Tips for A Successful Auction Night

The annual Dan Mills' Spring Auction and Art Show night is upon us this week! We thought we'd share a few tips with you so you can have an easy and enjoyable evening.

1. Pre-Register for a Bidder Number.

You can register at the event the evening of the auction, but there will also be a line.  Take less than a minute to pre-register for your bidder number now, and you’ll have everything you need to walk into the auction and start bidding on the items you want! 

2. Volunteer!

Lots of volunteers are needed to help run a successful auction. So please consider signing up for just a short shift. Volunteering is a way to give back to Dan Mills, and your time is greatly appreciated. Sign up to volunteer here!

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3. Come Hungry!

D’s & J BBQ, Steaming Goat and That’s My Dawg food trucks will be open in the front drive starting at 4:30.  The bake sale team will also have goodies for sale in the cafeteria.

4. Pay for your item and take it home when the auction ends.

Checkout tables will be set up to make checkout easy and quick! By paying for and taking home your winnings at the close of the auction, it will prevent you from having to come in later to claim your item.


5. Sign up for Venmo if you haven’t already.

Winners will be able to pay with cash, check, Venmo, or credit card. Cash, check and Venmo will be the fastest ways to pay.  There are no fees that are charged through Venmo…so that’ll ultimately be more money that goes back to Dan Mills.

6. Have fun!

There will be lots of great items at this year’s auction!  Know that your money will be used to help fund enhanced school safety and to compensate for budget cuts, so bid enthusiastically on something that you’ll enjoy!

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What Is It About All This Spring Auction Talk?

No doubt you're aware that our annual Dan Mills' Spring Auction and Art Show is coming up NEXT WEEK, Thursday, April 19. (And if you don't know what I'm talking about, let me help you out and direct you to our webpage on it here.) So the question to answer for you now is "why should you care?" 

My answer is two-fold: (1) The spring auction portion is a BIG fundraiser for the PTO and our school and, with the MNPS budget cuts and recent security concerns, the money we earn is of great importance. And, (2) We have some awesome items up for auction this year in all kinds of categories - health & fitness, jewelry & art, food & dining, music & entertainment, home services, fashion & beauty, teacher experiences and more! You just never know what you'll stumble across at the auction that you have yet to find the right opportunity to purchase. <wink, wink>

Check out the gallery below for a preview of some of the items to be auctioned.

And don't forget! We're using bidder numbers this year to streamline the bidding and checkout process. Bidder numbers can be obtained by getting a FREE ticket. You only need one ticket per family. Pre-register today to get your FREE ticket!

You can make an entire evening out of this event ... there'll be food trucks for dinner (starting at 4:30pm), 1st & 2nd grade musical performances and the annual art show where all the students' artwork from the year will be on display throughout the school.

More details on the event, including the schedule and volunteer opportunities, can be found on our Spring Auction webpage.

Showing Appreciation For Our Crossing Guard

 Ms. Sonya with her handmade card

Ms. Sonya with her handmade card

Here at Dan Mills we feel strongly about honoring ALL the people who help our school run smoothly ... and our crossing guard, Ms. Sonya, is no exception! Dan Mills' parent, Elizabeth Sullivan, spearheaded an effort to collect money from parents and gift something to our steadfast crossing guard for Crossing Guard Appreciation. And boy did you all come through! We were able to raise more than $500!!

Families gifted Ms. Sonya with a beautiful, homemade card and a gift card in the amount raised. She was very grateful for the surprise gift. And we are so glad we could show a tiny bit of appreciation for all that our crossing guard does every school morning and afternoon.

Thank you to all the parents who contributed money, the students who signed the card and Ms. Holt and the art department for designing the card.

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Ways To Help Our School Amidst Budget Cuts and Spending Freezes

As most of you have probably already heard, MNPS has proposed an adjustment in the budget and allocation of funds to individual schools for the 2018-19 school year. The district has also immediately instituted a hiring, travel and purchasing freeze at schools in light of a $7.5 million shortfall for the year.

I'm not here to discuss the ins and outs of MNPS budgeting, though you may read about it on The Tennessean here: "How the upcoming Nashville public schools budget proposal will impact your child's school" and "Nashville school board members call for a review of expenditures in light of $7.5 million shortfall."

Dan Mills' PTO is dedicated to supporting our school in whatever way possible so that our students, teachers and administration can thrive. So here are some things you, the parents of Dan Mills, can do to help our school.

