The Barrior Projectimage3428721

I’m very excited to announce the opening of the The Barrio Project Play on August 11th. Hope to see all of you there. Click Here for a short intro on the play.

National Convention Roundup

We had an amazing time at the national conference in Orlando. Not only did we meet with the leaders world-wide we were able to learn and receive a ton of information. First with new resolutions that were passed. As you have seen in our blog articles the topics were on

  • Electronic Cigarettes and electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) and youth Studies have shown that the use of e-cigarettes by students 6-12 grade have triples in the past year.
  • Homework Quality Over Quantity – Quality homework has proven to be most effective when it’s states clear objectives, relevant to students, and are grade/age appropriate.
  • Recognition of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer/Questioning (LGTBQ) individuals as a Protected Class. All children and youth should have a safe environment free from discrimination. Federal statues does not include sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • Water Safety and Instruction – As of 2009 children drowning is third highest cause of death of youth under 19. 2nd is motor vehicle accidents and the number one cause is is suffocation in children 4 and younger.

More information is available here. 

I intend on sharing specific workshop take aways in future editions. From everyone’s feedback all of the workshops had great information so we will share with you as much as we can.

Local Unit Packet

The Local Unit Packet is out (LUP) and I hope all of you have had a chance to review the contents and share it with your board members. Please let us know if there are additional things you would like included and if there is something you would like to see changed. With SO many different needs across the state our intention is to be as thorough as we can be.

Illinois PTA in Action

In regard to other happenings throughout the state we have been participating in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) recommendations to the general assembly. ISBE was looking for open comment by August 1st and we also made a statement on the national level. The best time to have your voices heard is before things become law so I hope all of you had a chance to make your comments and or suggestions. If you didn’t get that chance for some reason please send your comments, questions, and concerns to me at so we can have your thoughts included in these last sessions coming up. The next meeting is Monday August 15th at 9am. H.B. 5729 deals with college and career readiness which the governor has signed into law. We can make comments on the national level until May 25, 2017.

The Illinois Attendance Commission is another committee we are on and we have made our presentation and recommendations on the information contained in the Every Student, Every Day Initiative – toolkit. All cooperating agencies will be gathering resources to make a master list to share with everyone. I am excited to be able to see this commission grow from the truancy task force. We all know that this is a high stakes situation and we need to do what we can to make every child’s future successful.

ISBE has a committee on an educator dashboard. The intention is to make a database of highly qualified teachers and resources for them. This is still in the development pilot phase.

Illinois PTA also met with John J. Cullerton President of the Senate in Illinois. We discussed several non-profit challenges supporting children and families and the latest bill that past on new civic learning requirements H.B. 4025.

Yesterday we met with Senator Kirk’s Washington D.C. staff. I provided them with a version of the LUP and our legislative priorities along with information on our national ask of funding Title IV: Statewide Family Engagement Centers Part E.

As you get ready to start your school year remember that we are here as a resource and need to hear from you. Let us know the successes you are celebrating and your activities throughout the state. I look forward to hearing and participating in your activities. Thank you all for everything you do every day.

Here to serve,

Matthew John Rodriguez

Illinois PTA President