Livonia PTSA Council Courier

April 2021

It's Been A Busy Month!

April is probably one of the busiest months for a PTA. Many are having elections or are presenting their slate for elections. Many, if not all, are in the middle of planning for Staff/Teacher Appreciation Week coming up in May. Some are even beginning to plan for end-of-the-year celebrations. And this year is presenting its challenges as we do not know how we will be able to celebrate, so we have to come up with multiple plans. What I love is that many of you are STILL PLANNING. This year more than ever, our students and staff need all the fun they can get and many of our units are doing what they can to make it happen. Let's continue to support our schools, staff, and students in any way we can.

If you haven't already, consider sending out a survey to parents before the end of the year to see what your unit can do/improve for the next school year, especially if it is another year of restrictions due to COVID. It is always helpful to have insight from your members to see what your unit can do to support them. Your newly elected board can review the answers over the summer and formulate a plan of how to incorporate suggestions if any. Sending a survey also shows members that you are truly interested in their feedback and support. If you've never done an end-of-year survey, reach out to your liaison or myself. We are always happy to help!

Andrea Malenfant

Council Newsletter Chair

Council Elects Its 2021 - 2022 Executive Board!

Please join us in congratulating our newly elected Council officers for the 2021-2022 school year! Welcome back Debbie, Kellie, Andrea, and Nicole for their 2nd term. A huge thank you to

Robb for serving as our Corresponding Secretary this year, and welcome aboard to Michael for next year!

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PTA Shout Out!

This month's PTA shout-out goes to Council President Mandy Gerstenbrand for taking the time out of her very busy schedule to attend one of the March BOE meetings in-person to share and speak about the LPTSA Council's Endorsement of the No New Tax Bond. It was important for Council to show their support for this much-needed Bond for the benefit of our schools, students, and staff. Public speaking is not Mandy's most favorite thing to do, but she's never one to say no when it comes to advocating for our students! Thank you Mandy for all that you do and have done this year!

Council's Math APS Program Needs Your Help!

Council's Summer Math APS (Art of Problem Solving) program is looking for new or gently used math and logic games for 1st-4th grades. We will use the math games in the 6 week summer enrichment program we're planning to run this summer. The graphic below shows some examples of the types of games we are looking for. Please share it on your PTA pages. Porch drop off to 15586 Nola Cir, Livonia, MI 48154 by May 30th please. Thank you for your support!
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Important 990 Information From Michigan PTA! Please Take Note!

From MI PTA Newsflash Newsletter:

Many of our units have a fiscal year which ends on December 31. For these units, their 990 must be submitted to the IRS before May 15. Most of these units only file the super-simple 990-N (also called the Postcard). How do you know when your fiscal year ends? Don't check your bylaws---you have to check with the IRS! If your PTA has ever filed a 990N late, even if it was years ago, the IRS may have moved your fiscal year back six months. So you may think your fiscal year ends in June, but surprise! It actually ends in December! And what the IRS says is what counts, not what your bylaws say. You can tell if your fiscal year has changed by going to and using the Online Search Tool. Enter your EIN where it says “Search By” and click on Search. Click on the result from the most recent tax year, and check out the tax period date range. This is a really important thing to verify, because your 990 is due withing 4 months and 15 days after the end of your fiscal year, every year. If you need help with this, please call Michigan PTA at 734-975-9500.

Link to Newsflash Newsletter below for more information.


Michigan PTA has recently announced 3 new Membership Challenges! All of these challenges are due by June 1st. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns. I'm happy to help however I can. For the details of each challenge, go to

Sara Bennett

Livonia PTSA Council - Membership Chair

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Council's Unit Spotlight

Buchanan's Read-A-Thon Really Brings In The "GREEN"!

Buchanan had amazing success with its Read-A-Thon in March! We raised over $16,000 and our students logged over 100,000 reading minutes, which meant our principal, Mr. Wennstrom had to dye his hair NEON GREEN (the color chosen by our top reader and top fundraiser).

