National PTA School of Excellence Sign-Ups Open Now

Show your community that something important is happening at your school—a new kind of welcoming process that extends beyond the building and into the homes of families who now feel prepared to help support their child’s success.

Become a National PTA School of Excellence! This recognition program supports and celebrates partnerships between PTAs and schools to enrich the educational experience and overall well-being of all students. Enroll at between now and October 1.

What does it take to be recognized as a National PTA School of Excellence?

By enrolling in this program, your PTA and school administrators are making a year-long commitment in identifying and implementing an action plan for school improvement based on PTA’s National Standards for Family-School Partnerships. Schools that exhibit improvement are honored as National PTA Schools of Excellence, a distinction that spans two years.

As a National PTA School of Excellence, your PTA and school will gain local, national and statewide recognition. On top of that, your PTA will be eligible to earn the Phoebe Apperson Hearst Award. This is National PTA’s highest honor recognizing effective family engagement strategies and includes a $2,000 grant.

Enroll Today!

Visit or call (800) 307-4782 for assistance.

New Resources from National PTA

One of the advantages of being a PTA is having both a state and a national organization to help provide resources and tools to make your job as a PTA leader easier. National PTA has recently released two new resources to help you recruit new membersand to show your appreciation to teachers.

New Membership Resources

Membership is at the heart of PTA. Members allow us to do great things for children in our schools and make our voice more powerful when we speak to legislators. To help PTAs recruit and retain members, National PTA has created three new flyers(scroll down and expand links at the bottom of the page). The flyers are targeted at three different audiences:

  • General Audience (for policymakers, advocates, and outside organizations)
  • Families and Educators (for families, caregivers, and community members who share the mission of helping every child succeed)
  • Parent and School Leaders (for local parent and school leaders such as teachers and administrators)

The flyers are available as fillable PDFs in both color and black and white and in both Spanish and English. All of the flyers have a fillable graphic box for your PTA logoand text box for contact information on the front. The families and educators flyer also has a customizable membership form on the back.

Teacher Appreciation Week Resources

Teacher Appreciation Week is coming up May 7-11, and National PTA has new resources to recognize those VITs (Very Important Teachers)at your school. Teachers do so much for our children every day, and the effect they have on children’s lives lasts for decades. Almost every adult can immediately name a teacher who made a difference in their life.

National PTA has created several resources to help PTAs show their appreciation for all that teachers do with a collection of editable resources, including:

Use the #ThankATeacher hashtag to promote what your PTA is doing for Teacher Appreciation Week, and keep an eye on National PTA’s One Voice blogand PTAOurChildren.orgfor other ways to celebrate your school’s teachers.

Top 10 Reasons to Attend the Illinois PTA Convention



The 116thAnnual Illinois PTA Conventionis coming up May 4-5 at the NIU-Naperville Conference Center. If your PTA doesn’t have someone attending convention yet, here are the top ten reasons why you should. The early bird discount ends April 6th, so register today!

