Our fundraising goal for the Dragon Dash this year is $38,000. You all may be wondering what exactly all the money we raise goes towards and why. Well, it varies year to year, but we want you to know that the PTO Board and school administration discuss thoughtfully all the needs (and wants) of the school at the beginning of each year. Read on for all the details.
Dragon Dash fundraising kicked off on Friday, September 13. The PTO hosted a fun and entertaining pep rally at the school for students and teachers (watch our InstaStory from the pep rally), and race packets were sent home with every child. Make sure to check out the Dragon Dash section of the website for how to get started.
Our total school goal is $38,000. If every student raises $75 we can meet that. Better yet, we can surpass our goal if you raise more! Our school reach goal is $48,000, and, to put that in perspective, last year we raised $45,000 so we KNOW we can do it!
Proceeds are benefiting teachers in their classrooms, purchasing new curriculum, supporting mindfulness in the classrooms and funding other projects around school. And we get to raise the money all while promoting a healthy lifestyle. Everybody can win!
To make it even more fun, we are offering all kinds of individual goal incentives, daily raffle prizes for students bringing in donations and team rewards. The very TOP earner in the school will even win an Amazon Kindle AND a $25 Amazon gift card! Check out more of our awesome incentives here.
We recently conducted a vote for the proposed amendments to our PTO By-Laws. Thank you to those who participated in that vote. The results are in - all three amendments passed. Read the post for a summary of the results.
We posted last month about a few proposed amendments to the Dan Mills Elementary PTO By-Laws. You can read that post here. In that post, we also have a link to the full document of the PTO By-Laws for your reading pleasure.
We now need to conduct a vote for those amendments. Please vote for all three amendments. Voting will close on Monday, September 2.
We have several open PTO positions for the 2019-2020 school year! If you’re wanting a way to get involved, meet new people or devote just a little time to help our wonderful school, please consider volunteering in one of these ways. We promise it will be rewarding and you’ll have help and support!
Happy Cart Coordinator: Once a month, volunteers wheel around a cart of goodies for teachers. The coordinator would be in charge of setting up the cart and notifying the PTO when more supplies are needed. Time commitment: approximately 1-2 hours per month.
Box Top Co-coordinator: Dan Mills collects Box Tops which bring in several hundred dollars to our school each year. Jenny Schafer has graciously headed this up for the past several years, and she would like another volunteer to help her with this. Time commitment: Approximately 1-2 hours per month and can be done outside of school hours.
Unicycle Coordinator: UniCycle is a school uniform recycling program, and Dan Mills is part of this effort. Typically a sign up is created and volunteers come in on a regular basis to sort the donations. The coordinator would oversee this effort. Time Commitment: 1-2 hours per month and can be done outside of school hours.
Communication Committee Member: The PTO is in need of some volunteers to help with communications. This includes social media posts, emails, and paper communications...if you have a particular area of strength or interest that falls within these areas, please let us know exactly how you might be willing to help. Time commitment: 1-3 hours per month and can easily be done outside of school hours.
If you are interested in any of these positions or want to learn more, please contact us at email@example.com.
If you don’t want to take on any of these open positions, that’s ok. But we still want your involvement! So be sure to fill out our PTO Volunteer Interest Form!
We hope you’ve been enjoying your summer. While all of us on the Dan Mills PTO have been taking a nice break, we’ve also spent some time planning the upcoming 2019-20 school year. Part of our board meeting in June included the Board discussing making a few amendments to the bylaws. As per our bylaws, the PTO is required to give notice to all members (that means you, the parents!) of our proposed changes. At our PTO Live! meeting in August, we plan to take a vote. If you cannot be at the meeting, we also plan to open up voting on our Facebook page.
And now for the proposed amendments. Read below for the edits the PTO Board would like to make to the current Bylaws. The button under these proposed changes is the link to the full Bylaws document.
SECTION 6. Officers shall serve for a term of one year or until their successors are elected. No officer shall be eligible to the same office for more than two consecutive terms unless there is a named successor. In the case of a named successor, a person is allowed to serve three consecutive terms in the same office with the purpose of training the successor throughout the course of the third and final term. No officer may hold more than one elected office. Officers shall assume their duties on the last day of school, with the exception of Treasurer who will have restrictive duties until the financial records have been closed out. A person who has served in an office for more than six months of a full term shall be deemed to have served a full term in such office.
