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2014 PTA Programs

Burning Tree PTA Programs, Events and Committees
Our PTA organizes and/or is responsible for more than 50 events, programs and committees. These are all run by volunteers! Below you will find an overview of all PTA committees, with information on the program or event, downloadable flyers or sign-up sheets and other relevant information. You will find the name and phone number of the committee and program chair(s) listed as well. 

"Count on Me For Three" -  Volunteer and Room Parent Sign-up Form.
To find more information on any of the PTA programs, events and committees, please click on the appropriate heading to view more details of each program.
After School Activities
Book Fair
Dine Out with Burning Tree
Fill Our Pond Campaign
Original Artworks
Plant Sale
School Spirit Shop
Shop for Our School

Art Teacher Liaison
BTNet Administrator
Bulletin Board
Bus Driver Appreciation
Child Care at PTA Meetings
Directory Editors
Landscape and Grounds Committee
LC Treasurer at Large
Library Gift Program
Lunch Room and Recess Volunteers
Media Center Volunteer
Newsletter Editor
Photocopy Coordinator
Playground Equipment Maintenance
PTA Parliamentarian
Public Relations
Room Parents Coordinators
School Supply Kits
Students with Accommodations Committee (SAC)
Staff Appreciation
Website Coordinator/Webmaster

School-Based Programs
Arts Festival
Cultural Arts
Environmental Committee
Fifth Grade Farewell
FLES (Foreign Language in the Elementary School)
International Night
Science Fair and Lunch with a Scientist
Walk to School Day

Community Building Programs
Back to School Picnic
Bingo Night
Box Tops for Education
Capitol Area Food Bank/Food for Kids
Cluster Representative
Community Update Editor
County Council/School Board Liaison
Drive for Supplies
Family-to-Family - New Families
Family-to-Family - Kindergarten
NAACP Parents Council Liaison
One Thousand Healthy Snacks
Sister School Partnership
Skate Night
Spring Fair

VP for Fundraising: Linda Haglund, lindahaglund@sbcglobal.net 

After School Activities
Co-chairs: Lisa Cohen-Dumani (301) 365-4410, Jennifer Huguely (301) 656-0996, Karla Minai (301) 335-7948, Yolanda Richardson (202) 237-2807 and Ute Von Maltzahn (301) 320-3047
  • The PTA sponsors and coordinates a large variety of before and after school programs such as theater workshops and sports, yoga and art classes. For the 2013-2014 current session offerings, please click here.

  • Book Fair 
    Co-Chairs: Barb Butrica (301) 320-3940, Tanya Kreter (301) 229-1766, Kristen Farren (301) 229-2472 and Lisa LaCourse (301) 767-9447.
  • Do your holiday shopping at our annual Book Fair! The Book Fair, sponsored by Bookworm, is held in Burning Tree’s Media Center. Choose from a wide selection of adult and children's books. A percentage of the sales go to the PTA.

    Dine Out with Burning Tree
    Co-Chairs: Amy Eisner (301) 469-0590 amy.eisner@verizon.netKimberly Rasevic (301) 229-8469 kimberly@rasevic.com
  • Don't miss the opportunity to raise money for Burning Tree while forgetting the worry of preparing a meal for your family! Simply dine in or order carry outs at one of the great restaurants hosting this fundraiser for our school. A percentage of the profits earned for the evening will be donated to Burning Tree.
  • For 2013-2014 the following dine-outs have been planned:
    • September 17th and 18th: Ledo Pizza (5245 River Road, Kenwood Station Shopping Center, Bethesda)
    • October 9th: Mamma Lucia (4916 Elm Street, Bethesda)
    • October 10th: Hard Times Cafe (4920 Del Ray Ave, Bethesda)
    • December 11th: California Tortilla (4871 Cordell Ave, Bethesda)
    • December 11th and 12th: California Pizza Kitchen (Westfield Montgomery Mall)

  • Fill Our Pond Campaign
  • Co-chairs: Sharon Hwang (301) 229-0775 and two vacant positions.
  • This is Burning Tree’s largest fundraiser! In the beginning of the year, parents are asked to make a donation to the PTA as part of our check-writing campaign. In the early spring, join Burning Tree parents and staff at an adults-only party held at the home of a BT family. For the Fill Our Pond Fundraising Campaign letter and contribution form, please click here.

