TPES PTA Meeting Minutes: April 2022

Takoma Park Elementary School(TPES)

Piney Branch Elementary School (PBES) 

Parent & Teacher Meeting (PTA)

Tuesday, April 5, 2022 from 7-8pm on Zoom 

Please mark your calendar for our next PTA meeting on May 3, 7-8pm.

7:00    Welcome from Chris Campbell, TPES PTA VP of Communications, and sharing of Upcoming Dates and Announcements by Emma Cheuse, PBES PTA VP of Communications

Upcoming Dates and Announcements. Refer to Updated MCPS School Calendar 2021-2022 

— TPES Read-a-Thon report out- Chris Campbell and Sara Lewis

    Phone link is not working- please use computer for the donation

— COVID-19 Vaccine clinics information from MCPS is at this link.

– April 4-6, 9: 4th Grade State Testing (MCAP) at PBES  (schedule link)

– April 6: Spring School Picture Day at PBES for class pictures and individual photos if ordered (see your email and backpack materials from Lifetouch)

— April 11- 18: MCPS spring break (No School)

– April 18: Reminder on Monday April 18, to test your child using the Covid-19 test kit sent home in their backpack, and report negative and positive results online using this online form. If the test is positive, stay home and follow quarantine and isolation guidelines

– April 20-21: 3rd Grade State Testing (MCAP) at PBES  (schedule link)

– April 25-27, 29: 5th Grade State Testing (MCAP) at PBES (schedule link)

– April 30 3-5pm, Heffner Center, 42 Oswego Ave. Join us on the playground for the first-ever Rainbow Club play date for Panthers, Dolphins and families with LGBTQ+ kids or parents, all welcome. RSVP to:  The Rainbow Club is a new group affiliated with the Takoma Park and Piney Branch Elementary PTAs working to support and connect LGBTQ+ families and kids at our local schools.

— May 2: no school, professional day for teachers 

May 3 PTA meeting: Join us to discuss two important topics for our community schools.  

We will talk with Mark Eckstein,  Chair of the MCCPTA LGBTQ Subcommittee and Member of the MCPS PrideAlliance, about inclusion, support, and affirmation for LGBTQ+ kids, families and allies in our schools.  He will speak to and address questions on resources available for our local schools such as policies and guidelines for LGBTQ+ and gender identity inclusion, anti-bullying, curriculum and family support across the rainbow spectrum. 

And we will discuss learning loss due to the pandemic, the need for additional educational support for kids and families, and ways MCPS and our school principals are helping kids recover as we come out of the pandemic (speakers on this TBA). 

– May 4: Bike to School Day

— May 4-5: 3rd Grade State Testing (MCAP) at PBES  (schedule link)

— May 18: early release day 

— May 15-31: Our local public school PTAs and the Takoma Park Safe Routes to School program are excited to announce the 2022 Virtual 5K and Fun Run! Since this pedestrian safety themed race began in 2009, proceeds exceeding $180,000 have funded safety, health and wellness programs at five area schools, including TPES and PBES. From May 15-31st, race participants–individuals, families, and groups of all sizes–can run a personal 5K and log their time on our race website.

Register TODAY to get a free t-shirt and be eligible to win one of four raffled gift cards. Prizes will be raffled every few weeks in the lead-up to the race, so the earlier the registration, the more chances to win! Will include the registration link in the chat:

  • There will be a vote for the TPES and PBES PTA Executive Committee positions for the 2022-2023 school year at the June 6th PTA meeting. The positions are open to all. For TPES, the current President, Executive VP, Treasurer, Executive Secretary, MCCPTA  Delegate, and NAACP Representative are willing to serve a second year and the following positions are available/open: VP of Communications, VP of Membership, VP of Fundraising and VP of Equity. That said, all positions are open. Please look out for an email that provides more information about the positions and how you can express interest to the nominating committee. 
President Margaret McDonnell
Executive Vice President Joyce McDonough
Treasurer Stephen Tippett
Executive Secretary Diane Kirsch
Membership Secretary vacant
Vice President Communications vacant/TBD
Vice President Membership vacant
Vice President Fundraising vacant
Vice President Equity vacant
MCCPTA Delegate Rebecca Shaeffer
NAACP Representative Sharon Gaskins

PBES 2022-2023
President vacant
Executive Vice President vacant
Treasurer Kate Bauer
Secretary vacant
Vice President Communications Emma Cheuse
Vice President Membership vacant
Vice President Fundraising vacant
Vice President Equity vacant
MCCPTA Delegate  
Appointed, not elected:  
Gifted and Talented Liaison  

If you would like more information about the open PTA positions at Piney Branch, please email Shelly Hill at

7:10: Introduce Mayor Kate Stewart, Margaret McDonnell and Presentation and Q&A with Mayor Kate Stewart

Mayor Kate and her husband have lived in Takoma Park since 1995. They raised two kids that went through MCPS schools- her youngest graduated from Blair last year. Kate was first elected to the City Council in 2014 to be Ward 3 representative and became Mayor in 2015. Among her priorities have been to put in place programs and initiatives regarding racial equity, housing affordability, climate change, police reform and increasing community engagement.

