February 2024 PTA Meeting Minutes

Takoma Park Elementary School (TPES)
Piney Branch Elementary School (PBES)
Parent & Teacher Meeting (PTA)
Tuesday, February 6, 2024 from 7 – 8pm on Zoom 

Meeting Kick-off 

Ingrid Gardiner, PBES PTA President welcome

  • Intro to topics to be discussed
  • Desiree Hernandez will be translating in Spanish, we do not have an Amharic interpreter today. Notes will be shared in English/Spanish/Amharic.
  • Reminder: PBES suggestion/feedback form at this link.  Please give feedback regarding upcoming meetings or other PTA suggestions/ideas

Upcoming Dates & Announcements

TPES ANNOUNCEMENTS:  Read by Clare Dean, TPES PTA Vice President

  • Support a TPES Family During a Time of Crisis: On behalf of a dear kindergarten student at TPES and his family, Ms. Paz has created a GoFundMe page. His mother, 26 year old María, passed suddenly from complications due to her leukemia. Thanks to everyone who has contributed to the cause, Ms. María Vicente Chan’s children chaperoned by Ms. Paz returned her to Guatemala for burial. The medical and funeral expenses unfortunately still linger and any further contributions are enormously appreciated. Click here to contribute to the GoFundMe. 
  • Black History Night is on February 29th at PBES! We are looking for six volunteers from TPES to help with set up, food, clean up and the art table. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Gabrielle Williams. We will put her information in the chat. (gabriellefouche@gmail.com). 
  • TPES Read-a-thon is coming soon and NEEDS VOLUNTEERS: February 19-March 15: The Read-a-thon is one of our PTA’s most significant fundraisers, where students will read to raise funds for the PTA. Like in a charity marathon where runners are “sponsored” for every mile they run, students will collect pledges for the time that they read. It’s a lot of fun! The students get very excited to read and set reading goals. Volunteer roles only take a few hours and many can be done from home! Our most important volunteer need right now is on Friday, February 16th for the book giveaway! Even if you can’t commit to a whole time slot, we appreciate even an hour of your time! You can sign up to volunteer on this linked spreadsheet. Please contact Amanda Wagner (helloamandawagner@gmail.com) for more information.
  • Does Your Child Have Extra Pants in Their School Cubby? Please send in labeled pants with your child to stay in their cubby in case a change of clothing is needed. Most children only have shorts from the beginning of the year as their change of clothes. Please label your student’s clothing as it helps get the items returned if misplaced.
  • Lost and Found: Please come check out the lost and found! Most coats are now hanging on a coat rack, while there are three (large and overflowing) boxes of sweatshirts, sweaters, fleeces and lunch boxes. There is another separate box of water bottles and finally, a box of hats, gloves and scarves. Everything is located in the atrium (pictures attached for reference). We ask that if your child has lost something this year, to please come look for it, as there are a significant number of items. Please remember your ID when you come to school so that you may get in.
  • Nurse Seeking Donations of New/Excellent Condition Pants (Sizes 4-10): Please consider sending in an extra pair of pants for the nurse’s office. Not only do bathroom accidents happen, children need to change their pants if they fall in the mud/wet grass, spills in the cafeteria, etc. As a Pre K-2 school, we have lots of change of clothing needs! 
  • Valentine’s Day: When sending valentines in with your child, be sure there is a valentine for every child in the homeroom class. Unfortunately, students without a full set will not be permitted to pass out valentines. This is being done to safeguard the emotional health of our children. Teachers will be sending home class lists soon.
  • Yearbook Ordering is Now Open: 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. 

PBES ANNOUNCEMENTS: ready by Ingrid Gardiner, PBES PTA President

  • February is Black History Month! TPES/PBES Black History Night Celebration: February 29, 7–8 pm – The Black History Night event will take place on Thursday February 29 from 7 to 8:00 PM at PBES, cosponsored by the TPES and PBES PTAs. Expect live interactive performances, refreshments, and engaging art activities. Students and their families/caregivers are welcome! More details to be provided in the coming weeks.
  • February 19: No school (President’s Day)
  • Cultural Heritage Night, GeoBowl, and Readathon updates will be provided by the committee members after the announcements
  • Here is the sign up link to bring some Valentines treats for PBES staff on Feb 13: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/30E0C4DA4AC28A4F49-47660610-velentines#/

Budget Updates, TPES and PBES

Amy Swift, TPES PTA Treasurer 

Zones of Regulation

Ms. Altofer . TPES Counselor 

Overview – Zones of Regulation is an SEL curriculum originally developed for small groups of students with autism or sensory processing issues. We are however seeing more and more children with self regulation challenges.

  • Mr Altofer and Ms. Ampofo are working with this curriculum (Zones of Regulation) this year. 
  • Breaks feelings into color zones.
  • Will be continuing to refine lessons and have consistency throughout classrooms/school.

Q: Are there ways we as parents can support what you are doing at school?

A: You can have conversations with your student at home if they are becoming unregulated or getting close to a tantrum, ask what color they are in. Reinforce that red is not good/bad but means out of control. Remind them that not everyone experiences their feelings the same, there isn’t a right/wrong, just a difference of opinion.

Q: If this was originally developed for kids on the autism spectrum, how appropriate is this curriculum for kids who are not on the spectrum (which presumably is most kids)?

A: It was developed for that purpose but has been used in school/clinical settings with students with ADHD, students with regulatory issues. 

This is something that is good for all children, it was just designed for children originally for kids on the spectrum. “A good strategy is a good strategy”

From chat: I rarely get details from my kids about what they learn daily, but my kindergartner and 2nd grader fell all over themselves to tell us everything about the zones of regulation!

Q: I really appreciate the focus on zones of regulation this year. How it the zones curriculum being balanced with other guidance curriculum that covers other topics?

A: This year, this is the curriculum we are using. Next year we will incorporate mindfulness into zones. 

Q:Is this tool being used in PBES as well so students can maintain a consistent approach as they age up?

A: No, but it is available. Choice was made to use it at TPES based on what counselors/staff were seeing and what seemed appropriate.

Q: What trends post-pandemic are you seeing? Particular grades or throughout?

A: Throughout school. My sense that it was from being out of school, being on screen, then having to transition back. The social skills foundation and general frustration tolerance has decreased. In any given year, there is a handful demonstrating this but we are seeing more and more, behaviors are getting bigger, more students are becoming physically aggressive, etc.

Black History Month celebration – no presentation this evening

Reminder: The celebration is Feb 29th at PBES

THANK YOU

Mrs Oberdorff: Thank you to all the volunteers for GeoBowl and Readathon

Dr Gadsden: Thank you for everyone volunteering for lunch, recess, and at school, and for your smiles when you come in.

Ingrid Gardiner,  PBES PTA President

  • Reminder that next PTA meeting will be on March 5 at 7 PM 

Additional Q&A:

Q:Is there a “no-school day” on Tuesday, May 14th?

A: May 14th is a Holiday with schools and offices closed for Primary Election Day.



January 2024 PTA Meeting Minutes

Takoma Park Elementary School (TPES)
Piney Branch Elementary School (PBES)
Parent & Teacher Meeting (PTA)
Rescheduled: Thursday, January 18, 2024 from 7 – 8pm on Zoom 

Agenda will include:
(1) Upcoming TPES and PBES dates and announcement
(2) Update about Black History Month events
(3) Presentations by Dr. Gadsden (Principal of TPES) and Ms. Oberdorf (Principal of PBES) on protocol and processes for virtual school in the case of inclement weather.
(4) Q&A

7:00 PM: Meeting Kick-off 

Kaitlin Caruso, TPES PTA President welcome

7:05 PM: Upcoming Dates & Announcements
Joyce McDonough, TPES PTA VP Communications
Chris Campbell – PBES PTA VP Communications 

TPES Announcements: 

  • Little Scholars Club Registration Extended through Sunday, January 21, 8pm for Cheerleading, Hip Hop, and Mini Med

We have been working with Little Scholars to ensure improved programming this winter session. If a class is no longer listed, it is full. Please click here or on the attached flyer to register. 

  • Next Food Forest and Gardening PTA Committee on Wednesday, January 24th 8-9PM

To learn about planting in the spring, Spring Gardening Club update; and Green School recertification. Please email Erin Mohan mohan.erin.m@gmail.com for the Google Meet link.

  • Green School Certification at TPES: Bring in dried-up markers and used-up glue sticks

There are 2 boxes in the Atrium, one for dried-up markers and one for used-up glue sticks. Please send your used items in with your child! They’ll be sent to be recycled once the boxes are full! Let’s see how many pounds of plastics we can prevent from going into our landfills! 

  • Volunteers Needed to Coordinate TPES/PBES Soccer Spring Event

This spring the TPES and PBES PTAs hope to hold a soccer game event to bring together our school community. If you are interested in helping to make this happen, please reach out to Kaitlin Caruso (president@tpespta.net

    • Thanks to our parent volunteer, Alfia Ali, we have an active Amharic-language WhatsApp group for TPES parents. We also have a Spanish-language WhatsApp group, led by Ms. Paz. Help us spread the word! 
  • Advice on Lice. We are still having reported cases of lice at the school. You may have noticed that our PTA is including tips in our weekly newsletters to keep lice front of mind. We have also purchased some medicated shampoos and combs for the nurse to distribute to families who may need them. 
  • Blair HS has their STEM night for Grades K-5 on January 26th, 
  • There is NO school on January 29th. 