  • Original Artworks 
    We’ll turn your child’s original artwork into a picture on a pillow, mug, or luggage tag—to name a few—and then we’ll all see the proceeds grow for BTES!

  • Plant Sale 
    Co-chairs: Jean Connelly (301) 897-3863 and Anh LyJordan, alyjordan@gmail.com
  • Don’t buy your spring flowers anywhere else! Burning Tree has a highly successful plant sale, where the community can buy high quality annuals and benefit Burning Tree. Be a part of it!

  • School Spirit Shop 
    Chair: Anne Marie O’Donoghue (301) 879-2650.
  • Show your school spirit! Help run the School Spirit Shop, where supplies and other low cost items are sold on specified days and at the August Open House. For a Spirit Shop order form, please click here.

  • Shop for Our School 
    Chair: Alana Aronin (301) 312-8815.
  • Many of the places that you already shop will donate a percentage of your purchases to BTES and our sister school, Broad Acres. These programs are free and if every BTES family participated we could earn thousands of dollars for our school! Click here for information on how to sign up.
  • For Giant Bonus Bucks, please go to Giant's A Plus program. Designate Burning Tree Elementary School (ID 00666) and Broad Acres Elementary School (ID 00867).
  • For Safeway, please go to Safeway's website and designate Burning Tree Elementary School (ID 6480304) and Broad Acres Elementary School (ID 151722171).
  • Please also visit www.OneCause.com and www.target.com to register your cards.

VP for Volunteers: Eileen Vermilyeaevermilye@aol.com
If you are interested in filling one of the open positions below, please contact Kim Bayard

  • Attention BT Volunteers: There is a change to the way you will sign in/out for any volunteer work you might conduct at the school throughout the year. We are introducing an electronic sign-in via laptop in the front office which will allow us to keep track of all volunteer hours more easily. This electronic school check-in is a very simple system. Follow these steps to check-in upon arriving at Burning Tree.

  • Art Teacher Liaison
  • Chair: Meredith Bowers meredithjbowers@gmail.com
  • A parent volunteer is in charge of volunteers and supplies for the art room.

  • BTNet Administrator
  • Chair: Lauren Robin, laurenpr@comcast.net or (301) 229-7703.
  • A parent volunteer administers our email list-serve that carries our essential school community communications. For more information, please click here.

  • Bulletin Board
  • Chair: Erica Orgen erica.orgen@gmail.com
  • The PTA maintains bulletin boards in the front hall to inform and delight our parents and students.

  • Bus Driver Appreciation
  • Co-Chairs: Katherine Melvin kmelvin0428@gmail.com and Open Position
  • The PTA appreciates our bus drivers! In June, volunteers organize a breakfast for the bus drivers who are responsible for safely delivering our children to and from school everyday.

  • Child Care at PTA Meetings
  • Chair: Kim Bayard (301) 365-2303.
  • The PTA provides child care for PTA meetings and the IEP/504 meeting.

  • Directory Editors
  • Co-chairs: Karen Strause (240) 403-7446 or karen.strause@gmail.com and Barb Butrica (301) 320-3940 bbutrica@urban.orhg
  • A must-have reference! The Directory includes school policies & procedures; PTA programs & Board members; and Burning Tree families addresses and telephone numbers. Each BT family who joins the PTA receives one free copy; PTA members may purchase additional copies. The smaller Handbook, which contains only BT policies and procedures, is available to all families, regardless of PTA membership.

  • Historian
  • Chair: Margie Hackett (301) 229-1060.
  • The Historian photographs all Burning Tree’s special events and activities and compiles an annual photo album for the Principal.

