Livonia PTSA Council Courier

September 2020 - Back To School!

We Should Be Proud

I'm feeling a little deja vu as I'm typing this. Why? Well once again it is the day of an important Board of Education Meeting where an important decision will be made. I know many are anxiously awaiting that decision, but let's talk about what this month has taught us. All of our students started virtually this month (with the exception of certain special education programs) and it has certainly been a learning curve for not only students and parents, but teachers and staff as well. But I've seen how resilient the students and teaching staff truly are! I see posts about all the fun the kids are having doing home scavenger hunts, fun interactive music classes (I'm looking at you Mr. Stromberg!), Kahoot (which is a hoot really), Zoom lunches with friends, teachers opening virtual classrooms a few minutes early for students to socialize and so much more! It has been a month of learning but also of fun and community. Parents are helping other parents, PTA's are figuring out the best way they can support their families and schools, and students are adapting.

I also have to give special recognition to the schools and staff that have been providing in person learning for the special education programs. I can say first hand that it has been a great experience so far. My son attends the center program at Grant and the staff has been amazing with the kids. They have been guiding them through all the new protocols and procedures with ease. Not to mention that I love how organized my son's teacher (Ms. Buscemi) is!

No matter what is decided tonight, we most certainly should be able to say we are proud of ourselves, our students, and LPS staff and teachers for taking this unusual start of a school year and molding it into something really great!

Stay healthy,

Andrea Malenfant

Council Newsletter Chair

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 2 members!

Kellie Dummer - Council 2nd VP and Co-Chair of many things!

My PTA “career” started when my son was in Kindergarten 2007. I attended a PTA meeting and volunteered to be the membership chairperson. While my kids were at Grant Elementary, I held a few different officer positions including president for 3 years. As my kids have moved through different schools, I have done almost every PTA job there is and joined council about 6 years ago. I just finished my second year as council president and it was a great experience. Of course, there were difficulties and it ended with this ultimate test of patience, Covid 19, but overall, it was positive. Council has a great group of dedicated volunteers that are always working to help the school PTA’s do the best they can. During the past 13 years I have made some great friends through PTA and I wouldn’t change that for anything. When I’m not doing PTA stuff or volunteering with the Livonia Warriors Robotics team, I work part time at an accounting firm. I also spend time working out, gardening and camping with my husband Eric, our dog Zeke and our kids.

My favorite thing about PTA is working together in a team to pull together an event and when the benefit of that event helps hundreds of kids, its even better. I also like training new PTA officers and sharing my experiences over the years.

Patty O'Brien Novak - Council STEM Co-Chair

I've been involved in PTA since our early days at Jackson Center. I wasn't going to get involved yet but they needed a Treasurer to keep the PTA alive at Jackson Center. I've been involved since! I was the Masterworks Chair at both Hoover and Webster. At Webster, I was the Committee lead for numerous committees such as Green Club, Battle of the Books and 6th Grade Send off. At Frost, I thought I would ease up on PTA commitments, but again, they needed board members to keep PTA alive. I was the Secretary for 2 years and President for 2 years. Now at Churchill, a similar pattern is emerging - Secretary for 2 years and now President for this coming year. I have met and worked with so many wonderful people through PTA. I love the commitment PTA has to support the students and staff. I have now been a member of Council for 1 year and along with Nicole Dant, just launched APS - a summer math enrichment program to help young students review the math they learned and possibly enjoy math.

I have a daughter, Anna, in 11th grade at Churchill in the MSC program. My son, Drew, just graduated from the MSC program and will be attending UM-Ann Arbor for Engineering/Computer Science. We are very grateful for the educational opportunities LPS has provided as well as the numerous extracurricular opportunities!

PTA Makes Everything Sweeter!

Many of our units made the start of the school year special for their teachers and staff! This year will certainly have its challenges, but with the support of their PTA/PTSA's, it will certainly be a little sweeter!

Franklin PTSA Treats Their Staff And The Community!

On Friday, September 18, the Franklin PTSA arranged to have the food truck Cookies and Cream come to the school for delicious treats! After a staff only timeframe, it was open to the community to stop by and purchase goodies. The staff enjoyed it and so many people from the community came for a treat on a beautiful day!

Laura Ulaszek,
Franklin High School PTSA President

Webster's Back to School Efforts

Like other units, Webster PTA switched its focus from fundraising and events, to how we can best support our families and staff during this time.