  1. Meet keynote speaker Dr. Devorah Heitner.In addition to giving the keynote address, Dr. Heitner will be presenting a workshop and signing copies of her new book, Screenwise: Helping Kids Thrive (and Survive) in Their Digital World. Copies will be for sale at convention.
  2. Get some hands-on learning with MemberHub.Are you a little confused about how to use MemberHub with your PTA or school? Take advantage of the hands-on workshop time in the NIU-Naperville computer lab with MemberHub staff to learn how to make the most of this great platform to run your PTA.
  3. Network, network, network.Tired of having your PTA do the same thing year after year. Share experiences and ideas with PTA members from across Illinois to learn new ways of doing programs or to discover new events your PTA can do. Find out how other PTA leaders have solved the problems you or your PTA are facing.
  4. Spend some PTA funds to improve your PTA.Attending the Illinois PTA Convention is an acceptable use of PTA funds. The leadership skills, program ideas, and other experiences of convention can supercharge your PTA going forward.
  5. Win prizes.Our convention vendors love our members and donate prizes that are given away at the start of both general sessions and the end of the last general session. In addition, Illinois PTA will be having a drawing among first-time convention attendees for a free convention registration to the 2019 Illinois PTA Convention. If you haven’t attended before, here’s your chance for a 2-for-1 deal.
  6. Become a better advocate.As a PTA member, you have a superpower. It is your voice, which is heard far too rarely by school boards and legislators. Learn how to use this superpower to make a difference in the life and education of not just your child, but all the children in your school district, in Illinois, and across the nation.
  7. Enhance your leadership skills.Whether you knew it or not, PTA leaders are running small non-profit organizations. Learn how to run your PTA more effectively through the Illinois PTA University leadership courses and other workshops at convention.
  8. Learn from experts. Want to grow your PTA membership, but don’t know how? Want to reach out to all the communities at your school? Heard about childhood trauma and education, but don’t really know what it means? Want to write grants for your PTA, but don’t know where to start? We’ll have workshops covering all these and more.
  9. Make your voice heard.Convention is where Illinois PTA has its business meeting, and it’s your opportunity to direct where the association is going. Vote on the budget, elect program directors (officers next year), shape our legislative platform, and more.
  10. Meet with vendors.Looking for an alternative to your wrapping paper fundraiser? Want to find an exciting assembly? Vendors at the Illinois PTA Convention are there to help you.

Here’s a secret 11threason to attend: to have fun! Getting together with fellow PTA leaders and members often involves laughter and new friendships. Don’t miss out on the fun. Register today!



How to Handle Bad Checks

It happens to almost every PTA every year. A check for membership, spirit wear, or a fundraiser gets returned. Depending on what the check was for, the PTA can be left responsible for full payment on merchandise already received. Here’s how to handle bad checks.

Your PTA’s check handling policies should go in your PTA’s standing rules. Your policy should cover these key points:

  • All checks should have the name, address, and telephone number of the person signing the check so you can contact them if the PTA receives a bad check.
  • Require the check writer to pay a service charge in addition to any bank charges the PTA receives from a bad check.
  • Only accept checks with the current date. Pre- or post-dated checks often indicate that the check writer does not currently have sufficient funds in their account to cover the check, and different date does not necessarily mean that the funds will be there then.
  • If someone has written a bad check to the PTA, do not accept additional checks from them unless they have made a timely repayment of the check amount, bank charges, and PTA service charge. Everyone can make a mistake, and banks have been known to process checks faster than deposits. However, if someone has written a bad check but resolved the situation promptly, they deserve a little forgiveness from the PTA.

When your PTA receives a check back from the bank, contact the check writer by phone or e-mail, asking them to make good on the check and pay the bank charges and PTA service charge promptly. In many cases, this is sufficient to get the check writer to fix the problem. However, if this does not resolve the issue, your PTA may want to consider legal action, particularly if the check amount was significant.

In Illinois, bad checks are covered under the deceptive practice law. A person commits a deceptive practice in Illinois when they write a check that they know they don’t have enough money in the account to cover. As the party to whom the check was written, your PTA may infer that the person writing the check knew this if you attempt to cash the check on two occasions at least seven days apart. It is also a deceptive practice in Illinois if someone writes a bad check for more than $150 that doesn’t correct the situation within seven days of being informed that their check was declined.

If your PTA must pursue the legal approach, make sure you inform the person who wrote the bad check by certified mail and include the following information:

  • The date the check was written, the bank the check was from, the check number, the amount of the check, and who the check was made out to.
  • A request for repayment and additional charges (bank and PTA) within a set time frame.
  • A citation of the deceptive practice law regarding bad checks.

Keep a copy of the letter you sent as well as information regarding the PTA’s attempt to receive the funds through the bank and the check writer. If the issue remains unresolved, you can file a police report with your local department. The police may also direct you on how to file a case in small claims court.

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