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the observer

a bimonthly e-newsletter from Ninth District PTA 


The Spanish edition will be online at our website within five days.  

La edición en español estará en línea en nuestro sitio web dentro de cinco días.




November 8

Secretary Training



November 10

Tax Filing Workshop






October 2011
  • Year-end audits 
  • Copy of your 2011-12 budget 
  • 30 memberships for Ready Set Remit awards

November 2011
  • First remittance of per capita dues
  • IRS and state tax filings for units with June 30 fiscal year end 
  • File RRF-1 if you have a charitable trust number 
  • Reflections art submissions due to Councils 
  • $199 unit insurance

Check with your Council for specific due dates. If out of council, check with Ninth District PTA.


Find us on Facebook  Join the discussion.  

From District President

Karen Fleck  

October 13, 2011


 Karen Fleck

     I grew up in Cupertino, California - not far from Apple, Inc. world headquarters. My senior year our family moved to Homestead - the same neighborhood where Steve Jobs went to high school. He graduated from Homestead High in 1972.  


    Jobs grew up during the golden era of California schools. Our schools were considered the best in the country with robust art, music and P.E. programs. California public schools prepared Jobs -- the son of working class parents -- to enter Reed College, one of the top liberal arts colleges in the U.S.


     Reflecting on Steve Jobs life reminds me why I'm involved in PTA. Strong public schools are our hope for the future. It's where we develop future "Steve Jobs" to lead the world in whatever field their heart takes them. PTA is centered around the public school because that's where the child, the parent and our democracy intersect.


     As a PTA leader, you'll never know your full impact on a child's life. I believe you are playing a critical role and I applaud you for your devotion and hard work. Together we can succeed in putting California back on top with one of the finest public school systems in the country.


     With that thought, it's back to the everyday work of PTA!


    Fall is the time for Red Ribbon Week, Reflections programs, fall carnivals, family nights, parent education workshops, college and career fairs and more. Parent involvement and communication are key to the academic success of your school. Thank you for welcoming new families and volunteers, filling out PTA grant applications and attending our PTA trainings.


    It's also the time of year when there's a lot of PTA business to take care of to keep your unit in "Good Standing". Attend council meetings, forward membership, insurance, federal AND state tax forms, and RRF-1 forms if you've received your Charitable Trust number. If you're not clear what to do for any of these, please ask your council for help right away -- we are here for you.




Ant painting
Second-grader Maysen Seile's award-winning painting "High Hopes".
Three local students recognized by National PTA 
Late last spring, National PTA had their Reflections judging and three students from Ninth District were honored at the national level!
  • Cordelia Degher, Paul Ecke Central PTA, North Coastal Council, Intermediate Music Composition Award of Excellence
  • Cynthia Bao, Park Village Elementary PTA, Palomar Council - Primary Literature Award of Merit
  • Maysen Seile, Rio Seco School PTSA, Tierra Del Sol Council - Primary Visual Arts Award of Merit

The winners were chosen from hundreds of thousands of submissions from students across the nation based on last year's theme "Together we can..." We're excited to see how students will interpret this year's Reflections theme: "Diversity means..."   


Holmes PTA featured on KUSI's Good Morning San Diego
Holmes PTA in San Diego Unified Council had their fifth annual Walk to School Parade and this time the TV cameras were there to interview the kids, principal, and PTA president Christine Groves. "It's a great community come-together," said Groves in the story. The story gave Holmes PTA an opportunity to tell the community about their health and safety initiative and all the wonderful programs they bring to Holmes Elementary.  Watch Video.


Shawna Straw, Treasurer  

This is a busy time of year for the PTA treasurer.  Membership is coming in and needs to be tallied and the non-unit portion needs to be forwarded. The budget should have been created and adopted by now. If the PTA's year end was May 31, then the various filings to the government are due by October 15.  Those PTAs with a June 30 fiscal year end only have until November 15 to get this done. If this is the first year for the treasurer, then a whole learning process is going on. (For me too - it's my first year in this job at Ninth District PTA). Continue to use the PTA council as a resource and Ninth District PTA as a resource when necessary. A great calendar to help keep all of these things that are "due" at the forefront can be found here. Continue to study up on all things treasurer on the State PTA website. Learn more.