  • Reach out to your child's teacher and ask if there's anything they need in the classroom to get through to the end of the year.
  • Attend our Spring Auction fundraiser on April 19. And bring your wallet! ;)
  • Volunteer in the classroom. Talk to your child's teacher and see if they have tasks they need help completing.
  • Get involved with the PTO.
  • Gift your child's teacher with an Amazon gift card or another gift card to a school supply store.
  • Attend our PTO Live! meetings to see where else you can plug in.
  • Tell your teachers "thank you."
  • Donate to the PTO - contact us if you'd like to. The funds collected by the PTO directly go back to the school to fund such things as increased security measures, computers, teacher supplies, literacy kits, teacher requests, and all kinds of other things.

Have more ideas? Share them in the comments!


You Got It? We'll Take It!! A Call For Auction Items.


Do you own a business? Do you provide a service? Do you have a talent? Do you know someone else who has any of these? Do you have access to cool people - artists, musicians, etc.? Do you not have any inhibitions and can ask people for anything?

If you answered yes to any of the the above, then by golly tell us! The PTO is still collecting auction items for our Annual Spring Auction. It can be a gift card to a restaurant, teaching guitar lessons, providing electrical work, really cool memorabilia (you know, for anyone who is tied to the music business ... wink, wink), babysitting services, or anything you can think of that people might want. We also need volunteers who can go door to door to local businesses and ask for donations.

We're determined to make this auction the best one yet! Proceeds from this fundraiser will hopefully go towards security measures AND help offset yet more budget cuts at Dan Mills.

If you have items to donate to the auction or want to help solicit more auction items, contact Jen McCarter.

East Nashville Chiropractic Donates to Dan Mills PTO!

In December East Nashville Chiropractic, owned by Dan Mills' parent Kathleen Inman, set a goal of raising $1,000 for Dan Mills Elementary. Well, they met that goal!! At Tuesday's PTO Live! meeting Kathleen presented us with a check for $1,000. 

Thank you East Nashville Chiropractic! It is because of local businesses like you and the great parents we have that we've been able to build a fantastic PTO to support our wonderful school!

  Adults (left to right):&nbsp;Kathleen Inman, Dr. Sanders, Paula Howell

Adults (left to right): Kathleen Inman, Dr. Sanders, Paula Howell

A few clarifications on fundraisers

There quite a few fundraisers going on right now at Dan Mills. We know! And while none of these current fundraisers are "PTO fundraisers," we know there have been a lot of questions about them and wanted to get some answers for you parents. So here are details on the school staff contact who is responsible and the deadline for each of the three fundraisers going on right now:

  1. Snackin' USA Fundraiser - Principal Yates sent a letter home about this one. It was a fundraiser secured at the beginning of the school year by the main office to help offset budget cuts. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Dan Mills Elementary. Deadline for orders is TOMORROW, February 7. 
  2. St. Jude Math-A-Thon - This is a fundraiser for St. Jude Children's Hospital. School contact is Mr. Edwards and deadline for donations is this Friday, February 9.
  3. Jump Rope for Heart - This is a fundraiser for the American Heart Association. School contact is Ms. Willliams. There will be a school-wide event on Valentine's Day, February 14, and fundraising ends on Friday, February 16.

Hope this helps clear some things up for everyone.

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Everyone Crushed the Dragon Dash!

Our Dragon Dash fundraising officially ended and it far exceeded our expectations! Our school goal was $20,000, but thanks to all the students, parents, teachers, volunteers and administration we more than surpassed that goal, we crushed it! Coming in at over $34,000!!


This money has allowed the PTO to award $175 to every teacher in the school, including specials and exceptional ed teachers. What a gift for all the teachers who do so much for our students! And, of course, the money raised was already earmarked to help purchase literacy kits and more computers for the computer lab.

The day of the Dash was no small event either. So many students in all grade levels ran their hearts out. We were so excited to see students participating in such a healthy event AND having fun with it! We heard several students saying what fun they had and that they wish we could do it again. Well, don't you worry ... this will be a repeat event next year for sure!

On your mark. Get set. Let's Dragon Dash!!

Dragon Dash fundraising kicked off on Friday, September 15. The PTO hosted a fun and entertaining pep rally at the school for students and teachers, 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 $20,000. If every student raises just $50 we can meet that. Better yet, we can surpass our goal if you raise more! Proceeds are benefiting teachers in their classrooms, funding new computers and purchasing literacy kits for classrooms. 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! Check out more of our awesome incentives here.

