Livonia PTSA Council Courier

News for September 2019 - BACK TO SCHOOL!

Welcome Back!

Are you excited to kick off the 2019 - 2020 school year? Council is ready and excited to be working with all of YOU!

Please take some time to check out the PTA resources that are always available to you:
Livonia PTSA Council website
Michigan PTA website
National PTA website
PTA toolkit online
LPS website

Is there anything we've missed? Something you want to see? Contact your LIAISON to let them know! Don't know who your LIAISON is? Keep scrolling!

Do You Know Your Council?

Maybe you're a seasoned PTA Vet, or maybe you're brand spanking new! If you are new, WELCOME! Part of being a well oiled PTA unit is knowing your Council and knowing your Council Liaison. We are here to help!

Introducing your 2019 - 2020 Livonia PTSA Council Executive Board:

Save the Date!

Founders Day 2020

Founders Day is a reminder of the substantial role that PTA has played locally, regionally, and nationally in supporting parent involvement and working on behalf of all children and families. It’s a time to reflect and take pride in our many accomplishments! It's a celebration where we continue our pledge of being a relevant resource for parents, being a strong advocate for public education, and renewing our commitment in being a powerful voice for all children.


Wednesday February 12, 2020 at Vis Ta Tech Center

Don't forget those photos! Mandy Gerstenbrand has already created the album for your units to submit photos from your events as you go instead of trying to do it all at once! Thanks Mandy! You can submit them to

Please be sure to label your photos with your unit and the name of the event in each picture!

Important Dates for the 2019 - 2020 Year!


8/28 LPTSA Council Executive Board Meeting | 6:00 -8:00 p.m. | BOE- Conference Room A

8/29 Reflections Workshop | 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. | BOE - Conference Room A

9/3 First Day of School

9/18 LPTSA Council Executive Board Meeting | 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. | BOE- Conference Room A

9/18 General Membership Meeting | 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. | BOE- Conference Room A

TBD School Board Meet & Greet

10/16 LPTSA Council Executive Board Meeting | 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. | BOE - Conference Room A

11/20 Workshop - Topic TBD | 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. | TBD

12/1 Standards of Affiliation (SOA) Deadline


1/15 LPTSA Council Executive Board Meeting | 6:00 - 7:00 p.m. | TBD

1/15 Workshop - PTA Half Time Tailgate | 7:00 - 8:00 p.m. | TBD

TBD LPTSA Council Chili Cook Off

TBD Reflections Ceremony

2/12 Founders Day | 6:00 p.m. | Vis Ta Tech Center

3/18 LPTSA Council Executive Board Meeting | 6:00 - 7:00 p.m. | TBD

3/18 Workshop - TBD | 7:00 - 8:00 p.m. | TBD

4/15 LPTSA Council Executive Board Meeting | 6:00 - 7:00 p.m. | BOE - Conference Room A

4/15 LPTSA General Membership Meeting - Elections | 7:00 - 8:00 p.m. | BOE - Room A

4/30 Youth Making A Difference Ceremony | 6:00 p.m. | Churchill High School

5/20 LPTSA Council Officer Training | 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. | Churchill High School Library

6/17 LPTSA Council Executive Board Meeting | 6:00 - 7:00 p.m. | TBD

7/15 Council Audit Party | 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. | BOE Board Room - Basement

2019-2020 Calendars and Planning Your PTA Year:

As your Unit plans for the 2019 - 2020 school year, please keep in mind the following suggestions for meeting dates (this is really helpful for those with students in multiple schools to avoid meeting/event conflicts!)

K-4 Elementary - set your meetings for the FIRST WEEK of the month
5-6 Elementary - set your meetings for the SECOND WEEK of the month
Middle School - set your meetings for the THIRD WEEK of the month
High School - set your meetings for the FOURTH WEEK of the month

Council will continue to meet the THIRD WEDNESDAY of the month.

