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.