TPES PTA Meeting Minutes: April 2021

Takoma Park Elementary School(TPES)

Piney Branch Elementary School (PBES) 

Parent & Teacher Meeting (PTA)

Tuesday, April 13, 2021 

7:00-8:00pm on Zoom

Meeting ID: 882 2515 2163

Passcode: pta


Be SMART Presentation & County Advocacy Updates

Mark your calendars for our next meeting, Tuesday, May 4, 7-8pm. 


7:00 Welcome & Introduction of Interpreters and Speaker

7:05 Upcoming Dates and Announcements from the MCPS Calendar

Gabe Seiden, PBES VP Communications 

April 11-17: TPES & PBES PTA Fundraiser with Sang Froid Distillery

Wed, April 14: PBES Student Materials Distribution (for virtual students)

Fri, April 16: TPES Student Materials Distribution (for virtual students) and

         Professional Day for Teachers & Staff (NO CLASS for students)

Tues, April 20: Piney Branch Virtual STEM Night from 6:30-8:30pm

Thurs, April 22: Parent Zoom with Principal Gadsden @ 7pm

Tues, May 4: Virtual TPES/PBES PTA Meeting at 7pm

May 3 – 7: Teacher Appreciation Week

Fri, May 13: Professional Day for Teachers & Staff (NO CLASS for students)

  • Readathon donations are due Thursday, 4/15! Every donation counts and will help us restock our libraries and support our classrooms. Make sure to get your donation this week!

TPES Readathon (all students will be receiving a Readathon prize bag)

PBES Readathon

  • Please join us for Sharing Our Stories, Mondays at 7:00pm on Zoom. On Monday, April 19, Jose from Piney Branch Elementary and mother Ms. Hernandez (teacher at Piney Branch Elementary) will share stories of the Dominican Republic. Spanish interpretation is provided. Zoom details will be posted on the PTA listservs and in messages from the Principal. If you would like to be a guest storyteller or educator, please email Shana at
  • Nominating PTA Officers for the 2021-2022 School Year

Lia Salza & Lauren Greenberg, PBES & TPES PTA Nominating Committee Chairs

  • Still looking for President and Vice President for both schools (which can be shared positions), PBES Treasurer, TPES VP of Membership and other positions.  If you have any inclination to leadership, please reach out to Lia ( and Lauren (  Happy to have both people who are new to PTA positions and those with experience.  There is support to learn these roles and great opportunity to make a difference.


7:15 Be SMART Presentation

Jessica Gilbertsen, Be SMART Montgomery County Lead (& MCPS parent),   

  • Ways to prevent unintentional gun violence with a focus on child safety and public health
  • Nearly 1600 children under 18 are killed each year by guns, over half are homicides
  • SMART stands for safe gun practices:
    • S = Secure all guns in your homes and vehicles by storing locked and unloaded with ammunition separate.  Hiding a gun isn’t securing a gun as children often know where guns are hidden in the house.
    • M = Model responsible behavior and make it part of the normal safety conversation you have with your children
    • A = Ask about unsecured guns in other homes your child visits.  It should be as natural as asking about any other safety issue.  You can also offer this up about your home when hosting play dates to help normalize the topic.
    • R = Recognize the role of guns in suicide.  Most people who attempt suicide don’t die, unless they have a gun. 40% of child suicides involve a gun.  
    • T = Tell your peers to Be SMART
  • Feel free to reach out to Jessica with further questions:


7:45 County Advocacy Updates (from MCCPTA)

Joyce McDonough, TPES PTA rep to MCCPTA

Jaime Koppel, PBES PTA rep to MCCPTA

  • A few weeks ago the National PTA revoked the charter of the MD PTA, meaning that the state PTA cannot use the logo, brand, etc. of the PTA.  This means our Montgomery County PTA (MCCPTA) now reports directly now to the national level.  Our County PTA is very strong, so our school PTAs will likely not experience much change as a result of this.
  • This afternoon the MCCPTA shared information about an event this Saturday that will be a chance to get answers about the curriculum that will be used in the next school year.  Register here:
  • Acknowledging some of those who have lost their lives tragically and those who are struggling as a result before beginning a discussion of school safety
  • MCCPTA has been debating the School Resource Officers (police officers in schools) program, including proposals to end and to expand the SRO program
  • County Executive Elrich put out a budget proposal for next year that would eliminate the SRO role
  • MCCPTA passed a resolution (65% to 35%) that sets up MCCPTA to advocate for discontinuing the SRO program on any middle and high school campus and instead pursue holistic approaches to school safety

7:55 Treasurer’s Reports  

Kelley Skelton, TPES Treasurer & Erin  Kelley, PBES Treasurer

  • TPES PTA has exceeded fundraising goals for the year.  We have $32k in assets which will help ensure next year’s PTA is in a good position to start the year.
  • The food bank has strong assets
  • PBES Readathon has exceeded its fundraising goal.  They have a budget for teacher appreciation week and 5th grade graduation gifts.  PBES President Sarah Goupell ( would be happy to receive ideas for either of those events.

Our May meeting will feature infectious disease expert and PBES PTA Secretary Dr. Kawsar Talaat to discuss the COVID vaccine.  She Please come and feel free to invite others to join.

Become a PTA member: 

Takoma Park Elementary
Piney Branch Elementary

PTA Teams With sang•froid Distillery for Fundraiser

Help support local schools while enjoying locally made artisanal spirits! Our fundraiser is off to a great start. Join your friends and neighbors and check out Sang•Froid distillery this week!

The Takoma Park Elementary & Piney Branch Elementary PTAs are excited to be partnering with sang•froid distilling for a fundraising event from Sunday April 11 until Saturday, April 17. The schools will receive 10% of all sales from every order with “PTA”in the comments. Sang Froid Distilling is co-owned by a parent of two children at Takoma Park Elementary and is located in Hyattsville.

As a bonus, they crafted a special bottled cocktail, a Negroni made with trifoliate oranges that were picked right here in Takoma Park (you may have seen these unique citrus fruit in yards and parks – they have the three-inch thorns on the trees!).

You can order here just put “PTA” in the comments when you order. For this special fundraiser, we have 3 options for pick-up:

  1. Pick-up at the distillery on Saturday, 4/17, 12pm – 4pm at the distillery, 5130 Baltimore Ave, Hyattsvolle, MD.

  2. Pick-up in Takoma Park on Sunday, 4/18, 12pm – 4 pm at 807 Davis Ave, (home of TPES PTA President, Meg McDonald).

  3. Home delivery (free of charge!) by the PTA on Sunday afternoon/evening, 4/18 between 3 pm – 5 pm. Make sure to add your address to the comments for this option.

*Please note: all items contain alcohol and individuals must be 21 years of age to purchase and consume.