Building a Community

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Building a Community (Family Engagement)

Schools are at the heart of every community, and the PTA is right there building the connections between teachers, school staff, students, parents, neighbors and the wider community to support their students. Through events, programs, fundraising and community outreach efforts, PTAs across the country are building their communities and creating ties to the school in fun, engaging and innovative ways.

Read the stories of PTAs who are building strong communities through the challenges of distance learning and beyond.

Building a Community

Amazing Stories from PTAs

Expand a category below to check out these amazing stories from PTAs who are dedicated to advocacy efforts in their community.


STEM + Families 

Lynnhaven Elementary School PTA

Virginia Beach, Va.

Lynnhaven Elementary School is a Title I school in Virginia Beach, Va., that serves a diverse student population that has many military families. The PTA wanted to bring their school community together with a fun event that showcased STEM opportunities. They also wanted to drive new membership by showing families all of the things the PTA could do. Using their grant from National PTA and Huntington Ingalls Industries, they hosted a STEM + Families Engineering Night. They created STEM activity stations throughout the school, which were facilitated by teachers and parents. To ensure their event was inclusive, they had the materials translated into multiple languages so that every family could participate. They had over 200 attendees at their event, which is more than half of their student population! Students and their families had a great time, and as an added bonus, they raised awareness of the PTA. #HowWePTA

Lynnhaven Elementary PTA

In their own words:
“The more engagement we can get with parents by hosting events parents and kids love, the more involved parents will want to be with the PTA and the more membership we will have.”
—Lynnhaven Elementary PTA

 

Ruby Bridges Elementary PTA

Alameda, Calif.

Ruby Bridges Elementary PTA serves a Title I school in Alameda, Calif. To enhance learning for their school population and engage students and families, they used their grant from National PTA and Bayer Fund to host a STEM + Families Science Festival. Using the provided program guide, they set up several science stations throughout the school. They contacted the local Coast Guard unit, who rallied over 20 volunteers to support the event and help run different stations along with the school’s teachers. The PTA provided food and door prizes, which was an added treat for their school community. The students and families loved the different STEM-related activities and the take-home projects like the homemade lava lamp. Ruby Bridges PTA noted: “We are a small but mighty PTA, and we were amazed with the tangible resources that were provided by National PTA for this event. From promotion and setup to cleanup, there were so many guides to help us along the way. It was easy to organize!”

Ruby Bridges Elementary PTA

In their own words:
“This was such a treat for our families, who don’t have the extra income to enroll students in programs outside of school. This event really benefited our community.”
—Ruby Bridges Elementary PTA

 

Penn Hills Charter School of Entrepreneurship PTA

Pittsburg, Penn.

Penn Hills Charter School of Entrepreneurship is a Title I school serving K-8th grade students in Pittsburg, Penn. Because the school is focused on challenging students to formulate solutions to scientific and technological problems and encouraging them to develop science and technology-based ventures, the PTA wanted to hold a program that showcased how fun science can be. Using their grant from National PTA and Bayer Fund, they hosted a STEM + Families Science Festival. Nearly 300 families attended the event, which included 10 different science experiments set up in stations throughout the school. Attendees also learned about careers in STEM and were given a science kit to take home. The school administration praised the PTA for bringing families together and showcasing the many careers that science can offer to help encourage students to explore a career path in STEM.

Penn Hills Charter School PTA

In their own words:
“It was a huge hit that brought families together and gave them resources to perform experiments together. I hope that we can secure a grant in the future because this was just an amazing adventure for us.”
—Penn Hills Charter School PTA



 

Civano K-8 School PTA

Civano, Ariz.

As the smallest school in their district, Civano Community K-8 School in Tucson, Ariz., doesn’t have an onsite principal and district funding is limited. Civano PTA steps in to fill many gaps. Based on parent feedback, they wanted to plan student events that enrich educational experiences. Using their grant from National PTA and Bayer Fund, they hosted a STEM + Families Science Festival to show their students and families how cool science can be! Using the provided program guide, they invited the high school chemistry club to guide participants through experiments, which were set up in different classrooms. Students were given a STEM passport when they arrived, and they received a stamp for each experiment they completed. Civano PTA provided dinner for all attendees and door prizes to add to the evening’s excitement. Everyone had a great time, and the PTA plans to incorporate more family events into their activities.

Civano K-8 School PTA

In their own words:
“It was great to see families working together through the experiments. Our STEM + Families night was definitely a highlight of the year for our PTA.”
—Civano Community K-8 School PTA



 

Rio Vista Elementary School PTA

Anaheim, Calif.

Rio Vista Elementary School in Anaheim, Calif., is a diverse Title 1 school. The PTA wanted to provide their students with access to STEM opportunities and help develop STEM literacy across their school community. Using their grant from National PTA and Huntington Ingalls Industries, they hosted a STEM + Families Engineering Night to showcase how fun STEM can be! They created four STEM activity stations, which were facilitated by teachers. With over 450 attendees, they provided every person with their own hands-on activity bag at each station. Students and their families had a great time, and as an added bonus, several parents joined the PTA that night! #HowWePTA

Rio Vista Elementary School

In their own words:
“Thank you for making a difference in the lives of a vulnerable community and our students. We are so thankful for your generosity!”
—Rio Vista Elementary Parent



 

Pine Shadows Elementary School PTA

Houston, Texas

Pine Shadows Elementary School in Houston, Texas, is a diverse Title 1 school. The school building had a science lab that sat vacant for several years. That’s when the PTA jumped into action. Using their grant from National PTA and Huntington Ingalls Industries, they hosted a STEM + Families Engineering Night to get their students interested in STEM. To ensure all students could participate, they hosted the event for the entire school during school hours and ran a second program in the evening that parents and caregivers could join. They used the provided program guide and connected with local professional engineers to run the activities. The engineers answered questions about working in STEM and different types of STEM careers. The kids loved the event, and many joined the school’s new STEM afterschool program. With all the renewed interest in STEM, the PTA used leftover grant funds to buy supplies for the science lab that can be used years to come. #HowWePTA

Pine Shadows Elementary

In their own words:
“It was incredible to have so many students participate. We hope this event will inspire more kids to join our STEM afterschool program.”
—Pine Shadows Elementary PTA



 

Highlands Elementary PTA

Huntsville, Ala.

The PTA at Highlands Elementary School, a Title 1 school in Huntsville, Alabama, wanted to encourage their students to explore STEM activities. Using their grant from National PTA and Huntington Ingalls Industries, the PTA launched a National PTA STEM + Families Propelling our World program. Every Tuesday for a month, students and parents were invited join a design challenge, where they completed an activity from the provided Propelling our World activity guide. During each session, participants watched the design process videos that came with the program guide. They then worked to design, build and test models to solve the week’s challenge. At the end of each challenge, a school administrator examined the models and awarded prizes. The PTA served pizza during the event. The weekly events not only taught students the engineering design process, they also brought students and families together for a fun night of problem solving – and pizza! #HowWePTA

Highlands Elementary School PTA

In their own words:
“These events were extremely popular and made an all-around positive impact. The families clearly had a great time and enjoyed the design challenges as much as the students!”
—Highlands Elementary PTA 

 

McWillie Elementary School PTA

Jackson, Miss.

The PTA at McWillie Elementary School in Jackson, Miss., wanted to bring the school community together for a fun in-person event. After hearing parents and teachers express interest in more STEM activities, they decided to use their grant from National PTA and Huntington Ingalls Industries to host a STEM + Families Engineering Night. Using the program guide, they transformed their school into a STEM game, where families were challenged with different engineering activities as they moved through various stations. The students made parachutes and built bridges, all while learning about the Engineering Design Process and having fun with friends and families. The PTA also used this opportunity to promote different career opportunities in STEM fields to help inspire students about future possibilities in STEM. The kids were so excited about the activities, that they stayed beyond the scheduled program end time. It was a great event for everyone! #HowWePTA

McWillie Elementary School PTA

In their own words:
“STEM jobs are recession-free and generally have great pay attached. The impact from programs like this are long-lasting and far-reaching!”
—McWillie Elementary PTA 

 


Big Ridge Elementary School PTA

Hixon, Tenn.

