Welcome to Birchwood Elementary PTO!


School Principal:     
Debra Berndt
PTO 2015-16 Co-Presidents: 
JoMarie Ethier 
Jan Brown
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:  Check out both district and Birchwood-specific events and meetings on the District/Birchwood Calendar.  A one-page printable calendar with major school/district dates can be found here.

Birchwood Nature Park Ecology Walk
During this after school program, we'll be exploring the Birchwood Nature Park, guided by staff from the Pinebush Preserve Discovery Center. Participating students should dress appropriately for the trail (no open toed shoes/sandals please) and the weather (rain or shine).
Students in Grades 3-4-5 are invited to participate on June 6, 2016. Participation on this date is limited to 20 students.
Students in Grades K-1-2 are invited to participate on June 7, 2016Participation on this date is limited to 30 students.
This program will begin at dismissal, and will conclude at 3:15 PM
Please pick up your student after the program at the Nature Park Trailhead Sign. Students that normally attend Kids' Time will be escorted back to the cafeteria after the program concludes.
Registration Deadline: June 3, 2016 
(All registrations will be confirmed by email on June 4, 2016.)
Click here to register.
Contact Mike & Katie Cowley-Cooper with any questions.

Relay for Life
Join our Birchwood PAALS Relay For Life Team to raise awareness and funds to help the American Cancer Society in the fight against cancer. Birchwood students,
family, friends, teachers, and staff can make a difference and join the team today by visiting our team page. Participants who register after May 30 unfortunately cannot be guaranteed a team shirt. So, sign up today! Can’t attend the event but want to help? Visit our team page and make a donation to support Birchwood PAALS. The Niskayuna Relay takes place at the High School track starting at 6PM on Friday, June 10th and ends at 6AM on Saturday, June 11th. Come for an hour or two throughout the event or stay longer into the night. All students must be chaperoned at the event by a parent or other adult family member. Have questions? Email Deb Foley at deb.foley4@gmail.com. We’re hoping for a great turnout of Birchwood PAALS at Relay…we hope you’ll be there!
ASHLEY BROWN PHOTOGRAPHY PORTRAIT FUNDRAISER
The PTO is sponsoring a fundraiser in conjunction with the locally renowned Ashley Brown Photography studio. There will be a photo shoot at our Birchwood Campus on June 2 (Rain Date). You have the opportunity a family shoot in our beautiful natural surroundings. The sitting fee is $40 and purchase of photographs is at your option. Click here for more info, then please use this link to reserve your spot. Space is limited. Ashley Brown donates the sitting fee and a portion of purchases to our PTO.
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 was being renovated, the PTO funded some interim games and equipment, including the newly installed soccer goals. And thanks to fantastic parent and community response, our new playground will be open by the start of the 2015-16 school year.
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!

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http://www.niskayunaschools.org/StudentServices/PDFs/lunchmenus/Menu-May-2014.pdf
(click the pic to see this month's school lunch menu!)

T
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!

PTO Volunteer Position Signups OPEN for 2016-17
Sign up ONLINE! 
http://www.signupgenius.com/go/70a094fa9aa2fa46-201617
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. 
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 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.

    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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