Notes from the Backpack

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Notes from the Backpack

A Podcast for Parents, by Parents

PTA is working to ensure our public schools provide a high-quality and equitable education for every child to reach their full potential. Notes from the Backpack is a PTA podcast designed for millions of parents and the decisionmakers they influence.

Through the unique combination of expert, parent and educator guests, each episode features engaging conversations that offer real-life advice and ideas on how to support children’s learning and development—all in parent-friendly language.

Real Experts. Real Parents. Real Conversations.

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Current Episode

Wednesday, Sep. 28, 2022

Jon Deane

62 | An Inside Look at School Ratings


Jon Deane

What goes into a school rating? School ratings often leave families feeling confused, wondering what a singular number tells them about the quality of a school. To get to the bottom of this, our hosts interviewed Jon Deane, CEO of GreatSchools.org who shares how families can use school ratings as a starting point for making informed choices for their child’s education.

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Recent Episodes

Deborah Farmer Kris

61 | Supporting Children Through School Transitions


Deborah Farmer-Kris

School transitions can be hard—and not just for the kids, but for parents, too! Our guest, child development expert and author, Deborah Farmer-Kris, has tips for making school transitions a little smoother. Whether your child is struggling to get out the door in the morning, experiencing anxiety in the classroom or melting down when they get home, Deborah has advice to ease your back-to-school transition.

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Leona Fowler

60 | Improving Student Wellness


Angela Burley

Our nation is facing an adolescent mental health crisis. Teens are struggling in the classroom and at home. Our guest, Instructional Support Specialist and Social Emotional Learning Lead, Leona Fowler, shares her experiences navigating these challenges and what approaches can equip our kids with the coping skills they need. She discusses how mindfulness and other social emotional learning techniques can improve student wellness at school and at home.

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Angela Burley

59 | Addressing Learning Loss


Angela Burley

Since the pandemic began, the phrase “learning loss” has become a frequently used term in the education field. What kind of “learning loss” are teachers actually seeing in their classrooms and how are they working to address it? Angela Burley, sixth grade social studies teacher and a 2021-2022 Teach Plus Texas Policy Fellow, joins the show to share her perspective on the issue.

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Sofia Gonzalez

58 | The Teacher Burnout Crisis


Sofia Gonzalez

In the last few years, teachers have faced unprecedented challenges that have left a lot of them feeling burnt out. Experienced educator and activist, Sofia Gonzalez, shares her thoughts on teacher burnout and how systemic changes could make teaching a more sustainable profession.

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