May June 2021 Newsletter


MAY / JUNE 2021

Every Child in Focus | Better Together

President’s Message

Hello everyone,

This year has been quite challenging for everyone, including Wisconsin PTA as we try and maneuver through this pandemic. I would like to thank everyone…units, leaders and the WI PTA BOD for all the strength and support you have shown each other through these trying times. I know it has not been easy, but we have come this far, now we need to take the steps to improve the future moving forward.

As my term comes to an end in June, I would like to thank all of the units and leaders that I have talked to, helped and worked with side by side to tackle issues that have arisen, or just a friendly chat when things seem to be overwhelming. I will continue to serve in some capacity on the WI PTA BOD, so feel free to contact me with any issues or just a friendly chat in the future.

I am hoping, as the State of Wisconsin continues to move forward in the fight against Covid, that I will be able to attend events and meet many of you in person.  But until then, I hope to see you online at our first Virtual Leadership Summit on Saturday, May 22, 2021!

You all have done a magnificent job thus far, and I wish you continued success for the future of your PTA/PTSA’s.

As always, if you need further assistance with the end of year items, please feel free to reach out to WI PTA ( and your request will be forwarded to the correct board member.


Heidi Nicolazzo
WI PTA President

Inside this Issue…

Legislative Reports
National News

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Legislative Reports


I would like to share with you some legislative updates.

Here to serve,
Matthew John Rodriguez
Federal Legislation Director

School Reopening
COVID-19 Handbook Vol. 2:
Today, the U.S. Department of Education (Department) released the COVID-19 Handbook, Volume 2: Roadmap to Reopening Safely and Meeting All Students’ Needs to provide additional strategies for safely reopening all of America’s schools and to promote educational equity by addressing opportunity gaps that have been exacerbated by the pandemic.

Building off of Volume 1: Strategies for Safely Reopening Elementary and Secondary Schools, which focused on health and safety measures that schools can use to successfully implement the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) K-12 Operational Strategy, Volume 2 of the Handbook focuses on research-based strategies to address the social, emotional, mental-health, and academic impacts of the pandemic on students, educators, and staff, such as how to address any potential anxiety or depression some may face as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and nearly a year of remote learning.

Read More →

FY22 Budget
Education Funding Requests

President Biden’s discretionary request for FY 2022 makes a record investment in ED programs, asking for a $29.8 billion increase over the regular FY 2021 level (none of the funding levels here include the COVID-relief funding enacted for FY 2021).

Two-thirds of the ED increase is for Title I, whose funding is more than doubled with a $20 billion increase; President Biden campaigned on a pledge to triple Title I funding, and this investment goes more than two thirds of the way toward that goal in one year. The request does not include enough
details to know where all the other $9.8 billion in invested, but almost $3 billion is to increase
special education and another $3 billion is to increase the maximum Pell grant by $400. The budget also includes sizable increases for education programs outside of ED, including for Head Start and the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG).

Download Here →

Gun Violence
Executive Action on Gun Violence Prevention

[On April 7, 2021] the Biden-Harris Administration…[announced] six initial actions to address the gun violence public health epidemic. The recent high-profile mass shootings in Boulder – taking the lives of 10 individuals – and Atlanta – taking the lives of eight individuals, including six Asian American women – underscored the relentlessness of this epidemic. Gun violence takes lives and leaves a lasting legacy of trauma in communities every single day in this country, even when it is not on the nightly news. In fact, cities across the country are in the midst of a historic spike in homicides, violence that disproportionately impacts Black and brown Americans. The President is committed to taking action to reduce all forms of gun violence – community violence, mass shootings, domestic violence, and suicide by firearm.

Read More →

Title IX Regulations
President Biden’s Review of Title IX Regulations for Schools

The Education Department announced plans…to hold a public hearing on how schools ought to handle sexual misconduct cases as the first step in a planned overhaul of Title IX regulations.

In a letter released by the Education Department, the hearing is described as a chance for students, parents, school officials and advocates to weigh in before the Biden administration offers its proposal for how K-12 schools and colleges receiving public funding must respond to allegations of sexual assault and harassment.

Read More →

Unveiling of The American Jobs Plan

…President Biden’s plan will create good jobs building, rehabilitating, and retrofitting affordable, accessible, energy efficient, and resilient housing, commercial buildings, schools, and child care facilities all over the country, while also vastly improving our nation’s federal facilities, especially those that serve veterans…

Too many students attend schools and child care centers that are run-down, unsafe, and pose health risks. These conditions are dangerous for our kids and exist disproportionately in schools with a high percentage of low-income students and students of color. And even before COVID-19, 43 percent of parents reported struggling to find an adequate child care facility for their children. President Biden is calling on Congress to:

Read the Remainder →

Voice of the Government Affairs Team

We are currently monitoring and working with coalition partners to strategize around each of reports above. As always, you can find our latest coalition sign on letters on the Letters to Policymakers webpage.

Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

Tryout this worksheet!

As we navigate through these hard times, PTA is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion. This has never been SO important as we see the different needs of our families across the state of Wisconsin and the nation.

We encourage our local units to tryout this worksheet on NPTA’s site:

We also would like to invite you to join the NPTA Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion FB Page by clicking here.


Questions & Anwers: Auctions and Alcohol 

Q: Our PTA is in the process of having our first-ever online auction and a few questions have arisen about permissible items in our auction. We are unsure if we are able to auction wine and/or hard liquor without a license in the State of WI. Please advise if the State PTA covers us for this or if we need to apply for any special licenses.

Additionally, we are wondering if we are required to charge sales tax to those individuals who purchase items in the auction now that it is online versus in person.

Submitted by Carmen Ayers, RUSD Montessori PTA President

A: Yes, you can auction alcohol in WI without a license because PTA is a nonprofit and it’s for fundraising purposes. The info is here (towards the bottom of the first page):

You do need to be careful with this though. The person purchasing it still needs to be at least 21, you can’t ship alcohol (through USPS anyway), and you have to make sure the alcohol is never on any school (or district) property (including parking lots, playgrounds, etc). So it would have to be hand delivered and someone would have to check ID. Personally, I advise people to ask for gift cards for the value of what the product costs, or for a gift certificate for one free six pack (or whatever is being donated) rather than distributing alcohol directly.. just for liability purposes. I know not every brewery or store will do that though.

As for the auction itself, the format of the auction doesn’t matter (online vs in person); the laws are the same. As long as you are not selling or auctioning items for more than 75 days in a calendar year and you don’t make more than $50,000 in a calendar year from selling or auctioning items, you do not have to collect sales tax.

Heather Birk, Treasurer, WI PTA


Register now to join us for the virtual Leadership Summit on May 22, 2021!

We will have door prizes, workshops, officer training, keynotes, door prizes, exhibitors, networking, exclusive screening of Screenagers:Living in a Digital Age & Screenagers:Chapter Two, and (did we mention?) door prizes!

Registration is only $20 per person and all attendees will receive a mailing with information and goodies from WI PTA & our sponsors!

For more information, visit the Virtual Leadership Summit page.

WI PTA Website →



The Wisconsin PTA Board of Directors election will be here before we know it. You can view the brief biographies of those running for an electible office below.  YOUR VOTE MATTERS!!

Due to the pandemic, in Jan 2021, the WI PTA Board of Directors voted to cancel the Wisconsin State PTA Annual Meeting as documented below. 

Article XVI: Wisconsin State PTA Annual Meeting

1. An annual meeting of the Wisconsin PTA shall be held annually in the spring, the time and place to be fixed by the board of directors. A notice of this meeting shall be sent by the state office to each local PTA and to each PTA council at least thirty (30) days prior to annual meeting.

2. The annual meeting shall be the governing body of the Wisconsin PTA in all matters not previously determined by the official action of the National PTA.

1. Resolutions shall be presented to the delegates for action in accordance with regulations outlined by the Resolutions Committee.

2. Proposed changes in the National Legislation Program and legislative policy statements shall be presented to the annual meeting delegate body for action.

3. Proposed retirements to the Wisconsin PTA Basic Policy and Wisconsin PTA Legislative Program shall be presented to the annual meeting delegate body, a two-thirds (2/3) vote is required to delete.

3. Each local PTA shall be entitled to be represented at the annual meeting of the Wisconsin PTA by its president or alternate, and one (1) delegate or alternate for each twenty-five (25) members as shows on the books of the state treasurer as of March 1, preceding the annual meeting.

4. Each PTA council shall be entitled to be represented at the annual meeting of the Wisconsin PTA by its president or alternate.

5. The registration fee of the annual meeting shall be set by the board of directors.

6. The meetings of the Wisconsin State PTA Annual Meeting shall be open to all members of the Wisconsin PTA upon payment of registration fee, but the privilege of making motions, debating, and voting shall be limited to the members of the board of directors, to presidents of councils/units or their alternate, and to accredited delegates from each local PTA. Accredited delegates must have held a membership in a local PTA unit for at least thirty (30) days prior to the annual meeting. A voting delegate shall have but one (1) vote though entitled to vote in any of several capacities.