 Thanks to Emily Masters and her dance students for coordinating the cheer and dance portion of our pep rally.

Thanks to Emily Masters and her dance students for coordinating the cheer and dance portion of our pep rally.

Kicking Off the 2017-2018 School Year Right!


We had a stellar turnout at our first PTO Live event this past Tuesday! And we're excited for all the amazing things we're going to do this school year. It's going to be the best year yet! Starting this fall out with awesome events like the Songwriters in the Round, Dragon Dash fun run and, of course, our ever popular Dragon Jubilee. Some really fun after school clubs are kicking off this year too!

Read the PTO's first newsletter of the school year here to get updated on all things shared at our first meeting.

And, stay in the know! Make sure you're signed up to receive all our newsletters!

It’s Auction Time!

 Classes work together to create themed baskets for the silent auction.&nbsp;

Classes work together to create themed baskets for the silent auction. 

Hey, Dan Mills Community! Now is the time to start planning for our spring auction. The Silent Auction and Art Show, scheduled this year for April 20, is one of our biggest fundraiser events. Last year we raised over $10,000 through auction bidding, and the event is growing each year!

We especially appreciate the help of local businesses and business owners in providing donations for our auction items each year. Do you know of a business who might like to donate? Contact the auction committee!

Planning and running the auction takes a lot of work, and we need your help! We have committees to organize and help with each area:

Auction Committee: This committee will coordinate collecting items from local businesses and organizing items at the school. They will also help with bid sheets, write thank you notes and tax forms to donor businesses, and coordinate item pick up and payments following the auction.

Donor solicitors:  This is our biggest need because of the sheer amount of local businesses that are in our city.  Volunteers can be any parent or staff from DMES who would be willing to approach local businesses for donated items, services, lessons etc.  To get started, click on this shared document. It has all the links and info on how to approach donors, including a spreadsheet to sign up to contact businesses.

Digital Team:  The members of this team will do a digital "shout out" as thanks for the donation on our Facebook page, Twitter, and PTO blog. If posting to Facebook is your thing, this is your team!

Grade Level Basket Coordinator: Each grade level typically organizes a basket around a theme (summer fun, family game night, etc). The grade level coordinator will work with room parents to contribute to a grade level basket.

Site Prep Team: Set up the library the week and day of the auction. This team will work with the librarians to make sure that the library is ready for the auction but still open to students during the week of the event.

Auction Staff: This team helps to staff the auction, answering questions and helping move traffic throughout the evening. They also work with the closing team to help get the auction finished out.

Closing team - On Site:  This is the team that gathers bid sheets, closes auction items out at the end of the night, and helps to clean up the library so it is ready for use the next day.  Time commitment is about an hour or so the night of the auction.

Closing team - Off Site:  This team typically goes to an off-site location to total the auction and notify winners via email. This may be a late night after the auction is over. Bring your laptop (for emailing) and enjoy a snack and beverage while we work together to wrap things up!

Feel free to sign up on more than one team. Many hands make the work light.  Let's work together to make this auction the best yet!

Sign Up Here!

 Colorful student art brightens the walls throughout the evening of the Silent Auction and Art Show.&nbsp;

Colorful student art brightens the walls throughout the evening of the Silent Auction and Art Show. 

Dragon Jubliee - Tips for making the most of it!

Dragon Jubilee is here! This is one of our biggest events in the Dan Mills Community, and we’re excited about your family joining us. Here are some tips for making sure you have a great time!

Before the event:

-Pre-order your bracelets. Skip the long lines by pre-ordering your bracelets with the orange forms sent home in your student’s folder. Pick them up at Will Call during the week of the event, and you can skip the lines at the door!

-Plan to volunteer. We need everyone’s help! Find a time to volunteer that fits with your schedule. Consider swapping childcare with a friend so you both can pitch in!

At the event:

-Carpool or walk. Our parking area gets crowded, so if you can safely walk to the event, consider doing so. Carpooling is another great way to save space!

-Find the map. Did you know we offer a map of all the games? You may not have time to try everything, so the map is great way to plan your evening.

-Bring or make a bag! You’ll need a way to carry all those prizes, so bring a bag from home or head to Mrs. Greer’s class to make one.