The month of August was particularly tough for our families as we did not know if there would be a virtual option for our ACAT program, so we wanted to ease stress and tensions as much as possible. Leading up to school starting, we posted a few encouraging memes on our Facebook page.

On the first day of school, we asked people to share their first day of school photos and had a great response of over 50 photos shared. At the end of the first week, we chalked the walk for our staff to walk into on Friday. For the first full week, we continue to share encouraging memes at the beginning and end of the week.

We conducted a family survey on how we could best serve them this year, and shared the results at our first meeting and in our weekly email spotlight.

Overall, we have tried to be cognizant of the frequency of our communications as we know many people feel overwhelmed. We are focusing on reminders that people need with LPS deadlines, being positive and trying to convey how much we are there to support our families.

Chris Chmura - Webster PTA President

Grant Gives The 3 C's! Caffeine, Chocolate, & Cookies!

Last week our PTA provided a treat for all teachers and staff at Grant!

Since life truly is a circus these days we thought caffeine, chocolate and some circus animal crackers to be the perfect snack to get through some wild virtual learning!

Elizabeth Cortes - Grant PTA President

Holmes Hawk Pride

The Holmes PTSA welcomed back our Hawk staff with something special every week. We provided a Jimmy Johns lunch the first week back, and a donut, bagel and coffee breakfast last week. We had the most fun with the week in the middle. We set up a “lemonade stand” to show our appreciation for how they are making lemonade out of lemons! We couldn’t give them a proper Teacher Appreciation Week in the spring, so we’ve been doing it all month!

Holmes PTSA President - Lori Sosnowski

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Emerson's Smiling Faces

Recently, the Emerson PTSA made buttons with our MoCI staff's pictures so their students could see their smiling faces WITHOUT a mask! One of our teachers was also recently featured in a news segment on PBS and showed some PTA love - check out the link to hear from Ms. Loiselle!


Mandy Gerstenbrand - Emerson PTSA Membership Chair

PTA Shout Out!

This month's shout out goes to Webster PTA for their efforts in working to find the best ways they can support their families this year. They sent out a simple 6 question survey with multiple choice answers and space to write in thoughts and ideas. Here are the questions they asked:

1. Where do you receive your Webster PTA news?

2. How would you prefer to receive Webster PTA news and other communications?

3. When you think about this school year, what types of supports do you think you/your child(ren) might need in order to succeed?

4. What can the PTA do to help your child(ren) have the best school year possible?

5. What can the PTA do to help parents this year?

6. Any other suggestions?

Webster PTA also shared the results from this survey at their first PTA meeting of the year with their membership. These simple but important questions are crucial for a year like 2020. Knowing how you can best support your families is something we hope all units are thinking about. Great job Webster PTA! Keep up the great work!

Current PEP Standings

Wondering where your unit stands in regards to PEP? You can find your PTA/PTSA's current total PEP points on Livonia PTSA Council's website as well as the chart below. Want to boost your score? No problem! Right now is a perfect time to get your Standards of Affiliation done for the school year AND earn more PEP points. How? Once your first meeting is completed, simply upload all SOA forms and send a copy to PEP. Also, inviting your liaison to your meetings every month is an easy 100 points a month! For more easy ways to earn points, see the PEP Checklist 2020-2021 on Livonia PTSA Council's website or download the form below. When submitting, be sure to send a copy to in order to get your PEP credit. Any questions, please email PEP.

Let's see who has the most points by the end of this school year! Happy PEP point collecting!

Sara Bennett and Melissa Kachaturoff

LPTSA Council PEP Co-Chairs

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Let's Talk About PEP!

This year, we have some new updates to PEP! Be sure to download the newly updated PEP checklist and give copies to your board members. Remember, in order to receive PEP points, you must send the required documentation to the PEP email:

For example, if you are inviting your liaison via email to your PTA meetings, make sure you Cc the PEP address!

Due this month:

1.) Monthly membership dues to MI PTA on September 28th (psst, that's TODAY!) 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.

2.) Submit Reflections Chair info by October 1st (100 Points)

Remember Council flat fee membership dues are due by October 28th (500 Points)

(Remittance form below)

Reflections News

Our team of volunteers is assembled and trained and we're ready to kick off Reflections season. We've chosen to go virtual this year, which means all of our entries will be submitted electronically. The chairpersons will be looking to their unit boards to help with promotion at PTA meetings and in your communications to families. They'll also need to confirm that your unit has completed its Standards of Affiliation on time, because if you don't, then your participants can't be judged at the state level, if they win at the district level. We also want to include our Livonia Virtual students, so if you've already established a line of communication with those families, please help us reach them. Thanks in advance for your cooperation!