7. Thirty-five (35) voting members present at any business meeting of the annual meeting shall constitute a quorum.

8. Cancellation of the WI State PTA Annual Meeting

1. In the event of some great emergency such as war, epidemic, or disaster, the board of directors shall have the authority to determine whether or not an annual meeting shall be held; a two-thirds (2/3) vote shall decide, and the vote may be taken by mail. In the event no annual meeting is held, the board of directors shall have authority to plan procedures for conducting all necessary business by mail. Election shall be by mail.

2. In the event the annual meeting is not held, two (2) meetings of the board of directors shall be held to take the place of the pre-annual meeting and the post-annual meeting board meetings; the time and place to be decided upon by the executive committee. All business assigned in the bylaws to pre-annual meeting and the post-annual meeting board meetings shall be transacted at these corresponding meetings.

3. In the event an annual meeting is not held, these bylaws may be amended by mail, provided all requirements of Article XX are adhered to, and provided the amendments pertain to the emergency situation.

4. In the event the election is conducted by mail

1. Election shall be by ballot, and a plurality vote shall elect. The election board shall have charge of the election, which shall be in accordance with procedure adopted by the board of directors.

2. The results of the election shall be reported to the board of directors at the meeting corresponding to the pre-annual meeting board meeting. Newly elected officers shall assume their duties July 1.

3. In all elections by mail, each unit may cast its full vote in accordance with the provisions of Article XVI, Section 6.

4. Any accredited voting delegate of the WI State PTA Annual Meeting may nominate a candidate for any office provided the nominee meets the qualifications in Article VIII, Section 4 and the consent of the nominee has been secured. Such a nomination must have the signature of at least five (5) local PTA members, and must be sent to the president of the state PTA 30 days prior to the vote.


Vice President
Michael John Rodriguez
My name is Matthew John Rodriguez. I am passionate about advocating with the highest intensity to achieve the PTA mission of creating a space for every child’s potential to become a reality. To foster a more collaborative, diverse, inclusive environment by looking at various options to help our members is one space I work in. I started as a local volunteer in many roles, and as VP at Mead Jr. High it was the first time, I realized there were more layers to the PTA. I met and sat next to Chuck Saylors the National PTA President Elect, at the Illinois State Convention, and he told me PTA is more than just a mom’s fundraising club. It was at that point that I realized I wanted to be a part of PTA’s true mission of advocating for all kids.

As I discovered my passion working with various organizations the National PTA sent out the Univision television station to televise my PTA story. I have been a guest speaker on various Spanish radio shows and an expert speaker on Juvenile Protection and Safety issues on the cable television show “Everyday Matters.” I had the tremendous honor to work with MANY greats like General Colin Powell, Tony Dungy, White House Fatherhood Initiative, Illinois Fatherhood Initiative, National PTA Urban Family Engagement Initiative (UFEI), Mexican-American Legal Defense Education Fund (MALDEF), Illinois School Board of Education (ISBE), Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health (ICAH) , Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office, Mujeres Latinas en Acción, League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), and the Anti-Bullying Task Force by request of ISBE. I worked with the Illinois Attorney General’s Office to define and create language for bullying and cyber-bullying in my role as Juvenile Protection and Safety Director. I am a certified Train the Trainer for both PTA and MALDEF Curriculum. I teach financial literacy classes in English and Spanish.

My current roles include: Wisconsin PTA Federal Legislation Chair, President of a statewide local unit, Treasurer of an Early Learning Center, National PTA Board Member, Parent Leader at National Association for Family, School, and Community Engagement (NAFSCE), Chair of the Family and Community Engagement for the Illinois Governor’s Office, and many other roles. Current projects I am heading forward is the Safe Return To School Project, State support for 3 different states, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Project, and Leadership Development Team.

I have been blessed to have taken a variety of professional training such as the suite of Franklin Covey, Les Brown, John Maxwell Speaking and Training, as well as many others. I LOVE to uplift and empower others with the necessary tools to carry forward their vision. Among my best skills are connecting, listening, troubleshooting, and executing the plan. Among all of my awards and accolades I have received, I am most honored to be the 2016 Illinois Father of the Year, receive the Illinois Latino Legislative Caucus Foundation’s Community Service Award for my dedication to the community over these 20 years, and was the first Hispanic Male State President in 2015.

I appreciate your time and dedication to this exceptional association and look forward to meeting you all!

