Livonia PTSA Council Courier

July 2020 - A New PTA Year Has Begun!

Are You Ready For A Year Unlike Any Other?

On July 1st the new fiscal year began for all of our units. New board members, new committee chairs and more are all coming to fruition. But the question still remains. . . what is this year going to look like? As we wait for the Board of Education meeting this evening to receive more guidance, Council is already looking into different and creative ways to conduct our monthly meetings, events, workshops, and more. We encourage you to do the same! I know it can be overwhelming. Struggling to parent, work, and PTA in a pandemic, but we can do it!

If you haven't already, I would suggest creating a survey for your families to complete. Getting feedback on how your PTA/PTSA can have a successful year is crucial. What are your members expecting from your unit this year? If you can create safe events, would they attend? Are they more interested in virtual events? How can your unit make sure that they are including all students, especially those attending virtually? What unique ways can your unit improve your membership as this year will pose a challenge for it unlike any other year?

Above all else, families/members need to know that their PTA/PTSA is there for them. That their PTA is still advocating for their children especially during this time. PTA doesn't quit for a Pandemic!

Remember, Council is always here to help give guidance. Your liaison is always available regarding any concerns you might have. We are committed to helping you all have a successful year. This may be a year unlike any other, but we accept the challenge!

Stay healthy,

Andrea Malenfant

Council Newsletter Chair

A Letter From The Livonia PTSA Council President

Happy New Year! It might seem like an odd time for New Year’s resolutions, but if you’ve been to Target lately you know that the new school year is quickly approaching! What are some of the goals your unit has for this year? At the Council level, we’d love to see a district-wide increase in membership. This will definitely be a unique challenge this year! Creativity will play a key role – how will you promote your PTA, and let your potential members know the benefits of joining? Take advantage of social media, partner with your principal for e-blasts and make sure you’re using the new Memberhub store for all things from memberships to spirit wear sales to raffles. While we’re not sure exactly what this year will look like, I’m excited to see how everyone tackles things like hosting meetings, events, and last but certainly not least continuing to advocate for our kiddos. As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out!

Mandy Gerstenbrand

Livonia PTSA Council President

We're All About Sharing!

In many of our newsletters, we share information that is not only important for you to know, but your members as well. In an effort to get more important information out there, any titled article with the * symbol after it is an article we encourage you to share on your unit's Facebook/Twitter pages or in your own newsletters. Be sure to keep an eye out for it!

LPTSA Council Spotlight!

The Livonia PTSA Council does not just consist of an Executive Board, but many committee chairs as well! We would like to spotlight Council Members so you can get familiar with us and our friendly faces! This month, we will spotlight 4 members!

Sara Bennett - Council Membership Chair

My PTA experience began at Garfield Elementary when my son was in kindergarten. Going to PTA events at the school made me realize just how much the PTA does for the school. I started by volunteering every time we were able to attend an event. Then, when Garfield closed, we were redistricted to Kennedy Elementary. Our first year at Kennedy I was the 1st VP on their PTA. The next two years I was their PTA president. During that time, I also became involved with Livonia PTA Council. My time on the PTA board and being involved with Council has taught me so much about the PTA world and how much the PTA does for our students, schools, families, and community. We truly are the voice of our children. As the PTA motto states, "Every Child, One Voice."

Currently, I have just finished my second year as the PTA president on Kennedy Elementary's PTA. This coming school year, I will be the Membership Chair on the Council level. I really look forward to continuing to learn, grow, and become more involved with the schools and Council.

When I'm not working on PTA related activities, my kids keep me rather busy and entertained. I have a 10 year old son, Christopher, 9 year old daughter, Elizabeth, and 7 year old daughter, Victoria. My son is really looking forward to starting next year at Johnson Upper Elementary while my girls are looking forward to being in the 4th and 2nd grades at Kennedy Lower Elementary. My kids love to read, run around, play outside, play games, build puzzles, and just be kids. My daughters love dancing and being crafty while my son loves playing sports and tinkering around with things. My husband and I are also leaders in our kids' cub scout pack. I enjoy surprises and look forward to seeing what this next year has in store for us!

Nikki Watson - Council Youth Making a Difference Co-Chair

I have been a member of PTA for 7 years, serving on Buchanan's board as President and Secretary for 5 of those years. This coming year I will be President at Riley. This past year I was co-chair for Council's Youth Making a Difference committee. I have two daughters, Kayla (14) will be a freshman at Stevenson and Kourtney (10) will be a 6th grader at Riley. I am thankful for all the amazing people and friends I have met in my PTA journey! Outside of PTA and my day job, I enjoy spending time with family & friends, scrap booking and gardening. I'm looking forward to helping out and being of service this year, possibly in creative ways, during this unusual time.

