Parents Association

Tonya Hendrickson PA President

Dear Breck Families,

Welcome to the Breck Parents Association webpage. We hope this page will help you learn about the many events and activities available to you throughout the year and provide opportunities to connect with our community.

The PA exists to connect parents to the school and connect parents to one another. Our goal is to strengthen and support each parent’s journey through Breck. We endeavor to facilitate the moments that bring parents closer together in order to build a healthy network of supportive, and engaged and confident families. Our collective talent, energy, vision, and leadership enable us to contribute to the extraordinary Breck community.

Through our efforts, we help each other stay informed, support the students, faculty and administration, celebrate successes, discuss issues and participate in activities that enrich the community. While we all share the experience of being a Breck parent, each family’s journey is unique. Through your participation and voluntary efforts, the Breck PA hosts or co-hosts over 90 events during the school year that address some of those individual needs. All of this is possible because of parents who care so deeply about our school. Thank you for all you do for Breck!

Warmest regards,

Tonya Hendrickson
President

2018-2019 Parents Association Board

Front row (l-r) Kathy Ganley, Tonya Hendrickson; second row (l-r) Zoe Cunniff, Elizabeth Hogan-Wilcox, Julie Knudson, Nicole Dean, Stacy Glaus; third row (l-r) Lesley Briese, Wayne Hawkins, Gargi Bajpai, Farrell Danz; fifth row (l-r) Sandy Stone '85, Anna Lyon, Kim Bernstein, Rob Wheaton, Joan Rex; back row (l-r) Anna Anderson, Karen Shaul, Anne Hofer, Nicole Hogan, Sarah Oltmann.

Not pictured: Kathleen Hustad, Susan Kelly, Daniel Maynard, Jonathan McDonagh, LuChin Mischke, Amy Paster, Kim Walker, Danielle Preissing

Parent Meetings - All School, Division, and Grade-Level Events

The PA President plans two All-Parent meetings per school year, one in the Autumn and one in the Spring. These meetings are a great opportunity for parents to hear from the senior leadership of Breck about current initiatives and goals. The PA Division Chairs work directly with their Division Director to plan interesting and relevant Division and Grade-Level parent meetings throughout the year. The Chairs also coordinate and support the Grade-Level Representatives in Middle School and Upper School, and the Classroom Ambassadors in the Lower School. All of the meeting dates can be found on the calendar and in the Back-to-School mailing. Reminders will appear on the weekly Breck Bulletin Board. The PA varies the meeting dates and times throughout the year to accommodate parent schedules. Please feel free to reach out to the PA Division Chairs with questions:

LOWER SCHOOL
MIDDLE SCHOOL
UPPER SCHOOL

Parent Education

The mission of Parent Education is to promote a community of healthy Breck families by sponsoring programs and events for parents to support the mental, physical, emotional and behavioral aspects of a student’s life. These may include national or local speakers, discussion groups, book clubs and community events. Parent Education may also coordinate speakers with the Peter Clark Center for Mind, Brain & Education (PCC) and Breck Administration. The themes and topics change year to year, based on current interests. Please feel free to reach out to the Parent Education Chairs Susan Kelly and Rob Wheaton with any questions or ideas.

The theme for the 2018-19 school year is “How to Communicate with Your Kids about…..” There will be a series of sessions, each on a different topic, within this theme, as follows:

  • “How to Communicate with Your Kids About Technology and Gaming”
  • “How to Communicate with Your Kids About Whole Health and Balance”
  • “How to Communicate with Your Kids About Gender”

Parents do NOT have to attend all sessions.

