TPES PTA Meeting Minutes: October 2020
Takoma Park Elementary School(TPES)
Piney Branch Elementary School (PBES)
Parent & Teacher Meeting (PTA)
Tuesday, October 6, 2020, 7:00-8:00pm
Connecting with your School & Community
Mark your calendars for our next meeting, Monday, Nov 2, 7-8pm.
All PTA meetings will be via Zoom (details below) until further notice.
- Sign language interpretation as well as Spanish interpretation was introduced
7:05 Social Emotional Support for Virtual Learning
Cinthea Neuheisel, PBES Assistant Principal
– Key supports the school is putting in place & tips for how parents & caregivers can help at home
- Sharing what social-emotional support is being provided to students during this time and how parents can help.
- We are holding class meetings daily, making them twice as long as MCPS recommended to ensure it is a meaningful time. Goal is to promote relationships amongst students and to create a community within their class. Is a staff handbook with resources for teachers for these meetings.
- MCPS has rolled out psycho-educational lessons to address students’ emotional responses to the virus and the issues around race in our country right now.
- Continuing to use Second STEM for social skills and conflict resolution curriculum.
- Have a continuity of care monitoring system to refer students that aren’t engaged or for whom teachers have concerns so can track needs of most vulnerable students.
- Working hard to produce weekly videos that help to create routines and structure for students during this time, serving to ground them and create a sense of connection.
- A few tips for parents to do at home:
- Students need to be flexible during this time. Resiliency relies on our ability to be cognitively flexible in challenging circumstances. To do this, students need a good night’s sleep, and to emphasize the importance of “single-tasking.” This is supported by having a space at home that is as free of distractions as possible. Encourage students to take breaks when needed (use the coffee cup feature to let their teachers know they need a break) and to have a separate space for breaks and for working. Having just one monitor also supports single tasking.
- Practice acceptance and gratitude.
7:15 Upcoming Dates and Announcements from the MCPS Calendar
Gabe Seiden, PBES VP Communications
Thurs, Oct 1 thru Oct 31: “Panther Appeal” PBES PTA Fundraising Month
Tues, Nov 3: Election Day (schools & offices CLOSED)
Nov. 9-22: PBES virtual Scholastic Book Fair & Readathon
Mon, Nov 9: Professional Day for Teachers (NO SCHOOL for students)
Nov 11-12: Early Release Days for Students (Parent/Teacher Conferences)
- Shout out to Tim Anderegg from PBES for all the hard work he is doing for communications.
7:20 Fundraising Updates & Treasurer’s Reports
Kelly Young, TPES VP Fundraising
Angela Riemer, PBES VP Fundraising
Kelley Skelton, TPES Treasurer
Erin Kelley, PBES Treasurer
- The TPES Dolphin Drive will be in the month of November with a goal of $9000. The PTA is still doing a lot, including providing teachers with money to support and enhance online learning, supporting kindergarten with manipulatives for math learning, providing interpreters when the school is unable to, teacher training and other administrative expenses. So we do need a successful fundraiser.
- The PBES Panther Appeal kicked off October 1st. Thanks to all who have already donated. PBES PTA continues, like TPES, to do many activities during this time, including providing enrichment services . We are also doing dine-arounds and will have other opportunities to give in person. The first dine-around is October 16 at Mansa Kunda West African Restaurant. We still have great merchandise available and will soon have masks.
- TPES Treasurer update: We have had a little fundraising income this year, but the Dolphin Drive will be really crucial to providing needed income for this year. Please do join as a member of the PTA. There is a form on the website if you’d like to have one of the donated memberships that are available. We are also including the food bank activity as a separate item with restricted-use funds on the TPES treasurer’s reports. We spend about $5000 each week and the volunteers are committed to continuing as long as we need to and as long as funds are available.
- PBES Treasurer update: Doing well from a cash flow standpoint but need success in current fundraising experts to maintain that.
7:25 Building the School & Family Partnership
- Links to presentation that was shared:
- English: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1K1h95wiiQzQlEW29PJTClD-yLG5oEzFE9R9Jk1CwMFI/edit?usp=sharing
- Spanish: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1aXdqILSET9SAR_P63AjqicTWEj_eAqiV8zIfPCJyQdM/edit#slide=id.g9ddadbb469_0_52
- Amharic: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1WDcisoVkDYzOSdGteC48s2cAVr_mExw6jYKp-x44FgE/edit#slide=id.g9bfb622949_0_0
- Establishing community norms and best practices
- Teachers are committed to meeting your child and peers where they are and adjusting instruction as needed, supporting differentiated instruction
- Parents are encouraged to reach out to your child’s teacher first when you have questions, connect with their classroom parent to build community, access information using online portals and reach out to school administration (Principal or Assistant Principal) if concerns or questions are not addressed by the teacher.
- Guidance counselors are also a resource. Each school has two: Ms. Coc and Ms. Johnson at PBES and Mr. Althofer and Mr. Seward at TPES.
- Spanish and Amharic translations are available by phone on the school’s main line.
- Students are encouraged to develop a trusting relationship with their teachers, practice taking risks, connect with fellow students and reflect on what learning strategies work best for them.
- Every classroom has a Classroom parent who is able to share information with fellow parents, plan class activities agreed upon by parents, help organize celebrations and more.
- If children are struggling with schoolwork and homework and you need help, encourage your child to meet with their teacher. Teachers can meet them during office hours and by appointment. Saturday School offers tutoring opportunities virtually in Montgomery County at a reduced rate. Please contact the PTA if you need financial assistance.
- Also consider support services through the Educational and Equity Hubs held throughout Montgomery County for kids who need a safe, supervised place to do Zoom. It is $50 per month. https://www.equityhubs.org/ They are also looking for donations if you can do that.
- Can contact each school’s main office for help with ParentVue
- For technical help, call 240-740-7020 or for spanish: 240-740-7022
- You can view assignments and grades in ParentVue or MyMCPS Classroom (as your child)
7:55 Takoma Park Equity Walk
Lucy Neher, SafeRoutes to School Coordinator, City of Takoma Park
- Tomorrow we are launching a new activity: We Belong Here – the Takoma Park Equity Walk. You may have seen the stencils around town and wondered what they were about. There are QR codes at most stations with an arrow pointing to them so that when you go, you can scan the code and get a story map that takes you through the activities in a different way and give prompts for discussion. All of the stations are connected to equity in some way so there is a safe place to go with kids to talk about issues related to equity. Each station also has a suggested list of books that links to the library site so you can see if the book is available. Also a list of resources for parents. This project started about a year ago with the grant proposal. Spanish and Amharic versions of the website will be available.
- These are at the Community Center and Anne Street. You can do the stations in any order.
- Lucy also got a grant for a feasibility study for a traffic garden – a safe place for people to learn to ride their bikes. She has been working on this idea since 2007!
- She also is getting a fleet of bikes (8-10 of various sizes) for each school to use for learning to ride in P.E.
You can become a PTA member online:
Takoma Park Elementary https://www.tpespta.net
Piney Branch Elementary https://pineybranchpta.membershiptoolkit.com