* The current financial institution we use does not provide checks with two signature lines.
SECTION 1. The fiscal year of this PTO shall begin July 1stand end June 30th.
It’s been a wonderful year at Dan Mills, and we want to thank YOU for your part in that! Whether you volunteered, signed your Dragon up for the Dragon Dash, read with your child, attended Dragon Jubilee, thanked a teacher, bought a school t-shirt, baked some treats for the happy cart or bake sale, or won an auction item, you were an integral part of that success. Plans are already being made for a fantastic 2019-2020 school year. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your amazing support!
The Dan Mills PTO Board
Items of note that the PTO was able to provide or support:
Library Redesign, Phase I
Picnic Tables for the front field
10 New computers for the Computer Lab
Over $4,500 in Professional Development for teachers
Over $10,000 allocated to teachers to use in their classrooms
Educational programs to support curriculum
Monthly Happy Cart for teachers
Over $12,000 in Classroom supplies, equipment, and literacy supplies
Mindfulness Supplies for teachers and classrooms
$3900 for field trips and achievement incentives (including the in-school Adventure Science Center event)
Here are just a few pictures from the school year:
We want to share some of the sentiments from the teachers because these kind words are meant for ALL of the Dan Mills parents:
Last Saturday we hosted our first parent work day to kick-off the library design update project. And oh boy did we get a lot done! A lot of painting that is.
Parent volunteers and Mrs. Criswell spent several hours during two shifts on Saturday painting the walls in the library, as well as transforming the walls in the lobby. The entryway to the library and some interior walls in the library were painted a deep blue color to simulate a kind of camping under a night sky atmosphere, which will be a part of the theme in the story time area of the library.
Four walls in the lobby - the ones where the house dragon posters hang - were also painted. These walls were transformed to represent the four house colors of Dan Mills. And what an impression they make! Students were so excited on Monday morning to see the fun house colors now adorning their lobby walls. These house colors will also be incorporated in the library design update, so stay tuned for some more fun things happening in that space.
The painting was just the first part of our library design update - the project we’ve been talking about for months - so it’s so exciting to have this project underway! A BIG THANK YOU to Mrs. Criswell, Michelle Godby and all the parents who came out to help make the work day a success. You’ll have to take a visit inside the school to see what the fuss is all about. Or, better yet, sign up to help during our next parent work day on Saturday, April 13!
Do you use Shipt grocery delivery service?? If so, there is a very easy way to give back 3% of what you spend to our PTO!
In your cell phone App Store, search for and download the free Planet Fundraiser app.
Then follow the in-app instructions to register and sign in. Once signed in, select “Add Campaign” and search for and select “Dan Mills Elementary PTO.”
Finally, in order to obtain the 3% reward from Shipt to PTO, go into your email and find the receipt email from Shipt. (This email will have the subject line: “Your Shipt grocery order receipt”. ) Forward this email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Repeat every time you order Shipt!
Is your family looking for a fun service project that has you working together to better something in your community? Well we have just the thing for you!
We’re working to schedule two “parent work days” at Dan Mills Elementary in the coming weeks. These will be scheduled on a Saturday and will be a great opportunity for the entire family to get involved in getting some work done at our beloved school. Primarily, the days scheduled will involve installing the new library update, designed with the help of Dan Mills’ parent, Michelle Godby. These plans are being finalized with Michelle’s, Ms. Criswell’s and MNPS employees’ help, but in order to bring it to fruition we need help! Listed below are the kinds of tasks you could expect on a parent work day:
Moving and/or assembling furniture
Installing carpet tiles (trust us, this is easy!)
Light outdoor work
This opportunity is a great way for families to give back to our community AND be involved in the updates at our school. If you want to be notified when parent work days are scheduled, submit your email below.
On Tuesday night we had a thought-provoking and stimulating discussion with Parents Who Fight on how to begin navigating screen time within our families. For those who could not attend, here are some highlights:
65% of parents say their kids have too much time on devices (2018 survey)
1/3 of parents say they argue daily with their children about screen time (Common Sense Media survey)
What technology is doing to our kids:
Studies came out in 2018 showing a correlation between ADD/ADHD and screen time
Richard Bromley, clinical psychologist at Harvard Medical School - Excessive screen time can affect academic performance, attention, social interactions, sleep, etc.
