April 2024 PTA Meeting Minutes

Takoma Park Elementary School (TPES)
Piney Branch Elementary School (PBES)
Parent & Teacher Meeting (PTA)
Tuesday, April 9, 2024 from 7 – 8pm on Zoom 

7:00 PM: Meeting Kick-off 

Chris Campbell, PBES VP Communications 

  • Intro to topics to be discussed

7:05 PM: Upcoming Dates & Announcements

Chris Campbell, PBES VP Communications 

Joyce McDonough, TPES VP Communications

JOINT TPES/PBES ANNOUNCEMENTS: ready by Chris Campbell, PBES VP Communications 

  • April 10 –  No School for Students – Grading and Planning for end of term
  • April 22 – Asynchronous Day for Students – Professional day for teachers There is no school for students on Monday April 22nd. Students will receive asynchronous assignments to bring home on Wednesday, April 17th. Students will return the assignments following the asynchronous learning day
  • May 9 – TPES and PBES Soccer Game – Details to be shared soon

PBES ANNOUNCEMENTS: read by Chris Campbell, PBES VP Communications 

  • 5th Grade Panoramic Picture: The 5th grade panoramic picture will be taken on April 17th. Orders are now being accepted.
  • PBES Yearbooks: Yearbooks are on sale now. The price is $20. They may be ordered online here

TPES ANNOUNCEMENTSRead by Claire Dean, TPES PTA Vice President

  • There will be an Incoming Kindergarten Parent Meeting-May 30, 2024 at 7:00 p.m. The staff of Takoma Park Elementary School will host an incoming kindergarten parent meeting on May 30, 2024. The meeting will be held virtually and will include interpreters for Spanish and Amharic.
  • Please Submit Your Read-a-thon Pledges Read-a-thon pledges were due April 8 but we’d never turn away your donations! 🙂 Pledges support all PTA programs, and the Read-a-thon historically has been one of the TPES PTA’s most important fundraisers! You can submit pledges via PayPal here:  https://tpespta.net/read-a-thon/. Or you can make a check payable to TPES PTA and put it in your child’s Dolphin Folder or mail it to TPES PTA at 7511 Holly Avenue, Takoma Park MD 20912.
  • Volunteers Needed for TPES PTA Book Fair with Bookworm Central: April 15-19. The book fair is less than ONE WEEK away and we still have MANY volunteer openings. Please consider signing up here. This will be our first time supporting Northern Virginia-based Bookworm Central rather than Scholastic and want to make it a huge success!
    • Evening Book Fair Hours: The Book Fair will be open for evening shopping hours from 5:00 – 7:00 PM on the following dates:
    • Tuesday, 4/16:  Pajama Night!  Come dressed in your coziest pajamas for some book shopping.
    • Thursday, 4/18:  Dress as Your Favorite Book Character!  Celebrate a love of reading by dressing as a favorite book character while you shop (No masks, weapons, etc.).
    • PTA Donations for Book Purchases: The PTA is committed to ensuring that every child can shop for a book during the book fair.  If you are interested in donating to help the PTA fund books for our TPES community, please donate here and note in the Comments that the donation is toward book fair vouchers.
    • Teacher Wishlists: Teachers will have a chance to prepare lists of books that they would like for their classroom during Preview Day on 4/12.  Parents can purchase those books for classroom and specials teachers during either the on-site book fair or at our online book fair.
    • Online Book Fair: Our online book fair will remain open through the school year.  There are books for all ages available at the online fair.  TPES PTA receives 15% of the proceeds for books purchased through the online fair.  https://www.bookwormcentral.com/TakomaPark
    • Please contact Claire Dean and Lesley Perry at bookfair@tpespta.net.  
  • Teacher Appreciation Committee Seeking Gifts/Donations for Teacher Raffle We are seeking gifts to raffled off to teachers during Teacher Appreciation Week, May 6-10. Some ideas include giving time for pet sitting, a homemade casserole, your favorite cookie recipe, gift cards, gift certificates, etc.  Gifts in any amount are appreciated and welcomed! Please reach out to Betsy to let her know what you can contribute: esthergarcete@gmail.com
  • STEM Night Feedback Did you come to STEM Night? If so, we’d love your feedback. Please fill out this form to share your thoughts. 
  • Kindergarten Enrollment 2024-25 Now Open Kindergarten online registration is now open. For information regarding kindergarten enrollment for the 2024-25 school year, including important documents needed to register, please visit the MCPS website (https://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/info/enroll/kindergarten/). If you have any questions or would like more information on how to enroll at Takoma Park Elementary School, please call 240-740-0980 or email Ms. Hottel-Cox at anne_m_hottel-cox@mcpsmd.org
  • Come cheer on D.C. United on MCPS Night as they take on the Seattle Sounders FC on Saturday, April 27 at 7:30pm. Takoma Park Elementary School will have its own section. A portion of the ticket sales go to support the TPES PTA so we can continue to offer support to the school. Tickets for the TPES section can be purchased here:  https://fevo-enterprise.com/Takomapark5  
  • Yearbooks! If you’d like to order a yearbook for your child, please use this link. Yearbooks cost $22 and will be distributed at the end of the school year. 

