School of Excellence Tools (2022—2023)

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National PTA School of Excellence

Welcome to the School of Excellence Program

Thank you for enrolling and participating in the 2022-2023 National PTA School of Excellence program for consideration of the 2022-24 National PTA School of Excellence designation. We look forward to supporting you and your school improvement efforts throughout the 2022-23 school year.

Enrollment is open until Oct. 15, 2022 (Deadline extended from Oct. 1). You can verify your PTA’s enrollment in the School of Excellence program using this Running Enrollment List (updated weekly). Email Excellence@PTA.org with any questions.



Using the School of Excellence Toolkit

This hidden webpage is designed solely for current School of Excellence participants. It will serve as your one-stop shop throughout the program year for step-by-step guidance, training and resources! 

Use the What's Happening Now? section to find timely updates and information to ensure your program is on track. Check out the information under each program step in the Excellence Toolkit to find specific resources, information and requirements.

Throughout the program year, we will provide updates, reminders and resources via regular email communication. Be sure to add Excellence@PTA.org to your contact list to prevent School of Excellence program emails from going to your SPAM folder. For your reference, these correspondences will also be shared in the Emails and Trainings Bank below.

Be sure to bookmark this page for your records and check regularly for new content. To be sure you are accessing the newest content and resources available refresh this page regularly and clean your cache and cookies

We also provide you a dedicated email address throughout the year for any School of Excellence questions that may arise. Feel free to reach out to us at Excellence@PTA.org.



What's Happening Now?

 
Use these timely reminders to ensure your PTA is meeting School of Excellence program deadlines and requirements while on the road to Excellence. 

To get started, familiarize yourself with the materials found under Step #1: Enroll and Gain Support in the below Excellence Toolkit, including the Program Leader Guide (en Español). This information will support you in meeting program step requirements and building your Excellence Team of inclusive volunteers who will help you implement the program. 

   

Begin planning for the critical Step #2: Deploy the Baseline Survey Questions in order to determine the greatest needs of your school community. Review the information provided under Step #2 before downloading and deploying the required Baseline Survey Questions.

The following translated survey options are currently available: SpanishTraditional ChineseSimplified ChineseFrenchTagalogPortugueseSwahiliSomali, and Vietnamese.

   

Just Added! Check our this recorded overview of the Steps #2-4 to find information on completing the critical upcoming steps: Steps #2: Deploying Your Baseline Survey, Step #3: Setting a Shared Objective and Step #4: Completing your Initial Application.



Excellence Toolkit

 

This toolkit is updated regularly and provides all of the resources and information that you will need to find success in the program. Bookmark and check back often as you work through each of the program steps to find updated information and resources.

Step 1: Enroll and Gain Support (May 1 - Oct. 15)

School of Excellence Enrollment

Upon enrolling, the individual who completed the enrollment form should have received a welcome email from National PTA from Excellence@PTA.org. If not, check your SPAM folder. If you are still unable to locate the welcome email, let us know by emailing Excellence@PTA.org with your name, PTA name and contact information for your (up to 2) Excellence Team members. It is important that you stay connected to National PTA throughout the program year.

Check HERE (updated weekly) for a running list of new PTAs who have enrolled between May 1 - Oct. 15 (Deadline extended from Oct. 1).  

Get Started and Gain Support 

As you get started on your Excellence journey, familiarize yourself with the steps in the program using the Program Leader Guide (en Españoland review these Frequently Asked Questions (en Español).

The School of Excellence program is based in best practice using PTA's National Standards for Family-School Partnerships and the Center for Family Engagement’s Four Is for Transformative Family Engagement. You will be asked to incorporate these frameworks into your efforts throughout the School of Excellence program so we recommend you learn more about the guiding principles of transformative family engagement here

Now that you have enrolled in the program, you can start building your Excellence Team. This team of inclusive volunteers will help you through the remaining program steps. When recruiting volunteers, consider building a diverse team that is representative of your entire school community. Invite members that represent families, administrators, staff, student leaders (depending on age) and community members.

Diversity enriches the process by bringing a variety of perspectives, connections and ideas to the table. Consider how to welcome diverse perspectives into your PTA (en Español) by sharing your plans, asking for input and implementing changes together. This will build trust, relationships and potentially new action-oriented members to your PTA. Remember that your success in the program depends on your Excellence Team’s efforts to create and implement action plans that are relevant and valuable to your entire school community. Explore National PTA's DEI Resource webpage to find additional tools for assessing where your PTA is—and where your PTA is headed—on your DEI journey. 