Recent research suggests extended screen time is affecting the way the brain grows.
Nicholas Cardaras, author of “Glow Kids,” suggests the best thing you can do as a parent is to delay access for your kids.
Kids need: (1) Boundaries, (2) Balance, and (3) Accountability
Boundaries - In the elementary school years, you must be thinking a few years ahead - “what’s our plan?” What are your boundaries in regards to smartphones, social media and video games?
Wait Until 8th organization - parents pledging to wait until 8th grade to give their kid a smartphone in order to reverse the peer pressure.
The law for social media is you must be 13 or older.
Delay the use of video games if you can - specifically, video games that are not age appropriate. Pay attention to ratings of video games. Biggest example of this is Fortnite - rated “T” for Teen.
Balance - How do we balance screen time? How much time should we spend? What kind of content should kids be consuming?
Instead of starting with how much time should kids have on a screen, start with how much sleep are they getting (9-11 hours recommended), how much exercise are they getting (60 minutes recommended), etc.? Identify all the priorities and then determine how much time is left.
Monitor your child’s screen time - know how much time they’re spending - and use that data to determine how much is too much.
Look at the nature of screen time - Is it just consumptive? Is it creative? Is it productive?
How else is your child spending his/her time? As they age, it will be become increasingly important for them to have outlets other than screens.
Sit down and make a plan with your kids about what balance looks like in your home. For each new device that comes into the home, have a family meeting about the guidelines for that device.
Accountability - Be empowered to monitor how much time your kids are spending on screens and what they’re doing on them.
Hold your children accountable for the boundaries you have set up.
Be completely transparent in your relationship to your kids and technology - meaning you know every password, you will keep track of everywhere your child goes online.
Screens should be used in common areas - open space and the screen visible to parents. Use of screens in the bedroom, at bedtime, is not a precedent you want to set as your children get older.
If your child goes online and watches YouTube, don't use headphones so you can hear what your child is watching.
Parents need: (1) Tools, (2) Endurance, and (3) Community
Tools - There are a plethora of tools available to help parents navigate the issue of screen time with their kids - offering alternatives to screen time and solutions for managing and monitoring screen time.
Drive Along - cards to stimulate conversation while in the car instead of using screens. Kids want to be engaged by parents in conversation.
“Good Pictures, Bad Pictures” - Book geared to young kids to explain what pornography is, why it's dangerous, and how to reject it.
Four layer strategy to help parents manage and monitor online activity:
(1) Wifi - i.e., Circle by Disney,
(2) Devices - i.e., iOS 12 “Screentime”
(4) Search - Google & YouTube the worst!
Parents Who Fight have a 20-minute video on their 4-Point Technology Strategy on Vimeo. Watch it here - password PWF.
Set the precedent very early that everything your kid uses is going to have boundaries.
Protect Young Minds website has device-specific instructions on parental controls.
Google Activity - myactivity.google.com shows you what websites have been visited, how much time has been spent, and other history even if it has been deleted.
Endurance - Goes hand-in-hand with delaying certain technology-use for kids. As parents, we are working to train our kids well to eventually be able to use devices wisely and safely, and this means we’ll need to go at a much slower pace with technology than we think.
“Am I Ready for a Personal Device?” self-evaluation from BetterScreenTime.com
It’s part of our job to train our kids to be good stewards of technology and that is a process.
Community - Parents need partners in the technology journey. Don’t be afraid to start conversations with other parents about how they’re navigating devices within their homes. Find like-minded people to partner up with.
We also recorded the presentation on Facebook Live. Unfortunately due to signal issues the picture is not clear and audio is a little glitchy, but the majority of the content is there. You may watch/listen on our Facebook page.
If you’ve ever experienced a back-up in the car riders lane, a traffic jam on Greenland Ave or any other drop-off/pick-up issues, the PTO has written up the following reminders.
PLEASE be mindful about the neighbors and their driveways on Kennedy and Greenland Avenues. The school and Metro Police are getting angry calls weekly from neighbors that are blocked in and cannot get out of their driveway.
Car Drop-Off: Teachers should be out to help around 7:45am. If they aren’t, the cones should be in place – Drop-Off starts at the cone (see picture below). If you are the first car to drop off (the car in front of you was the last in the coned area), please pull to the last cone to ensure that the maximum number of cars fall in behind you.
