Advocacy Newsbriefs – June 2017

Take Action on E-Cigarettes!

E-Cigarette Bill: A.516/S.2543This legislation would add e-cigarettes and ENDS to the Clean Indoor Air Act. The Senate has not yet moved the bill, but it has been introduced by Senator Hannon. Take action on this bill HERE!


NYS PTA Advocacy

PTA response to president’s proposed budget: NYS PTA Executive Director Kyle Belokopitsy released a statement regarding the loss of $443 million in support to public schools.

National PTA also issued a response to this devastating budget. This is the time to contact Congress members about this concern. Find your federal representative HERE.


Education

Regents Meetings for June/July: The Regents are meeting June 12-13 and July 17-18. The agendas and meeting webcast links can be accessed HERE.

The NYS Education Department has identified 185 high performing schools as Reward Schools. Read more HERE.


Special Education

The US Department of Education has announced that the new IDEA website is up and running.

The US Department of Education has an overview of legislation, regulation and guidance documents about the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and other topics.

Parents of children with special needs need to plan the lifetime care costs for their kids. There are new plans that may assist them.

Many parents and students need to prepare to transition. The following links, including the new Federal Guide from May 2017 will provide additional support and resources to make the process smoother.

US Department of Labor Disability Resources

NYS OMH Transition Age Youth

US Department of Education: A transition guide to postsecondary education and employment for students and youth with disabilities


Wellness

Alcohol in movie theaters: NY lawmakers are debating whether or not alcoholic beverages can be served in movie theaters. Governor Andrew Cuomo introduced the law that would allow alcoholic beverages to be sold to patrons of legal drinking age, who had movie tickets for films with PG-13, R or NC-17 ratings. Currently state law permits theaters with licensed restaurants attached to them to serve alcoholic beverages. The current bill, A7785, is still in committee.

Lunch shaming: New legislation is aimed towards ending lunch shaming. Senators Liz Krueger and Jo Anne Simon announced a proposal that would require schools to ensure all eligible students are signed up for free and reduced-cost school meals. This bill would also prohibit schools from singling out students whose families fall into school lunch debt by assigning them extra chores or giving them alternative meals. Read more HERE.

Current opioid epidemic alerts: Both the NYC Department of Health and Suffolk County Police Department have issued alerts regarding increases in overdoses where the drug fentanyl is present. The NYC alert states that fentanyl has been found in cocaine. This is not just about heroin anymore.

Resource for health/wellness advocacy: Start thinking about your new PTA year now with a plan for health and wellness advocacy. For ideas on issues your PTA might tackle next year, check out research organization Child Trends. Their database is filled with factual information on important issues, including how the opioid use epidemic is affecting kids.


Family Engagement

Family engagement through the summer: Summer is upon us! As the school year winds down, we start to dread the all too familiar sound of, “I’m so bored!” It’s very easy to have our kids fall into the pattern of television, video games and devices over the summer. Limiting their use of electronics is always recommended, but it would be good to throw in some apps or games geared towards keeping up their learning momentum. You don’t want your kids to forget everything they learned over the summer!

Best apps to slow the summer learning slide

Best summer learning apps for kids

Also, getting outside and just having family time is a great way to engage our children and reconnect. It also gives us that extra exercise that we always try to fit in. There are many things to do over the summer months, and you can create memories that will last a lifetime. Just remember; laugh, run, play and just have fun with your kids!

53 fun family summer activities checklist

25 outdoor summer activities for kids


Current and Upcoming Awareness Events

June

Fireworks Safety Month
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month
National Great Outdoors Month
National Safety Month

July

Juvenile Arthritis Awareness Month
UV Safety Month

August

August 1: National Night Out – “National Night Out is an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our neighborhoods safer, more caring places to live. National Night Out enhances the relationship between neighbors and law enforcement while bringing back a true sense of community. Furthermore, it provides a great opportunity to bring police and neighbors together under positive circumstances.”
National Immunization Awareness Month
Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month

The NYS PTA Wellness Team has developed a Wellness Toolkit and Calendar to help your unit, council or region plan programs, advocacy and fundraising efforts. Each month connects to events and websites where you can gather information for activities or to research an article for your members. There is also a connection to New York State PTA positions to help your advocacy efforts.