2nd Annual Maplewood Parent Prom Raises $12,000 for the School

On Saturday, February 4 Maplewood parents and friends danced the night away at the Parent Prom Presented by Cherrywood Coffeehouse. The Spiderhouse Ballroom was chock full of people decked out in sequins and ruffled tuxes rocking out to the songs of their youth. There was live music by The Recliners and DJ Andy Smith, a silent auction, photo booth and much more. “It was so much fun, because it was that rare time that the community of parents at our school gets to interact with each other as adults. “ Last year’s prom proceeds were used by the PTA to help the school purchase technology, additional books and classroom supplies, and supported the Maplewood food pantry.

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Photos by Jennifer Potter-Miller



PTA Board Meeting Agenda, February 1, 2017

Maplewood Elementary School Library, 5-6 p.m.

  1. Treasure’s Report
  2. Discussion and Possible Action : Update from the Working Group on finding alternatives to PTAvenue
  3. Discussion and Possible Action on supporting a screening of screenagers $500
  4. Discussion and possible Action re:Winter Grants
  5. Discussion and possible action re: how to spend extra PTA money
  6. Discussion and Possible Action: Money for Beloved Community
    • Pizza $ 243.84
    • Custodian $122.34
    • Rosemary Salazar $75 gift card

Total $441.18

7. Creation of Nominating Committee for next year
8. Committee Updates

  • Teacher Appreciation
  • Communication
  • Membership/Volunteer Appreciation
  • Directory
  • Parent Prom
  • Landscaping Gardens
  • General PTA Meetings
  • Volunteer Coordination
  • Grant writing

For more information, email


The Beloved Community Comes Together at Maplewood Elementary School to Discuss Upcoming Legislation

The Maplewood Parent Support Team hosted The Beloved Community on January 26 in the school cafeteria. The evening was focused on educating parents, families, and community members on legislation that could impact our communities and our schools. Additionally, we focused on empowerment and communication, and our school’s commitment to increasing dialogue between all members of our diverse community, and creating safe spaces that foster authentic, respectful, and courageous conversations.

There were speakers from Equality Texas, The Austin Justice Coalition, Interfaith Action of Central Texas, Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center and immigration attorney and Maplewood parent Hannah Silk Kapasi. Representatives from Texas Appleseed and Black Lives Matter were also in attendance. The panel was moderated by Jared Lindauer, a volunteer with the Anti Defamation League and Maplewood parent. There was translation provided by teachers in the school’s dual language program and other volunteers. The event wrapped up with a demonstration by the No Place For Hate student committee.

The idea behind The Beloved Community was a concept popularized by Dr. Martin Luther King, who believed that people committed to and trained in the philosophy and methods of nonviolence could attain the ultimate goal of “genuine intergroup and interpersonal living — integration.” In this Beloved Community; homelessness, poverty, and hunger are not tolerated and racism, discrimination, and prejudice against others are replaced with an understanding that we are all connected to one and other.

Event organizer Camille Smith said “I was so grateful for the support of the PTA presidents and the parent volunteers who helped make this happen, especially Jared Lindauer who took on the role of moderator that my stage fright would not allow me to do. I’m also grateful for our highly knowledgeable presenters and speakers, but most of all to the parents and Community members who came out to participate in this important event. I’m excited to keep the momentum going and continue my efforts to create awareness and encourage communication in our diverse community.”

In the Beloved Community, love and trust will triumph over fear and hatred.

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Maplewood Book Club Kicks Off

By Jennifer Potter-Miller

The newly formed Maplewood Book Club met the evening of January 23 at the home of a parent. We each brought books we were interested in reading but hadn’t gotten around to on our own, and settled on The Whole-Brain Child, by Daniel Siegel. To make it manageable we decided to split it over two months. The book club will meet again on February 13 at Cherrywood Coffeehouse (TBC). If you’d like to join, read the first three chapters and come out for some good conversation!

The Whole Brain Child


2nd Annual Maplewood Parent Prom Presented by Cherrywood Coffeehouse

By Heather Wagner Reed, Juice Consulting

Austin school Maplewood Elementary is thrilled to announce its second Annual Maplewood Elementary Parent Prom taking place at the Spiderhouse Ballroom on Saturday, Feb. 4 from 7 to 11 p.m. The evening will feature live music by The Recliners and DJ Andy Smith, a silent auction, photo booth and much more. The event is open to the public and proceeds will benefit Maplewood Elementary. Tickets are $20 each and can be purchased here:

“Last year, we really didn’t know what Parent Prom was – we just made it up as we went along,” said Elizabeth McQueen, Maplewood PTA Chair, KUTX DJ and local musician. “It turned out to be so much fun, because it was rare time for the community of parents at our school to interact with each other as adults. We got to have a great time together whether people were dancing to the songs of our youth or just hanging out.”