Greenland Avenue: This is still a school zone so please watch your speed. Traffic jams have been happening lately between Addine and Kennedy on Greenland - a way to avoid that is to go in sets of three. After three cars go in one direction, pause and let three cars go in the opposite. It will take much longer if you cause a traffic jam than if you just wait for three cars. If by chance there is a traffic jam, please remember there are little ears around so refrain from yelling obscenities.
Parking on the Street: Please remember that cars are only supposed to park on the side of the road facing the direction you are driving. Meaning, don’t park facing opposite traffic. And please make sure you are not parking in “No Parking” zones.
**If you are interested in participating in a “walker drop zone” on Cardinal Avenue, please email the PTO (email@example.com) and let us know. The idea would be to have a meet spot on Cardinal Avenue where a group of kids would meet to walk to the school together. This would only work if there’s a group of them and if they leave at the same time each morning, not waiting for anyone running late.
Did you know the PTO spirit wear committee also has tote bags, coffee mugs and more available for purchase? Did you also know that these items are available in our new online spirit shop? Purchase these items and some other clearance apparel items online! You can buy with a credit card or PayPal account and have it delivered via your child. It’s as simple as that!
Our Dragon Dash fundraising officially ended and it far exceeded our expectations! Our school goal was $30,000, but thanks to all the students, parents, teachers, volunteers and administration we more than surpassed that goal, we crushed it! Coming in at $46,000!!
After expenses, we netted just over $36,000, making this year’s Dragon Dash the highest earning fundraiser yet. We mentioned in an earlier blogpost how we were going to use the money raised - library design update, basketball court, etc. - and now we can safely say we WILL be able to do all those things!
The money raised also allowed the PTO to allocate almost a third to every faculty member in the school - this includes specials, exceptional ed teachers, the literacy coach, guidance counselor and EL teacher. Each of these faculty members received at least $225 to spend on their classroom, and some received more based on their classroom and individual fundraising goals. It is but a small token of our appreciation for all the teachers who do so much for our students.
The day of the Dash was no small event either. Our students showed such spirit and determination in running their laps. We are so proud of our Dan Mills Dragons! And thank you to the teachers, staff and parents who all supported the students in this event. The PTO is honored to be able to put on such a healthy event and fundraiser.
A design by Dan Mills’ parent, Craig Allen!
We had 15 design submissions overall, so thank you to everyone who submitted a design. We had so many great submissions! Once designs were gathered, they were taken around to each classroom and voted on by the students. The kids had so much fun voting and it was a great uniting exercise for them to have a hand in their next t-shirt design.
New house shirts are now being sold with the winning design. Order forms went home yesterday (Friday, October 5). Make sure to send those back in by the deadline to get your new spirit wear.
Congratulations again to Craig Allen for having the winning design!
House Shirts with the New Design
Our fundraising goal for the Dragon Dash is $30,000. I know we’ve shared that the money raised will go towards updating the school library, adding a basketball court and giving funds to teachers, but maybe you’re wondering why exactly we are wanting to do those things. Let’s go into a little more detail:
1. Library Redesign ($12,000+) - Our current school building was designed and built around 2001-02. The library was provided with standard furniture and it hasn’t been replaced or updated since. The vision is to take the current library space and make it a little more welcoming and versatile. We want to include some more flexible seating spaces so kids can grab a book, get comfortable and read. Wooden chairs just aren’t quite as inviting as a soft chair or comfortable couch! Some teachers also have book clubs that meet regularly, and we would like to include an area where these students could meet as a group in a creative space so they can delve in and explore the texts in a group discussion. Ms. Criswell, the administration and the PTO are excited with the prospect of transforming the library into a fun, inviting, cozy and comfortable space for inspire reading for all ages!
2. Financial Support for Teachers ($8,000+) - As you likely know, teachers spend a lot of their own money on special classroom projects or on classroom supplies. It’s also no secret that teachers are underpaid. So we can help them by providing them with the funds and resources they need to help their students. They can purchase those items that will make a lesson come to life or they can buy that bookshelf and fill it with books. Whatever they choose, it will ultimately benefit all of the students at Dan Mills!
