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the observer

a bimonthly e-newsletter for PTA leaders from Ninth District PTA   




 October 18

Great California ShakeOut 

Earthquake Drill

10:18 am   


October 23-31

Red Ribbon Week  


November 1 

Tax Workshop
9 am - 1 pm
Drop in for help filing 990N, 199N or RRF-1

November 12
Office closed for Veteran's Day

November 14

Nominations & Elections Training
9 am - 11 am




Annual Financial Report for 2011-12  

due in September

End of Year
Audit Report and Audit Checklist due in October

Budget for 2012-13 due in October

First remittance of per capita dues 
Adhere to the due date set by your council to remain "in good standing."

Tax Returns and RRF-1 due 15th day of the fifth month after the fiscal year end

Check with your Council for specific due dates.


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From Executive VP

Carol Green   

October 17, 2012



October can be an active month for PTAs. Our membership drive is in full swing, Red Ribbon Week activities are keeping Carol Green volunteers and students busy. Candidate forums, propositions and election materials flood our mailboxes, and the holidays are just around the corner.  


But in this flurry of fun and activities, don't forget the basics. Forward your membership dues as soon as possible - don't wait for a magic number or date, just forward it on a regular basis and it will be off of your to-do list.  


Keep asking people to join your PTA throughout the year. More members mean a larger voice for our children and families. As you plan activities check your insurance guide, have your membership approve the activities and release the funds. Even though you may celebrate Red Ribbon week every year things change and you need to make sure the activities you are doing are covered.  


Many people want the PTA to endorse their cause or proposition or candidate. Check the PTA Toolkit for information about how to do this properly.  


Have fun. Enjoy the crazy activities and the great things PTA is doing for our children and our communities, but don't forget the basics.




Grants and Scholarships exclusively for PTAs and PTA members   
grant money
Ninth District PTA offers grants of up to $800 for units and councils. Grants are for programs promoting health and welfare, parent and student education and parent and student involvement. Applications are due November 13. Learn more.

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

California State PTA offers scholarships up to $500 to encourage PTA members to continue their education and pursue studies in higher education. The categories are for school nurses, PTA volunteers, teachers and counselors. Learn more.

Show movies in your school - legally!   
Movie nights are a great way for families to enjoy a low-cost evening out at your school. You can legally show copyrighted entertainment movies in your school, without risking copyright infringement, if you have a Public Performance Site License. Cost is $100 per showing as long as the movie is inside the school building. You can charge admission up to the cost of the license or you may "suggest donations" and/or sell concessions. Some of the Fall New Releases include The Lorax, The Hunger Games, Madagascar and Brave. Learn more.

Pay early to avoid the $25 late fee.  
Every PTA is covered by low-cost insurance through California State PTA. Your current insurance policy expires at the end of 2012. You must pay your premium to continue your coverage into 2013. The insurance premium is $199 for units and $131 for Councils. Check with your council on the due date. Pay on time to avoid the $25 late fee. 
   All units and councils must also turn in a Workers Compensation Annual Payroll Report - even if you didn't pay anyone. If your unit paid no contractors in 2012, write "NO ONE PAID" across the form and submit with your insurance payment. If you paid contractors, list the contractors (you can estimate how much you will pay through the end of 2012) and turn in. If your total payroll is more than $1,000, you'll need to pay an additional premium.

Download insurance bill, workers comp form and samples of filled out forms if no one paid or if you have paid workers


Shawna Straw, Treasurer
Every PTA must file a tax return for 2011-12. Fortunately, many of you can file the easy online forms. If you need help filing the online returns -- IRS 990N, California 199N or RRF-1, come to a tax workshop on Thursday, November 1. We'll be at the San Diego County Office of Education Computer Lab, 6401 Linda Visa Road. to help. Drop by any time between 9 am and 1 pm. RSVP here. It helps if you bring your bylaws, board roster and 2011-12 Annual Financial Report. Learn more about filing.

100,000 members have activated their cards 
Membership card
A big "thank you" to all PTA leaders who have encouraged activation of the new 2012-2013 PTA membership cards. We just passed the 100,000 mark, and the number is still climbing!
Your hard work to promote the card activation process has been a key to our success. As of today, there have been more than 100,000 card activations from more than 7,100 PTA units, in 51 states. Note: San Diego County does not have an OfficeMax store so unfortunately members can't take advantage of the coupon attached to the card. But PTA members can take advantage of many other membership perks.

Darlene Harris, VP Leadership
Darlene Harris new
We have another new PTA in Ninth District! I'm pleased to welcome Carlsbad High School PTSA, a unit in the Carlsbad Unified Council. The 3,000 students, their families, teachers, principal and administrators can now be part of the largest volunteer child-advocacy association in the nation.
Heather Bush, VP Parent Involvement
Heather Bush

School policies and programs should reflect and respect the diversity of the families in the community. Diverse families include families from all races, ethnicities, cultures, religions, family structures, and economic levels, as well as those with physical or mental challenges.


Research shows that family involvement promotes student success. Students with involved parents are more likely to:

  • Earn higher grades and pass their classes.
  • Attend school regularly and have better social skills.
  • Go on to post-secondary education.