PBES Announcements: 

    • The Geography Bowl has begun! Packets should have come home with you children with maps of Africa and The Americas and questions about these regions. For anyone unfamiliar with the GeoBowl it’s a voluntary opportunity for kids to develop an enthusiasm for geography and create school spirit through team competitions. The packets are completed outside of class time and the classroom with the highest percentage of completed packets gets a donut party 🙂 You can learn more about the GeoBowl on the PBES PTA website HERE, including important dates:
      • Monday, January 22 4pm-5pm and Thursday, January 25 8am-9am packet completion help at school for those kids interested in getting support completing their GeoBowl packets 
      • Thursday, February 1st Final day to turn in completed packets
      • Monday, February 5th All corrected packets will be returned to classrooms
      • Please consider volunteering by filling out this FORM
  • TPES/PBES Soccer Spring Event: reach out to Sara Lewis at serowe@gmail.com if interested in participating through PBES.
  • Little Scholars Club Registration is open through Sunday, January 21st. Scholarship applications are now closed. We are accepting donations to help cover the cost of scholarships for the Spring Semester of after school programming. Link here to make a donation.
  • January 24: Instrumental music concerts at TPMS: 6:00 p.m. Strings Concert, 7:00 p.m. Band Concert. Family and friends are invited to attend. If you have any questions or concerns, please email Mrs. Pratt at Stacia_A_Pratt@mcpsmd.org.

Amanda Wagner from TPES and Leanne from PBES will now share a special announcement about the Read-a-thon at each school.

  • Read-a-thon is a schoolwide event to encourage kids to read over a period of three weeks.
    • TPES: starts February 14
    • PBES: starts February 2
  • Parents submit their readathon minute trackers back on fridays; win pizza party for most read
  • Book giveaway on first day, starting book collection next week
  • Families may submit donations for every minute or book read. Will be sending home information.
  • How to participate (both schools)
    • Book collection: Donate books for the book giveaway, particularly books in Spanish
    • Parent volunteers
      • Help with book giveaway
      • Tally minute trackers
    • More information coming soon
  • Contact information:

7:15 PM: Update from NAACP Representatives and PTA leadership regarding Black History Month Events

Gabrielle Williams, TPES PTA NAACP Representative
Ingrid Gardiner, PBES PTA President 

  • Theme: Blacks in the Arts
  • Solidifying date for the event at the end of February
  • Will be held at PBES
  • Planned for the event:
    • Food
    • Dance troupe
    • Opportunities for student involvement
  • More details coming soon

7:25 PM: Protocol and Processes for Virtual Schooling In the Case of School Closures Due to Inclement Weather (Including time for Q & A)
Ms. Joi Hollis, Principal of TPES
Ms. Christine Oberdorf, Principal of PBES 

  • Dr. Gadsden will stay on the call at the end for further questions
  • Slide Deck
  • MCPS Operating Status
    • Color coded system (LINK)
    • Multi-step process for making the decision to close (LINK)
      • Team tracking weather data and what surrounding districts are doing
  • Code Purple: Virtual Learning (LINK)
    • Only happens under certain conditions
      • Predictable storm/event
      • Part of multi-day event
      • Prior preparation and communication has taken place – school will know by noon the day before
    • Get Ready announcement will be sent from school
    • Required to have live (synchronous) instruction on 2-hour delay schedule
    • Attendance taken: maximize flexibility if difficulty during sign-on
    • There will be opportunities to make up work missed if unable to be online
    • Chromebook: must have access to a device for live instruction
      • Request device (link)
      • MCPS ITS handles the distribution
        • Tech days
          • TPES: Wednesdays
          • PBES: Fridays
      • MiFi device – request through school principal
      • Technology support resources (LINK)
      • Additional Tech Supports: School will send the resources via email when having a Code Purple day
      • Advance planning: Ensure you can find Canvas and Clever – look at documents and check with teachers/child to find out if child knows their signon details
      • Sign up for MCPS alerts (LINK)
    • Meal service: offered at 20 sites thru county; MCPS will communicate where these will be
    • TPES Schedules
      • Separate schedules for each grade
        • Start: 11:05
        • Lunch: 12:05-12:40
        • K: will not have specials – many movement breaks
        • User-friendly icons (teacher faces) to help out students and families
          • Hub to click on your grade level to take you to the slide deck with your child’s grade.
    • PBES Schedules
      • Start: 11:05
      • Lunch: 12:45-1:30
      • Follow pod and teacher within grid
      • Specialists will use the teacher zoom link to keep from switching rooms
    • Can assign chromebooks the day before the code purple if needed

Q&A

  • How TPES kids move from classrooms for homeroom/math: Canvas landing page will have zoom link and their schedule; TPES working out how to handle math transitions; Students will switch virtual classrooms for reading if they have Ms. Wade.
  • Snow days: only 2 built into the calendar. Unsure what January 29 or spring break will look like yet. MCPS may ask the state for special dispensation to avoid makeup days.
  • Do students have to logon to a MCPS device? Everything can be accessed through student’s google account. No need for a specific device from MCPS.
  • Canvas: do students know how to use it? Students are familiar with accessing it.
  • Chromebook tech issues: send device to school and IT will troubleshoot. 
    • Tech days
      • TPES: wednesday
      • PBES: friday
      • Send in the device (not charger) with a note of the issue
      • Not always immediate reply; will try to turn around based on availability 
  • Students sign in to Google with their ID and .net email. For example: 123456@mcpsmd.net. Then they input the same password they use in school.
  • Passwords and logins: if students don’t remember, call the office
  • Preferable for kids to be on their own computer rather than having several kids on one projector/device.

7:50 PM: Budget Updates
Amy Swift, TPES PTA Treasurer
Rachael Pierotti, PBES PTA Treasurer

  • TPES include link to document?
    • Through December 31, 2023
    • Ahead because of Dolphin Drive, Read-a-thon, Dolphin Gear
  • PBES include link to document?
    • Fundraising same as last year
    • Working on getting more business sponsorships
    • Bookfair expenses
    • Holiday treats, etc. 
    • Total expenses: $15,086

7:55 PM: THANK YOU: Kaitlin Caruso, TPES PTA President 

Reminder that next meeting is Tuesday, February 6, 2024

General questions:

  • Are they learning how to access Canvas at school? Teachers are teaching this based on their tech level; making as much of the navigation visual.
  • Lost and found: ideas to organize? Teachers borrow from the lost & found when someone needs a coat; they try to reconnect kid with coat when possible; appreciate any help with that; Parents: take an inventory and come by the school to go through the atrium
    • Possible ways to help
      • PTA take photos and send on listserv
      • Donation of coat racks for better organization?
      • Want to ensure everyone gets their things back before donating this year. 
      • There is a supply of available hats/gloves/coats at PBES that they give out when they see a need.
  • Tomorrow (January 19) is NOT a virtual day. Building will not be accessible.
  • PTA will try to hold a session on how to log in for virtual learning, on MCPS Chromebook and non-MCPS device.

December 2023 PTA Meeting Minutes

Takoma Park Elementary School (TPES)
Piney Branch Elementary School (PBES)
Parent & Teacher Meeting (PTA)
Tuesday, December 5, 2023 from 7 – 8pm on Zoom 

Agenda: 

(1) Upcoming TPES and PBES dates and announcements
(2) Presentations by PBES reading specialist (Mr. Bledsoe), Math Coach (Mrs. Faulk), and Staff Development Teacher (Java Robinson) and TPES Principal and Vice Principal (Dr. Gadsden/Ms Hollis) with resources, tools, and activities to help kids at home depending on which areas kids may need help with based on report cards.
(3) Q&A

7:00 PM: Meeting Kick-off 

Ingrid Gardiner, PBES PTA President welcome

  • Intro to topics to be discussed
  • Reminder: PBES suggestion/feedback form at this link in chat asking for folks to give feedback regarding upcoming meetings or other PTA suggestions/ideas. Link: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSffIWOOmTZloAzFJHnvKrJiRaD-hNiRRt-18VfwFjZyZgWTmg/viewform

7:05 PM: Upcoming Dates & Announcements

TPES ANNOUNCEMENTS: Claire Dean, TPES PTA Vice President

    • Online Book Fair:  TPES PTA is partnering with Bookworm Central for both an online and on-site Book Fair.  The online book fair is available right now.  Link: https://www.bookwormcentral.com/TakomaPark  You may also purchase books to go directly to the media center – see link on page. If you order books by December 8, they will arrive by December 22.  TPES PTA receives 15% of all proceeds from the online book fair.  
    • TPES Merchandise:  If you would like to purchase some TPES merchandise for the holidays or winter season, please contact TPES PTA VP Claire Dean.  If you are interested in TPES merchandise before the holidays, please send me an email to coordinate at VP@tpespta.net.  You can check out our online book fair at: https://www.bookwormcentral.com/TakomaPark. You can see the full list of available titles by clicking the “Books” tab at the top of the fair page. You can also help Ms. Anderson and the Media get the books they need by purchasing from the Library’s Book Fair Drive. Those books will go right to the Media Center’s collection. Let’s get reading!
    • The Health Room needs change of clothing donations for boys, girls and non-binary clothing sizes 4-10, specifically, underwear (new only), pants and shirts. As a PK-2 school, we have several accidents throughout the week where children need a change of clothes. 
  • Thank you – the TPES Holiday drive was fulfilled. All spots were taken for the holiday toy drive. The PTA encourages donations to STM toy drive and City of Takoma Park’s 2023 Toy Drive:

Small Things Matter’s Holiday Toy Drive:  https://smallthingsmatter.org/

City of Takoma Park’s 2023 Toy Drive:  https://takomaparkmd.gov/government/police/services-and-programs/2021-toy-drive/

  • Reminder to make sure your child has a change of seasonal-appropriate clothing kept in the classroom (top, pants, underwear, and socks). 

7:10 PM:  Dolphin Drive Update, Diana Hickey van Houwelingen, VP of Fundraising

Exceeded goal: $11,077; including Thanksgiving match partners = $14,077 total

7:12 PM:  Budget Updates

Amy Swift, TPES PTA Treasurer

Most of the income this month was from Dolphin Drive.

Rachael Pierotti, PBES PTA Treasurer

PBES also surpassed the goal for Panther Appeal.

 7:20 PM:  Report Cards – Tools, Resources, and Activities Presentation

TPES – Dr. Gadsden and Ms. Hollis

Resources for supporting math and reading at home

Link to presentation: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1x632rIFm-coLytxlrAWhGshv3LLAWvCMwJ43GSqfxes/edit?usp=sharing

Families can print reading resources information at home. If you don’t have print capabilities at home, you can email reading specialist Ms. Jennifer Fahrenthold: Jennifer_Fahrenthold@mcpsmd.org.

