The Piney Branch Action Team brings together diverse parents, school staff, and community members to build a community-owned school culture that supports and celebrates the school’s multicultural identity. Piney Branch Elementary School is in Takoma Park, Maryland. PBAT posts are new to the Neighborhood Opportunity Network blog. To check out earlier posts go to www.pineybranchactionteam.blogspot.com.
The PBAT kicked off its second year of school transformation with a retreat on Saturday, October 9th. The team has grown to include new teachers and parents: Kathy Rutledge (paraeducator), Kerry Danner-McDonald (3rd grade parent), Kristen Dunlap (3rd grade teacher), Ally Zevin (PTA co-president), Tasha Winns (Speech/language specialist).
The retreat was a moment for relationship building, visioning, and strategic planning. The team spent the morning engaged in interactive exercises to help break down barriers and create connections. After lunch, we revisited the mission statement and began crafting operating principles to help give definition to the team. The draft principles include this suggestion from Ally: “It’s the blending of our ideas that enables us to create the widest/best opportunities for parental involvement.” Ken offered: “The members of the Action Team have found that by initially building personal relationships, we are able to more effectively blend our voices.”
The end of the day was devoted to working on action projects that will impact Piney Branch’s October 11th Open House. The team wants to encourage more families to attend the Open House and have it be a more meaningful experience for parents and teachers. Look for a report on the projects in the next blog post.
Ken closed the retreat by sharing a poem that he was inspired to write during our day together. Enjoy!