TPES PTA Meeting Minutes: December 2021

Parent & Teacher Meeting (PTA)

Tuesday, December 7, 2021 from 7-8pm on Zoom 

Please mark your calendar for our next PTA meeting on Tues, Jan 4 7-8pm

7:00    Welcome & Introduction of Interpreters from Chris Campbell, TPES PTA VP Communications

Upcoming Dates and Announcements from the MCPS School Calendar 2021- 2022


    Upcoming Dates: 

— Dec 23-Jan 2: School closed for winter break

— TPES Scholastic Book Fair: February 11-18 – please note forthcoming announcement that we’re in need of volunteers to form a book fair committee  

— TPES Read-a-Thon: March 

— Reminder about the weekly Sharing our Stories held every Monday from 7:30-8pm on Zoom to celebrate the unique culture and traditions of students, teachers, staff, and community members. Anyone interested in participating or volunteering to assist with the program, contact Shana Sabbath Sabbathshana@gmail.comor complete google form: Sharing Our Stories sign-up form (to share in chat).


Announcements/ opportunities for engagement: 

— THANKS to TPES PTA’s VP of Fundraising Kelly Young and to all donors to the Dolphin Drive in November, we surpassed our $10K goal, raising $10,117! This is fantastic as there are many needs to assist in our school and community’s recovery efforts. As an example, we have already committed $5K of those funds to purchase resources that complement teacher’s existing materials to support reading recovery, progress and enrichment. 


THANK YOU to all TPES volunteers: 

  • All the outdoor lunch volunteers; 
  • Abby-Anna who organized Little Scholars after school enrichment program;
  • Annie Kneedler who’s stepped up as room parent coordinator and all of the room parents, who are helping with communications throughout the year and organizing holiday gifts for the teachers and staff; 
  • Kaitlin Caruso, social services committee chair who organized winter coat/clothing drive and now holiday gifts for TPES families in need (please see email 


TPES PTA Needs the Following Volunteers: 

  • Shivani Sutton has graciously offered to co-organize the TPES book fair again this year but is in need of volunteers to form a Book Fair committee. The planning is largely done – I just need additional hands to prepare materials in the weeks leading up to the fair and manage volunteers. The fair is only scheduled to run during school hours, not after school or evenings. Please note that we will also need additional volunteers during the week of the fair to set up, cover the registers, and take down.
  • TPES is also looking for a Teacher Appreciation Coordinator to help organize quarterly luncheons or special activities for our teachers to show them how much we care. We provided coffee/donuts for back to school, a luncheon in October to celebrate a month of school and hope to organize one on Fri, Dec 17th and would love if someone could step up to assist.  
  • Speaking of, hopefully everyone saw Ms Paz’s note about organizing a Jolly Raffle as a fun way to help uplift the spirit and morale of TPES staff. She’s hoping to raffle tokens of gratitude and love, simple gestures and/or acts of kindness at least once or twice a week during the next few months. It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive, it could be as simple as a store bought pie, a gift card, a coupon for a dog walk, breakfast or lunch delivered, a babysitter voucher…the sky is the limit, anything that would cheer us up and put a smile on our face counts! If you are willing to contribute, please contact Ms Paz directly to make the proper arrangements.  No contribution is too small!


THANK YOU to all PBES volunteers: 

  • Outdoor lunch volunteers, especially Vivian Khazendar and Shannon Earle who have repeatedly volunteered double or triple shifts to fill vacant spots. And Joyce McDonough who has made lunch outside possible!
  • Book fair volunteers and coordinators Rachael Pierotti, Sarah Corcoran, and Chrissie Juliano


PBES PTA is looking for volunteers:

  • to maintain the fish tank
  • for possible help with student dismissal
  • Individuals who would like to volunteer for Black History Month program and the PBES GEO-BOWL
  • Volunteers for the end-of-year family gift drive.


If you would like to volunteer; please contact us at

PBES is having a Holiday gift card drive to support PBES families during the holidays – and new book donations are also encouraged. Please contact Emma Cheuse ( if you’re interested in contributing, for more details.

— As always, PTA is looking for volunteers who speak Spanish or Amharic to assist with   translating and interpreting PTA notices and events.  Please contact

— Again both TPES and PBES both appreciate and welcome volunteers. Requirements have been circulated on the listserv. 

— MCCPTA: MCCPTA sent a letter to the MD State Board of Ed recommending that mask mandate stay in place until at least 2/28 and suggested that “Considerations that should be taken into account include 1) COVID-19 case rates and 2) pediatric vaccination rate and availability.”). 2/28was chosen based on anticipated (full) vax rates by then and because it would take us thru the holiday season.

See this link for more info on the progress towards planning dollars for PBES to be renovated or rebuilt:

Jaime Koppel, PBES:

Rebecca Shaeffer, TPES:


7:15    Presentations from TPES and PBES Reading Specialists Ms Bozel and Mr Bledsoe about Benchmark about our reading curriculum and resources available to students and families

Ms. Bozel- TPES; Mr. Bledsoe: PBES

Benchmark Advance overview:


Developing literacy routines

Key principles

Close reading of complex text


Instructional shifts addressed in Benchmark:

Built to support the college and career ready standards for literacy


Important to build routines:

Each grade will begin the school year with review and routines

Reintroduce previous material so that can seamlessly go into next material- lasts 15-20 days