In addition to serving as Mayor, Kate is the Vice Chair on the Board of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Government (MWCOG); the co-chair for the National League of Cities Racial Equity And Leadership Council (REAL) and on the board of the Mayors Innovation Project. Kate is a Principal at ConwayStrategic, where she develops communications strategies and works to shape public opinion on issues related to reproductive rights. Kate received her BA from Haverford College and her MS from the University of Maryland.

Mayor Kate:

  • US government ARPA funding $1.9T to states, districts, counties to recover from C-19. Supposed to use over next four years to help with COVID response and recovery.
  • TKPK: allocated $17.5M- have received half already, next half in coming months. Need to be decided by 12/31/2024 and spent by 12/31/2026. Last March (2021), started working on programming to spend those dollars. During Fall 2021, had open public comment period to ask what was needed and should be prioritized. During Jan-mid March, City Council discussed and debated.
  • City Council has recently decided on the following allocation for ARPA funds:
  • $500K: Emergency Rental assistance
  • $600K: to support two mental health counselors- to help those in the community and help with crisis response, working with the county HHS. Will get referrals from the schools. Some of it will be used to work with principals to look at how the city can provide mental health counselors to our families in our schools here. Once a month, mayor and chief of police meet with local principals.
  • Direct cash assistance
  • Grants to small business
  • Expand recc center activities and scholarships for those who need
  • Wifi hotspot, laptop lending, expand broadband for city’s internet
  • energy efficient upgrades
  • library renovation
  • City/library currently has lots of masks and COVID-19 tests- provided by the county/state- there’s plenty available
    • on COVID-19, setting up vaccine clinics. The library still has masks and test kits- they’ve already distributed over 5K. Testing at Rec center on NH Ave every Weds 9am-6pm.
  • Special events at library:
    • partnering with Dance Exchange on front lawn on Saturdays at 11am
    • event on 4/30 at 1pm
    • regular circle time and in spanish
    • bringing back french and amharic program
    • comics jam and scribblers
  • Rec Center:
    • scholarships for city residents to participate in programs- 100% fee reduction- can find out more on the city website- email rec dept
    • Fitness expo this Sat 4/9 10am-2pm
  • Registration for childcare is open/deadlines: April 21 (for scholarship), April 28 (other city residents); City provides morning and aftercare at NH Ave and Rec Center.
  • For Recreation info and day care — call 301-891-7290 or email us at . Applications can be found online at or at the Takoma Park Community Center or Recreation Center offices.
  • City council is now back meeting in person. Meetings are held every Weds at 7:30pm, unless there’s a presentation and then it starts earlier. Anyone can join meeting in person and ask to provide public comment but if doing so virtually, must sign up by 5 pm the evening (as to avoid zoom bombers). Masks required.
  • Will be discussing City budget for next 6 weeks
  • Anyone can speak public comments- 3 min/person
  • Election- primary in June, main election in November (governor’s race as well as important local elections)
  • For local elections- rank choice voting, 16 and 17 year olds and non-citizen residents can vote
  • will continue to be separate ballots for state and national elections vs local
  • Schools fall under MCPS, not City of TKPK so don’t determine bonuses for school admin and teachers
  • Library renovation to start this summer
  • Piney Branch pool to open soon
  • Even with Lucy retiring, the Safe Routes to school and bike programs are still ongoing.
  • Takoma Junction: proposal rejected by county planning board, company has 30 days to appeal

– Adventist property: under county’s zoning and planning dept in conjunction with planning dept. Currently zoned for single family homes-  we’ve requested to see if other uses.

Here is the link for the minor master plan for the WAH campus:

– Safe routes to school- there’s a map looking at walking and biking routes around schools. Grant funding to do programming. $ from the 5K. in the fall, work with city staff to provide helmets for kids.

– mayor’s essay contest; prior to COVID had been held for 4th graders- miss it a lot. winners would come be mayor for the day. anything that the pta wants to do- have groups of students come to the city building. project on planning- can talk to the planners about what they do.

7:50    Treasurer’s Reports 

Stephen Tippett, TPES Treasurer and Kate Bauer, PBES Treasurer 

  • TPES: Still managing finances for Tommy’s pantry
  • Overall doing well
  • Bookfair raised $14K in proceeds- largely in form of Scholastic $ to buy books

PBES: lots of flexibility in budget because no assemblies and no pool

  • Spending more in social services
  • Counseling/equity
  • Staff support increasing

Become a PTA member:

Takoma Park Elementary

Piney Branch Elementary