TPES PTA Meeting Minutes: March 2021

Takoma Park Elementary School(TPES)

Piney Branch Elementary School (PBES) 

Parent & Teacher Meeting (PTA)

Tuesday, March 2, 2021 from 7-8pm on Zoom 


Principal’s Updates: Hear from Dr. Gadsden & Mrs. Oberdorf

Mark your calendars for our next meeting, Tuesday, April 13, 7-8pm.


7:00    Welcome & Introduction of Interpreters 

Upcoming Dates and Announcements from the MCPS Calendar

    Chris Campbell, TPES VP Communications 

March 1-31: READATHON for both schools (Chris Campbell, Sara Lewis  & Sarah Goupell) -Piney Branch 4600 minutes so far goal 200,001; Mr. Pendleton’s 4th grade class has most students participating

Readathon has changed this year

All money raised from Readathon will be supporting the PTA

At TPES- majority of funds will go to media center. Huge need for funds

Last year- 600 titles not returned to library from 2019-2020 school year

90% of nonfiction connection needs to be replaced – outdated, bad shape

Recording minutes: online- Required for TPES, Optional for PBES

Paper calendar optional but encouraged if possible to have visual

What counts as reading: reading by themselves, listening to story by adult, online books either reading or being read to online

Donations- not required, but greatly appreciate

On the PTA website there will be celebrity readers reading each day and

Readathon page is on kids homeroom page in MyMCPS/Canvas for TPES

March 3 – Kindergarten families Zoom with Dr. Gadsden re: reopening, 7pm

Open house for students who are returning to in-person instruction

(all day; Sign Up Genius forthcoming from school)

March 4 – 1st & 2nd grade families Zoom with Dr. Gadsden re-reopening, 7pm

March 7 – Welcome-back decorating at school entrances from 5p-6p at TPES & PBES

March 8 – No school; teacher professional day

March 9 & 10 – Asynchronous learning days for all student

March 10 – Open house for students who are returning to in-person instruction

(all day; Sign Up Genius forthcoming from school)

March 12 – Half day for students

March 15 – Schools re-open for phase 1.1; some students return (K-3)

April 6 – Grades 4 & 5 students who opted in return to in-person learning

April 13 – Joint PTA meeting for TPES & PBES, 7pm

April 20 – PBES STEM Night 6:30-8:30pm


  • Please join us for Sharing Our Stories, Mondays at 7:00pm on Zoom. On March 22nd, PBES PTA President Sarah Goupell will read “Waiting for the Biblioburro” by Monica Brown in honor of the 2021 Readathon. Spanish interpretation is provided. Interested in being a guest storyteller or educator or need the Zoom details? Email Shana at


  • Nominating PTA Officers for the 2021-2022 School Year   

Lauren Greenberg & Lia Salza Goldstein

Recruiting officers and committees for both schools’ PTA

Executive committees good way to learn what is happening at schools and get to know people at school

TPES: Executive membership secretary- take minutes at executive committee meetings and PTA meetings

President/Vice President

Looking for anyone who wants to become involved- please reach out to Lauren or Lia.;

Can share positions, especially those that require heavier lift, e.g. Treasurer


7:15    Principal’s Updates for Plans to Re-Open
Principal Gadsden and Principal Oberdorf

Dr. Gadsden:

Hybrid model- not all virtual not all direct learning

Teachers will spend them sometime on the computer working with all kids, and sometime breaking them into small groups to work together in person.

First 2 weeks will be getting accustomed to being in school- please be patient

After spring break, they will hopefully be used to handling

Will send survey for transportation

Kiss and ride- most have opted not to come on bus

Likely will block traffic as they are dropping off kids

Be patient

Don’t get out of cars

Kindergarten parents- either park in neighborhood and walk them to door; if you can’t let them out of the car.

2 open houses- so can see classrooms. Teachers may or may not be there. You can come in and see what classroom looks like/where they will sit.

If child is not returning in person, will not be allowed to tour the classroom

If child need special time and attention- send an email

March 3 (for KG) and March 4 (1st and 2nd parents) meetings are for adults only- all parents should attend so they know what to expect. Meetings at 7 pm.

Going back to school will not look the same as it used to

Staying home will not look the same as it has done

For open house tomorrow- come into main office.

If didn’t chose the bus to leave room for other kids and now want to choose bus, how to make change? The request goes to transportation can submit through synergy

Waitlist: As people change their minds re: in person, there is a lot of traffic both ways. Will call people on Friday to let them off the

K open house- Wednesday, rest of open house Tomorrow 10:45-3:30

If can’t remember if signed up for bus- check on status of request for transportation: Parentvue or email Ms. Paz.

New bell times start March 15.


Ms. Oberdorf:

PBES instructional model different: priority was for students to remain with current teachers

Support for virtual and simultaneous. Hard to promise simultaneous right now because this is all brand new.

A couple of situations where teacher is not returning to building- assigning a paraeducator someone who is already a staff member- to be co-working and coteaching with the virtual teacher.

Arrival/dismissal changing: student will be entering 4 different entrances depending on where you are coming from

Welcoming 3rd grade first so a small advantage

Survey for traffic

State Testing: will need to continue the MCAP state assessment to 3rd-5th English and math

Push to shorten assessment this year

No details yet.

No 5th grade MISA (science) test this year

Open house- production of video to show students what it will be like once come off bus/car/walking in door

All teachers will be hosting open house- virtual and in person

Friday March 12 dismissal- entire class will be attended to see how things are different on zoom or what things will look like once they return in person.



Hybrid: blend simultaneous and support to virtual. Best practice for simultaneous for 2 teachers in one classroom- don’t have that

Direct instruction but also virtual


PBES: grades are in pods and rooms are adjoining- have an additional staff member for every 2=3 room

Crossing guards are coming back; will be fully staffed as before. No safety patrols at PBES and no discussion at TPES to decide on patrols.

In communication with Lucy Nehrer from TP to help with logistics

A/B rotation: can we do every week for 4th and 5th grade if few enough come

Rationale – youngest learners need to be in person

PBES: Not able to have all students here every week, except for those special education services

Even though percent is 45%, when look at class to class not able to offer across the board to have everyone come every week

Working with KA and identify space in building- interim for between when 3rd grade starts and 4th grade, and before and after care

PBES: number returning 306 students returning overall; out of 620 students total

Trying to not have a wait list- do have 1 class where more students want to come back than have space

Small wait list-for 3rd grade; 4th and 5th no wait list.


Will 4th and 5th go earlier than April 6? No idea

What will 9th and 10th look like? Teams planning to make sure scope and sequence not interrupted- so not just review but allows students to continue learning asynchronously.


TPES: 9:25-3:50 ; lunch will only be 1 hour

Some time for them to be on zoom with the teacher in the class, and independent work off computer or on computer (nearpod, etc).


PBES: 9:25-3:50


How will weekly covid testing work- will all students who opt in be tested weekly, or will they be rotated.


What happens with cases of COVID in the classroom- definite protocol in place, and work with the department of health and human services.