Debbie Pline - 1st VP and Youth Making A Difference Co-Chair

I have been involved with PTA since 2010 and on the PTSA Council since 2012. (I think those dates are right?! A long time!) I have served on the Boards at Kennedy, Frost, and Churchill and held every position on Council at least once, though my stint as interim President was thankfully very short!

I have worked for LPS since 2010 in various positions and am currently a special ed para pro in the Frost Center program. I have three children. Alec is 21 and entering his senior year at Wayne State. Daniel is 17 and Lauren is 16 and they will both be juniors at Churchill this fall. We also have two dogs and a currently visiting cat so my house tends toward chaotic and fur covered. I enjoy reading and am HGTV obsessed.

Michael Testa - Council Advocacy Chair

Hello, because I am likely new to most of you, so I would like to share some of my background. I grew-up in Grosse Pointe Woods and graduated from North High School in 1994. This was just before Proposal A, so I was lucky to receive a well-funded public-school education – I wish my children were as fortunate. After graduating from Michigan State (where I met my wife, Christina) I started working for Toyota R&D as a Chassis Design Engineer. I moved to the area and have lived in Livonia for 20yrs (minus ~2yrs for a work assignment Japan). My current role at Toyota is as Senior Manager of a Material Engineering group. Christina and I have 3 daughters and 1 son; they are all proud LPS students (Kindergarten, 2nd, 6th and 7th grades). Our LPS journey started at Perrinville with our oldest who has Special Needs and health challenges. Along the way, we have been blessed with many great teachers and staff. Christina and I have been active with the PTA for several years. I am currently the Advocacy Chair for Hoover and Riley and recently took on the role for the PTSA Council. Christina has served on the E-Board at Hoover and is the President for the upcoming school year. My main interests are Advocacy and STEM. I also enjoy volunteering for Guest Reader Day, Blessings in Backpack, and running the Supply Closet for Livonia Public Schools Facebook Group. As Advocacy Chair, my main goal is to help inform about issues that impact our schools and share how members can take action (if that want to). Our kids keep Christina and I busy and on our toes. They are active in sports throughout the year and we enjoy watching them have fun. During the summer, we like to spend time as a family at Fairway Farms Swim Club. Thankfully the pool is open this summer and it has brought some feeling of normalcy. Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions or suggestions.

A Shout Out From National PTA!

We're famous everyone! Thanks to the unique and creative thinking of Council's Reflections Chair and Diversity & Inclusion Chair Debbie Yates, Livonia PTSA Council was recognized by National PTA for her Unexpected Art Contest! As you all know, Debbie has also created the "Reflecting Our Diversity" weekly event where she show cases many diverse artists in hopes of sparking creativity in our uniquely diverse students. Thank you Debbie for bringing your creative thoughts and ideas to life for LPTSA Council and most importantly, for the students and families! Bravo!
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Reflections Chairs Needed!

Now that we're in planning mode for the fall, it's time to assemble our team of Reflections chairpersons. My goal is to have every unit participate this year. Things will look a little different this year, because of the need to keep everyone safe. I'm guessing we'll be handling most things electronically, so I'm looking for volunteers who are comfortable with things like Google Drive (or be willing to learn). I will update the Reflections page on the council website in the next few days to get our list of volunteers going. Please start discussing it within your units to see who might be interested. Thanks!

Debbie Yates

LPTSA Council Reflections Chair

Council Liaisons

Since the audit could not be completed in one day, Council liaison choices for units had to be done a little differently. President Mandy Gerstenbrand sent out emails to unit presidents in order of PEP point standings to get each unit's liaision choice. We are still waiting for a few more units to respond so check your email and respond as soon as possible! As soon as all units have chosen their liaisons, an email will go out to all unit presidents with their liaison's contact information.

Council Audit - We Too, Can Adapt!

As COVID - 19 continues to pose new challenges, Council has learned to adapt and create ways to continue conducting important business that is needed, like the annual audit. This year Council split the audit into several separate dates at 3 of our Council member's outdoor decks. Each unit was allowed only 2 members to attend and no more than 10 people were in one location. Masks and social distancing were in place. We are happy to have created this opportunity for our units so it's one less worry. A special thank you to Kellie Dummer, Donna Blauet, and Debbie Pline for opening their backyards to make this happen!

102nd MI PTA Convention Business Meeting

Registration for the 102nd Michigan PTA Convention Business Meeting is now open! This virtual event will take place Saturday, August 15 at 10:00 am and will feature keynote speaker Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

"We are excited to bring our members our annual update, amazing keynote speakers and the announcement of a Leadership University to be included as part of this event for dates to follow. This will also be the first time the annual convention will be held completely in an online platform.

While these last few months has not been ideal, we will do our best to offer a great convention in the online platform and we can’t wait for when we can return to our outreach of seeing you in person. Regardless of how we engage in the mission, our mission is always:

To make every Child's Potential a reality by engaging and empowering families and communities to advocate for all children.

