PTA News for Week of August 3, 2020

Dear BES Families,

It’s hard to believe the first day of school is just a little over 3 weeks away. Like us, you may be overwhelmed by all the information coming at parents — 4 hours’ worth at yesterday’s Board of Education meeting, hundreds of listserv messages and Facebook group posts each week, countless texts and forwarded emails from friends. It’s really hard to distinguish truth from rumor right now, which is probably causing many of us to spend time and precious emotional energy worrying about things that will never come to pass.

In a positive and productive conversation today, Principal Bradley and Assistant Principal Zaks were able to share some “knowns” about back-to-school planning that you may find helpful as we await the school’s first official communication with us. We’ll all get full details soon, so please don’t bombard our administrators with follow-up questions after they were kind enough to preview this information for us all!

  • Principal Bradley and Dr. Zaks are as impatient to kick off communications with all of us as we are to hear from them. MCPS has to load parent contact information into a database before school administrators can contact us. Principal Bradley has her first ConnectEd message to parents ready to send as soon as MCPS loads Bannockburn’s contact info, hopefully within the next week.
  • Hard-copy consumables for math and ELA will be distributed by the school later this month. Specific guidance from MCPS to the school on when/how that distribution may take place is expected in the next week or so. School administrators are aware that a number of our families are living elsewhere for the time being and will not be able to pick up materials in person.
  • There are plans in the works to host virtual information sessions for parents before school starts, with questions collected in advance. Our school is also exploring virtual sneak-a-peek options for students.
  • Many students’ belongings from last school year were not picked up this spring. The school will offer another opportunity to collect those items before they are discarded.
  • MCPS will not be allowing parent volunteers in virtual classrooms for legal reasons. We know our parents and other relatives have expressed willingness to share their time in this way, and that they’d be amazing at it. But MCPS lawyers have provided guidance to the schools that outside volunteers are not permitted. School administrators and individual teachers have no flexibility in administering this policy.
  • Teacher assignments are expected to be sent to parents by email on or around Wednesday, August 26th. If you’re planning a pod or are part of a social/childcare bubble with other families, please know that the school does not have the flexibility to factor that into your child’s class assignment. If you are a parent of twins and would like them to be placed in the same class this fall, please email Principal Bradley and she will consider the request.

For every “known” on our list, there are still dozens of “unknowns,” but we’re confident that our BES administrators are working hard to figure those out. We’ll continue to work with our principals to make sure we all have the benefit of information about the fall virtual semester as soon as it’s available.

-Kara & Terri

 

 

GoFundMe to Benefit Genereux Family

As many of you know, last summer our neighbor and fellow BES parent Karin Tuerlinckx, mom to Alex and Max Genereux (grades 6 and 4), was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. At first it seemed that the cancer was removed entirely when she had partial pancreatic resection, but by last August, it had spread to Karin’s liver. The past year has been filled with visits to specialists and exhausting treatments.

We are sharing the GoFundMe below, created by a family friend to support Karin and the Genereux family during the fight of their lives. If your family is in a financial position to do so, please consider contributing to help Karin win this fight and provide some relief from the stress of financial strain that pancreatic cancer has brought to Karin’s family.

https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-karin-beat-pancreatic-cancer

 

Whitman Cluster Anti-Racism Work

On July 27, the Whitman Cluster Schools (Bannockburn ES, Bradley Hills ES, Burning Tree ES, Carderock Spring ES, Woodacres ES, Thomas Pyle MS and Walt Whitman HS) sent a letter to Dr. Monifa McKnight, Deputy Superintendent of MCPS, addressing the recent hate incidents that have occurred in our district’s schools over the past 2 years. In it, we asked for information and improved communication from MCPS that reassures our families that their children — especially Black children and other children of color — are protected from both psychological and physical harm. We also asked for reassurance that MCPS has sought, and will continue to seek, the most stringent punishment for these acts, without exception.

The letter requested that MCPS consider several action items as a part of system-wide Anti-Racism Audit framework discussions (please see the attached letter), in addition to requesting to meet Dr. McKnight, MCPS staff, and members of the Board of Education to share our experiences and discuss our recommendations as the Anti-Racism Audit gets underway.

Looking forward to getting input from Bannockburn parents on this important topic.

Charlie Hundley
Vice-President for Diversity and Inclusion

Contact: BES PTA Diversity & Inclusion Committee

COVID Working Group & Bylaws Committee Forming Now!

We need YOUR ideas, expertise, and energy to get both of these committees off the ground. Please consider investing in your school community by joining. If we each do a little, together we can achieve a lot!

COVID Working Group
(ongoing for 2020/2021 school year) will be asked to:

(1) identify the unique challenges and needs presented by the COVID-19 pandemic disruption to normal school operations, and

(2) recommend to the PTA President for her consideration feasible, actionable steps the PTA can take to address those needs and challenges.

Bylaws Committee
(short-term, August-November 2020) will be asked to revise our bylaws to better reflect the values, community engagement, and organization of the PTA at our school and maximize flexibility to respond agilely to volunteer availability and community needs.

If you are interested in joining either committee, please register by emailing bannockburnelementarypta@gmail.com by Sunday, August 9th.

Help Connect New Families

Do you have new neighbors who’ll be sending their kids to BES this fall? Or do you know a family with an incoming kindergarten student?

You can help them get connected to the school community by forwarding them this email and asking them to create an account with AtoZ Connect. The sooner our Communications team has their information, the sooner they’ll start receiving PTA information about back to school, including potential parent-led kindergarten micro-playdates and welcome packages.

Contact: Amanda Sutaria, VP for Communications