Spring break March 29-April 2, also no school April 5.


TPES: Kindergarten children will not go in the building through the front door.

Kids who get out of cars- will go in through the cafeteria/KA door and go straight through to their classrooms


Only walkers are going through the front door.


Summer Camp Resource Sheet:


7:55    Treasurer’s Reports

Kelley Skelton, TPES Treasurer & Erin Kelley, PBES Treasurer

KELLY: TPES: sufficient funds to operate 29.049 in operating funds

Food funds: 90,000


PTA has expended almost 6000 to get classrooms ready- would like to update budget currently budgeted at 12,000 up to 18,000 – approved


ERIN: PBES: good cash flow- have enough funds to operate for the rest of the year- still need $3000 or more from readathon

Cumulative and expenses are close- just below where we started

If you haven’t joined the PTA not too late, those membership dollars really help MCCPTA and MDPTA in their advocacy.


Next meeting Tues April 16 after spring break!


Have a terrific spring break everyone!


TPES PTA Meeting Minutes: February 2021


Takoma Park Elementary School(TPES)

Piney Branch Elementary School (PBES) 

Parent & Teacher Meeting (PTA)

Tuesday, February 2, 2021 

7:00-8:00pm on Zoom 


Parenting Communication Tips and SRO Discussion

Mark your calendars for our next meeting, Tuesday, March 2, 7-8pm. 


7:00 Welcome & Introduction of Interpreters and Speaker

7:05 Communication for Cooperation

Paige Trevor, Speaker &  Parent Educator, Owner of Balancing Act, LLC   


7:45 Upcoming Dates and Announcements from the MCPS Calendar

Gabe Seiden, PBES VP Communications 

Mon, Feb 8 – Sun, Feb 21: TPES Virtual Scholastic Book Fair (Feb 10: Free Book Distribution)

Wed, Feb 10: PBES In-Person Phase-In Town Hall with Principal Oberdorf; time TBD

Fri, Feb 12: Professional Day for Teachers & Staff (NO CLASS for students)

Mon, Feb 15: Presidents’ Day (Schools & offices closed; NO CLASS)

Wed, Feb 24: tentative date for Virtual Black History Night, time TBD

March 1-31: Readathon for both schools


  • Please join us for Sharing Our Stories, Mondays at 7:00pm on Zoom. On February 8th, Takoma Park poet laureate Kathleen O’Toole will assist students interested in submitting a poem for Takoma Park’s Sidewalk Poetry Contest. Spanish interpretation is provided. Interested in being a guest storyteller or educator or need the Zoom details? Email Shana at


7:50 Nominating PTA Officers for the 2021-2022 School Year

Lia Salza, Lauren Greenberg & Kelly Young, PBES & TPES PTA Nominating Committee Chairs

  • Position vacancies, how to get involved, and how we hope to increase diversity
  • Positions other than Treasurer don’t require special skills
  • Encourage anyone who is interested to step forward.  It is a very rewarding thing to do and a great way to connect to the schools and the community.  
  • Please reach out to Lia ( or Lauren ( if interested in learning more 


7:55 Treasurer’s Reports  

Kelley Skelton, TPES Treasurer & Erin  Kelley, PBES Treasurer


  • TPES PTA is doing well and has sufficient assets to operate until the end of the year.  Will be doing the Readathon in the spring to set next year’s PTA up so can respond quickly to the needs of next year. Feel free to email for more details or a copy of the report.
  • PBES PTA is breaking even with expenses and income.  Have brought in just over $19k and spent just under $19k.  Budget is healthy and on target.


8:00 Community Discussion about School Resource Officers (SROs) in Schools

Jaime Koppel, PBES PTA Advocacy Delegate  

  • Goals for this discussion:
  • (1) learn from and with each other;
  • (2) discuss what it means to be pro-positive school climate & safety rather than pro- or anti-SRO;
  • (3) consider how this conversation connects to MCPS’s current anti-racist system audit:
  • (4) determine how we want to show up as school communities in these overdue conversations at the County level – including through proposing amendments to the language of the proposed resolution.


  • Background: our schools’ PTAs are part of the Montgomery County PTA
  • A School Resource Officer is a law enforcement officer, employed by the County police department.  They carry a weapon and have arrest abilities/responsibilities. 
  • The County PTA committee is proposing a resolution to urge MCPS to discontinue placing SROs in high schools.  To learn more about the resolution and leave comments:
  • This Thursday, our County Council is also debating Bill 4620, which would end the school SRO program, professionalize the school security role (managed by MCPS) and would invest in student-centered supports and restorative justice training for staff.  Link:
  • Our state delegates are also introducing bills about holistic school safety and climate right now too:
  • There is data that shows the current SRO model disproportionately results in arrests and entries into the criminal justice system for black/brown students, and students in special education.  Many justice concerns with the SRO model.
  • The national justification for SROs is to protect students from external threats.  But there is no evidence that this is a deterrent for a school shooting.
  • Questions were raised about how some of the services provided by SROs to the schools would be replaced without adding more burden to existing teachers and staff.  The county bill would provide some funding for additional mental health services.
  • Poll was taken for TPES and PBES PTA members
  • TPES is 67% in favor of the resolution and 33% abstained, PBES is 47 in favor, 8% voted no and 44% abstained.  Some abstentions were those who didn’t have kids in that school.
  • Jaime’s email:

Become a PTA member: Takoma Park Elementary
Piney Branch Elementary


TPES PTA Meeting Minutes: January 2021


Takoma Park Elementary School(TPES)

Piney Branch Elementary School (PBES)

Parent & Teacher Meeting (PTA)

Tuesday, January 5, 2021,


Location: Zoom


Town Hall & Participation in PTA Leadership

Mark your calendars for our next meeting, Tuesday, Feb 2, 7-8pm.

All PTA meetings will be via Zoom (details below) until further notice.


7:00    Welcome
Introduction of tonight’s Spanish and Amharic interpreters

7:05     Upcoming Dates and Announcements from the MCPS Calendar

         Chris Campbell, TPES VP Communications

Mon, Jan 18: Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Schools & offices closed; NO CLASS)

Fri, Jan 29: Professional Day for Teachers & Staff (NO CLASS for students)

Mon, Feb 1: First Day of Black History Month

Tues, Feb 2: TPES & PBES PTA Meeting 7-8pm via Zoom

Fri, Feb 12: Professional Day for Teachers & Staff (NO CLASS for students)

Mon, Feb 15: Presidents’ Day (Schools & offices closed; NO CLASS)


  • Please join us at Sharing Our Stories, a weekly Zoom PTA event on Mondays at 7:00pm for TPES and PBES families, where we learn about all the amazing identities that make up our school community. Our special guest on Monday, January 11 is Mercedes Castelo, whose family will join the TPES community next fall. Ms. Castelo will share poems, games, and stories of Mexico. Spanish interpretation is available. Interested in being a guest storyteller or educator or need the Zoom details? Email Shana at