-Let us take care of dinner! $5 meal tickets include a complete meal. You won’t want to miss Dr. Messenger’s BBQ sandwiches and the veggie burgers from Drifters.

-Bring cash for the bake sale. Just wait until you see what our bake sale team has created for you! Feel free to browse the book fair while you’re in a buying mood!

-Leave the stroller at home. Because Dragon Jubilee is such a popular event, the hallways can become quite crowded. You may be more comfortable wearing or carrying small children.

-Divide and conquer. We love it when you invite extra family members and friends, but the crowds make it hard to stick together. Considering dividing into smaller groups to enjoy the classroom games even more.

Most of all, have fun and be safe! Thank you for supporting Dan Mills!

A First Year Parent's First PTO Meeting, By Sarah Walden


I watch too much tv. In my pop culture-soaked brain, I feared the PTO would be full of Stepford Wives battling for control with Game of Thrones machinations. I couldn't have been more wrong! Sitting in the Kick Off meeting on Tuesday, in the bright and busy cafeteria, I found a beautifully diverse and engaged group of parents and guardians excited to give their children the best environment possible. Moms and dads of all ages and backgrounds filling the cafeteria, much to the delight of Principal Yates. Happy little ones ran around the room.  We clapped our way to attention and the meeting started off with a welcome from Emily, a remarkably composed woman with an infectious enthusiasm that set the tone for a productive time together. She introduced other members on the board and got right to business.

This meeting was fun and casual but very efficient. We heard from the different committees on how the money raised last year was spent and what they envisioned for the coming year. I was very impressed by the thoughtfulness with which the plans were made. Teachers are a priority. Happy teachers make for happy learning environments so we must make sure they feel appreciated and supported. We learned that being a class parent isn't as overwhelming as it seemed and didn't take a stay at home parent to do it. A full time worker can be a class parent, too! We heard about the gardening initiative, the forthcoming chess club, and were invited to submit more ideas for after school clubs.  The DIY team is ON IT! They do the work that Metro might not have the time or resources to accomplish. I was very impressed at the scope of the work being done.

There are so many opportunities to be involved in ways that play to your strengths and schedules. You can volunteer to help the kindergarteners in the cafeteria, or help with the talent show. You can bake to help raise money for teacher appreciation. You can help run the Carnival, Talent Show, or Art Show. Are you a technical writer or willing to learn how? Then you can write grant proposals and help procure resources that enrich our students' lives. The special area teachers could use your help - art, music, library, literacy. You can be as casual or committed as you like. Get some work sent home so you can staple your way through a pile of papers, or come to the school to help with assessments. 

Spirit wear is coming... ooooohhhhh. It is considered standard school attire and can be worn any day of the week. The options are so much cuter than when I went to Dan Mills in the 80s (no built in shoulder pads!)

I am saving the best news for last. No selling candles or cookie dough. No door-to-door or bugging your workmates. This year, all fundraising will be done by donation. The school is hoping for $100 from every family. This won't be possible or expected from every family, so those that can do more are encouraged to go for it! Get your relatives and friends to save Box Tops and register your Kroger card! Personally, I am sending out a letter to our extended family to let them know that they can participate by donating, too.  

Let's show our love and put our money and time on the line for a reward that benefits us all. I read recently that investing in our schools not only benefits our own children but our community's future. These are the caretakers and public servants of our future and the more they have engaged learning experiences, the better all of our futures will be. Check the website to see all of the volunteer opportunities and the calendar to save the date for all of the fun activities coming our way.  Whatever your talent or interest, you can help!  Our love of our children unites us in a common mission and I am excited to see how this passion drives us to keep Dan Mills a shining example of an MNPS elementary school this year! 


If you missed the meeting and still want to know what is going on, click on our minutes page to find out!  All the PTO Live minutes will be posted the week of the meeting.

Time to Re-Register those Kroger Plus Cards!

 &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Shop at Kroger with your rewards card...DMES gets rewarded!

It’s August… which means it’s that time of year to enroll or re-enroll your Kroger Plus Card with the Kroger Community Rewards Program!  Even if you have enrolled in the past, you will need to go into your account and update and select Dan Mills Elementary.  If not, towards the end of August you will be dropped from the program.