Math coach: Samikia East: Samikia_East@mcpsmd.org.

Questions during presentation: 

Q: Dr Gadsden showed an online portal for DIBELS. How do we access that? We only got a printout at our parent-teacher conference. 

A: The Home Connect website is listed at the bottom of the second page of the DIBELS report, and is also available at https://mclass.amplify.com/homeconnect/.  If you have any additional questions, please email Jennifer_Fahrenthold@mcpsmd.org.

Q: Math question: For students who complain about having to make drawings when they can solve problems in their head, how can parents explain to them why these strategies are important? 

A: Please let students know it is great that you know how to answer problems in their head, however, there are many ways to solve a problem and the teacher wants to see what strategies you used to solve your work that is why it is important to show your work.  The teacher might have a question about your work but you left for the day and if you show your work they can look at your work to get their question answered.

Q: When we observed during the open house, the teacher was using leveled readers typical of a balanced literacy approach, which surprised me given the move by MCPS to the science of reading.  Do classrooms need more decodable texts?  And could the PTA support this? Or, is the goal to use a mix of leveled readers and decodable books?  

A: Thank you for your kind offer, but we have an excellent selection of decodable books.  Teachers have access to both decodable readers and books that are not designed as decodable readers so that they can select the type of book that is most appropriate for the task the teacher is envisioning. If you have any additional questions, please email Jennifer_Fahrenthold@mcpsmd.org.

Q: Does TPES also have access to restorative justice training? 

A: We have a Restorative Justice Coach who trains staff.

PBES – Reading Specialist- Mr. Bledsoe, Math Coach-Mrs. Faulk, Staff Development Teacher-Java Robinson
Ms. Faulk, Math Coach: presentation on how you can support your child at home
Mr. Bledsoe, reading specialist: presentation on helping your child with reading at home. Email: Robert_Bledsoe@mcpsmd.org
Java Robinson, Staff Development Teacher: Presentation on Restorative Justice & Minority Scholars Program

Link to presentation: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1se8TuxMn-Zc1LsexjtT7kYDTOjIcZHGfZE6VuWduTEE/edit?usp=sharing

7:45 PM:  Q&A

Facilitated by Chris Campbell, PBES VP of Communications and Aphra Adkins, PBES PTA VP

Form will be filled out and shared.

7:59 PM: THANK YOU

Ingrid Gardiner,  PBES PTA President

  • Reminder that next meeting will be on January 8 at 7 PM

November 2023 PTA Meeting Minutes

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

Agenda included: (1)Upcoming Dates & Announcements (2)Dreambox Presentation by Samikia East (3)Wait Until Eighth Presentation by Amber Rieke (4) Treasurer’s Reports and Budget Votes

7:00 PM: Meeting Kick-off  – Kaitlin Caruso, TPES PTA President 

Upcoming Dates & Announcements (Read by Joyce McDonough, TPES VP Communications) 

Takoma Park Elementary PTA 

  • The Dolphin Drive Begins! (Please refer to Diana to make announcement) 

November is coming and it’s time for our annual Dolphin Drive!  This year we aim to raise $10,000 for the PTA.  With your support we can continue to provide programs and opportunities for our students at TPES.  Be on the lookout for more information about how you can participate and show your school spirit!  Go, Dolphins!

Flyers and envelopes will be coming home with children in the Dolphin folders, if not already. Envelope: write the child’s and teacher’s name on the website. Donations also accepted at https://tpespta.net/donations/fall-2023-dolphin-drive/

  • Bring in Magazines for the Counseling Office 

Students will be creating collages to help identify emotions and understand zones of regulation by cutting out examples of people experiencing different emotions from magazines this week. Please send in magazines with people that could be useful for these collages.

  • TPES Open House: Friday, November 10, 9:30-11:30AM

Some classes will do their normal activities, others may have special events. Teachers will determine the format of the event and how parents will engage.

  • Reminder: Respect Road Signs

As a reminder, there is no left turn at the exit of the school parking lot onto Holly Ave during school hours. There has been additional congestion at drop off/dismissal, including buses not being able to drive through, due to cars trying to turn left onto Holly Ave from the TPES parking lot.  

  • Small Things Matter and TPES/PBES Annual Coat Drive 

The school is partnering with Small Things Matter for its annual Coat Drive! The drive runs until November 15. Please bring new or gently used coats to the designated box in the main office during school hours. All PBES and TPES families are invited to get coats on Tuesday November 7 at the TPSS Coop and again at a later date (to be announced soon).

  • TPES will have Hearing & Vision screenings from November 6th through the 9th from 9:30am to 3pm. The school is in need of several volunteers to help the health room staff escort students from the classrooms to the screening location and back. Please let Ms. Paz know if you are available to assist during this important screening (Johanna_A_Paz@mcpsmd.org). 
  • There will be HALF DAYS on Monday and Tuesday of Thanksgiving week and NO SCHOOL November 22-24, 2023. 

Piney Branch Elementary PTA 

  • Panther Appeal Update: Thanks to All Who Contributed

Appeal is over, a big thank you to everyone who donated! Your support makes everything the PTA does possible!.  We are getting close to our goal and hope that our silent auction gets us to the $10K goal

  • On November 9 the PTA is hosting a Community Celebration from 7-8:30 pm, where we will thank our PBES Family and Friends for their support and participation in our vibrant community. There will be a silent auction, raffle, pizza, and a “Why I Love Piney Branch” group art project. The PTA needs volunteers for our PBES Community Celebration on November 9th! 

The event will have a group art project for students, a silent auction, pizza and raffle prizes! Bidding for silent auction items will close online at 630pm the night of and continue in person at the event.

Please fill out this SignUp Genius if you are able to volunteer. 

  • Feedback Needed: After-school Programs

Please complete this survey  to help the PTA plan future after-school programming. We are interested in your feedback, whether you have participated in the past or are interested in participating in the future.

  • Thank you to Adanna Johnson for volunteering to serve as an NAACP representative for PBES! 

We are looking for one additional NAACP representative to share responsibilities with Adanna. The NAACP representatives attend monthly meetings (or ensures PBES representation at monthly meetings), share important information from the Parents’ Council with the school community, and help to plan/support outreach events/activities at PBES. Please reach out to Sara Lewis (serowe@gmail.com) if you are willing to serve in this capacity.

For all volunteers: MCPS Volunteer Training and support guide – please complete this before you are scheduled to volunteer: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1URJRNYdUyL0ghVzZ32xLqPmkE7IwUvcRF2qid89ojA/preview

7:10 PM: Dreambox Presentation and Q & A

  • Samikia East, Staff Development Teacher, TPES
    • Link to presentation
    • Dreambox is a digital math program that K-3 students have access to at home and at school that complements the Eureka curriculum.
    • Empowers teachers and parents with actionable data
    • Students are encouraged to use it at home without assistance.
    • Role of the Learning Guardian
      • Ensure technical compatibility: PC, laptop, or ipad. Up to date browsers: Safari, Chrome, Firefox, or Ipad app. Not compatible with android tablets, iphones
      • Username, password, classroom id comes from teacher. Student will know their picture password.
      • 5+ lessons per week, to be completed both at home and at school. Set this expectation with student.
      • Support best practices: student is the only person playing on the child’s account. It’s ok to make mistakes. Use Help and hint buttons. 15 minutes per lesson; turn on volume
    • Creating free Dreambox Math Family Account
      • Some lessons at home, some in class. This account will help know what’s been done at school
      • Login to the child’s account. Select Set Up Parent Access link. 
      • Cannot create account from ipad app
      • Enter email and create a password for parent account
      • Forgot your password link is on the login page
      • Once logged in, parent can monitor child’s progress
    • Priority for Eureka worksheets or Dreambox? To work out with the student’s math teacher. Dreambox sessions are short. May rotate what the student does each evening.
    • All data kept in house by the teacher.
    • Very little data is linked to student’s account; secure
    • Is there an offline version? Can choose to do the Eureka workbook instead of Dreambox. Research shows 5+ lessons per week can improve results. Students not on screens every day at school; MAP growth scores increased with Dreambox use.
    • How do Eureka and Dreambox relate? Both are Common Core based. Eureka may not get to all concepts covered by testing; Dreambox can
    • Logins were sent home previously; Ms. East will remind teachers to send again.
    • Joyce McDonough comment: Just wanted to name for PBES families, especially our 4th and 5th grade families, that TPES PTA purchased subscriptions for all K-3 students to address learning loss during the pandemic but the program can be used for older students. It’s an adaptive program that adapts to the skills and needs of your child.
    • Dreambox is adaptive depending on where the student is. Goes through K-8 skills
    • Tutor Me: TPES is not supporting the program this year.

7:25 PM: Wait Until Eighth Presentation and Q & A

  • Amber Rieke, Health & Wellness Committee, TPES PTA
    • Fellow parent; presented last year on Wait Until Eighth
    • Conversation started last year and picking it back up
    • Wait Until Eighth is a national campaign www.waituntil8th.org 
    • Focused on smartphones because of social media/internet access
    • Many studies coming out about social media and mental health of youth – suggest not helpful and could be harmful; health advisories released by APA and other organizations
    • Seeing increasing issues with tech at school being a distraction; mostly smart watches
    • www.waituntil8th.org/why-wait: links to research on how smartphones are changing childhood
    • Organization set up a pledge to sign to agree not to give child a smartphone until at least 8th grade; helpful to have the norm to avoid the peer pressure of other families giving smartphones.
    • Considering setting up something similar for TPES and PBES families; open to ideas on how to address the pressures. Ensure that it is something that is sustainable into the middle school years.
    • https://bit.ly/pta_waituntil8th – survey to submit ideas and provide feedback. Please complete by November 26. Will circulate in PTA newsletter and elsewhere. 
    • Amber.Rieke@gmail.com: Amber’s email for additional questions
    • Resources for parents of high school age children? Many resources on the wait until 8th website
    • https://www.childrenandscreens.com/

7:40 PM: Treasurer’s Reports & Budget Votes

  • Amy Swift, TPES PTA Treasurer
    • Votes: 
      • Using Square and PayPal charity accounts for collecting payments, both in person and online links
        • Motion passes
      • Increases to budget expenses
        • General Expenses
        • Outreach & Social Events: buying merch, fund events
        • PTA Administrative: copier expenses, CPA for tax processing
        • Subtotal School Programs: 
        • Staff Support: water cooler, etc.
          • Motion passes
    • FInancial Review completed and submitted to Free State PTA
  • Rachael Pierotti, PBES PTA Treasurer
    • Changes
      • Panther appeal is complete, except the silent auction; over $8000 collected so far
      • PBES received a grant
    • Expenses: Aquarium, staff support, pta operations b/c paypal fees
    • Book fair closed but will see the funds next month; not income for the PTA.

