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:

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Piney Branch Elementary