  • Landscape and Grounds Committee
  • Chair: Kripa Rayamajhi
  • Landscape Projects, Inc.
  • 5200 River Road, building # 5
  • Bethesda, MD 20816
  • Ph. 301-652-8844
  • Fax. 301-907-8070
  • This committee oversees the maintenance and beautification of our play areas and school grounds. It also organizes Beautify Burning Tree events.

  • LC Treasurer at Large
  • Chair: Reem Shalabi (703) 725-6128 or reemshalabi@hotmail.com
  • Collect and administer LC class funds for parties and purchase staff appreciation week and year-end gifts for the LC teachers with class funds.

  • Library Gift Program
  • Chair: Tanya Kreter (301) 229-1766.
  • Looking for a special way to honor a special occasion or person? Consider making a donation to the Burning Tree Media Center! After receiving your donation, our Media Center staff will purchase a book in your child’s area of special interest to be added to the library collection. The book will display a bookplate acknowledging your gift. Through this program you can honor your child, a teacher or any special person, expand our library collection, and benefit everyone at Burning Tree. All donations are tax-deductible and 100% of your donation will be spent on the purchase of books for our Media Center. Please click here for a library book gift form.

  • Lunch Room and Recess Volunteers
  • Chair: (Open Position)
  • The PTA organizes parent volunteers to help ensure lunchtime and recess run smoothly. 

  • Media Center Volunteer
  • Chair: Tanya Kreter (301) 229-1766.
  • Media Center volunteers assist with library duties such as preparing for class visits, checking books in and out, and reshelving returned books.

  • Newsletter Editor
  • Chair: Yeages Cowan yeagescowan@gmail.com
  • The PTA President-elect compiles and edits the PTA Update, a newsletter issued three times per year, which informs the school community about the programs and activities of the PTA.

  • Photocopy Coordinator
  • Chair: Karen Strause (240) 403-7446.
  • Volunteers photocopy the PTA Update, a newsletter which is issued three times per year.

  • Playground Equipment Maintenance
  • Chair: Katy Greenberg ktduty@yahoo.com
  • The PTA makes sure the kid’s playground sporting equipment is in good shape!

  • PTA Parliamentarian
  • Chair: Darrin Hartzler (301) 365-7332.
  • The parliamentarian helps ensure that the Burning Tree PTA meets all PTA procedural requirements.

  • Room Parent Coordinators
  • Co-chairs: Amy Eisner (K-5) amy.eisner@verizon.net
  • Room parent responsibilities are spread out among a variety of parents to make the tasks more manageable. For each class, we have a PTA Parent Liaison, aTeacher/Classroom Parent Liaison, a Treasurer, and Classroom Party Coordinators for each of the three classroom parties (Halloween, Valentine's Day and End of the Year). Parents may sign up for more than one position.

  • Click  herefor current Room Parent List

  • The PTA Parent Liaison is the main point of contact between the PTA and parents in the classroom. The PTA parent liaison leads parent involvement in Staff Appreciation Week and at the Spring Fair. This parent is also responsible for recruiting parent volunteers to supervise the children on the few days of the year when they lunch in the classroom.

  • The Teacher/Classroom Parent Liaison helps the teacher to assemble a contact list for the class and to put together the monthly roster of parent volunteers in the classroom. Depending on the teacher, this parent may also be asked to round up volunteers for field trips and other special class events.

  • The Classroom Treasurer collects and administers class funds for parties and teacher gifts. The Treasurer is also responsible for purchasing an end-of-year gift for the teacher (usually a gift certificate).

  • Classroom Party Coordinators are the lead organizers for activities, snacks, favors, and decorations for the classroom parties.

  • School Supply Kits
  • Chair: Yvonne VanLowe (301) 469-6431.
  • The PTA sells Schoolkidz school supply kits at the end of each school year for the start of the following school year. Each kit comes complete with the school supplies needed for each grade.

  • Students with Accommodations Committee (SAC)
  • Chair: Open
  • The Students with Accommodations Committee (SAC) facilitates greater interaction amongst parents of children with accommodations,the PTA and the school. Students with accommodations include those with IEPs, 504s, ESOL, learning disabilities, physical disabilities, severe allergies and any other concern for which accommodations are necessary in school.