When schools reopened after remote learning, the PTA at Hixson Elementary in Tennessee wanted to bring students and families together to reconnect. Using their grant from National PTA, they hosted STEM+ Families night. They followed the supplied program guide and recruited high school students as volunteers. STEM activity stations were set up throughout the school, and the PTA provided dinner to all the attendees to encourage more parents to join the fun. In addition to the STEM games, the event was attended by other community partners who shared information about how STEM can be used in community activities and careers. The turn-out was great, and the kids were so excited to be together with friends playing fun games. The event successfully engaged the community and brought everyone back together in the school. #HowWePTA

Big Ridge Elementary School PTA

In their own words:
“The program provided not only an educational experience for the students, but time for family engagement and networking within the community.”
—Big Ridge Elementary School PTA

 


Wilkins El Steam Academy

Pittsburgh, Pa.

As Title 1 school in a high poverty area of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the Wilkins El Steam Academy PTA is used to pinching pennies to host events for students and their families. With their grant from National PTA and Bayer Fund, they decided to host PTA’s STEM + Families Science Festival. Using the supplied program guide, they transformed their classrooms into 10 science stations where teachers facilitated different science experiments. From making lava lamps to sticking skewers through inflated balloons, the students loved the hands-on learning activities. The PTA also offered science-themed refreshments in the cafeteria to the delight of their students and families. The hallways were decorated with student science projects, which allowed families to experience what STEM looks like in practice and how fun it can be. Overall, the festival drew 225 students, families, and teachers. As the first PTA activity held after returning from remote learning, the kids jumped right in, working in groups and connecting with classmates. The event showcased everything the PTA can do for school communities and has helped grow the school’s PTA membership. #HowWePTA

Wilkins El Steam Academy PTA

In their own words:
“The STEM Festival was a great way for us to highlight projects the students have been working on and for families to experience what STEM looks like in practice and how fun it can be.”
—Wilkins El Steam Academy PTA
 

Ardenwood Elementary PTA

Freemont, Calif.

After months of remote learning, the PTA at Ardenwood Elementary School in Fremont, Calif., surveyed the parents and caregivers in their school community about what activities and programs they wanted the PTA to support as students returned to in-person learning. Many parents said they wanted more STEM experiences for students. After not having in-person events in over a year, the PTA decided to use their grant from National PTA and Mathnasium to host a STEM+ Families Math Night. They followed the supplied program guide and recruited high school students – many of whom attended the school when they were younger – as volunteers. Math game stations were created throughout the school, and the PTA provided dinner to all the attendees to encourage working parents to join the fun. The event was free for the entire school community. Mathnasium was in attendance and raffled off free tutoring sessions. The turn-out was great, and the kids were so excited to be together with friends playing fun math games. Parents and grandparents enjoyed the event as well, and many participated in the games with their child. The event successfully engaged the community and brought everyone back together in the school. #HowWePTA

Ardenwood

In their own words:
“We saw a lot of families where both parents attended, many along with grandparents. It was really great to see the entire family involved in the games, not just watching their children play.”
—Ardenwood Elementary PTA

 


Old River Elementary School PTA

Downey, Calif.

The students at Old River School, a small but mighty elementary school for fourth and fifth graders in Downey, California, were eager to connect with their classmates and teachers while they learned remotely when their schools were closed. The PTA jumped into action to make that happen! Using their grant from National PTA and Huntington Ingalls Industries, they hosted a virtual National PTA STEM + Families Propelling Our World Engineering Night. Using the provided program guide, their volunteers – including school staff – got their students excited about STEM. Through engaging videos, students used the Engineering Design Process to problem-solve different engineering activities. The students were active and engaged during the entire virtual program, with parents watched in the background as students created designs including a parachute. The program was filled with cheers and encouragement from students as they supported each other throughout the event. The school staff were so impressed and appreciated the partnership. Hosting the STEM night really showcased everything the PTA can do for the Old River school community. It was a successful team effort that got students thinking about future careers in STEM! #HowWePTA

Old-River-PTA

In their own words:
“The kids didn’t want to say good night when the event ended. Parents were laughing and students were eagerly showing off their parachute designs. This was an awesome team effort!”
—Old River Elementary School PTA

 


Homeville Elementary School PTA

West Mifflin, Pa.

The teachers at Homeville Elementary School in West Mifflin, Pa., wanted to build a STEAM lab in the school. While they had great ideas and resources, they were having trouble getting it off the ground. That’s when the PTA jumped in! Using their grant from National PTA and Bayer Fund, they decided to host PTA’s STEM + Families Science Festival and use the opportunity to unveil their new STEAM lab. They also used their grant funding to promote the event, which created a positive buzz throughout the school community as plans came together for a night full of STEM learning. Using the supplied program guide, the festival included hands-on learning activities at different stations set up throughout the school. One parent at the ice cream station exclaimed “I can’t believe that actually worked!” As students and parents moved through different STEM stations, they were invited to tour the new STEAM lab. Every student, no matter the grade or academic level, shared their excitement about the lab, where they will create, problem solve and find success in STEM! The teachers noted that the looks of wonder and awe on the faces of students and parents really made the journey to open the lab worth it. They are thankful for the PTA and Bayer Fund for supporting developing a love of STEM in the students at Homeville Elementary. #HowWePTA

Homeville Elementary PTA

In their own words:
“Our science festival and new STEAM Lab kicked off our school-wide STEM programming. After the science festival, and for the first time, students in grades kindergarten through third grade began participating in STEM-curriculum during their academic school day.”
—Homeville Elementary School

 

Morning Creek Elementary PTA

San Diego, Calif.

The PTA at Morning Creek Elementary School in San Diego, Calif., was reinvigorated when the school welcomed students back after the long closure due to COVID. They increased recruitment efforts, and for the first time had active room parent volunteers in nearly every classroom. With all the excitement to be back in school, they jumped at the opportunity to hold their first in-person event in two years. Using their grant from National PTA and Huntington Ingalls Industries, the PTA hosted a National PTA Stem + Families Propelling Our World Engineering Night. Students, parents, grandparents, and siblings came out for a fun night of STEM. Using the program guide, they set up stations with different engineering activities. The students designed rafts and built bridges, all while learning about the Engineering Design Process and having fun with friends and families. All of the students were given lab coats and goggles, just like real scientists! A parent also bought in their telescope for kids to peek at the stars. In all, 300 people attended the event, which was filled with excitement, laughter, and a new love of STEM. #HowWePTA

Morning Creek Elementary PTA

In their own words:
“We believe this program sparked interest in science among students who formerly had no interest and showed that science can be fun.”
—Morning Creek Elementary PTA

 

Bells Ferry Elementary School PTA

Marietta, Ga.

Prior to the pandemic, the Bells Ferry Elementary School PTA in Marietta, Ga., hosted several popular social events at the school each year, which stopped when schools closed and students moved to remote learning. When schools reopened, they wanted to bring the community together again, but wanted to focus on supporting students academically after their remote learning experience. They also have a diverse population that speaks a wide variety of languages, so they wanted to ensure that any program they hosted was inclusive. They settled on a program that incorporated the universal language – math! Using their grant from National PTA and Mathnasium, they hosted a STEM+ Families Math Night. They followed the supplied program guide and recruited high school students as volunteers, expanding the community involvement. They set-up an estimation station when students first walked into the building to pique their interest, then guided them through stations throughout the school where they could play math games. The event successfully engaged the community and brought everyone back together in the school. #HowWePTA

Bells Ferry Elementary School PTA

In their own words:
“After 2 years of disrupted learning, our students needed support in lots of different ways. This program helped make math less scary and provided reinforcement of math skills in a super fun way.”
—Dana Stassen, PTA President

 

Twin Echo Elementary PTA

Collinsville, Ill.