“Last year’s event went down in history as parents came out for a rare night to themselves to enjoy a throwback to their youth, dressing up to the nines and enjoying some dancing,” said Maplewood Principal Vickie Jacobson. “The school hosted childcare while moms and dads enjoyed a nostalgic time on the dance floor and had a blast. We were thrilled with the $10,000 the event raised as well, which helped the school provide technology, additional books and classroom supplies in 2016.”

“We’re able to help raise much needed funds for our school, while at the same time strengthening our ties as a community. We’ve also received sponsorship from J. Ross Buchholtz CPA, PLLC and Bill Holleman at Prime Lending. Both Ross and Bill are Maplewood dads. We feel so lucky to part of such a supportive community!” said McQueen. “And really, that is the best thing about Maplewood, our strong community.”

“This fun and entertaining event demonstrates the positive impact of parental involvement,” said Principal Jacobson. “These events encourage parents and the community to form closer partnerships with our school, and support student learning.”

Maplewood is an elementary school for pre-K -grade 6 located in East Austin. Opening in 1952, the school is known for its diverse student body and its motto “Increase the Peace.” The school is rated exemplary in the areas of overall performance, the fine arts, wellness and physical education, community and parental involvement, digital learning environment, dropout prevention strategies, educational programs for gifted and talented students, its Second Language Acquisition Program and its 21st Century Workforce Development Program.

One of the key attributes of Maplewood is the focus on Social Emotional Learning (SEL), which can be seen daily in the school’s “Peacemaker” program where students are recognized in front of the whole school when doing something good for others. The school’s mission is “to develop the WHOLE child – one who feels valued and is successful within a cooperative, safe learning environment.”

Maplewood also hosts a number of events throughout the year such as Fall Fest and Carnival, Spring Fling and Fun Run, and more. As a resource to the surrounding community, the school is also an official polling location and the venue for the annual Cherrywood Art Fair, one of Austin’s most cherished holiday markets.

For more information on the Parent Prom, email For more information on Maplewood Elementary School, please see:

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Photos by Jennifer Potter-Miller and Scott Kentros

2017 Maplewood Parent Prom sponsors






Last Maplewood Food Pantry Drive is Tuesday, December 13

The final Maplewood food pantry drive for 2016 is Tuesday Dec. 13. There are many Maplewood families who depend on their kids eating breakfast and lunch at school, and don’t necessarily have the budget for those extra meals over the break. We would love to make it a supersized collection, so please bring a donation at drop off or pick up!

Below is a list of the best foods to donate to the food pantry – please bring as what you can and/or $10 gift cards to HEB to school tomorrow.

  • cans of tuna, chicken and beans
  • jarred peanut and almond butter
  • cans of mixed vegetables
  • canned beef stew, canned vegetable soup (low sodium)
  • jarred baby food, packages of baby cereal and cookies, and cannisters of formula
  • condiments and spices (e.g. mayonnaise)
  • cooking oil: canola and olive oil
  • fruits packed in water or fruit juice rather than heavy syrup (canned or cups)
  • whole grain pasta
  • boxed whole grain rice
  • boxes plain instant oatmeal
  • shelf-stable milk
  • snacks for kids (low sugar): snack bars, granola bars

Maplewood Applies for Grant to Install a Demonstration Food Forest on School Campus

This fall, the Maplewood Elementary PTA Landscaping and Grants committees worked with local nonprofit Urban Patchwork to make plans for a small demonstration food forest at the entrance to the school. Laurie Berman, PTA Grants Chair, submitted an application for a Bright Green Future School Grant from the City of Austin. We hope to receive the $3,000 grant to install the project in Spring 2017.

The proposal is for an edible food forest and rain garden near the main entrance to our school. Our partner on the project, Urban Patchwork, has lots of experience turning underutilized spaces into productive urban gardens and farms and educational spaces, and we were inspired by the Festival Beach Food Forest planned in East Austin.  We hope that the Maplewood forest will feed, educate, and inspire our school community and the surrounding neighborhood.

