BES PTA Minutes – September 1, 2015

The Bannockburn Elementary School PTA met on September 1, 2015 at the Bannockburn Elementary School.  PTA Co-Presidents, Laura Miller and Heather Kraus called the meeting to order at 7:05 p.m.

In attendance:  There were roughly 90 participants including members of the PTA Board and Principal Kate Bradley.

Welcome and PTA Co-Presidents’ Report

  • Ms. Miller and Ms. Kraus welcomed everyone and Ms. Kraus presented the Minutes of the June 2, 2015 PTA Meeting.  On her recommendation and the motion of Shannon Rosenthal, seconded by Allison Harrison, the minutes were approved by voice vote as distributed with no objection or correction.  Past PTA Meeting Minutes are available online at: http://www.bannockburn-pta.org/aboutourpta/ptaminutes.html.
  • Ms. Miller and Ms. Kraus thanked the PTA volunteers who worked over the summer to arrange kindergarten playdates and the Newcomers’ Coffee.  Ms. Miller described the Bannockburn PTA broadly, including how it provides a “start-up” fund of $225 for each teacher’s class each year and provides dinner for the teachers on Back to School Night.  She also noted a new “Ambassador Program” to link new Bannockburn families with an existing school family.
  • Crista Gibbons discussed the PTA Membership drive and encouraged all attendees to join the PTA to receive a BES PTA calendar and BES school directory. The membership drive will be in full swing during September and October.
  • Jan Rizzuto discussed PTA communications and explained how the PTA Yahoo! Groups listserv, Bannocknet, worked and what the BES School Directory process will be.
  • Nina Isaac and Lidie Greenwald discussed PTA fundraising efforts, highlighting current sales of spirit wear and upcoming fundraising efforts including:
    • Giant & Safeway card numbers and BoxTops collection
    • Restaurant Nights at Ledo’s Pizza (Mon-Tue, Oct. 19-20)
    • Book Fair (Wed-Fri, Nov. 11-13)
  • Ms. Rosenthal and Gilian Engelson presented the list of PTA social activities planned for this fall, including:
    • Back to School Picnic (Fri, Sep. 25, at 6pm)
    • Kindergarten Parent Social (Sat, Sep. 19)
    • Donuts for Dads (Columbus Day, Oct. 12)
    • Craft Night (Fri, Nov 13, at 7pm)
  • Jill Holland discussed the work of the Community Service Committee and outlined upcoming events, including:  
    • Manna Canned Food Drive in September (week of Sep 21)
    • Help the Homeless Week (week of Oct 5), which includes a student Walk for the Homeless
    • Book Drive and Crafts & Cards for Children’s Inn at NIH (November)
  • Susan Eagle and Ms. Harrison discussed the work of the Cluster Representatives, explaining that Bannockburn is part of the Walt Whitman High School Cluster.  They discussed the importance of parental input and presence at various School and County Board events and their role in carrying information back and forth between Bannockburn and the cluster.  They also introduced a new Bannockburn Advocacy Group and encouraged parents to join by contacting them.

Principal’s State of the School Report

  • Principal Kate Bradley welcomed all new and returning parents.
  • Ms. Bradley noted that the school lost a lunch and recess aide just days before school began and that she is seeking a replacement.
  • Ms. Bradley noted that she refused the school system’s request to create a combined 4th and 5th grade to deal with class size pressure and that she is trying to find creative ways to handle the large classrooms, especially for 3rd and 5th grades.  The current class sizes are a direct result of school budget cuts at both the state and county levels.  She said BES could use 3 more 5th graders and 4 more 3rd graders to get an additional class for each grade.
  • She identified the new theme for the year—Aspire to Inspire—and a new instructional focus that regularly challenges students through data driven, differentiated, small group instruction.  
  • She noted that the school has a new HVAC system on one side of the building so that the gym is now properly ventilated and should be more comfortable.
  • She also had drainpipes removed that were causing hazardous conditions on the school sidewalks in colder months.
  • Back to School Night is Wednesday, Sep. 9, starting at 6:30.
  • She noted that many school buses were neither arriving nor leaving school on time and shared her on-going communication with the MCPS Transportation office.   She provided the Transportation office’s number (301-840-8130), allowing parents to also be in direct contact with that office over bus schedules.   

The meeting was adjourned at 8:15 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Bonnie Noonan, September 2015