The Twin Echo elementary school PTA in Collinsville, Ill., is always on the look-out for low- or no-cost ways to engage their school community, where 100% of the students qualify for the free or reduced lunch program. They knew from surveys that parents were interested in getting involved with PTA and wanted to have more activities, but cost was a barrier. So, when the school district lifted restrictions on in-person activities, they used their grant from National PTA and Bayer to host PTA’s STEM + Families Science Festival. Using the supplied program guide, they transformed their classrooms into science stations where teachers facilitated different science experiments. From making lava lamps to sticking skewers through inflated balloons, the students loved the hands-on learning activities. This was the first PTA activity held after returning from remote learning, and the kids jumped right in, working in groups and connecting with classmates. The PTA wanted to extend the learning – and the fun! – while engaging students at home, so they gave every student a take-home science kit full additional science experiments. #HowWePTA

Twin Echo PTA

In their own words:
“For the past two years we have not been able to share supplies, work in groups, or do any hands-on group activities. It was terrific to see students in partners or groups working together and discussing the experiments.”
—Twin Echo PTA  

 

Panther Run Elementary PTA

Pembroke Pines, Fla.

The teachers at Panther Run Elementary School in Pembroke Pines, Fla., were looking for ways to spark an interest in STEM—so their PTA jumped into action! Using their grant from National PTA and Huntington Ingalls Industries, the PTA hosted a National PTA STEM + Families Engineering Night. Using the program guide, they transformed their school into a STEM game, where families were challenged with different engineering tasks as they moved through various stations. The students made parachutes and built bridges, all while learning about the Engineering Design Process and having fun with friends and families. The PTA promoted the event in both English and Spanish to reach all the families in their largely bilingual community, and it paid off—the attendance was higher than any event they ever had! #HowWePTA

Panther Run PTA

In their own words:
“Panther Run is about family and for families, and it is important to us to involve parents and siblings in every way we can in order to not only invest in the student but invest in their family and future as well.”
—Panther Run PTA  





School of Excellence 

Janie Stark Elementary PTA

Farmers Branch, Texas


Janie Stark Elementary PTA in Farmers Branch, Texas, worked on several initiatives to engage families, local businesses and the community during their School of Excellence journey. To support families with students transitioning to middle school, they collaborated with the two middle schools in their feeder system to host an open house at each location. They also invited the middle school counselors to visit their fifth grade classrooms, where families could join their students to ask questions about enrollment, the middle school community and elective courses. These events supported the National Standards for Family-School Partnerships of Support Student Success and Communicate Effectively. The PTA also hosted a Career Day, where professionals in the community were invited to talk to the students about their careers. 39 people shared information about their jobs during the career day, including an architect, Army officer, chef, doctor and a flight attendant. It was a great day that helped their students start thinking about their own future career choices. The event supported the PTA National Standard of Collaborating with the Community. #HowWePTA #PTAExcellence

Janie Stark Elementary

In their own words:
“Many parents expressed relief that we organized these events instead of them having to do research on their own.”
—Janie Stark Elementary PTA




 

Carl Ben Eielson Middle School PTA

Fargo, N.D.


The Carl Ben Eielson Middle School PTA in Fargo, N.D., believed it was critical to support all students, teachers and families in their return to a normal routine following the pandemic to help students achieve academic excellence. During their School of Excellence journey, the PTA focused on welcoming students, building connections, improving the school culture and inspiring school spirit and pride. To help the school feel more inclusive, they created a welcome sign translated into 37 languages that was installed in the school entrance. They also increased communications to keep the school community informed, including expanding their social media presence. They established an online store for spirit wear and participated in the National PTA Reflections program, with two of their students placing in the state program. They also brought the school community together by offering team building and recognition programs and were a pilot participant for the National PTA Healthy Minds program. Their school picnic had over 500 people in attendance. They plan to expand their programs and events to support their students’ ongoing emotional and mental well-being.

Carl Ben Eielson Middle School PTA

In their own words:
“Our PTA has been incredible this school year! Open communication, consistent highlights of school culture, support for school teams, teachers and students, the list goes on.  They have gone above and beyond supporting our students!”
—Carl Ben Eielson parent



 

Lynbrook South Middle School

Lynbrook, N.Y.


During their School of Excellence journey, the PTA at Lynbrook South Middle School in Lynbrook, New York, set out to strengthen family-school partnerships. When they discovered in through a survey that mental health issues were a top factor impacting students’ academic success, the PTA focused its efforts on educating their school community about the negative impact social media and screen time can have on mental health. They turned to National PTA’s Create with Kindness program and organized a diverse panel of students, including students from the nearby high school, to host discussions about the impact of social media on their lives. The students also made tri-fold boards outlining the positive and negative elements of popular social media platforms along with directions on how to change profile settings to private. The panel discussions encouraged students to be mindful online and not make impulsive decisions.
 
The conversations were instrumental in helping the younger students share their own experiences, fears and concerns. The older students offered advice on what they wish they would have known, what they would do differently and how social media has followed them into their college application process. The program also started a dialog between students and parents. As a result of the program’s success, the PTA is creating a mentorship program to help new students and students moving on to high school.

Dapplegray Elementary School PTA

In their own words:
“The program gave students the tools to make changes and work together with their families in positive ways to become more responsible, emphasizing the need for open communication while exemplifying how collaborative work fosters student success.”
—Lynbrook South Middle School



 



Dapplegray Elementary School PTA

Rolling Hills Estates, Calif.


During their School of Excellence journey, the PTA at Dapplegray Elementary School, located in Rolling Hills Estates, California, focused on improving the social and emotional health of their students in the wake of the COVID 19 pandemic. One of their initiatives was to create a safe place during the lunch recess for students who needed a playground alternative. Working with the school, they partnered with the community, families, and local businesses to provide programming in art, dance and movement, yoga, sports, and tennis during the lunch recess. These activities gave students a structured and safe place to express themselves. On average, 210 students, which represents one-third of the student population, attended the various programs when they were offered. Student feedback was very positive, and many indicated they looked forward to the programs. The PTA also hosted outdoor playdates at local parks where students, teachers, and families could get to know each other and build vital relationships. The investments in these inclusive family engagement playdates will create lifelong friendships. The PTA also expects they will inspire more volunteers and engagement at school and PTA programs in the future. #HowWePTA #PTAExcellence

Dapplegray Elementary School PTA

In their own words:
“The School of Excellence Programs were vital to our school community this year. I am very proud of our PTA for bringing this program to our students and I'm grateful for the parents, family members and local community partners who made these programs possible.”
—Dapplegray Elementary PTA



 



Scott L. Libby Elementary PTA

Litchfield Park, Ariz.


Like most of the world, the PTA at Scott L. Libby Elementary School in Litchfield Park, Ariz., saw their school year start virtually last year, and they were challenged with finding ways to engage families, staff and students. They enrolled in the National PTA School of Excellence program, which gave them exclusive access to apply for Phase 1 of the PTA COVID-19 Relief Grants, sponsored by TikTok. These grant funds enabled Scott Libby PTA to keep their school’s morale high and their community tightknit. They distributed wellness bags, held virtual events and even formed new committees—including a male engagement committee—to continue to focus on the mental, social and emotional health of their school community. Their efforts ensured every child and family at Scott Libby Elementary School felt welcomed, supported and included during a very challenging time. #HowWePTA #PTAExcellence

Scott L. Libby Elementary School

In their own words:
“I can’t thank the PTA enough for making all of this happen for our students here at Scott Libby! It was so amazing to see their faces light up!”
—Mrs. Lauren Reuhrmund    


 

Baldy Mesa Elementary PTA

Phelan, Calif.