7:55 PM: Closing Remarks 

  • Kaitlin Caruso, TPES PTA President 
  • Reminder that next meeting will be held on Tuesday, December 5th

October PTA Meeting Minutes

OCTOBER 2023 PTA MEETING NOTES

Piney Branch Elementary School (PBES)

Takoma Park Elementary School (TPES)

Parent & Teacher Meeting (PTA)

Tuesday, October 3,  2023 

 

Meeting Minutes and PTA Information

 

  1. Upcoming Dates & Announcements 

 

  • Afterschool Programming at both TPES and PBES started today (10/3).  Little Scholars and any other programs have onsite coordinators to ensure that your kids get your kids to class.
    • Please note: finish times for TPES and PBES are different: TPES is 5:30 pm and PBES is 5 pm

 

  • September 15 – October 15 : Hispanic Heritage Month

 

  • Hispanic Heritage Night:
    • October 11 at 6:15 pm – PBES
      • To volunteer, contact Desiree Hernandez at d.hernandez0811@gmail.com
    • October 12 at 6:30 pm – TPES’s event Heritage & Family: Unidos por Nuestros Hijos
      • We have a poll to get to know our TPES Hispanic community with results on display at the event. Arts, crafts, food trucks and a children’s parade are also planned. A sign up genius will be going around shortly.
      • Also, please be aware that SSL hours are available for middle and high school students to help at Hispanic Heritage Night at TPES on October 12 at 6:30PM.  We would greatly appreciate your help. 
      • We could use 2-3 volunteers to help set up tables starting at 6 pm
      • To volunteer, contact Mercedes at Mercedes@alum.mit.edu
  • Watch D.C. United in their finale game of the season and support the TPES PTA
    • On Saturday, October 7, DC United will play the New York City Football Club in the finale game of the Fall season at Audi Field.  If you are interested in attending the game and including a donation to the TPES PTA, please see the Dolphin Digest sent on September 26th for more information.  All seats for TPES will be in Section 119.  
  • October 9th – NO SCHOOL
  • October 25 – PBES English Language Development Night – Gift of Being Multilingual 
  • October 27 – November 3 PBES Book Fair 
  • PBES New suggestion/feedback form at this link.  Please contact the PTA with any suggestions/ideas

  • PTA Volunteer Opportunities:
    • One-time volunteer opportunities – Be on the lookout this year for emails! 
      • Book Fair (sign up for shifts)
      • Readathon (tally up minutes)
      • Staff appreciation (deliver meal, coffee, etc.)
      • Garden and atrium beautification
      • Field trip chaperones
      • School Fun Mornings – fall, winter, spring (supervise fun activity stations so teachers can prep reading/math together as grade level team) 
  • Regular (weekly or bi-weekly) volunteer opportunities: 
  • There is an immediate need for volunteers to help during TPES lunchtime (in the cafeteria) and recess. Lunch will remain inside this year; volunteers are needed to help monitor and assist children in the cafeteria as well as outside during recess. For scheduling purposes, lunch/recess runs from 11:30 AM to 1:45 PM.   
  • Classroom volunteer (work with classroom teachers, often during reading or math) 
  • Room Parent (~monthly commitment) 
  • Classes still in need of room parents: Ms. Lewis (Kindergarten) 
  • We encourage you to join the TPES PTA to help us fund this important work that we do all year long. Link to join: https://tpespta.net/ 

For all volunteers: MCPS Volunteer Training and support guide – please complete this before you are scheduled to volunteer: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1URJRNYdUyL0ghVzZ32xLqPmkE7IwUvcRF2qid89ojA/preview

  1. Budget Updates

Amy Swift, TPES PTA Treasurer

  • Update on expenses and income:  
    • Income, to date, includes membership dues, donations, and gear sales. 
    • Expenses, to date, include classroom set-up, gear inventory, and registration costs.
    • Budget Report: 

 

Rachael Pierotti, PBES PTA Treasurer

  • Update on expenses and income:
    • Income, to date, includes donations and gear sales.
    • Expenses, to date, includes welcome lunch, classroom set-up, and operations expenses.
    • Budget Report:

 

  1. Safe Routes Presentation:

Kaysi-Ann Webley, Special Projects Coordinator for TKPK: Pedestrian and Cycling Safety

Contact: Kaysi-Ann Webley at Kaysiw@takomaparkmd.gov

  • Walk to School Day – tomorrow 10/4
  • Reminder – ongoing Library Construction. Cars will get towed in the construction zone.

 

  1. MAP/Dibels Presentation

 

DIBELS presentation by Jen Fahrenthold, TPES Reading Specialist 

Contact: Jennifer_Fahrenthold@mcpsmd.org

  • DIBELS Assessment: DIBELS stands for Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early LIteracy Skills: 
  • 4 ratings: Blue/Green/Yellow/Red
  • Just an indicator of strength and need for skills. Skills assessed include:
    • Phonemic awareness
    • Phonics
    • Reading Fluency
    • Vocabulary
    • Reading Comprehension

 

  • This information will be available during parent teacher conferences

 

Slide Deck Link: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/169zdmRU_e5sefhh1gOKLHfAdx9X7K9UOxkDh8pSey5U/edit?usp=sharing

 

MAP Presentation, Ms. Oberdorf, PBES Principal and Mr. Weerts, PBES Asst Principal:

  • MAP stands for “Measures of Academic Progress” 
  • MAP Math and Reading
  • Untimed
  • Adaptive and adjusts to each student’s performance
  • Aligned with state reading and math standards
  • Track Achievement and Growth
  • Results will be posted in ParentVUE
  • Assessments happen 3 times per year: Fall, Winter, Spring

 

How MAP scores are used:

  • Identify strengths and foundational gaps: enrichment or intervention
  • Considerations for course placements in middle school

MAP is only one measure used to monitor student achievement 

 

Slide Deck Link: 

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1k_RGIgRZ83u5foGx1xEdCwNixcEPeYRu/view?usp=sharing

 

  1. MAP/DIBELS Q&A:

 

Q: What is the difference between Blue and Green in DIBELS:

A: Green – has met benchmark; Blue – has achieved well above benchmark

 

Q: When are MAP results received?

A: Testing ends this week: Could be 2-3 weeks 

 

Q: When are DIBELS results received?

A: They are shared at parents conferences

 

Q: Who administers exams? 

A: Teachers and support staff administer tests – both MAP and DIBELS

 

Q: What are Norms based on? 

A: They are based on NWEA. Montgomery County also has own norms (local norms)

 

Q: What role do MAP scores play in G&T designation?

A:  Not MAP test based. Screening for G&T starts in 2nd grade. 

 

Q: If a student misses exams can they make it up?

A: Yes there will be opportunities to make up

 

Q: What is CES? 

A: Enrichment program offering for students entering 4th grade. Reach out to Ms. Oberdorf for more information

 

Q: How often are teacher conferences held? 

A: End of 1st quarter. None after that formally scheduled but can be made on an as needed basis

 

If you have any additional questions regarding DIBELS, please reach out to the DIBELS specialist 

 

  1. Wrap up:
  • Hispanic Heritage Night flyers shared
    • These will also be distributed to students/families
  • PBES: We have new Panther Gear in the online store! Be sure to check it out.
    • In addition, there is an Art Contest for students to submit proposed designs for panther gear. The PTA will choose the top 3 then students will vote on their favorite.

 

  1. Thank you: Ingrid Gardiner,  PBES PTA President
  • Next meeting will be on November 7 at 7 PM 

 

POST MEETING: TPES Kindergarten Q&A with Dr Gadsden, TPES Principal:

 

Q: Could you provide some clarity on the amount of screen time for K?

A: Let’s talk about what screen time look like for K:  On an average day your child might have wiggle break in am and pm (dance/count physical activity with music, etc -approximately 3 min each session, at most 12 min total); at dismissal time often children treated to story online while teacher is managing dismissal; periodically centers with students working on reinforcements will be working online. No individual screentime for the most part in Kindergarten. Should be max 20 min a day

 

Q: How are screens being used during the day?

A: There are videos associated with curriculum – usually science or social studies but not typical and are not replacements for teacher instruction

 

Q: How often are they watching shows like Magic School Bus?

A: Should not be doing this! Might happen in bus room (12 min max) Could happen during indoor recess but should not have happened/be happening yet.

 

Note: We don’t do instruction based on video unless it comes directly from county

 

Q: It looks like teachers could use help/aides?

A: Yes! Parents can come volunteer! You can come read stories, etc. during lunch, help with reading, bus room, etc.

 

Q: Outdoor recess or physical activities would be great as a treat. Why screens as treats?

A: We don’t use screens as treats. 

 

Q: How much reading happens in class by teachers?

A: Read aloud by the teacher happens every day. The technology use (read aloud video) comes when teachers might have to multi-task. It is not being used in place of teacher reading.

 

Q: How can we make sure indoor recess is physical/social? Would volunteers be useful?

A: Yes! We can definitely use volunteers for lunch and recess!

 

Q: Can we raise funds for assistants?

A: MCPS does not allow parents to raise money for assistants. Only way is to volunteer and come into school and help out.