Every month, tally your members and forward
Every time someone joins your PTA, you are collecting per capita dues that don't belong to your unit. You are collecting on behalf of your Council, District, State and National PTA. These per capita dues, while small, are the lifeblood of those organizations so please don't hold on to them. Since per capita dues don't belong to your unit, you can forward through channels without waiting for approval at your monthly executive board meeting. Every month, treasurers should tally up membership and forward any per capita dues collected to your Council (or District if out of council) - even if it's just for one member.
Secretary Training on November 8

Secretaries have an important job. You record every official action at executive board and association meetings - passing motions, approving budgets, adopting audits, electing officers.  If it's not in the minutes, then it's like it didn't happen!  PTA officers who want to learn how to take proper minutes are invited to our Secretary Training on Tuesday, November 8 from 10:30 am to noon at the San Diego County Office of Education, Room 306. RSVP here. Here are some more tips.    


Steve Tutunjian, Historian

What volunteer hours do I report?  Here's the answer: 

  • Time spent writing PTA agendas, minutes, correspondence, reports, newsletter articles; 
  • Time spent on PTA-related activities at school or within the community;
  • Telephone time regarding PTA business;  
  • Travel time to and from PTA activities;  
  • Attendance at meetings, workshops and other functions related to PTA work;
  • Convention attendance (except time spent sleeping and eating).

Address historian issues to Ninth District Historian, Steve Tutunjian  (858) 382-0911.



Grants exclusively for PTAs 

Ninth District PTA has grants of up to $800 to units and councils in San Diego and Imperial Counties. Grants are for programs promoting health and welfare, parent and student education and parent and student involvement. Grant are due November 17. Apply here.

California State PTA
has grants of $500 to $2,000 for units and councils in four categories - parent education, outreach translation, cultural arts, and healthy lifestyles. Grants are due November 15.
Apply here.  


Rebecca Hernandez
Rebecca Hernandez, VP Legislation 
There is no doubt many changes are in store for California voters in the 2012 Election. All Californians should take this opportunity to learn about the new districts we will be using for the 2012 elections. Every ten years, cities, counties, school boards and states redraw the lines for districts to keep representation equal. This process is increasingly moving from the backrooms to the public. This year, for the first time, California state legislative lines were drawn by a completely independent commission. Learn more.    
Cathy Roth, Arts Education Chair

I'm excited to announce Ninth District PTA will be joining the California State PTA in promoting arts education. In the coming months, I'll be sharing with you how important it is to give your parents, students and teachers a voice to promote the Arts through advocacy and programs.

    Did you know?  California State Education Code states the arts should be taught to every student. Section 51210 specifies that a required adopted course of study used by schools for grades 1-6 must include the visual and performing arts. Section 51220 specifies the same requirement for grades 7-12.

    This year, the need to support arts learning is crucial, at both the national and local levels, as federal law makers look to reauthorize ESEA (formerly, No Child Left Behind) and local school districts cope with tightening budgets. Every parent, educator and community member needs to become an active advocate of arts learning to ensure all our youth are equipped with the tools they need to become productive adults and future leaders. Learn more


First PTA Arts Forum to be held in Orange County 

California State PTA will be holding its first Arts Education Forum on Monday, October 24 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30p.m. at the Orange County Department of Education. All district, council, and unit arts education chairs, Reflections chairs and legislative chairs are invited to attend, as are all of you. We will have a great program including Ron Jessee, Regional Arts Lead for San Diego County for the California County Superintendents Arts Initiative as our keynote speaker. Learn more.  


Heather Bush
Heather Bush, VP Parent Involvement
This AAA Auto Club event on Saturday, Oct 29, 11 am to 3 pm at Rancho Bernardo High School will educate teens and their parents on safe driving. It will be a fun-filled afternoon of free activities including a rock climbing wall, DJ, contests, giveaways and many other interactive opportunities. Learn how to find your way under the hood and around the car, information for parents on the most dangerous driving situations for teens and how to avoid them, how to talk about driving and how to set and enforce rules to address leading hazards. Classic cards, hot rods and race cars on display. Free lunch to first 500 people who RSVP.

bright green future
Learn about school sustainability on Oct. 21-22 at USD
Many San Diego schools are literally throwing money away: overpaying for trash collection and paying to bury saleable commodities in the landfill. This conference will show how your school can make money on your trash. Attend the Zero Waste Schools Workshop and learn about Resource Recovery - one of the hottest topics in sustainability and school bottom lines. Learn more.
polar bear
Wednesday, November 2  4 - 8 pm

Expect an evening of adventure, fun, and facts at the San Diego Zoo! This year's annual Open House is for teachers, PTA officers and administrators only. Event will focus on the topic of carbon footprints and Arctic wildlife. We'll show you some exciting classroom learning opportunities and focus our spotlight on our magnificent polar bears. $7.50 per person fee includes appetizers, dinner, and more!Reservations are required: Learn more. 




"The best fundraiser of all is a line item in the state budget."

-- Carol Kocivar, President of the California State PTA
Carol Kocivar casual

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Laura Schumacher
The Observer Editor