Baldy Mesa Elementary PTA in Phelan, Calif., set out to strengthen family-school partnerships through the School of Excellence program, even as the pandemic brought chaos. The start of the school year saw some students remote learning, others learning in-person a few days a week, and even a small group independently learning through the district's homeschool program. This unknown territory brought challenges to their community, including food insecurity and negative impacts on mental health. So, Baldy Mesa Elementary PTA did what PTAs do best—they connected families, teachers, students and administrators to support every child. They came up with a plan to use multiple forms of communication to make sure everyone knew where to look for help and how to stay connected with the school. The PTA's constant communication allowed their school community to feel connected, educated, informed, supported and most importantly loved. #HowWePTA #PTAExcellence

SOE-Baldy Mesa

In their own words:
“The School of Excellence process offered a wonderful opportunity for our school to reflect on what we do well and where we can grow to best serve our students, families, and community, as a whole.”
—Shad Grijalva, Baldy Mesa Elementary School Principal

 

Dentzler Elementary PTA

Parma, Ohio

Dentzler Elementary School PTA in Parma, Ohio, realized they couldn’t sit back and wait for the country to open back up, so they signed up for the School of Excellence program and put their health and safety improvement plans into motion. The pandemic would change these plans repeatedly, but they were determined to see their school succeed, and learned how to navigate digital meetings, submitted weekly PTA updates in the principal’s newsletter and relied on the “BackPack Express” to keep the school’s families informed. Dentzler Elementary prides itself on their strong partnership between school and family, and despite the pandemic, this partnership has not only endured, but thrived because their PTA was so committed to supporting their community’s positivity, hope and—at some points—sanity. They created fun and engaging events (like a Snowman making competition!) that transformed an uncertain school year into one that created memories that families will treasure. #HowWePTA #PTAExcellence


Dentzler Elementary PTA

In their own words:
“The School of Excellence program has allowed us to celebrate our successes and to focus on specific areas that need improvement within our school community. It’s also showed us how critical PTA is to connect and inform all stakeholders. The ultimate goal is to develop a school community that puts students first, is dynamic, involves everyone, and creates a sense of belonging.”
—Dentzler Elementary School PTA Member

 

Metro E. School of Design PTA

Corpus Christi, Texas

Last year, Metro Elementary School of Design in Corpus Christi, Texas, and their PTA leaders set out to improve their family engagement efforts to support in-school learning at home. So, they set out to plan and host virtual literacy nights, science nights and other fun events throughout the school year. They took care to ensure that all Metro Elementary families felt welcome, and that the events were inclusive of all students, who ranged in age from kindergarten to sixth grade. Despite the pandemic, the events were well-attended—and both the PTA and the school feel that making connections with families has helped to improve the communication and collaboration between school and home. #HowWePTA #PTAExcellence


Metro School of Design PTA




Family Reading Experience 

WR Nelson Elementary PTA

Tustin, Calif.

WR Nelson Elementary School in Tustin, Calif., is a Title I school with a large population of Hispanic students that are learning English as a second language. To bridge the gap between their Spanish and English speaking students and families, the PTA used their Family Reading Experience grant from National PTA and Office Depot Office Max to host a Family Literacy Lunch for the entire school community. They purchased bilingual books, which the students read out loud to their families over a picnic lunch. The event was a huge success, with over 650 people attending. After the event, the books were added to classroom libraries for the students to enjoy throughout the year. #HowWePTA

WR Nelson Elementary PTA

In their own words:
“The bilingual books will help our English-speaking students learn Spanish as well as help our Spanish-speaking students learn English”
—WR Nelson Elementary PTAA

 

Hinsdale Elementary School PTA

Edgewood, Ky.

Hinsdale Elementary School PTA in Edgewood, Ky., wanted to engage their young readers while expanding access to reading materials that addressed diversity and inclusion topics. Using their Family Reading Experience grant from National PTA and Office Depot Office Max, they purchased 130 books written and illustrated by BIPOC writers and artists. The school’s librarian selected books appropriate for every grade level, which were delivered by PTA volunteers to every classroom. They also added books to the school’s book vending machine. Through their Family Reading Experience grant, they ensured that students throughout the school could enjoy a wide range of books that explore diversity. #HowWePTA

Hinsdale Elementary PTA

In their own words:
“We thoroughly enjoyed exploring ‘new to us’ books that addressed diversity in their subject matter.”
—Hinsdale Elementary PTA

 

Sandy Searles Miller Academy PTA

Las Vegas, NV

As a diverse Title 1 school where 85% of its students qualify for free or reduced meals, the PTA at Sandy Searles Miller Academy in Las Vegas, Nevada, knew that many of their families would not be able to afford the books at the school’s annual book fair. Using their Family Reading Experience grant from National PTA and Office Depot OfficeMax, they decided to host a free book fair event, where families could select books that they could take home for free to support family reading. The PTA did additional fundraising to stretch their grant dollars and purchase more books. They partnered with the school librarian to select titles for all reading levels. More than 150 people attended the event, and the PTA gave out 250 free books – and 9 dozen donuts! Through their Family Reading Experience grant, they ensured that every child in their school could experience getting a new book at a book fair. #HowWePTA

Sandy Searles Miller Elementary

In their own words:
“Since many of our students do not have home libraries, the grant allowed us to host an event where families could come in and take free books home so every student could practice reading.”
—Sandy Searles Miller Academy PTA

 

Mill Creek Elementary PTSA

Mill Creek, Wash.

With a diverse student population, the PTSA at Mill Creek Elementary School in Mill Creek, Wash., wanted to increase the number of inclusive books in the school’s classrooms to give each student a wonderful look into the backgrounds of their peers. Using their Family Reading Experience grant from National PTA and Office Depot, their project to supply books to classrooms grew into a multi-faceted literacy program that included a monthly book drive to boost the school’s library collection. They also started a family online read aloud program, where families were able to share their favorite books and some information about their culture. Teachers recorded the read alouds to use in their classrooms and prompt meaningful discussions with the students. The teachers were thrilled to receive the books, which allowed the students and community to gain more knowledge and appreciation of each other’s backgrounds. #HowWePTA 

Mill Creek Elementary PTSA

In their own words:
“The best part of our program was the elation and gratitude the teachers expressed when we delivered inclusive books to their classrooms.”
—Mill Creek Elementary PTSA

 


Cedar Hill Collegiate Prep Elementary PTA

Cedar Hill, Texas

When the beloved librarian at Cedar Hill Collegiate Prep Elementary School in Cedar Hill, Texas, passed away suddenly, the PTA started searching for a way to honor and celebrate her memory. Using their grant from National PTA and Office Depot, they built a Little Free Library at a local park and hosted a community event in her memory to celebrate the opening. Families were invited to donate books to stock the shelves and find a book that sparked their interest, showcasing the amazing benefits of the library. Their librarian’s sister attended the event along with students, families, teachers, members of the school administration, and the general community. The PTA offered sweet treats and a special bookmark to everyone that came out to celebrate and encouraged attendees to share their favorite memories of their beloved librarian. They filled their Little Free Library that day and are so happy to support and encourage a love of reading with a library that is open and accessible to everyone in their community. #HowWePTA

Cedar Hill Collegiate Prep Elementary PTA

In their own words:
“Many of our books came from our young scholars’ personal stashes. It was so sweet to hear some of them talk about how they chose which books to bring.”
—Cedar Hill Collegiate Prep Elementary PTA  



PTA Connected 

Odyssey STEM Academy PTSA

Lakewood, Calif.

