National PTA’s Family Guides

You might be aware of National PTA’s Parents’ Guides to Student Success that help parents understand what their child is learning, how to talk with their child’s teacher, and how to help support their child’s education. National PTA has partnered with the National Education Association to create additional family guides to help parents support their child in critical learning areas.

PTA leaders and teachers can use the guides to engage families in education from Pre-K through high school. The guides are available in both English and Spanish and include:

Share these guides with your membership and all families at your school, whether it is sending out copies or links to your e-mail list, working with your school or district to produce copies for families, or including one in each of your newsletters throughout the year. By providing families with the support and information they need to help their children, you demonstrate the value of joining and supporting your PTA.


Helping Your Child When They’re Excluded

It’s a powerless feeling as a parent—your child is being excluded from a group at school, often a group they’ve been friends with for years. That exclusion is a form of bullying known as relational aggression, and can occur online and in person. It can include gossiping, spreading rumors, public humiliation, alliance building, and social isolation. But unlike physical bullying or verbal harassment, it can be hard to spot.

According to a survey by The Ophelia Project, 48% of students in grades 5 through 12 are regularly involved in or witness relational aggression. Students between the ages of 11 and 15 report being exposed to 33 acts of relational aggression during a typical week.

An article at Great Schools provides six ways you can help your child deal with relational aggression. The solution involves teaching them coping skills and how to find healthy friendships. The six strategies are:

  1. Watch for the signs.
  2. Use conversation starters.
  3. Make a friendship tree.
  4. Create a personal billboard.
  5. Problem solve together.
  6. Create a coping kit.

Helping your child deal with relational aggression can minimize the issues that can stem from this form of bullying. Children who experience relational aggression are absent more from school, do worse academically, and exhibit more behavior problems, eating disorders, substance abuse, symptoms of depression and anxiety, and low self-esteem. Read the full article for how to implement each of the six strategies.

USDA Provides School Wellness Policy Outreach Toolkit

Does your school or school district have a wellness policy? Chances are, they do, but families and even teachers may not know much about it. The US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service has created a Local School Wellness Policy Outreach Toolkit to help schools (or PTAs) engage staff and families on their school’s wellness policies. The toolkit includes:

  • A cover letter about the kit
  • A letter to the principal
  • Flyers in English and Spanish for parents
  • PowerPoint presentations aimed at families and staff
  • A newsletter article
  • Social media posts and graphics

Talk to your principal or superintendent about how your PTA can help support your school’s wellness policy. If there is a wellness committee, ask to have families represented on the committee as well. Use the USDA toolkit to support your activities.

Understanding Financial Aid Award Letters

If you have a college-bound senior, you might be dealing with one of the more confusing parts of helping your child decide which college admission to accept—figuring out what the financial aid award letter means and how those offers from different colleges compare. The SLM Corporation, known as Sallie Mae, the federal banking partner that runs the student loan program, has a useful page to help you decode what a financial aid award letter means.

The page provides answers to questions such as:

  • What’s in a financial aid award letter?
  • What do COA, EFC, and other parts of the letter mean?
  • How to you compare financial aid packages?
  • How do loans, grants, and scholarships compare in an financial aid award letter?
  • Do I have to accept all of the financial aid offered in the letter?

The site also offers a short video with four tips on how to read an award letter. Make sure that you an d your child have the information you need to make a college decision that is right for them and for your family’s financial situation. Check out Sallie Mae’s page and other information on the site.

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