Welcome to Birchwood Elementary PTO!

School Principal:     
Debra Berndt
PTO 2015-16 Co-Presidents: 
JoMarie Ethier 
Jan Brown
The role of the PTO (Parent Teacher Organization) is to organize educational and social programs that bring the Birchwood community together. These activities and programs are supported by fundraising activities throughout the year. All parents,caregivers and staff are welcome to be part of the PTO!
BirchwooBulletin: Birchwood events and programs are announced in the weekly Birchwood Bulletin, which is sent by email on Thursdays. If you are not getting the email bulletin, or need to change your email address, please email birchwood@niskypto.org.
Calendars:  Check out both district and Birchwood-specific events and meetings on the District/Birchwood Calendar.  A one-page printable calendar with major school/district dates can be found here.

Playground Update
The countdown is over.  The moment we’ve all been waiting for (we know the kids have been waiting) - the Playground is Open!! Thank you to all who helped with the playground construction and many thanks to Jill Appert and the Playground Committee for seeing this project through.

After School Enrichment Program (ASEP)
The fall ASEP schedule is out! Emails will be sent to all participants confirming registration and meeting dates for all classes. Questions? Contact Erin Cassady-Dorion or Joni Bonilla.

Monster Mash
This year's super fun extravaganza will run from 6:30-8pm on Friday, October 23rd.  The Monster Mash committee is looking for families to plan and run a carnival-style game booth at the Monster Mash. Contact Tara or sign up HERE if you can help!  Check out the flier for more information.

Poster Contest
Birchwood’s 23rd Annual Family Poster Contest has begun! This is an exciting Birchwood tradition that is loved by all! Kids create a poster that has something to do with reading in general or a specific book or author. The poster must have a clearly readable theme or slogan written on the front.
Anyone in the Birchwood School community may submit a poster. Students can work alone, with a friend, with brothers and sisters, parents, or any family member.
The only requirement is that anyone who helps with the poster must put his/her full name on the poster. Students must include grade and teacher.
Posters may be submitted to Mrs. Kirkpatrick in the Media Center anytime up to and including Friday, November 6th.
All 3D Posters should be handed in November 6th ONLY!
See more details HERE


Congratulations to Mrs. Berndt on being named CASDA Principal of the year!

Your Fundraising Dollars at Work

Thanks to the fundraising efforts of Birchwood parents and friends, in 2014 the school was able to install new sound system for the stage/cafetorium to replace unreliable or broken equipment, including wired microphones (for hanging above the stage and handheld use), wireless microphones (both handheld and clip-on), speakers/amps, soundboard, and MP3 plug-in. Other new items include wipe boards for kindergarten students, bean bags for the kindergarten reading ares, and a new world map for the hallway. 
Funds raised by the PTO are also traditionally used to add features to the school playground. While the playground was being renovated, the PTO funded some interim games and equipment, including the newly installed soccer goals. And thanks to fantastic parent and community response, our new playground will be open by the start of the 2015-16 school year.
Thanks again to all those who have supported our fundraising efforts throughout the year, making these purchases and other enrichment and academic opportunities throughout the school year possible!

(click the pic to see this month's school lunch menu!)
Upcoming at Birchwood:

he Birchwood School Pledge

I pledge today to do my best,
In reading, math and all the rest.

I come prepared with all I need,
And make good choices to succeed.

Try the Website's Search Feature!
In a hurry, and only need to know one little thing--like, how to pay for school lunch? When Monster Mash is? How to get your directory? Use the "Search this site" box (above right) to find info FAST!

PTO Volunteer Position Signups OPEN for 2015-16
Sign up ONLINE! 
New Parents? Don't be shy! Come give it a try!
Birchwood's PTO recruits parent (and grandparent!) volunteers on a rolling basis and during an annual spring "Volunteer Drive" to be PTO committee chairs and members, and/or "day-of-event" helpers.  You can sign up online or email us to volunteer or find out more about a position. The current committee chairs will be happy to answer any questions about what's involved!
If you've never volunteered (especially if you're new to the school), it's a fantastic way to find out more about Birchwood and get to know other parents.  Experienced parent volunteers are great resources of information for everything you need to know. 
If you plan to continue in a role you held last year, that's great!  Please sign up to confirm that you're definitely still interested, and to help us keep the volunteer signup organized (it's a lot of people to keep track of).

Log Your PTO Volunteer Hours for an Award
Are you a community or school volunteer?  Then you're eligible for the President’s Volunteer Service Award is issued by the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation!  This honor is locally awarded by N-CAP on behalf of the President of the United States to encourage all Americans to improve their communities through volunteer service and civic participation. The Award is given to individuals, families, and groups that have demonstrated outstanding volunteer service and civic participation over the course of a 12 month period. Any hours spent in planning, meeting, or on the ground volunteering (for any community or school organization) can be counted.
A log for tracking your volunteer hours is available here.  Contact information for N-CAP Award Coordinator Sharon Wohl is also on this form.

We are very happy to announce that the Friends of Music enrichment grant was approved for all five elementary schools to purchase a full set of World Drums to be used in the K-5 music classroom! This allows all Niskayuna elementary students a musical opportunity to learn drumming, but also to enhance their great musical experiences even more: more singing and dancing, teamwork and sharing, development of large and small motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and possibly finding a greater love of music.
Please consider supporting your child's Music Pride. T-Shirts are available for purchase! Youth and Adult Sizes available. $10 for T-Shirt (black with logo) ; $20 for Sweatshirt (gray with logo). Contact  Tammy Apkarian, Birchwood FOM Liaison at tapkarian@transtechsys.comfor orders! To learn more about the music department, visit their webpage.

    Niskayuna Schools are on Facebook!
More than 1,000 community members have connected with the district's official Facebook page, used for news and announcements, and to feature photos, information, and accomplishments of students and our schools.  Please join us at http://www.facebook.com/NiskayunaCSD.

We welcome your comments and suggestions!  
Please let us know what you think of the Birchwood PTO Webpage:

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