Takoma Park Elementary School (TPES) &
Piney Branch Elementary School (PBES)
Parent & Teacher Meeting (PTA)
Tuesday, October 1, 2019, 6:45-8:00pm
Location: All Purpose Room @ TPES
7:00 Welcome – WHAT does the PTA do & WHO are we?
- Welcome to the first joint meeting of the TPES and PBES PTAs and thanks to both Principals and PTAs for making this happen. We are working to align school events and schedules to help make things simpler for families with children in both schools
- PTA is a partnership between parents and teachers, looking to support our children. Looking through the lens of equity to give all kids the opportunity for enrichment.
- TPES Health and Wellness committee has funds from Safe Routes to School 5K and participates in the planning committee for that race. The committee met for the first time last week and is excited to start a meditation and yoga club before school (once a month or once a week depending on interest), and to provide flexible seating options for teachers (e.g., yoga balls, wiggle seats). There is interest in reviving the weekly farm stand and exploring a sensory garden at the school. They are hoping to host a morning coffee opportunity to discuss with teachers. Anyone interested is invited to come to the next meeting, which will be Wednesday, October 23 at 7:30pm at the Girl and the Vine.
- The PBES PTA Health and Wellness committee is building on legacy of what’s been done at TPES and PBES around movement and physical activity and trying to do some new things this year. The new things are looking at community building in the context of wellness (e.g., gallery walk at back to school night), fostering social-emotional learning in the context of our children, coordinating with counselors to have families play more of a role in lunch and recess and to create a peer mediation and counseling program, and working to reclaim the PTA closet to turn it into a place where families are welcome to be at school (e.g., having a coffee pot there). If you are looking to be in school and be helpful, would love to have you involved. Safe Routes to School is focused on kids getting to school safely. They have their own mission and projects. The 5K is a big event but so is Walk to School day tomorrow and Bike to School day in May. The more participation there is and the more funds raised in the 5K, the more money goes to the schools. The schools got $6000 this year from the 5K.
7:05 Upcoming Events and Announcements
October 1-October 31: Socktober- donate socks through your child’s classroom
Wed, Oct 2: Walk To School Day
Fri, Oct 4: Early Release for all students; dismissal @ 1:20pm
Wed, Oct 9: No School
Mon, Oct 14: TPES and PBES Open House, 9:30 – 11:00, 2:30 – 3:50
(Opportunity for parents to come into classrooms and observe)
Wed, Oct 16: ESOL Night @ PBES
Sat, Oct 19: PBES Takoma Prom @ Kaldi’s Social House 6-9pm
Thurs, Oct 24: PBES Fall School Photos
Nov 1-26: PBES Read-a-thon & Book Fair (Nov. 4-8)
Tues, Nov 5: PTA Meeting – Power Tools for Power Struggles by PEP 6:45p-8p
Thurs, Nov 7: TPES Fall Book Fair (3:50pm to 8pm) + Kindergarten Literacy Night, 7pm
Mon, Nov 11 & Tuesday Nov 12: Early Release & Parent-Teacher Conferences
Wed, Nov 27: Early Release for all students; dismissal @ 1:20pm
Thurs & Fri, Nov 28 & 29: No School
Tues, Dec 3: PTA Meeting – 6:45p-8p
PTA meetings will be at TPES Nov – Jan and then meetings will go to PBES
7:10 Membership Update
Samer Sadek, VP Membership TPES
Jared Hughes, VP Membership PBES
- Please become a member to allow us to continue to do all the great work we have been doing. The more members we have, the more influential we can be with the county, state and national PTA, where many decisions are made.
- The easiest way to join is on the website (links at the bottom of these notes). There are many different levels of membership so you can decide what is best for you. If you have joined, please encourage your neighbors to join. The PBES website has a password protected side now, to give members access to the directory so it is a little more complicated to join; it is a 3 step process. If you are confused about the process, please reach out to Jared. Membership at PBES is not just open to parents or guardians; businesses can join that want to support the PTA and will get their logo on the website. Grandparents can join too.
- Please come to Chipotle on Monday in downtown Silver Spring from 5:00-9:00pm. 33% of all sales will go to PBES PTA.
7:15 Treasurer’s Report (& PBES Budget Vote)
Kelley Skelton, Treasurer TPES
Amy Gibson-Grant, PBES
- PBES PTA had $14,000 to roll over into this year which enabled a strong start to the year. We have big goals this year to support new programming with a proposed budget of $54,223, but realistic goals. We are trying to plan conservatively for all expenses. Baseline budget for the year was presented. As the year goes on, if we raise additional money, we can come back to the membership with updates. The budget was approved.
- TPES PTA approved budget last meeting but have some updated actuals from Dolphin gear sales (which have new things, including adult options, to be available for parent-teacher conferences). Only $1600 in membership dues so far this year, but do have 26 donated memberships so if you know someone who needs one, please be in touch with Kelley. The big increase in staff support was due to the Orton-Gilingham training. Please check out the new mural.