Odyssey STEM Academy PTSA in Lakewood, Calif., wanted to help their students stay safe and be responsible while online. They also wanted to help parents understand the technology teens use for social interplay, which connects them to digital communities and gives them a sense of belonging. Using their grant from National PTA and Discord, they brought parents and students together for a Build Up and Belong event. Using the provided program guide, parents and students worked through different scenarios that kids may face online. The lively and engaging discussions helped parents and students have a deeper understanding of each other’s perspectives and concerns. Parents learned about their child’s challenges in navigating the online world, and students learned about their parent’s safety fears. Parents and students bonded while learning that they have more in common about online safety than realized. #HowWePTA

Odyssey Stem Academy PTSA

In their own words:
“Reinforcing the importance of digital safety and internet courtesy will create a deeper trust between parents and our students beyond just our own school community.”
—Odyssey STEM Academy PTSA

 

Boca Raton Elementary PTA

Boca Raton, Fla.

Many parents at Boca Raton Elementary School in Boca Raton, Fla., were unsure what to do when their kids began asking for cell phones, especially when some kids in the school already had their own phones. To help families make smart choices about their kids entering the digital world, the PTA used their grant from National PTA supported by AT&T to host a Ready, Tech, Go!  event, where parents tackled the question “When is the right time to give my child a phone?” The presentation provided by National PTA covered some of the myths about cell phone use, and parents shared their concerns about giving their child a cell phone at such a young age. The tips provided during the event helped guide parents on phone readiness, with families taking AT&T’s PhoneReady Quiz, created by AT&T and the American Academy of Pediatrics, to inform their own decision-making. The information presented also helped parents understand the importance of creating and sticking to rules around smart phone use. #ReadyTechGo #HowWePTA

Boca Raton Elementary PTA

In their own words:
“The tips were great for giving our parents guidance on phone readiness and creating and sticking to rules around smart phone use.”
—Boca Raton PTA

 

Pleasant Hill Elementary PTA

Palatine, Ill.

The Pleasant Hill Elementary School PTA in Palatine, Ill., wanted to find ways to help their school community build healthy online habits. They used their grant money from National PTA, Google and YouTube to host a Be Internet Awesome week, which was filled with activities and events that introduced online safety and taught students how to be good digital citizens. Using the provided resources from National PTA’s Be Internet Awesome program,  they held a student assembly where school leaders talked about online safety. They then hosted an evening event for parents to talk about creating a safe digital environment at home. They invited a local police officer to join that discussion, who shared ways to keep kids safe online. The program included childcare to encourage more families to participate. They also partnered with teachers to hold daily lessons throughout the week highlighting a different Be Internet Awesome theme: Be Smart, Be Alert, Be Safe, Be Kind and Be Brave. For a hands-on learning experience, the school’s librarian led a “buddy to buddy” class, where the older students helped younger students with different program activities. Their week included an activity where families could create a digital poster with their favorite Be Internet Awesome theme at home. Participants added their poster art to the morning announcements reel for the entire school to enjoy. The PTA reports that their Be Internet Awesome week had a lasting impact on the Pleasant Hill Elementary community! #HowWePTA

Pleasant Hill Elementary PTA

In their own words:
“As a parent, keeping my children safe is of course top of mind. But there are so many hidden threats via the internet and social media. The Be Internet Awesome initiative for kids and parents was extremely helpful to ensure we're thinking about and talking about these things.”
—Pleasant Hill Elementary Parent

 

Booker T. Washington STEM Academy PTA

Champaign, Ill.

Some of the most challenging parenting decisions relate to technology use. To help families make smart choices about their kids entering the digital world, the PTA at Booker T. Washington STEM Academy in Champaign, Ill., used their grant from National PTA supported by AT&T to host a Ready, Tech, Go!  event, where parents tackled the question “When is the right time to give my child a phone?” Over 200 people attended their event, which included a barbeque dinner, carnival-style games and a brass-tacks conversation about screen readiness. Parents tried AT&T’s PhoneReady Quiz, created by AT&T and the American Academy of Pediatrics, to inform their own decision-making. Spoiler: It’s about much more than age! #ReadyTechGo #HowWePTA

Booker T. Washington Elementary PTA

In their own words:
“The event felt really nonjudgmental and open for people to explore.”
—Booker T. Washington Elementary PTA

 

Hembree Springs Elementary PTA

Roswell, Ga.

Hembree Springs Elementary PTA President Sara Fuchs said that parents in her Roswell, Ga., school “all have the same questions about how to keep our kids safe [online] and how to limit screen time.”  That’s why the PTA used their grant from National PTA and AT&T to host Ready, Tech, Go!, an event designed to help navigate parenting the digital world. Over 200 community members came out for the event, where participants enjoyed dinner together while discussing how to set expectations around student technology use, manage screen time and keep kids safe online. Parents also took the Phone Ready quiz, a tool created by AT&T and the American Academy of Pediatrics, to see if their student is ready for the responsibility of having a phone. Parents shared tips and tricks they’ve learned for setting boundaries and expectations at home. The event was all about empowering families and building a shared community. #ReadyTechGo #HowWePTA #ATTimpact

Hembree Springs Elementary PTA

In their own words:
“We all have the same questions about how to keep our kids safe and how to limit screen time. This program brought us all together to talk about these issues.”
—Hembree Springs Elementary PTA

 

Forest Ridge Elementary PTA

Laurel, Md.

Parenting in the digital age can be challenging. Many parents struggle with screen time or knowing when their child is ready for a phone. To help their parents work through these important issues, Forest Ridge Elementary PTA in Laurel, Md., used their grant from National PTA and AT&T to host a Ready, Tech, Go! event. Using the program guide, participants discussed setting expectations around student technology use, managing screen time, and keeping kids safe online. They also took the Phone Ready quiz to explore if their student is ready for the responsibility of having a phone. Over 200 people attended the event. The conversation was lively, and many parents shared tips and other resources. The event was a huge success, equipping parents with information and giving them the confidence to make the best decisions for their kids.

Forest Ridge Elementary PTA

In their own words:
“Technology is part of parenting nowadays. Just because we're not perfect at it doesn't mean that we need to be intimidated to talk to our kids.”
—Forest Ridge Elementary PTA

 

Northbrook High School PTA

Houston, Texas

Northbrook High School PTA serves a Title I school in Houston, Texas. To bring families together to have meaningful and realistic conversations about online behavior and safety, they used their grant from National PTA and Discord to host a Build Up and Belong event. Using the provided program guide, families discussed different digital scenarios and dilemmas that many teens face when they are online. The program helped parents have conversations with their kids about their online interactions. Participants also explored how technology can be used as another communication tool to connect parents and teens and build positive relationships. To ensure everyone in their diverse school community could participate, all of the program materials were provided in both English and Spanish. The event was well received and a fun and interactive way to make a positive impact across the school community. #HowWePTA

Northbrook High School PTA

In their own words:
“This presentation really helped me be more open minded when going on social media. I will share this information that I learned with my other friends, so they are more aware of how they behave and interact on social media.”
—Northbrook High School Student

 

PL Prep Elementary School PTA

Dallas, Texas

The PTA at Personalized Learning Preparatory (PL Prep) Elementary School, a Title I school in Dallas, Texas, knew that their student population was into online gaming. To help them stay safe while playing games online, they used their grant from National PTA and Norton (part of GenTM) to host a PTA Connected Smart Talk program focused on digital safety in video games. They partnered with a local coding business, who joined their event to share user guidelines for some popular online games. During the event, parents learned practical tips on how to help their children create and maintain a healthy profile on gaming platforms. Parents also explored their own digital media use and the effect overuse can have on communicating with their families. Event materials were distributed in both English and Spanish to support their high Spanish-speaking population. To drive attendance, they served dinner and had door prizes, including a Lenovo Chromebook. They had positive feedback on their event, and plan to implement a Smart Talk at-home program to reach more families. #HowWePTA

PL Prep Sam Houston Elementary

In their own words:
“This program was great.  It gave us a lot to think about with our kids.  I wasn't aware my kids thought I spent too much time on my devices.  This started a conversation between us.”
—PL Prep Elementary Parent

 

Enloe High School PTSA

Raleigh, N.C.

