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's Learning Fair!
We are pleased to announce that Birchwood School will hold a Learning Fair on Wednesday, February 25th, 2015, 6-7 PM. The purpose of this event is to provide students with an opportunity to pursue a particular area of interest and share learning with others. Be sure to return your registration form. Parents, we are looking for volunteers, and a sign up form will be coming home soon. For more information, please check out the following links:

Birchwood PAALS Meetings Begin!
The first meeting of the Providing Assistance and Advocacy through Learning and Service (PAALS) program will be after school on Weds, Jan. 7th.
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. The rest of the meeting dates can be found here.

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 Starts
Birchwood’s Preschool Program for incoming Kindergarten students is about to begin! The Pre-k program will begin on 1/29/15 and 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.

Winners for the Monthly Box Tops Drawing!
Congratulations and thank you to the winners and their families! 
William Krueggel 2Q (2 free passes for laser tag)
Bailey Keller - KA ($5 gift card to TCBY)
Isabelle Mok - 2V
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!

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 will begin the week of January 26th. The program recently came home in packbacks, but can also be found here. Please sign up early. If you were closed out of a class in the fall, you will be given priority for that class in the winter. Remember: You will receive an email from the ASEP Committee to let you know whether your child is in a class or not. If you do not receive an email it means there has been a mistake: either we have your email wrong and, for some reason, it did not get bounced back, or we never received your child's registration. These emails will go out at some point the week before classes begin. Please provide a legible email address and, if you don't receive anything from us, please follow up before classes begin. Thank you in advance! 
Questions?  Contact Pam Ober or Dawn Oppe.
The Nature Park Does CSI (Critter Scene Investigation)!
How are your detective skills?  Do you have what it takes to be on a team of nature investigators, solving mysteries by examining evidence? The Pine Bush Discovery Center will visit Birchwood and provide an indoor introduction on investigating nature, followed by a trek on the Birchwood Nature Trail to look for clues about what critters live in our Park! 
The program will take place from 2:15-3:15 on Jan 30th (K-2) and Feb. 13th (3-5).  Registration is required and limited to 30 spots per program.  Contact Mike and Katie Cowley-Cooper at cowleycooper@gmail.com with any questions!

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.

Thanks to all who came and made the Open House and Wellness Fair a huge success!

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!

    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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