7:20 Dolphin Drive
Sasha Johnson, Fundraising Chair TPES
Angela Riemer, VP of Fundraising PBES
- PBES: Today kicks off the Panther Appeal, starting with a letter that went home in folders today. Thanks to all of the parents who have volunteered so far. The Takoma Prom is on October 19th at Kaldi’s Social House (918 Silver Spring Ave) from 6:00-9:00pm. The space is donated so we get to keep all the money that we make. There are silent auction items and a DJ, and it js a great opportunity to socialize and get to know each other earlier in the school year. It’s open to all adults in the community, you can dress up or dress down. Tickets are $15 for 1, $25 for 2. You are welcome to give more than those amounts. How well we do in the Panther Appeal determines how much we can do the rest of the year.
- TPES: As the Panther Appeal winds down, the Dolphin Drive will start (month of November). There will be a couple of dine-outs during the month. With the funds raised, the PTA subsidizes after-school clubs and offers scholarships, provides homework support and support to help teachers get classrooms set up, teacher trainings on reading instruction, purchases backpacks, gift cards and clothing for kids who need it (through Mr. Althofer), supports the 2nd grade graduation and more things that enrich the experiences of our students. We also coordinate child care and provide pizza for these meetings.
7:25 Reading Update: How is the teacher training changing instruction?
Dr. Gadsden and Ms. East
- This summer the PTA paid for a trainer who trained many of our teachers (all kindergarten teachers but one and many of the other teachers) on a structured literacy program based on Orton-Gillingham principles. A video was shared of how the training is used in the classroom. The training came together very quickly, thanks to the PTA.
- The training is standards with a twist. We can’t abandon what the county says we have to do, so we have to integrate it together with the new concepts. It was seamless to infuse the concepts into kindergarten but was harder for first and second grades. At the beginning of the year, we used their assessments to gather data on the kindergarteners’ abilities and it was very effective (we always gather data but this year used their tool).
- The way we are teaching reading as a result is incredible. The basis is to get kids to hear the sounds first before they read them (i.e., understand which words rhyme and how to blend beginning and ending sounds together to make a word). It helps kids first get the basics, before there are even letters. This will be done class-wide for kindergarten and used more sparingly with small groups in 1st and 2nd grade, based on what students need.
- We made good use of the resources you’ve given us, and thank you. We are looking for opportunities to get the training for the last kindergarten teacher too.
- Thanks given to the teachers who cut their vacation short to do the training.
We have some folks concerned about the SchoolStore fundraiser for the school. It is a passive fundraiser that has been going on for about 10 years. Dr Gadsden needs to know if this is a huge problem or a small problem. We can not do it if it’s a huge problem, but then teachers don’t get the supplies for their classroom. There are other passive fundraisers but they don’t yield as much as this one. She will look for input from us about next month.
Ms. Olsen (2nd grade teacher) had her baby a week early). Unfortunately her class has had 3 subs in 2.5 weeks. The long term sub that was hired is leaving next week because she got a full-time job. To avoid having the kids have yet another substitute in the short time frame, until Ms. Olsen returns on December 10, her class will be split among the other teachers in 2nd grade. If you have a concern or question, please feel free to email Dr. Gadsden.
7:40 Social-emotional curriculum updates at PBES
- She is exploring what to do with Orton-Gillingham and is hoping to implement such training.
- PBES also does passive fundraising. It is under the radar, has been going on for a long time. Some students participate a lot, some do not. Teachers get things for their classroom and last year they got $500 discretionary principal’s fund.
- We are missing a 0.1 PE teacher and so there is a sub co-teaching with the PE teacher until one is hired (hiring not done by PBES).
- We invested a lot of money to put Second Step materials in every teacher’s hands for social emotional learning. The county has adopted the Be Well 365 initiative this year, which has a “Be healthy, be kind, be you” motto. Is helping them think about how all programs fit into place at PBES and how to go forward. The program has 6 essential elements; we fit our activities into these and assessed strengths and weaknesses. We did a Panther Pride rally on the 2nd day of school and plan to do this quarterly. It is like a town hall meeting for the school where we talked about core values for the school, reviewed expectations for students and, in future quarters, will talk about goal setting. The leadership team and staff thought it was a great event. It is rare that students can all get together in one place because of space restrictions.
- We are continuing our emphasis on Restorative Practice and Restorative Circles, and added in the Second Step program (done as weekly lessons in the classroom by classroom teacher with support from paraeducators and reinforced by specialists and counselors for continuity during the day and year). We celebrated “Start with Hello” as a schoolwide initiative and talked about random acts of kindness. Every Second Step program for each grade has 25 lessons and there is some common language across grades so are some parallels going through the building. Lessons usually run 30-45 minutes per week. Are seeing great payoff from these materials.
- We have 1.5 counselors since we have over 650 students, and we have monthly counseling themes.
- Thank you for your partnership and we’d love to hear any feedback or suggestions.
8:00 Coat and Costume Swap & Adjourn