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Learning Labs

Watch and Learn for Parent Leaders

Join one of National PTA’s Learning Labs to dive deep into the important topics that matter to you! Engage with experts in the field, who will offer new and helpful ideas on the issues and challenges you’re facing in this unique school year. Each session will include a Q&A segment with the speaker and offer tangible takeaways you can use in your efforts to support all families and students’ needs in your community.

All Learning Labs are sponsored sessions and National PTA does not endorse any commercial entity, product or service. No endorsement of sponsored companies is implied.

Recent Learning Lab

Why Is COVID-19 Testing So Important in K-12 Schools?

Sponsored by Thermo Fisher Scientific

Video IconThe 2021-2022 school year is approaching quickly, and the question on everyone’s minds is—How do we ensure schools stay open this year, while keeping our kids, teachers and school staff healthy? Despite vaccinations being administered to adults and teens, many of our children remain unvaccinated or are ineligible to receive the vaccination. Given this, along with the rise of the Delta variant and the return to in-person learning, our children may be more vulnerable to infection.

It is essential to identify contagious individuals prior to entering the school building to minimize possible exposure. Testing is an effective way to monitor the spread of COVID-19 and help keep sick people away from your child and their school. In this Learning Lab, we’ll look at the current COVID-19 landscape, the potential risks posed to children, and solutions that can help keep your children out of harm’s way and focused on learning in the classroom this year.

Mara Aspinall

Mara Aspinall, Professor or Practice, Biomedical Diagnostics Arizona State University & Managing Director, Health Catalysts Group

Rachel Formosa

Rachel Formosa, Senior Director of Marketing Development, Thermo Fisher Scientific

Supplemental Materials


Previous Learning Labs

How to Transform Your Fundraiser into a FUNdraiser

Sponsored by Apex Leadership Company

Video IconFundraising may be necessary in today’s school budget crisis, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be FUN! We’ve got some tips for your PTA board as they plan ahead for the biggest year of fundraising, yet. Many groups struggled with fundraising during the pandemic, and how best to maximize results amid layoffs and lockdowns.

Speaker
Scott Donnell

Scott Donnell, President, Apex Leadership Company


Apex Leadership Company

Scott Donnell is a serial entrepreneur who has dedicated his life to both physical and mental health. In his work, Scott has partnered or collaborated with many other world-class experts in the frequency and energy space.


Why Does Your PTA Need Insurance?

Sponsored by AIM

Video IconCome to this learning workshop to find out how to protect yourself and your PTA. AIM will discuss the liability our PTA’s face, what coverages are available, and offer any guidance on what you need to do to protect yourself. 

Speaker
Elgin-Allen_300x300

Elgin Allen, CEO & Founder, Association Insurance Management (AIM)




AIM_400x162

Elgin Allen formed AIM in 1989 and is the CEO and Owner. Prior to starting his own company, Elgin had 15 years of mixed insurance and accounting experience. AIM currently Partners with 48 of the 50 State PTA’s and is the largest writer of PTA’s in the country. 


Brains, Budgets and Technology: Making Smarter Financial Decisions

Sponsored by Mountain America Credit Union

Video IconFrom understanding the behaviors that influence our financial decision making to where to start with a budget, and even the technology that can help improve all of these processes, Mountain America's Robert Steed explains how you can be more efficient with your financial planning.

Speaker
Robert Steed

Robert Steed, Financial Education Manager, Mountain America Credit Union


Mountain America Credit Union

Robert has been training others professionally for over a decade, helping people connect their motivating why with the what and the how of their financial behavior.


Creating a Roadmap for College Admissions and Beyond

Sponsored by The Princeton Review

Video IconDid you know that a student's academic performance is the #1 factor considered in college admissions? Join The Princeton Review as we work through the importance of middle and high school academics and help families understand why creating a solid academic foundation is vital. We will walk through the best ways to plan and prepare for high school courses beginning in middle school, understand how to get ahead, and explain what counts most during a student's high school career. We will reveal how a student's academic plan impacts college admissions and how to make high school far less stressful for families.

Speaker
Rob Franek

Robert Franek, Editor-in-Chief, The Princeton Review




The Princeton Review

Rob Franek, Editor-in-Chief at The Princeton Review, is a nationally sourced expert on colleges and higher education. Over his 27-year career, he has been a college admissions counselor, publisher, editor, author, and lecturer. He presents in-person and online across the globe to students, parents, and counselors, counting those opportunities among his most rewarding professional experiences. Rob is the author of several books, including College Admissions During COVID, College Admission 101, The Best 386 Colleges, and The Best Value Colleges. At The Princeton Review, Rob is the publishing director of more than 150 books on topics such as test-prep guides, college and graduate school admission resources, and student aids available from Penguin Random House. Rob directs The Princeton Review's surveys of college applicants and their parents for its annual College Hopes & Worries Survey, as well as surveys of administrators and students for its annual college and graduate school rankings.

