Sharing Ideas

How to Help the Communities Affected by Fire
(also applies to hurricanes)
We’ve been breathing in the smoke from Sonoma and Napa, while keeping an eye on the hills nearby.  Many of us are asking how to support the families across our country who need to recover and rebuild after losing so much this year from fire and from hurricanes.
PTA cannot make personal gifts to specified families or individuals, but PTA can help.  Here’s how:
 
PUBLICIZE: In your PTA newsletters, websites, online sites, encourage your community to make monetary donationsdirectly to trusted relief organizations.  Cash donations are much preferred over material donations after disasters.  Relief organizations can use cash donations to fund exactly what is needed for the community.
  • For local fire assistance, CAPTA recommends donating to the North Bay Fire Relief Fund Redwood Credit Union is paying for all administrative costs for the North Bay Fire Relief Fund, so 100 percent of donations will go to relief efforts and directly to aid the victims.
 
SUPPORT STUDENT EFFORTS: Your PTA can support student efforts to fundraise for disaster relief by publicizing the student events and by volunteering.  Many middle and high schools have student associations which plan activities.  By publicizing and supporting student events, PTA is helping students grow and become responsible citizens, in addition to helping communities in need.
 
DONATE: Your PTA can make a donation to a relief organization recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) organization, such as Red Cross or the Salvation Army or another PTA.  To do so, your membership must vote at an association meeting to change the budget to make the donation. This must be recorded in the meeting minutes.
  • For North Bay Fire Relief, donations can be made to the
    Fourteenth District PTA which serves Sonoma County.  They plan to distribute all funds received to local PTAs and schools in need.  Checks can be sent to Fourteenth District PTA, c/o Abby Fellman, 1648 Andover Way, Petaluma, CA 94954.
 
FUNDRAISE: Your PTA can organize a fundraiser, with funds going to a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.  The membership must vote on the fundraiser at an association meeting prior to holding the event. The motions must specify the fundraiser event, specify the recipient organization which will receive the proceeds, and amend the budget to include the fundraiser. Please note that for tax purposes the funds raised will count toward your PTA’s gross income and may put your PTA into a new tax category.
 
HELP OVER THE LONG TERM: It will take many months, if not years, for the communities hit by fire and hurricanes to recover.  Consider planning an event or making a donation later this school year or next year to help the ongoing relief efforts.
Please contact Sixth District if you would like more guidance about how to help fire and hurricane victims.

Emergency Notification System
In the event of an earthquake or other disaster event, you can receive life-saving information through your County’s emergency notification system.
Each county provides a way to send messages to not only land lines, but also to wireless devices and e-mail addresses of people who have signed up. For residents or anyone who works in a county. Signing up is free.
Santa Clara County – Alert SCC

Non-Profit Resources
  • A link to the “K-12 Toolkit for Mental Health Promotion and Suicide Prevention” can be found at: http://www.heardalliance.org/help-toolkit/. The Toolkit has been recommended by Tom Torlakson, CA State Superintendent of Public Instruction, as a resource for implementing the newly mandated “Youth Suicide Prevention Policy” required of all Local Education Agencies serving grades 7-12. The Toolkit contains a link to the Model Policy the CDE developed and it addresses the areas required by the policy.

Tools to Help Your Child

PTA has free multilingual resources available to help you strengthen student success throughout the school year:

  • 100 Ways to Help Your Child Succeed – These tips help you support children’s learning at home, at school and even on the go, and are available in English and Spanish.
  • Ways to Support Learning at Home – Created in partnership with the California Teachers Association, these fliers are available in 11 languages and offer great advice from educators.
  • Homework Help – Support your child and help them with their homework, and learn why homework is important for kids to thrive. This flier is available in six languages.
  • And more!

Best Practices for Handling Phishing and Ransomware for PTA

Both email-phishing scams and crypto ransomware/malware are increasingly common and can have devastating impacts on businesses and non-profit associations of all sizes. As a non-profit association, PTA can be vulnerable to these types of cyber crimes at all levels and, in fact, we have heard reports of email-phishing scams happening to local leaders.