Be sure to work with your school administrators and speak with them about the program and shared goals. Consider them to be partners to your Excellence Team and use their knowledge, connections and support to enhance your impact. Many school principals are a part of the PTA’s Excellence Team or champions of the work. In fact,100% of past School of Excellence principals perceived the School of Excellence program positively and reported that:

  • the program added value to their school community.
  • they would recommend the program to a fellow colleague.
  • they would participate in the program again. 

Inform your state, district and/or council PTA Leaders that you are participating in the program for additional resources and to make sure that you are a PTA in good standing. Only PTAs in good standing, as defined by their state PTA, will be eligible for the National PTA School of Excellence designation.

Get Connected

Make sure you are utilizing all of the information and resources available to you through your school community, PTA networks and National PTA! 

State PTA websites often offer information to assist you in expanding your family engagement or program efforts. You can also find nearby School of Excellence designees in your state through the reports found on our Excellence Library at PTA.org/ExcellenceLibrary.

Remember to stay connected with National PTA for additional resources and opportunities: 


Step 2: Deploy Baseline Survey (Sep. - Nov.)

The Baseline Survey Questions

Early in the school year, your Excellence Team will deploy National PTA’s Baseline Survey questions to your school community—including families, administrators and teachers. The survey questions are based on the six National Standards for Family-School Partnerships: Welcoming All Families, Communicating Effectively, Supporting Student Success, Speaking Up for Every Child, Sharing Power and Collaborating with Community. 

2022-2023 National PTA School of Excellence Survey Questions

The School of Excellence program requires participants use the 20 Baseline Survey Questions exactly as provided by National PTA. DO NOT CHANGE OR EDIT these survey questions, as you will use the same survey questions again toward the end of the school year to gauge progress. 

You are invited to include additional questions or open-ended prompts to determine the greatest needs of your school community. As your survey results will help inform your work in the program, consider asking direct questions to better under your community needs: Consider including: 

  • Direct questions to hone in on the specific program areas of focus. Example: Rank and provide feedback on the greatest needs in the following focus areas (i.e., Improving Education, Ensuring Health & Safety, or Supporting the Arts) that you would like our PTA to work on during the School of Excellence program.
  • Open-ended prompts to gain additional information around community needs. Example: Please share any specific areas of growth or opportunity that you have noticed in our community. Please share any ideas you've had around how the PTA/PTSA can better serve our community.)
  • Questions about the communication methods/platforms used by the PTA to get an idea of what is and isn't work. Examples: Which of the following methods for communication do you prefer? How did you hear about this survey? Is there a better way for the PTA/PTSA and school to communicate important information to parents? How can we better foster two-way communication?

While there is no set number of survey responses required by National PTA, as each school community is so different, we strongly encourage you to collect as many survey responses as possible to best inform your work throughout the school year.

You will be asked to find the highest response (i.e., Always, Frequently, Sometimes, Never, Unknown) among your survey responses as part of Step #4: Complete the Initial Application. You will verify this information with National PTA by sharing, for example, a link to or a download of your survey results, a photo of your tallied survey results or meeting minutes taken during a listening session.

Translate the Baseline Survey Questions

As a part of your efforts to reach, survey and serve your entire school community, your Excellence Team is strongly encouraged to translate or transcribe the 20 survey questions, and any questions you choose to add, to the languages spoken in your school community. Work with your parent liaisons, school administrators and/or district leadership to discover what translation options might be available. 

As follows are all the translated survey options currently available: SpanishTraditional ChineseSimplified ChineseFrenchTagalogPortuguese , SwahiliSomali, and Vietnamese.

Deploy the Baseline Survey Questions

The point of the Baseline Survey is to gauge trends in overall family-school partnerships in your community, so the survey should be deployed to relevant school community members, including families, teachers, staff and, if appropriate, students.

The format of your Baseline Survey can be whatever works best for your PTA, school and family members. Think about your school community critically and deploy your survey using a method, or combination of methods, that best fits the needs of your school and family members. 

Whatever method you choose to deploy the Baseline Survey Questions, we recommend you provide rationale as to why you are surveying, for example, by sharing a letter to your community that explains the School of Excellence program and outlines your PTA’s intention to participation in the program. Here is a SAMPLE Letter to the School Community (en español) for you to modify.