  • Staff Appreciation
  • Co-chairs: Dawn Gontkovic (301) 854-1919 or dineendawn@hotmail.com, (301) 469-0960 and Ashley Grant (202) 286-2038 or Alison Rhein (301) 512-9911.
  • Most of all, the PTA appreciates the Burning Tree Staff. Four times each year, volunteers organize lunch for faculty & staff. There is also a Staff Appreciation Week May 5-9, and the PTA delivers tokens of appreciation.

  • Website Coordinator/Webmaster
  • Chair: Alan Graeff (202) 709-7007 or webmaster@burningtreepta.org.
  • Keep the Burning Tree PTA Website up to date and informative! A parent volunteer manages the PTA’s website, www.burningtreepta.org.

School-Based Programs
VP for School-Based Programs: Kristin Mills, kristinmills13@gmail.com

  • Arts Festival
  • Chair: Mary Zambri (301) 365-2367.
  • Our annual Arts Festival is a large exhibit of student artwork. The walls of Burning Tree are transformed into a beautiful art gallery. Don’t miss this evening event when friends and family can view the many different mediums the students explore in art class.

  • Cultural Arts and Arts Integration
  • Cultural Arts Chair: Lisa Lerner (301) 229-2661
  • Arts Integration Chairs: Kristen Farren (301) 229-2472 and Stacie Gould (301) 365-0257
  • The PTA organizes various cultural arts assemblies throughout the year for the kids. Art, dance, drama, history, music & science programs at Burning Tree are enhanced through these events, which bring outside artists and scientists into Burning Tree. The Arts Integration committee seeks to enrich the Core Curriculum by bringing in various artists in residence, including fine artists, poets, storytellers and writers.
  • For 2013-2014 the following cultural arts assemblies have been planned:
    • October 17th: Cello Fury
    • April 9th: TBD
    • For more information on this year’s offerings, click here.

  • Environmental Committee
  • Co-chairs: Pam Mercer (301) 320-9728
  • This committee will be considering all options for improving environmental and sustainability awareness at BTES, including ideas for both the curriculum and for voluntary activities. Specific environmental expertise not required -- please join us if you strongly believe our kids need to be better prepared to protect our planet.

  • Fifth Grade Farewell
  • Co-chairs: Open
  • This committee of fifth grade parents organizes the end of year farewell events for our outgoing 5th graders.

  • FLES (Foreign Language in the Elementary School)
  • Co-chairs: Kamenna Lee (Spanish), (301) 320-3821 or kamenna@yahoo.com, Beth Edgerton-Gabriele (French) (301) 565-3395 and Theresa Fong (Chinese) (301) 365-3623 or dcfongs@yahoo.com.
  • Foreign Language in Elementary Schools (FLES) is a unique and exiting language and culture program sponsored by Burning Tree's PTA. Let your K thru 5th grade child experience the adventure of learning another language at an early age! Native speakers from around the world teach fun, lively classes. Children talk, play-act, imitate, play games and sing - completely immersing themselves in the foreign language. Please click here for the registration form.

  • International Night
  • Co-chairs: Furiha Haque (202) 939-0570 and Lisa Shah, RTMHEALTH@gmail.com, (312) 607-0776.
  • On International Night, our Burning Tree families celebrate the rich ethnic diversity of our school community. There are exhibits, performances, activities, and a variety of international foods. Please click here for International Night flier.

  • Science Fair and Lunch with a Scientist
  • Co-chairs: Lee Graeff (301) 767-8919 and Katerina Papaioannou,michaelkaterinap@gmail.com or (301) 229-4286.
  • All students are encouraged to create their own experiments at home and display their results at the Science Fair. During the school day, students present their projects to members of the Washington Academy of Sciences and Burning Tree parent volunteers, and in the evening families are invited to visit all of the great exhibits. Prior to the Science Fair, lunchtime is transformed as scientists visit the childrens’ classrooms and give interesting and informative presentations.

