Heidi May Wilson, Senior Manager, Media Relations
ALEXANDRIA, Va., (April 26, 2023)—National PTA is pleased to announce the recipients of its 2023 Jan Harp Domene Diversity and Inclusion Award, which honors PTAs for outstanding efforts in making sure the perspectives and needs of all communities are heard and represented, as well as efforts to end discriminatory practices. The award recipients will be recognized during the 2023 National PTA Virtual Convention, June 15-24.
This year’s recipients are:
- Peter Kirk PTSA (Kirkland, Wash.)
Peter Kirk PTSA has been working to build a more diverse PTA leadership team and embed diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) into everything they do. Their recently formed DEI Committee set a goal to increase membership to better represent the community, and they achieved that goal. The PTSA also began a Diversity Ambassador program, through which leadership positions were created for diverse family and community members to educate the community about their cultures. This included updating and providing more context on the PTSA’s multicultural calendar, creating dance programs during recess and launching a SNACK Together (Sharing Nibbles and Cultural Knowledge) event. During the SNACK Together event, the school and PTSA celebrated 12 countries’ cultures and food traditions. In addition, Peter Kirk PTSA has donated DEI books to their library, as well as created connecting circles for the school’s equity team and the DEI committee to discuss issues facing their community. The PTSA membership is now more representative of the school, as is its leadership, particularly across gender and cultural lines.
- Redondo Beach Council PTA (Redondo Beach, Calif.)
Redondo Beach Council PTA has been educating its leaders and parents and building consensus about what DEI looks like in their community. The PTA has begun annual community forums focused on DEI, which have attracted over 100 attendees and have covered topics ranging from disability access to balancing grace and accountability with this work. The PTA has also done its own reflection through surveys and subsequent requirements of nominating committees to diversify leadership on its and its units’ boards. The PTA leadership is now almost twice as diverse as it was three years ago. In addition, Redondo Beach Council PTA partnered with local librarians to create a DEI Book Nook featuring books representing historically marginalized identities, which has resulted in their local units using this list to identify books for purchase in their schools. Redondo Beach Council PTA is also working with all the schools in their district to host a cultural celebration night, and the PTA has provided PTA welcome signs representing the 22 languages spoken in their district, as well as provided a cultural calendar to ensure events and meetings don’t conflict with different holidays.
- Santa Ynez High School PTSA (Santa Ynez, Calif.)
Santa Ynez High School PTSA has been focused on diversifying its membership and leadership to be more representative and inclusive of the school community. This past year, the PTSA elected its first executive leaders of color in over 30 years, and they began working together to identify ways to be more inclusive. This included translating all PTSA materials and forms into Spanish for the first time, as well as hosting a variety of multicultural events, moving their meetings to a location where childcare could be provided and participating in anti-bias training with school staff. They have also been collaborating with teachers and administrators to engage students in Santa Ynez High School and the PTSA. In response to hearing from students that they thought the PTSA was only for wealthy white families, the PTSA leaders began reaching out and showing students their voice and culture matters, including providing food from the community—student favorites—at their events. Over the past year, the number of members in the PTSA has more than doubled, including many more students of color.
“Making sure the perspectives and needs of all students and families are heard, valued and represented is critical to building welcoming, supportive and inclusive school communities and strengthening family engagement and family-school partnerships, which is essential to student success and is more important now than ever,” said Anna King, president of National PTA. “We applaud the efforts of Peter Kirk PTSA, Redondo Beach Council PTA and Santa Ynez High School PTSA that have resulted in positive change in their communities, and we are pleased to recognize them with our 2023 Jan Harp Domene Diversity and Inclusion Award.”
The Jan Harp Domene Diversity and Inclusion Award is named after past National PTA President (2007-2009) Jan Harp Domene, who was dedicated to ensuring that families of all backgrounds felt welcomed in PTA and their school communities. The award recipients are selected by National PTA’s Diversity, Inclusion & Outreach Committee, which also works to ensure diversity and inclusion in PTA. Peter Kirk PTSA, Redondo Beach Council PTA and Santa Ynez High School PTSA will each receive a plaque and a $1,000 award in recognition of their efforts to further their work.
“It is essential that we understand, value and embrace the uniqueness of all individuals and appreciate that each contributes a diversity of views, experiences, preferences, cultural heritage/traditions, skills/abilities and values that enrich and strengthen our nation,” added Nathan R. Monell, CAE, National PTA executive director. “These is still so much work to do and there could not be a more urgent time to create a climate of acceptance and inclusion and ensure all children and families have every opportunity to be engaged and realize their full potential.”
PTA is committed to advancing and ensuring diversity, equity and inclusion at all levels of the association. If you have witnessed or experienced bias in your PTA, please reach out to Diversity@PTA.org.
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.