7:10     Town Hall  

  • Please post your questions and comments in the chat or click the “raise hand” icon to be unmuted
    • Participants are invited to discuss their questions and concerns
      • Overview of health metrics as they factor into reopening plan
      • In order to go back to in-person schooling, county using 14 day average of cases
      • Right now, average 434 daily/cases and 40 cases/100,000 needs to be <50 cases/day and 5-10/100,000
      • There will be a board meeting next week to make this decision re: school reopening
      • Governor has moved teachers to group 1b for vaccination
      • About half of the students are not going to return
      • G: 319 students will stay remote; 294 want to come back
      • O: still proceeding and planning for a Feb 1 start date.
      • 295 will come back
      • Getting a lot flexibility in designing the best plan for our needs
      • Phase in plan- first group going in is K-3
      • Grades K-3- 4 days/week in person MT, TF with Wednesday reserved for online and cleaning of schools
      • Grades 4 and 5- A and B schedule. A week and B week
      • Will get more information before the final start date for students
      • Focus school: has more support or support for special programs: PBES is a focus school
      • Equity hub – about 35 students in building; about at capacity.
      • Likely be options for families through the summer to make up for lost ground
      • If we go back to in person, school will start later because of busing; will need to align online school with in person schedule
      • Everytime changes are made lose a few kids who aren’t able to navigate the change
      • G: have to divide staff between those coming back and those staying home. They have identified teachers who will return in person, classrooms used that allows for social distancing
      • Goal in person and virtual not in the same classroom; but may need to move classes around with teacher, some virtual in the presence of a teacher

No extension of school year- summer programs will be optional; never extend through whole summer Usually 4-5 weeks

No Vaccine for children until late fall at the earliest; no mandated COVID vaccines for return to school


  • Potential timeline for COVID vaccine for elementary school children
  • What new challenges are families facing with virtual learning? What challenges continue to persist? How can our community address these challenges together?
  • What topics would you like to see at future PTA meetings?


7:40     PTA Leadership for the 2021-2022 School Year

Sarah Goupell, PBES PTA President  

  • Position vacancies and how to get involved

For next year: Nominating committee; President at both schools will have expiring terms, treasurers, exec VP at TPES, and other positions, as well for various committee.

If you have questions, please get in touch with Meg and Sarah if you have questions

Positions and description:


Garden club:

7:50     Treasurer’s Reports

Kelley Skelton, TPES Treasurer & Erin  Kelley, PBES Treasurer

See treasurer report

136,409 for the foodbank

Piney Branch PTA: Kids Hats and gloves available in the vestibule of the school

Masks for the teachers

300 high quality balls and jump ropes to be used for PE for kids without at home



You can become a PTA member online:

Takoma Park Elementary

Piney Branch Elementary

TPES PTA Meeting Minutes: December 2020


Takoma Park Elementary School(TPES)

Piney Branch Elementary School (PBES)

Parent & Teacher Meeting (PTA)

Tuesday, December 1, 2020,


Location: Zoom


Social Emotional Health & Wellness

Mark your calendars for our next meeting, Tuesday, Jan 5, 7-8pm.

All PTA meetings will be via Zoom (details below) until further notice.


7:00    Welcome

  • TPES Dolphin Drive met its fundraising goal!
  • Big thanks to Kelly Young for all of her work on the Dolphin Drive and to Chris Campbell for behind-the-scenes work to get website up and running with all the right information.

7:05     Upcoming Dates and Announcements from the MCPS Calendar

         Gabe Seiden, PBES VP Communications

Dec 24 – Jan 3: Winter Break – NO SCHOOL  (schools & offices CLOSED)

Tues, Jan 5: TPES/PBES PTA meeting via Zoom @ 7pm

Mon, Jan 18: Professional Day for Teachers & Staff (NO SCHOOL for students)

Fri, Jan 29: Professional Day for Teachers & Staff (NO SCHOOL for students)


7:10     Practices to Promote Social-Emotional Health & Wellness  

                  Max Althofer, TPES Counselor

Erin Coco, PBES Counselor

  • MCPS recognized it needs a more centralized effort to provide support to students and families during the Pandemic. Now there is a pool of social-emotional learning (SEL) resources available by the county instead of relying on each counselor to provide curriculum.
  • SEL time is woven into grade level curriculum and classroom practices now
  • Uses CASEL curriculum – focused on self-management, self-awareness, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision-making. Resources and lessons for students are differentiated by grade level.
  • October was personal body safety and cyber civility lessons at PBES. TPES did personal body safety in November.
  • Typically Mr. Althofer would go into each Kindergarten class weekly but that hasn’t been possible during virtual learning. Coco gets to visit PBES classes once a month virtually during homeroom time.
  • In addition to classroom visits, counselors do individual counseling sessions for students, help students and their families get resources they need, help to create Section 504 plans for students with disabilities who don’t qualify for special education services and many other tasks as needed to be responsive to what is going on (e.g., student engagement during virtual learning).
  • TPES and PBES have 1.5 counselors each, which is not sufficient to meet the recommended national ratio of 250 students per counselor.
  • PBES now has an Equity Hub program in the building, run by Kids Adventures, to provide students who need support outside the home during virtual learning. They are accepting more students.
  • Strategies for parents in supporting social-emotional development at home and strengthening coping skills during the pandemic can be found here:–F0Lh_JXG0YSCXVDl7oRJ3E/edit
  • Small group counseling is not allowed by MCPS while virtual, due to privacy concerns.
  • Email is a great way to reach the counselors for each school.
  • At TPES, Mr Seward covers 2nd grade at TPES, Mr Althofer covers K and 1st. They will move with grades, so next year Mr Althofer will have the 1st and 2nd graders. You can reach Mr Althofer at
  • At PBES, Ms Coco does 3rd and 5th graders. You can reach her at
  • Question about how to avoid video game use with kids.. Answer: teachers are watching for kids who aren’t paying attention and will let parents know.  If not during school time, providing projects for kids that match their interests can help pull them away from screens (e.g., lego project).


7:50     Treasurer’s Reports

Kelley Skelton, TPES Treasurer

  • We did well with the Dolphin Drive and are close to hitting our budget estimate for fundraising income. Can meet the rest with a Readathon or book fair or other activity later in the year.
  • Received $2,500 for a school literacy program.
  • Still managing the budget for the school food cluster support.


Erin  Kelley, PBES Treasurer

  • Account is very healthy with income of over $18,000 and $9,000 spent. Looking at potential adjustments to the budget and will keep membership abreast of any changes needed (some changes could require a vote).



Next meeting will be Tuesday, January 5, 2021 at 7:00pm.  The Zoom link will be shared just before the meeting time, as was done today.


You can become a PTA member online:

Takoma Park Elementary

Piney Branch Elementary

TPES PTA Meeting Minutes: November 2020


Takoma Park Elementary School(TPES)

Piney Branch Elementary School (PBES)

Parent & Teacher Meeting (PTA)

Monday, November 2, 2020,


Location: Zoom


Antiracism & Social Justice in Our Schools

Mark your calendars for our next meeting, Tuesday, Dec 1, 7-8pm.