  • Walk to School Day
  • Chair: Kristine DeBry (301) 320-4340.
  • Whether your concern is safer and improved streets, healthier habits, or cleaner air, Walk to School Day events are aimed at bringing forth permanent change to encourage a more walkable America — one community at a time. An MCPS-sponsored event. Clickhere for tips on how to teach your kids to be safe pedestrians.

Community Building Programs
VP for Community Building Programs: Jara Shaprio, jaraslade@gmail.com

  • Adopt-an-Angel
  • Chair: Kelly Rose (301) 897-2910.
  • This enormously successful program allows BTES families to share with less fortunate families and children during the holiday season in a very direct and personal way. It is a great way to get your children involved in holiday giving! Specific children from our area are identified from foster care situations, low-income housing units, and after-school educational programs, and our BTES families are matched up with the children and purchase holiday gifts for them.

  • Back to School Picnic
  • Chair: Jara Shapiro (917) 282-8056.
  • The picnic brings Burning Tree families and staff together early in the school year to renew acquaintances and make new friends.

    • Bingo Night
    • Co-chairs: Shelly Deener, Carol DiGiammarino (301) 229-5034 and Ann Marie Isleib (301) 767-5629.
    • This fast-paced parent-run Bingo Night is a great community activity for Burning Tree families. The kids play Bingo and win great prizes. Get ready for a high-energy evening!

  • Box Tops for Education
  • Chair: Kathi Colonna (301) 519-2822.
  • Save those marked General Mills brand box tops! Send them to the PTA and we'll redeem them for school equipment for our sister school, Broad Acres Elementary.

  • Capitol Area Food Bank/Food for Kids
  • Chair: Marci Ruderman, Marci411@gmail.com or (301) 512-6427.
  • Each week, the Capitol Area Food Bank’s “Food For Kids” delivers supplemental weekend food bags to community based sites serving more than 1,000 children of low income families in the Washington Metropolitan Area. This program is designed to help ease hunger during the days that school is out since many of the children served rely on free and reduced school breakfasts and lunches for their main meals.

  • Cluster Representatives
  • Co-chairs: Cindy Campbell (301) 469-0252 and Yvonne VanLowe (301) 469-6431.
  • These volunteers serve as the link between Burning Tree and the Whitman cluster. The representatives attend monthly cluster meetings and share cluster issues with our PTA as well as bring the perspective of our PTA members to the discussions.

  • Community Update Editor
  • Chair: Anh LyJordan, alyjordan@gmail.com.
  • This volunteer posts the "Community Update" each week on BTNet, which serves as the vehicle to share information regarding tutors, child care, community performances, vacancies on sports teams, lost items, etc.

  • County Council/School Board Liaisons
  • Co-chairs: Jodi Danis (301) 320-0272 and Elizabeth Padgett (301) 263-1212.
  • The PTA’s liaison monitors Montgomery County Council and Montgomery County Board of Education meetings, tracks legislation and shares relevant information with the BT parents.

  • Drive for Supplies
  • Co-chairs: Beth Martino (301) 469-0960 and Yvonne Van Lowe (301) 469-6431.
  • Drive for Supplies is a school and locker clean-out project held at the end of the school year to collect and distribute used, yet usable school supplies to local and international schools, including Burning Tree’s sister school, non-profit agencies that work with children, and children’s charities.

  • Family-to-Family - New Families
  • Co-chairs: Kristine DeBry (301) 320-4340 and Kristin Truitt (301) 767-0348.
  • Current Burning Tree families welcome families new to the school & introduce them to the community & to Burning Tree's programs and events. There is also a new family get-together at the beginning of the school year.

  • Family-to-Family - Kindergarten
  • Co-chairs: Kristine DeBry (301) 320-4340 and Kristin Truitt (301) 767-0348.
  • This program is specifically tailored to incoming Kindergarten Families new to our school. The PTA solicits current Burning Tree families to serve as “buddies” for the incoming Kindergarten families. The "buddies" call to welcome the incoming Kindergarten families to the BTES community, and are available to answer questions about Kindergarten during the summer before the school year begins.