As a reminder, this year's theme is "I Matter Because..." The deadline for students to turn in entries is Friday, November 13th. We're looking forward to seeing how our students interpret this theme!


Debbie Yates

Livonia PTSA Council Reflections Chair

Founder's Day Photo Album Is Now Open!

Once again, Mandy the Magnificent has created another photo album for this year's Founder's Day celebration. While the status of how we'll celebrate is still unknown, we still want those photos of all your efforts and events! Please make sure that you label each photo with your unit AND what event it is PLEASE!!!!!!!! Thank you!

Founder's Day photo album link:

MI PTA Membership Challenge Deadline Extended

Which Michigan PTA/PTSA unit wants a chance to earn $250 by October 1st?

Is it YOUR Unit?! The deadline for the Early Bird Membership Challenge Grant 2020/2021

will be here soon!

CRITERIA: Your Local Unit must have 50% of its total membership from July 1, 2019 - June 30, 2020, for entry.

The DEADLINE for this opportunity has been extended to Friday, October 30, 2020.

Submit via the following link


Contact, Brian L. Johnson, Michigan PTA Vice President for Membership

Council's Thank You Video for LPS Staff*

The LPTSA Council coordinated with all 22 of our units to create a video "Thank You" for all of our LPS Staff! Many smiling faces came together to show their appreciation for the tremendous amount of work their teachers and school staff are putting into this extraordinary year! A special thank you to Debbie Pline for coordinating and creating this video!
We Love Our Staff

Advocacy Updates

LPS Board of Education Candidate Forum*

The LPS Board of Education Candidate Forum hosted by the Livonia PTSA Council is fast approaching. All six (6) Candidates are confirmed. Questions for the Candidates have been submitted. A video link of the Forum will be posted on the PTSA Council website on 10/1. Be on the look out for it and be sure to share it!
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Michigan PTA's Neurodiversity and Virtual Learning Forum*

Mark your calendar and Save the Date for Wednesday, October 14, 2020, to join us for the launch of the Equity in Special Education Series. Our first topic is Neurodiversity and Virtual Learning sponsored by the Michigan PTA Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee.

*Advance registration is mandatory for this webinar:*

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. Please feel free to post the attached flyer to your social media networks and associative groups.

Please CLICK HERE to access the PDF version of the event flyer.

Please CLICK HEREto access the PNG (Photo) version of the event flyer here.

*QUESTIONS?* Contact: Jennifer Johnson, Chairperson via or

Being An Educated Voter For The 2020 Elections*

Election Day is Tuesday, November 3rd. The LPTSA Council is working hard to help share information so our members can be educated voters.

1) LPS Board of Education: There are 4 open seats with 6 candidates running. The Council is hosting a Candidate Forum on September 30th. All 6 Candidates are planning to attend. The forum will be conducted via Zoom and a recording will be made available for public viewing afterwards.

2) Wayne County Enhancement Millage: This is a Renewal of an existing Millage and will not result in a tax increase. At the September General Meeting, the LPTSA Council voted unanimously to endorse this Millage. At statement about our Endorsement will soon be made available.

3) State House of Representatives: There are 3 House Districts that reach into the LPS Boundaries – District 11, 16, and 19. We collaborated with the Northville Council to create a list of 8 education related questions that we requested all the related Candidates answer. We are now receiving and compiling their replies and will soon make them available.

For all 3 of these items, we plan to communicate the information by using our website, Facebook, and e-blast. Please help communicate this information with your local members and School Community when it becomes available.

If you have any questions, please reach out to Mike Testa (

Mike Testa

LPTSA Council Advocacy Chair

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 - Memberhub Training | TBD | TBD

11/18 - LPTSA Council EB Meeting | 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm | BOE

TBD - Council Meet and Greet | TBD | TBD

TBD - Council Workshop | TBD | TBD


1/20 - LPTSA Council EB Meeting | 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm | BOE

TBD - Council Workshop

TBD - Chili Cook-Off

1/21 - Reflections Celebration | TBD | TBD

2/10 - Founder's Day | 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm | Schoolcraft VistaTech Center

3/17 - LPTSA Council EB Meeting | 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm | BOE

TBD - Council Workshop

4/21 - LPTSA Council EB Meeting | 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm | BOE

4/21 - LPTSA Council Gen. Membership Meeting (Elections) | 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm | Unit members attend virtually

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

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 :

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