The Read-A-Thon took place during the first three weeks of March. Each student was encouraged to set up their own webpage through Get Movin's FundHub. Students then used their personal webpages to track their reading minutes and collect donations. All students who registered earned a bookmark. Students who raised at least $20 earned a free book and were entered into a raffle to win sets of book series; students who raised at least $50 were entered into a raffle to win one of two $50 Barnes & Noble gift cards, and students who raised at least $100 were entered into a raffle to win a Kindle Paperwhite e-reader. Also, the classroom in each grade that logged the most reading minutes won a hot chocolate party! This was a fun way to get the kids excited about a common goal and to raise some funds in this tricky year.

Valerie Jackson - President, Buchanan Elementary PTA

April: Ability Awareness Month at Webster

A few years ago the ACT18 teachers at Webster built off of World Autism Day (April 2) to create an "Ability Awareness" month at Webster to encompass all of the abilities of the kids at Webster. The PTA partners with the staff to promote participation in the spirit days and share ways to educate the population.

Some of the spirit days include "Wear Rainbow" to celebrate the beauty of neurodiversity; "Wear Blue & Yellow", the official colors of Down Syndrome, and promoting books to learn about people different than you, with books recommended by the staff.

The PTA has helped promote participation by posting regular reminders and prompting people to share photos of their students. Everyone who shares a photo was entered into a weekly drawing for a $10 gift card to Anastasia and Katie's Coffee Shop & Cafe, a cafe that was started to create a place where people with and without disabilities can work in an inclusive and supportive environment.

Although the plans had to be scaled back this year a bit due to COVID restrictions, it was fulfilling to partner with the teachers on such an important initiative!

Chris Chmura - Webster PTA President

Riley's Unique Fundraisers

Riley PTA has been busy this month! We had a new to us spring flower sale fundraiser through Foertmeyer & Sons. They are an all-natural, pesticide-free greenhouse and they have many products to choose from at very reasonable prices. Spring flowers, annuals, perennials, hanging baskets, herbs, succulents, and plant food are some of the choices. They use an online sale portal,, that gives each student a unique shopping link to share with family and friends via email or social media. For the PTA, the portal has many helpful features to assist in advertising, run different reports, and close out the sale. They have a fall mum, holiday greenery, and spring flower sale depending on the time of year. The company also has prize incentives and the PTA can add on to those to promote the sale. If you are looking for a new fundraiser, check them out!

We had a family treat night at Eats & Sweets in Plymouth! We had a special shake created just for our Wildcats! We were happy to support a local business and they were wonderful to work with. They offered online ordering, curbside pickup, and carry out in person. They have many ice creams, specialty shakes, desserts, sundaes, coffee & treats to choose from. Our families were happy to come out and enjoy a special treat!

Nikki Watson- Riley President

Frost Gets Magical!

As this year was a bit different in terms of field trips and special events, teachers had to do some thinking outside the box on something special to do for some of our incredible students. We were so happy to sponsor a virtual magic show for the ASD and Center classes at Frost! Magician Magic Suzy was a big hit among the students, putting on an amazing show that allowed the kids to participate virtually! She could see the class and would call on one person to perform a trick. We received some wonderful feedback and wanted to share some of their comments with you!

“This was so enjoyable for the peers and even for us!” Laila B., peer connections program.

“It was a really good show and I enjoyed it!” Mrs. Cordon, a teacher working in the ASD program.

“My favorite part of the magic show was Amazing Suzy’s stuffed monkey, Chico, when he revealed the card to one of the peers.” Nick B., 8th grader.

“I expected it to be good, but I did not realize it was going to be this good. I was honestly amazed by all the magic that was actually happening!” Anthony H., 8th grader.

“This show is so funny.” Andrew

“It was so fun, Chico the monkey is awesome.” Mitchell’s Class.

We also helped students and staff this month in celebration of Autism (and disability) Awareness by providing blue glow sticks for everyone! The school lit it up blue this week!

