What a year it has been!
This month, members of our board of directors end their terms. This incredible group of dedicated volunteers has led us through some of the most challenging years that Washington State PTA has experienced. I know that many of them look forward to well-earned vacations and the chance to hand their leadership responsibilities to their successors. If you get a chance, please thank them. These volunteers average 10-40 hours per week simply for the love of PTA and the work that we do.
We are nearing the pinnacle of our PTA year. Our 108th Annual Convention will be May 18-23. This event will be our second virtual convention and will be the culmination of a year’s work. We held our first planning meeting on June 26, 2020. We did not know what the year would bring, but we did see that it would take all year to plan this event. We are very excited and look forward to seeing you there.
The legislative session in Olympia drew to a close at the end of last month. It has been an excellent advocacy year for Washington State PTA. We made significant progress on the legislative platform established by the members who participated in the Legislative Assembly last October 24-25. By meeting weekly leading up to and throughout the session, our advocacy committee worked with our legislative consultant to testify and otherwise take actions aligned with our legislative issues, principles, and resolutions. A new newsletter, Focus on Advocacy, was started in January to keep our members informed of our activities. Details on our activities can be found in the advocacy portion of our website and on our blog. Learn more at our All About Advocacy event on June 8. Registration and details are coming soon.
Our student awards programs have proceeded as they did last year. While we again missed the delightful in-person student celebration, we are making up for it a bit with the online student showcase. Please take some time to check out the phenomenal submissions by students from across the state. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
Working together, our Communications Committee and our marketing consultants have published hundreds of newsletters in the last year. In addition to the regular weekly, monthly, and quarterly newsletters, we published a new newsletter for the Legislative Assembly, added a monthly Council Newsletter, and started the Focus on Advocacy newsletter. There has been plenty of news to share this year. Our team has worked hard to both winnow it down and give you all the information you need.
Our membership team has worked quietly and steadily in the background the last few months to prepare for the membership database transition. We have built out the membership database support webpage, adding new resources, guides, and videos. A few small changes are coming to the database platform that will make the transition a bit easier.
The success of our first virtual convention last May led to a massive effort by volunteers and staff to prepare our local PTAs for the fall. Dubbing our work the “PTA. Now More Than Ever.” initiative, we pulled together resources, guides, and tools suited to our newly virtualized world. We developed new training and found solutions to many of the problems local and council PTAs would face in the fall. These resources continue to be updated regularly and are available on our website.
Despite all of the difficulties presented by the pandemic, it has been a productive year. I am very proud of our volunteers, staff, and consultants who have worked so hard to support our members. We have an incredible team, and I am glad to be a part of it.
Andrew L. Estep
WSPTA Executive Director