Upcoming Parent Ed events include

  • Wednesday, February 13, 6:30-8:00 PM (US Library). Topic: How to Communicate with Your Child About Gender Identity. Speaker is Marsha Partington of Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians & Gays (PFLAG). Click here for Marsha Partington's bio/resume. Click here for PFLAG. Panelists include two young adults, as well as Nic Rider, Ph.D. and Associate Professor at The University of Minnesota Medical School Department of Family Medicine & Family Health, as well as Co-Associate Director for Research (National Center for Gender Spectrum Health and Program in Human Sexuality / Center for Sexual Health)Click here (new link) to submit questions anonymously for speakers/panelists to answer. Download the Parent Ed Committee's "Building Mindful Communication" image here. RSVPs appreciated but not required (click here).
  • RESCHEDULED: Monday, March 4, 2019 | 6:30-8:00 PM | Upper School Library
    Topic: How to communicate with your child about substances: Trends, consequences, and resources
    Speakers will include Thomas Taylor (US Director), Denny Arons (Security Director), and others who know your kids
    RSVPs appreciated but not required (click here). If you'd like to submit a question anonymously, click here.
  • Tuesdays during spring 2019: April 2, April 16, April 30, May 14
    8:30-10:00 AM (arrive at 8:15 to mingle and get settled) | Heritage Room, Breck School Anderson Ice Arena
    Series topic: Mindfulness Series for Breck Parents (1.0)
    Join other parents in support of perpetual learning, keep pace with mindfulness curriculum, and experience mindfulness for yourself. Space is limited. RSVP: breckschool.org/mindfulness

Family Community Outreach

Family Community Outreach aims to create opportunities for Breck families to participate in community service together. The Chairs work with the Chaplains and Community Service Coordinators at Breck in planning events. Each year the Committee plans and executes three events for the entire Breck community (students, families, faculty, staff, coaches, alums) to come together to serve our community. This year's events are:

  • Special Olympics Poly Hockey Tournament Weekend - January 26 & 27 | Click here to volunteer!
  • The Sheridan Story Packing Event Saturday - April 27

If you would like to join the Family Community Outreach Committee, please contact co-chairs Nicole Hogan and Wayne Hawkins. The Committee meets several times over the school year at PRISM Food Shelf, 1220 Zane Avenue North, Golden Valley, MN 55422 (less than 5 minutes drive from Breck) from 8:45 am - 10:00 am. Along with discussing committee business, the committee members also volunteer at the food shelf. The dates for the 2018-19 school year are:

  • Wednesday, January 16
  • Wednesday, February 27
  • Wednesday, April 17
  • Wednesday, May 15

Diversity & Inclusion

The Diversity & Inclusion Committee is open to all parents and focuses on fostering community. Everyone belongs at Breck. To help support Breck and its families, we partner with the Melrose Center and help connect parents to one another, the school and our children, so everyone feels listened to, included and supported in order to enrich our experience together.

D&I supports this mission through two signature events, The Film Festival and Student Voices. See details below. Additionally, we host parent coffees and guest speakers. Our committee usually meets monthly. Should you have any questions or ideas, please reach out to Chairs Anna Anderson or Kathleen Hustad

Student Voices - Friday, April 12

This is a very special presentation by US students who attended the Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC). SDLC is a multiracial, multicultural gathering of Upper School student leaders (grades 9-12) from across the U.S. Students will discuss their personal exploration into issues of diversity, social justice and cross-cultural communication; and how their experience is empowering change on our campus. This event will take place during the US Division meeting in April; please note ALL parents are welcome and encouraged to attend.

Committee Meeting Dates
  • Friday, March 8 | 8:30 to 10:00 AM
  • Friday, April 12 | Student Voices (description above)
  • Friday, May 3 | 8:30 to 10:00 AM

ReUse, RePlay, ReCycle

ReUse Uniforms and Middle School gym clothes in good to excellent condition are available at reduced prices during sales held throughout the school year. Questions? Contact Chairs Kimberly Bernstein and Sarah Oltmann.

Sale Dates:
  • Thursday, February 28, 2019, 12:30 to 7:30 pm
  • Friday, March 1, 2019, 9:00 am to 12:00 noon

Dates don’t work for you? Contact us for a private shopping experience!