Monique Cadoret – Frost PTSA Treasurer

Current PEP Standings

And just like that, it's almost the end of April! Please remember that April 30th will be the very last day to submit anything or request any corrections to be made to your PEP score. The scores at the end of the day on April 30th will be the final scores. There is still time to get those emails to PEP and earn more points! Winners will be announced after April 30th. Every PTA Unit's current standings, as of April 23rd, are posted on the Livonia PTSA Council website, Please review your current standings by clicking on "PEP 2020-21 school breakdown". If you have any questions or concerns, please contact PEP at and we will be happy to help.

Good luck everyone!!!

Sara Bennett and Melissa Kachaturoff

Livonia PTSA Council - PEP Co-Chairs

Let's Talk About P.E.P.!

The PTA/PTSA Excellence Program for this school year is coming to an end on April 30th! Remember, in order to receive PEP points, you must send the required documentation to the PEP email:

What's Due:

1.) Monthly membership dues to MI PTA are due Wednesday, April 28th. How do you remit? The easiest way is to use MemberHub. Use the Admin Console>PTA>State Payment and send it digitally right now! Or by check sent to MI PTA.

MI PTA Executive Board Extension Program

After much consideration about how difficult it was to execute plans during this pandemic, the Michigan Board of Directors has elected to offer an extension to current executive board members, with the approval of the membership, without the requirement to slate for elections. This is optional for any Local or Council Unit and is a provision ONLY for the 2021-2022 term. Please see the guidelines in the form below.

MI PTA Unit/Council Awards and Certificates

Michigan PTA offers a wide variety of non-competitive certificates and competitive awards to recognize the remarkable work of volunteers. Awards are intended to honor exemplary leadership and service for children. The deadline for submission is June 1, 2021. For details, visit

Appreciation Awards- Appreciation Awards are a way to recognize the exemplary service of local and council PTA members. Authentic Michigan PTA Appreciation Awards include both a certificate signed by the current Michigan PTA President and a pin representing the type of award. Proceeds from Appreciation Awards supplement the Fran Anderson Scholarship. Appreciation awards can be purchased any time of the year. For details, visit

Advocacy News!

LPTSA Council Endorses The 2021 Bond Proposal*


Livonia PTSA Council Endorses the 2021 LPS Bond Proposal

At our February Meeting, Superintendent Oquist, Mr. Francis, and Mrs. Smith provided PTA Leaders from across the District, with an Informational Presentation on the Bond Proposal, followed by a detailed Q&A… we would like to publicly thank them for taking the time to do this. At our most recent General Membership Meeting on March 17, the PTSA Council unanimously VOTED TO ENDORSE the 2021 LPS Bond Proposal.

We took this action because we recognize the importance of a Bond and the key role it plays in funding our great Schools. The last Bond in 2013 resulted in significant upgrades to our Schools, but it did not address all of the needs (it was not intended to)… this new Bond will allow LPS to continue to strengthen and improve the educational experience of our students.

As stakeholders, PTA members across our 22 individual units in LPS, are intimately familiar with and have a clear understanding of the needs this Bond will address. The PTSA Council supports this Bond because it will be used to address critical infrastructure, enhance technology and safety, and expand educational opportunities for our Students. These are very important items that can only help LPS to retain and attract new families to the area… Strong Schools and Strong Communities go hand and hand.

The PTSA Council whole-heartedly supports this ZERO TAX RATE INCREASE Bond Proposal – we encourage our members and the LPS Community to support the approval of this Ballot Proposal.

Please VOTE YES for the 2021 Bond on May 4th or by Absentee, between now and May 4th.

On Bringing People Together

I watched a conversation in the Anti-Racist Book Festival this weekend with Alicia Garza (co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement) and Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, speaking on the topic of bringing people together. They had a lot of great things to say and I wanted to share a few of the points that relate to the work of the PTA.

They talked about the importance of making people feel at home. People need a sense of belonging. To achieve that, we have to recognize our common humanity and see the dignity in ourselves and others. We need to create dignified spaces so people can lead dignified lives.

