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.

Fun Fair

Friday the 13th...the perfect night for FUN FAIR 2015!  Everyone's a winner at this favorite Birchwood family event, so plan to attend next Friday from 6-8 PM.  Come check out the carnival games, special activities, caricature drawings, face paintings, and balloon artist.  At 7:30 PM, we're all in for a treat as members of Birchwood's Drama Club will be giving us a special sneak peak preview of their upcoming performance of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory...followed by the much anticipated annual Staff Raffle!  Check out the flyer for more information.

Play For The Playground

 Earn money for our Playground Renovation Project by purchasing Dave & Buster's power cards. Birchwood will receive 50% of the purchase price!

Order form ~ More Info ~ Questions?

Birchwood PAALS Meetings!
The Providing Assistance and Advocacy through Learning and Service (PAALS) program began meeting in JanuaryThe spring meeting schedule can be found here.
PAALS provides Birchwood families with the opportunity to be engaged in community activities, service learning projects, student leadership development, and much more! PAALS programming provides valuable opportunities not only for Birchwood students, but parents and the entire family as well. 

Yearbook Personal Ad Orders Open
Take out a personal ad in the yearbook! Use this form to place your order. All ad information is due March 1, and ads are $15 each. Late ads cannot be accepted due to Lifetouch's yearbook completion deadline. So make your child's yearbook extra special this year with a personal message from your family today!
and . . . . Order Your Yearbook Now!
Yearbook order forms are coming home in your child's backpack.  Lost your form?  Print from here or try easy online ordering here (no checks to send in!). The code for Birchwood online orders is 10694315.

5th Grade ORCHESTRA Members and Parents!
Please mark the following dates for your child.
Festival Orchestra Practice: MONDAYS March 2, 9, 16, 23

Students will ride a BUS to Niskayuna HS each Monday(2:10 PM)
Students will need a RIDE HOME from the HS (3:45PM)

All four practices are on MONDAYS @ NHS
Permission slip with all details coming soon!

Niskayuna Orchestra Festival: March 25, 2015 (AM rehearsal @Proctors) 
Evening Concert at PROCTORS Theatre!! 

Preschool Program Underway
Birchwood’s Preschool Program for incoming Kindergarten students started on 1/29/15 and will end on 4/2/15 (Thursday mornings, 8:40-9:40). 
Children will enjoy story time at the media center and gym time. There will be a party at the end as well as the much-anticipated practice bus ride. Children love getting to know their school! 
For more information, email Soyoung Mok.

In need of donations...
To help with organizing after the loss of several PTO belongings in a flood, we are asking for donations of clean, gently used plastic storage containers with lids that are in good condition (clear containers preferred, but will accept any type). Please contact JoMarie Ethier or Deb Foley.
The Nurse's Office is in need of gently used games and coloring books for the students to use when they have to sit out of gym class and recess.  If you have any you would like to get rid of, please send them in!

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!

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

It's ASEP Time!
Birchwood's Winter After School Enrichment Program started on Jan 26th and is still running. Thanks to snow days, several makeup days have been scheduled for various classes.  
Not sure when your makeup class is?  Check the last few Bulletins (archived here) or contact Pam Ober or Dawn Oppe.

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.

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.
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!

Box Tops!
Have you submitted your Box Tops recently? Please trim and glue them to sheets (no tape please! BoxTops cannot recycle them if tape is used) or put them loose in ziploc bags in groups of 20 or 50. Sheets are available here.

Winter Fun!
Looking for exciting (and often free) things to do with your family this season? Want to know the best sledding hills, cool places to skate, and where to go caroling?
Check out Kids Out and About for a whole lot of local fun!
Niskayuna School District's Continuing Education Program has recently been posted! Check it out!
Also take a peek at winter recreation offerings from the great Town of Niskayuna HERE!

    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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