June 2023 PTA Meeting Minutes

Takoma Park Elementary School (TPES)
Piney Branch Elementary School (PBES)
Parent & Teacher Association Meeting (PTA)
Tuesday, June 6, 2023 from 7-8pm on Zoom 


1a.   Upcoming Dates and Announcements – Refer to MCPS 2022-2023 Calendar and additional dates at the end of these notes

Both TPES and PBES:

  • June 13th 7-8pm via Zoom TPES-PBES NAACP Parent Council meeting.  Dr. Gadsden and Mrs. Oberdorf will join for a discussion on how to help our students keep engaged and continue learning over the summer. A zoom link will be sent on the day of the meeting. Look out for an email from Sharon Gaskins and Ingrid Gardner with more information. Need volunteers for next year’s NAACP Rep from TPES (and PBES)
  • Friday, June 16: last day of school (half day)
  • Summer school— Summer school invitations have gone out and summer school is full at PBES. Please contact your student’s teacher or principal with any questions. 
  • Thank you to all TPES and PBES volunteers — please visit the TPES and PBES PTA Volunteer Hall of Fame and help thank all volunteers.


  • June 15th PBES – Reminder about Fifth Grade Promotion. The PTA will be providing lunch for the fifth graders that day. 
  • If you are a committee or event co-chair or room parent or would like to be one next school year, please contact Sara Lewis or add your name to the Google Document to confirm that you can volunteer – help us get all set up for the fall! serowe@gmail.com


  • Volunteers Needed for TPES Field Days: June 7 (K), June 8 (1st) and June 9th (2nd) from 9:15-11:30am Field Day is coming up and the success of the event depends greatly on the number of volunteers there are per station! There will be 10 – 12 stations and each station should have at least 2 volunteers to function properly (20-24 volunteers needed per day). The dates and times for Field Day for each grade are listed below. If you are interested in volunteering, please email Ms. Paz (Johanna_A_Paz@mcpsmd.org) with your name, child’s name, phone number and the date you plan on volunteering. As a reminder, please come dressed comfortably and equipped with a hat and sunscreen for your personal use, as well as water. Please help us make this a memorable event for all students!