  • NAACP Parents Council Liaison
  • Chair: Kelli Richardson Lawson (202) 365-2011.
  • These volunteers attend meetings of the Whitman Cluster's NAACP Parents Council and share information with the Burning Tree community.

  • One Thousand Healthy Snacks

  • All students participate in making 1,000 snacks for a local organization that provides food for needy area families.

  • Sister School Partnership
  • Co-Chairs: Santi Karamchetty (301) 320-0594 and Paige Rosenfeld (301) 468-2644.
  • The Sister School Partnership is an initiative between Burning Tree and Broad Acres Elementary School, a school in Silver Spring with a majority of students on free or reduced lunch. Parents from both schools share programming ideas and resources. The two schools may also participate in joint activities when feasible.

  • Skate Night
  • Co-Chairs: AnnMarie Isleib (301) 767-5629 and Rebecca Smith.
  • Burning Tree rents the ice rink at Cabin John Ice Rink for an evening, and our kids and their families skate together!

  • Spring Fair
  • Co-chairs: Brenna Bounds (240) 396-6041, Linda Haglund (310) 562-3426 and Gretchen Hitchner (301) 312-8192.
  • Help organize this fun-filled day in the spring when Burning Tree is turned into a carnival! Enjoy games and prizes, moon bounces, the cakewalk and much more! Volunteers are needed to organize this event, help on specific committees, and volunteer the day of the event.

Volunteering at Burning Tree

Burning Tree celebrates volunteers! When you volunteer, you demonstrate to your child that you value his/her school and education and that you are proud to participate in his/her life as a student. There are abundant opportunities for volunteering. We need volunteers inside the classroom as well as volunteers who can do projects at home such as record classroom books on tape or help cut out bulletin board displays. Whether you have a lot of time or a little and whether you can come into school or work only at home -- you can be an active volunteer!

To ensure a wonderfully beneficial experience, all volunteers are asked to follow the few guidelines presented below:

  • Room Parent Volunteers:
    PTA Parent Liaison Guidelines - click here
    Teacher/Classroom Parent Liaison Guidelines - click here
    Classroom Treasurer Guidelines - click here
    Classroom Party Coordinator Guidelines - click here

  • Always Sign in at the Main Office and Wear a Volunteer Badge - All volunteers should sign in via the laptop in the front office. This electronic school check-in is a very simple system. Follow these steps to check-in upon arriving at Burning Tree. For school safety and security reasons, make sure to wear the badge that automatically prints after checking in.

  • Respect Student Confidentiality - Any information which you receive while volunteering in the classroom must remain confidential. We must respect the students' privacy at all times. Please never say anything about a child that you wouldn't want repeated about your own child. Avoid making comparisons and placing children in competition with each other.

  • Stay Focused on Your Volunteer Assignment - Please resist the temptation to socialize with other parents during "in school" volunteer time. A background of adult chatter is distracting to the children. Please do not use your volunteer time to discuss your own child or your personal questions with the teacher. Make an individual appointment for such discussion. Also, please remember that as a volunteer you are there for all the children - please do not use this as a time for special interaction with your child alone.

  • Interacting with the Children - Try to learn the childrens' names and address each child by name. Always be positive when explaining directions or making corrections.

  • Please Do Not Talk or Text on Your Cell Phone While You are in the School or on the Playground

  • Please Do Not Bring Siblings with You for a Volunteer Appointment

  • Call the Office if it Becomes Necessary to Cancel a Volunteer Appointment - Please call(301) 320-6510 as soon as possible if you must cancel a scheduled volunteer appointment. If it is before or after school hours, leave a message on the answering machine indicating which staff member was expecting you so that he/she can be advised of your cancellation.

To volunteer for any PTA event, simply call or email the responsible Committee Chairperson whose name is listed on this page (see listing above).