Welcome to Birchwood Elementary PTO!

School Principal:    
Debra Berndt

PTO Co-Presidents: 
JoMarie Ethier 
Deb Foley
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: you can also check out Birchwood-specific events and meetings on the Birchwood PTO Events Calendar.  The Niskayuna School District is no longer printing the full district calendar for budget reasons, but it can be viewed or printed here

Birchwood Library Media Minute 
The Media Center needs Kindergarten parent volunteers during the Kindergarten class time. KA meets in the library on Fridays from 9:00 to 9:30 AM and KB is there on Wednesdays from 9:00 to 9:30 AM. Please contact Francesca Hill or signup  online here,.

It’s Not Too Early To Start Getting Ready for the Holidays!

Schwan’s Cares: To help cut down on trips to the grocery store during the busiest time of year and help you prepare for holiday feasts and company, we’re offering a special Schwan's food fundraiser.  Want to know the best part?  They provide home delivery at a time that is convenient for you! 

Gift Card Fundraiser:  With over 300 gift card options, purchase gift cards for your own personal use and/or start your holiday shopping early. These cards are purchased at the value listed and the PTO will receive the corresponding rebate percentage. You can purchase as many cards as you like for yourself or to give as gifts; they are great for teachers, bus drivers, friends and family. Simply complete the order form and send in payment by November 7th. Please make checks payable to BIRCHWOOD PTO.

Oh Say Can You See...
Our 4th and 5th Grade Birchwood Chorus will be singing the National Anthem at the November 15th RPI vs. Quinnipiac Men's Hockey Game. Birchwood families have the opportunity to order half price ($6) tickets for this fun-filled Birchwood Family Night at Houston Field House. Please consider joining us. Ticket order forms are available here. Deadline to order half-price tickets is Nov. 10th.
22nd Annual Family Poster Contest
UPDATE: We need volunteers for our celebratory Ice Cream party on November 19th. Can you help? Email Sonya Ward.
Be a part of this 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.  Anyone in the Birchwood School community may submit a poster. Posters may be submitted to Mrs. Kirkpatrick or Mrs. Newsome in the Media Center any time up to and including Friday, November 7th . All 3D Posters should be handed in November 7th ONLY!  Full details available here.

The PTO is looking for individuals that can run this program and help children develop a lifetime bond with reading and books. The 1000 Book Program is open to all district preschoolers, but is geared towards 4-year olds (however, kids may continue reading to earn level awards until the start of 2nd grade). The program allows families to borrow a bag with 10 fun, age-appropriate books to read to their preschoolers. Once finished, families return the bag to school and may borrow another bag of books. Bags may be picked up and dropped off before, during of after school. After kids reach 25, 50, 75, and 100 bags, they will receive an award. Some of the duties include maintaining the book bags, recording the benchmarks, and distributing awards to teachers/students. This is a great rewarding position and not very time consuming. Please contact Francesca Hill if you are interested.

CAPCOM School Banking Earns Your Children Money! 
CAPCOM student bankers are eligible for several rewards programs that can add up to $50 a year to your student's account! Students can become CapCom School Bankers at any time. Your child can stop at the School Banking table in the cafeteria on School Banking Fridays, or you can visit any CapCom branch to sign up. The first banking date is October 3rd. 

Playground Renovation Committee Begins Work
The new Playground Renovation Committee will focus on the upcoming renovation of the school playground facility. Committee members will be meeting with potential vendors, reviewing design options, and presenting recommendations to the PTO and school principal, as well as working with PTO leadership on budget development and fundraising. 
Committee members are: Jill Appert (Committee Chair), Sandy Augustein-Collins, Peter Gigante, Jeff Keller, Sean Ryan, and Chris Weaver.
Many thanks to all parents who expressed interest in our Playground Renovation Committee. 

Birchwood Yearbook News
There are still  limited number of last year's yearbooks available for sale for only $5.00 (what a deal!) Please contact Millie Gnatek if interested.

PTO Parent Contacts: Millie Gnatek & Sonya Ward

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!

Hooray for the Halloween Parade!
Friday, October 31st
The Halloween parade was great, as usual!  Thanks to all of the family members and friends who came out to watch the entire school parade the grounds in costume. Special thanks to the staff, who not only dressed in great costumes, but helped keep everyone safe! 

Birchwood’s Staff Appreciation Breakfast
The Oct. 21st Staff Appreciation Breakfast was a success! Thank you to all the wonderful families at Birchwood who donated the delicious breakfast treats or made a monetary donation to support the event! Also, huge thanks to organizer Tiffanie Wood!
If your serving dishes were not sent home with your child, you can claim them in the faculty lounge. 

(click the pic to see this month's school lunch menu!)

PTO Volunteer Positions still Available for 2014-15
Signup ONLINE here!
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 signup online here, 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. 
IMPORTANT NOTE TO LAST YEAR'S VOLUNTEERS: If you plan to continue in a role you held last year, that's great!  Please sign up 
here   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).

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. 
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!

    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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