 

Q: Can we have kids have lunch in the classroom due to high covid/flu cases?

A: We need whatever number of staff per class to manage the classes in each classroom and we do not have those resources.

 

Q: How is the content chosen for wiggle breaks?

A; It is dependent on the teacher. Check with your child’s teacher if you have questions.

 

An email was sent by Claire Dean (TPES PTA VP) with information on how to volunteer! 

 

—-

 

General PTA Information:

 

PBES PTA Executive Committee:

President: Ingrid Gardiner

Executive Vice President: Aphra Adkins

Treasurer: Rachel Pierotti

Secretary: Lis Hooper

VP of Fundraising MaryKathryn Lee

VP of Membership: Sara Lewis

VP of Communications: Chris Campbell

VP of Equity: Desiree Hernandez

NAACP Representative: OPEN POSITION, PLEASE VOLUNTEER

Advocacy Representatives: Matthew Stark Blumin and Paul Donowitz

 

TPES PTA Executive Committee: 

President: Kaitlin Caruso 

Vice President: Claire Dean

Treasurer: Amy Swift

Executive Secretary: Anna Juarez

Membership Secretary: Lesley Perry & Christine Kahler Smith 

VP of Fundraising: Diana Hickey van Houwelingen

VP of Membership: Mercedes Castelo 

VP of Equity: Jon Frederick 

VP of Communications: Joyce McDonough 

NAACP Representative: Gabrielle Williams

MCCPTA Delegate: Christina Davis 

 

 

PTA October 2023 Q&A Follow Up 

 

For PBES:

 

Q: Can a child be placed in CES after 4th grade? And how does CES impact what they do in 6th Grade?

A: If a vacancy opens in a CES class at any time in fourth grade through the first quarter of fifth grade, the central office selects a student for invitation through a random lottery from the waitpool. Participation in CES does not extend to any specific programming in middle school.

 

For TPES:

 

Q: Are there enriched reading classes at TPES (as with math)?

A: Consistent (different class) enrichment for math begins in first grade and continues in second grade. Students switch classes for math and are provided more consistent enriched instruction at that time.

 

Q: This is beyond the scope of what was discussed in the meeting tonight but it is a follow up on a question that came up in last month’s meeting: Would it be possible to share the details of the lead testing for the TPES water – what levels were found when, and when will that water be retested? In the meantime, could kids be allowed to bring water bottles onto the playground during recess? Thank you! 

A: I’m not sure about the results of the lead water testing (beyond that which was shared); The children are not only allowed, but encouraged and reminded to take their water bottles to recess.

For PBES and TPES:

Q: Is there a way for parents to have access to Montgomery County level data to see how children are developing compared to this peer group? 

A: I am not aware of any means of access for MCPS level data by grade level to make comparisons within the peer group. (both PBES and TPES)


TPES PTA Meeting Minutes: September 2023

Takoma Park Elementary School (TPES)
Piney Branch Elementary School (PBES)
Parent & Teacher Meeting (PTA)
Thursday, September 7, 2023 

 

Meeting Minutes and PTA Information

  1. Upcoming Dates & Announcements
  • Little Scholars After School enrichment clubs at both TPES and PBES
    • Registration opens September 7th at TPES and September 8th at PBES.  
    • Sign-up is open until September 17th. 
    • Applications for PTA funded scholarships are due September 10th through the online form (link will be provided at the bottom of the registration form) 
    • Clubs will begin on October 3rd.
    • Link for TPES: https://www.littlescholarsllc.com/at/takoma-park/ 
  • Important dates:
    • September 13: PBES back to school night (7:00 PM) – Adults only
      • PBES PTA is working with Kids Adventures to secure onsite childcare  for those who need it and will share more information soon
      • Instrumental information session at 6:45 pm
    • September 14-15: TPES Picture Day
    • September 22: EARLY RELEASE (1:20 PM) 
    • September 25: NO SCHOOL
    • October 3: Next PTA Meeting (Zoom), 7:00 PM
    • October 9: NO SCHOOL
  • Hispanic Heritage Month
  • Breakfast and lunch:
  • PTA Equity teams
  1. TPES Welcome 
  • Dr. Zadia Gadsden, TPES Principal & Ms. Joi Hollis, TPES Vice Principal
    • This is Dr. Gadsden’s 20th year at TPES!
    • Despite challenges that happen at the start of each year, TPES had a successful start to the school year.
    • Welcome to new families and welcome back to returning families.
  1. PBES Welcome
  • Mrs. Christine (Chris) Oberdorf, PBES Principal & Mr. Richard Weerts, PBES Vice Principal
    • Mrs. Oberdorf’s 6th year as Principle of PBES!
    • PBES has 602 students (15 more than projected)
      • 9 3rd grades
      • 8 4th grades
      • 8 5th grades
  • PBES is fully staffed with the exception of one long-term sub for special ed, which they hope to fill by December.
  • Ms. Hernandez is planning a Hispanic evening event on October 11th. 
  1. PTA Welcome & Volunteer Opportunities 
  • PTA meetings will be first Tuesday of every month 
  • Kaitlin Caruso, TPES PTA President 
    • Weekly updates are sent with PTA information and opportunities – lots of opportunities for volunteering this year – encourage all to take part.  
    • There are also ample opportunities to volunteer at school – Ms. Paz seeking volunteers for picture day
    • Become a member of the PTA OR renew membership – https://tpespta.net/ 
      • Free memberships are available
    • Join the listserv: https://groups.io/g/tpespta
    • PTA funds help with supplies, field trips, drives, and more!  
  • Ingrid Gardiner, PBES PTA President 
  1. Introducing Gabrielle Williams, TPES NAACP Rep.
  • This is Gabrielle’s first year as Rep. She will bring family concerns and needs to light.  Will also connect district-wide NAACP priorities to the PTA.
  1. Q&A

 

Q&A – Both TPES and PBES

  • Q: How do we celebrate holidays as a community?
    • TPES does not celebrate holidays due to them often having religious aspects.  Instead, they focus on celebrating diversity, being good people, etc.  
    • PBES similarly stopped celebrating Halloween recently and thinks about alternative holidays.  
      • For Valentines Day, they focus on kindness and friendship
      • Community circles with community members
      • In recognition of challenges parents voice when children celebrate holidays on school days, they’re working hard to be more inclusive and think about those holidays and celebrations. They include them in announcements, etc.  
  • Q: Mental health support for students?
  • PBES 
    • PBES uses Leader in Me program
    • Supplements Leader in Me with MCPS resources.
    • Students typically participate in Leader in Me sessions four days a week (15 minute sessions).  They also have sessions with counselors on well-being and community building.  
    • PBES partners with an outside organization to provide therapy services to students in need.
    • PBES has a well-being committee that meets every two weeks to identify additional needs. 
  • TPES
    • TPES used Leader in Me school last year but didn’t feel it was as well suited for the younger students 
    • This year they are using a program called Zones of Regulation which seems more appropriate for younger children.  Through this program they identify feelings and what to do with them, learn how to manage their feelings.
    • Guidance counselors visit each class each week for 30 minutes
  • Q: How do you deal with extreme heat?
  • PBES – 
    • Follow MCPS protocol
      • Recess after 12:00 noon has to be indoors – so anyone that has recess before noon is outside (and closely monitoring). Anything after noon is indoor
      • It’s not always a district mandate, but they follow the guidance on MCPS website about temperatures
      • MCPS sent someone out to confirm airflow was happening after the building felt warm (after the 3-day weekend)
  • TPES –
    • Are not as strict about following MCPS guidance.  
    • They do not have space for indoor recess but they try their best to let them have activity when they have to move things inside.
    • Sometimes that means just letting them outside for 15 minutes.
    • Rooms at the top of the building do not cool as well but they have empty rooms to move them to.  
  • Q: How can we volunteer?
    • TPES and PBES welcomes volunteers for almost anything (ie reading, sweeping!) but not until October.  This gives time for children to learn the rules, processes, and procedures.  
    • Any volunteer needs to take the child abuse and neglect training
    • PBES has a volunteer coordinator, Victoria Welch victoria_m_welch@mcpsmd.org
    • The PTAs will also email volunteer opportunities
    • PBES:
      • PBES PTA’s Staff Appreciation Committee is collecting gift cards to host a gift card raffle at  PBES’s monthly staff meetings. Parents can either 1) Donate money and the committee will purchase gift cards to Target/Amazon/etc or 2) Parents can donate gift cards that teachers might enjoy (for example: book store/Starbucks/local restaurants/etc). You might even have some on hand that you wouldn’t mind passing on! You can turn in either gift cards or cash to purchase gift cards to Ms. Welch at the front desk at PBES.
      • PBES families: We are still looking for room parents for a few classes, particularly for Ms. Porter (4th) and Ms. Patrick (5th). Granados, Gazda, Eberly, Serra, Kenney, and Luker could also use one more room parent. Please reach out to Amie Kershner if you can volunteer (amielkershner@gmail.com).
  • Q: School security – 
  • PBES:  The space was not breached last year despite rumors. There was a group that rented out the space through the Montgomery County use of public facilities; it was a permitted event.  Anyone that has specific concerns can reach out.
  • TPES: Also has had no breech.  They are having cameras installed, exterior doors, hallways, to deepen security

Q&A – TPES 

  • Q: TPES: How do students borrow books from the library?
  • Kindergarteners do not get to borrow books right away – they have to go to the library twice before they can borrow a book.
  • Ms. Anderson will walk them through the process.
  • After they have experience they will be able to borrow more flexibly.
  • 1st and 2nd graders are familiar with the process so do not need to wait. 

 

  • Q: TPES: What type of field trips are planned this year?
  • Each grade will go on at least 3 field trips (one might be within the school)
  • 1st grade has one planned for Oct 31st to Sharp’s Farm

 

  • Q: What kind of English support and ESOL classes are there?
  • TPES made the transition to structured literacy and signs of reading. 
  • During the shift, TPES’s PTA funded structured literacy training.  
  • Teachers are doing an exceptional job with doing phonics and really great reading (RGR).  
  • TPES has English development language teachers and ESOL for all three grades – they are currently testing Kindergarteners.  

