Advocacy Resources & Statements
This page contains recent and ongoing ACCPTA statements and advocacy work. Our local PTA units and others in the community can use these resources to help spread the word about our local and statewide advocacy efforts. In addition to these formal positions, ACCPTA advocates at the district and state level through individual and small group meetings, involvement in community groups, and conversations with stakeholders. For a full list of historic advocacy work conducted during previous years, please contact us.
Bright Futures Scholarships
Florida PTA and ACCPTA are fighting Senate Bill 86, which would have a negative impact on the amount of funding available for Bright Futures Scholarships.
Update and Action Alert from Florida PTA, March 19
Talking points and concerns with the bill
Save Bright Futures – a student group that is fighting the bill
Alliance for Public Schools action alerts
High Stakes Testing in Spring 2021
ACCPTA is advocating that all high stakes be removed from standardized tests (the state-level FSA and district-level AIMS) taken in Spring 2021.
Federal testing requirements
The Florida Board of Education indicated interest in applying for a waiver from federal testing requirements, which includes the mandate that schools test 95% of their students. Removing this requirement would relieve pressure for districts and schools. Provide your support for this waiver by March 31.
High stakes implemented at the state level include: student retention in some grades, graduation requirements, teacher evaluations and school grades. SB886 and HB359 were introduced in the Florida legislature that would remove these high stakes.
Calls to Action:
- Contact your legislators to ask them to support these bills when they come to a vote. Enter your address here to find your state senator and house member. Contact information can be found here.
- FL PTA is also requesting that the Governor apply for a waiver from the federal requirement that schools must test 95% of their students. This requirement will be a considerable challenge to implement for all students safely and make accommodations for digital learners. Contact the Governor and ask him to request a waiver.
High stakes implemented at the district level include: middle and high school magnet program enrollment decisions and class placement in middle and high school.
Call to Action:
- Middle and high school families: Reach out to your school administrators and ask that these Spring 2021 FSA and AIMS scores not be used for these purposes. If you are a middle school parent thinking of applying to a high school magnet program, reach out to the programs you are going to apply to with the same request.
- Elementary school families: Reach out to the middle and high schools your children are zoned for, or schools where you plan to apply for a magnet program, with the same request.
Letter from ACCPTA to the Alachua County School District regarding district-implemented high stakes
Comprehensive School Rezoning
The Alachua County School Board is planning a district-wide, comprehensive (including elementary, middle and high schools) rezoning for all school levels. This means that many families in Alachua County will be zoned for a school that is different from the school your child is currently attending. The goal is to have new school boundaries in place beginning with the 2022/2023 school year.
PTAs can make sure their members are aware of the rezoning and opportunities to provide input.
View a calendar of upcoming School Board meetings and workshops.
View agendas for upcoming meetings and workshops.
ACCPTA will post on our Facebook page when we are aware that rezoning will be on the agenda for an upcoming meeting or workshop. We encourage local units to share this information with members.
Email to send to PTA families:
You may be aware that the Alachua County School Board is planning a district-wide, comprehensive rezone for all school levels in the next few years. This means that many families in Alachua County will be zoned for a school that is different from the school your child is currently attending. The goal is to have new school boundaries in place beginning with the 2022/2023 school year.
PTA feels strongly about the value of family engagement within our schools. A strong family to school connection has a positive impact on school culture, administrator and teacher effectiveness, and ultimately student achievement. We also recognize the value that diversity brings to the school community. Every child benefits from participating in a learning environment that includes diverse backgrounds and perspectives.
PTA also places high value on family involvement in decisions such as this. We encourage all families to attend School Board and other community meetings to learn more about the process and provide input about what’s important to you. The board intends to begin the community input process for the rezoning during the summer of 2021. In the meantime, you can access and participate in School Board and other district meetings and workshops here.
We will continue to keep you updated on opportunities to be involved in this process.
ACCPTA proudly endorses the One Mill for Alachua County Public Schools, which funds art and music programs, school counselors, school nurses, librarians, career/tech and magnet programs, and technology. Learn more about ACCPTA’s support for One Mill, including associated position statements.
