PTA Meeting on Tuesday
Join us next Tuesday, October 14th at 7:00 in the Westowne library for the first PTA meeting this school year. New members are welcome to join the PTA, ask questions, and meet the board at 6:45. Mrs. Patrick will be discussing school news like technology and S.T.A.T. in the classroom, as well as new building updates. The PTA board and event coordinators will be sharing information about the current status of the PTA's many projects. Join us and learn more about what the PTA does for Westowne and how your family can both benefit and contribute.
See our calendar for many important dates, including the full schedule of PTA meetings on the second Tuesday each month. Both meeting agendas and approved minutes are also available on our website.
Winter Clothing Drive
We are collecting winter outerwear for Westowne students in need. We need gently used coats, gloves, and hats for PreK - 5th grade. Drop them off at the school office with a note specifying that they are donations for the "Winter clothing drive." Thank you for helping keep students warm this winter!
Open PTA Board Position - Treasurer
Our PTA treasurer, Noel Smith, has resigned due to unanticipated life and work commitments. Kimberly Evans has volunteered for the position. Per the bylaws, the board of directors will vote on her appointment. A mini financial review will take place to make sure everything is in order. We will need three volunteers to review account activity and financial records from July 1 to September 30, 2014. Please let us know if you're up for this task.
And thank you, Kimberly and Noel, for supporting Westowne and the PTA with your time and expertise.
Kimberly Feldman, Westowne parent and educator, shares strategies for supporting our children and teachers during the transition to the Common Core Standards and a new curriculum in her final post.
The first post in an ongoing series we're calling "PTA 101," The Fundraising Dilemma gives some background on PTA fundraising at Westowne. We also share some of the strategies we're using this year to raise funds for school support, educational activities, and entertaining family events. Let us know if you have other questions--specifically about Westowne's PTA and about PTAs in general. We'll then write future posts answering those questions. We hope this series is a learning experience for both the board and membership.
Coming soon, in honor of ADHD awareness month, Westowne parent Wendy Stevens will share with us the ins and outs of advocating for a child with this learning difference.
Labels for Education
Enter Westowne in the Labels for Education sweepstakes. 1000 schools will win $1000! While on the website, take a look at all of the grocery items that have Labels for Education on them. Just snip the UPC codes from Goldfish, Danimals, and Pop-Secret, among many other products, and send them to school in your child's folder or drop them in the baskets in the lobby. We can earn great things for our great school.
Art Supplies Needed
Mrs. Albert, the art teacher, has requested paper tubes. The 5th grade is going to be making funky furniture a la Tom Miller. They need about 300 tubes, in addition to shoe boxes and newspaper. Donations can be dropped off in the office.
Fall Festival is Saturday, October 25th from 3:00 - 6:00. It's not to be missed!
*Silent Auction *Basket Raffle *Used Book Sale
*Crafts *Teachers’ Pumpkin Decorating Contest
*Canned Goods Donation Drive *Pizza & Popcorn Sale
*Games and Prizes *Hula Hoops
*Live Music *Teacher Pie in the Face Raffle
*Paper Shredding 3:00 - 5:00
Wrist bands will be $5 and get your children access to games, entertainment, and crafts. Making all this fun happen takes many hands. Take a look at our Volunteer Spot form. Please sign up to help.
eScrip Costume Offers
Consider using the eScrip online mall to order Halloween costumes this year. First sign up and securely register the credit and debit cards you shop with at this reputable shopping portal. You can then take advantage of the sales offered by companies like Costume Supercenter and Spirit Halloween-while contributing as much as 9.6% to the PTA.
BCPS Parent University
The BCPS Parent University offers a variety of informative sessions for parents about academics, health and wellness, and personal growth. See the schedule for a complete list of events.
This web-based communication and collaboration tool provides much of the information you want about what your child is working on and how he or she is doing. Create a parent account and then add your children using the parent verification code/s provided at Back to School Night or sent home in your children's folders. If you need a code, contact Mrs. Ashley in the front office.
Southwest Area Educational Advisory Council
The SWAEAC is comprised of community members appointed by the Board of Education to represent the concerns of our area. On Wednesday, October 15th, they will hold a Pre-Budget Hearing on the Operating Budget for 2016 and Capital Budget for 2017. Sign up to share your thoughts starting at 6:30. The meeting runs from 7:00 - 8:00 at Woodlawn High School in the cafeteria.
Speakers are encouraged to bring two written copies of their remarks to be included in the SWAEAC’s report to the Board of Education. If you wish to participate yet are unable to attend, submit written comments until October 25th to Beverly Coleman.
Board of Education Meeting 9/23/14 Recap
Once a month Dr Dallas Dance, BCPS Superintendent, and the BCPS board members meet to discuss system-wide issues and solicit feedback from the public. The public can raise issues with the board either through one of the citizens advisory committees or as an individual during the public comment period.
Here is a recap from the committees:
Abby Beytin, TABCO President (Teachers Association of Baltimore County)
The state-mandated kindergarten initiative to determine if the children entering kindergarten are ready to learn is creating an additional burden to overburdened teachers. The state's new information gathering procedures require one hour of assessment per student and one hour of data entry.
For an average kindergarten class, that is up to 50 hours of work. During these assessments, teachers are pulled away from the classroom and children are deprived of the trained professional assigned to provide instruction. There is too much data collection, too many assessments and the kids are losing out. What other profession buys its own supplies and does its own clerical work, plus regular duties, as well as bus duty, lunch-room duty and other school duties. It is time to stop doing education on the cheap. It is time to hire the clerical and support staff needed to achieve results.
Julie Miller-Breetz, CAC (Citizens Advisory Committee) for Gifted & Talented Education Chairperson
BCPS is encouraged to do a system-wide training program for administration, teachers and guidance counselors in gifted and talented issues. There is a huge body of work that provides insight into the most capably-able students. The National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) will be holding its annual meeting in Baltimore and BCPS board members as well as teachers should attend the meeting.
Oystoberfest includes live music, food, vendors, bicycle demonstrations, a kid area, and more on Saturday, October 11th, at Strawberry Fields in Catonsville. The festival begins at noon.
695 Construction Project
The Baltimore Beltway Outer Loop South of US 40 to Frederick Road will be widened and the bridges over Edmondson and Ingleside will be replaced. Work is expected to begin this coming summer. A public meeting is being held at Catonsville Elementary in the cafeteria, from 6:30 - 8:30 on Wednesday, October 22. For more information, see the Maryland State Highway Administration's website.
In the News
Redistricting in Future for Catonsville Elementary Schools