Thursday, January 24, 2013

We did it! Now do more...

Thank you PTA for showing up to Focus Day! I think our legislators heard us loud and clear.
The day may be over, but the work is not.

I need you all to do two more things for this year's Focus Day to be complete.

1) Please tell us which legislators you met with (not everyone had a chance to get or fill out the yellow form), and what they said. Your general recollections are fine if you don't remember the specifics. We want to get a sense of what to expect from them this session, and you may have heard something that we haven't. I would love to see all of these recollections written where we can all read and comment on them. Perhaps either this blog, or the WA State PTA Facebook page?

2) Please send the legislators you met with today a "thank you" note, reminding them of your conversation and of our top five advocacy issues. This is crucial to the advocacy efforts of PTA as the relationships we build and our strength in numbers are our biggest weapons.

I would also welcome your comments and ideas for improvement on this year's Focus Day.

Thank you again for showing up,

Jason Rothkowitz
WA State PTA Focus Day 2013 Co-Chair

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Twitter Feed

If you're on Twitter, be sure to follow @FocusDay2013 and watch the #FocusDay and #waedu hashtags tomorrow. Looking forward to seeing many of you there!

A message from State PTA- The Eventbright address for the GA Building is Incorrect!

A Message from Washington State PTA:

Thank you for registering for WSPTA's Focus Day 2013!   Check in will begin at 9:30 am in the General Administration Building.   The location of the General Administration Building is 210 11th Ave SW, Olympia, WA 98511.  There are public parking lots on the Capitol Campus and nearby in the business district.  The Dash shuttle is free and helpful if you park further out from the Capitol.  Below are three links that will be very helpful as you plan your visit.

The agenda for the day is:
The agenda for the day is:

State capitol directions and parking information page:
Dash shuttles can help you get around the capital:
Campus map:
9:30 a.m. – PACKETS AVAILABLE FOR PICKUP. General Administration Building Auditorium.

10:15-10:45 – Welcome … TIME TO FOCUS TRAINING. How to speak to your legislator; who to talk to; where to go.  General Administration Auditorium

10:45-noon – Meet with legislators and deliver postcard messages. Or …

11 a.m. A discussion on Positive Behavior Interventions and Support in the General Administration Building Auditorium

11-11:25 a.m. What can we expect on funding: A small-group discussion with legislators on the McCleary ruling and paying for HB 2261/basic education funding plan. (Chairs of Senate Ways and Means and House Appropriations will join us along with other education leaders). O’Brien 102, briefing room. (Note: Limited capacity)

11:30- 11:55 a.m. What can we expect on policy: A small-group discussion with legislators about strategies to close the opportunity gaps and improve outcomes for all students. (Chair of the House Education Committee and the House leader on education and opportunity will join us). O’Brien 102, briefing room. (Note: Limited capacity)

Noon to 1 – Under the Rotunda. Leaders join us to discuss their thoughts on passing HB 2261/basic education funding back in 2009 and what their thoughts are going forward, especially in the context of the McCleary ruling.

1-2:30 p.m. -- Meet with legislators and deliver postcard messages. Or …

Join us in the General Administration Building for an update on the McCleary lawsuit and discussions on the policies behind WSPTA’s 2013 platform. 

Event notes:

LUNCH: For those who have pre-ordered box lunches, they will be available for pickup at 11 a.m. in the General Administration Auditorium.

CIVIC INVOLVEMENT: The GA building events are sponsored by Randy Dorn and the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. These are informational events around civic involvement and are not lobbying events. The small-group discussions are sponsored by Rep. Marcie Maxwell. They are intended to foster communication and promote civic involvement.

ADVOCACY: The Rotunda event is a citizen’s lobbying event, as are the office visits. Please do share your thoughts and please do speak up for funding and policies that will help all children reach their potential.

Be sure to wear your PTA blue!  

Priority Pamphlet


Leave Behind Post Card


Links to maps, parking and public transit

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Final Agenda

McCleary/2261/Fund Ed First – the money talk
11:00 – Senator Andy Hill, Chair Ways and Means
                Representative Ross Hunter, Chair Appropriations
                Representative Cathy Dahlquist 
                Senator Rosemary McAuliffe

Representative  Susan Fagan may pop over. Has a committee hearing
Closing the opportunity gaps – the policy talk
11:30 – Representative Santos and Representative Maxwell

Note: Senator Litzow will not be in Olympia, and the rest of the education senators had conflicting committee meetings. Senator Litzow is interested in trying to set up a webinar to connect with PTA members and I will pursue that with his staff.

Rotunda (Ramona will introduce legislators, give information about them)
12:05 – Welcome – Novella Fraser WA State PTA President

Perspective of House and Senate leaders
12:10 – Representative Pat Sullivan, House Majority Leader
12:15 – Senator Rodney Tom, Majority Coalition Senate Leader
Perspectives of those working on closing the gaps
12:20- Representative Eric Pettigrew – D caucus leader, reform legislation
12:25 – PTA (member TBD)
Perspectives of the budget writers
12:30 – Representative Ross Hunter, Chair House Appropriations
12:35 – Senator Andy Hill, Chair Ways and Means

12:40 – Representative Marcie Maxwell, House lead on education and co-leader of Quality Education Council
12:45 – What's next for PTA? (Member TBD)
Goodbye – Shelley Kloba WA State PTA Legislative Director

Some legislators may drop by. Ramona will introduce them so we can all say thanks

Monday, January 21, 2013

Send us your appointment info!