Prices

Plaid Jumpers and Skirts  $15
Polo Shirts $5
Blouses $5
Logo Items $1
Khaki/Blue Pants/Shorts $5
Pullovers/Sweaters $5
Gym T-Shirts/Shorts $5

Donations

Please bring gently-used and CLEAN LS/MS uniforms, gym clothing, and choir, band and orchestra concert attire to the Middle School Office. Breck’s RRR Committee accepts donations of uniform approved clothing — those items that are purchased in either the uniform stores or our online gym store. We do not resell any items from major stores or labels (Gap, Lands’ End, Target, Kohl’s, Izod, etc.) Please donate those items to friends or local second-hand stores. Donations are accepted throughout the year.

Ice Skates 

Breck can always use both hockey and figure skates. Parents may drop off used skates at the main office at the Ice Arena, or at school with Merrill Harris, PE Department Head. Please note that helmets are not included in this program.

RePlay

Used musical instruments are needed for the fourth-grade instrument rotation, for scholarship students, and when an instrument is left at home. Both band and string instruments are needed, and can be dropped off at the Performing Arts Office at any time. Donated instruments need to be in good working condition. Equipment not used will be donated or sold. Contact the Advancement Office for a letter of acknowledgement for the donation (instrument donations only).

ReCycle

By making it easy for parents to recycle uniforms and equipment, the Parents Association supports an environmentally-friendly Breck community. With this in mind, the PA has begun holding a Used Book Sale in the Spring to prepare our students for summer reading. More details to follow on the Breck Bulletin Board.

Community Building

We are so fortunate to have an amazing parent community at Breck. The Breck Community Building Events are social gatherings for Breck parents to get to know other parents away from school. Generally, they are organized by Grade-Level, and held either at someone’s home or at a local restaurant. Please reach out to Anna Lyon or Kim Walker with any questions. If you are interested in helping to host (either at your home OR at a restaurant), please reach out to your Classroom Ambassador or Grade-Level Representative (contact information in the Breck Directory).

The Community Building Events for the 2018-19 School Year are listed below. Details will be emailed in an invite closer to the date.

  • Preschool - Saturday, October 13
  • Kindergarten - Saturday, October 26
  • 1st Grade - Friday, January 25
  • 2nd Grade - Friday, February 22
  • 3rd Grade - Saturday, March 9
  • 4th Grade - Saturday, September 29
  • 5th Grade - Saturday, November 17
  • 6th Grade - Saturday, January 26
  • 7/8 Grades - Saturday, November 10
  • 9th Grade - Saturday, September 22
  • 10th Grade - Saturday, February 23
  • 11th Grade - Saturday, May 18
  • 12th Grade - Saturday, February 2

New Family & Parent Gatherings

New Family Coffees

Morning coffees are scheduled throughout the school year for new parents to come meet other new parents, listen to a speaker, and ask the hosts Julie Knudson and Sandy Stone '85 questions about all aspects of Breck. Everyone is welcome, and even families a year or two into their Breck experience can learn a lot! Dates include:

  • Friday, January 25 | 8:45-10:00am
  • Wednesday, March 13 | 8:45-10:00am

Meals that Heal

 

Breck Meals That Heal is a volunteer meal service offered to Breck community members and their families who are facing a hardship. The generosity and desire to care for and reach out to others is integral to Breck’s philosophy and mission. In addition, this program continues to strengthen the bonds within our Breck community.

How it Works

The Breck family in need is initially identified by a fellow community member, teacher, or Breck staff and referred to the Meals That Heal chair, Karen Shaul, or co-chair Danielle Preissing. Following a conversation with and consent from the identified family, the Breck Communications team sends an email to the appropriate Classroom and Grade-Level parents directing them to BreckMealsThatHeal.org where families may view and sign up as a volunteer to prepare a meal. Each situation is considered individually so that the family’s needs are best met. In the rare situation that a Breck family expresses the desire for confidentiality, with their consent, meal delivery is managed discreetly. The Meals That Heal coordinator will be provided only with the total number of family members and any dietary restrictions. The prepared meals will be delivered to the identified Breck representative instead of directly to the recipient family. No identifiable information will be provided at any point in the communication process. Meals are typically provided for a two week time span although there is flexibility depending on the need of the family. 

