NYS PTA Greetings: Central Hudson Region 2013 Spring Conference
On behalf of the NYS PTA Board of Directors, it is my distinct pleasure to bring you greetings and warm wishes for a wonderful Spring Conference. While spring is the time for gorgeous weather; putting away those winter clothes, planting gardens, and winding down another academic year, it’s also a time of reflection, transition and renewal. Some will be ending their term as president of their unit or council while others will be taking up that leadership position for the very first time.
To all those that are ending their tenure, I extend heartfelt thanks for all that you have accomplished on behalf of children in your school. I hope that you embrace this as an opportunity to share what you’ve learned with your successor; and pay that experience forward as you look ahead to continue your PTA journey. For those taking on the presidency for the first time, I applaud your willingness to lead your unit and I am confident that with the support and assistance of your executive committees you will accomplish great things!
As a time of reflection, we should all take the opportunity to look back on the past year and celebrate all we have done for children and families. Together, we have sent a strong message to decision makers that we will not be silent on issues that impact our children and their education.
Be proud that collectively we have sent more messages to Washington DC than any other state PTA. We may not have accomplished all that we wanted, but they know we are a strong voice for children!
Be proud that we’ve been working with Commissioner King and the Regents to address issues related to education reform and that we’ve been invited to be part of the State Education Department’s committees and task forces for the Dignity for All Students Act, Family Engagement, APPR, the CCLS and we’ve sent commentaries and presented testimony to policy and decision makers on these and other key issues.
Be proud that we are communicating more about issues affecting children and families as well as our PTA positions with our grassroots via social media; so please be sure to be part of that network. Go to our web site, go to my blog – sometimes a bit provocative -- but it gets you thinking, gets you talking, and most importantly, gets you involved!
And, thrilling to me as this a key goal of my administration, you can be proud of our most challenging, yet exciting, undertaking. Echoing our PTA mission for children, we’ve launched our Urban Initiative Task Force with the hope of bringing parent and family engagement education and training to low wealth areas of underserved communities. We have our work plan in place – our target is by next fall to be ready to enlist focus groups in specific communities and explore the possibilities for meaningful engagement.
Finally, speaking of possibilities, we are most proud of the strides you have taken in Central Hudson Region to promote PTA advocacy. Under the strong leadership of Region Director, Laurie Becker who has encouraged exploration, discussion and action on current education reform issues, you have opened the lines of communication to decision makers. You should be proud of those efforts (give yourself a hand!) as speaking up on behalf of children is WHAT we do and WHY we are here as they are the future and they will sustain our PTA legacy.
There’s so much more to learn about all we do; all we CAN do; and about your role in PTA. I invite you to join us at our Summer Leadership Conference in Utica on July 26-28th and get “Wild About PTA” ! Your own Field Support Coordinator, Judy Van Haaren, is this year’s conference coordinator so you know the conference will be terrific—we will be offering 47 workshops and trainings! Also be sure to take advantage of the trainings offered by your region – it is close by and will provide key support to you and your board so you may have a successful year ahead!
In closing I would like to extend my deepest thanks to your Region Director, Laurie Becker and your region board for all they have done to get our messages to you and to offer you assistance throughout the year. They are wonderful resources which you should access often.
Finally, be kind to yourselves and take time this summer to re-energize and relax. Have a wonderful Spring Conference.
Lana Ajemian, President