PTA Connected

Video Icon
Help families take charge of their digital lives with PTA Connected. As our families are online more now than ever, this workshop provides tools your PTA families can use together at home to help balance the time they spend with their devices and better connect with one another while also learning new ways to be safe online. By the end of the workshop you will know how to:
1. Locate and use PTA Connected program materials and resources
2. Learn how local PTAs have used PTA Connected programs remotely in their communities
3. Start to plan your own PTA Connected program

Speakers
Alyssa Montchal

Alyssa Montchal, Manager, Programs & Partnerships PTA Connected & Family Reading Experience, National PTA

Collin Robinson

Collin Robinson, PTA Connected Board Ambassador, National PTA

David Way

David Way, Treasurer, Marshall Fundamerntal PTSA

Alyssa Montchal works on the Programs & Partnerships team at National PTA. Her work is focused on helping connect PTA leaders to the resources they need to approach digital safety and citizenship through PTA Connected. She also manages the programs grant programs and has helped to redevelop the Family Reading Experience.

Collin Robinson is serving his second term on the National PTA Board of Directors. He has been an active PTA parent leader at the local, regional, state and national levels and served as president of Oregon PTA from 2015-2017.

David Way is a father of 3 kids at Marshall Fundamental Secondary School in Pasadena, CA. He has volunteered as PTSA Unit & Council Treasurer, AYSO Coach and Board Member of 2 non-profits. He is CFO of the Dave Knight Real Estate Team in Pasadena.

Identifying and Mitigating Psychological Issues in the Classroom

Sponsored by American Psychological Association

Video IconDifficulty managing emotions continues to take a toll among students, families, and school personnel, particularly in the context of the pandemic. The focus of this session will be to provide parents with tools to help identify and prevent behaviors symptomatic of disrupted well-being and directing them to appropriate.

Speaker
Rena Subotnik

Rena Subotnik, Director, Center for Psychology in Schools, American Psychological Association


American Psychological Association

Rena F. Subotnik PhD is director of the Center for Psychology in Schools and Education (CPSE) at the American Psychological Association. CPSE promotes the high quality application of psychological science to programs and policies for schools and pre-K through grade 12 education. 


How to Help Your Chapters Stay Tax Compliant

Sponsored by File990.org

Video IconIt is important for state and local chapters to file the appropriate 990 form annually with the IRS. File990.org is a service that many state PTAs have partnered with to make filing easy and to help ensure compliance.

Speakers
JB Goll

JB Goll, Director of Partner Development, File990.org

Deb Stern

Deb Stern, Treasurer, Alabama PTA

Matthew Tooker

Mathew Tooker, Director of Business Intelligence, OmegaFi


FIle 990

J. B. Goll works with national and international nonprofit partners in ensuring a successful business relationship and expanding partnerships to provide integrated software and payment solutions. 

Deb Stern served 20 years in the United States Navy. Ten years were spent as a computer technician. She was then selected to participate in the Medical Enlisted Commissioning Program (MECP) to complete her BS in Nursing and become commissioned as a Nurse Corps officer. Deb is currently the Alabama PTA Treasurer as well as Huntsville Council of PTAs Treasurer. 

Mathew Tooker is an expert in sales forecasting, analytics, goal setting, client growth initiatives and business development. He’s a graduate of Auburn University and a part-time MBA student at Florida State University.


How Schools Can Implement Safe, In-Person Learning in the Fall

Sponsored by BD

Video IconWith a return to in-person learning in the fall, parents and teachers will need to turn their attention to another public health emergency—the use of e-cigarettes by children. Hear from experts in tobacco control about current youth tobacco use, the efforts underway to address it and how parents and teachers can get involved.

Speakers
Rick Pescatore

Rick Pescatore, Chief Physician, Delaware Division of Public Health

Megan Wimmer

Megan Wimmer, Marketing Manager, BD


BD

Dr. Richard Pescatore is Chief Physician, Associate State Medical Director at Delaware Department of Health and Social Services. Dr. Pescatore completed his residency at Cooper University Hospital in Camden, NJ, where he was also chief resident. He was also the Director of Clinical Research for the Crozer-Keystone Health System emergency medicine residency program.

Megan Wimmer is an Associate Director for HEOR (Health Economics and Outcomes Research) at BD. Her latest publication looks at cost-effectiveness and access for testing strategies for COVID-19. Megan holds an MBA from the Tepper school of Business at Carnegie Mellon and a B.Sci. in Molecular Biology from the University of Pittsburgh.