Enloe High School PTSA in Raleigh, N.C., wanted to find ways to help their students make good choices online while also providing parents with resources to encourage online safety at home. They used their grant from National PTA and Discord to bring parents and students together for a Build Up and Belong event. Using the provided program guide, they discussed online privacy and safety issues and shared how to check security settings for different online platforms including Discord. They also invited a speaker from the North Carolina attorney general's office, who shared insights about internet safety. Students and families were given the opportunity to ask questions throughout the event. They also role played possible online encounters to help students know how to respond to different situations. To encourage families to attend, they provided food and gave away spirit wear as door prizes. The event was well-received and offered an atmosphere where parents and students could share their experiences and online safety concerns. #HowWePTA

Enloe HS PTSA

In their own words:
“The program was well-received and provided an atmosphere where parents and students could share experiences and concerns regarding internet safety.”
—Enloe High School PTSA

 

Heritage Elementary PTA

Grapevine, Texas

Heritage Elementary School PTA in Grapevine, Texas, knew their students spent time online and wanted to find ways to help their school community build healthy online habits. They used their grant money from National PTA, Google and YouTube to host a Be Internet Awesome event,  which is designed to teach children how to be good digital citizens. The event was a big hit, with over 250 people attending. Using the provided program materials, families learned how to safely navigate the online world, and students learned how to be internet smart, alert, strong, kind and brave. Parents and school administrators found so much value in the event that they asked that it be repeated. #HowWePTA

Heritage Elementary PTA

In their own words:
“Many parents discovered at least one new tool or resource that will help them be more prepared to help their kids develop good online habits.”
—Heritage Elementary PTA

 

Thomas Sharp Elementary PTA

San Antonio, Texas

The PTA at Thomas Sharp Elementary School, a Title I school serving 178 students in Collingswood, N.J., wanted to help parents have meaningful conversations with their students about online safety. They used their grant from National PTA and Norton (part of GenTM) to host a PTA Connected Smart Talk program. The program helps families open the lines of communication about online behavior and safety. They held their event in the evening so more families could attend and provided dinner and door prizes. Parents heard their children’s perspective on online behavior as they worked through the provided program guide. Feedback from parents was very positive, with one parent describing the event as “eye popping.” For many parents, this was their first PTA event, and they joined PTA that night. Due to the program’s success, the PTA plans to hold The Smart Talk program every year. #HowWePTA

Thomas Sharp Elementary

In their own words:
“After attending this program, I believe my children will be more comfortable coming to me about what is going on online.”
—Thomas Sharp Elementary Parent

 

Canyons Transition Academy PTSA  

Sandy, Utah

Canyons Transition Academy in Sandy, Utah, helps older special needs students with vocational and social-skills training. The PTSA knew that many of their students used TikTok and other social media platforms, and they were concerned about the interactions they could be having online. To help their school community, the PTSA used their grant from National PTA and TikTok to host a Create with Kindness event. They customized the provided program materials to fit their students’ unique needs. They invited parents and caregivers to the event, which was hosted over lunch. The event included information on how to have safe interactions online and how to be good digital citizens. Students also learned how to use the privacy features on social media to help keep them safe. To ensure understanding, the PTA provided handouts of the scenarios presented along with links to additional National PTA resources. Both the students and their families learned about the impact their decisions and behavior on social media have on themselves and their community. They had such a good response that the PTSA plans to host the event every year. #HowWePTA

PTSA Canyons Transition Academy

In their own words:
“The families and caregivers were very excited about this program. We are planning on doing it again next year.”
—Canyons Transition Academy PTSA

 

Cazenovia High School PTSA 

Cazenovia, N.Y.

The Cazenovia High School PTSA in Cazenovia, N.Y., knew that many of their students were into online gaming and were using gaming social media platforms to meet friends and have conversations that went well beyond playing video games. Communicating online is different than communicating in the hallways at school though, so they wanted to bring parents and teens together to explore social media as a communication and relationship tool. Using their grant from National PTA and Discord, they hosted a Build Up and Belong program to help their school community create positive online experiences, especially around online gaming. Using the provided program guide, they discussed privacy and safety issues on digital platforms. They also worked through different online scenarios to learn how to navigate tricky situations. These scenarios were thought provoking and helped parents and students see online interactions from different perspectives. The PTSA also invited a local university professor and the school psychologist to talk about the psychology behind social media during the event. The program opened the lines of communication and will help students turn social media into a positive place of belonging. The program was so successful that the PTSA plans on having one every year to help their students have positive interactions in the digital world. #HowWePTA

Cazenovia High School PTSA

In their own words:
“At our Build Up and Belong workshop, students felt safe talking about situations that have happened to them on social media and gained confidence to navigate tricky online situations.”
—Cazenovia High School PTSA

 

Ben Franklin Elementary School PTA 

Moline, Ill.

The Ben Franklin Elementary PTA in Moline, Ill., understood that even elementary school students spend a great deal of time online. To help their school community build healthy digital habits, they used their grant money from National PTA and Google to host a Be Internet Awesome program. The event is designed to teach children how to be good digital citizens and to help families navigate the online world. Using the provided planning guide, the PTA hosted a “Let’s Taco-bout Internet Safety” event at the school, offering a free taco dinner to attendees. Families learned about what students are exposed to online and how to reduce the risk of cyberbullying. During the event, the PTA facilitated conversations on what it means to be internet smart, alert, strong, kind and brave. The event was so successful that many families asked the PTA to host it again so they could stay on top of things to watch out for when their kids are online. #HowWePTA

Ben Franklin Elementary

In their own words:
“Families have busy schedules, so sitting and talking about important stuff sometimes gets pushed aside. Our Taco-bout It Internet Safety Night gave parents that space and time to really connect with their kids about important issues.”
—Ben Franklin Elementary PTA

 

Carnegie Elementary PTA

Carnegie, Pa.

The PTA at Carnegie Elementary, a Title 1 school in Carnegie, Pa., wanted to help their students stay safe online. To encourage parents to have meaningful conversations with their children about internet safety, they used their grant from National PTA and Norton to host a PTA Connected Smart Talk program. The program helps open the lines of communication so families can talk about online behavior and safety. To support their diverse community, they translated the materials into multiple languages and hired an Arabic translator to support their efforts. The school’s IT specialist helped parents and students identify common threats during the event and explained how to have safe online interactions. Participants were encouraged to continue having internet safety conversations at home. This event gave students and their families the tools and resources to make better digital decisions. #HowWePTA

Carnegie Elementary PTA

In their own words:
“This was a much-needed program in our school. Many parents expressed that they had no idea those frightening apps even existed. We are grateful to bring some online safety knowledge to our school's population.”
—Carnegie Elementary PTA

 

Valleyview Elementary PTA

Lakeland, Fla.

