Livonia PTSA Council Courier

December 2020 - It's Almost Over!

What A Year Huh?

I mean, that title is an understatement. This year was something that NO ONE could have predicted. There have been true struggles and difficulties this year and no one thought it would go on for this long. As I reflect on 2020, I see the bad, but I also see the good. What good could possibly have come out of 2020? One word, RESILIENCE. Our LPS village has overcome more challenges than I have ever seen. The staff and students adapted ever so quickly to the "new norm" in a way that I never thought possible. And even though it wasn't always ideal, they still showed how capable they truly are.

This will definitely be a year to remember. But hopefully, those memories won't all be bad. Let's remember how RESILIENT we were and remind ourselves that if we could get through 2020, we can do anything! Cheers to a better 2021!


Stay healthy,


Andrea Malenfant

Council Newsletter Chair

PTA Shout Out!

For our final shout out of 2020, it certainly has to go out to YOU ALL! I'm talking PTA/PTSA units, teachers, staff, students, families, LPS leadership, LPS BOE, Superintendent Oquist, Bus drivers, Food service, custodians, Student Services coordinators, Special Education staff, and anyone else involved in the educational process in LPS! EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU deserves a shout out and praise! This year has been a struggle, and you all have done the very best to make it through! Thank you for all you do!

Reflections Winners Announced!

It's the moment we've all been waiting for! We've finished the judging of all LPS entries and have identified our winners for this year's Reflections program. Congratulations to our winners! Every student listed will advance to the state level of judging.


Stay tuned for more information about how we will be recognizing our winners and participants with a virtual awards ceremony. Click the link below to see the full list of winners!

How Is Your Membership?

Are your membership numbers lower than they were last year? Are you looking for ways to boost your numbers? We'd love to hear your success stories on how you have successfully gained members. Several of our units are struggling this year and looking for ways to increase their membership numbers. This time last year, we had a total of over 3600 members in Livonia. This year, as of December 24, 2020, we have 2077 total PTA members throughout our district. How can we increase this number? How can we help our units to be successful and better help their schools and the students within it? Michigan PTA is hosting a Membership challenge for any unit in Michigan who has 75% of its total membership from last school year, July 1, 2019 to June 20, 2020. I know we would all love for our school's PTA units to have a chance to win that $250. Let's see how we can grow our numbers and accomplish this. Last challenge, we had 6 PTA units who had at least 50% of last year's numbers. I know we can have more units submit for this challenge! I know we can do this!


Season's Greetings and Happy New Year!


Sara Bennett

Livonia PTSA Council Membership Chair

COVID Safe Ideas for YMAD

Youth Making A Difference has been a program that the PTA has always been heavily involved in. Although this year has certainly posed its challenges, our YMAD committee has created a list of COVID safe ideas for students and families to do so they can still participate! This list has been uploaded in MemberHub under Files in the President's hub and it has been emailed to all chairpersons that Council is aware of. An email also went out to each unit President letting them know where to find it. Please share it with your families! Thank you!


Debbie Pline & Nikki Watson - LPTSA Council YMAD Co-Chairs

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Council Volunteers at Greenmead!

Recently, members of Council's Executive Board met to spread some holiday cheer at the inaugural Night of Lights event at Greenmead. Visitors met with Santa and took a stroll through the lighted village before visiting our booth for hot cocoa, coffee, popcorn and some delicious cupcakes made by Andrea! We love being able to get out in the community and show people what we're all about. This event was hosted by the Livonia Chamber of Commerce, which Council has maintained a close relationship with - a special thanks to Kellie and Robb for acting as our Chamber liaisons! As always, we're #downtokringle :)

Council's Unit Spotlight

Webster's Membership Drive

Like many units, Webster has struggled with memberships this year. Without having those face to face events, where people could sign up on the spot, it’s been lagging. We have tried to drive membership in different ways:


  • Have “Membership Monday” posts on our Facebook page where we try to combat some PTA myths and provide a link to memberhub
  • Partner with the principal to increase staff membership and provide lists of who has / hasn’t signed up
  • Periodic reminders to sign up in the PTA section of the principal’s weekly email
  • Recognizing families who do sign up in a special painting by the art teacher (see picture)


Although we haven’t reached the same membership number as last year, we have reached about 2/3 as of December 1. We plan on still trying to increase members in January.

Buchanan Spreads Holiday Cheer!

The Buchanan PTA wanted to make sure our students and staff felt our love, appreciation, and support this holiday season more than ever, so we decided to give each student a book and provide a holiday lunch for our staff. Our Recording Secretary, Marcie Wenzlick, researched and ordered appropriate books for each grade level (Little Bear's Special Friend for Kindergarten, There Was a Cold Lady Who Swallowed Some Snow for 1st grade, Zoey and Sassafras: Caterflies and Ice for 2nd grade, and The One and Only Ivan for 3rd and 4th grade) and packaged each book individually (nearly 500!) so that each Buchanan Bear had a gift from the PTA to open along with their classroom items at December Materials Pickup. For our staff, we provided boxed lunches from Lee's Chicken and bags of holiday cookies from Cantoro Italian Market on the half day on Thursday, December 10. We hope we spread a little extra cheer to all of our #BuchananBears this year!