Teen Vaping Epidemic: Strategies and Tools for Parents and Teachers

Sponsored by Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, PAVe, Truth Initiative

Video IconWith a return to in-person learning in the fall, parents and teachers will need to turn their attention to another public health emergency—the use of e-cigarettes by children. Hear from experts in tobacco control about current youth tobacco use, the efforts underway to address it and how parents and teachers can get involved.

Speakers
Dorian Fuhrman

Dorian Fuhrman, Co-Founder, Parents Against Vaping e-cigarettes

Caroline Goncalves Jones

Caroline Goncalves Jones, Director Advocacy and Outreach, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

Portia Reddick White

Portia Reddick White, Vice President, Strategic Partnerships, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

Amy Taylor

Amy Taylor, Chief of Community and Youth Engagement, Truth Initiative


Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

Dorian Fuhrman is one of the cofounders of Parents Against Vaping e-cigarettes, PAVe, a national grassroots education and advocacy organization. She founded PAVe in 2018 with Meredith Berkman and Dina Alessi as a response to the youth vaping epidemic. Today, PAVe has dozens of chapters around the country, educating parents and other adults about the dangers of flavored e-cigarette products and advocating to end the sale of all flavored tobacco products, which are proven to addict kids.

Caroline Goncalves Jones is the Director of Advocacy and Outreach at the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. Caroline works to support the Campaign’s advocacy efforts aimed at promoting policies and programs to prevent kids from starting to use tobacco products and helping tobacco users quit.

Portia Reddick White is Vice-President of Strategic Partnerships with the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK). She leads the overall strategic direction on outreach and implementation in building, cultivating, and sustaining relationships with external partnerships with a particular emphasis on those disproportionately impacted by tobacco. With portfolios that included various interest including health care, she has managed outreach, strategy, counsel and served as primary liaison to groups such as the Congressional Black Caucus, the Hispanic Congressional Caucus, the Congressional Progressive Caucus and more.

Amy Taylor leads the community and youth engagement team at Truth Initiative and has more than two decades of experience in public health advocacy and education, with a background leading successful advocacy campaigns by engaging and mobilizing advocates and building coalitions. Amy Taylor is a proud PTA President at Williamsburg Middle School in Arlington, Virginia.

Summer REcharge: Powering Partnerships Between Families and Educators

Sponsored by Learning Heroes

Video IconAfter this past year, families deserve (and need) a REcharge. In this session, you will hear about the latest parent research about the impact of COVID-19 for Summer 2021 and beyond, discuss innovative strategies to keep learning at the center as children reconnect with family and friends and refuel their passions, and discover tools to build deeper connections with educators and out-of-school time providers.

Speakers
Bibb Hubbard

Bibb Hubbard, Founder and President, Learning Heroes

Windy Lopez-Aflitto

Windy Lopez-Aflitto, Vice President of Content and Partnerships, Learning Heroes

Kelsey Nelson

Kelsey Nelson, Senior Manager of External Relations, Learning Heroes

Dery Rodriguez

Dery Rodriguez, Parent Empowerment Project Manager & Liaison, NYC Department of Education


Learning Heroes

Bibb Hubbard founded Learning Heroes to help parents play an active role in their children’s educational success. Before Learning Heroes, Bibb held leadership positions at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Widmeyer Communications, and Scholastic. Her public-sector experience includes positions at the White House and the U.S. Labor Department.

Windy Lopez-Aflitto brings 20 years of experience in family engagement, education, and philanthropy to Learning Heroes. Windy was previously with Scholastic for nearly a decade and was instrumental in the research and development of the company’s first comprehensive family and community engagement initiative.

Kelsey Nelson
is a DMV native and an avid proponent of high-quality education for all children, Kelsey joins Learning Heroes with an extensive background in PR, communications and marketing, and creating/facilitating high-powered partnerships.

Dery Rodriguez is a project manager of strategic partnerships and initiatives at the New York City Department of Education's Office of Family and Community Partnerships. Dery focuses on cultivating partnerships between families, community members, and educators that support student achievement and school improvement.

Conversations About Student Privacy and Self-Harm Monitoring Technology

Sponsored by GoGuardian

Video IconStudent privacy is an issue that parents, schools, and policymakers all care deeply about. Coupled with student mental health, they are two of the most critical and complex topics that we explore daily in our mission to help create safer online experiences for students. Knowing that nearly 80% of youth receiving mental health support access those services within their schools, it’s essential to ask: how can we help schools identify students at risk for mental health crises while respecting student privacy?