If you, or your legislative advocacy chairs, have made any meeting appointments with your legislators, let us know! We may have other people interested in joining you. Help us keep our master scheduling list updated.

Send meeting info with your name (optional), email (optional), legislative district, time, location and legislators name to:

Friday, January 18, 2013

Updated TENTATIVE Agenda- Subject to Change

12:10-12:50 p.m. in the Rotunda, Legislative Building
Legislators start speaking at 12:15 p.m. Draft lineup

This year we are inside, under the Rotunda for the actual Rally. We are still waiting to hear whether the governor will be joining us, and the legislators schedules change often from day to day. This scheduling is all tentative and subject to change with no notice...

Event Theme: Making the Hard Choices
Basic education reform and funding – four years after HB 2261 and one year after the McCleary ruling.
Question to legislators: Your hopes then (2009) and thoughts now on what the state has to do to meet its constitutional duty to amply educate all children and prepare K-12 graduates for life, work and study in the 21st century

In the Rotunda: Making the Hard Choices
12:10 – PTA opening comments
12:15 – Rep. Pat Sullivan, lead sponsor for HB 2261 in 2009; and House Majority Leader in 2013
12:20 – Senator Rodney Tom, Basic Education Finance Joint Task Force, 2007-2008; and Senate Majority Leader in 2013
12:25 – Rep. Eric Pettigrew, secondary sponsor for HB 2261 in 2009; lead sponsor for controversial reform legislation in 2012; and House Majority Caucus chair in 2013
12:30 – Rep. Ross Hunter, Basic Education Finance Joint Task Force, 2007-2008; roadshow presenter for the funding plan in 2008-2009; chair of House Ways and Means in 2013
12:35 – (tentative) Senator Andy Hill, PTA dad in 2009; chair Senate Ways and Means in 2013
12:40 – closing remarks, PTA and any additional guests

Moderator: Ramona Hattendorf – who re-named the plan “It’s Basic” for PTA members because “The Basic Education Finance Joint Task Force’s Final Report to the State Legislator” just didn’t work.  PTA mom in 2008; government relations coordinator for the Washington State PTA in 2013.

The Rotunda event will kick off ongoing education around the budget, revenue and education reform. 

Full agenda for the day
9:30 a.m. – PACKETS AVAILABLE FOR PICKUP. General Administration Building
10:15-10:45 -- TIME TO FOCUS TRAINING. What to say, who to talk to, where to go.  General Administration Auditorium
10:45 to noon – OFFICE VISITS; also optional discussion groups sponsored by Rep. Marcie Maxwell

·         Discussion group I:  11-11:30 a.m. in O’Brien 102, briefing room. Topic: McCleary/2261 - what is going to happen with education funding this year?
·         Discussion group II: 11:30 a.m. -12 p.m.  in O’Brien 102, briefing room. - Closing the Opportunity Gaps - how can policy better support all students

12:10-12:45 p.m. – IN THE ROTUNDA. “Make the hard choices” Reps. Sullivan, Pettigrew and Hunter; Senators Tom and Hill

1-2:30 p.m. (or whenever you choose to leave). OFFICE VISITS, optional information sessions in the GA building, NEWS McCleary update/by Linda Hanson … 2013 WSPTA platform overview /Ramona Hattendorf

Focus Day is our citizens lobbying day. Washington State PTAs top legislative priority for 2013 is to implement the K-12 reforms essential to meeting the educational needs of students in the 21st century. This includes continuing to phase in 2009’s basic education finance plan (ESHB 2261) to give all students the opportunity to complete a 24-credit diploma, as well as 2010’s system reforms (E2SSB 6696) to address school and school district accountability, educator preparation, teacher and principal evaluations, college and career academic standards, and family and community involvement in schools.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Come on PTA, we are advocacy group!

Lest we all forget, PTA and all of its local units are, first and formost, an advocacy group. We have the potential to be one of the most powerful advocacy groups in our state. WA State PTA has over 140,000 members! Can we not convince more than 82 people to register for one of our most important advocacy events of the year? This would be an inexcusable lapse on our part. The children of this state deserve so much more from us. Let's step it up people. Get the word out. We're running out of time.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Re-post of Capitol Map


Don't forget,

Please send email to if you are interested in either virtual legislative meetings or the grant offer from the LWPTSA Council. I would also love to get some kid videos in. It will be fun and informative to watch our legislators answer the kids questions on the spot...

Of course, registering is a good thing to remember to do as well!


