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.

Holiday Fundraisers!

Order online at puremountainoliveoil.com and use promo code BIRCHWOOD at check out!

Pick up your gourmet oils, vinegars and salts right at the school and Birchwood will earn 40% of your purchase.

Fundraiser ends on 11/16. Larger orders will be delivered to your home by Erin Cassady-Dorion - so feel free to bulk up!

Stocking Stuffer alert!! Don't buy your gift cards at the supermarket, buy them here and help the PTO raise funds. Plan ahead and get all of your holiday and birthday shopping done NOW.  Lost your form?  Print one here.

Family Heritage Night
Birchwood PTO is hosting a Family Heritage Night on Fri., Dec 4th from 5:30-7pm. We are inviting anyone in the Birchwood community to share any family/ heritage traditions, foods, toys, games, family stories, dance, traditional clothing and/or songs from their cultures. Sign up here if you're interested in sharing or volunteering to help that night.
We are also looking for a Co-Chair for this event and individuals willing to take the lead in organizing each of the cultures. Please contact Suzanne Brooksby at suzierunsl8@gmail, call or text at 378-4025 if you're interested. See the flyer for more info.


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

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!

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

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 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.

    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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