Speakers
Rebecca Garcia

Rebecca Garcia, President, Nevada PTA

Teddy Hartman

Teddy Hartman, Head of Privacy, GoGuardian

Alyssa Moore

Alyssa Moore, Head of the Digital Learning Office, Delaware Department of Education

Anisha Reddy

Anisha Reddy, Policy Counsel, Future of Privacy Forum

Jonathan Singer

Jonathan Singer, President, American Association of Suicidology


GoGuardian

Rebecca Garcia is the President of the Nevada Parent Teacher Association. A mother of four children, ages 10 to 26, she is a passionate parent advocate dedicated to ensuring that the unique needs of all students are met regardless of zip code. Navigating the complexity of public education with her own twice exceptional children led her to get more engaged as a parent advocate and PTA leader. Rebecca has called East Las Vegas home for the last 15 years, where her children have attended Title 1 schools. She currently sits on several educational committees and councils at the school, district, and state-level.

Teddy Hartman is the Head of Privacy at GoGuardian. With over two decades in the education space, Teddy has built his career on the belief that education is a mechanism for creating positive social change.

Dr. Alyssa Moore leads the Office of Digital Learning with the Delaware Department of Education. She is a career educator who has spent 22 years working with PreK-12 students, teachers, administrators, and families. She has held various roles including: classroom teacher, technology coordinator, Instructional Technology Instructional Coach & Curriculum Specialist, and Assistant Principal.

Anisha Reddy is a Policy Counsel at Future of Privacy Forum, focusing on youth and education privacy.Anisha focuses on helping stakeholders find creative ways to innovate while protecting student and children’s privacy, expanding FPF’s library of student privacy resources, and tracking state and federal policy proposals. Anisha also represents FPF on working groups and coalitions, ensuring that student privacy and equity are embedded within any education data initiative.

Jonathan B. Singer, Ph.D., LCSW is Associate Professor of Social Work at Loyola University Chicago, President of the American Association of Suicidology and coauthor of the 2015 Routledge text, Suicide in Schools: A Practitioner's Guide to Multi-level Prevention, Assessment, Intervention, and Postvention. He is a two-time winner of the National Association of Social Workers Media Award (2012 and 2016). The Social Work Podcast has over 40,000 followers on social media, listeners in 208 countries and territories, and a million podcast episode downloads per year. Follow @socworkpodcast and Facebook at facebook.com/swpodcast

STEM+Families

Video Icon
Is your local PTA considering hosting a STEM +Families program this upcoming school year? National PTA has everything you need to run a successful program. PTA leaders will leave this workshop with the information, tools and resources needed to successfully run a STEM +Families program.

Speakers
Tery Ackerman

Tery Ackerman, Treasurer- Elect, Leestown Middle School PTSA

Dani Carver

Dani Carver, Programs Committee, National PTA

Kari Coppinger

Kari Coppinger, President Elect, Sinaloa Middle School PTA

Dana Taylor

Dana Taylor, Programs and Partnership Manager, National PTA

Tery Ackerman lives in Lexington, Kentucky and practices law as a sole practitioner, with a focus on child advocacy. She served as secretary for the Leestown Middle School PTSA during the 2020-2021 school year and is the treasurer-elect for the 2021-2022 school year. Leestown has both a pre-engineering program and also an agriscience program, so STEM programs are a natural fit for the school community.

Dani Carver is an elementary teacher in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She has been involved with PTA for over ten years. She currently serves on the National PTA Programs Committee. She knows the importance of family engagement in education and National PTA has given Carver the tools to promote this in her classroom.

Kari Coppinger remembers what PTA did for her and her classmates when they were in school, which propelled her into service in the Simi Valley, California PTA as soon as she had a kindergartener. She has been president at Hollow Hills Fundamental PTA (K–6) for the last two years and is president-elect at Sinaloa Middle School (6–8). Hollow Hills enjoyed participating in the STEM+ Families Science Festival this year. In her non-PTA time, Kari enjoys easy hikes, swimming, going to the beach, reading historical fiction, and of course, time with her husband, son, and daughter.

Dana Taylor is a Programs & Partnerships Manager at National PTA and has been with National PTA for two years. Overseeing the STEM + Families Initiative, she is responsible driving the strategic vision of the initiative and carrying out the overall strategies and goals of the initiative. Dana is excited to be able to share National PTA’s STEM + Families resources with PTA members.

The New, Digital Way to PTA

Sponsored by BAND

Video IconIn this workshop, Suzi Kennon, President of Texas PTA will share how she has successfully streamlined communication with her Board of Directors and Texas PTA’s key initiatives. Whether you’re a State, Council, or local leader, if you’re looking to organize scattered information and communicate efficiently once and for all, join this workshop to learn how BAND can be the one-stop-shop solution for you.