Valerie Jackson - Buchanan PTA President

Riley Holiday Events!

Riley PTA treated our staff to lunch for conferences with Nacho Average Tostado food truck! The food was amazing, staff was super happy as it helped them get through a long day of conferences & we helped support a new local business. We hope to use them again in the future!


Riley PTA also held a 5 Below shopping event & Dearborn Ham sale in lieu of our usual holiday events. We also have a few families supporting us through the new Givebacks option on our MemberHub site. There have been many great deals on there from digital gift cards to educational items for purchase. Thank you to all our families for their support!

Riley PTA would like to give a shout out to our staff & Ms. Torrento for organizing a canned food drive for the Livonia Goodfellows! Although we weren’t able to fill our usual 100 boxes of canned goods, we managed to fill up 51 1/2 boxes with 2,103 items in 3 days. Way to go Riley!!

December Happenings at Kennedy

To boost our teachers' and staff's spirits, we started Kennedy Shout Outs to run until the break! We created a Google Form and invited families to submit Shout Outs. Each week, we randomly selected 1 teacher/staff member to be the featured staff person of the week, and using donations, the staff person was awarded a $10 gift card! Over the course of a few weeks, we received over 85 notes of praise for our Kennedy teachers/staff, and we shared each submission with the respective person. The Kenney teachers were very appreciative of the Shout Outs!


Another fun activity for our students was our Holiday fun Scavenger Hunt. We contacted 4 local businesses plus our school who let us place a holiday image on their window. Students solved clues that led them to the 5 places and were encouraged to take a picture at each location. We invited students to submit their responses to a Google Form and randomly chose 2 correct entries to win a prize. We also encouraged families to post pictures on the Kennedy Facebook page and to submit them to yearbook.This was a great way to spread some holiday cheer!


-Kennedy PTA Community

Current PEP Standings

Can you believe we're about half way through this school year?! We have accomplished a lot, and still have a lot left to do. Don't worry, we can do this! The current total PEP standings are listed below. Does this mean this is where you will all end the year? Of course not! There are still several ways to increase your PEP numbers! Remember to invite your Council liaison every month to your PTA meetings and CC PEP. Write an article to be published in this amazing newsletter, be sure to CC PEP. Increase your membership to match last year's membership numbers to get 500 points, plus 50 points per member above last year's numbers! Be sure to collect and submit your Youth Making A Difference entries for 200 points. There are more ways, throughout the entire year, to continue to make those PEP scores grow.

Remember, you can always go to the Council website as well to see the updated PEP standings monthly.


Season's Greetings and Happy PEP-ing in the New Year!


Sara Bennett and Melissa Kachaturoff

Livonia PTSA Council PEP Co-Chairs

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Let's Talk About P.E.P.!

PEP. . . what does it stand for? "PTA/PTSA Excellence Program"! And it's currently underway! Remember, in order to receive PEP points, you must send the required documentation to the PEP email: pep@livoniaptsacouncil.org

For example, if you are inviting your liaison via email to your PTA meetings, make sure you Cc the PEP address!


What's Due:

1.) Monthly membership dues to MI PTA are due today, December 28th. How do you remit? The easiest way is to use MemberHub. Use the Admin Console>PTA>State Payment and send it digitally right now! Or by check sent to MI PTA.

The MI PTA STRIDER Membership Challenge Is Underway!

HOW MANY UNITS CAN WE GET TO ENTER THE LATEST MI PTA CHALLENGE?


Hello, Michigan PTA Membership Chairpersons and Vice Presidents!

DOES YOUR MICHIGAN PTA/PTSA UNIT WANT THE CHANCE TO WIN $250?

The MICHIGAN PTA STRIDER MEMBERSHIP CHALLENGE is HERE!

CRITERIA: Your Local Unit must have 75% of its total membership from July 1, 2019 - June 30, 2020, for entry.


The FIRM DEADLINE for this opportunity is MONDAY, JANUARY 25, 2021.

Complete the link below for your chance to win the $250 Grand Prize!

Michigan PTA STRIDER Membership Challenge


Questions?

Contact, Brian L. Johnson, Michigan PTA Vice President for Membership

membershipvp@michiganpta.org

National PTA's Share Your #PTAPROUD Story

Do you have a successful PTA story that you'd like to share? Is there a PTA volunteer that has impacted your PTA? A membership campaign? A new program that your PTA brought to your school to enhance learning opportunities? Tell us about it! We want to hear from you.


Share Your #PTAProud Story - About PTA | National PTA

Advocacy

MI PTA Talks Advocacy

What is advocacy? Advocacy means supporting and speaking up for children – in schools, in communities, and before government bodies and other organizations that make decisions affecting children. If you have ever spoken with your child’s teacher or principal regarding an issue you were concerned about, you are an advocate. PTA advocates speak not just for their child, but for all children in the class, in the school and in our communities. There are many ways to be an advocate.


