December 2023 PTA Meeting Minutes

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


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

7:00 PM: Meeting Kick-off 

Ingrid Gardiner, PBES PTA President welcome

  • Intro to topics to be discussed
  • Reminder: PBES suggestion/feedback form at this link in chat asking for folks to give feedback regarding upcoming meetings or other PTA suggestions/ideas. Link:

7:05 PM: Upcoming Dates & Announcements

TPES ANNOUNCEMENTS: Claire Dean, TPES PTA Vice President

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

Small Things Matter’s Holiday Toy Drive:

City of Takoma Park’s 2023 Toy Drive:

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

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

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

7:12 PM:  Budget Updates

Amy Swift, TPES PTA Treasurer

Most of the income this month was from Dolphin Drive.

Rachael Pierotti, PBES PTA Treasurer

PBES also surpassed the goal for Panther Appeal.

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

TPES – Dr. Gadsden and Ms. Hollis

Resources for supporting math and reading at home

Link to presentation:

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

Math coach: Samikia East:

Questions during presentation: 

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

A: The Home Connect website is listed at the bottom of the second page of the DIBELS report, and is also available at  If you have any additional questions, please email

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Link to presentation:

7:45 PM:  Q&A

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

Form will be filled out and shared.


Ingrid Gardiner,  PBES PTA President

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