Rep. Omar talked about how life as a refugee taught her that you need to live your life in solidarity with others and in service to others, because your own survival depends on others giving of themselves for your benefit. If you can focus on the existence of humanity - knowing that there's something bigger and better out there - you can find the people who represent that beauty. We need to be that person for others and hold space for them so that they can find their community in us and then succeed in life.

Alicia talked about how we make sense of our lives through the lens of our sameness and differences. She was talking particularly about what it had been like growing up in a sea of people who didn't look like her. To find success in building a movement, we need to work on our common interests, while celebrating and remembering the complexity of our differences. Difference can be a strength.

They ended the conversation with the question of how to help students grow in becoming part of the movement. (They were speaking in terms of the social justice movement, but these points also relate to the advocacy and relationship building we do with the PTA.) Here are a few of the things they mentioned:

  • Teach history in a way that it's not just static. Connect it to the present, so that students can see that there still is a movement. The civil rights movement isn't just in the past. It continues.

  • Help students find the people in the community who are making change happen, so that they can join them.

  • Tell fuller stories. For example, don't just teach that Rosa Parks had tired feet and didn't want to get up from her seat. Tell the full story of her role as an organizer and key player in the movement.

  • Ignite, but don't dictate. Believe in students' ability to figure out their own capacity for creating change. Ask them what their response could be and how they see their role in changing what the world should be. Appreciate their courage and creativity. Enlighten them to where the obstacles for progress exist and help them with the infrastructure, and then get out of their way.

As this year winds down and we start to think about how we will make next year great, I hope you take the time to think about their message. Let us celebrate our differences, ignite a fire within our students, be in service to others, and above all make sure that our students and families know that the PTA is a place where they belong.

Debbie Yates

Livonia PTSA Council Diversity and Inclusion Chair

Michigan PTA Action Alert - Suspend Mandatory Retention (Due to Third Grade Reading Assessment)*

Current Michigan law requires a third grade reading assessment to be conducted in April 2021. The test includes the mandatory retention of a third-grader who does not meet a set level of performance. Several bills have been introduced to our Michigan legislature that remove the mandatory grade retention component of the Michigan Third Grade Reading Law for 2020-21, especially in this year of Covid-19 education hardships for students and educators in Michigan.

Schools in Michigan completely shut down in March 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Our schools, educators, administration, families, and students navigated the changes in education with hardworking, positive intentions. Lives have been upended this year and education systems have been significantly disrupted. Children should not be retained in the third grade if they do not meet the required standards in the Michigan Third Grade Reading Law. Do not penalize children, families, and our educators for circumstances beyond their control. The Michigan legislature needs to pass a bill quickly to resolve this issue prior to students being retained due to this situation.

Michigan PTA appreciates that this issue is a priority for Michigan State Representatives and Senators. Michigan PTA requests they work quickly and cooperatively to pass a bill to remove the mandatory grade retention component of the Michigan Third Grade Reading Law for the 2020-21 school year. Michigan PTA urges our legislature to focus on eliminating the retention component swiftly, with bipartisan support, to benefit our third-grade children. To view the Michigan PTA Legislative ASK on this issue click Michigan PTA Legislative Ask #3 Mandatory Retention Reading Assessment 2021

Please send this message to solve this issue of the mandatory retention due to the third-grade reading assessment to your Michigan State Representatives and State Senators. Follow the prompts to send this action alert to your state legislative officials.

Michigan PTA Action Alert - Suspend Mandatory Retention (Due to Third Grade Reading Assessment) for 2020-2021

Important Dates for the 2020 - 2021 Year!

Please note that these dates and times could be subject to change due to COVID - 19 regulations. We will inform all units of any updates or changes as soon as possible.


TBD - Reflections Celebration | TBD | TBD

TBD - YMAD Celebration

5/19 - Officer Training | 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm | TBD

6/16 - LPTSA Council EB Meeting | 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm | TBD

TBD - Audit Party | 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm | TBD

8/7 - 8/8 - Michigan PTA 103rd Annual Convention | Henry Ford College

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 information 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 :

National PTA Blog:

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