Email-phishing scams are typically fraudulent email messages appearing to come from legitimate enterprises (e.g., your PTA treasurer or president, your Internet service provider, your bank). These messages usually direct you to a spoofed website or otherwise get you to divulge private information such as bank account information or account passwords. The perpetrators then use this private information to commit identity theft or trick you to wire money.

Ransomware/malware is a virus that installs covertly on the victims computer system and encrypts the victim’s files, making them inaccessible, and demands a ransom payment to decrypt them. Often malware is triggered by downloading files or clicking links from untrustworthy sources which appear to be legitimate.

As a reminder, PTA policy states that payments can only be made by a check with two signatures. If you get an email from a fellow PTA officer asking to wire funds, do not send money. Establish communication “backchannels” such as text message or phone calls to verify the authenticity of the request. Additionally, remember to keep your personal and PTA computer systems and firewalls up-to-date to minimize the potential for viruses to inflect your system with malware.

Additional Resources:

Please feel free to reach out to your district PTA or California State PTA for any questions.


Teacher/Staff Appreciation Question
A question we received: If PTA funds cannot be used to purchase gifts, what our options?
  • Involving no funds: Children can write thank you notes to their teacher and staff.
  • Personal Funds: Parents can buy gifts and give gifts directly to their child’s teacher.
  • Personal Funds: Room parents can collect money and present the teacher with a gift from the whole class (whether each family donated or not). The donations do not go through the PTA.
  • PTA Funds: PTA can provide staff lunches, breakfast, coffee carts, etc. which are for the whole staff.  The limitation is that less than 5% of the PTA budget should be spent on these types of purchases for the entire year. This includes food provided by the PTA at meetings, principal’s coffees, and cafecitos, etc.

Parent/Teen Communication Techniques
Parent Ed
Thursday, March 30
7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Wilcox High School, Science Lecture Hall
3250 Monroe Street [map]
Santa Clara
Free
RSVP – Space limited
High School students are welcome
Presented by Wilcox High School PTSA
  • Do you wonder how to best support your teen?
  • Are you sometimes unsure about how to talk to your teen especially in emotionally challenging situations?
  • Come learn about improving communication and more!
Parents have good advice and experience but how to best provide that for your child is the challenge.  Trying to offer support when your child seems upset or stressed can feel like tiptoeing through a minefield. In this highly interactive workshop, you will learn how to be more effective and comfortable when offering emotional support when your child is experiencing strong emotions such as stress, frustration, anxiety, or anger. You will learn how to respond in a way that helps your child feel better and think more clearly, while strengthening your relationship.
Program will be led by Eran Magen, Ph.D., who is the founder and scientific director of the Center for Supportive Relationships.

Bay Area Air Quality Management District has a grant for bike racks. Here is the information about the grant and how to apply:

 The Bay Area Air Quality Management District (Air District) is pleased to announce the Bicycle Rack Voucher Program (BRVP) for FYE2016, an incentive program that offers grant funding to Bay Area public agencies for the purchase and installation of new bicycle racks. Applications are currently being accepted now through 4 PM on January 29, 2016, unless funds are exhausted sooner. Applications will be reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis.The BRVP Program aims to reduce air pollution through alternative forms of transportation by expanding the availability of secure bicycle parking in the Bay Area.  For FYE 2016, approximately $3.84 million in Transportation Fund for Clean Air (TFCA) funds are available for bicycle facility projects including approximately $840,000 to support the installation of new bicycle parking and $3 million for new bikeways.

To Learn More About This Opportunity

Visit the BRVP website to for more information about program eligibility requirements and to obtain links to application materials and instructions.

Contact

For additional information about the BRVP Program contact Patrick Wenzinger, Administrative Analyst, at pwenzinger@baaqmd.gov or (415) 749-4934.


We’re here to help you start your PTA year off right!

 Organizing and running a PTA membership campaign can be fun and easy.During the back-to-
school season, we’ll be helping you “FOCUS ON MEMBERSHIP” by sharing tips, training and resources to help you build membership.California State PTA  showcases the value of PTA involvement for families, schools and communities. Last week, we focused on spreading the word about the three trends in education parents need to know. This week, we’ll be sharing information on how parents can help their children overcome jitters on the first day of school. (You can also download, print and share a PDF handout with your parents and members.)
Click on our Membership 2015-16 for some great membership ideas!!

If you would like to share your ideas here, contact us.

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