Kroger Community Rewards Program Registration Instructions
Dan Mills Elementary School’s organization number is: 88397

The Kroger Community Rewards program is an ideal way to support Dan Mills Elementary while doing your weekly grocery shopping!  The program allocates funds to participating organizations based on the purchases that registered members, family and friends of the organization have made at Kroger using their Kroger Plus card.  This program does not affect your Kroger fuel points. Each individual should enroll their Kroger Plus Cards online at the Kroger secure website, and then choose the organization they wish to support.

Register your Kroger Plus card online at
•    Be sure to have your Kroger Plus card handy (you will need the number)
•    If you do not yet have a Kroger Plus card, they are available at the customer service desk at any Kroger
•    Click on Sign In/Register
•    Click on SIGN UP TODAY in the ‘New Customer?’ box (unless you have previously registered online).
•    Sign up for a Kroger Rewards Account by entering zip code, clicking on favorite store, entering your email address and creating a password, agreeing to the terms and conditions
•    You will then get a message to check your email inbox and click on the link within the body of the email to finalize card registration.
•    Click on My Account and use your email address and password to proceed to the next step.

Link your Kroger Plus Card with Dan Mills Elementary
•    Log into your account at
•    Click or Edit Kroger Community Rewards information and input your Kroger Plus card number.
•    Update or confirm your information.
•    Enter Dan Mill’s organization number (88397) or find Dan Mills Elementary in the list of organizations and click on it to confirm.
•    To verity you are enrolled correctly, you will see Dan Mill’s on the right side of your information page.

•    REMEMBER, purchases will not count for Dan Mills until you have registered your card and linked it to Dan Mills Elementary!
•    If you use your phone number (alternate ID) at the register instead of swiping your card, call 800-576-4377 and select option 4 to get your Kroger Plus card number.
•    You must swipe your registered Kroger Plus card, or use the alternate ID that is associated with your registered Kroger Plus card, when shopping for each purchase to count.


Boo Hoos and Yahoos on First Day of School

Kindergarten parents wiped away tears as they contemplated the year ahead, while returning parents celebrated on the lawn. (Thanks to Kindergarten parent Jason Bihler for the below image from the Boo Hoo Breakfast!) It was an exciting day for everyone, as teachers and students (and parents - of course) came together to begin a new school year. Perhaps most exciting was the leadership offered by our new principal, Mr. Robby Yates. The more we get to know him, the better we feel about having to say goodbye to our beloved Mrs. Patti Yon. While we'll always miss her welcoming presence, it's good to know that Dan Mills is in the very capable hands of Mr. Yates and our wonderful assistant principal Dr. Sherleta Sanders. 

Emily Booth Masters, Dan Mills E.S. PTO President for 2016-2017 School Year

  Boo Hoo Breakfast for Kindergarten Parents at Dan Mills E.S. Aug. 3, 2016; image by  Jason Bihler Photography

Boo Hoo Breakfast for Kindergarten Parents at Dan Mills E.S. Aug. 3, 2016; image by Jason Bihler Photography

Welcome Garden


Our Dan Mills community has been hard at work this fall designing a Welcome Garden around the sign at the entrance to our school. Parents Mia Cover, Chris Hinson, and Martha Guess collaborated on a design for a garden that will be installed in phases this year. This month, we began preparing the soil and mulching around the sign, and students from our Growing Leaders after school garden club planted bulbs and created stepping stones that will be installed along with evergreen shrubs in the coming weeks. We will plant more flowers to add some color when the weather grows warm again in the spring.


A big thank you to all of the parents, community members, and students who came out to help in frigid temperatures this week! Your dedication to our school makes it a beautiful and welcoming place for all.

In the Garden with the First Lady

At the end of August, Dan Mills Lead Garden Teacher Laura Young was invited by First Lady Crissy Haslam to be a panelist with Plant the Seed ( during a teacher training event ( at the Tennessee Residence Kitchen and Cutting Garden. The panel discussion on integrating school garden learning into the curriculum was one of several sessions offered during the event organized by UT Extension and the Tennessee Residence Master Gardeners. After touring the inspiring gardens with First Lady Haslam, teachers returned to their schools with new resources and lessons, some of which have already been introduced by Mrs. Young in her third grade class this month.

To view pictures from the event, visit our gallery!

The Dan Mills PTO Garden Team will be working closely with Mrs. Young this year to encourage garden-based learning for our students, and to support teachers who would like more opportunities to integrate the garden into their lesson plans. If you would like to volunteer in our school garden, let us know here. (