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.

Library Media Minute 
Mrs. Kirkpatrick would like to thank everyone for a great first year here at Birchwood! As the school year winds down, she reminds everyone that ALL materials are due back to the Media Center by June 5. This will give her the opportunity to get the Media Center ready for Summer Book Borrowing! This will take place during regular library times the week of June 15th. In order to borrow materials over the summer, you must have returned any overdues and/or paid any fines. Please watch for permission slips to be coming home soon. Hope everyone gets lots of reading done! Summer is a great time to have a “family” read-aloud, or start a neighborhood book club!


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

Ice Cream Social

This year's Ice Cream Social will be on Friday, June 5th from 6-8pm.  Featuring bounce houses, baked goods, face painting, and lots of outside fun.... And the best part? It's all FREE! What a wonderful way to celebrate the end of our school year! 

We need lots of volunteers (setup, serving, and cleanup); click here to sign up online, or here for more information (and a printable signup form)!

We ask that kindergarten and third grade families provide baked goods -- home-made, store-bought, healthy, indulgent...just bring your items to school Friday or before the event in the evening.

Questions? Contact Katie Cowley-Cooper and Jamie Lansing

Nature Park Garden Program

The Nature Park Garden Program is underway! The 14 kids in the program are having a great time growing lettuce, peas, strawberries and more! Click here to see photos of the fun!
Forgot to register?  It's not too late!  There is still space at every grade level for additional students, and the program continues over the summer.
A copy of the registration form (with more details about the program) can be found here.  If you have any questions, contact Mike & Katie and they'll be happy to answer them!

Playground Fundraising

Help ensure that our school has a wonderful new playground space to enjoy!  We hope that you will all consider giving a donation toward the playground renovation. In addition, there are other ways that you can help.  Read more in the 4/1 edition of the Birchwood bulletin.

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!)

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.

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 is being renovated, the PTO funded some interim games and equipment, including the newly installed soccer goals.
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.

    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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