You might be asking what is a food forest? ” A food forest is a gardening technique or land management system, which mimics a woodland ecosystem by substituting edible trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals. Fruit and nut trees make up the upper level, while berry shrubs, edible perennials and annuals make up the lower levels.” (source: Beacon Food Forest). The location we have identified is the triangle to the left of the school’s main entrance. This space is sufficient to host four small varieties of fruit trees as well as eight edible understory plants and lots of rainbed ground plants that will support the fruit trees and soil health, and add seasonal interest to brighten the entry to the school. There will be a focus on educational aspects of the garden with signage and seating. The food forest will provide an engaging outdoor learning space for educators to align math, science, arts, literacy learning objectives with outdoor experiences.

The Bright Green Futures grant is funded by the city’s Office of Sustainability, and is intended to “recognize and support innovative projects that will inspire students to become lifelong environmental stewards.” We hope that we receive the funds and are working on installation next spring!

Maplewood Food Forest and Rain Garden. Design by Urban Patwork.

Design by Urban Patchwork.






Coding at Maplewood

By Torie Camp

Nine Maplewood 4th graders recently gathered in the library A/V room as a part of Maplewood’s Coding Club. As students arrive, they confidently select a computer from the computer cart, plug in head phones and log onto their computers and accounts. This is the fourth meeting of this club and students know what to do. If there are questions, students ask each other for help or if they get really stuck, they can ask their “guru,” Maplewood mom and computer science club leader, Kristen Taylor.

Students utilize along with to work through a series of 8 lessons. The lessons are centered around a theme such as Music and Sound or Storytelling.

Students enjoy the lessons and frequently share their successes with their peers. “I like the computer science club because it gives me a chance to understand how computer scientists use code to make computers do whatever we want them to do,” said Iris Nicholson.

The Coding Club is the brain child of Kristin Taylor, Mr. Ludlow, 4th grade teacher, and Ms. Braziel, Maplewood’s librarian. A 5th grade group of students meets during lunch once a week and another group of 4th and 5th graders meets Thursday afternoons.

Ms. Braziel is currently looking for parents interested in helping with an “Hour of Code ™” event in early December to give every Maplewood student an opportunity to try coding. Contact her at if you can help or just sign up at

The ‘Hour of Code™’ is a nationwide initiative by Computer Science Education Week and to introduce millions of students to one hour of computer science and computer programming.

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Photos by Torie Camp. Used with permission.


Melon Monday at Maplewood, an interview with Periwinkle Schuster

On Monday, November 14, PTA volunteers served all 496 Maplewood students melon from our school garden, with reinforcements from the grocery store. Afterward I interviewed Periwinkle Schuster, chair of the Gardening and Landscaping Committee, who organized the event.
Jennifer Potter-Miller

How did the melon patch come about?

Last year I volunteered in the garden at Maplewood Elementary School by spending time outside while the kids where at recess. At the end of the year last year I was thinking about what I was going to grow over the summer, and melon tends to do really well. I was going to be unable to come to the school to tend to anything over the summer, so I used permaculture and I hugeled the bed with wood and soil and compost from home. The 4th graders in Mr. Ludlow’s class, which is next to the greenhouse, helped me plant all the seeds, we watered them, and then it was the end of school.

When I came back school was back in session, and our vine had proliferated. It had grown, and grown and grown! It was such a thrill to myself and the kids, who were so excited that our seeds grew. I also had sent the kids home with seeds, but I’m not sure if theirs grew at all. They did feel immense pride and ownership in our melon patch.

And how did you plan today’s lunchtime melon distribution?

Two years ago Dusty Harshman and I did something very similar with kale, where we made kale chips. So I just used what was modeled to me and tried to add to the lunch schedule instead of interrupting it. So thanks to the volunteers that came out to help today (thanks volunteers!) we were able to give every student at the school an opportunity to taste the melon either grown in our garden or supplemented from the grocery store.

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Photos by Torie Camp and Jennifer Potter-Miller


Maplewood Fall Fest a Spooktacular Success

This year’s Maplewood Fall Fest was a runaway hit, with hundreds of children and their families coming to campus on a beautiful Saturday afternoon for fun and games. There was a Spooky Salon for face painting, a pumpkin emoji decorating station, lots of carnival games, a Monster Mash dance party in the gym, Dia de los Muertos themed photo booth with a mustang skeleton and decorations made by the dual language classes, and best of all  the infamous Maplewood Haunted Portable was back! The PTA is deeply grateful to the parent and UT volunteers who helped to run the festival and made it such a wonderful community event, and especially to Fall Fest Chair Erin Dooner for her leadership and scary good imagination.

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Photos by J. Potter-Miller/Maplewood PTA