3. Basketball Court (approx. $3,000) - This project has been on the wish list for a while. The playground out front is fantastic, but it’s really designed with the younger students in mind. We would love to build a small half court in the front field to provide an area where all students can play four square or basketball. It’ll offer more options to all our students and teachers, and foster more physical activity!
4. Picnic Tables (approx. $1000) - Students enjoy being outside, and we would love to add some tables near the front playground so teachers can take their students outside for a lesson or a special lunch. These tables would also provide seating after school for parents who enjoy bringing their children to the playground before or after school, as well as to the larger community who use the front playground in the evenings and on weekends.
Now, obviously, if you’ve done the math, that doesn’t all add up to $30,000. The additional money will allow us to increase the budget on the school library redesign as well as add to our general PTO budget. As a PTO we are continuously funding curriculum requests for the teachers, paying for the house parties at Sky High, buying needed equipment for the classrooms and entire school, supplementing field trips so all students can attend and paying for many other things that impact our school. Your donations are not wasted and are always much appreciated!
Dragon Dash fundraising kicked off on Friday, September 14. Race packets were sent home with every student, an email was sent, posts were made on Facebook and Instagram and Principal Yates did a call out. We hope you got the information. ;) Make sure to check out the Dragon Dash section of our website for how to get started.
Our total school goal for this year is $30,000. If every student raises just $60 we can meet that. Better yet, we can surpass our goal if you raise more! To make it fun we are offering all kinds of individual goal incentives, bi-weekly raffle prizes for students who register and team rewards. The very TOP earner in the school will even win an Amazon Kindle! And meeting our school goal earns all students ONE WEEK of NO SSA! Check out more of our awesome incentives here.
Now, you might be wondering why such a large fundraising goal? Where is the money going? Well, we at the Dan Mills PTO are committed to supporting our teachers at this school. And they need our support! A portion of the proceeds from Dragon Dash will go directly to all teachers for them to use in their classrooms. This helps supplement their limited budgets. The rest of the money raised will go towards funding a design update in the school library, installing a basketball court and adding picnic tables to the front lawn. What’s even better is we get to raise the money all while promoting a healthy lifestyle. Everybody can win!
Last year we raised more than $35,000, so we’re optimistic we can do it again this year. And look at all the fun had at the race last year. How can you resist such an amazing event?!
We had an awesome first PTO Live! meeting on Tuesday - more than 60 people attended. Including some watching our very first Facebook Live broadcast!
At our meeting, we shared how some of your PTO dollars have been spent so far this year and what other plans we have for the budget. Here's a quick rundown:
- "Mindfulness kits" were purchased as requested by our school counselor Mrs. Hoge. These kits are available in every classroom in a "Peace Corner" and contain items that students can use to help calm themselves down when necessary.
- We are working on plans to put in a half basketball court in the front lawn (if approved by MNPS). Yeah!
- The back playground will be getting mats to place under the swings. These will keep the mulch from being pushed out of the way and help the younger students be able to reach the swings.
- We are working on a plan to update and "bedazzle" the school library.
- Picnic tables are also planned to be added to the front lawn. The idea is that teachers can use them for outdoor picnics if wanted, especially during end-of-year picnics, AND parents can have a place to sit during after-school playground time. A nice added bonus would be if anyone wants to start a coffee cart! <wink, wink>
- Curriculum used by various grade levels was purchased for the school year - IXL, Star Math, Study Island, phonics curriculum, Accelerated Reader and more!
- We will continue to fund the House field trips - these trips are awarded to the winning house per semester.
- As always, we continue to fill teacher funding requests for various items and teaching tools that help our amazing teachers educate our students.
Thank you to all our awesome parents that care so much about our school and help to make it great.
If you missed it and want to watch, you can find our Facebook Live broadcast here.
For all our PTO Live! meetings we will raffle off two days of NO SSA for your student(s). Two names will be drawn for anyone in attendance - either in person or online. Hope to see you at our next meeting on Tuesday, September 11, 5:30 pm at the Berkley Hill Apartments playground.
Parents! If you're a graphic designer or artist, your design could be the next spirit wear shirt! Send us your best Dan Mills Dragons design. All parent-submitted designs will be considered by the PTO and voted on by students. How cool is that?!?
Email your artwork (preferably in a vector file) to firstname.lastname@example.org by September 1st!