Deploy the Baseline Survey In-Person by printing and sharing the Baseline Survey questions with community members. Consider these tips:

  • Provide a central home address or location(s) for collection (sample mailbox from Harmony Elementary PTA in Texas)
  • Ask the principal, trusted teachers, administrators and family support personnel to send the surveys home to families on the PTA's behalf
  • Stand in the school pick up line or hand out and collect surveys at a school event

Deploy the Baseline Survey At-Home by creating an online version of the survey (e.g., SurveyMonkey, Survey Face, Google Forms, school-adopted platform). This At-Home version of the questions allows you to easily transfer the questions to online platforms (e.g., SurveyMonkey). Please note this version is not for printed distribution. Consider these tips:

  • Tap into community, school and PTA communication tools and explore new virtual platforms like ClassDojo or Bloomz.
  • Expand your PTA’s social media presence by using PTA and school Facebook pages and Facebook Live events, Principal YouTube videos, School and PTA e-newsletters, Instagram, Twitter, etc.
  • Employ room parents or grade representatives to distribute surveys by email or text messaging using class lists
  • At your welcome back night or fall festival, share posters with a QR code linked to the survey

Deploy the Baseline Survey in a Listening Session facilitated by your Excellence Team. The listening session can be facilitated At-Home or In-Person and will allow you collect survey responses orally while also building relationships with your community members. Use this helpful guide on Facilitating Listening Sessions, provided by National PTA's Center for Family Engagement, and consider these tips and suggestions: 

  • Host a break-out session during a PTA meeting to ask and discuss the Survey Questions with attendees
  • Host an online listening session with your community to learn about your communities’ greatest needs that the PTA can support and provide the survey link in the chat
  • Create and divide phone lists with your Excellence Team to create a survey call chain

Resources and Training:

  • Overview: Steps #2-4: Review this training for information on completing Steps #2-#4: Deploying Your Baseline Survey, Setting a Shared Objective and Completing your Initial Application.

Step 3: Set a Shared Objective (Sep. - Nov.)

More information and resources will be available in October.

Choose Your Shared Objective

After your Excellence Team compiles feedback from your school community, the next step is to have discussions to analyze what you have learned and explore ways that your Excellence Team can make school improvements and better engage families throughout the year. As part of these discussions your Excellence Team will pick one focus area and one corresponding objective under your chosen focus area to help you dig deeply and intentionally.

Your Excellence Team should choose an area of focus that you believe best represents the needs of your unique school community: Improving Education, Ensuring Health & Safety, or Supporting the Arts. Refer to the the Program Leader Guide (en Español), to find a complete list of the Focus Areas and the corresponding Objectives.

We understand that your focus area may change after the Initial Application deadline, and that is fine. You will have an opportunity to share your intended goals and action plans later in the program process.

Resources and Training

  • Overview: Steps #2-4: Review this training for information on completing Steps #2-#4: Deploying Your Baseline Survey, Setting a Shared Objective and Completing your Initial Application.

Step 4: Complete Initial Application (Oct. 1 - Nov. 1)

More information and resources will be available later in October. 

The Initial Application

Once your Excellence Team has determined your focus area and shared objective, you will submit your survey results and initial program goals through an Initial Application. In order to remain in consideration for the 2022-2024 National PTA School of Excellence designation you will be required to complete the online application by the deadline.

The Initial Application will be available through an online link on October 1. Only those that complete the Initial Application by the deadline will be considered for the designation.  

Resources and Trainings

  • Overview: Steps #2-4: Review this training for information on completing Steps #2-#4: Deploying Your Baseline Survey, Setting a Shared Objective and Completing your Initial Application.

Step 5: Follow Roadmap to Excellence (Throughout School Year)

More information and resources will be available in October. 

Use the Roadmap to Excellence

The online Roadmap to Excellence is a resource guide that directly relates back to the survey questions and focus areas provided. It is brimming with resources and recommendations from National PTA and our partners. Use the Roadmap to find information that relate back to the gaps found in your
Baseline Survey results.

While the Roadmap is robust, you are encouraged to seek and use local, state and community resources as well to build an action plan that will address your specific and identified needs. It is highly recommended that you share your plans and goals with your administrators, community and PTA members, as well as your relevant Council, District, Region, and State PTAs so you can tap into additional resources they might provided.

School of Excellence Action Plan

Upon completing your Initial Application, your Excellence Team will use the survey data and feedback from your school community to develop your School of Excellence action plan to strengthen family-school partnerships. 

Align your action plan to any gaps found in your survey results to create a plan that will move the needle to the ALWAYS category in any areas of need. If your survey responses are overwhelmingly positive, your action plan should focus on maintaining those results, digging deeper into the chosen Focus Area and increasing the number of responses collected in the Final Survey deployment (Step #6). Remember continuously engage your school administration to ensure that your plans are in alignment and that you are working toward shared goals.

