State Excellence Library

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Notes from the Backpack Podcast

COVID-19 Response

Based off of feedback from the field (that not all of our participating PTAs would be able to focus on or have the tools needed to complete the 2019-20 School of Excellence program) we have decided to postpone the 2019-20 School of Excellence program and automatically consider the actively participating PTAs in the 2020-21 School of Excellence program cycle. These PTAs received this email notification on April 10, 2020.

To honor the amazing work that these PTAs have done in the School of Excellence program up to the point of program postponement, each of the actively participating Excellence Teams received a customized and printable letter and certificate of recognition on behalf of National PTA. These PTAs were also offered the exclusive opportunity to apply for Phase 1 COVID-19 relief funds.

The PTAs were also asked to reenroll in the program and to verify their contact information. 537 PTAs indicated they planned to participate in the 2020-21 School of Excellence program cycle, while 3 opted out of continuing in the program. The 537 PTAs who are continuing in the program can, and the 3 PTAs that are not, can be found here.  

Moving forward in the 2020-21 program, we will waive Steps # 1-4 so that these PTAs can pick up on Step #5 (implementing their action plan). Toward the end of the 2020-21 school year, these PTAs will join the other - newly enrolled cohort - and are required to deploy the Final Survey and complete the Final Application for consideration of the 2020-2022 National PTA School of Excellence designation, which will be announced August 2021.

Please encourage the 537 2019-20 program participants and the FINAL LIST of the new enrollees who have completed the Initial Application to complete the steps in the program to make long-lasting impact in their school communities and to earn the designation. A full list of all current program participants (794) can be found here

Email for detailed reports and with any questions.

Welcome PTA Leaders and School of Excellence Champions!

This website serves state PTAs and its regions, districts and councils to promote, train, support and celebrate local family-school partnerships through the National PTA School of Excellence program.

Use the tools and information below to connect School of Excellence to other family engagement resources in your state, promote the program on your State PTA website and social media, train local PTAs about School of Excellence at your next leadership conference and support PTAs by knowing where they are in the program and encouraging them along the way. Not sure how best to support your local units? Need detailed reports? Email

  • Provide outreach and encouragement to the 537 actively participating PTAs that are in pursuit of the 2020-2022 National PTA School of Excellence designation, now during the 2020-21 school year.
  • Enrollment for the 2020-21 program year is now closed. Of the newly enrolled cohort this FINAL LIST of new enrollees have completed the Initial Application.
  • Both the 2019-20 and new cohort are now working on Steps #5 and #6, to create and implement an action plan based in best practice and on the feedback received from their school communities and to gain feedback from their school communities once again through the School of Excellence survey questions.
  • Use the data reports, training, tools and quotes found below to develop state-specific talking points about the School of Excellence program and impact. Email with any questions or assistance.
  • Congratulations to the 326 2019-2021 National PTA Schools of Excellence and 2019 Phoebe Apperson Hearst Award winners! Shine a light on these PTAs as models for others in your state who are seeking to improve family-school partnerships at their schools.


Key Dates 

  • June 1 - Oct. 15: Program Enrollment (deadline extended from Oct. 1)
  • Sept. - Nov. 15: Baseline Survey Administration (deadline extended from Nov. 1)
  • Oct. 15 - Nov. 15: Initial Application Due (deadline extended from Nov. 1)
  • Throughout school year: Take Action!
  • March - June: Final Survey Administration
  • June 15: Final Application Due - must be submitted online (deadline extended from June 1) 
  • Mid-August: School of Excellence and Hearst Award Recipients Announced

2020-2021 Reports

  • 2020-2021 Enrollment Reports - 455
    • In addition to newly enrolled PTAs, the 2020-21 program enrollment will include the 537 PTAs who were actively participating in the 2019-2020 program when it was postponed and have chosen to continue their participation. The list of 537 PTAs who are continuing in the program and the 3 PTAs that opted out can be found here.
    • 2020-2021 Enrollment Report - 455 PTAs (closed Oct. 15)
    • 2019-2020 Actively Participants Report - 537 PTAs  
  • 2020-2021 Completed Initial Application Report - (closed Nov. 15)
    • Please note, only the newly enrolled PTAs were asked to complete this step.
    • The Initial Application is now closed. Late applications will not be considered. Here is the FINAL LIST of the PTAs who have completed the Initial Application.

2019-2020 Reports

  • 2019-2020 Enrollment Report - 875 enrolled (closed Oct. 15)
  • 2019-2020 Completed Initial Application Report - 540 (closed Nov. 22)
  • See what some of our participating PTAs were up to in the middle of the School of Excellence program with these (optional) survey results. - 70 respondents (February)
  • We asked School of Excellence participants to provide feedback about their School of Excellence progress and plans due to COVID-19. HERE are some notes from the discussion and below are takeaways from the survey:
    • Respondents reported a 73% completion rate for Step #5
    • 89% of respondents have not yet deployed the Final Survey (Step #6)
    • Respondents reported that 58% of their school communities could be reached remotely given the tools available to them (not all respondents have tools available to them)
    • 57% of respondents think they would be able to complete the steps in the program process given what they know right now

2018-2019 Reports

2017-2018 Reports 

Promote Enrollment


Flyers and Postcards

Newsletter and Web Templates


Social Media

Link images to - Enrollment Opens May 1

  • Facebook Graphic - Enroll
    • It’s not too early to plan for the 2020-21 school year, especially when it comes to the School of Excellence. ENROLLMENT IS under way RIGHT NOW! This is a year-long commitment to developing a school improvement action plan that’ll benefit all students. Learn more and ENROLL at Are you ready to roll up your sleeves and get to work?
  • Twitter Graphic - Enroll
    • ENROLL NOW! By taking part in the National PTA School of Excellence, your PTA and school administrators make a commitment to identify and implement a school improvement action plan! #PTAProud
  • Newsletter Graphic - Enroll
    • SUGGESTED HEADLINE: Enroll NOW for the School of Excellence What exactly is the National PTA School of Excellence? The School of Excellence is a program that supports and celebrates partnerships between PTAs and schools to enrich the educational experience and overall well-being for all students. It’s about making changes. It’s about making improvements. And it’s about celebrating accomplishments. Enrollment for the 2020-21 school year is under way right now. If you’re interested, be sure to get details at This is a year-long commitment that could lead to one of National PTA’s highest honors. Don’t delay. Enroll now!
  • Instagram Graphic - Enroll
    • School of Excellence enrollment for the 2020-21 school year is OPEN!

State PTA Examples

  • Support PTAs in the program - May 1 thru the following June 15
  •  Celebrate designees - Mid-August          
    • Be sure to congratulate your state's National PTA School of Excellence designees and share their stories on your social media outlets. Reach out to your state's designees and join their celebration events. Email for more information about how they achieved the designation and for more celebration tools.
  •  Promote program enrollment - June 1 thru Oct. 15
    • Remember to hyperlink to promote program enrollment (not the enrollment link) on your state PTA website and use the social media tools above to encourage local units in your state to enroll.

Key Websites


For questions, detailed reports and/or state-specific information, email Amy Weinberg and Ellie Miller at