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Text Flyer for newsletter submissions

WA State PTA Focus Day 2013
Ask Olympia To Make the Hard Choices!
  • Register to let us know that you're coming to Focus Day 
  • Sign up for email updates of new posts on the blog as they occur often
  • If you can’t attend in person, participate virtually -E-mail Jason Rothkowitz if you are interested
  • Share info about Focus Day with your fellow members and friends
  • E-mail your Legislators with questions and encourage them to participate in Focus Day 2013
  • Encourage your children to participate in the video portion of our presentations by recording themselves asking their Legislators a question Details Here

Deadline for Kids Video Submissions extended

Hey kids,

You still have time. The deadline for video contest submissions has been extended to January 22nd. Email your submissions to: or let me know if you can't get it through.

Tentative Focus Day Agenda

Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013, is Washington State PTA Focus Day in Olympia, and we need you there, speaking up for kids. Register now.

Why now? Because it is time to make the hard choices. Is it going to be cuts or revenue? Are we really, truly going fund our children’s education, or will we continue to leave essentials like books and maintenance up to fund-raising? Are we going to continue to leave something as basic as a six-period high school day dependent on a local levy passing?

There’s something wrong when parents have to waive signs and pass around the hat just to give kids a bare-bones education.

Our goal for January 24 is to reach every legislator who has a PTA or PTSA in their district. Why? Because they need to decide.
Are they going to live up promises made in 2009 and 2010? Are they going to comply with a court decision that came down in 2012? Are they going to – finally – work through their impasses and give all kids an equitable, basic education that prepares them for work or college?

Tell them it’s time to focus and made the hard choices. Make your appointments today to meet with them on January 24. Get their contact info here

Tentative agenda for Thursday Jan. 24 Focus Day

·         9:30 a.m. – PACKETS AVAILABLE FOR PICKUP. Talking points, leave-behinds
General Administration Building, Capitol campus
·         10:15-10:45 -- TIME TO FOCUS/ADVOCACY TRAINING. What to say, who to talk to, where to go.
General Administration Building, Capitol campus
·         10:45 a.m. to noon --  MEET WITH LEGISLATORS (on your own), optional discussion groups and resource room
Discussion group I, 11-11:30 a.m. – The McCleary ruling and basic education. What is going to happen with funding this year?
Discussion group II, 11:30 a.m. -12 p.m. - Closing the opportunity gaps. How policy can better support all students

·         12:10-12:45 p.m. -- RALLY IN ROTUNDA. “Make the hard choices”

·         1-2:30 p.m. (or whenever you choose to leave). MEET WITH LEGISLATORS (on your own)
Or attend optional information sessions and resource room in the General Administration Building
·         BEFORE YOU LEAVE: Let us know who you met with. Drop off index cards at GA building

Good stuff to know
·         Lunch is at your convenience; meals can be pre-ordered and picked up onsite. You can order when you register
·         DON’T FORGET: Make your appointments to meet with your legislators. Get their contact info here (just call or email; their assistants will set you up)
·         We will have crayons and coloring books on hand for the little ones, but no kids activities or march this year

Our schools are struggling under financial duress. Basic education relies on unstable and inequitable levies – and increasingly, private fund-raising. Promises to fund what kids really need – and schools strive to provide – remain just that. Consider:

             All-day kindergarten is funded for about 1 in 5 children. Promised? Voluntary but available all-day K for all children
             K-3 class sizes range upwards to 30. Promised? 18 students, max
             Money for counselors and librarians: Diverted to cover other expenses
             Maintenance, supplies and operating funds: Still short by half a billion dollars, and counting.
             Enough instructional time in middle and high school to cover a typical 6-period day: Just a promise. And because of that graduation requirements that align with work and college expectations remain on hold.

It’s time Washington steps up and funds the education our children need.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Hey PTA!

Hey PTA!

The WA State PTA legislative platform for the next two years is set. Now we have to do something with it! Focus Day is fast upon us. On January 24th in Olympia, we have our next, and perhaps best, opportunity as a large voting block to advocate for our kids with a loud, cohesive voice by sharing our new legislative platform with our legislators and our state. 

Focus Day is important. This year in particular, it's very important.  We have a new Governor, some new legislators, and some new jobs for incumbent legislators. Come January 24th, the long legislative session will have just begun, and the McCleary decision and the state budget will be on the minds of everyone in Olympia. We must ask Olympia to make the hard choices! Revenue, budget cuts, tax reform, closing the opportunity gap... The choices they must make are daunting, but they must make them.

This is a huge opportunity, not only to deliver our message to our legislators to make the hard choices, but to engage in PTA outreach by encouraging participation by members in historically under-represented regions, and to increase membership and general civic involvement.

January 24th, 2013 will be our big day. Bring three friends. Let's make it count!

Thank you and please check out for all of the info as well as material to promote Focus Day in your Local Unit including, flyers, bus discount news, a Focus Day PowerPoint presentation, a video message from Ross Hunter, scheduling and registration info, parking and food info, etc. Check it often in the next three weeks as we will be updating it regularly. You can even sign up for email notification when we do add something.

We need your help to make this Focus Day successful. Please spread the word and register today at: Focus day Registration

See you there!