PLEASE Submit your calendar to to be added to the Council calendar (which can be found here:

What I Learned from the 101st Michigan PTA Convention

Amanda Gerstenbrand: Livonia PTSA Council Recording Secretary

I recently attended the 101st annual Michigan PTA convention, held at Farmington High School. Several members from our local units and Council gathered with PTAs from across the state to gear up for a new school year! We attended several group sessions and workshops covering topics from officer training to advocacy to membership and heard about resolutions passed by MI PTA regarding the inclusion and affirmation of the LGBTQIA+ community in our schools. At our Council roundtable, we were able to share valuable knowledge with members from the Detroit Public School system who have had an amazing resurgence over the past two years and are now working to build their own Council to help empower their 104 units! Perhaps my favorite part of the weekend was the TED talk given by MI PTA past President Shaton Berry, where we stripped off the titles and “labels” we place on ourselves and really got down to the core of why we do what we do. Her unique style of servant leadership, partnered with her sense of humor and immense knowledge and passion for PTA certainly left me with some points to ponder as I get ready to tackle different leadership roles this year. It was great to reconnect with old friends and meet a lot of “first-timers” who are eager to learn and ready to embody the PTA mission of “every child: one voice.” I left the weekend feeling refreshed, re-energized, and ready to get back in the swing of things this Fall and pass on everything I learned to our local units. If you’ve never attended a convention, whether you’re brand new or a seasoned pro, I highly recommend it!

Let Them Eat Cake,

Mandy Gerstenbrand 😊

Jennifer Konopka - Holmes PTSA Treasurer

Not only was this my first year attending convention, it is my first year as an officer on a school unit. My favorite experiences at convention were 2 of the workshops: Advocacy and Conflict Resolution. I learned so much in the Advocacy workshop! All I can say is - mind blown. The individual leading Conflict Resolution was fabulous and the workshop was so well presented! So informative, engaging and useful. I would attend this workshop again next year!

Jennifer Konopka

Michigan PTA Supports LGBTQ Inclusion - by Debbie Yates, Council Reflections Chair

At the Michigan PTA convention earlier this month, attendees voted unanimously to pass a resolution to support the inclusion, protection, and affirmation of LGBTQ students and families in Michigan. Through this resolution, Michigan PTA expressed its support for:

1) dissemination of parent acceptance resources to all parents as anticipatory support and reduction of community stigma

2) training of regional PTAs on the Michigan State Board of Education Statement and Guidance on Safe and Supportive Learning Environments for LGBTQ Students

3) participation in reviews of current school district policies regarding harassment, bullying, dress codes, facility use, school record update access, and privacy, and support revisions and amendments to those policies that specifically address the topics of sexual orientation and gender identification and gender expression as they relate to harassment and bullying

4) the formation of extracurricular student-led clubs, such as gay-straight alliances or gender and sexuality alliances (GSA) in middle and high schools in accordance with the federal Equal Access Act

5) designation of a Michigan PTA representative who is conversant in topics related to sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.

It also resolved that Michigan PTA and its constituent associations seek and support legislation that creates a safe, supportive, and accepting environment in schools, specifically with training for parents and school-related professionals to support the needs of LGBTQ students.

If you would like to read the complete text of the resolution, which includes the reasons why this resolution was proposed, you can find a digital copy here:

Michigan PTA also presented a two-part seminar at convention about creating an inclusive environment for the LGBTQIA+ environment. Those sessions were led by Samantha Phillips, who is the Vice President of Children's Advocacy for Michigan PTA and Taryn Gal, who is the executive director at Michigan Organization on Adolescent Sexual Health (MOASH). Their seminar included some training about a variety of LGBTQIA+ terms, and a discussion about the difference between sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. They also shared a number of statistics about how much bullying and discrimination the LGBTQIA+ community experiences, and how that translates to increased likelihood of mental health issues and suicidal thoughts and actions. We talked about some of the ways that we could bring positive changes to our schools for these students.

