Heidi May Wilson, Senior Manager, Media Relations
Honorees to be recognized at 2020 National PTA Legislative Conference
ALEXANDRIA, Va., (Feb. 21, 2020)—National PTA is pleased to announce the recipients of its 2020 Outstanding Advocacy Awards, which honor state, local and individual PTA advocates for taking action to protect, support and educate America’s children. The honorees will be recognized at the 2020 National PTA Legislative Conference, Wednesday, March 11, at The Westin Alexandria Old Town in Alexandria, Va.
This year’s recipients are:
- Outstanding State PTA Advocacy Award—California State PTA
California State PTA dedicated its efforts to raising awareness about healthier school start times. The association played an instrumental role in the passage of SB 328, which requires that middle schools in California start no earlier than 8 a.m. and high schools no earlier than 8:30 a.m. Prior to California State PTA’s advocacy efforts, the average start time for middle and high schools in the state was 8:07 a.m., which was contrary to the sleep health needs and developmental norms of adolescents. California State PTA implemented a multi-faceted advocacy plan which included working with local PTA leaders, educational programming, legislative visits, engagement with critical stakeholders, and media outreach and coverage all in support of SB 328. California State PTA successfully influenced key legislators and the governor by lifting up the voices of local PTA members to secure the passage of the bill. As a result of California State PTA’s advocacy efforts, California is the first state in the nation to require later school start times for middle and high school students.
- Outstanding Local PTA Advocacy Award—Will Davis Elementary PTA (Texas)
Will Davis Elementary PTA conducted an advocacy campaign to urge their elected officials to increase education funding and create a new recapture formula that more effectively utilizes taxpayer money. The goal of the recapture system in Texas is to help make public school funding more equitable between school districts by having more resourced districts send locally collected property tax revenue to the state to distribute to lower-resourced districts. However, Will Davis Elementary PTA’s district was facing a financial crisis. Their advocacy team decided to use a recent bond election to grow awareness about the crisis, including detailing the resources that are required to run a school district and the origin of those funds. Will Davis Elementary PTA partnered with two nonprofits to create and distribute information about school funding across the state to help parents understand the context of school finance discussions. The advocacy team met with elected officials and their staff to discuss funding and regularly attended meetings with other local groups to share information and implement new advocacy strategies. Will Davis Elementary PTA’s advocacy efforts came to fruition most notably with the passage of HB 3, which increased education funding and changed aspects of the recapture formula, providing some budget relief for their school district.
- Shirley Igo Advocate of the Year Award—Carol Kocivar (San Francisco, Calif.)
Carol Kocivar’s advocacy efforts span many issue areas. Among her efforts, Kocivar screens pending legislation for bills that will have an impact on the education, health and welfare of California’s children and families. Her advocacy includes work on increasing investments in quality public education, school infrastructure, public school choice and charter accountability, as well as safe and supportive school environments. Kocivar was instrumental in ensuring the defeat of tax credits for private school tuition, securing a $15 billion school facility bond on an upcoming ballot, conforming California charter school policies with the positions of California State PTA and National PTA, and helping secure the passage of later school time legislation. Kocivar has been an advocate for California State PTA for the past eight years and continues to lead its legislation team in the areas of budget and education.
- Outstanding Youth Advocate of the Year Award—Zoe Tishaev (Germantown, Md.)
Zoe Tishaev dedicated her advocacy efforts to extending free ridership on public buses for students in Montgomery County Public Schools. Prior to Tishaev’s advocacy, students were permitted to ride public buses for free only on weekdays between the hours of 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. This narrow window of hours severely limited the ability of students to participate in key extracurricular events. As a member of the Montgomery County Council of PTAs, Tishaev’s initial advocacy on this issue consisted of meeting with members of the Montgomery County Council Transportation and Environment Committee and giving public testimony. She also circulated a petition to pressure elected officials to expand access to transportation through county PTA email lists and social media, which resulted in over 1,000 signatories. Tishaev’s advocacy resulted in the successful expansion of no-charge transportation for students to 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Her advocacy efforts led to ease of transportation for students and reduced financial burden for families traveling to school meetings, events and appointments.
“For over 120 years, PTA advocates have been at the heart of our nation’s greatest advances for children—including the passage of child labor laws, the implementation of universal kindergarten classes, and improvements to the treatment of children in the juvenile justice system,” said Leslie Boggs, president of National PTA. “We are pleased to recognize the outstanding efforts of California State PTA, Will Davis Elementary PTA, Carol and Zoe, and we look forward to celebrating them at our legislative conference.”
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.
“Our association remains committed to urging decisionmakers at all levels of government to prioritize America’s children,” said Nathan R. Monell, CAE National PTA Executive Director. “Ensuring that every child receives a high-quality education in a healthy and safe environment is critical to their and our nation’s long-term success.”
About National PTA
National PTA® comprises millions of families, students, teachers, administrators, and business and community leaders devoted to the educational success of children and the promotion of family engagement in schools. PTA is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit association that prides itself on being a powerful voice for all children, a relevant resource for families and communities, and a strong advocate for public education. Membership in PTA is open to anyone who wants to be involved and make a difference for the education, health, and welfare of children and youth. For more information, visit PTA.org.