Bridge ideas learned previously to new school year

Helps students build stamina

Fosters independent reading and thinking


Building collaborative conversations with each other

Time for accountable talk and active listening


Group roles- book discussion

All built into the standards of Maryland learning outcomes


Practice word study:
K: Letter formation

K-1: Phonological awareness

1-2: phonics patterns

3-5 syllable patterns, vowel teams, suffixes

Chromebooks- technology


Benchmark has clear principles- with consistency from grade to grade

e.g. Unit 1 is Government and citizenship

Unit 2 Characters

3: life science

  1. point of view
  2. technology

6 theme


Go throughout the grade levels

Backwards-mapped design

Each unit 3 weeks

Week 1: Teach for transfer- teacher modeling and short reads

Week 2-3 students build knowledge and apply learning

End goal is mastery over time by the end of the year- not after each lesson

Content spirals across subjects


Close reading of complex text:

Interact with the text- annotation symbols

Students writing directly on text and take note in margins

K-1: shared reading – interact with text as first step, lots of modeling by teacher

2-5 annotation is for


This is to answer questions and gather evidence – helps with reading closely

First reading- identify key ideas and details, summarize

Built about multiple reads of same text

Analyze and craft structure, make inferences draw conclusions, compare and contrast multiple texts


Writing is used at all grade levels- connected to unit discussed in classroom


Writing to sources

Consistently taught across grades

Mini-lessons explicit teaching and modeling

Focus on text evidence to support an idea or opinion

Students write informational, opinion and narrative texts based on one or more sources

Builds up to extended research


Benchmark focuses on literacy foundations and explicit phonics aspects

Print concepts;

Phonological awareness (ability to hear different sounds


Phonics/vocabulary – works with phonics and vocabulary in grades K-6.

Explicit teaching of academic vocabulary builds content knowledge



For students to allow all students to work with grade level texts

English learners (Multilingual learners):
Integrated English language development in every lesson -light, moderate or substantial support

Separate ELD lessons designed for English learners with the grade level text

Amplified texts provide picture support

Flip grids

Some given by classroom teacher, others esol teacher


Striving reader:

Teacher can read text aloud

Students read with partners

All texts are online with text to speech

Amplified texts scaffold the grade level complex

Small group instruction with texts on students’ reading levels- eather move forward or back

Intervention programs for foundational skills and comprehension


Benchmark advance enrichment

Challenge activities built into many lessons

Literature circles- with novels

Small group instructional with texts on students instructional reading levels

Inquiry Projects


Every unit has an enrichment activity


Novel studies: Benchmark advance

Curated by MoCO for diverse and excellent writing


Grade 2: Bad Kitty for president

Freedom in Congo square


Grade 3: Dany Dollar Millionaire Extroidinare

How tia Lola came to visit

Where the mountain meets the moon


Grade 4: Finding Langston


Who participates in BMA:

Any student demonstrating a need for enriched and accelerated instruction

Students with performance metrics showing advance

PBES: all students participate in Inquiry




         What does it mean that my child is in 5th grade and is working on novel study but is not doing one of the novels listed on that slide:

That is not an exhaustive list, there are other novels that are included


Quotes are not always necessary they can paraphrase


The Benchmark was used for last 2 years but modified because of virtual


Looking at this year as first year of full implementation


Each of the lessons are very systematic with a lot of exposure to text


Are 5th grade novel study packets standard across classes?

These are grade level decisions are being made- the exposure in novel is across all grade, but the material that the teacher is using to teach is may vary from teacher to teacher

Reading logs may be something that teachers may ask them to keep to make sure that they are keeping up


All students have the opportunity to take part in the Benchmark Inquiry


Students above grade level reading have to do enrichment

At TPES have enrichment programs that have put in place, and parents can volunteer to help.


In K-2- bags of books are being sent home at their grade level- optional for teachers. If you haven’t gotten it, and wants it, you can ask your teacher

Ms. Anderson, TPES media specialist- can be reached out to for motivational reading if interested.



In Piney Branch, if student is not caught up at grade level reading, they are assessed at least quarterly and interventions are made to help them catch up.


All students at Piney Branch took home MAP scores for reading and math

For TPES  shared in parent teacher conference—if not in parentvue, ask Ms. Bozel


5th graders reading only graphic novel- Mr. Bledsoe- reading graphic novels is fine; sometimes it is more complex with vocabulary and information; usually ok as long as reading.

Chapter books can be stressed in classroom

If free reading, can read whatever they enjoy

They need to be interested in reading.


There are graphic novels that are also chapter books


E.g. complex graphic novels for 5th graders- reach out to teacher can let student borrow one


e.g. Percy Jackson

My hero academia

A wrinkle in time


Enrichment above grade level is always happening

Students reading above grade level gets 3 kinds of enrichment at PBES.


PBES Treasurer:

Carryover: 27,373

Booster donation 3,095

Total receipts for bookfair- 8,622,60. Doesn’t affect our total income

Fundraising: 12,115 budgeted, currently 1,744

Very generous contributions for grants: 12,000 budgeted 11,745

Need a


Stephen Tippett


Dolphin drive -beet goal of 10,000 raised 10,117 in 1 month of fundraising.- thanks to Kelly Young for organizing


Fundraising income 14,317.

Tommy’s pantry- 29,511 so far this year


Expenses: moved forward rapidly to support school with various effort

Especially reading and reading recovery – spent 5000 on it so far



Net deficit projected 17,431 because of last year; we will have 17,847


Tommy’s pantry number 62,000 available cash balance


TPES Voted to establish a $1500 budget line item for the social service committee


7:50    Treasurer’s Reports and Membership Vote to Approve Budgets 

Kate Bauer, PBES Treasurer & Stephen Tippett, TPES Treasurer 


Principal’s update:

Soon will be sending out something about child’s vaccination status- so that if they are exposed, they do not need to be vaccinated.

The guidance about quarantine changes or resolves

If not sure- ask with email

Try to be sure about contact tracing


Become a PTA member: Takoma Park Elementary
Piney Branch Elementary