All PTA meetings will be via Zoom (details below) until further notice.


7:00    Welcome

7:05     Upcoming Dates and Announcements from the MCPS Calendar

         Chris Campbell, TPES VP Communications

Nov 2-30: TPES Dolphin Drive

Tues, Nov 3: Election Day  (schools & offices CLOSED)

Wed, Nov 4: Professional Day for Teachers & Staff (NO SCHOOL for students)

Mon, Nov 9: Professional Day for Teachers & Staff (NO SCHOOL for students)

Nov. 9-22: PBES virtual Scholastic Book Fair & Readathon

Mon, Nov 9: Professional Day for Teachers (NO SCHOOL for students)

Wed, Nov 11: MP2 Schedule Changes go into effect (to be discussed next)

Mon, Nov 23 thru Wed, Nov 25: Early Release Days (dismissal at 11:30am)

Thurs, Nov 26 thru Friday, Nov 27: Thanksgiving Break (NO SCHOOL)


7:07     MP2 Schedule Changes for MCPS Elementary Schools

Christine Oberdorf, PBES Principal

When board approved schedule, one of the conditions was the district would provide feedback about the schedule. Slight change to Elementary schedule voted on last week. Only impacts Wednesday am.


  • New schedule (starting Wednesday, November 11 1st Wednesday second marking period):
    • 9am class meeting;
    • 9:30-10:15am live instruction ending with guidance for independent work; this time will not include new learning – no new modules from Benchmark or Eureka; opportunity to revisit content, provide enrichment, or vary content
    • Pacing guide for Eureka and Benchmark has been revised based on this new schedule.
    • 10:30-11:30am self-guided work for most students; paraeducator & service provider support available Teacher will outline direction for what students due during that time. Teachers are finalizing their plan and will get us information soon.
    • Teachers will communicate specifically with class about what the schedule will look like.
    • Goal is to reduce screen time, provide students with additional support as needed, and additional planning time for teacher.
  • TPES is moving last special of the day to that later morning time- not at 2:30 but moved to 10:30. It was hard to get kids to come back to that special in the late afternoon.
  • TPES teachers will give them choices as to what to do in the afternoon; kids will be able to choose the activity.
  • Not supposed to be done at 11:30, should be working
  • PBES: Concern: they have 2 blocks of specials in the afternoon to move them both in the morning; there is only one slot in the morning, and not enough teachers to cover both sessions in the morning.
    • 11:30am-1pm lunch and wellness break;
    • afternoon Wednesday schedules remain unchanged;
  • Highlights:
    • Wednesday morning blocks will no longer focus on instruction in Benchmark Literacy and Eureka Math, but include opportunities for students to engage in related content support, review, extension, & enrichment.
    • Teachers will communicate with each student & family about the learning activities that students should complete during each block.
    • Goal is to increase opportunities to reduce screen time, have students receive special education or related services, & provide time for independent or small group work
  • Leadership team is finalizing details this week; please look for more information from your child’s classroom teacher next week


7:10     Equity through the Educational Lens  

                  Emma McClary, TPES 2nd Grade Teacher & Equity Committee member

Kristen Dunlap, PBES 3rd Grade Teacher & Equity Committee member

  • Classroom practices and lessons that focus on racial equality & social justice
  • Guided discussion about what parents can do at home

Ms. Dunlap: all classes in MoCO completed Psychoeducational lessons; PBES had unity day and Unity week; they received special election materials from the county

Emma McClary: all received the same curriculum about all of this

Need to bridge and do social awareness at home


Ms. Dunlap

Spend a lot of time in the classrooms talk about what is going on in the world- 1-1/2 weeks in the morning; lots of things happening

Covid 19,

Dual pandemic: social justice responses to combat racism

Lot of time talking about race, racism, anti-racism, social justice

So that they understand the difference between being a Bystander to being an upstander; being a bystander is watching; upstander- stand up and say what you are feeling. Talked a lot about this. Also tied this into lessons about bullying

Their opinions are valued and matter- created a safe space so that they can share what they are thinking


Spent time on the positive things that they can do to feel better if experiencing stress/anxiety/worry, negative thoughts or feelings

Each class made their own list; they have arsenal of things that they can do if they are feeling strong emotions.

PBES: celebrated Unity day- staying united- a class community, a school community, a TP community- together stand against bullying; united for kindness, acceptance and inclusion

Thinking about what we can do to stand together

Hearing all the voices

Kids communicate differently some words, some pictures.

Making sure we see those that feel invisible


County sent out material on Communicating info re: election to kids

Working with Benchmark reading on communities and government units

How is our election materials relevant in our world right now

Connecting it to things that elementary school students in terms of voting


Discussion: open and honest conversations re: election

How are we feeling about things? Socioemotional part of election lessons are crucial.  Mood Meter

Talking about feelings towards the election

Had ground rules going in

Took time to talk about candidates and racial disparities


Ms. McClary:

All of the lessons re; social justice, equity, election are the same across the schools

There is also a reflective piece on the professional level for the teachers, helps them have them open and honest discussions with the teachers

Teachers: all have unique perspectives that they learn and teach from; all will sometimes make mistakes

Parents at home play bigger roles as teachers

Classroom practices help make sure that equity is included:

Representation in literature

Representation in posters and decorations

Equity sticks and random calling strategies

Building relationships with families

Communicating high expectations for all students

Acknowledge and true appreciation of the differences that we have and appreciate the diversity

Recognizing that everyone has differences and that is ok

Teachable moments including factual conversations when things get said in the classroom

Modeling vulnerability, honesty and empathy

When teaching these lessons, created spaces where students feel valued


How to transfer the ideas from the classroom to the home:

Don’t overthink the conversation at home

Be factual, open and honest

Normalize conversation

Minimize otherness

Students understand feelings- can break things down to feelings if necessary


TPES and PBES each do collaborative planning within the school to help share best practices and ideas with each other!



Sharing our stories:

Every Monday Night TPES/PBES 7 pm is doing a Sharing our Stories with the teachers and families in the school community

Bedtime story- guest family, educator, etc sharing a story: book, interview

Educator giving tips on how to become more involved in the school community

If interested in sharing a story: contact Shana

Next week: Ms. Coco – PBES counselor on how to handle remote learning with the


7:40     NAACP Parent Council Updates

         Sharon Gaskins, TPES NAACP Representative

                  Lauren Van Tol, PBES NAACP Representative

  • Upcoming NAACP initiatives


Parent council: way to allow you to advocate for your child and get involved in their kids’ education

Started in 1990’s by the NAACP Youth council

next meeting Thursday November 12 6:30 pm.


Middle School magnet consortium: Argyle- digital design, Parkland- Aerospace, Loederman- creative arts

Due dates soon

If interested in any of the programs:



1st meeting parents council at TPES on Thursday with Dr. Gadsden

Will collaborate with Piney Branch council

Equity Hubs: kids in K-5 can come and do distance learning in school building 8:30-5:30 for $50/mo with additional aid available

For kids who qualify for FARMS

Expanding across MCPS:

No plan for TP schools to host a hub

Lunch provided, and the day will be built around supporting distance learning and providing children with social emotional connections. Rolling Terrace Elementary and Rock Creek Forest Elementary which are less than 3 miles from Piney Branch are opening soon.

Montgomery county parent council : report on how black and brown students are faring in virtual learning; research conducted by UMD–Securing+Educational+Equity+Report+-+Black+and+Brown+Coalition+10-6-20+.pdf


7:50     Treasurer’s Reports

Kelley Skelton, TPES Treasurer

Meg covering:

TPES continues to be receiver and payor of the food support from the 4 schools

Dolphin appeal in November is fundraiser

Greatest expenses this month- teacher classroom set up funds.


Erin  Kelley, PBES Treasurer

Panther appeal just ended:

Passed our goal

On membership side just over 50% of the goal

Including role over from last year; very robust situation

Expenses: support staff, website, and paypal fees



NEXT PTA MEETING: Tuesday December 1st; new zoom link; will be sent out shortly before the meeting.



TPES PTA Meeting Minutes: October 2020

Takoma Park Elementary School(TPES)

Piney Branch Elementary School (PBES) 

Parent & Teacher Meeting (PTA)

Tuesday, October 6, 2020, 7:00-8:00pm

Location: Zoom 


Connecting with your School & Community

Mark your calendars for our next meeting, Monday, Nov 2, 7-8pm

All PTA meetings will be via Zoom (details below) until further notice.  


7:00 Welcome

  • Sign language interpretation as well as Spanish interpretation was introduced

7:05 Social Emotional Support for Virtual Learning
Cinthea Neuheisel, PBES Assistant Principal
Key supports the school is putting in place & tips for how parents & caregivers can help at home

  • Sharing what social-emotional support is being provided to students during this time and how parents can help.  
  • We are holding class meetings daily, making them twice as long as MCPS recommended to ensure it is a meaningful time.  Goal is to promote relationships amongst students and to create a community within their class.  Is a staff handbook with resources for teachers for these meetings.
  • MCPS has rolled out psycho-educational lessons to address students’ emotional responses to the virus and the issues around race in our country right now.
  • Continuing to use Second STEM for social skills and conflict resolution curriculum.
  • Have a continuity of care monitoring system to refer students that aren’t engaged or for whom teachers have concerns so can track needs of most vulnerable students.
  • Working hard to produce weekly videos that help to create routines and structure for students during this time, serving to ground them and create a sense of connection.
  • A few tips for parents to do at home:
    • Students need to be flexible during this time.  Resiliency relies on our ability to be cognitively flexible in challenging circumstances.  To do this, students need a good night’s sleep, and to emphasize the importance of “single-tasking.”  This is supported by having a space at home that is as free of distractions as possible.  Encourage students to take breaks when needed (use the coffee cup feature to let their teachers know they need a break) and to have a separate space for breaks and for working.  Having just one monitor also supports single tasking.
    • Practice acceptance and gratitude.

7:15 Upcoming Dates and Announcements from the MCPS Calendar

Gabe Seiden, PBES VP Communications

Thurs, Oct 1 thru Oct 31: “Panther Appeal” PBES PTA Fundraising Month 

Tues, Nov 3: Election Day  (schools & offices CLOSED)

Nov. 9-22: PBES virtual Scholastic Book Fair & Readathon

Mon, Nov 9: Professional Day for Teachers (NO SCHOOL for students)

Nov 11-12: Early Release Days for Students (Parent/Teacher Conferences)


  • Shout out to Tim Anderegg from PBES for all the hard work he is doing for communications.


7:20 Fundraising Updates & Treasurer’s Reports  

Kelly Young, TPES VP Fundraising

Angela Riemer, PBES VP Fundraising

Kelley Skelton, TPES Treasurer

Erin  Kelley, PBES Treasurer


  • The TPES Dolphin Drive will be in the month of November with a goal of $9000.  The PTA is still doing a lot, including providing teachers with money to support and enhance online learning, supporting kindergarten with manipulatives for math learning, providing interpreters when the school is unable to, teacher training  and other administrative expenses. So we do need a successful fundraiser.
  • The PBES Panther Appeal kicked off October 1st.  Thanks to all who have already donated.  PBES PTA continues, like TPES, to do many activities during this time, including providing enrichment services .  We are also doing dine-arounds and will have other opportunities to give in person.  The first dine-around is October 16 at Mansa Kunda West African Restaurant.  We still have great merchandise available and will soon have masks.
  • TPES Treasurer update: We have had a little fundraising income this year, but the Dolphin Drive will be really crucial to providing needed income for this year.  Please do join as a member of the PTA.  There is a form on the website if you’d like to have one of the donated memberships that are available.  We are also including the food bank activity as a separate item with restricted-use funds on the TPES treasurer’s reports.  We spend about $5000 each week and the volunteers are committed to continuing as long as we need to and as long as funds are available.
  • PBES Treasurer update: Doing well from a cash flow standpoint but need success in current fundraising experts to maintain that.


7:25 Building the School & Family Partnership 

  • Links to presentation that was shared:
  • English:
  • Spanish:
  • Amharic:


  • Establishing community norms and best practices
  • Teachers are committed to meeting your child and peers where they are and adjusting instruction as needed, supporting differentiated instruction
  • Parents are encouraged to reach out to your child’s teacher first when you have questions, connect with their classroom parent to build community, access information using online portals and reach out to school administration (Principal or Assistant Principal) if concerns or questions are not addressed by the teacher.
    • Guidance counselors are also a resource.  Each school has two: Ms. Coc and Ms. Johnson at PBES and Mr. Althofer and Mr. Seward at TPES.
    • Spanish and Amharic translations are available by phone on the school’s main line.
  • Students are encouraged to develop a trusting relationship with their teachers, practice taking risks, connect with fellow students and reflect on what learning strategies work best for them.
  • Every classroom has a Classroom parent who is able to share information with fellow parents, plan class activities agreed upon by parents, help organize celebrations and more.
  • If children are struggling with schoolwork and homework and you need help, encourage your child to meet with their teacher.  Teachers can meet them during office hours and by appointment.  Saturday School offers tutoring opportunities virtually in Montgomery County at a reduced rate. Please contact the PTA if you need financial assistance.
    • Also consider support services through the Educational and Equity Hubs held throughout Montgomery County for kids who need a safe, supervised place to do Zoom.  It is $50 per month.  They are also looking for donations if you can do that.
  • Can contact each school’s main office for help with ParentVue
  • For technical help, call 240-740-7020 or for spanish: 240-740-7022
  • You can view assignments and grades in ParentVue or MyMCPS Classroom (as your child)


7:55 Takoma Park Equity Walk

Lucy Neher, SafeRoutes to School Coordinator, City of Takoma Park


  • Tomorrow we are launching a new activity: We Belong Here – the Takoma Park Equity Walk.  You may have seen the stencils around town and wondered what they were about.  There are QR codes at most stations with an arrow pointing to them so that when you go, you can scan the code and get a story map that takes you through the activities in a different way and give prompts for discussion.  All of the stations are connected to equity in some way so there is a safe place to go with kids to talk about issues related to equity.  Each station also has a suggested list of books that links to the library site so you can see if the book is available.  Also a list of resources for parents.  This project started about a year ago with the grant proposal.  Spanish and Amharic versions of the website will be available.
    • These are at the Community Center and Anne Street.  You can do the stations in any order.
  • Lucy also got a grant for a feasibility study for a traffic garden – a safe place for people to learn to ride their bikes.  She has been working on this idea since 2007!
  • She also is getting a fleet of bikes (8-10 of various sizes) for each school to use for learning to ride in P.E.


You can become a PTA member online:

Takoma Park Elementary 

Piney Branch Elementary


TPES PTA Meeting Minutes: September 2020


7:00    Welcome- Executive Committee Introductions

TPES intros

PBES intros


7:05    Setting The Stage For Success At Home – Dr. Gadsden

Have a regular space for your child at home

(Table), floor, beds, where ever comfortable. Encourage not to use blanket to cover up especially if covering head

If you have to fuss at your child- mute your child’s computer and turn camera off if possible.

Plan your escape- plan to back away from your child when in virtual environment

Plan to get a little further away if possible each day

Try to limit your conversation while they are in class

Do not talk to the teacher

Pack your patience. We have to go through this journey together.



7:10     Upcoming Dates and Announcements from the MCPS Calendar

Friday, Sept 4: Early Release Day (half day of instruction)

Mon, Sept 7: No School

Friday, Sept 25: 4-6pm PBES Garden Group Open House

Fri, Oct 2: Early Release Day  (half day of instruction)

Tues, Oct 6: PTA Meeting 7-8pm


7:15    Keeping up with PTA news and opportunities

Chris Campbell & Lauren Greenberg, TPES VP Communications

Lauren Greenberg:

First time you post- it has to go through moderation

If you want to reply to a post on the listserv, it will go to whole list


Chris Campbell: go to PTA website; being updated regularly



Gabe Seiden, PBES VP Communications

Gabe Seiden: Join the PTA, and staying connected

PBES PTA newsletter New here- can sign in, join PTA, join Parent listserv

Can contact PTA board members through the website as well


We also need more translation help



7:20    Family & School Engagement – stay connected during the pandemic

Sarah Lewis, TPES Classroom Parent Coordinator

Need room parents; room parents ask as liason between parents, teachers, and school, working to build community in the classroom to make sure every family is as involved as they would like to be.
Room parent in process to send out 2 different google docs; spreadsheet;

Trying to see if people need help with school supplies, translation


Sarah Davidson, PBES Classroom Parent Coordinator

If you want to be a Room parent at PBES, contact Sarah.



Sara Hoverter & Deepa Sundararaman, PBES Newcomers Group Co-Chairs

  • Families who have just moved to Takoma Park and/or are new to Piney Branch Elementary School (by moving up from TPES) are invited to connect; email Sara Hoverter (


7:25    Parent Share: Virtual Learning Hacks

  • Parents, guardians, & caregivers are invited to share tips, resources, & device recommendations for increasing virtual learning focus & flow at home


7:50    Get Involved! Open volunteer opportunities, big and small:

Health & Wellness committee            Readathon committee

Multicultural Arts Assembly coordinators    Social Services committee

Teacher Appreciation committee        Equity committee

Nominating committee                Translation volunteers


Join Zoom Meeting


Meeting ID: 923 5429 3478

Passcode: 973459

One tap mobile

+13017158592,,92354293478# US (Germantown) 13126266799,,92354293478# US



Dial by your location

        +1 301 715 8592 US (Germantown)

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        +1 669 900 9128 US (San Jose)

        +1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)

Meeting ID: 923 5429 3478


You can become a PTA member online:

Takoma Park Elementary

Piney Branch Elementary


TPES PTA Meeting Minutes: July 2020

Takoma Park Elementary School (TPES)

PTA Meeting

Wednesday, July 15, 2020


Location: Playground

PTA Elections

We wrapped up 2019-2020 with a discussion of the summer budget, and selected our PTA leaders for next year. Please connect with us to lend your time to health & wellness, fundraising, teacher appreciation. While we anticipate an unconventional school year ahead, your involvement and support continues to be important for our childrens’ success!

Future PTA Meetings

All future PTA meetings will be held virtually until further notice. Once the school year begins, we will meet the first Tuesday of each month via Zoom. Please find our Zoom login info below.

7:00    Welcome / Events and Announcements

NOW is the time to enroll your rising Kindergartener for the 2020-2021 school year!

Here are 3 options for registering your child:

  1. ONLINE — Follow this link:
  2. OVER THE PHONE. –  Call 240-740-5999 to register
  3. BY MAIL–  Call 240-740-5999 to request forms to be mailed to your home.


¿Tiene un niño que tiene 5 años y que estará en el jardín de infantes el próximo año? ¿O tiene un amigo o vecino cuyo hijo está en edad escolar y asistirá al jardín de infantes en el otoño?

AHORA es el momento de inscribirse para el año escolar 2020-2021. Aquí hay 3 opciones para registrar a su hijo:

  1. EN LÍNEA: siga este enlace:
  2. SOBRE EL TELEFONO. – Llame al 240-740-5999 para registrarse
  3. POR CORREO: llame al 240-740-5999


7:05    Treasurer’s Report / Summer Budget/ School Year Budget

Kelley Skelton, Treasurer


  • Need to add 2 items to our budget from last year. Also received a $2000 grant from Dollar General (thanks Tracee Matthias) that was used to support kids while at home during this pandemic.  Motion to add 2 items to budget was approved unanimously.
  • The only item from last year that we didn’t do in full was Readathon.
  • Fundraising for food support with the Middle School cluster (TPMS and its 3 feeder elementary schools) has been going really well (raised $103k so far). All funds run through TPES.  Expenses so far are under School Programs Expenses item and have been $89k so far.
  • We had a surplus budget year last year of $18,000.
  • No comments on budget report from last year.
  • Next year taking a very conservative approach to budget given the uncertainty around what will happen. In-person fundraisers may not happen.  We are projecting a much lower income level this year but are not decreasing projected expenditures.  We will utilize the surplus from prior years to make up this difference.
  • Question was asked if the surplus was including food support funds. There are restricted surplus funds for the food support program but we also have surplus funds to draw upon that are not part of the food support effort.
  • Staff support includes classroom setup funds for teachers, as well as equity and inclusion activities, staff appreciation, and playground supplies (in case we come back). We did take out a few items.
  • Motion to adopt the 2020-21 budget was approved unanimously.



7:15     Supply Kits

Sasha Johnson, Becca Albertus

Deadline to order is 8/1. Link:

School Code: TAK008 (3 letters/3 numbers)


  • We work with an outside company that packages school supplies that are needed by grade. This year, since we don’t know if we will be at school, supplies will be delivered directly to homes.
  • PTA does earn a small profit from the kits.
  • Cost for supplies is $26 for K, $29 for 1st and $45 for 2nd. Cost is based on the supplies on the list provided by the school.  There is a shipping fee.
  • Supplies will be delivered to your home by Aug. 22, order by Aug 1.
  • There is an option to buy kits for students in need. Those are typically given to Mr. Althofer to distribute.  If you order one to be delivered to your house, you can contact Becca ( for help getting it to the school.


7:20    Committee Recruitment 

Committee Chairs – please contact chairs if you would like to participate in these committees in any way.

Health & Wellness – Amanda Berhaupt-Glickstein:

  • The H&W Committee is responsible for things like the yoga club, and purchasing of sensory equipment for teachers and hallways. Would like to get more involved with gardening next year.

Cultural Arts – Malawi Welles:

Staff Appreciation – Allison Belemvire:

Fundraising- Kelly Young:

Equity – Chai Shenoy:

After School Clubs – Virginia Davis:


7:25     2020-2021 Elections

Executive Committee Proposed Slate:

President – Meghan McDonald

Executive VP – Caleb Gibson

Treasurer – Kelley Skelton

Co – VP Communications – Lauren Greenberg & Chris Campbell

VP Membership – Samer Sadek

VP Fundraising – Kelly Young

VP Equity – Chai Shenoy

Membership Secretary- Becca Jones-Albertus

Executive Secretary – Allison Belemvire

MCCPTA Delegate – Joyce McDonough


  • No other nominees offered.
  • Motion to adopt the 2020-2021 executive committee slate was unanimously approved.


7:40    Adjourn


PTA  Meetings Dates 2020-2021

August 4 / September 1 / October 6 / November 3 / December 1 /January 5 / February 2 / March 2 / April 6 /May 4 / June 1

Meeting ID: 827 5571 6748

Dial by your location

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+1 929 205 6099 US (New York)  +1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)

+1 346 248 7799 US (Houston) +1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)


Spanish Interpretation:

Meeting ID: 854 5261 0722  Dial:301-715-8592 Enter ID: 854 526 10722# US


TPES PTA Meeting Minutes: March 2020

7:00 Upcoming Events & Announcements

Feb 28 – March 26: TPES Readathon

  • Your children should have gotten a Readathon calendar and are hopefully recording their minutes. We strongly encourage children to keep their calendars in their Dolphin folders as minutes are counted on Fridays.  If you lose your calendar, there is a link on the PTA website.
  • Still in need of volunteers for Friday mornings and afternoon or over the weekend. Please Sign up here
  • We do Spirit Days every Friday to celebrate Reading. This Friday is book character day.  There will be reminder emails and flyers.


March 6: PBES ESOL Book Club 6:30-7:30pm (pizza provided)

  • 10 students and their parents will come and discuss with Ms. Karen and the librarian. There will be one more book club this school year and hope to have another over the summer.  This is supported by the TP Library and Takoma Foundation, PBES PTA and Friends of the TP Library, who provide the book and the pizza after.
  • We could use help with funding and also spreading the word about the next book club.
  • We are looking for ideas for other services or events that we could support with PBES ESOL staff. Contact Gina Lambright:


March 12: PBES Spring Photos

March 15: PBES rebuild meeting with Mayor Stewart @Community Ctr, 4pm-5pm

  • More information in a section below


March 16-17: PBES GeoBowl

March 24: TKPK5K Fundraiser at Mark’s Kitchen (15% of sales)


March 26: PBES International Night at the TP Middle School

  • Would love to have donated supplies (e.g., free samples or trays of food) for the event. Contact Sarah Goupell: to volunteer.


March 27: Early Release for all Students

1:30 – 3:30; Garden Pop-Up Art Event at PBES

  • PB hoping to have an outdoor garden once the weather is better. Until then, will be putting decorations in the lobby.  Would love to have families from both schools involved in setting this up.  The first activity is right after the early dismissal, will make tissue paper flowers and seedlings.  People will be able to take home a succulent or seedling.  There will be a flyer and permission slip going out for PBES in a couple of weeks.
  • Looking for a group of parents to help make this committee more robust and inclusive.
  • School gardens are great for kids, staff in many ways and are really fun.
  • Selling a sustainability item – the uni-tensil (a reusable fork/knife/spoon that is durable) – for $5 to help raise funds for the garden.
  • Email Rachel at or call 617-821-3855 to get involved.


April 1: PBES Talent Show & Early Bird Registration Deadline for TKPK5K

April 6-13: Spring Break (NO SCHOOL)

April 14: TPES / PBES PTA Meeting at PBES, 6:45 – 8:00pm


TPES / PBES Basketball Game will be looking for volunteers.  Information coming soon on both school emails.  The date will be early May.  Email to volunteer.



7:10 Welcome – WHAT does the PTA do & WHO are we?

Multicultural Arts Assemblies Committees at PBES & TPES

Malawi Welles

  • This committee is a great way to get involved and impact what your children see in school. It starts in October going to the Arts Fair in Rockville to see the performances of MCPS approved vendors. It’s a lot of fun.
  • We had Patagonia Winds in December at TPES and we will have Rhythms and Rhymes for Wise Young Minds on March 26. For PBES, will have the Power of Positivity and Rhythms and Rhymes.
  • Please reach out to to get involved. It’s a great opportunity and we have money left for other performances before the end of the year.



7:15 PBES Rebuild Advocacy Update

PTA Presidents Sarah Goupell (PBES) & Meg McDonald (TPES)

  • Sunday, March 15 from 4-5pm at the TP Community Center with Mayor Stewart and others
  • Hoping for a strong contingent of parents from TPES, PBES and parents with even younger children.
  • Purpose of the meeting is to get up to speed on the options for a new building for PBES.Specifically we will be talking about the land where the Adventist Community Hospital was located.  T-shirts will be provided.


7:20 Treasurers’ Reports & Fundraising Updates

Kelley Skelton, Treasurer & Shivani Sutton TPES Book Fair co-coordinator

  • We are doing great. We have about 15% of our funds still to come in this year – through the Readathon.  We have a $16k budget for the Readathon. Looking to ramp up spending on equity initiatives and to support our teachers over the next month.
  • All of the funds we raise at the book fairs go to the school. Raised $14k in Scholastic dollars which will be shared by the Media Center, the classrooms and the specialists in the school.  The PTA provides $12 vouchers to FARMS students (partnering with classroom teachers to identify those kids) to enable them to purchase books at the book fair.  Woods (Reading specialist) also uses her funds to send books home to this population of students over the summer.  This year we had a large number of books under $5.
  • Shivani is looking for a book fair partner for next year.


Amy Gibson Grant, Treasurer (PBES) & Angela Reimer, VP Fundraising (PBES)

  • PBES has done all income generation for the year. Poolapolooza was great for community building but not a great fundraiser so will reevaluate for next year.
  • Extra $2000 we weren’t anticipating came in December. We are in a great financial position for the spring.


7:25 After-School Clubs Updates

Virginia Davis (TPES Clubs) & Annelies Echols (PBES Clubs)

  • Last session of after-school clubs runs March 24 – May 21. Today is the last day to register.
  • We had 2 previous sessions with 100-250 students participating throughout the year, with several dozen students receiving scholarships from PTA to participate.
  • Looking for new volunteers to take over this next year as Virginia and Annelies will be moving on. For more information or to volunteer, please contact Shana at


7:30 SafeRoutes to School Program and the Takoma 5K

Susan Campbell & William Ince, PBES Takoma 5K organizers

Sarah Van Wye & Sasha Johnson, TPES Takoma 5K organizers

Lucy Neher, Safe Routes to School Coordinator for City of Takoma Park

  • Race is Sunday, May 3. It’s the 12th annual race.  Had 1500 people last year.  City does planning with individuals from each of the 5 schools involved.
  • Registration is open: There is a discount if you sign up before April 1.
  • Scholarships are being offered this year, will see information about that coming out soon
  • This is a great opportunity to support wellness and fitness programs at all of the schools. All of the proceeds go to the schools, with at least 50% used for health, wellness and fitness activities.
  • Safe Routes to School is federally funded with measures set out at the beginning of each grant cycle. We have gotten the grant since 2007 and will be applying again this year.  All of the money is programmatic, not for infrastructure.  For example, we looked at building sidewalks in areas near the schools that don’t have them, but that isn’t covered by the grant right now.
  • We work with the kids during the year about safety.
  • Trying to make TP more pedestrian and bike friendly.
  • Looking for feedback on what is wanted for future programming through the online survey that is sent out.
  • Looking to get bikes for each school that can be used during PE to help all kids learn to ride.
  • Do iCan Shine bike camp over the summer for kids with disabilities aged 8-14. It is amazing and wonderful program.  It is open to anyone in the state to attend.  They come for 75 minutes a day for 5 days, and learn how to ride a bike independently.
  • If there is interest in doing a bike helmet sale here (currently done at TPMS), can get very good $6.95 helmets.
  • A lot more students walked and biked to school in 2008 compared to 2016.
  • New equity themed sensory fitness route being built around the schools and park with fitness-based activities and a prompt for kindness and equity-based actions. Working to go through the park too.  Will be stencils on the ground.  Should take 15-30 minutes to do the route.  Would be happy to talk about any ideas you have.
  • Fundraiser at Mark’s Kitchen on April 24. 15% of all proceeds are donated.  Willow Street Yoga also doing 4 donation classes leading up to the race.
  • There are lots of opportunities to volunteer, as well. You can sign up on the website:
  • There will be a Run Club Thursday mornings at TPES through the month of April to help kids prepare for the ¼ mile, 1 mile or 5K race.


Next PTA Meeting: Tuesday, April 14 at PBES.  (The first Tuesday of the month is Spring Break.)

TPES PTA Meeting Minutes: February 2020

PTA Meeting February 4th

Piney Branch Elementary School



Upcoming Events &  Announcements


Feb 7-14: TPES Scholastic Book Fair

Sun, Feb 9: Dine-Out 11am-10pm @ Ellsworth MOD Pizza to benefit PBES PTA

Wed, Feb 12: PBES STEM Night 7-8pm

Mon, Feb 17: Presidents Day – no school

Wed, Feb 19: African American History Night (6-8 pm) @ PBES Cafeteria

Thurs, Feb 20: Parent Input Night with Board of Ed @ Eastern Middle 7-9pm

Fri, Feb 28: Early Release for all Students; Dismissal at 1:20pm


Wed, Mar 2: TPES Readathon until April 2.

Tue, Mar 3: TPES/PBES PTA Meeting @ PBES

Fri, Mar 6: PBES ESOL Book Club 6:30-7:30pm (pizza provided)

Thurs, Mar 12: PBES International Night & PBES Spring Photos

Mon-Tu, Mar 16-17: PBES GeoBowl

Wed, Mar 25: Wellness/Community-Building Night (more details soon!)

Fri, Mar 27: Early Release for all Students; Dismissal at 1:20pm


Advocacy Representative:

Hilary Stevens- Delegate from TPES to the MCC PTA.  This is an organization that brings together every PTA in the county.

  • 13th is the Montgomery County and Maryland PTA Day in Annapolis. Advocate for funding and attention to education more broadly
  • Boundary Analysis – hired a consultant group to look at where students live and where they go to school. Looking at capacity and resources to look at how equity and distance.  This has been a very touchy subject with a tortured history.  Some meetings when very off the rails, people were upset, inaccuracies were rampant, etc.  Those open meetings are now finished.  They are continuing outreach to targeted communities.  There are lots of information available at the BOE website.  This study won’t make recommendations on changing boundaries but instead will be looking at the data and what is happening on the ground.  The data didn’t show accurately how crowded TPES and PBES really is.
  • No matter the analysis- PBES and TPES is still overcrowded. We need to be vocal about this fact and to be vocal about how we need a new school SOON not 8 years from now.
  • Go to the BOE meeting at Eastern Middle and vocalize these concerns
  • Meg the TPES PTA President announced they are working on a meeting in mid-March to meet with city council and others about the build
  • Fred and Chrissy announced that you can reach out to him with more questions and he will send out ways to get involved.
  • The group interested in school safety passed a resolution on gun safety, can raed more on the website
    • On Feb. 9th at Wheaton High there will a town hall on bike and pedestrian safety given recent accidents involving students.


Treasurer’s Report

  • Amy from PBES- if you would like to see numbers there are handouts. We are in a strong financial position, we’ve met all our fundraising goals so far.  The rest of the year is spending the money we made.
  • TPES reports we exceeded the dolphin goals 13,875- 875 OVER our goal! Thank you to all that contributed.  There are handouts out there.  We raised over the goal for literacy and that will carry over for next year staff support.  We


Book Fair/Readathon

Shivani – TPES Book Fair starts on Friday!  Working all next week so come out.  She still needs volunteers- please check out the sign up genius and help out.  The proceeds go back to the school in the form of books and materials for the media center, classrooms etc.  Next year was very successful so let’s keep it up!


Sarah the chair noted its Feb. 28 – March 26th.  Kids read the month of march and record their minutes.  Last year they raised over $17,000 so it’s a very important fundraiser for the school.  Look out for an email!


TPES/PBES Basketball Game – happening in May, we will share the date when its done.  This is a really FUN family event.  It’s a game between TPES and PBES with parents and teachers on each team.  There is always a lot of excitement!  We need volunteers for many things including the doors, refs, half time fun, etc.  Consider it, more information to come.


PBES STEM Night- Matt Goupell reminds us that its next week!  Its double the size of last year, lots of fun groups from the outside.  NASA, the Washington Nationals, there may even be a REAL HUMAN BRAIN!  Whaaaat. There will be 15 PBES teachers leading events.  So much fun stuff coming.  They do need volunteers to help teachers run the events.  Please let him know, you can email him or Sarah Goupell.


The meeting then transitioned to the PEP Program where we all became much more encouraging parents and our kids now do all we ask!