Dear TPMS families,
I hope each of your families had a great first week of the school year. I’m writing to you as a fellow parent of an 8th grader. I’m writing with an invitation to join in helping to build a strong and healthy community across the families, students, and staff at our school. Last year a group of us worked with school staff to launch the TPMS Parents At Lunch (PAL) program. PAL is a group of volunteers that support a healthy, safe and vibrant lunchtime experience at Takoma Park Middle School. As PAL volunteers, we are encouraged to get to know staff and students, support healthy interactions, ensure the cafeteria and outdoor areas are cleaned up, and help make lunchtime fun!
For those of you who might have the occasional (or regular) time to volunteer for 30-min (the length of one lunch period), this is a GREAT way to get to know staff, to support our students being able to make use of outdoor space at lunch, and just generally to have a better direct sense of what the school day is like.
To become a PAL, you must first complete the required online training and the COVID vaccination attestation (which takes less than an hour) if you haven’t done so before. If you’ve done this in the last three years you don’t need to do it again. Then you can sign up for volunteer shifts that work for your schedule. The TPMS PAL handbook (which includes the link to sign up for lunch shifts) is here: https://bit.ly/tpmspal
For those of you ready to jump right into signing up to volunteer, this year we’re using this tool (no need to create an account to use it): https://signup.com/go/
The signup allows a person to select “all lunch periods” for a day or specific grade levels. Once you’ve made that selection, you can share if you have a preference for outside, inside, or the door. If you’re ready to commit to a recurring time slot (for example, PAL extraordinaire Susie Bailey will be at all three lunch shifts on Fridays), please just send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll add you as a recurring volunteer and you’ll get a reminder in advance of each of your shifts.
No worries if you’re still getting into the rhythm of the year and aren’t sure of your long-term ability to commit. Here is my gentle ask of all of us… let’s get the first month of the year fully staffed up (TPMS – like most schools – is still hiring for vacancies in a number of positions and so our support will go so far in helping staff not be overwhelmed as the year is getting started). If you’re not sure if this is your thing, think about signing up with another TPMS parent and coming together. I assure you it is easy, fun, and so rewarding.
If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Here’s to a great 22-23. Here we go!
TPMS PAL Coordinator