At the end of the session, I committed to returning to Livonia to help create a PTSA committee that would work towards LGBTQIA+ inclusion. If this is something you would like to be a part of, please contact me and/or join us at our next PTSA council meeting.

Debbie Yates

It's Time for a "PEP" Talk!

Chances are, you've heard of the Livonia PTSA Council PEP program. But. . .Do you know what it is and why it's so important?

PEP is the Livonia PTSA Council's PTA Excellence Program. It was created to assist units in achieving and maintaining the Michigan PTA Standards of Affiliation. PEP provides PTA/PTSA units with a way to fulfill unit requirements by providing a point system for completing required tasks. PEP helps your unit stay in good standing and encourages unit growth and participation.

For instance, did you know you get PEP points for inviting your Council Liaison to your monthly meetings? You can also get PEP points for submitting an article for this very newsletter! There's so many additional ways to earn PEP! Be sure to routinely check your PEP sheet to see what can earn you more PEP! Council presents prizes to the units with the most PEP at the end of the year! Don't miss out!

Email (or cc) your PEP documents to

Liaison Assignments for 2019-2020

Here are the Council Liaison assignments for 2019-2020! Consider your liaison your PTA best friend! Contact them for all of your PTA questions and advice. If they don't have the answer, they can find it for you!

Buchanan | Robb Drzewicki |

Churchill | Debbie Pline |

Cleveland | Debbie Yates|

Coolidge | Amanda Gerstenbrand |

Cooper | Amanda Gerstenbrand |

Emerson | Kellie Dummer |

Franklin | Kellie Dummer |

Frost | Donna Blauet |

Grant | Amanda Walworth |

Hayes | Donna Blauet |

Holmes | Debbie Pline |

Hoover | Debbie Pline |

Jackson Ctr | Rob Drzewicki |

Johnson | Melissa Kachaturoff |

Kennedy | Lynda Scheel |

Niji-Iro | Lynda Scheel |

Randolph | Robb Drzewicki |

Riley | Amanda Walworth |

Roosevelt | Kellie Dummer |

Rosedale | Sara Bennett |

Stevenson | Melissa Kachaturoff |

Webster | Debbie Pline |

2019 - 2020 Reflections: Look Within

It's time to start your Reflections program! If you have any questions, you can check out the Reflections page on the Livonia PTSA Council website or contact Council's Reflections chair, Debbie Yates at

Don't forget about the Reflections Workshop on 8/29!

Good luck and get those entries going! (PEP points are awarded for Reflections participation too!)

Big picture

Important Tasks to Complete in September!

  • Elementary - Begin membership drive
  • At first meeting, have membership vote to approve audit, calendar, and budget.
  • Send a copy of approved budget to LPTSA Council & Upload to MemberHub
  • Secure chairs for standing committees, as specified in your bylaws: Membership, Reflections, Masterworks and others. Upload these chairperson’s info into MemberHub.
  • Invite your LPTSA Council Liaison to your general membership meetings. (Invite them monthly to receive more PEP points)
  • Attend Livonia PTSA Council Meeting and Annual LPS Meet & Greet
  • Submit signed copy of the Bylaws Acknowledgement Form & signed Financial Best Practices Form to Council. (forms can be found in MemberHub under files from last year)
  • 9/28 - Send membership dues to Michigan PTA (only for those members who joined via cash or check) and Livonia PTSA Council (for all members who joined that month via MemberHub, cash or check).
  • Need help with Membership or have Membership Dues questions? Contact Council's Membership Chair, Amanda Gerstenbrand at

Newsletter Articles Wanted!

Does your unit have successful events that they'd like to share with others? Or maybe your unit has a secret for getting members to volunteer? You know what they say, "Sharing is Caring!" Submit an article on anything your unit would like to share, and you can receive PEP POINTS! You can submit your articles to the Council's Newsletter Chair, Andrea Malenfant, at

Don't forget to cc to receive your points!