For the details and documents for this event, check the Michigan PTA 102nd Annual Convention Website often. Important resources will be provided there."


Email us at:

Call us at: 734-975-9500

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National PTA's New Membership Campaign - PTA For Your Child

Today, PTA’s role is more important than ever in connecting parents, teachers and administrators, and supporting critical school needs. We want every family in our schools to join PTA, because we can do more together than apart.

The new membership campaign—PTA For Your Child—is designed to engage and excite new members and existing members by making the work of the PTA more visible and highlighting the value and impact of PTA.

To bolster your membership recruitment activities, National PTA has developed a suite of materials, including a campaign toolkit that outlines how to effectively communicate the value of PTA membership, a suite of dynamic visuals and collateral materials, and a campaign rollout checklist.

Visit to get started!

National PTA STEM + Families Home Experiments*

Recently the PTSA Council & The Warriors Robotics Team collaborated to offer STEM kits for our Pre-K – 4th grade students. In addition, National PTA has added several STEM at Home Activities to their website.

[Don't limit the STEM fun to school—bring the STEM excitement home and get the whole family involved in the fun. National PTA and Bayer have developed a series of hands-on activities families can do. PTAs can package the activities into STEM @ Home bundles for families.]

These resources can be found at:

Advocacy Updates

2020 General Election Update *

The filing deadline to be on the November Ballot for the LPS Board of Education was on July 21st. Per the Wayne County Website ( there will be a total of 6 candidates running for the 4 open seats. The 6 candidates are the 4 incumbents and 2 newcomers…

- Madeline Acosta

- Tammy Bonifeld (I)

- Karen Bradford (I)

- Dan Centers (I)

- Crystal Frank (I)

- Nichole Hoskins-Goudreau

The November Ballot will also have a proposal to renew the Wayne County Enhancement Millage. We will share more information on both in the upcoming months.

Michael Testa

LPTSA Council Advocacy Chair

Michigan PTA Social Justice Virtual Town Hall Webinar Series Part 2*

The Michigan PTA Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee invites you to join Part 2 of their webinar series – Uncomfortable, Necessary Conversation About Racial Trauma in the Middle and High School Curriculum. Please note the date change as this is now scheduled for Wednesday, August 5, 2020.

Advance registration is mandatory for this webinar:

QUESTIONS? Contact: Jennifer Johnson via

Flat Fee Unit Dues Reminder

In case you missed it, Council voted to make unit dues to Council a flat fee versus a per member fee.

- All Livonia PTA/PTSA units (with the exception of Niji-Iro Elementary PTA and Jackson Center PTA) will pay a membership fee of $100 to LPTSA Council by October 28th of each year.

- Niji-Iro Elementary PTA and Jackson Center PTA will pay a membership fee of $75 to LPTSA Council by October 28th of each year.

It is our hope that this will make membership dues to Council a much easier item of business for all units. Council has updated our Bylaws to reflect this change.

**Each unit should update their bylaws with regard to this change and upload them to Memberhub. Also, be sure that your Budget for the upcoming school year reflects this change as well.**

*This fee DOES NOT include dues to MI PTA or National PTA so those should be paid accordingly.**

MI PTA Annual Dues

On May 13th MI PTA offered a deadline extension for the annual $40 dues to MI PTA. The extension deadline is October 1, 2020. However, Council HOPES that you submitted these dues by the original due date of June 1st. If you haven't, here is how you can do so:

Remitting Unit Dues can be done one of two ways:

By check to:


PO Box 510535

Livonia, MI 48151


MemberHub Store - Selecting PTA Unit Dues

In either remitting method, please include your

  • PTA Unit Name

  • 6-digit State ID number

LPS Return to Learn Task Force*

The Return to Learn Task Force has been working hard this summer to create potential scenarios for a safe return to school in the fall. A special website has been established and it will serve as a dashboard for the Return to Learn Task Force's work. LPS is posting updates as they are available. Please check back often at:

Important Dates

* Indicates change ** Indicates update


**8/15 MI PTA Convention Business Meeting | Virtual | Must Register

** LPTSA Officer Training Workshop | TBD | TBD

Have You Joined Us On Facebook?

If you are a PTA officer or committee chair, please make sure to join our page for important information, discussions, and more! A lot of great info is shared on this closed group page. It's also a great way to network with other units, share ideas, and ask for help.

Getting Connected to MI PTA or National PTA

Michigan PTA Website :

Michigan PTA Facebook Page :

National PTA Website :

National PTA Facebook Page :

About us...

The Livonia PTSA Council is a group of 22 local PTA/PTSA Units within the Livonia Public Schools District. The Council is organized under the authority of the Michigan PTA for the purpose of promoting conferences, communications, leadership development and coordination of the efforts of the local units.

Interested in joining Council? There are chair opportunities available! Contact President Mandy Gerstenbrand at