Panera Restaurant Night
Thanks to so many Westowne families, faculty, and staff for joining us for dinner Monday evening. We raised $266.99!
Thank you to our latest sponsors!
Also thanks to the Edward St. John Foundation for donating a filing cabinet we are using in the PTA closet to store financial records.
Send your children to school next Friday, September 26th wearing their PJs! Kids can bring in donations to fund educational events like assemblies. The class with the most donations will get a pizza party at the end of the school year. Thanks to parent volunteers, Megan and Stephanie, for organizing this event!
Common Core Blog
What exactly is Common Core? Take a look at the fourth installment of our guest blog from Westowne parent and educator, Kimberly Feldman.
Fall Festival is Saturday, October 25th, from 3:00 - 6:00. It's an entertaining family event with highlights including games, hula hoops, music, crafts, and more. New additions this year include a Used Book Sale and Silent Auction! Volunteers are needed for the event. Also let us know if you'd like to help with balloon art and face painting. Bring your own skills or we'll teach you!
Start saving up to win these fantastic Silent Auction and Raffle prizes:
- 2 AMC movie theater tickets
- 2 $50 gift certificates to District Chophouse & Brewery in DC thanks to Westowne parent and District Chophouse brewmaster Barrett Lauer
- A home cooked meal by Westowne grandmother Barbara Jacobwitz
- House-cleaning services by Westowne parent Chrissy Heiland
- Comic books from Cosmic Comix
Classroom Donations: Exercise Balls
Mrs. Ingle's fourth grade classroom has requested exercise balls. Fidgety students can benefit from strengthening their core muscles by sitting on the balls while completing their work. If you have exercise balls collecting dust or find them on sale, please consider donating them to the school.
Did you know that Target donates 1% of purchases to schools, and saves you 5%, when you use your REDcard to pay? By designating Westowne(school ID# 57753) and paying with your Target REDcard Visa or REDcard debit, you can help us increase our donations.
Last year we earned $365.49! Thank you to the 28 families who have designated Westowne. We are so grateful for your support.
Giant School Rewards
Giant A+ School Rewards registration starts today. Register yourself at giantfood.com/aplus. Westowne's School Rewards number is 01581. You can also send in your card numbers (not phone numbers) so we can register them for you. This program provides important funds for PTA sponsored events, so we thank you for taking the time to register your card!
Do you make monthly contributions to organizations that feed the hungry, play your kind of music, or keep you entertained? The PTA now accepts monthly donations, too. Consider setting up a recurring payment of $5, $10, or $20 via PayPal. For many people, these smaller amounts are very affordable, even if writing a one-time $120 check at the start of the school year wouldn't work well.
An owl-standing thank you to Westowne parent Debra Wright for kicking off this program as our first monthly contributor!
Holiday Shoppe Donations
Send us your gently used toys, knick knacks, and "Dad" gifts for the Holiday Shoppe. The kids love this event, and it is one of our biggest fundraisers. Bring donations to the front office; the PTA will do the heavy lifting from there.
Maryland PTA Legislative Advocacy
One of the state PTA’s primary goals is lobbying the general assembly for legislation that benefits the education and well-being of children and families. Their top priorities include the expansion of pre-kindergarten and free and reduced meals for children and families in need. MD PTA also opposes using state funds for capital improvement and operating costs of non-public schools. The governor’s proposed budget contains $3.5 million in funds that go to private schools.
For more about MD PTA’s legislative activities, visit their website.
Why All the Fundraising?
The PTA runs educational enrichment and family friendly events throughout the school year. We also support the teachers and staff through reimbursement for educational materials they often purchase with their own funds, as well as with morale-boosting, gratitude-demonstrating events. While these events are typically run by volunteers, PTA funds pay for supplies and special guests.
You can support the PTA by becoming a member and donating time, funds, skills, and materials. We make Westowne great together.
Have you noticed the new curbs and ramps at Westowne? Thanks to future Westowne parent, Chris Burk, for advocating for accessible sidewalks and crosswalks for our school.
Schools throughout the county have begun to issue and use the One-card identification system. Mrs. Patrick has sent home an informational letter for parents about how these badges are being used at Westowne. Further information can be found on the BCPS website._
Board of Education Meeting 9/9/14 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 citizen advisory committees or as an individual during the public comment period.
A livestream of the monthly Board of Education meetings can be found online. Here is a recap from the citizen advisory committees and stakeholders:
Abby Beytin, TABCO President (Teachers Association of Baltimore County)
Teachers are experiencing problems with the roll out of new technology initiatives. There are on-going glitches with wi-fi access, new devices, and remote use from home. Evaluations are unclear and inconsistent. Lesson-plan writing has become time consuming and is eclipsing the teachers’ time in the classroom. Special education caseloads are unmanageable. On the plus side, curricula issues have been improving and BCPS seems genuinely willing to listen and respond to issues.
Elisa Hartman, Special Education Citizen Advisory Committee (SECAC)
The first SECAC meeting was held on 9/8/14 and was attended by about 100 parents as well as Dr Dance, Debra Brooks (BCPS Special Education Director) and Verletta White (BCPS Chief Academic Officer). There are persistent problems within BCPS’s special education programs especially at the elementary level. A local special education lawyer reported at the meeting that his caseload from parents with special education cases has increased in Baltimore County by 60%. Problems that were discussed at the meeting included transportation, additional adult support and lack of air conditioning and accommodations for twice exceptional students. Parents at the elementary school level are often frustrated by the IEP process. One possible factor is that the elementary school IEP chair is often the Vice Principal who may lack the training and experience to expertly navigate the IEP process. Training has been given to many of the Vice Principals but follow-up measures should be taken to ensure that the process is improved.
Emory Young, PTA Council Baltimore County
BCPS has rolled out many new initiatives this year to modernize the system but 20th century problems still exist: lack of air conditioning, overcrowding and aging infrastructure. BCPS has ongoing construction and repair efforts to address these issues but they don’t receive enough publicity. Parents need to be educated about the process of repairs and improvements and informed about construction projects and other facilities work.
School Facilities Community Forums
Tuesday, September 30, 2014, at 6:30 PM at Catonsville High School
Baltimore County Public Schools will host five community forums this fall to solicit feedback from students, parents, stakeholders and others about school facilities across the school district. Please plan to attend the date for our area. Share your concerns about our current building and the plan for our future facilities.
Community Yard Sales
The Paradise Community Yard Sale is this Saturday, September 20th. The Academy Heights Community Yard Sale is Saturday, October 4th.
Baltimore Book Festival
This family-friendly events promises to be both entertaining and promote literacy. The Baltimore Book Festival runs September 26th - 28th in the Inner Harbor.