Introducing Notes from the Backpack

Notes from the Backpack

Episode 0 | Introducing... Notes from the Backpack: A PTA Podcast

Sunday, September 15, 2019



Streaming on:

Apple Podcasts Google Play Stitcher Spotify Tune In

Listen now:

Show Notes

Notes from the Backpack

Sometimes, your child forgets to share the notes from their backpack that tell you everything that’s happening at their school. On Notes from the Backpack: A PTA Podcast, we give you the inside scoop on how to help your child succeed—in school and at home. We discuss real issues with parents and experts to support you every step of the way!

We are excited to kick off Season 1 to answer pressing questions that we all want to know, like:

  • Does homework even matter anymore?
  • How do I know what kind of progress my child is really making in school?
  • How do know what to ask in my parent-teacher conference?

Notes from the Backpack gives you real-life advice, ideas and strategies you can use at home and throughout the school year. You will feel empowered and got your child’s school equipped and ready to form relationships—and ask those hard, but necessary questions.

Keep the Conversation Going

Listen and share our podcast with your friends, and join the conversation using #BackpackNotes.

Transcript (Disponible en Español)

Narration: [00:00:02] Welcome to Notes from the Backpack, a PTA podcast. This series features real conversations with real experts, real parents and real educators so families can get the real behind the scenes story on what's happening in education. Get the inside scoop on how to help your child become successful in and out of school. As parents, we know that your child can sometimes forget to share the notes from their backpack. They tell you everything that's happening at their school. That's why we've launched this podcast just for you. Welcome to Notes from the Backpack, a PTA podcast.

Lawanda: [00:00:37] Welcome to Notes from the Backpack. We are your hosts.

Helen: [00:00:40] I'm Helen.

Lawanda: [00:00:41] And I'm Lawanda. And we are excited to kick off season one of Notes from the Backpack, a PTA podcast.

Helen: [00:00:49] We are your family engagement support system both in and out of school. Throughout this podcast, we're bringing you real experts and real parent voices to help answer those pressing questions. We all want to know, like, does homework even matter anymore? And what do I do if my child isn't going outside for recess?

Lawanda: [00:01:08] How do I get what I need out of a parent teacher conference or how do I know what kind of progress my son is really making in school?

Helen: [00:01:15] That is right Lawanda. Over the next few episodes we'll cover all these topics and more. My name is Helen Westmoreland and I am National PTA director of Family Engagement. I am also a mom to a bouncing one year old baby girl starting my parenting journey. This podcast is our way of helping you as a parent get the most out of your child's schooling.

Lawanda: [00:01:38] Parents are always looking for new ways to be in the know and ahead of the curve. We want to give our children the best day to day experience and education possible. I know I do. My name is Lawanda Tony and I'm national PTA communications director and a proud mom to a six year old. So I get it. It is my hope that this podcast gives parents the confidence they need to feel empowered to go into their child's school, equipped and ready to form relationships and ask those hard but necessary questions.

Helen: [00:02:11] National PTA has worked for more than 120 years to make every child's potential a reality. We've been exploring new ways to make our resources more available and accessible to parents just like you. And that's why we've launched Notes from the Backpack.

Lawanda: [00:02:26] Many of you may be asking, what should I be doing as a parent to support my child's education? And how can I help other parents to be more involved, too? Rather than walk you through a whole history of our association, we're going to let our PTA parents and educators speak for themselves.

Amy Fox: [00:02:43] Well, if you're gonna look at the biggest way to make a difference in your child's life, it's family engagement. If you want them to-

Lawanda: [00:02:49] That's Amy Fox, a mother from Utah.

Amy Fox: [00:02:52] Them to go to college if you want them to attend classes regularly and not skip school and things like that. The best way to make sure that's happening is to be involved.

Heather Starks: [00:03:01] So family engagement. To me,

Lawanda: [00:03:04] That's Heather Starks, a mother from Minnesota.

Heather Starks: [00:03:05] Is something that is a mindset for the folks involved in education and not just an event. It's where parents are a valuable partner in their schools and not just a checklist item.

Donald Barringer: [00:03:19] Family engagement just as we had

Lawanda: [00:03:21] That's Donald Barringer, a teacher from North Carolina.

Donald Barringer: [00:03:23] Is not just about parents, it's also about community coming together to think about what our kids need or what our schools need and our communities related to education, because we want to make sure that all people are engaged and it does take that village.

Helen: [00:03:39] So now that you've heard what parents and educators are saying about their involvement, here's what you should expect when you tune in. During each episode will provide an overview of cutting edge developments and how families and schools are working together all in parent friendly language. We'll offer frank advice and strategies that you can use through conversations with experts, parents and educators.

Lawanda: [00:04:02] We cannot wait to dig into these topics with you. So remember, if you want to support what we are doing, make sure you share, subscribe and leave a review on Apple Podcasts.

Helen: [00:04:13] And be sure to tell your family and friends about this podcast. Thanks for listening and see you next time.

Narration: [00:04:19] Thank you for tuning into Notes from the Backpack PTA podcast. Be sure to follow us on social media @nationalPTA and online at


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.