Here to serve,

Matthew John Rodriguez

Stacy Marszalkowski

My name is Stacy Marszalkowski. I’m seeking the position of Secretary for Wisconsin PTA. For the last 2 years I have been on the Board of Directors as the Region F Advisor. I am a single mom to my 12-year-old daughter who is active in competitive swim. I’ve been a Radiologic Technologist (fancy term for Xray Tech) for the last 18 years. I have my boards in Xray, CT and MRI. I currently work full time at a Veterinary Hospital and take MRI call at a local human hospital. I have previously held the position of Vice President at Irving Elementary in West Allis and I’m also up for nomination as Secretary of Frank Lloyd Wright Intermediate School in West Allis. I have participated in PTA for the last 8 years and am looking to further my involvement with PTA in helping people realize that PTA is there to support our kids and their schools. It’s not the PTA of the past where all moms did was bake cookies and spend time in schools. PTA is for everyone, not just the moms. It’s what you as a parent or caregiver can put into PTA, when you can, that helps support our mission of advocating for our kids and schools.

Heather Birk

Heather has served as treasurer at the local level, a VP at the council level, and is the current interim treasurer of the WI PTA. She has a BA in accounting and works in the accounting field, while taking care of her 3 kids and striving for equity in education.

Watch for our election mailing via snail mail!

National News

2021 National PTA Convention
We would like to invite you to the 2021 NPTA Virtual Convention on June 17-26. The registration link is below.  All are welcome and encouraged to participate. It is so much easier to participate without paying for hotels, flights, meals, etc.

Hope to see everyone there. Also, we will have the LEADERSHIP KING, John C. Maxwell, as one of the keynote speakers! We are SO excited for his golden nuggets of information.

Helping Kids and Parents
Combat Cyberbullying

It is estimated that more than one third of teens in the United States have been bullied or harassed online, and just as many say online bullying is a major problem. Cyberbullying can be difficult to detect and manage, but it’s important for teens and adults to become empowered to know and understand the actions they should take as both victims and as bystanders.

As a public health expert, my role at Children’s Wisconsin is to develop online health education programs for schools to use throughout the state. When our e-learning team set out to develop an online course on cyberbullying, we connected with a host of subject matter experts, including school counselors, teachers and medical and mental health experts from Children’s Wisconsin to guide our work. I’m thrilled that our Act Now! Cyberbullying mini course is now available to support high-school aged kids in grades 9-12 in understanding the harmful effects of cyberbullying and how to deal with it.

What exactly is cyberbullying?

Cyberbullying is using technology to harass, threaten or embarrass another person. Online threats and mean, aggressive or rude texts, tweets, posts or messages all count, as does posting personal information, pictures or videos that hurt or embarrass someone else.

Some examples include:

· Spreading rumors about someone online or via texts

· Posting mean or hurtful pictures or videos

· Creating fake social media accounts to hurt, shame or harass others

· Pretending to be someone else online in order to post personal or false information about another person

· Name calling, threatening or encouraging others to self-harm or commit suicide

Harmful effects

Online bullying can be particularly damaging and upsetting because it’s often anonymous or hard to trace. Because cyberbullying can be done from a physically distant location and not face-to-face, some teens simply don’t realize the serious harm they are causing when they can’t see the targeted person’s response. Those who have been cyberbullied — as well as those who cyberbully others — are more likely to struggle academically, emotionally, psychologically and behaviorally.

Strategies to prevent cyberbullying

There are steps you can take to address cyberbullying. To start, have conversations with your kids about good digital citizenship early on. Begin talking about these issues before they even delve into the world of texting, social media and online gaming.

Set clear expectations about what they are allowed to do online. Agreeing with your child on appropriate behavior online will help create an open, ongoing conversation. Monitor your child’s social media accounts, apps and browsing history to make sure you are aware of any cyberbullying should it occur. You can monitor what your child is doing by friending them on social media and setting specific privacy settings. The social media world changes frequently, so talk with your child about new ways people are connecting online so you can stay current with the latest technology.

What parents and caregivers should do if cyberbullying happens:

· Tell your child they have your support and can share openly and honestly.

· Talk with your child about what happened and how they are feeling about it.

· Document and report any bullying that has occurred.

If your kids are bystanders or victims, don’t take away their technology devices. This can cut off their support system and sends a message that if they tell a parent about what happened, they will be punished.

What your child should do if cyberbullying occurs:

· Resist the urge to reply.

· Save any evidence of the cyberbullying.

· Block and report the cyberbully.

I encourage educators and parents to enroll your teens in this new mini-course. It offers an engaging and effective way to raise awareness and provides valuable information and action steps to help limit the impact of cyberbullying. It also reinforces positive ways to use social media and how social media sites work to monitor and stop cyberbullying, too.

The Act Now! Cyberbullying mini course, and other valuable e-learning resources, are available for educators to use in schools and also for parents and caregivers to share with their teens at home.


MELINDA JACOBS, MPH, Program Development Coordinator, Community Health, Children’s Wisconsin


Children’s Wisconsin offers e-learning programs as part of our commitment to improving the health and well-being of children. Our e-learning programs are developed in collaboration with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and align with National Health Education Standards.


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