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,.

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.
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.

Win Sweet Frog yummies during the Niskayuna Friends of Music (FOM) Membership Drive! 
Music begins in Kindergarten… and continues through 12th grade. The foundation of our music program starts with your children. Niskayuna Friends of Music (FOM) is a volunteer district booster group that supports your child’s musical journey. In 2014, Niskayuna was recognized for its outstanding commitment to music education and named in the top 375 Best Communities for Music Education in the country. Your membership in the FOM can help keep it that way!
Birchwood FOM Liaison Tammy Apkarian will be holding a raffle for a chance to win 1 of 2 gift cards to Sweet Frog (valued at $50 each). If you, your child, or entire family joins FOM, you'll be eligible to win one of these gift cards! It's simple. Just complete the attached membership form with payment and return to the Birchwood Office, attention "FOM" and you'll be automatically entered to win. You can also pay online here (if you do, just return the draw slip to the Birchwood office to be entered in the drawing!)

It’s the annual pie sale for the Friends of Music. Delicious pies ordered and available before the holiday season begins!! Orders need to be received by October 20th – ready for pick up on November 5th! Please return the completed order form and payment to the Niskayuna Music Department. Another delicious way to support your Music Program!!

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. 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. 

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!

Monday: Wear red and sign the pledge to make good choices and to live a healthy lifestyle!
Wednesday: ‘Turn your back on unhealthy choices’- Wear your shirt  backward for the day!!
Friday:‘ Team up against peer pressure’ – Wear your favorite team shirt or sweatshirt. 
Sponsored by the NCSD and N-CAP

Monster Mash is coming!
Friday, October 24th, 6:00-8:00 PM
Get Ready for Monster Mash 2014 -- Carnival Craziness!!!  The Monster Mash committee is looking for volunteers to help with pumpkin decorating, greeting families, ticket sales, running the 50/50 raffle, and supervising the storytelling and games area.  We also need families to plan and run a carnival-style game booth at the Monster Mash. More information, including a schedule of activities, is available here.
This great event can't happen without you! Signup to help for an hour or two here , or contact Tara McKenna.

Birchwood’s Staff Appreciation Breakfast
The Staff Appreciation Breakfast is on October 21st! This is when we show our appreciation – with food -- for all that Birchwood teachers and staff do for our children! If you would like to help and/or donate goodies, please e-mail Tiffanie Wood at woodiesroundup@hotmail.com. To find out what you can bring, click HERE.

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

PTO e-Directory: Birchwood Led the Pack! 
Congratulations, Birchwood community members! The PTO e-directory enrollment rush is over, and 92% of our families registered--more than any other school in the district!  This is a real achievement, and the PTO thanks you for making it happen. 
We hope to distribute printed copies of the directory in time for Monster Mash. 
Want a print copy of the directory? Write a $5.00 check, payable to "BIRCHWOOD PTO," note it with "PTO Dues," mark the envelope ATTN: Millie Gnatek, send it in your child's backpack, and you'll receive your directory.
More information about the PTO directory and its importance is available here.

PTO Volunteer Position Signups OPEN 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
At the May 2014 Birchwood PTO meeting, those in attendance approved the purchase of several items for the school. Thanks to the fundraising efforts of Birchwood parents and friends, last year the school was able to install new sound system for the stage/cafetorium to replace unreliable or broken equipment. This purchase includes wired microphones (for hanging above the stage and handheld use), wireless microphones (both handheld and clip-on), speakers/amps, soundboard, and MP3 plug-in. Thanks go out to Brian Meservey and Mr. Garrison who installed the new equipment in time for our Drama & Poetry Week! 
Other items approved at the meeting were new 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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