how to help your child succeed in and out of school.

Hear unique perspectives from experts, parents and educator guests who will give you real-life advice and ideas you can use!

Find out ...

  • How your kid is really doing in school
  • The truth about school discipline in America
  • How to handle homework

Streaming on:

Apple Podcasts Google Play Stitcher Spotify Tune In

Hosts


LaWanda Toney
LaWanda Toney
Director, Strategic Communications
National PTA

Helen Westmoreland
Helen Westmoreland
Director, Family Engagement
National PTA

Listen now:


Todas las transcripciones de los episodios están disponibles en español.


Current Episode

Wednesday, November 6, 2019


¿Está su Hijo Recibiendo los Servicios que Necesita?

110 | ¿Está su Hijo Recibiendo los Servicios que Necesita?


Lorena Mancilla
Director, WIDA Early Years

In this special episode of Notes from the Backpack in Spanish, we will talk to the language development expert, Dr. Lorena Mancilla. She demystifies the support given by American schools to students who learn English and also shares advice so that families can support language development at home....
Listen Now



Previous Episodes


Partnering with Your Child's Teacher

109 | Partnering with Your Child's Teacher


Karen Mapp
Senior Lecturer, Harvard Graduate School of Education

Karen Mapp joins us from Harvard Graduate School of Education to offer best practices for improving family-school partnerships. Listen in as we discuss strategies to partner with schools to support your child and to engage other families in building trusting relationships within your community...
Listen Now

Asking the "Right" Questions

108 | Asking the "Right" Questions


Luz Santana
Co-Director of the Right Question Institute

We turn to Luz Santana, co-director of the Right Question Institute to learn how to prepare questions that will produce meaningful and helpful answers. She shares how parents can go beyond the typical, “How is my child doing?” to spark more in-depth conversations. We also get her advice on common issues families have and how asking the right questions can improve these situations!...
Listen Now | Transcripción disponible en Español

How to Handle Homework: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

107 | How to Handle Homework: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly


Steve Sheldon
Associate Professor, John Hopkins University School of Education
Shaneeka Moore-Lawrence
Principal, Bethesda Elementary School

Steve Sheldon, a researcher at John Hopkins University, offers the information and strategies you need to make homework time more successful in your household. We also hear from elementary school principal and PTA leader, Shaneeka Moore-Lawrence on the benefits of homework and what really is the “right” amount per night...
Listen Now | Transcripción disponible en Español

How to Raise Confident Kids

106 | How to Raise Confident Kids


Jennifer Miller
Author of Confident Parents, Confident Kids

How do you raise a confident child who can overcome communication challenges and be a good friend to others? We turn to author and parenting expert Jennifer Miller to explore how you can build these social and emotional skills with your child, and how to know if your child’s school is helping them develop in this important area...
Listen Now | Transcripción disponible en Español

The Myth of the Uninvolved Parent

105 | The Myth of the Uninvolved Parent


Kwesi Rollins
Vice President of Leadership & Engagement, Institute for Educational Leadership

Kwesi Rollins from the Institute for Educational Leadership gives us a realistic view of the barriers families face when trying to engage with their child’s school and shares how school districts are making family engagement more meaningful and inclusive for families who aren’t involved in traditional ways...
Listen Now | Transcripción disponible en Español

Recess: Is it Just for Play?

104 | Recess: Is it Just for Play


William Massey
Assistant Professor, College of Public Health and Human Services, Oregon State University
Angie Gallo
Florida PTA Leader and School Board Member

We discuss why recess is important for students’ physical health—as well as their social and emotional development—and take a look at what schools and families are doing to protect and enhance recess time at school. Researcher and dad, William Massey, explains the benefits of recess, what high-quality recess looks like and how parents can get involved in recess. PTA leader and school board member, Angie Gallo, also shares how you can become a recess advocate in your community...
Listen Now | Transcripción disponible en Español

Middle School: What Every Parent Should Know

103 │ Middle School: What Every Parent Should Know


Phyllis Fagell
School Counselor and Author of Middle School Matters

We dive into parents’ top concerns about middle school with Phyllis Fagell—school counselor, therapist, author and mother of three. She gives us a deeper look at what is going on with middle schoolers developmentally and how families can address adolescent friendship issues, social media use and bullying. We also offer practical tips and ways both families and schools can best support our tweens...
Listen Now | Transcripción disponible en Español

How is Your Kid Really Doing in School?

102 │ How is Your Kid Really Doing in School?


Bibb Hubbard
Founder and President of Learning Heroes
Liz Goshorn
Mother of Four Children

We sit down with Bibb Hubbard—a mother and founder of Learning Heroes—to explore what families and kids think about student academic achievement, how schools and districts can improve the way they share information with families, and what families can do to gauge if their child is on track and advocate for a more accurate picture of their progress. Liz Goshorn gives a mother’s perspective on how you can better understand your child’s academic progress in school and identify their academic strengths and areas for growth...
Listen Now | Transcripción disponible en Español

The Truth about School Discipline in America

101 │ The Truth about School Discipline in America


John B. King, Jr.
President and CEO of Education Trust and former U.S. Secretary of Education

Get the inside scoop on school discipline in America from former U.S. Secretary of Education and President of the Education Trust John B. King, Jr. We discuss the dangers of policies that keep children out of regular classroom learning, and what approaches schools can use to help students become responsible, thriving adults. King shares lessons learned from his personal and professional experiences and gives us insight into how disciplinary actions can affect self-esteem and bias and speaks to how we can build more “windows” and “mirrors” to help all children succeed...
Listen Now | Transcripción disponible en Español

Notes from the Backpack

100 | Introducing... Notes from the Backpack: A PTA Podcast

Find out what Notes from the Backpack is all about! Hosts LaWanda Toney and Helen Westmoreland give listeners a preview of what they can expect when they tune-in to the podcast series...
Listen Now | Transcripción disponible en Español


Microphone


Notes from the Backpack: A PTA Podcast is made possible by funding to advance family engagement and whole child learning through the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.