December 2022 Meeting Minutes

Takoma Park Elementary School (TPES)

Parent & Teacher Association Meeting (PTA)

Tuesday, December 6, 2022 from 7-8pm on Zoom 

1. Key dates and announcements (see additional details at end of minutes): 

2. LGBTQ+ Inclusion and Support with MCPS Instructional Specialist Yael Astor from MCPS Office of School Support & Well-Being

  • Info re anti bias and antiracist lens/support coming through language arts curriculum at TPES and PBES
  • Using books to cultivate LGBTQ+ affirming spaces – reviewed books available to MoCo teachers featuring LGBTQ+ affirming identity; often the characters’ LGBTQ+ identity is incidental rather than central to the plot
  • Goal is to normalize representation and conversations featuring LGBTQ+ / nonbinary gender expression
  • Presented topics/questions to help continue the conversation at home
  • If children want to opt out of the books, caregivers can speak to child’s teacher and an alternative text will be provided 
    • TPES Dr. Gadsden reports working to normalizing LGBTQ+ stance; working with the children re using gender-specific + gender-neutral bathrooms
    • PBES Ms Oberdorff & Mr Weerts noted that the kids are pushing the conversation about LGBTQ+ support/inclusion – an additional gender-neutral bathroom has been put into the school. Explored how PBES staff are talking to children to support how they identify themselves and how the school can best support them. Rainbow club is having lunch bunches with staff
    • HOW TO GET INVOLVED: Rainbow Club – contact Jon Frederick or Britt Peterson co-chairs of Rainbow Club at or MoCo virtual Rainbow Club:

3. Thank you to volunteers! TPES and PBES PTA Volunteer Hall of Fame  

4. TPES Dolphin Drive with Diana Hickey van Houwelingen About 81% of dolphin drive goal reached, still accepting donations via check or online

5. PBES Panther Appeal with Emma Cheusse surpassed goal and got to $11K+

6. Presentation and Q&A with Children National Medical Center re trifecta of COVID, Flu and RSV and what your family can do to stay as healthy as possible with Stephanie Evers, RN, MPH, Nurse Administrator, School Health Services, Montgomery County 

    • Flu season started earlier and with more cases this year; seeing a rise post-Thanksgiving
    • RSV, flu and Covid; all viruses, spread mostly by droplets. 
    • How to Protect:
      • Teach kids to sneeze / cough into their elbow
      • Keep hands off of your T-zone on your face
      • Keep social distance of six feet when possible
      • Get kids the flu shot 
      • Keep kids home when sick
      • Medical attention sought if signs of dehydration; fever lasting for more than 4-5 days, if signs/sxs of cough don’t improve or get worse, comorbidity with other dx

7. Treasurer’s Reports with TPES PTA Treasurer review of fundraising, membership and spending, teacher scholarships

8. Next meeting: Jan 3, 7pm on Zoom with Mr. Bledsoe and Ms Bozell regarding the reading curriculum and switch to structured literacy.


List of Upcoming Dates and Announcements

Upcoming Dates/events: 

  • December 7th: virtual Family Financial Fun Night. It is a 20-minute online activity to learn about saving and making good financial decisions that can lead to wonderful discussions with your children about this important topic. Complete the survey at the end of the program and be entered to win one of five $50 Amazon gift cards! You may access the program HERE. See flyer attached in email from Kaitlin Caruso. 
  • December 9th: Little Scholars After School Scholarship Sign-Up Deadline – PBES families who need assistance with tuition for an afterschool club may use this link to sign up for a scholarship.  Little Scholars will then send a code to register for a club so please watch for that code after registering. Please contact Nicole Brown with any questions:
  • December 12-22:  Little Scholars Registration will be open for After School Clubs that will run from January through March 2023. you are able, please donate to support club scholarships at this link:
  • By December 14th: TPES Holiday Gift Drive. We are looking for families to (anonymously) adopt a fellow TPES family and generously provide a gift for each of their children.You will be given the gender and age of each child. Each gift should be individually wrapped with a post-it that indicates the age and gender of the child for whom it is intended. Families range in size from one child to five children. If you are interested, please email Kaitlin Caruso ( and if you have a preference for family size, please let me know. Gifts will need to be ready to be picked up from your front porch or brought to school by Wednesday, December 14th.
  • December 23-Jan 2: TPES and PBES closed for holidays 
  • Tues, January 3: PTA meeting with Mr. Bledsoe and Ms Bozell regarding the reading curriculum and switch to structured literacy.
  • Mon, January 16: TPES and PBES closed for Martin Luther King Jr/ Day of Service  
  • Fri, January 27: TPES and PBES closed for professional day for teachers/end of quarter grading 
  • Feb 13-17: TPES Book Fair

Announcements and Opportunities:

  • TPES Jolly raffle: Ms Paz has organized a raffle of tokens of gratitude and love, simple gestures and/or acts of kindness at least once or twice a week during the next few months. Consider donating anything from a gift card, “IOU” coupons, treats, etc. Please contact Ms Paz directly. 
  • Holiday gifts for TPES teachers/ staff: room parents will be organizing during month of December 
  • Snack donations for both TPES and PBES to be distributed to teachers and counselors to ensure all kids have access. Nut-free, healthy options requested. Delivery options: please drop off at the main office between 8:30 am-4:30 pm, or order for direct delivery to the school.
  • School Meals Applications due ASAP – free federal meals have ended. All families must either complete the application for Free or Reduced School meals from MCPS or deposit funds to pay for your child’s meals at school.

Deposit funds in your child’s “MySchoolBucks” account – link 

Apply for Free and Reduced Meals at School – link

No child will be turned away – PBES and TPES will ensure every child who requests food receives it, but applications are needed so no debt is accrued. The PTA equity teams are also seeking to support families during this time – please donate to the PBES PTA and TPES PTA and to Tommy’s Pantry to help fill gaps and ensure food access for all in our community. 

Reminder for all volunteers: MCPS Volunteer Training and support guide – please complete this before you are scheduled to volunteer: