Heidi May Wilson, Senior Manager, Media Relations
Association to launch season five of its Notes from the Backpack podcast and a toolkit for family-school communication technologies
ALEXANDRIA, Va., (Sept. 10, 2021)—National PTA will mark its annual Back-to-School Week celebration Sept. 13-17 to support families, teachers, administrators and PTA leaders as the new school year gets underway. In conjunction with the week, the association will launch the fifth season of its Notes from the Backpack podcast, as well as a toolkit to enhance the use of family-school communication technologies. Office Depot is the presenting sponsor of National PTA’s Back-to-School Week. Additional support for the week comes from BAND, a free group communication app. Both companies are Proud National PTA Sponsors.
“As we begin a new school year, we want families, teachers, administrators and PTA leaders to get a great start and support their success all year long,” said Anna King, president of National PTA. “Our goal for our Back-to-School Week is to provide important information, resources and expertise to help build strong partnerships between families and schools and help meet the critical needs of our school communities.”
Throughout the week, the association will share tips and tools on social media using #PTABackToSchool and at PTA.org/BackToSchool to help families, educators, administrators and PTAs plan their school year, engage their communities and support students’ and families’ needs.
Among the resources, National PTA has created a toolkit to help school communities navigate the marketplace and enhance the use of technologies for family-school communication. The toolkit includes considerations for decision-making, recommendations for educators and advocates, a landscape of 20+ leading technologies and how they compare, a mapping tool to let families know what schools are using, questions to get family and teacher input into these technologies and related resources to learn more. National PTA collaborated with the American Federation of Teachers, the School Superintendents’ Association and the Consortium on School Networks to bring together research, as well as the voice of parents, teachers and school system leaders to create the toolkit. The project was funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York.
Season five of Notes from the Backpack will launch Sept. 15 and will feature episodes on trending topics in education and raising children. Guests will include Captain Erin Sauber-Schatz, from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Marley Dias, youth activist and writer, among other nationally acclaimed experts. Episodes will be released every other week this fall and will be available to stream at PTA.org/BackpackNotes.
“At PTA, we bring knowledge, tools and resources into the lives of families; raise our voices to advocate for children at the national, state and local levels; help students, families, schools and communities navigate the challenges they face every day; and help families and schools build strong partnerships to help students reach their full potential,” added Nathan R. Monell, CAE, National PTA executive director. “We are pleased to mark our Back-to-School Week, launch another season of our podcast and provide our toolkit for family-school communication technologies to help make this school year a success.”
As part of the association’s efforts to support families in the new school year, National PTA, in partnership with the CDC Foundation, also hosted a Back to Class Virtual Town Hall live on Facebook on Sept. 1. The town hall featured remarks from First Lady of the United States Dr. Jill Biden, as well as a conversation with CDC Director Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky and U.S. Secretary of Education Dr. Miguel Cardona. American Academy of Pediatrics President Dr. Lee Ann Savio Beers, American Psychological Association Chief Executive Officer Dr. Arthur C. Evans Jr., and other experts in family engagement, family-school partnerships, mental health and social emotional well-being also provided insights. The event was moderated by NBC Nightly News Sunday Anchor and Senior National Correspondent Kate Snow and addressed parents’ questions and concerns on how to help keep their children safe and in school this year, how to partner with teachers to address missed instruction this past year, and what they can do to support their children’s social and emotional well-being. The town hall can be viewed on National PTA’s Facebook page.
The project for the Town Hall and listening sessions with parents was supported by the CDC Foundation by way of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and as part of a financial assistance award totaling $447,531 with more than 99% funded by CDC/HHS and $2,400, less than 1%, funded by non-government source(s). The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by CDC/HHS, or the U.S. Government.
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.