Speaker
Suzi Kennon

Suzi Kennon, President, Texas PTA







BAND

Suzi Kennon is currently the President of Texas PTA. Suzi has almost 20 years’ experience in PTA which has included serving at the local, council, area, and state levels. She has received several awards including Texas PTA Honorary Life Membership Award, Texas PTA Extended Service Award, Volunteer of the Year at both her elementary and high school campuses, Community Ethics Award, the highest recognition in her school district for community service, The Wylie Way Award, and most recently received the Elizabeth Garrison Award.


Do You Know What Your Children Are Doing Onscreen? Tools and Tips to Become a Media-Savvy Parent

Sponsored by Harvard Graduate School of Education

Video IconAs the coronavirus pandemic placed a quarter of the world’s population under lockdown, millions of people went online for entertainment and more. Total internet hits surged by between 50% and 70%, according to preliminary statistics. According to Forbes magazine, “a sudden onset of new educational procedures shook up the online media habits inside many homes. Data shows that the need to teach kids and keep them occupied swept aside former rules regulating screen time and social media usage.” So the question is: what are kids doing with screens now in this COVID world, and what are the implications for their development and social and emotional well-being?

In this Learning Lab, we’ll examine some telling statistics as to what kids are doing, explore how parents can respond, and detail the importance of parents understanding the vital role media literacy now plays in our media-saturated world. Using data, film clips and commentary from experts in the field, this webinar will show you how you can be “screen-time savvy.”

Speaker
Dr. Randy-Michael Testa

Dr. Randy-Michael Testa, Associate Director, PreK-16 Programs in Professional Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education


Harvard Graduate School of Education

Randy Testa works in the Professional Education division of Harvard Graduate School of Education, devising with Harvard faculty online learning experiences for parents and educators. Prior to coming to Harvard, Testa worked for 12 years at a major movie studio on family-friendly films such as The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, Charlotte's Web and The Watsons Go to Birmingham.

Supplemental Materials

Commit to Clean – How Hygiene is Critical to Healthy Schools

Sponsored by American Cleaning Institute

Video IconThis Learning Lab will discuss the challenges schools and families are facing this school year when it comes to staying safe and healthy—and also cleaning, disinfecting and hand hygiene best practices, with actionable advice for school staff and parents. Join experts from the health and school community, as well as from companies who make the products we rely on to clean and disinfect. No matter how your child is learning this year (virtual, in-school or both), you won’t want to miss this critical conversation. Moderated by Brian Sansoni, Senior Vice President of Communication, Outreach & Membership, American Cleaning Institute.

Speakers
Liz Clark

Liz Clark, Nursing Education and Practice Specialist , National Association of School Nurses

Jim Arbogast

Jim Arbogast, Vice President of Hygiene Sciences and Public Health Advancements, GOJO Industries

American Cleaning Institute



Talking to Kids About Vaping: What You Need to Know to Protect Your Kids

Sponsored by Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

Video IconJust as we were achieving extraordinary progress in reducing youth use of cigarettes, we face a new crisis—e-cigarettes. E-cigarettes are hooking a new generation of kids with 3.6 million U.S. kids using e-cigarettes, including one in five high school students. There is also mounting concern that smokers and e-cigarette users may be at a higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. In this learning lab, you will hear from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids about current youth tobacco use, the efforts underway to address it and how parents can get involved and fight back. Youth e-cigarette use has reached epidemic levels.

Speakers
Portia Reddick White

Portia Reddick White, Vice President, Strategic Partnerships, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

Caroline Goncalves Jones

Caroline Goncalves Jones, Director Advocacy and Outreach, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids



How PTAs can Maximize their Fundraising this School Year

Sponsored by Booster

Video IconPTAs will learn how to make a stronger connection between their cause and their campaign, so their mission and message are felt throughout their fundraisers. Leaders will leave with a five-step fundraising framework to more strategically raise funds for a better future, even during these times.

Speaker
Stephen Murray

Stephen Murray, President & COO, Booster

Boosterthon

Stephen Murray is the president & COO of Booster, a company that offers virtual and in-person fitness fundraisers for schools. As an active member in the Greater Atlanta community, Stephen serves on the board of his children’s school, his local YMCA, as well as an advisor to a non-profit that supports social-good entrepreneurs. He has a big heart to improve organizations through effective leadership, developing team members and putting people first. Stephen is also an accomplished athlete and has completed marathons, an ultra-marathon and an Iron Man triathlon. He and his wife Brittany have three children.