What can our PTA do?

  • Recruit bilingual parents to greet and interpret for families whose first language isn't English. Ask the school district to provide translation headsets for parent meetings.
  • Offer family activities at low or no cost so everyone can participate.
  • If people complain about "immigrants" or use ethnic slurs, stay positive and point out the contributions all families can make to the community.
  • Hold meetings in a variety of community locations (e.g., the local library, a community center, a church) to make them accessible to all.
  • Be accessible and available. It's one thing to say all families are welcome and valued, but another thing to show it.

By creating a welcoming environment for all families, your PTA can help every child experience the benefits of family involvement.


Steve Tutunjian ("Mr. T"), Historian

One of the Historian's job is to keep track of volunteer hours. To keep this moving forward, we are asking each council/unit to submit a Mid-year Historian Report by January 10, 2013 to include: 

  • The first six months of volunteer hours using the Annual Historian Report Form for unit or council. Change the reporting period to July 1 to December 31, 2012. Complete all the blocks on the form and date it; and
  • High-resolution (4-5 megapixels) jpg photos depicting one or two significant unit event(s)/achievement(s) resulting directly from PTA initiatives and support. Images may be emailed as an attachment or submitted on a disc or flash drive. Please summarize in one brief paragraph the event(s)/achievement(s) that advanced the education and/or welfare of your student population. Each photo should identify the unit, location, activity, and date. Ninth District will proudly display your event(s)/achievement(s) at Founders Day in February 2013.

Address historian-related questions/issues to Steve Tutunjian,  Ninth District Historian by email or calling (858) 382-0911.

Prop 38 is the only initiative to recognize the arts
Yes on 38
This November, a great way to ensure students have access to a quality arts education is by supporting Proposition 38. California State PTA helped write this initiative, which guarantees an average of $10 billion per year in funding to local schools over the next 12 years. Proposition 38 is the only initiative that specifically recognizes the importance of the arts. Local parents, educators and community members will have input into improving student outcomes, including "instruction in the arts." Learn more.
Last day to register for November election is October 22
To be effective child advocates, it is critical that all PTA members become educated about the issues important to children and public schools. By exercising our democratic right to vote, we give children a voice. This is especially critical in the upcoming election on November 6, 2012. Encourage your members to be informed and vote. People have until  October 22 to register to vote if they have moved, changed their name or just turned 18. Now Californians can register to vote online if they have a California drivers license or ID.
Annual Event is Free and Open to the Public
Got Plans
Grossmont College will be the site of the Grossmont Union High School District's 10th annual Got Plans?", a free college and career fair for high school students and parents, from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 20. Students and parents may participate in up to two 45-minute workshops and speak with admissions representatives from over 90 public and private universities, community colleges, vocational schools and the military. Learn more.
Fixing School Lunches Conference at USD
school lunch
Why aren't school lunches healthier and what can we do about it? Parents are invited to a free conference as a panel of changemakers answers your questions and shares ideas on fixing school lunches. Panel includes Gary Petill, San Diego Unified Food Service Director, Dallas Dotter, Ph.D. Candidate UCSD, Barbara Cole Gates, Founder of Lean & Green Kids and a special guest! Conference is Tuesday, October 23, 12:30 pm at University of San Diego. Learn more.

Pumpkins to Thanksgiving Feasts
boy on pumpkin
Here are two fun flyers for your parents to promote healthy eating. You can use them in your parent newsletters, send home in kids backpacks or post to your PTA website.  One will show you how to make the most out of your Halloween pumpkin - including the seeds! The other will give tips on how to enjoy Thanksgiving without unzipping!   Pumpkin Flyer English and Spanish
Vaccine recommended for everyone
6 months or older

flu shot
Everyone 6-months and older should get a flu vaccine every year. The vaccine is especially recommended for people at higher risk for developing complications from the flu including people 65 years and older. County public health centers have flu vaccines available for children and adults with no medical insurance. For a list of locations, visit or call 2-1-1.
New online tool helps parents evaluate schools
How is my child's school doing? To answer that question, snapshot parents had to go to as many as a dozen web pages to find all the important information. Now it's all together in a two-page snapshot! The new California School Quality Snapshot from the California Department of Education will allow you to see your schools test scores, class size, fitness levels and graduation rates and compare them to other schools in your school district and the state. To find out what your school's snapshot looks like, click here

Which high school can collect the most food?
Hunger is a children's issue. Almost half the people served by the San Diego Food bank are children. That is why Ninth District PTA is once again supporting the Martin Luther King, Jr. Freedom from Hunger Food Drive. Every high school food bank logo Associated Student Body (ASB) in San Diego County is invited to participate. Hosting a food drive is easy and fun! The food challenge will run January 21 through February 2, 2013. The high schools that collect the most food will receive a donation to their ASB. Awards will be presented at the Laurels for Leaders Luncheon saluting all San Diego County High School ASB Presidents on February 19. If you represent a high school PTA/PTSA, encourage your ASB to participate. Questions? Contact Will McHenry at 858-527-1419 x19.
Learn more.

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Laura Schumacher
The Observer Editor