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

  Open House & Book Fair 
We Need You!
Volunteers are needed for this year's December 5th Open House and Book Fair which coincide with our first-ever Wellness Fair. Sign up here to help out!  
If you have an interest in a Wellness Topic and are interested in coordinating a table, display or an activity, please contact Deb Foley or JoMarie Ethier.
Photo Contest 
As the weather gets colder, show off how your family enjoys the great outdoors in winter by submitting one or more digital photos to our photo contest!  Photos will be displayed as part of a slideshow at the Open House, and one lucky winner will be selected from all entries to receive a door prize!  Please submit your photos via email to cowleycooper@gmail.com by November 28. 

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!

Birchwood's Chorus Makes Their Public Debut at the RPI Hockey Game!
Birchwood's 4th & 5th grade chorus shared their patriotism at the November 14th Rensselaer Engineers Hockey game vs. Quinnipiac by singing the National Anthem.
Birchwood Parent and Head Coach for the Rensselaer Engineers Seth Appert worked with RPI and Birchwood music teacher Holly Johnston to make it all happen. Birchwood parents and faculty turned out in droves for this proud moment!
"Seeing the students next to the players on the ice was a magical moment," said Debra Berndt, Birchwood Principal. "This was a proud moment and these students will remember this forever."

Superintendent Search Survey and Community Forums

As the Board of Education begins the superintendent search process, it is seeking broad staff and community feedback about the qualities and personal attributes that the community would like the next superintendent to have. There are two ways that you can provide this feedback in the coming days.
The district has posted an online survey that will be available through December 10. You can take the brief survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NCSD-search
Also, four community stakeholder feedback forums are scheduled this month, beginning this Wednesday, November 12. Each of the forums are the same. They are scheduled in the hopes that community members are able to attend one. Here are the dates, times, and locations: 
Wednesday, November 12, 4 p.m.: Niskayuna High School Library
Wednesday, November 12, 7 p.m.: Niskayuna Town Hall, Board Room
Thursday, November 20, 4 p.m.: Van Antwerp Middle School Auditorium
Thursday, November 20, 7 p.m.: Van Antwerp Middle School Auditorium

Community input at this stage will strengthen the overall process. Your time and perspective are greatly appreciated.
For the timeline of the superintendent search process and informational updates as they are available, please visit http://www.niskayunaschools.org/SuptSearch/index.cfm

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!

Fall Scholastic Book Faire
 Our Fall Scholastic BOOK FAIR this year has a new theme: Sir Readalot's Castle Dec. 2nd-5th! 
There will be lots of new things this year--fun raffles, coloring pages, an on-line book fair (11/22-12/6), and a Friday afternoon "Grand Jester" event (details coming soon)!! 
**Print and color this page and return it for a raffle ticket! 
Parents, please sign up to help volunteer at the fair! www.SignUpGenius.com/go/70A0B4FABAB29A57-fall 

Visit the Nature Park at Birchwood's 
Open House & Wellness Fair!
During Birchwood Open House & Wellness Fair on Dec. 5th, the Nature Park Committee will be celebrating the health benefits of getting our kids outdoors. Winter fun photos submitted to our Photo Contest will be shown in a slideshow, and for some hands-on fun, we'll have paper and supplies for your kids to create a picture/story/poem that describes how they like to play outside in Winter.  All creations will be posted as the next installment on the Birchwood Storywalk! So come visit us at the Open House, and then get outside!

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

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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