The students at Valleyview Elementary in Lakeland, Florida, had received iPads to support the school’s learning activities, and for many, this was their first time using a connected device. To help students and their families understand how to stay safe online, the Valleyview PTA used its grant from National PTA and Google to host two Be Internet Awesome programs. Over 150 students attended the programs, which taught them how to be good digital citizens. The program also taught families how to navigate the online world safely. Using the provided planning guide, the PTA helped students and their families understand what it means to be internet smart, alert, strong, kind, and brave. The events were fun and educational, and families were given resources to continue the conversation about the importance of safe online practices. #HowWePTA

Valleyview Elementary PTA

In their own words:
“This was an ‘internet awesome’ program that benefited our students greatly!”
—Valleyview Elementary PTA

 

Mooneyham Elementary PTA

McKinney, Texas

The Mooneyham Elementary PTA in McKinney, Texas, understood that even elementary school students spend a great deal of time online. To help their school community build healthy digital habits, they used their grant money from National PTA and Google to host a Be Internet Awesome program. The event is designed to teach children how to be good digital citizens and to help families navigate the online world. Using the provided planning guide, the PTA helped attendees understand what it means to be internet smart, alert, strong, kind, and brave. The PTA collaborated with the school’s digital learning coach and librarian, who shared information about digital citizenship programs for students. The PTA plans to continue the conversation by hosting coffee chats with teachers to encourage them to reinforce the characteristics of a good online citizen in the classroom. #HowWePTA

Moneyham Elementary PTA

In their own words:
“The tools provided to help families start the conversation at home and keep their children safe, kind and alert online were wonderful.”
—Mooneyham Elementary PTA

 

Bartram Springs Elementary School

Jacksonville, Fla.

Children today are growing up in the digital age and have easy access to a world outside of their community through the internet. The Bartram Springs Elementary School PTA in Jacksonville, Fla., wanted to help their students and families stay safe online. Using their grant from National PTA and Norton, they hosted a PTA Connected Smart Talk program, which opens the lines of communication to help adults and kids have important conversations about online safety. To help working parents, they hosted a virtual event. They connected with other PTAs that had hosted Smart Talk programs for tips and guidance, and utilized the program's PowerPoint presentation, flyers, agenda and The Talk before the Talk family worksheets to ensure success. They also sent participants bags that included treats and informative materials before the event. To be more inclusive of their entire school community, their materials were translated into Spanish. Their event included a panel discussion with a local doctor and an IT professional, who offered additional insights to help parents make smart decisions about online activity. Through this program, families are equipped to make better digital decisions. #HowWePTA

Bartram Springs Elementary PTA

In their own words:
“Our families needed to know how to be digitally safe online. With The Smart Talk program, together as a family they can devise an online safety plan.”
—Bartram Springs Elementary PTA

 

Trabuco Hills High PTSA

Mission Viejo, Calif.

The parents at Trabuco Hills High School in Mission Viejo, Calif., had deep concerns about how to protect their students when they used social media platforms like Tik Tok. They didn’t have much experience with how to teach their students to be good digital citizens. To help their school community, the PTSA used their grant from National PTA and TikTok to host a Create with Kindness event, which included a student panel discussion. The panel shared their online experiences, including cyberbullying, safely growing a Tik Tok follower base, and handling inappropriate private messages received on social media. The event included how to use the privacy features on social media to help keep students safe. Both students and families learned about the impact their decisions and behavior on social media have on themselves and their school community. They had such a good response that the PTSA planned follow-up events to give students a forum to talk about the issues they face online. #HowWePTA

Trabuco Hill HS PTSA

In their own words:
“This event was a great way to educate our entire school community about being good digital citizens.”
—Trabuco Hills High PTSA

 


Howard Bishop Middle School PTSA

Gainsville, Fla.

The principal at Howard Bishop Middle School in Gainesville, Fla., asked the PTSA to help build a stronger community at the school and strengthen parent engagement. The PTSA took up the challenge! Using their Norton LifeLock grant, they hosted an in-person family engagement night featuring the PTA Connected Smart Talk program. Smart Talk helps kids and adults have important conversations about being safe online. They called on school administrators, teachers, and the school counselor talk about what they are seeing at school with social media that parents might not be seeing at home. They also led break-out groups during the event, with families rotating through the different groups and answering prompt questions to open the lines of communication about staying safe online. The event was a huge success and offered a thought-provoking experience that helped families have really important conversations in a safe, collaborative environment. #HowWePTA

Howard Bishop Middle School PTSA

In their own words:
“This was a great start to an important conversation about family values and expectations. Parents don't always know what is happening and through programs like this, we are educating them and raising awareness about how their kids are using technology.”
—Howard Bishop Middle School PTSA

 

Andrus Elementary School PTA

Boise, Idaho

When the principal at Andrus Elementary School in Boise, Idaho, observed that many students were using devices at the bus stop that didn’t appear to have safety filters for accessing appropriate content, she asked the PTA for help. The PTA was already thinking about online safety programs in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. While students, teachers, family members and groups were able to connect virtually during the pandemic, this also carried risks that many parents weren’t aware of, especially to vulnerable young children. They decided to use their grant from National PTA and Norton to host a PTA Connected Smart Talk program. Smart Talk helps kids and adults have important conversations about being safe online. Families came together for an engaging, informative evening where they talked about online safety and how to set rules and filters for young children. Through this program, families are equipped to make better digital decisions now and as their kids move on to middle and high school. #HowWePTA

Andrus Elementary School PTA

In their own words:
“The best part was seeing families talk about their values and how they would implement rules to reflect those values.”
—Andrus Elementary School PTA

 

Oak Crest Intermediate PTA

San Antonio, Texas

The PTA at Oak Crest Intermediate School in San Antonio, Texas, recognized that more of their students were gaining access to electronic devices at an earlier age. They also knew that most kids didn’t have the maturity to manage what was safe and appropriate on the internet. Because they live in an area where child trafficking is a serious problem, they decided to take action to keep kids safe online. They used their grant from National PTA and Norton LifeLock to host a PTA Connected Smart Talk program. The Smart Talk helps kids and adults have important conversations about online activity. The PTA brought parents and students together and shared many different online scenarios that could lead to trouble. Parents learned about different apps and security safeguards to monitor and limit their child's activity. Students learned how to maturely navigate all forms of social interactions on the internet, and to be responsible with when online. Families that had older and younger siblings also discovered what to watch out for kids of all ages, and how to have important conversations about online activity with all of their children to keep them safe online. #HowWePTA

Oak Crest Intermediate PTA

In their own words:
“This program brought to light how much our children are exposed to that we may not even be aware of.”
—Oak Crest Intermediate PTA

 

Miami Sunset Senior High PTSA

Miami, Fla.

When the Miami Sunset Senior High School in Miami, Fla., experienced several negative incidents tied to social media, the PTSA met with school administrators and several student members to discuss what they could to do combat cyber bullying and educate students on the importance of good digital citizenship. The student members had some amazing ideas! Using their grant from National PTA and TikTok, the PTSA students partnered with a local non-profit to create Heroes of Miami, a group that held information sessions for parents, students and the community on the dangers of cyberbullying and the responsibilities of being a good digital citizen, including denouncing hate speech and how to combat trolling. The group took their information sessions on the road, visiting local middle schools to share this important information. The sessions not only educated students on how to be responsible online, they brought the school community together and bolstered school spirit, because being good digital citizen is everyone’s responsibility! #HowWePTA

Miami Sunset Senior High

In their own words:
“Every one of our students has been impacted by social media. This program provided parents, teachers and students with knowledge that can be used to create a safer online community.”
—Miami Sunset Senior High PTSA

 

South Lake Middle School PTSA

Irvine, Calif.

With their students spending more time online due to the pandemic, the families at South Lake Middle School, a Title 1 school in Irvine, California, were finding it difficult to limit their children’s use of the internet and ensure healthy digital behaviors. Many also lacked the understanding to implement safety features on their kids’ devices. When the PTSA surveyed the parents to learn their main concerns, the response was overwhelming – they wanted to learn more about internet safety. Using their grant from National PTA and Norton, they brought in one of the nation’s leading law enforcement educators on cyber safety speak to the students at an assembly about safe social media use, internet etiquette, and how to stay safe online. The speaker also met with parents for an evening presentation and a lively Q&A session. The program helped open the conversation between parents and students about online safety and the implications of bad online behavior and gave families real solutions to safely navigate this new digital world. #HowWePTA

South Lake Middle School PTSA

In their own words:
“This was probably the most important assembly that our PTSA was able to provide for our community.”
—South Lake Middle PTSA





COVID-19 Relief Grant Fund 

Scott Libby Elementary PTA

Litchfield Park, Ariz.


