November 14, 2016 (Saratoga, NY) – Nearly 400 NYS PTA delegates, members, exhibitors and education colleagues attended the New York State PTA’s 120th Annual Convention on November 11 – November 13, 2016 at the Saratoga Hilton and City Center, representing more than 300,000 PTA members in more than 1,400 schools throughout the state.
NYS PTA convention delegates set PTA policy – guiding advocacy and the organization’s focus – by voting on resolutions and discussing critical issues facing New York’s children, families and educators.
“Every year, dedicated NYS PTA members convene to renew PTA’s vision and mission for children – to make every child’s potential a reality,” said new NYS PTA President, Gracemarie Rozea. “It is exciting that one-third of attendees were first –timers. Returning delegates and new delegates alike recognize the critical work NYS PTA members accomplish each and every day in support for children, families and educators across New York State.”
NYS PTA recognized the work of immediate Past President Bonnie Russell, from the Central Region, who gaveled out on her tenure on Sunday, November 13. President Russell has been an instrumental leader in increasing both the visibility of NYS PTA and advocacy, with her theme “Communicate to Advocate.”
“Children, families and educators have been well served by President Russell and her tireless dedication to supporting our students and their families. Her leadership will be missed. We are fortunate enough, however, to have Gracemarie Rozea take over the helm, an amazing advocate from Nassau who will serve through November 2018. It is an honor to work beside both President Russell and President Rozea in support of our children.”
President Rozea’s theme for her presidency will be “NYS PTA Leading the Way.”
National PTA President Laura Bay also attended the 120th Annual Convention and discussed the role of PTA members as advocates for children and highlighted how PTA drives positive changes at all levels – in schools and local communities, in state legislatures and in the halls of Congress. Dana McDonough, the 2016 NYS Teacher of the Year and second grade teacher in the Newburgh Enlarged City School District, addressed convention delegates and members and shared her own inspirational story and passion for teaching. Further, Dr Stephen Dewey, a Director and Professor for Laboratory for Behavioral and Molecular Neuroimaging, discussed the effects of addictive drugs on the human brain and how we can educate children and fight drug abuse.
Delegates also debated and voted on resolutions, including 9 updates of previously adopted resolutions, 12 retentions and two new resolutions.
“Annual Convention is a time when NYS PTA members can speak with one voice in supporting children,” newly appointed 1st Vice President Judy Van Haaren explained. “Importantly, delegates attended a variety of workshops on a range of topics including male engagement, supports for students with disabilities and English Language Learners, bullying and school safety and family and community engagement. Delegates will now go back to their local PTAs better equipped to help shape the future of education and support our children.”