  1.     TPES Wellness Committee Initiative of “Wait Until Eighth” (Amber Rieke from Health     and Wellness Committee) 
  • Nationwide family-led initiative to change community norms and delay phone use until 8th grade
  • Responding to a wave of recent research on the youth mental health crises
  • While a lot of the recent research highlights teens, we know that children are getting access to phones earlier and earlier
  • Smartphones are addictive and distracting but they can also impact child brain development, increase risk for mental health conditions, increase risk for exposure to cyberbullying and inappropriate content
  • www.waituntil8th.org for resources
  • Consider signing the pledge on the Wait Until 8th to have strength in numbers (more families signing on to this helps) but no action is requires
  • For families worried about their child missing out on conversations that take place on social media/phone, can appreciate the idea that we all link arms to change the norms in our school communities. The more families who delay, the easier it is. (The other thing to point to is that it is technically not legal for kids under 13 to use social media anyway, we just know that’s not enforced.) There are also always options for flip phones for texting!
  1.   Membership vote on the 2023-2024 Executive Boards 
  • Voted on full slate for TPES and it was passed
    • President: Kaitlin Caruso 
    • Executive Vice President: Claire Dean
    • Treasurer: Amy Swift
    • VP Membership: Mercedes Castelo 
    • VP Equity: Jon Frederick 
    • Membership Secretary: Lesley Perry and Christine Kahler Smith
    • VP Communications: Joyce McDonough
    • VP Fundraising: Diana Hickey van Houwelingen 
    • MCCPTA Delegate: Christina Davis 
    • Executive Secretary: Anna Juarez
  • Voted on full slate for PBES and it was passed
    • President: Ingrid Gardiner 
    • Executive VP: Aphra Adkins
    • Treasurer: Rachael Pierotti 
    • Secretary: Lis Hooper 
    • Fundraising VP: Mary Kathryn Lee
    • Membership VP: Sara Lewis 
    • Communications VP: Chris Campbell 
    • Equity VP: Desiree Hernandez
    • MCCPTA (County) Delegates: Matthew Stark Blumin; Paul Donowitz
  1. Brief remarks from TPES and PBES principals 
  • Dr/ Gadsden: Attempted to return to normal with evening activities and such. Was a difficult year but grateful to teachers and parents and staff who showed up
  • Ms. Oberdorff: Thanks to PTA board and membership for helping to facilitate events; thanks to all who showed up to help
  1. Margaret Webb (Guest speaker and parenting coach). We’re pleased to be joined by Margaret Webb, who has been a parenting coach for over 12 years. She’s a certified life coach, nature-based coach, a former teacher, and author. She’ll be sharing highlights and actionable steps from her Summer Survival parenting course. 
  • PDF Handouts referenced: https://www.mediafire.com/file_premium/nrzmkdktrm6uju1/Summer_Survival_Skills_Handout.pdf/file
  • She is the mother of a 20 y/o son with autism. 
  • A contributor to TilT Podcast about parenting differently wired children
  • Identify things that create tension with your child (eg boredom, unstructured time ) and then brainstorm with your child things they can do when these moments come up
  • They may also need downtime to do what they consider flow-type activities (things that come really easily to them and it may not look like what your neighbor’s kids are doing (swinging, swimming, bouncing, singing, etc)
  • There’s the child aspect and then there’s the parent aspect – what can parents do as well to set ourselves up for success
  • Can ask: is there anything I can do ahead of time to make stressful times easier for myself? What do I know are the stressful times of our day? If we can do things to check off stressful items we will be calmer and have larger bandwidth to manage kids during stressful periods
    • Do I need to pack a lunchbox for myself?
    • Do I need to have water in my car for pick up?
    • Is there anything that I need to communicate ahead of time to those who are supporting my child? (and who do you feel safe communicating that information to)
  • Taking time to reflect each week – either alone, with you and a partner or you and your kids to ask three questions: 1. What worked? 2. What didn’t work? 3. What’s one thing we can try next week that can get us a different result?
    • How can you be a better friend? How can you take care of yourself better/next week? 
  • These questions creating a learning mindset, curiosity, a reminder that nothing is set in stone
  • Academics during the summer are light and real-life based (math with baking; geography with maps of places they are going; good books, trips to the library; going to museums; tap into what they already like and slip in the academics. Go light on the worksheets. Summer is a time to recharge. Make it authentic to what you’re doing day-to-day and different from what they’re doing at school.
  • Grocery lists from 101planners.com and have the kids plan the grocery list and go shopping with you
  • For summer camps, could sit down with your kids and a spreadsheet where they are engaged with you in filling out which camps they are going to each week, what time they need to walk out of the door each morning, what they need to pack for camp and then have them back up the night before
  1. Treasurer’s End of Year Report and Budget Votes


  • A little over the goal at $32,678 for total PTA income
  • Expenses: major one is dreambox math adaptive software is already planned an in the works but not in this budget – it costs around $10K
    • Mostly school support activities like academic supports, 2nd grade graduation, field trips, teacher appreciation week
    • Expenses at $54,628
    • Will leave the available cash balance at $35K?
    • PTA taxes were done and accepted by the IRS
  1. PTA Summer Send-Off! 


List of Upcoming Dates and Announcements

Reminder on Upcoming Dates/events: 

To request topics for future PTA agendas, please reach out to president@tpespta.net or pbes.pta@gmail.com

Announcements and Opportunities:

  • 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: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1URJRNYdUyyL0ghVzZ32xLqPmkE7IwUvcRF2qid89ojA/preview


We need your help and support:

Become a PTA member, donate, become a sponsor, sign up to volunteer:

Takoma Park Elementary School PTA: https://www.tpespta.net

Piney Branch Elementary School PTA: https://pineybranchpta.membershiptoolkit.com


PBES Website: https://www2.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/schools/pineybranches/

Find out the latest from the Panther Tracks Newsletter for PBES. Sign up for the PTA listserv or send an email to pbespta+subscribe@groups.io to start posting and receiving messages.


TPES Website: https://www2.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/schools/takomaparkes/