-Request that advocacy be on the agenda at every PTA meeting. Share what you're learning with your board and general membership. This is a great way to spark interest and find committee members and/or your successor!


-Attend school board meetings and city council meetings when education issues are on the agenda. Invite other members to attend with you, and speak up in accordance with PTA legislative positions.


-Take action on legislative alerts: When you receive an action alert from Michigan State PTA or National PTA, take action yourself and ask your leaders and members to do the same.


All PTA MEMBERS ARE ADVOCATES. You are engaging in advocacy whenever you:


-Speak up for your child. Advocacy is happening every time you reach out to a teacher or school administrator to address a concern about your child's education. This could be as simple as attending a parent-teacher conference, checking in with the teacher about a low test score, or requesting a meeting with your principal and other school staff to discuss your child's disability and how the school can help.


-Take action to improve conditions for all children at your school. A group of concerned parents might write a letter or request a meeting with school administration to discuss a safety issue affecting children on their route to school. Your PTA might organize a "town hall" meeting about school lockdown procedures, dress codes, or nutrition in the cafeteria, ask to review the principal's continuous improvement plan, or request a seat on the school's parent advisory committee.


-Call on your community to respond to an urgent public policy matter. Occasionally, your state or National PTA will issue an alert that a pending piece of legislation has serious implications for public education. Local PTA leaders are in a unique position to educate and mobilize their members to speak up for children's needs.


AUTHORITY TO ACT. PTA members at the unit, council, district or state level must have PTA authority in order to advocate in the name of PTA. • PTA establishes authority for action through the association’s bylaws, the purposes of the PTA, position statements adopted by the Michigan State PTA Board of Managers, and through the legislation platform and resolutions approved by delegates at the Michigan State PTA Annual Convention. The legislation platform is reviewed and approved by the membership every two years at the state convention, and is the framework for PTA action on legislation and statewide ballot measures. The areas and scope of the legislation platform are guided by resolutions adopted by delegates at convention, position statements adopted by the Board of Managers, and by resolutions, position statements and directives from National PTA. Local advocates must research PTA authorities prior to taking action. Check to see if Michigan State PTA already has taken a position regarding your concern or a closely-related issue. If there is an adopted PTA position on an issue, that position can be used as authority to advocate in the name of PTA.


- MI PTA

Founder's Day Photo Album Is Now Open!

Once again, Mandy the Magnificent has created another photo album for this year's Founder's Day celebration. While we won't be celebrating how we normally would, we still want those photos of all your efforts and events! Please make sure that you label each photo with your unit AND what event it is PLEASE!!!!!!!! Thank you!


Founder's Day photo album link:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/5xMibuFozu7Zkvow7

Chili Cook Off Canceled

Normally during this time of year the PTSA Council would be planning for our annual Chili Cook Off. Unfortunately there is just no way that Council can hold an event this big with the current COVID regulations. As much as it saddens us, Council has decided to cancel the event this year. HOWEVER, we are currently looking into other options or holding a summer event that could be held OUTDOORS. Do I smell a Grill Off??? Hmmm...I guess we shall see! We will keep you updated as always!

Important Dates for the 2020 - 2021 Year!

Please note that these dates and times could be subject to change due to COVID - 19 regulations. We will inform all units of any updates or changes as soon as possible.


2021

TBD - Memberhub Training | TBD | TBD

1/20 - LPTSA Council EB Meeting | 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm | BOE

TBD - Council Workshop

*Canceled - Chili Cook Off

1/21 - Reflections Celebration | TBD | TBD

2/10 - Founder's Day

3/17 - LPTSA Council EB Meeting | 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm | BOE

TBD - Council Workshop

4/21 - LPTSA Council EB Meeting | 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm | BOE

4/21 - LPTSA Council Gen. Membership Meeting (Elections) | 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm | Unit members attend virtually

TBD - YMAD Celebration

5/19 - Officer Training | 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm | TBD

6/16 - LPTSA Council EB Meeting | 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm | TBD

TBD - Audit Party | 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm | TBD

8/7 - 8/8 - Michigan PTA 103rd Annual Convention | Henry Ford College

Have You Joined Us On Facebook?

If you are a PTA officer or committee chair, please make sure to join our page for important information, discussions, and more! A lot of great information is shared on this closed group page. It's also a great way to network with other units, share ideas, and ask for help.


https://www.facebook.com/groups/541318689333449/

Getting Connected to MI PTA or National PTA

Michigan PTA Website : https://www.michiganpta.org/

Michigan PTA Facebook Page : https://www.facebook.com/everychildonevoice


National PTA Website : https://www.pta.org/

National PTA Facebook Page : https://www.facebook.com/ParentTeacherAssociation

About us...

The Livonia PTSA Council is a group of 22 local PTA/PTSA Units within the Livonia Public Schools District. The Council is organized under the authority of the Michigan PTA for the purpose of promoting conferences, communications, leadership development and coordination of the efforts of the local units.

Interested in joining Council? There are chair opportunities available! Contact President Mandy Gerstenbrand at mandy.gerstenbrand@livoniaptsacouncil.org