Everything related to education has been a major challenge over the last year and a half, but now, in the summer recess, one education-oriented group is holding a virtual annual conference meant to boost spirits and provide some problem-solving going into the 2021-2022 school year.

The North Carolina Parent Teacher Association (NCPTA) is holding its annual convention from Thursday, July 29 to Saturday, July 31. The convention this year will be held virtually with the theme: “NCPTA Superheroes – The Time Is Always Right to Do What Is Right.”

Event backers list several purposes for this year’s online get together, and, not surprisingly in these tough times, number one on the list is, “Provide encouragement, inspiration and fellowship.” 

Other purposes include educating members through online workshops, providing legislative updates that affect education in the state, and electing statewide PTA officers for 2021-2022.

The NCPTA bills itself as the state’s oldest and largest volunteer organization.  It has been supporting education in North Carolina since 1919.  Currently, there are more than 900 local PTA groups in the state with a total of over 100,000 members.

NCPTA President Harold Dixon said in a prepared statement that this is a key time for education given the last year and four months.

”It is extremely vital that as we emerge from virtual learning and quarantine, we re-engage with our families and communities,” Dixon stated. “The NCPTA state convention is a great resource to begin the process for true family engagement.”

The keynote address for the convention this year will be provided by a comedian who’s also an educator. “Eddie B!” is a Houston-based school teacher turned stand-up comic who became a hit on social media when he started posting video clips about “what teachers really say.”   For instance, “Marvin, did your momma sign this permission slip?  So… she’s scribbling her signature in crayon now?  You can’t even cheat right!”

Guilford County Schools Superintendent Sharon Contreras – who was the NCPTA’s 2019 Superintendent of the Year – will be the speaker for the convention’s Diversity and Inclusion Breakfast. 

Contreras has made a lot of news over the past year and a half and she continues to be a lightning rod for heated debate in Guilford County as the superintendent’s supporters and detractors fight it out in the media, in meetings and on social media.

Some topics at the convention this year will include NCPTA’s goals and planning for the coming school year, and “exploring the power that relationships, rapport, and respect have on engaging students of color.” 

There will also be training sessions focused on PTA leadership and governance as well as addresses to the group by state education officials.