Parents Post

Shipt and Planet Fundraiser Offer New Fundraising Opportunity for Dan Mills

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


Repeat every time you order Shipt!

How's This for a Family Service Project?


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!)

  • Painting

  • 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.

Navigating Screen Time in your Family

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:

Some statistics:

  • 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”
      (3) Apps
      (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 - 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.

  • 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.

Jesse and Sarah Siegand from  Parents Who Fight

Jesse and Sarah Siegand from Parents Who Fight

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.