Be sure to focus on embedding best practices in family engagement through your action plan implementation. Later in the program (Step #7), you will later be asked to explain the measurable outcomes produced as a result of your work and to identify at least one National Standard for Family-School partnerships and one of the Four I's for Transformative Family Engagement and explain how you incorporated the best practices into your action. 

Best Practice in Family Engagement

As you move through your action plan, make sure that your work is based in best practice for family engagement. Embedding the National Standards for Family-School Partnerships ensures that your efforts are cultivating family engagement and community involvement. 

The foundation for building successful family-school partnerships start with the National Standards for Family-School Partnerships:

  • Welcoming ALL Families into the School Community - create a climate that is welcoming for all families and build/develop a respectful, inclusive school community
  • Communicating Effectively - keep families informed about important issues and events and make it easy for parents to communicate with all school personnel
  • Supporting Student Success - ensure families know about their child’s academic progress and how well the entire school is progressing, engage families in classroom learning, promote after-school learning opportunities
  • Speaking Up for Every Child - empower families to advocate and support their own and other children’s success in school and beyond
  • Sharing Power - strengthen the families’ voice in shared decision making, address issues in your school and/or community, work with the school to amplify the parent voice and cultivate parent leadership
  • Collaborating with the Community - work closely with community organizations and/or businesses to strengthen the school, make resources available to students, school staff and families and build a family-friendly community

The Center for Engagement’s Four 'I's of Transformative Family Engagement outline how your PTA can become more effective in its approaches to family engagement. The Four I’s help your PTA become more:

  • Inclusive. When PTAs are inclusive they embrace and value diverse perspectives. Strategies include: inviting diverse perspectives, questioning assumptions, intentionally building relationships
  • Individualized. When PTAs take an individualized approach to family engagement they meet the unique needs of every family and child. Strategies include: personalizing invitations, tailoring experiences, being responsive
  • Integration. When PTAs have an integrated approach to family engagement they connect and align their efforts with the broader educational system. Strategies include: linking to learning, putting the "T" in PTA, going beyond one-time events
  • Impactful. When PTAs are impactful they empower families to support their children’s success. Strategies include: developing knowledge and skills, providing opportunities to practice and interact, measuring success 

 


Step 6: Deploy Final Survey (March - June)

More information and resources will be available later in the program. 

Redeploy the Survey

Towards the end of the school year, your Excellence Team will redeploy National PTA's Final Survey questions - the same, specific 20 survey questions as provided in Step #2 - to your school community—including families, administrators and teachers—to evaluate your progress over the school year.

You will consider lessons learned from the first deployment of the survey (Step #2) in order to collect as many survey responses as possible and best show your progress in the program.  


Step 7: Complete Final Application (May 1 - June 1)

More information and resources will be available later in the program. 

Complete Your Final Application

Once your Excellence Team has analyzed your survey data, discussed your greatest accomplishments in the program and determined your possible focus area and shared objective for next school year, you will submit the results of your Final Survey through an online link.

In order to remain in consideration for the designation, you must submit your PTA’s application by the deadline.


Step 8: Celebrate Your Excellence (Aug.)

Celebrate!

By mid-August, National PTA will announce the PTAs who are designated as 2022-2024 National PTA Schools of Excellence. Those who earn the designation will receive a banner and certificate in the mail as well as digital celebration tools and national recognition.

Designated Schools of Excellence will automatically qualify for consideration of the prestigious Phoebe Apperson Hearst Outstanding Family-School Partnership Award. The awards are presented to PTAs that have earned the National PTA School of Excellence designation and demonstrated outstanding success engaging families in student success and school improvements. The awards are the highest honor National PTA presents to effective family engagement!

While not required, many PTAs choose to reenroll in the School of Excellence program each year, regardless of their designation status, to continue their momentum gained in building family-school partnerships. We commend and celebrate this commitment to continuing the work! Enrollment for the program opens in the Spring at PTA.org/Excellence.



Emails and Trainings from National PTA

 
Throughout the program year, you can expect regular email communications around program updates, including important reminders, resources and opportunities. National PTA will also provide optional trainings for step-by-step guidance and networking opportunities for PTAs to gain program support and feedback. 

For continued reference, these correspondences and trainings are saved below. 
2022-2023 Email Bank

Throughout the program, we will send regular communications from Excellence@PTA.org to help you stay on track and remind you of important information and upcoming deadlines.

2022-2023 Trainings Bank
Throughout the program, we will offer regular trainings and networking opportunities for your Excellence Team to gain support  and reach your program goals.

Recorded Trainings - Optional




Questions?

We're here to help every step of the way! Contact Excellence@PTA.org.