New Additions

Meals That Heal, New Additions was created to welcome new members of current families to the Breck community. Through birth or adoption, new Breck family members are welcomed to the community with a mailed gift. Information about new Breck family members is provided to the Meals That Heal coordinator, Karen Shaul, by community members, teachers, and staff.

PA Support Positions

The PA Board includes several positions to provide support to the PA President and the Chairs of the numerous programs. These positions include the Past President (Kathy Ganley), President Elect (Amy Paster), Treasurer (Farrell Danz), Communications (Zoe Cunniff) and Information Officers (Jonathan McDonagh and Daniel Maynard). Additionally, Joan Rex sits on the PA Board as our Board of Trustee Liaison, and Stacy Glaus, Breck Communications Director, represents the Breck administration on the Board.

Staff Appreciation Day

 

Staff Appreciation Day takes place on May 7, 2019, and is an opportunity for students, parents, family members, and alumni to show their appreciation to members of the Breck faculty and staff. This special day is organized by the Parents Association and the Breck Chaplains, which begins with a service in the Chapel. Afterwards, the PA presents ALL faculty and staff with thank you notes from our community, and a gift from the PA.

In an effort to make it as easy as possible for families to acknowledge Breck faculty and staff (including bus drivers, custodians, food servers, and other support staff), we've created a form that lists all the faculty and staff at Breck. Using the online form to write thank you notes helps us with the printing and delivery of the notes. As always, handwritten notes are more than welcome! These letters may be placed either in the wishing wells (located in the US Commons and the MS Commons) OR the classroom buckets (K-4) beginning on Monday, April 22.

VOLUNTEER! If you'd like to help with the sorting and delivery of cards on the morning of May 7, please email co-chairs Dina Dewing or Megan Gehrman.

Get Involved

If you would like to become more involved at Breck, the PA welcomes your help! All of our PA events are run entirely by volunteers, and any help is very much appreciated. If interested, we recommend you attend a variety of PA events to become familiar with PA activities. This will allow you to meet the volunteers in different leadership positions, and give you the opportunity to ask questions.

Some PA events need volunteers arranged in advance, and an electronic sign-up will be sent to parents in September. At any time during the year, you can also reach out to the individual Chairs to volunteer for events.

Finally, please look for an email from the PA President in February with the list of open board positions for the following school year.

Parents Association FAQ

 

Where Do Meetings Take Place?

Generally, meetings take place on Breck’s main campus. Locations may include the MS or US Dining Rooms, the Libraries, the Glass Balcony (US Dining Room) or the West Boardroom. Please check the Breck Bulletin Board for the exact location of the meeting. Please note, if a meeting is in the Heritage Room, that means it is at the Ice Arena, which is about a five minute drrive from the Breck campus on Highway 55.

Do I need to RSVP?

The event details on the Breck Bulletin Board will indicate IF an RSVP is required. While we understand that with our busy lives, things can change at the last minute, we appreciate a response if necessary. This is usually because there will be food at the meeting, and we want to make sure we have enough for all attendees.

Will Meetings be LiveStreamed and/or Recorded?

This usually depends on the speaker and topic. We try to LiveStream as many meetings as possible, to accommodate parent schedules. The Breck Bulletin Board will indicate if a meeting will be LiveStreamed, and provide the login information.

Additionally, with our new password-protected website, we are hoping to upload recordings of the meetings.

The PA would appreciate the help of any parent who could assist with the LiveStreaming of a meeting that a parent is already planning to attend. Please reach out to communications@breckschool.org to ask about training.

Do I Need to Attend Every Meeting?

The PA firmly believes that the more parents engage in the Breck community, the more they benefit. That being said, the PA organized approximately 90 events during the 2017-18 school year! We do not expect parents to attend everything - rather, we encourage you to choose events whose topics you find important in your role as a Breck parent. As always, feel free to reach out to PA Board Members, Grade-Level Representatives or Classroom Ambassadors to learn more about an upcoming event or meeting.