Promotional tools for PTA/PTSA units
Social media photos
Select the thumbnail below to download a larger sized image.
Fall 2020 School Reopening Safety
ACCPTA captured feedback from PTA leaders and the community and held conversations with local departments involved in school reopening. View our statements and responses received online:
Response from FL Dept. of Public Health in Alachua County
Statement and questions for FL Dept. of Public Health in Alachua County
Statement and questions for School District regarding draft school reopening plan
J.J. Finley School Renaming
The following was read to the Alachua County School Board in June, 2020:
Good evening Chairman Roy, School Board members, and Superintendent Clarke. My name is Mary Benedict, I am the new president of the Alachua County Council of PTA’s.
I am here tonight to express ACCPTA’s wholehearted support for the renaming of J.J. Finley Elementary School. In doing this, we join the many voices in our community in calling for this long overdue change. We believe the school’s current name is out of line with the character and values of our community.
Further, ACCPTA supports the proposed renaming process and stands behind the inclusion of many community voices. We appreciate that each of the five board members will choose a committee member, thereby providing voices from the wider community. This is consistent with National PTA’s position on shared responsibility in educational decision making, urging school boards to cooperate with members of the school and larger communities in the development of school policies.
Going forward, ACCPTA calls for a more robust naming policy for schools. The district must examine and insure that all school names in our district are consistent with the character and values of the communities they serve.
The mission of PTA is to make every child’s potential a reality by engaging and empowering families and communities to advocate for all children. Thank you for your attention this evening.
School Guardians/Arming School Staff
In light of recent discussions surrounding the funding of the School Resources Officers that are currently mandated by state statute, ACCPTA provided a reminder to our School Board and district leadership bout Florida PTA’s position regarding school safety – specifically arming teachers and administrators. In short, Florida PTA does not believe in arming teachers or school administrators. We believe the only person on campus who should be armed is a trained School Resource Officer.
Students deserve a safe environment in which to live, learn and grow. Unfortunately, the threat of violence is a presence in many communities and has grown in a number of schools across the country.•The most effective day-to-day school climate is gun-free, which includes not arming teachers and administrators.•Ensure the development and adequate funding of a School Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) for every school district. The most effective plans are developed in cooperation with school and health officials, parents, and community member.
We are pleased that our district leadership supports this position.
ACCPTA is working with county and statewide organizations to raise awareness about the importance of completing the Census in March and April 2020.
- Census 2020 talking points, including statistics specific to Florida and Alachua County
- Census 2020 Email Template for PTA’s for communication to PTA/PTSA members
- Social media graphics, including a Facebook profile and cover photo
- Image with data specific to Florida
- Flier from the City of Gainesville, including dates and a web link for participation
- Video from the US Census: What is the 2020 Census?
- Video from local leaders: Why is the Census Important to Alachua County?
- Presentation at ACCPTA Training Feb. 2020, from FL KIDS COUNT, US Census Bureau, USF and Hillsborough County Council PTA
- Fact sheets from the U.S. Census
- Timeline for distribution of census materials
- Order posters, from the National Education Association
- Statistics in Schools– curriculum that was provided to Alachua County teachers
#REDForED: Statewide Teacher Shortage
This Alachua County Advocates PTA #REDforED campaign aims to raise awareness of the statewide teacher shortage and what can be done to help our teachers.
- Supporting our Teachers, Supporting our Children, talking points about changes needed at the state level
- Why this is happening, and what we can do
- Gainesville Sun article on the Teacher Shortage, from ACCPTA’s Megan Hendricks, Jan. 2019
- Heart & word cloud image
- T-shirt sales link
- 8 ways to keep teachers in Florida, from the Florida Education Association
- Teacher Appreciation article, from ACCPTA’s Khanh-Lien Banko, May 2018
- REDforED Campaign Launch
PTA Position Statements
PTA advocacy at all levels is directed through position statements – documents that outline the opinion, will or intent of the association to address problems, situations or concerns that affect children/youth and require action. Position statements are created at the national and state level through the resolutions process, which involves significant research, communication, and ultimately approval by PTA delegates. Contact us with questions about position statements or local or county positions.