 

Q&A – PBES

 

  • Q: PBES: How do the pods work? 
  • Each grade has 200 students, so they prefer to break them into smaller groups for lunch and recess.  This helps to make lunch/recess more manageable and to help with planning (specials, lunch, and recess is correlated with teacher planning time)
  • For the most part pods are lunch and recess pods (half go to lunch and half go to recess and then they switch).  There are also specials pods so those teachers can coordinate together. 

 

  • Q: PBES: Are there opportunities for enrichment in 3rd grade, especially for kids that were pulled out for math and reading at TPES?
  • There is no pull-out program for 3rd graders
  • However, when they did the articulation they worked closely with staff at TPES to ensure students have academic peers in their classroom that are also suited for enrichment 
  • In 4th grade they begin to offer course distinction 

 

  1. TPES Budget

 

  • Treasurer: Amy Swift
  • Budget was passed/approved during the meeting
  • Biggest fundraiser is book fair
  • Expenses 
    • Can not pay out reimbursements unless it has been approved in a budget.  If something comes up they can do an amended budget which is presented to the membership for a vote.  
    • Expenses include cultural assemblies, teacher and specials support, field trips, health and wellness, scholarships for enrichment clubs, equity &  inclusion programs (Rainbow club, Hispanic Heritage month, Multi-cultural assemblies, books that represent the diversity of our students)..  
    • $43,000 in expenses planned.  $33,000 funds expected to be raised.  This is a net loss of 10,000 but there is a cash balance of 24,000.  The goal is to use the money to benefit the school.
  1. PBES Budget

 

  • Treasurer: Rachael Pierotti
  • Budget passed/approved
  • Income from:
    • Carryover
    • Fundraisers – Panther appeal, readathon, club scholarships, gear
    • Small business sponsorships and small grants
  • Expenses:
    • $19,000 of the budget goes to programming that includes costs of swimming (swim lessons during PE), club scholarships, equity fund, special events (STEM night, geo bowl, etc)
    • Also staff support, PTA operating expenses, panther gear, etc

 

General PTA Information:

 

TPES PTA Executive Committee: 

President: Kaitlin Caruso 

Executive VP: Claire Dean

Treasurer: Amy Swift 

Executive Secretary: Anna Juarez

Membership Secretary: Lesley Perry & Christine Kahler Smith 

VP of Communications: Joyce McDonough

VP of Membership: Mercedes Castelo 

VP of Fundraising: Diana Hickey van Houwelingen

VP Equity: Jon Frederick

County Delegate: Christina Davis 

NAACP Representative: We still are looking for a volunteer! 

 

TPES Key Volunteer Teams:

 

One-time volunteer opportunities – Be on the lookout this year for emails! 

  • Book Fair (sign up for shifts)
  • Readathon (tally up minutes)
  • Staff appreciation (deliver meal, coffee, etc.)
  • Garden and atrium beautification
  • Field trip chaperones? 
  • School Fun Mornings – fall, winter, spring (supervise fun activity stations so teachers can prep reading/math together as grade level team) 

 

Regular (weekly or bi-weekly) volunteer opportunities: 

  • Classroom volunteer (work with classroom teachers, often during reading or math) 
  • Room Parent

 

_______________________________________

For all volunteers: MCPS Volunteer Training and support guide – please complete this before you are scheduled to volunteer: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1URJRNYdUyL0ghVzZ32xLqPmkE7IwUvcRF2qid89ojA/preview

 

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.

PBES

  • 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

TPES

  • 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

 TPES

  • 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/ 



May 2023 PTA Meeting Minutes

Takoma Park Elementary School (TPES)

Piney Branch Elementary School (PBES) 

Parent & Teacher Association Meeting (PTA)

Tuesday, May 2, 2023 from 7-8pm on Zoom 

 

  •  Welcome – Chris Campbell PBES PTA VP of Communications & Emma Cheuse, PBES PTA President
  • Interpreters:
    • Luis Mejia (Luis_D_Mejia@mcpsmd.org), Spanish Interpreter
    • Tebeje Abebech (Abebech_Tebeje@mspsmd.org), Amharic Interpreter
  • Upcoming Dates and Announcements – Refer to MCPS 2022-2023 Calendar

 

  • TPES Key dates and updates/announcements:
  • May 3, Bike to School Day
  • May 11, 7pm: Parent Meeting (Behavior Support), via Zoom
  • May 18, 7pm: TPES Art Showcase. Celebrate your child’s artwork.
  • May 24: TPES assembly in honor of Asian/ Pacific American Heritage Month at TPES 
  • GoFundMe fundraiser created for Ms. Joines and her two young daughters as they grieve the loss of her husband, Mr. Nick Joines.
  • Actively recruiting for PTA leadership positions for the 2023-2024 school year and have a number of open positions given term limits and parents who are graduating to PBES. Please email vp@tpespta.net if interested in stepping up. We need you!
Positions 2023-24 2022-2023
President Kaitlin Caruso Margaret McDonnell
Executive Vice President Need – max term limit Joyce McDonough
Treasurer Need – max term limit Stephen Tippett
Executive Secretary Need – max term limit Dianne Kirsch
Membership Secretary Justine Lassman Justine Lassman
Vice President Communications Need Kaitlin Caruso
Vice President Membership Mercedes Castilo Estelle Jean
Vice President Fundraising Diana Hickey van Houwlingen Diana Hickey van Houwelingen 
Vice President Equity Jon Frederick Jon Frederick
MCCPTA Delegate Need-  Rebecca Shaeffer

 

  • PBES Principal Mrs. Oberdorf will provide an update on ELA Enrichment and classroom assignments for 2023-24. Please feel free to contact her with any questions at: christine_d_oberdorf@mcpsmd.org.
    • Planning for a time of articulation re rising 3rd graders
    • Work closely with Dr. Gadsden, ELD, special ed, and administration all get together to plan class assignments for next year. 
    • Parent input forms will be coming out next week to help teachers will class assignments for 3rd grade
    • Discussing enrichment opportunities – but uncertain what ELA curriculum will be – stay with Benchmark or transition to a new program.
    • District will screen all 3rd graders for enrichment opportunities in 4th grade + PBES has some discretion to add students based on their own ELA assessments

 

  • TPES Principal Dr. Gadsden – will provide information on class assignment process. Please     feel free to contact her with any questions at: zadia_t_gadsden@mcpsmd.org
    • Dr. Gadsden has a slideshow to help parents understand process for making class assignments at TPES
    • For K start with race and the parent identified gender of child so we have balanced classes; also gather data from kindergarten orientation
    • Close to 200 incoming K which may be another 1-2 K teachers
    • Will not honor requests to “keep with” unless they are twins bc it is required by law
    • Requests to keep students “separate from” are always honored
    • For Grades 1 & 2 use DIBELS assessments and MAP growth scores and teacher recs (twins will not necessarily be kept together for math unless works)
    • Will not honor requests for teacher classrooms; if you request a teacher by name your child will not have that teacher to avoid the appearance of favoritism.

 

  • PBES PTA Bylaws vote (Introduced by PBES PTA Exec VP Sara Lewis). Changing article 8, section 2 (was emailed out a few months ago), changing article 10 section 3 as well (shown on screen share again today). Moved for passage -PASSED.

 

  • TPES PTA Budget Amendment vote (Introduced by Margaret) The TPES Executive Board proposes spending up to $10,000 to purchase the math DreamBox subscription for every current K-2 student (from June 2023-June 2024) to provide supplemental math practice and enrichment to address learning loss. Moved for passage – PASSED.

Background: 

Due to the pandemic and thanks to the generosity of our membership, the TPES PTA has built a steady surplus of cash from not spending on as many in-person programs. We have been in close communication with school leadership and have determined the greatest need and highest impact gift that our PTA can make at this time is to provide supplementary math support. As many of you know, our PTA has been focused on addressing learning loss due to the pandemic, and math has been hardest hit. DreamBox is an adaptive math program that can be used at home and in classrooms. Dr. Gadsden’s colleagues at peer schools have used the program with great success. TPES plans to use the program as one of its math centers within the classroom, and now that MCPS provides free access to Chromebooks and hotspots at home, families can use the program at home. 

Since our current 2nd grade families are the ones who have contributed to our PTA these past three years during the pandemic, we’d like to ensure that they are included in this program, so at minimum, your second grader will have a subscription to DreamBox they can use at home for the next year, even in third grade. 