7:10 PM: TPES Career Day (Kaitlin Caruso)

  • Career Day will take place at TPES on May 29, 2024 from 9:30 to 11:20 am
  • No matter what you do – banker, nurse, architect, dentist, police officer, lawyer, military, computer engineer, bus driver, or doctor – the children can learn about the world of work from you! So, if you, a relative, a neighbor, or a friend has a job that you love to talk about and share with others, being a Career Day speaker would be a perfect fit!
  • Volunteering does not guarantee that you will be called on to present. We will do our best to make sure we get a wide variety of careers to showcase to our students. If you are selected, you are committing to stay the entire morning session and present to 3 different classes. Each presentation will last 30 minutes (20 minutes of talking, 10 minutes of Q&A with students).  
  • If you are interested in being a Career Day speaker or know someone who might be, please complete the interest form before April 26, 2024!
  • If you have any questions, please contact Mr. Althofer at Max_P_Althofer@mcpsmd.org or Mrs. Ampofo at Charlotte_Ampofo@mcpsmd.org.  

7:15 PM: Kaysi-Ann Webley,  (Special Projects Coordinator – City of Takoma Park)

  • Presentation on  Earth Day/Free Bike Repairs/Bike Month/Spring Safe Routes Survey 
  • Funds from TKPK 5K to TPES and PBES $661.02 for each school
  • Parent Surveys: 
    • PINEY BRANCH ELEMENTARY SCHOOL URL: http://www.saferoutesdata.org/surveyformparent.cfm?key=6693730 
    • TAKOMA PARK ELEMENTARY SCHOOL URL: http://www.saferoutesdata.org/surveyformparent.cfm?key=2690359



7:25 PM: Koko Lawrence and Ashley van Norden (PBES Special Educators)

  • Understanding Neurodiversity and how to support at neurodivergent kids at school and at home  


Resources: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/17o8tpP2M8t-In1BtAkcwA5X1zAbRQKMwH57CR8cxdsw/edit#slide=id.p

7:40 PM: Q & A

Q&A – Koko and Ashley’s presentation

Q: Does the school offer testing?

A: Yes, if we go through child find and determine impact, with consent, can be tested. We have a school psychologist for assessments. Parents can also seek outside specialists.

Q: Can you talk about the 2 E (Twice Exceptional) program options for students with that diagnosis.

A: There are special educations services so students can receive pull out intervention, some receive in class support. No specific programming outside tailoring.


Q: What is the timeframe between when a family enters the child find process and when they ultimately receive supports (if required)

A:  About 90 days.

Q: Is there any education being provided to the students to normalize neurodivergency?

A: Educators and classrooms have been intentional about embracing normalizing differences and providing accommodations such as different seating types, etc.

Q: I know this presentation was specific to PB, I’m wondering if TPES has similar accommodations?

A: All processes are same for MCPS.

7:50 PM: Budget Updates

Amy Swift, TPES PTA Treasurer

Rachael Pierotti, PBES PTA Treasurer

Q: What happens to any money left over at end of year

A: Rolls over and will get applied to next year’s budget.


Ingrid Gardiner,  PBES PTA President

  • Reminder that next meeting will be on May 7 @ 7 PM 

REQUEST: If anyone is able or knows anyone willing to be a translator, please reach out. We would like to provide translation and have not been able to for the last few meetings.

PTA Suggestion Box:

Please share comments and ideas for meeting topics: