TPES PTA Meeting Minutes: December 2021

Parent & Teacher Meeting (PTA)

Tuesday, December 7, 2021 from 7-8pm on Zoom 

Please mark your calendar for our next PTA meeting on Tues, Jan 4 7-8pm

7:00    Welcome & Introduction of Interpreters from Chris Campbell, TPES PTA VP Communications

Upcoming Dates and Announcements from the MCPS School Calendar 2021- 2022


    Upcoming Dates: 

— Dec 23-Jan 2: School closed for winter break

— TPES Scholastic Book Fair: February 11-18 – please note forthcoming announcement that we’re in need of volunteers to form a book fair committee  

— TPES Read-a-Thon: March 

— Reminder about the weekly Sharing our Stories held every Monday from 7:30-8pm on Zoom to celebrate the unique culture and traditions of students, teachers, staff, and community members. Anyone interested in participating or volunteering to assist with the program, contact Shana Sabbath Sabbathshana@gmail.comor complete google form: Sharing Our Stories sign-up form (to share in chat).


Announcements/ opportunities for engagement: 

— THANKS to TPES PTA’s VP of Fundraising Kelly Young and to all donors to the Dolphin Drive in November, we surpassed our $10K goal, raising $10,117! This is fantastic as there are many needs to assist in our school and community’s recovery efforts. As an example, we have already committed $5K of those funds to purchase resources that complement teacher’s existing materials to support reading recovery, progress and enrichment. 


THANK YOU to all TPES volunteers: 

  • All the outdoor lunch volunteers; 
  • Abby-Anna who organized Little Scholars after school enrichment program;
  • Annie Kneedler who’s stepped up as room parent coordinator and all of the room parents, who are helping with communications throughout the year and organizing holiday gifts for the teachers and staff; 
  • Kaitlin Caruso, social services committee chair who organized winter coat/clothing drive and now holiday gifts for TPES families in need (please see email 


TPES PTA Needs the Following Volunteers: 

  • Shivani Sutton has graciously offered to co-organize the TPES book fair again this year but is in need of volunteers to form a Book Fair committee. The planning is largely done – I just need additional hands to prepare materials in the weeks leading up to the fair and manage volunteers. The fair is only scheduled to run during school hours, not after school or evenings. Please note that we will also need additional volunteers during the week of the fair to set up, cover the registers, and take down.
  • TPES is also looking for a Teacher Appreciation Coordinator to help organize quarterly luncheons or special activities for our teachers to show them how much we care. We provided coffee/donuts for back to school, a luncheon in October to celebrate a month of school and hope to organize one on Fri, Dec 17th and would love if someone could step up to assist.  
  • Speaking of, hopefully everyone saw Ms Paz’s note about organizing a Jolly Raffle as a fun way to help uplift the spirit and morale of TPES staff. She’s hoping to raffle tokens of gratitude and love, simple gestures and/or acts of kindness at least once or twice a week during the next few months. It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive, it could be as simple as a store bought pie, a gift card, a coupon for a dog walk, breakfast or lunch delivered, a babysitter voucher…the sky is the limit, anything that would cheer us up and put a smile on our face counts! If you are willing to contribute, please contact Ms Paz directly to make the proper arrangements.  No contribution is too small!


THANK YOU to all PBES volunteers: 

  • Outdoor lunch volunteers, especially Vivian Khazendar and Shannon Earle who have repeatedly volunteered double or triple shifts to fill vacant spots. And Joyce McDonough who has made lunch outside possible!
  • Book fair volunteers and coordinators Rachael Pierotti, Sarah Corcoran, and Chrissie Juliano


PBES PTA is looking for volunteers:

  • to maintain the fish tank
  • for possible help with student dismissal
  • Individuals who would like to volunteer for Black History Month program and the PBES GEO-BOWL
  • Volunteers for the end-of-year family gift drive.


If you would like to volunteer; please contact us at

PBES is having a Holiday gift card drive to support PBES families during the holidays – and new book donations are also encouraged. Please contact Emma Cheuse ( if you’re interested in contributing, for more details.

— As always, PTA is looking for volunteers who speak Spanish or Amharic to assist with   translating and interpreting PTA notices and events.  Please contact

— Again both TPES and PBES both appreciate and welcome volunteers. Requirements have been circulated on the listserv. 

— MCCPTA: MCCPTA sent a letter to the MD State Board of Ed recommending that mask mandate stay in place until at least 2/28 and suggested that “Considerations that should be taken into account include 1) COVID-19 case rates and 2) pediatric vaccination rate and availability.”). 2/28was chosen based on anticipated (full) vax rates by then and because it would take us thru the holiday season.

See this link for more info on the progress towards planning dollars for PBES to be renovated or rebuilt:

Jaime Koppel, PBES:

Rebecca Shaeffer, TPES:


7:15    Presentations from TPES and PBES Reading Specialists Ms Bozel and Mr Bledsoe about Benchmark about our reading curriculum and resources available to students and families

Ms. Bozel- TPES; Mr. Bledsoe: PBES

Benchmark Advance overview:


Developing literacy routines

Key principles

Close reading of complex text


Instructional shifts addressed in Benchmark:

Built to support the college and career ready standards for literacy


Important to build routines:

Each grade will begin the school year with review and routines

Reintroduce previous material so that can seamlessly go into next material- lasts 15-20 days

Bridge ideas learned previously to new school year

Helps students build stamina

Fosters independent reading and thinking


Building collaborative conversations with each other

Time for accountable talk and active listening


Group roles- book discussion

All built into the standards of Maryland learning outcomes


Practice word study:
K: Letter formation

K-1: Phonological awareness

1-2: phonics patterns

3-5 syllable patterns, vowel teams, suffixes

Chromebooks- technology


Benchmark has clear principles- with consistency from grade to grade

e.g. Unit 1 is Government and citizenship

Unit 2 Characters

3: life science

  1. point of view
  2. technology

6 theme


Go throughout the grade levels

Backwards-mapped design

Each unit 3 weeks

Week 1: Teach for transfer- teacher modeling and short reads

Week 2-3 students build knowledge and apply learning

End goal is mastery over time by the end of the year- not after each lesson

Content spirals across subjects


Close reading of complex text:

Interact with the text- annotation symbols

Students writing directly on text and take note in margins

K-1: shared reading – interact with text as first step, lots of modeling by teacher

2-5 annotation is for


This is to answer questions and gather evidence – helps with reading closely

First reading- identify key ideas and details, summarize

Built about multiple reads of same text

Analyze and craft structure, make inferences draw conclusions, compare and contrast multiple texts


Writing is used at all grade levels- connected to unit discussed in classroom


Writing to sources

Consistently taught across grades

Mini-lessons explicit teaching and modeling

Focus on text evidence to support an idea or opinion

Students write informational, opinion and narrative texts based on one or more sources

Builds up to extended research


Benchmark focuses on literacy foundations and explicit phonics aspects

Print concepts;

Phonological awareness (ability to hear different sounds


Phonics/vocabulary – works with phonics and vocabulary in grades K-6.

Explicit teaching of academic vocabulary builds content knowledge



For students to allow all students to work with grade level texts

English learners (Multilingual learners):
Integrated English language development in every lesson -light, moderate or substantial support

Separate ELD lessons designed for English learners with the grade level text

Amplified texts provide picture support

Flip grids

Some given by classroom teacher, others esol teacher


Striving reader:

Teacher can read text aloud

Students read with partners

All texts are online with text to speech

Amplified texts scaffold the grade level complex

Small group instruction with texts on students’ reading levels- eather move forward or back

Intervention programs for foundational skills and comprehension


Benchmark advance enrichment

Challenge activities built into many lessons

Literature circles- with novels

Small group instructional with texts on students instructional reading levels

Inquiry Projects


Every unit has an enrichment activity


Novel studies: Benchmark advance

Curated by MoCO for diverse and excellent writing


Grade 2: Bad Kitty for president

Freedom in Congo square


Grade 3: Dany Dollar Millionaire Extroidinare

How tia Lola came to visit

Where the mountain meets the moon


Grade 4: Finding Langston


Who participates in BMA:

Any student demonstrating a need for enriched and accelerated instruction

Students with performance metrics showing advance

PBES: all students participate in Inquiry




         What does it mean that my child is in 5th grade and is working on novel study but is not doing one of the novels listed on that slide:

That is not an exhaustive list, there are other novels that are included


Quotes are not always necessary they can paraphrase


The Benchmark was used for last 2 years but modified because of virtual


Looking at this year as first year of full implementation


Each of the lessons are very systematic with a lot of exposure to text


Are 5th grade novel study packets standard across classes?

These are grade level decisions are being made- the exposure in novel is across all grade, but the material that the teacher is using to teach is may vary from teacher to teacher

Reading logs may be something that teachers may ask them to keep to make sure that they are keeping up


All students have the opportunity to take part in the Benchmark Inquiry


Students above grade level reading have to do enrichment

At TPES have enrichment programs that have put in place, and parents can volunteer to help.


In K-2- bags of books are being sent home at their grade level- optional for teachers. If you haven’t gotten it, and wants it, you can ask your teacher

Ms. Anderson, TPES media specialist- can be reached out to for motivational reading if interested.



In Piney Branch, if student is not caught up at grade level reading, they are assessed at least quarterly and interventions are made to help them catch up.


All students at Piney Branch took home MAP scores for reading and math

For TPES  shared in parent teacher conference—if not in parentvue, ask Ms. Bozel


5th graders reading only graphic novel- Mr. Bledsoe- reading graphic novels is fine; sometimes it is more complex with vocabulary and information; usually ok as long as reading.

Chapter books can be stressed in classroom

If free reading, can read whatever they enjoy

They need to be interested in reading.


There are graphic novels that are also chapter books


E.g. complex graphic novels for 5th graders- reach out to teacher can let student borrow one


e.g. Percy Jackson

My hero academia

A wrinkle in time


Enrichment above grade level is always happening

Students reading above grade level gets 3 kinds of enrichment at PBES.


PBES Treasurer:

Carryover: 27,373

Booster donation 3,095

Total receipts for bookfair- 8,622,60. Doesn’t affect our total income

Fundraising: 12,115 budgeted, currently 1,744

Very generous contributions for grants: 12,000 budgeted 11,745

Need a


Stephen Tippett


Dolphin drive -beet goal of 10,000 raised 10,117 in 1 month of fundraising.- thanks to Kelly Young for organizing


Fundraising income 14,317.

Tommy’s pantry- 29,511 so far this year


Expenses: moved forward rapidly to support school with various effort

Especially reading and reading recovery – spent 5000 on it so far



Net deficit projected 17,431 because of last year; we will have 17,847


Tommy’s pantry number 62,000 available cash balance


TPES Voted to establish a $1500 budget line item for the social service committee


7:50    Treasurer’s Reports and Membership Vote to Approve Budgets 

Kate Bauer, PBES Treasurer & Stephen Tippett, TPES Treasurer 


Principal’s update:

Soon will be sending out something about child’s vaccination status- so that if they are exposed, they do not need to be vaccinated.

The guidance about quarantine changes or resolves

If not sure- ask with email

Try to be sure about contact tracing


Become a PTA member: Takoma Park Elementary
Piney Branch Elementary

2021 Winter Coat and Gear Drive

With the cold weather upon us, the TPES PTA and Small Things Matter are collecting new and gently worn warm jackets, hats and gloves for families in need in Takoma Park. These donations will be especially important this year, as many families will choose to continue with outdoor lunch for their children.

Donations can be dropped off from November 1st until November 11th in the collection boxes in the TPES atrium. Donations are also welcome at PBES, the TPSS Co-op and Main Street Pearl. Please make sure that the used clothing is in dignity condition and clean. All sizes are needed!

Coats will be distributed on Thursday, November 11 at TPES and PBES after school from 3:50-4:50 PM and on Tuesday, November 23 at the back of the TPSS Co-op from 4:00-6:00 PM.

TPES PTA Meeting Minutes: October 2021

Takoma Park Elementary School(TPES)

Piney Branch Elementary School (PBES)

Parent & Teacher Meeting (PTA)

Tuesday, October 5, 2021 from 7-8pm on Zoom

Please mark your calendar for our next PTA meeting on Tues, Nov 2 7-8pm when we’ll hear from Ms East and Ms Faulk, our TPES and PBES math specialists about our math curriculum and resources available to students and families

7:00    Welcome & Introduction of Interpreters

(Chris Campbell, TPES PTA VP Communications)

Upcoming Dates and Announcements from the MCPS Calendar

         Emma Cheuse, PBES PTA VP Communications

— PTA is looking for volunteers who speak Spanish or Amharic to assist with   translating and and interpreting PTA notices and events.  Please contact

— Starting in October, TPES and PBES are allowing volunteers in school. Please see Dr Gadsden and Ms Oberdorff’s notices re requirements for volunteers, which include COVID-19 vaccination documentation, a background check and completion of a 1-1.5 hour training around identifying child abuse and neglect. Forms can be found here: (will include link in meeting chat)

–Oct 5: 8-9pm, Orientation meeting for outdoor lunch volunteers at TPES directly after PTA meeting. Please contact Joyce McDonough if you’re interested in volunteering to support outdoor lunch and recess as colder months commence:

— Oct 6: walk to school day

— Oct 14-22: Registration for Little Scholars after school enrichment program at TPES. First session starts the week of Nov 9. Registration for is ongoing with registration deadline of 10/13 and classes starting 10/20. 

— Oct 18: Sharing our Stories: Hispanic Heritage Month. Mid-September to mid-October, we are celebrating the unique culture and traditions of students, teachers, staff, and community members who trace their roots to Spain and other Spanish-speaking countries in North America, Central America, South America and the Caribbean. SOS will be held every Monday from 7:30-8pm on Zoom.  Anyone interested in participating or volunteering to assist with the program, contact Shana Sabbath at or  fill out google form to participate: Sharing Our Stories sign-up form.

— October is LGBTQ History Month – this is an annual month-long observance of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history and the history of the gay rights and related civil rights movements.  It was founded in 1994 by Missouri high-school history teacher Rodney Wilson. LGBTQ History Month provides role models, builds community, and represents a civil rights statement about the contributions of the LGBTQ community. In the United States, it is celebrated in October to coincide with National Coming Out Day on October 11 and to commemorate the first and second marches on Washington in 1979 and 1987 for LGBTQ rights.  The PBES and TPES PTA’s  celebrate this month and encourage families interested in a newly forming Rainbow Club to reach out to Emma Cheuse at or Britt Peterson,

— The MCCPTA encourages every school to identify volunteers to represent their school community on these MCCPTA committees. If you’re interested in being the rep for any of these, you can sign up using the e-mail below. Jaime Koppel (, one of our MCCPTA delegates can offer more context regarding these committees:
special education committee Stephanie Frumkin —

gifted child committee, Audra Dove —

DEI committee –

— Nov 2 7=8pm: PTA meeting focused on math instruction where we will hear from Ms East and Ms Faulk, our TPES and PBES math specialists about the math curriculum and resources available to students and families to help to address learning loss and for enrichment

— Nov 8-12: PBES book fair- more to come!

— Nov: TPES’ Dolphin Drive- fundraising effort to support recovery efforts for students’ academic development, socio-emotional learning and physical and mental well-being overall

— Dec 7: PTA meeting focused on reading- will be joined by TPES and PBES reading specialists 

7:15     Presentations from TPES and PBES Counselors about Socio-Emotional Learning and time for Q&A/ Dialogue

Mr Max Althofer, School Counselor, TPES

Ms Karen Johnson and Mrs. Erin M. Coco-Content, School Counselors, PBES


Services school counselors provide for all students:

  1. Whole class guidance lessons on various SEL topics, TPES SecondStep- weekly for K, monthly 1st and 2nd
    1. PBES- teachers use SecondStep and counselors provide other lessons- monthly for PBES
  2. Small group counseling on topics as needed (anger management, making friends, changes in family structure, etc)
    1. Referred by teachers and parents 3-8
  3. Individual counseling as needed – 2-minute check or longer
  4. Crisis response- both minor and major (CPS)
  5. Consultation with teachers on classroom management, behavior challenges for individual students or groups, supplementary lessons on specific topics as needed
  6. Case management of 504 plans for students with identified disabilities
  7. Liason for families needing various social supports – food, housing, homeless,


Services school counselors can provide to parents who may need more support


Tier 2- more support for a targeted group; not been successful with Tier 1 supports and need additional supports that is more specific and direct

Referrals to outside agencies: grief, anger management, anxiety, establishing and making friends

Groups for 6-8 sessions based on social skills anger management, study skills


Sometimes some schools run groups from outside agencies within the school ex. Good grief Group

Check in/check out- students check in and out with counselor each day to report progress

Weekly check-ins with the same student- teacher referral or parent request to address behaviors

Behavioral intervention plans: team develops a plan for the student- implement strategies to improve behavior in classroom/overall


Mentors/mentoring groups for student- assigned to staff member


Tier 3: functional behavior assessment- tried Tier 1 and Tier 2 interventions, but needs not met

Team- parent, teacher, counselor, administrator and school psychologist or behavioral specialist


6 week intervention- collaborative team


Some steps parents can take to support SEL at home

Take care of yourself

Care for the whole you… mind body spirit before you can start talking about child

Small acts of self-care are entry point to broader wellness- one baby step at a time

Modeling how to handle stress

Know and demonstrate that it’s ok to not be ok all of the time

Problem-solving in real time

Do you have tap-out options- another person to hand off a situation if you need a break? Or at least “pause then proceed” protocols?


Wellness resources:
Yoga with Adriene- free online yoga videos tailored to support various physical or mental needs minimalist blog focused on simplicity and mindfulness in daily life (use search bar and archives!) light-hearted health and fitness content


Partner with your child in strategies

Taking walks together

Sitting and coloring a mindfulness coloring sheet together

Mindful breathing practice together

Yoga together

Reading books together that also teach skills -for kids/


Have a toolbox of strategies that with trial/error are reliably effective for your child and family

The simple act of listening: dedicate time where your only job is to hear what your child is feeling/thinking, witholding judgement/solutions, etc.

Have safe zones in the house- spots that can be used as calm-down corners- a- do not disturb area

Asking about what worked: -ask your child how they were able to get a good grade, still make it to school when tired/not in the mood/ be brave, etc.

Goal-setting, intention setting- what are we hoping to accomplish most today? (Goal) what is our hope/plan for how we want to feel (intention)

Check-in Check-out- to provide framing and debrief before and after day (can be short)

Note-passing: when things get hectic, leave sticky-note messages in places your child will see with affirmations, compliments, things to look forward to, silly drawing, etc

Feelings thermometer or similar visual: google and find many options- helpful if identifying/verbalizing feelings at home can be hard

Emphasizing internal locus of control


List for 2020-2021 is in the document



Seeing anxiety more in 1st and 2nd graders, not as many in kindergarten

So far seemed like a typical year in what they have disagreements about/overall needs


Thunderstorms have been a trigger for so many students

Students are very anxious about it.

Also hard to being back with others, relating with others, sharing; a little regression.


Stamina is tough- used to having ability to break when they need it at home.


Incorporating student voice in everything is a work in process


Homework: most of homework is not graded, it is practice.


How to get students to talk about their day- open ended specific questions

What is something that went well?
what was a challenge and how did you overcome it?


Parent suggestions:

What was good, what was hard, what are you proud of?

Two truths and a lie about the day?

What did you do in special?

What book did you read during reading?


What was a yay, an oops, and a blah!

Ask them to teach us something they learned



7:50     Treasurer’s Reports and Membership Vote to Approve Budgets

Stephen Tippett, TPES Treasurer & Kate Bauer, PBES Treasurer

Stephen Tippett: Treasures report:

Total PTA Income- 33,550 (Tommy’s pantry- 60,000)

Tommy’s pantry will separate out in the next couple of months financially


Total cash balance July 1, 2021: 35,278

Fundraising expenses, outreach and social events, PTA admin expenses, school programs expenses, staff support expenses

Total PTA expenses 48,581


Budget approved with >10 for, none against


Kate Bauer PBES:
Carryover 27.373

Membership and booster: 4,000

Fundraising $12,115 about the same like last year- no in person fundraising events (pool-a-palooza)- Panther appeal, readathon, gear sales, TKPK5K box tops

Earmarked grants- $12,000

Other income $1- interest-

Total income 55,489


Expenses: Events and fundraising 4,000

Programming and committees 18,789- including swim instruction- PTA funds through

Staff support 8,000

PTA operating 3,470- paypal, communications translation

Membership dues and insurance

Earmarked grant spending 12,000

Budeted carryover 7,500

Expenses: 55,489


Budget approved with >10 votes for, none against



Become a PTA member: Takoma Park Elementary
Piney Branch Elementary


Zadia Gadsden is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.


Topic: TPES/PBES PTA Meeting

Time: Oct 5, 2021 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)


Join Zoom Meeting


Meeting ID: 827 3885 1239

Passcode: PTA2021

One tap mobile

+13017158592,,82738851239#,,,,*5449941# US (Washington DC)

+16465588656,,82738851239#,,,,*5449941# US (New York)

Dial by your location

+1 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC)

+1 646 558 8656 US (New York)

+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)

+1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)

+1 669 900 9128 US (San Jose)

+1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)

Meeting ID: 827 3885 1239

Passcode: 5449941

Find your local number:

TPES PTA Meeting Minutes: September 2021


Monday, September 13, 2021


Zoom copy:


–       Chris Campbell welcomed everyone and shared instructions for Spanish room interpretation and reviewed agenda

–       Welcome and Introductions by TPES and PBES PTA Presidents Margaret McDonnell and Jaslynn Laurence (5 minutes)

o   Margaret – has 3 kids, runs a malaria prevention campaign; loves this community and acknowledges the various issues facing our community; PTA sees these challenges and many working tirelessly around the clock and doing so in an equitable way as possible; Many have stepped up to help: Shout out to last year’s PTA – amazing role the PTA played by providing food access; major shout out to Dr. Gadsden for all her hard work; Introduced the Executive Committee

o   Jaslynn – has a 3rd grader; excited for the school year – worked as a school teacher and now at the Dept of Ed; excited to give back to the community and encourages people to volunteer and join the PTA; Introduced the Exec Committee

– Quick overview of PTA and how to “Build an Effective Family and School Partnership”- Jaslynn Laurence and Joyce McDonough (10 minutes)

–       Purpose of the PTA: Connect students and teachers and advocate on behalf of children and educators

–       Why do we need PTA – to engage families in student success and improvement, partner with other orgs and fundraising efforts

–       Support PTA – join and volunteer; invest in your child’s education; donations to support the school.

–       Contact the school: first line is the teacher when needed

o   Reach out to room parent

o   Guidance counselor

o   Principal

o   Can always write your email in your preferred language and it will be translated for you

o   In case of absence, email your teacher

o   If Covid, then email Principal (If showing any symptoms, please keep your child at home)


– Presentation and Q&A with Dr Kawsar Talaat, a Takoma Park parent, PBES PTA Executive Committee member and Infectious Disease and International Health specialist about the latest science on COVID-19, the delta variant, and the approval process/timeline for vaccine approval for kids under 12 (20-25 minutes)


–       Working on Pfizer vaccine at Johns Hopkins

–       Covid virus has the spike protein and that’s what attacks our cells

–       How the virus is changing – it changes over time due to mutations; antibodies to bind to it and can sometimes more transmissible like Delta but there are other variants

–       Viruses constantly mutate and evolve

–       Need to vaccinate as many people as possible to slow mutations

–       Delta is more transmissible than previous; one person can infect 5-8 others; It’s potential more severe than previous strains

–       A lot more hospitalizations

–       Pfizer: Full licensure for 16+; under EUA 12-15; Moderna MRNA 18+; applied for 12-17 but not authorized; J&J 18+

–       Vaccinating adults protects children; lucky to live in MoCo – high vaccination rate

–       Why we don’t have vaccine for kids: the fact that we have vaccines is miraculous!

–       Do things differently for kids; first make sure its safe then move down in age;

–       Covid didn’t target kids initially;

–       Hopefully Pfizer data will go to the FDA soon

–       First, it will be an Emergency Use Authorization – it’s not full licensure; FDA has certain criteria – benefits/costs, at least 2 month of follow up data; FDA to authorize and CDC recommend

–       Pfizer may submit data 5-11 sometime in September; FDA will put all hands on deck; will review expeditiously as possible;

–       Might have vaccine for kindergarteners by Halloween!

–       Pfizer will get 1/3 of the dose

–       Multilayer swiss cheese strategies work

–       Vaccines for under 5 will take a little longer


– Principals Dr Gadsden and Ms Oberdorf to share and answer questions re COVID-19 protocols and otherwise (20 minutes)


–       Dr Gadsden – TP has not had a Covid case since opened; Received rapid test

–       Eat outside whenever possible; more distance in cafeteria

–       Not combining classes; making sure students wear the masks

–       Seeing regular childhood illnesses/allergies


–       Ms. Oberdorf – PBES has had 1 case so far; ready to administer rapid Covid tests; Eating outside; masks available 

TPES Meeting Minutes: June 2021

Takoma Park Elementary School (TPES) &

Piney Branch Elementary School (PBES) 

Parent Teacher Association Meeting (PTA)

Tuesday, June 1, 2020, 7:00pm

Location: Zoom


7:05     Upcoming Dates and Announcements from the MCPS Calendar 

Wed, Jun 16: Last Day of School for students! Virtual half day.


Pick-up some new books for summer reading!

Our last book distribution of the school year will be Wednesday June 2nd, 11-3.  We will be in front of Piney Branch Elementary and will have a mix of new and gently used books. Come grab a couple books for summer reading! If you have any last-minute donations of gently used recreational reading books for grades K-7, please drop them off at 841 Linden Circle in Takoma Park before 10am on Wednesday, June 2. There is also  a collection box outside PBES near the entry doors, if it is easier to drop books at the school. Thank you!


Kindergarten registration may be completed here:


Please join us for Sharing Our Stories, Monday, June 7 at 7:00pm on Zoom.

We invite all our elementary scholars to come with a poem, picture, book, or item around their house (such as a special holiday outfit or decoration, a family picture) to share with each other. Spanish interpretation is provided. Zoom details will be posted on the PTA listservs and in messages from the Principal. If you would like to be a guest storyteller or educator, please email Shana at  


7:15     TPES PTA Summer Budget 

    TPES PTA Treasurer, Kelley Skelton


Summer budget will provide for foodbank to continue it’s work for the summer. Budgeted 7,500/mo

Also classroom set up fees for the teachers

And  paypal fees to cover donations

Budget approved.


7:25    Vote for 2021-2022 PTA Executive Committee slates

    Lauren Greenberg, Chair, TPES PTA Nominating Committee


See slate below. Thanks to those who are termed out and thanks to those continuing on. One vote to approve the slate in its entirety.

Margaret McDonnell gave her greetings. She has a rising 5th, 3rd grader and entering Kindergartner.


    Lia Salza, Chair, PBES PTA Nominating Committee

PBES slate – Lia introducing the slate. The slate passed; at least 7 board members present.

Jaslynn Laurence introduced herself. Son is rising 3rd grader.

Takoma Park Elementary School PTA

Executive Committee Slate


Positions 2021-2022
President Margaret McDonnell
Executive Vice President Joyce McDonough
Treasurer Stephen Tippett
Executive Secretary Dianne Kirsch
Membership Secretary Yelena Breiding
Vice President Communications Chris Campbell
Vice President Membership Amanda Wagner
Vice President Fundraising Kelly Young
Vice President Equity Chai Shenoy
MCCPTA Delegate Mercedes Castelo
NAACP Rep Sharon Gaskins


Piney Branch Elementary School PTA

Executive Committee Slate


Positions 2021-2022
President Jaslynn Laurence
Executive Vice President
Treasurer Kate Bauer
Secretary Kawsar Talaat
Vice President Communications Emma Cheuse
Vice President Membership Kathryn Bacon Goldman
Vice President Fundraising Jocelyne DeHaas
Vice President Equity Michelle Hill
MCCPTA Delegate Jaime Koppel

Thank you Meg and Sarah, you are AMAZING!!!!

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!


2021 Read-a-thon

Final Update:

Thank you to everyone who has helped to support the 2021 Read-a-thon!  We hope your child had a great time reading during the month of March.

Now that the Read-a-thon is over, the minutes have been tallied and we are pleased to report that students read for nearly 140,000 minutes this month. The money we raise from the Read-a-thon will go towards funding much-needed school supplies like PPE for teachers and students as well as helping Ms. Anderson, the TPES Library Media Specialist, recoup lost, damaged, or outdated titles from the media center that sorely need replacing.

Donations can be made online at Please donate and encourage friends or family to donate by Friday, April 16thAny amount, whether it is $3 or $300 helps.  Thank you!

Read-a-thon Video Page

Watch people read books aloud as a way for your child to earn minutes.

We are excited to launch our 8th annual Read-a-thon event! It is our largest fundraising event and it gets the children excited to read!

In Read-a-thon, a child reads for a month to raise funds for the Takoma Park Elementary School PTA.  Read-a-thon runs March 1 – March 26, 2021.  Please encourage your child to read today!

On this page, you will be able to find more information about our Read-a-thon event.

Read-a-thon Donate ButtonTO DONATE:  You may…

  • DONATE ONLINE NOW. We are only accepting online donations/pledge submissions this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The deadline for donation is April 16, 2021.

We hope that you enjoy Read-a-thon as much as we enjoy presenting the Read-a-thon.  Your participation is crucial to the success of Read-a-thon.  Happy reading!

The PTA Read-a-thon Committee Co-Chairs

Sara Lewis and Chris Campbell

TPES Book Fair – Thursday, October 5th.

[gview file=””]