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!
Birchwood Bulletin: 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.

Your Fundraising Dollars at Work

At the May 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, the school will be receiving a 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 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 possib
Click the pic to see a neat interactive photo mosaic created in honor of the
Niskayuna Central School District's 60th Anniversary!

Back-to-School BBQ
Fri., Sept 19, 5-7 PM
Calling all Birchwood Grill Masters (both Dads and Moms)!
The Birchwood Back-to-School BBQ is just around the corner - 5-7 PM on Friday, September 19. This year we're doing the outdoor grilling ourselves, and we need YOUR help to make this a great event!
Think you can grill the meanest burger or dog in town? Join Birchwood parent and Board of Ed member David Apkarian at the grill and show us what you've got. We'll provide the grill, appropriate grilling utensils...even a special Birchwood BBQ apron that you get to keep as a thank you for volunteering! 
Grilling not your thing? We need lots more volunteers to help away from the grill too! Parent help is needed at the meal and ticket tables, along the serving line, at the kid's activities, and during set-up and clean-up. 
We can't pull off this event without you! Don't wait--please sign up online to volunteer here, or email BBQ co-chair Lori Lembo to let her know you can help. Thank you!

The 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. 

PTO Announces New PAALS Initiative
"Providing Assistance and Advocacy through Learning and Service," the new PAALS program will provide opportunities for student leadership development, community involvement, service learning, family participation, and so much more! 
The PTO needs the time and talents of Birchwood parents to help expand on the initial groundwork and fully develop and launch these programs. We hope you'll help us make PAALS a success for our students and school community! Interested? Volunteer here.

The First Day of School is Right Around the Corner!
THURS September 4, 2014
Welcome all new Birchwood Families!  Birchwood Annual Newcomer's Event is scheduled at 5:30 PM on Thursday, August 21st.  We hope to see you all there!

Birchwood Curriculum (Back-to-School) Night
Thurs., Sept 18th
K-2  6:00 pm (classrooms)
                                            K-5   7:00 pm (cafeteria)            
                                            3-5   7:30 pm (classrooms)
September Curriculum Nights provide a chance for parents and teachers to meet each other, discuss the curriculum, and visit the classrooms. Classroom presentations for grades K-2 and 3-5 are scheduled during separate time blocks, or on separate nights, to enable parents with multiple children at Birchwood to attend more easily.
Stop at the entryway tables on your way in to learn more about Friends of Music, Birchwood's Girl Scout troops, pay your PTO dues, and get access information for the PTO Directory.
Due to limited space in classrooms, this event is best suited for parents unaccompanied by their children.

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 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). 

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

District-wide Rollout of PTO e-Directory!
With support from the Niskayuna PTO Council and PTO Directory Chairpersons from each school, the Niskayuna PTO is announcing a district-wide roll out of an online parent-student directory service called the "PTO e-Directory." This is a secure online service that empowers parents to manage contact information shared with the Niskayuna PTO. 
The district Registrar does not share your data with the PTO for directory purposes. You will NOT be included in the 2014-15 PTO directory if you do not enter your own information online. 
If you have already signed-up for a PTO e-Directory account, we thank you! If not, you can sign up right here. If you have questions, contact Shilpa Garde or Millie Gnatek.
We also invite you to read the e-Directory FAQ here. If you have questions about your family's contact data on file with the school district, please call District Registrar Joan Vertigan at (518) 377-4666.

School Budget Passed; New Board of Education Members Elected
On Tuesday, May 20th, 2014, the district's recommended school budget of $77.3 million was approved by the Niskayuna community in a 68% majority vote. Two new members were also elected to the Board of Education, Birchwood parent and 2013-14 PTO Co-President David Apkarian and Rosemarie Perez Jacquith. We look forward to working with both David and Rosemarie throughout their terms and thank them for their service to the community!
More details on the voting and election outcomes is available here. Budget Development information from this year's decision-making process is available here, while BOE general information can be found here.
Also, background on the search for a new superintendent and an introduction to Interim Superintendent John Yagielski are available here.

We welcome your comments and suggestions!  Please let us know what you think of the Birchwood PTO Webpage:

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