With some students learning virtually and others doing a hybrid learning model, it was important to the Scott Libby Elementary PTA in Litchfield Park, Ariz., to keep school spirit high and the entire school community connected. Using their COVID-19 Relief Fund Grant sponsored by NortonLifeLock, they purchased wellness bags for all of their students, which included a t-shirt with the school motto. The PTA also gave t-shirts to all of their teachers. Students and teachers can wear their t-shirts proudly while out, showing they are part of the Scott Libby Elementary School community. The bags also included wellness items like hand sanitizer, dental tool kits (donated by a local dentist), and books for every student (donated by a local non-profit). #HowWePTA #PTAProud

Scott Libby Elementary PTA Collage Work


In their own words:
The bags turned out great! My students are already planning a day when we can all wear our shirts together.
—Scott Libby Elementary School Teacher

 

Mill Creek Elementary PTA

Lenexa, Kan.

The abrupt closure of Mill Creek Elementary in Lenexa, Kan., left students feeling anxious and disappointed. To bring the community together from a distance, the Mill Creek PTA used their COVID-19 Relief Grant sponsored by TikTok to create PRIDE Boxes for every student, which included information about local wellness resources, crafts, playing cards, and a card that students could draw or write messages on to send to family, friends, or frontline workers. The boxes also included a small lock for them to personalize and place in front of the school to create a powerful, visual message of togetherness. #PTAProud #HowWePTA

How We PTA - Mill Creek

In their own words:
Even though we are physically distanced, we are standing strong together as a Mustang family. Thank you National PTA and TikTok for helping us stay connected.

 

Collier Elementary PTA

Tucson, Ariz.

It’s hard to keep students and families connected to the school during distance learning. To overcome the challenges and bring the school community together, the Collier Elementary School PTA in Tucson, Ariz. used their COVID-19 PTA Relief Fund Grant sponsored by NortonLifeLock to develop themed wellness kits for every student. Themes included school spirit and international and academic games, as well as activities to support math literacy, STEM activities and art. They also created Monster Mash and Elf Workshop kits, which tied back to their traditional in-school activities for Halloween and the winter holidays. We are so PTA Proud of their creativity in helping the kids stay connected to their school during this unusual time! #HowWePTA #PTAProud

Collier Elementary - how we PTA

In their own words:
These funds are allowing our community to come together in ways not previously possible. Thanks NortonLifeLock and National PTA for this opportunity.

 

Eagle Ridge Elementary PTSA

Phoenix, Ariz.

The Eagle Ridge ES PTSA in Phoenix, Ariz., wanted to help students and families feel connected to the school while distance learning. Using their COVID-19 PTA Relief Fund Grant sponsored by NortonLifeLock, they hosted fun drive-thru events regularly to get families on campus in a safe way.

Their most popular event was Story Time, adapted from an in-school tradition. On the night of Story Time, families were invited to drive through the parking lot to pick up dinner, where they were greeted by Santa and given a book. Kids then went home to enjoy their meal while teachers read stories to them virtually. As a fun surprise, Santa read the final story! #HowWePTA #PTAProud.

ER Drive-thru Dinner 
In their own words:
Since we are remote, just even driving on the campus gave the students a lot of smiles. Families are grateful for these events, which provide food and family engagement. Thank you National PTA and Norton Lifelock for helping us stay connected.

 


Edmonds PTA Council

Washington

The Edmonds PTA Council in Washington saw the effects the COVID-19 pandemic was having on students and families across their district. There were various needs as families experienced everything from uncertainties about the vaccine, to vaccine reluctance, to struggling to find test kits. Using their grant from National PTA and Thermo Fisher Scientific, they went out into the community to share information. They set up a booth at several community events and distributed informational material about the COVID-19 vaccine, including vaccine safety and efficacy guides and information on where to go to get a vaccine. With so many students experiencing mental health issues, they also shared resources on where to go for help when in crisis. Not only did they help spread this important information, but they also made new connections, strengthened community partnerships and supported membership growth in local PTAs. #HowWePTA

Edmonds PTA Council

In their own words:
“Thanks to your funding, we have been able to encourage healthy COVID testing habits while also making a small impact on mental health awareness.”
—Edmonds PTA Council

 

Ruth Oliver Walker Elementary PTA

Florrissant, Mo.

The Ruth Oliver Walker Elementary PTA in Florissant, Missouri wanted to help improve the vaccination rates among their students, but also wanted to spread the word about other important health screenings to keep their entire community safe and healthy. Using their grant from National PTA and the Department of Health and Human Services’ “We Can Do This” campaign, they partnered with local health care providers, church groups, and the Washington University School of Medicine to host the Empower Health Fair. People attending the fair could get onsite mammograms, PSA screenings, express dental service for kids, and COVID-19 vaccinations and booster shots. They used fliers and social media to spread the word and tapped into the Walker PTA Council to encourage members across the area to attend. The PTA provided lunch for the volunteers and raffled a TV to attendees. In all, 26 people were vaccinated at the fair, with others receiving their important health screenings. The Ruth Oliver Walker Elementary truly saved lives! #HowWePTA

Ruth Oliver Walker Elementary

In their own words:
“We just wanted to help our community get access the vaccines. The event did so much more for the overall health of community members!”
—Ruth Oliver Walker Elementary PTA

 

Oak Grove Elementary School

Bloomington, Minn.

When Oak Grove Elementary School in Bloomington, Minnesota reopened after the long shut down due to COVID-19, the PTA was determined to help schools remain open by encouraging healthy habits. However, when the vaccine was approved for kids ages 5 – 11, they realized that their school had a low vaccination rate. They knew that many families were concerned about possible side effects from the vaccine. But with students and staff missing school due to illness, they decided to jump into action to help keep everyone healthy and schools open. Using their grant from National PTA and the Department of Health and Human Services’ “We Can Do This” campaign, they partnered with the Bloomington Health Department and a local food bank to host two vaccination clinics. Using the theme “Everyday Super Heroes,” they distributed information about vaccine safety and efficacy. Students who received their vaccines or boosters at the clinics were entered into a raffle for two Nintendo Switch consoles loaded with Mario Kart 8.  In all, they vaccinated 64 parents and students during their clinics, which the health department said was a great turnout. The Oak Grove vaccination clinics event truly saved lives! #HowWePTA

Oak-Grove-Elementary

In their own words:
“You planned a great event! It helped my kiddos feel more comfortable getting their vaccines.”
—Oak Grove Elementary Parent

 

Little Run Elementary School

Annandale, Va.

Uninsured, underprivileged and undocumented populations have the lowest COVID-19 vaccination rates. The PTA at Little Run Elementary School in Annandale, Va., knew that over half of all households in the communities surrounding their school spoke English as a second language. 30 percent were Hispanic. The PTA was concerned about the health and wellbeing of their community, so used their grant from National PTA and the Department of Health and Human Services’ “We Can Do This” campaign to host two COVID-19 vaccination clinics. They partnered with the Fairfax County Health Department, who administered free vaccines and boosters from a local community center. Their events were also attended by local elected officials. In all, they vaccinated 82 parents, kids, and senior citizens during their clinics, which the health department said was a great turnout. The Little Run vaccination clinics event truly saved lives! #HowWePTA

Little Run Elementary PTA

In their own words:
“Our clinics made a difference, and we did get people who were hesitant to get their first dose. The health department was genuinely impressed with our turnout!”
—Little Run Elementary PTA




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