A Few Driving Tips For Drop-Off and Pick-Up

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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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 (ptodanmills@gmail.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.

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Need Holiday Shopping Ideas? Check Out Our New Online Spirit Shop!

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!

Another Mega-Successful Dragon Dash

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!!

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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.

And The New Spirit Wear Design Is ...

A design by Dan Mills’ parent, Craig Allen!

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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

Elaborating on our Plans for Dragon Dash Fundraising Money

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:

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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!

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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!

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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!

It's Dragon Dash Time!

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.

 Just look at some of these cool prizes!  Click here  to see how to earn these and more.

Just look at some of these cool prizes! Click here to see how to earn these and more.

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?!

Special thanks to all our 2018 Dragon Dash sponsors - Cumberland Cooling, 10:10 Creative, The Foundry Chiropractic & Upper Cervical and East Nasty.

Where Do We Spend Your PTO Dollars?

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:

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  • "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.

Do You Have What It Takes To Design Our Next Dan Mills T-Shirt?

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 ptodanmills@gmail.com by September 1st!

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Thank You For An Awesome 2017-18 School Year!

Now that the dust has settled after end-of-school madness, we at the Dan Mills Elementary PTO want to say a big THANK YOU to the parents and community who have supported our school this past year. It has been an amazing one!

With your help and support we achieved every goal we had in fundraising this year, and then some! We hosted four fundraisers this year - Songwriters in the Round, Dragon Dash, Dragon Jubilee and Spring Auction - raising a net of more than $50,000!! Wow.

This is because of YOU, and your school thanks you.

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If you wonder what we did with some of that money, take a look below and see the things YOU helped fund.

Item Amount
Student Achievement Incentives
Includes House field trips to Sky High
~$1,500
Capital Improvements
Includes Closed Circuit TV System, Security door
~$4,500
Curriculum
Includes IXL, Study Island and Southern Word
~$7,300
Dragon Dash Teacher Funds
Money given to all teachers to use for their classroom
~$3,600
Literacy
Includes literacy kits and books for library
~$20,500
Philanthropy
Includes donation to Inglewood Elementary
~$1,000
Professional Development
By teacher request
~$1,500
Supplies/Equipment
Includes P.E. equipment and copy paper for school
~$3,500
Teacher Appreciation
Because we love our teachers!
~$4,200

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.

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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!

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

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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!!

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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!

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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!