 

  • Treasurer’s Reports

Stephen Tippett, TPES PTA Treasurer Budget Report 

  • Fundraising just over $9K
  • Tix prices from DC United Game raised a few hundred $
  • No big expenses coming up, only smaller scale expenses

Kate Bauer, PBES PTA Treasurer Budget Report  (out tonight)

 

  • Introduction of Promotion Panels for rising 3G and rising 6G (Chris Campbell, PBES PTA VP Communications) – 
    • Welcome to Future Panther Families (facilitated by Emma Cheuse, PBES PTA President); Welcome from PBES Principal Mrs. Oberdorf
    • Hear from current PBES Parents Ingrid Gardiner (PBES NAACP Representative and Parent), Julie LeSuer (PBES Parent), Joyce McDonough (PBES PTA Secretary and TPES Executive Vice President), and Chris Campbell (PBES PTA Communications VP) about the transition from TPES to PBES.
    • Q&A: If you have additional questions, please contact Mrs. Oberdorf, chritine at PBES or the PTA at: pbes.pta@gmail.com, or visit: pbespta.org.
    • Ms. Oberdorff – June 6th 2G will visit PBES, tour the building, spend time in the classroom with current 3G learning about the grade.
    • Learning, Caring, Thriving and Embracing are the four core values
    • Working with Dr. Gadsden to help the transition from 2G to 3G
    • Panelists provided guidance, advice to rising 3G parents
      • Massive playground and swim classes were highlights
      • For swimming -students attend swim classes during PE and they are free; occur during 2 separate 3 week periods. PTA funds swim suits/provides assistance for supplies as needed. Reach out to school or PTA if you have questions about needs.
      • PB Jelly the Panther mascot is a big highlight
      • Going from being the big kid to the little kid was not such a difficult adjustment
      • As a walking family, you do not need to be at the school in person at dismissal – could have the children meet you at TPES for a younger sibling or elsewhere 
      • Each grade divided into two pods for lunch and recess (pod A and pod B) which makes the school feel smaller re playground and lunch, etc. Not much overlap between the two pods. Downside is if your buddy is not in the same pod you might not have much overlap. However, you can request a pod share at the beginning of the year. No academic distinction between the two pods.
      • Some kids may fear that they won’t know anyone at this new building – need to be reminded that they will know everyone in their grade and lots of kids in the older grades too
      • Increased independence – kids have agency to use their planner for homework etc.
      • Kind teachers; kind front desk staff
      • Specials for art music media STEM, PE; counselors also visit classrooms re social and emotional curriculum
      • 3G enrichment is provided in classroom for ELA and math re small group instruction. This changes in 4th grade.
      • KA (Kid’s Adventure) offers before and after care; Little Scholars also has programs as does Forest Explorers, and the TP Rec Dept.
      • Lots of cultural and social opportunities: https://pineybranchpta.membershiptoolkit.com/
      • Geobowl at PBES teaches geography and is really fun
      • What’s different – a lot more focus on getting your children to be more independent -they are responsible for their homework and there is more of it; more projects that they will be working on. More writing assignments. 
      • Ride the waves of that first month or month and a half of the adjustment to homework interfering with socialization or losing homework or doing really well on an assignment, etc. Some days they want you to walk to school and sometimes they don’t – just ride the waves 🙂
      • Friday 8/25 tentative open house for PBES

 

  • Final joint TPES/PBES PTA meeting of the year – Tues. June 6, at 7pm on Zoom. 

________________________________
List of Upcoming Dates and Announcements

Reminder on Upcoming Dates/events: 

  • April 24-May 12: PE Swim Session 2. 
  • Artist in Residence Working with 5th Graders:
  • 5th grade English Language Arts (ELA) classes are excited to host an Artist in Residence for the month of May.  The artist is a professional playwright who will work with each ELA class to conceptualize, write, and perform an original play.  Performances will be script-in-hand without props or stagecraft, but each play will be original to each class.  Each ELA class and Media class will host one  session per week from May 1st through May 19th.  In-school performances will follow on May 31 and June 1.  
  • May 3: Bike and Wheels to School Day at PBES
  • May 8-12: Teacher Appreciation Week at TPES and PBES
  • May 10: MCPS Program – Popular Culture and Hate: Understanding what Your Student is Exposed to in Society today – (English) May 10, 2023, Registration Link
  • May 26: Field Day at PBES
  • May 31: Cultural Heritage Night at PBES
  • May 31, 7pm: Cultura Popular y Odio: Entendiento a lo que esta expuesto su estudiante en la sociedad actual (Espanol/ Spanish) Registration Link 
  • June 6, 7pm on Zoom – Last joint PTA meeting of the school year.  Agenda TBD – but will include a Vote on the PTA Officers for next year – so please save the date.
  • June____ at : _____: Fifth Grade Families – save the date for the PBES Promotion Ceremony.

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

Announcements and Opportunities:

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

April 2023 PTA Meeting Minutes

Takoma Park Elementary School (TPES)

Piney Branch Elementary School (PBES) 

Parent & Teacher Association Meeting (PTA)

April 11, 2023 from 7-8pm on Zoom 

 

  • Welcome Kaitlin Caruso, TBES PTA VP of Communications & Margaret McDonnell, TPES PTA President
  • Upcoming Dates and Announcements – Refer to MCPS 2022-2023 Calendar 
  • Both TPES and PBES:
    1. Friday 4/14 Popcorn party to celebrate kids reaching Read-A-Thon 200,000 min goal
    2. NO School on April 21st- professional day for teachers 
    3. April 26: Administrative Professionals – help celebrate teachers at both schools
    4. TPES: NO School for Kindergarten students on April 28 and May 1 because of Kindergarten orientation 
    5. City of TKPK is no longer able to coordinate the 5K typically held in May and the hope is that volunteers will step up to plan for Fall 2023. Please consider volunteering to help pull it together. There’s a meeting on April 25, at 7:30pm to coordinate the 5K transition from City management. https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAkdu-qrDgvHNNof27v-S1xkgs5WI_nzRQL#/.(include link in chat)
  • TPES Key dates and updates/announcements:
    • Thanks to those who came out for the DC United game in March– 129 tickets were sold for a total of $645. 
    • TPES: Thank you to everyone who participated in the TPES Read-a-thon in March. The students exceeded their goal of 200,000 minutes and read a total of 253,650 minutes. Pledges are due by April 17th and we will post information in the chat on how to send them in. Finally, we would also like to send a huge thanks to our Read-a-thon chairs, Amanda Wagner, Sonia Fernandez and Latha Reddy. 
    • May 8-12: Teacher Appreciation Week: For TPES Sharon Garner and Emma have agreed to co-chair committee for TPES considering a wellness week for teachers to include a lunch, maybe massages and notes of appreciation from students/parents- requests forthcoming from committee and room parents 
    • May 24: TPES assembly in honor of Asian/ Pacific American Heritage Month at TPES 

 

  • PBES Key Dates/Announcements
    • May PTA meeting will include a PBES PTA Bylaws vote – see Sara Lewis’s email with the revised draft Bylaws, or contact serowe@gmail.com or pbes.pta@gmail.com if you’d like to see a copy.  (Basically we had to adjust some wording for the host PTA organization and so need to revote). 
    • PBES Staff and Teacher Appreciation week is coming up the week of May 8.  Please contact Amy (amybethsawyer@gmail.com) or Alisa (alisaobrien10@yahoo.com) if you can volunteer to help that week.
    • Snack donations still needed – please deliver to PBES to the attention of the Third Grade and Counseling Teams – thank you.
    • April 24 PE Swimming session two will start 
  • Recruitment for TPES and PBES PTA Officer positions for 2023-24

TPES: We’re starting to recruit for PTA leadership positions for the 2023-2024 school year and have a number of open positions. An email will go out from the recruitment committee, headed by Joyce McDonough. In meantime, please email vp@tpespta.net if interested in stepping up. We need you!

Positions 2023-24 2022-2023
President Need – max term limit Margaret McDonnell
Executive Vice President Need – max term limit Joyce McDonough
Treasurer Need – max term limit Stephen Tippett
Executive Secretary Need – max term limit Dianne Kirsch
Membership Secretary Justine Lassman
Vice President Communications Kaitlin Caruso
Vice President Membership Estelle Jean
Vice President Fundraising Diana Hickey van Houwelingen 
Vice President Equity Jon Frederick
MCCPTA Delegate Need- youngest moving to 3rd grade Rebecca Shaeffer

 

  • PBES – calling new Board members for 2023-24! (Emma Cheuse, PBES PTA President)
    • Click this link for information about our current Officers list and Board positions: https://pineybranchpta.membershiptoolkit.com/our-pta
    • Please reach out to pbes.pta@gmail.com or any of your current Board members if you would like to express interest in helping in any position on the PBES PTA Board next year. We are still resolving the list of open positions and would love to help match your interest and time with a way to help that will make a difference for our community.

 

  • Mayor Talisha Searcy: to cover priorities, decisions and plans that particularly affect students, teachers, and parents/families of TKPK re the city’s recreation, library, Adventist Hospital, PBES renovation https://takomaparkmd.gov/government/city-council/mayor-searcy/#:~:text=About%20Mayor%20Talisha%20Searcy,Association%20from%202015%20to%202017.
    • Ward 6 council member for 5 years prior becoming Mayor
    • Working to advocate for more parks/spaces 
    • Priority on council is the budget; navigating hard decisions about how to advance priorities
    • Library construction is still moving forward; may be receiving some additional funds from the state to support that effort (please take advantage of temporary library space)
    • Put out request for proposals on rec center
    • Working to address safety re school shootings; sitting in on meetings with police chief and principals on safety
    • There is crowding in our schools especially as we increase opportunities for density – how to begin to address current and future crowding in the schools. The role of council is advocacy on behalf of the city as it pertains to funding for schools. What happens within the school is MCPS domain. With the Adventist site as a possibility for expanding school space, council is working with the county to get the proper zoning. Currently Adventist is zoned for hospital and single family homes so you can’t do much until there are changes to the zoning
    • The county’s plan for the school’s infrastructure (Capital Improvement Plan) is on a 6 year plan but the Council operates a CIP on a 6 year plan. 
    • The decisions around where the school goes belongs to MCPS. 
    • Funding and building the schools is between the MoCo and MCPS
    • Takoma Park Council only approves the zoning and can work to influence MoCo and MCPS re development/improvement around zoning.
    • The minor master planning work for PBES renovation or rebuild is operating on the assumption that MCPS has approved this increase in student population. However, TPES and PBES enrollment is going down and so if PBES reno comes to pass, then over time we should have enough space in these schools as density increases as anticipated. 
    • The priorities of the council: 
    • leverage ARPA dollars to help households with direct cash assistance ($1K if income less than $50K), food and security grants and workforce development grants
    • Working to identify best programming opportunities for the diverse communities 
    • Funding mental health counselors from MoCo to work with the city staff, particularly the police department, to help them respond to calls that may warrant mental health rather than police intervention – they can also help the city think through novel ways to route calls to 911 or 988 to get non police support when needed
    • 10% increase in county taxes mean council has been advocating that some of that money go to the schools – the best way for parents/teachers/admin to weigh in on PBES renovation timeframe is to make sure the money goes to this. 
    • Other ways people can get involved: sign up for the Takoma Insider to get a quick download of what is happening on a regular basis; Can check in weekly on the Council agenda website; check in with your city council member; council meetings are Wednesday nights at 7pm
    • Middle and high school students can participate in the Arts & Humanities Commission and in the Youth Council.

