Monday, November 30, 2015

Pressing Pause at the Annual Convention

The 119th Annual NYS PTA Convention held November 13-15 in Niagara Falls was a great success! 

We covered critical topics and offered:
  • opportunities to work on leadership skills;
  • engagement with a wide range of exhibitors; 
  • highlights of the great creativity of our students in the Reflections Gallery;
  • presentation and approval of updates to our bylaws; 
  • participation in the parliamentary challenges and debate with the resolutions process; and 
  • keynote speeches by: MaryEllen Elia, NYS Commissioner of Education; Ashli Skura Dreher, 2014 New York State Teacher of the Year; and Kent Knappenberger, Music Teacher and Inaugural Grammy Award Winning Teacher. They were very inspirational and full of Information to be brought home to our local members!

We also had some firsts:
  • Streaming our General Sessions Online - For those members unable to join us in Niagara Falls we offered our General Sessions video streamed online. Those videos are now available on our NYS PTA YouTube channel or directly from our website by clicking here.
  • Approved a new resolution on Bio-Solid Waste - To see that and other resolutions discussed at our convention, click here.
  • Installed new and returning officers: Vice President Jane Harsha, Vice President Judy Van Haaren, Secretary Helen Hoffman and Treasurer, Neil Johanning
  • Introduced of new Awards - The first NYS PTA Family Engagement Award in Honor of Jami-Beth Knapp was presented to NYS Board of Regents Chancellor Emeritus Robert Bennett; and the Empire State PTSA presented the first Muriel Berk Service Award to past NYS PTA President Alice Willett. (To see the presentations, please check out the YouTube videos of the Banquet by clicking here.
  • Introduced the Premiere Letter of Interest along with an introductory video for members interested in being involved with the NYS PTA Board. (Be on the lookout for more information about this new program.)
  • Announced the "Press the Pause" Twitter Campaign Vice President Jane Harsha led delegates in an Advocacy message from our seats to kick off  our "Pressing the Pause" Campaign. Delegates tweeted: "#NYSPTA calls for immediate pause in the link of APPR & test scores thru 2016-17. Get the reform right first! @NYSenate @NYSA_Majority."  Update: This past weekend the press is reporting that the governor may be moving toward reducing the role of test scores in teacher assessments. He is awaiting the Common Core Task Force report this month and is expected to announce changes in his State of the State address in early January. Time will tell....(look for further details in a future post!)
As we enter into the holiday season, I hope you spend time with and enjoy your families!

Thank you for all that you do for children....


Bonnie M. Russell

NYS PTA® President
Communicate to Advocate!