Hello and welcome to our new and returning PBES families!
Even though school is not yet in session, PBES and the PBES PTA have been working hard throughout the summer to get things like events, programming, and instruction in place for the 2019-2020 school year. One of the PBES PTA’s main goals for this year is improved communication, so allow me to share a few exciting summer updates:
First, PBES and TPES will have joint PTA meetings this year! Principals Gadsden and Oberdorf are both very enthusiastic about this as it will enable us to have more cohesive meetings that allow parents with children at both schools to stay informed about and participate in the PTA at both schools. The joint meetings will also allow for more overlap with presentations and aid the PTA in conserving funds by sharing meeting expenses between the two schools. The first PBES PTA meeting will be held 6:30-7 pm on Back-to-School Night. October through January meetings will be held at TPES and February through June meetings will be held at PBES (6:45-8 pm on the 1st Tuesdays of the month except April 14). Please attend a meeting - your participation strengthens our PTA and our school.
Second, PBES was able to retain some of its STEM funding! I know many of you helped advocate to let PBES keep its special programs funding. THANK YOU. While we did lose some, we were able to retain 37.5% of our STEM program funding. This allows PBES to maintain a STEM program, but it shakes out to 45 minutes of instruction every 3-4 weeks via classroom-to-classroom visits. There is no designated STEM classroom space this year. The school was able to retain the STEM instructor by filling the remainder of her work hours with another role within the school. I would love to see us get the entirety of PBES' special programs funding back this year so we can have a more robust program, but we need your continued help emailing the school board (BOE@mcpsmd.org; include your name, address & phone number and say something about how the PBES Stem program is ESSENTIAL) and showing up at county, state, school board, etc. meetings.
In closing, here’s a quick rundown of some big-picture issues PBES and the PBES PTA are pursuing on a school, county, and state level:
Principal Oberdorf is in the process of scheduling a meeting with a new school security coordinator that has been assigned to PBES. During the meeting, MCPS school emergency protocols and specific features of Piney Branch’s building space will be addressed. Of particular interest is how PBES will troubleshoot its lack of a vestibule (controlled-access entry that channels visitors directly through the main office only), which was highlighted in the Systemic Approaches section of the MCPS Final Security Report (https://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/departments/security/Security-Report/).
PBES continues to suffer from overcrowding and building space issues. Please consider contacting the board of education (BOE@mcpsmd.org) and our state senate and house (firstname.lastname@example.org & email@example.com) to stress our continued need for PBES building expansion and improvements. Please include your name, address & phone number. Our enrollment over the past few years has been steady between 600 and 700 students, and it does not show signs of easing up anytime soon. We need more building space to maintain quality instruction and keep class sizes small.
At a recent county PTA meeting, I learned that the state legislature will be voting on a huge school funding package in 2020 that includes a bundled budget for building improvements and implementation of the Kirwan Commission, which aims to funnel millions of dollars into enhancing instructional programming in MD’s public schools. The Kirwan Commission seeks to improve MD’s early childhood education (provide Pre-K for 4-year olds, low-income 3-year olds, and all children with disabilities), attract high-quality and diverse teachers and leaders, establish college and career readiness pathways, offer more resources to ensure success of all students, and provide governance and accountability (for more information on the Kirwan Commission, please visit www.strongschoolsmaryland.org). Please email our president of the state senate (firstname.lastname@example.org) and speaker of the MD house (email@example.com) to encourage support of increased funding for school building improvements and the Kirwan Commission.
As always, if you’re interested in helping out with any of our PTA initiatives, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will connect you with others working on similar topics or provide you with resources to start something new to help the PBES community.
Thank you for your attention and interest. I look forward to an amazing 2019-2020 school year with you all.
PBES PTA President