https://takomaparkmd.gov/government/boards-commissions-and-committees/

Video last night’s City Council Special Meeting recording/resources: https://takomaparkmd.gov/meeting_agendas/city-council-special-meeting-agenda-monday-april-10-2023/

  • Treasurer’s Reports & Vote

Joyce McDonough, PTA VP in lieu of Stephen Tippett, TPES PTA Treasurer Budget Report 

  • Income still waiting on pledges from Read-A-Thon (can make those pledges on the website – deadline of 4/17)
  • Tracking lower on our expenses; following up with school staff
  • Still have funding for field trips and assemblies
  • Good shape overall

 

Emma Cheuse, PTA President, in lieu of Kate Bauer, PBES PTA Treasurer Budget Report  

  • Meeting goals thanks to generosity of school community; wanting to make sure there’s a buffer for next year’s PTA. Expenses are under right now only bc they haven’t paid the pool bill (~$6K)

 

  • Thanks & Next Steps – Margaret (TPES PTA President)

Thank you to all TPES and PBES volunteers — please visit the TPES and PBES PTA Volunteer Hall of Fame and help thank all volunteers. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ucSOV9NXPnYnnFvkZIKfwYi50KMEnQUtqCarVSSIVJc/edit 

______________________________________

List of Upcoming Dates and Announcements

Reminder on Upcoming Dates/events: 

  • April 26: Administrative Professionals Day 
  • April 24-May 12: PE Swim Session 2. 
  • May 8-12: Teacher Appreciation Week at TPES and PBES
  • Next joint PTA meeting: Tues. May 2nd, at 7pm on Zoom. 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/ 

March 2023 PTA Meeting Minutes

Takoma Park Elementary School (TPES)

Piney Branch Elementary School (PBES) 

Parent & Teacher Association Meeting (PTA)

Tuesday, March 7th, 2023 from 7-8pm on Zoom 

 

PBES Facilitated PTA Mtg: Chris Campbell, PBES PTA VP of Communications & Emma Cheuse, PBES PTA President

  1. Upcoming Dates and Announcements – Refer to MCPS 2022-2023 Calendar and see details at the end of the minutes

  2. Happy Women’s History Month! Here are some resources to share with your children:

  1. Volunteers and Donations Needed for March: Please see the list at the end of this meeting agenda – the following are immediate events.

TPES Key Dates/Announcements:

  1. TPES Readathon co-chair Amanda Wagner : Readathon at TPES is Feb 27-March 24!  If you are able to volunteer to help by tracking minutes, please email Amanda Wagner at helloamandawagner@gmail.com.
  2. DC United TPES Fundraiser: Purchase tickets (each ticket costs $15 and includes an additional $5 donation for the TPES PTA for a total cost of $20) for the March 25 game vs. New England Revolution. Click HERE to purchase tickets. First 50 seats are located in Section 114. Contact Emma Cohen-Dumani to make the purchase and donation (ecohendumani@dcunited.com) for the tickets.
  3. TPES STEM Night is next Thursday, March 16th, 7-8pm. All children are welcome. If any parents would like to volunteer (or teenagers looking for SSL hours), please contact Ms. Joines (Christine_A_Joines@mcpsmd.org)  or Mrs. Blacksten (Jessica_R_Blacksten@mcpsmd.org) .
  4. TPES’s Scholastic Bookfair Chair update

PBES Key Dates/Announcements

  1. Geo-Bowl volunteers needed for March! Please email brittrhoads@gmail.com if you can volunteer.
  2. The PBES Readathon wrapped up with 318,000+ minutes read – exceeding goal of 200,000 minutes. Please finalize your pledges if you have not already done so.
  3. Pool & Fundraising Update — We are close but still need to raise about $2,000 in additional funds to meet our goals. Please give if you can or email Mary Kathryn or pbes.pta@gmail.com if you are able to help recruit Pool Sponsors – we are making progress toward our spring PE swimming session.
  4. Rainbow club meet up March 26th

 

4.   PBES  MISA/MCAP (Maryland Integrated Science Assessment/ Maryland Comprehensive Assessment Program) – Ms. Java Robinson, PBES Staff Development Teacher

  • Mandated state assessment annually for grades 3-8 and once in high school

  • Marks students progress re marking pathway to college readiness and provides teachers info on student progress and supports needed

  • MISA – all students 5th, 8th and high school (March 6 – March 10). Testing in pods Pod A 2:20-3:35, Pod B: 10:40-11:55

  • MCAP ELA demonstrates reading comprehension and literacy skills (oral responses for early grades) (70 minutes long)

  • MCAP Math – demonstrate understanding of math by solving real-world problems (40 minutes long)

  • MCAP is not for magnet program qualifications

 

5.   TPES (DIBELS: Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills) – TPES Literacy Specialist Ms. Bozel

  • Ms. Bozel helped families interpret and understand DIBELS reports that were sent home with report cards

  • Fall, winter, spring for all K-2 students; reports come home three times a year

  • The grade level targets change based on when the testing occurs (eg different targets in the fall, winter and spring)

  • Used to track students progress, especially those who are below expected proficiency

  • Flags for students in need of intensive support

  • Sometimes a lower score is a result of the timed element – the student may not have been able to respond in the time allotted for the test

  • Link to overview: Parent DIBELS Explanation (1).pdf

 

6.  Elementary Students Book Club, Sponsored by the TPES PTA and focuses on books featuring black and brown characters, Dr. Gadsden, TPES Principal. and Dr. Roberts-Harris

  • B.R.I.D.G.E.S. geared towards African American and Hispanic children but all students are invited to attend. In this book club, children of color can see themselves and/or develop empathy and respect for other cultures

  • When children see themselves reflected in the pages of a book they feel that they belong

  • Takes place on 3 Saturdays/month with grants/money from the PTA; free for all

  • Can take a max of 30 participants (currently full)

  • Always looking for middle and high school volunteers (contact Ms. East)

  • If interested in book club, please contact Ms East at Samikia_East@mcpsmd.org with cc to Dr Roberts-Harris: Deborah_L_Roberts-Harris@mcpsmd.org and Dr Gadsden.

  • Link to presentation: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1dxJodG4C7AajNOJnqWoIRrcnW8-Z3zh_65DW_KGbTBs/edit#slide=id.p

 

7.   PBES Spring Garden Update (Crossroads), Robin Hernandez crossroadscommunityfoodnetwork.org

  • Nonprofit based in TP, Crossroads Community Food Network, started in 2007

    • Host a farmer’s market on Wednesdays

    • Community kitchen on Tulip avenue

    • Host middle schoolers in cooking classes in TkPk Rec

    • Healthy eating programs hosted by Ms. Hernandez

    • Garden along the entrance to the pool is for pollinator plants, herbs, spring greens

    • Hosting an open house and SSL day on April 15th

  • SNAP benefit holders can get 15% off when purchasing their food at the TP Co-op.

  • Making plans with the 5th grade team for a final visit; hope to bring them to the farmer’s market in May.

 

8.  TPES Food Forest Update, Amy Zimmerman,

  • Organizing a food forest in TPES playground – imagine the edge of the woods with trees, shrubs, trees  that produce food that you can eat

  • Should exist in harmony with wildlife and provides a space for children to explore and learn and harvest food

  • Hands-on learning to teach children that when we look after the land it also looks after us; hoping to learn about soil, biodiversity, native plants by incorporating the food forest into the curriculum

  • Radio interview on Takoma Radio on the food forest at TPES:

  • If interested in volunteering contact Ellen Marcus (need grant writers and info to be spread on social media): To volunteer or learn more about the food forest, email Ellen ellen24fps@gmail.com or me amymangono@gmail.com

  • To listen to the radio interview about the food forest radio https://spinitron.com/WOWD/pl/17054533/Talk-of-Takoma (minutes 1:09-1:30)

 

9.  Treasurer’s Reports & Vote, Stephen Tippett, TPES PTA Treasurer Budget Report

  • Income is on track at $22,300

  • Expenses are similarly on track $32,740

  • Spent about $10K more than raised but that’s less than what was projected and there was a balance coming into the school year

  • Readathon donations easiest through PayPal

  • Book Fair money is paid out to Scholastic which provides proceeds in the form of Scholastic dollars

  • Budget vote on buying a new PTA budget computer for treasurer for $1K (hopefully will last ten years) – vote passed

 

10.  Kate Bauer, PBES PTA Treasurer Budget Report

  • Overall met fundraising goals for the year of $57K – had $19K carryover that went towards this.

  • Would like to have a healthy carryover for next year; currently have about $7K carryover

  • Expenses low last month; bought swimsuits for children who did not have them for swim gym class, black history night and ELD night.

  • $25K in programming which will go in part towards another pool gym, club scholarships for after school clubs, staff appreciation week, 5th grade promotion.

11.  Thanks & Next Steps – Emma (PBES PTA President)

Please visit the TPES and PBES PTA Volunteer Hall of Fame and help thank all volunteers. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ucSOV9NXPnYnnFvkZIKfwYi50KMEnQUtqCarVSSIVJc/edit

 

List of Upcoming Dates and Announcements

Reminder on Upcoming Dates/events:

  • Through March 24: TPES Read-a-Thon!

  • March 26: Panthers & Dolphins TPES/PBES PTA Rainbow Club meet-up at Main Street Pearl, 3-5pm.  LGBTQIA+ parents/caregivers/students all welcome to join for bubble tea and arts and crafts projects.

  • March 29: STEAM Night at PBES, 7-8pm. Please email Sara Lewis if you can volunteer or can host a science, technology, arts or music table: serowe@gmail.com.

  • March 31: No school – Professional Development Day for Teachers.

  • April 3-10: No school – Spring Break.

  • April 11: TPES/PBES PTA mtg on zoom at 7pmTo request topics for future PTA agendas, please reach out to president@tpespta.net or pbes.pta@gmail.com.

  • April 24-May 12: PE Swim Session 2.

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.

 

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/