Local Unit Spotlight: STEPS PTSA Takes On The World!

Today’s post kicks off a new series highlighting the good things that our local PTAs and Councils are doing. If your PTA or Council would like to brag a bit about what they are doing, send a short write-up to your District or Region Director, noting that it’s for One Voice Illinois. Don’t forget to send us some pictures of your event as well!

STEPS PTSA, servicing the Indian Prairie District 204 transition program for young adults with disabilities, kicked off the 2018 school year in style! More than 50 PTSA members, including parents, teachers, students, alumni, administrators, and school board members were on hand to celebrate a summer of successful and noteworthy achievements.

The STEPS PTSA recognized 17 students and coaches for their accomplishments. Their accomplishments included Special Olympics state qualifiers, members of Team USA—Unified Cup tournament, Special Olympics USA games, Special Olympics World Games, keynote speaker at the National Best Buddies conference, keynote speaker at the Special Olympics Women in Leadership breakfast, MLS All-Star athlete, and members of the Chicago Fire All-Star soccer team. The students and coaches each shared their amazing experiences with the audience and each brought memorabilia, photos, medals, uniforms, and newspaper articles to display. The audience cheered them on waving pom-poms and rally towels. It was a wonderful celebration of student abilities and a fantastic way to start the year!

The STEPS PTSA was formed in 2017 with the goal of focusing on the unique abilities of these young adults and supporting the STEPS Transition Program. The STEPS PTSA works to create social opportunities, activities, and events that allow their members to get involved in the community. STEPS Alumni are an important part of the PTSA. They are invited to join the PTSA so that they will continue to have access to social and community activities and events. The STEPS PTSA knows the importance of building an inclusive culture and breaking down barriers. The sky is the limit for the STEPS PTSA students and alumni!

PTA Celebrates Back-to-School Week September 17-21

Next week, PTAs across the country will celebrate National PTA Back-to-School Week. Each day of Back-to-School Week will highlight and provide tips and resources for the people who support our children’s learning and success.

  • Monday, September 17: PTA Leaders
  • Tuesday, September 18: Parents
  • Wednesday, September 19: Students
  • Thursday, September 20: Teachers
  • Friday, September 21: Office Depot Day (National PTA sponsor of Back-to-School Week)

These highlights and resources include:

And there are many more resources at the Back-to-School Week website. Take advantage of these resources, new grant opportunities, and more to make the 2018-2019 school year a huge success for your PTA, your children, your families, and your school. Follow the hashtag #PTABackToSchoolto see what PTAs across the country are doing to celebrate Back-to-School Week.

School Health Webinar Series—Programs, Fundraisers, and More

Action for Healthy Kids, a long-time partner of the Illinois PTA, has an ongoing webinar series focusing on school health issues. There are three live webinars scheduled for this year so far, and past webinars are available as recordings. The live webinars will also be archived for those unable to attend in real-time, so be sure to register even if you can’t attend live to be able to view the recording.

Upcoming Webinars

Game On: Your One-Stop Shop for School Health(September 26, 2018, 2:00pm-2:45pm)

It’s the beginning of a new school year, which means it’s time to get your Game On! Action for Healthy Kids’ Game On program is a no-cost, step-by-step online guide that serves as your one-stop shop for school health. Game On provides all the information and resources you need to build a healthy school. Join this webinar to learn how to use Game On to build a strong school wellness program this year. School staff, parents, health professionals and other community members are encouraged to attend.

Take Action to Improve Health with the School Health Index(October 11, 2018, 2:00pm-2:45pm)

How does your school determine what to prioritize around student health and wellness? Action for Healthy Kids recommends using the School Health Index to assess your school’s health environment to determine what you’re doing well and where you could improve. Attend this webinar to learn about the School Health Index, how to use Action for Healthy Kids’ school portal to complete the assessment online and how to make the most of the summary reports generated by our technology to improve school and student health. School and district staff, parents and community members are encouraged to attend this webinar.

School Breakfast: Menu Options for Alternative Breakfast Models(January 10, 2019, 3:00pm-3:45pm)

How does your school determine what to prioritize around student health and wellness? Action for Healthy Kids recommends using the School Health Index to assess your school’s health environment to determine what you’re doing well and where you could improve. Attend this webinar to learn about the School Health Index, how to use Action for Healthy Kids’ school portal to complete the assessment online and how to make the most of the summary reports generated by our technology to improve school and student health. School and district staff, parents and community members are encouraged to attend this webinar.

Archived Webinars

Healthy Snacking (30 minutes)

Spice up your snacking routine with fun and healthy snacks for all ages. Learn about easy, healthy snacks you can serve during or after school and as part of school celebrations.

Family and Community Engagement 101: Maximizing Volunteers for School Health (60 minutes)

To make the most out of your school health programs, it’s essential to make the most out of your family and community volunteers and partners. This webinar prepares you on how to best use the parent and community volunteers you already have, and how to find the best volunteers to meet your school health needs.

School Digs! Raising the Bar and Profits with Healthy School Fundraisers (60 minutes)

Whether it’s the cafeteria, playground, classroom or another area on your campus, kids need to get the same message everywhere: Be active and eat healthy! This webinar is designed to show you where campuses can improve and make sure that kids are getting the right message about healthy eating and being active. Create healthier school parties, offer healthier rewards, or host a healthy non-food fundraiser. Hosted by Parents for Healthy Kids.

Helping Kids Learn Better with Healthy School Meals (60 minutes)

Learn how national school meal programs work and how parents and community members can deepen support, trust and meaningful collaboration with nutrition services staff to create healthier school food environments. For parents, school wellness champions and school health teams.

Yoga in the Classroom (30 minutes)

Use simple yoga-based movements and practices to increase physical fitness, student focus and academic performance! For teachers and champions for active kids.

Give Your Child a Quick Readiness Check for This School Year

Surveys show that 90% of parents believe their child is performing at or above grade level. However, their teachers indicate that only 39% of students start the school year prepared for grade-level work, and other indicators such as the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) agree with them. Learning Heroes has created a quick readiness check for families to help them assess if their child has mastered their previous year’s math and reading skills.

The readiness check provides three to five questions for students who completed kindergarten through eighth grade last school year in both math and reading. The results give you a quick assessment of whether your child is ready for the coming school year and where your child may need some extra support getting back up to speed. You can also use Learning Heroes’ Super 5 and Readiness Roadmap to help you find resources to support your child at home.