What is Advocacy?

Advocacy for Mark Twain PTSA means taking an active role in supporting and speaking up for children and families at Mark Twain. This means in schools, in communities, and before government bodies. It is something we all play an important role in.

 

We hope the below information is helpful, especially as we navigate these unprecedented times. If you have questions or feedback on what should be added to this page, please reach out.

 

Click here for the latest advocacy update from our PTSA Council

 

PTA Advocacy Contacts

Twain PTSA: advocacy@twainptsa.org

Lake Washington PTSA: advocacy@lwptsa.net

Washington State PTA: ptalegdir@wastatepta.org

National PTA: info.legislationcommittee@pta.org

 

Daily tips

Some suggestions that you can try to help support academic success

  • Encourage your child to talk about feelings, accomplishments, and problems. Do your best to listen actively, reflecting back on what your child tells you. You can read up on how we talk about zones of regulation with students here

  • Challenge your child to do well in school. Make your expectations high but reasonable. You can find information on what your child’s planned curriculum here.

  • Let mistakes be OK as long as the child learns from the experience. There is so much we can’t control, but having the right mindset helps all of us feel empowered. Some tips on a growth mindset here

  • Read every day, by yourself and with your child. If you’re using your phone, tell your child what you’re reading so they aren’t left thinking you’re “playing” on your phone while they’re reading. 

  • Provide a quiet spot for school work where there are limited distractions. And ideally at a regular time so it becomes a routine.

  • Have water and healthy snacks available as it can be difficult to focus when hungry. Check out available meal programs if it will help your family. 

  • Encourage your student to complete the school work alone and only ask you for help with what they don’t understand. Give guidance, not answers.

  • Reward hard work. Positive reinforcement is an impactful motivator. Families have used stickers, family game night, a special dinner, or even a book as treats. It doesn’t have to be extravagant.

  • If your child is struggling, reach out to the teacher for help. Ask the teacher to explain things in everyday language if you’re not familiar with the specialized education terms they use. It’s okay to ask for clarification. And the teachers at Mark Twain are amazing and want to help. 

  • Provide teachers with important information. Changing family circumstances like divorce, illness, or the death of a pet can upset a child’s learning.

  • Read all materials sent home from school. I know, there is a lot!

Helpful resources

There are so many resources available, but sometimes it is hard to find the information when you need it. Hopefully the below links help!

 

Washington School District resources for families includes links and contact information for child care, healthcare, shelter, abuse, and financial services among others.  

 

Resources to support Student Well-Being & School Safety (WA Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction)

Provide information for things like Internet Access programs, meal programs, and crisis lines.

 

Washington State PTA site which provides information about what WASTA does around advocacy, education, family engagement, and top 5 legislative priorities for 2020-2022.

 

Identifying and Addressing Youth Anxiety

Anxiety is one of the most common mental health concerns youth face. In this video recording, Kendra Read, Ph.D. discusses how to identify, understand, and begin to intervene in cases of problematic anxiety.


Pandemic Parent

Quick videos, in-depth discussions, and short blog posts on a variety of topics.

 

Online resources for parents and students during COVID-19 closures compiled by the European PTA that includes endless list of activities such as STEM resources, and free subscriptions families can take advantage of.

 

National PTA Family Resources that includes information about healthy diet, physical activity, safe drinking water, mental health, and emotional support.

 

Notes from the Backpack podcast that prides itself as being for parents by parents that has real-life advice and ideas on how to support children’s learning and development


Superflex and the Team of Unthinkables curriculum covers how we talk about strategies for self regulation in a relatable way.

Ready to get involved?

I know the last thing you need is more email, but you might find these communications helpful.

 

LWSD volunteering includes information you can help in your community or the school district. The footer also includes a link to sign up for the LWSD newsletter.

 

Join or volunteer with the WSPTA, the largest volunteer child advocacy group in the country

 

Volunteer at Mark Twain

 

Washington State PTA Take Action page includes the latest advocacy news, legislative priorities, and covers topics like submitting legislative issue proposals, resolution proposals, and principle proposals.

 

Washington State PTA Advocacy Events:

  • WSPTA Legislative Assembly – Attend the annual fall event to learn about the issues, how you can take action and network with other PTA leaders.
  • WSPTA Focus on Advocacy – Occurs in January, where many advocates meet with their legislators and participated in the daily call to actions. 

Find State Legislators – Look up your Washington State Legislators and share what is important to you.

 

Listen to Notes from the Backpack, a PTA podcast

 

Stay informed. I know the last think you need is more email, but these newsletters and communications may be helpful

 

Stay connected. If social media is your thing, here are a few groups where you can connect with other families