main content starts here

Elsmere A-Z Glossary

Filed in Elsmere by on August 14, 2017

View or download a PDF version of the Elsmere A-Z Glossary.

1,000 Book Club

A set of 100 blue canvas bags, each with 10 beginning reader/picture books for children and parents to read together. Parents can sign their child up to participate. Children are given a bag and return it when they are done with the books. A new bag is then given to them. The goal is to read all 1000 books.

Volunteer: 1 -2 hours weekly during school day – Exchange bags, mark student progress, deliver bags to classrooms

Applebee’s Pancake Breakfast

A fundraising event one Saturday morning a year. Families may buy tickets in advance for a pancake breakfast at Applebees in Glenmont. Parents, school staff and older students greet, serve and bus tables. A percentage of the profit goes to the PTA.

Volunteer: 2 hours/year- one Saturday in late winter – Greet, serve or bus tables

After School Enrichment

After school classes for students with various topics each year including drama, sewing, robotics and karate. Parents pay $25-$60 per class held once a week for six-eight weeks.

Volunteer: 1 hour/week late winter check students in and out, monitor students during after school classes

Art Show

The art show is an opportunity for families to see a piece of their child’s artwork on display in the school, usually in May. The art teacher or students select one piece of original art, and these pieces are hung throughout the school. Families may come in that evening for an ice cream social, to check out the art, and participate in a scavenger hunt.

Volunteer: 2 hours/ year late spring – Hang art in hall during the school day or serve ice cream during the event


An on-line parent communication portal used to post report cards, transportation information, school updates, supply lists and more. Teachers commonly send e-mails through Aspen. The site is secure, and individual passwords are required for access. Weekly school newsletters, calendars and some sign-ups are posted on Aspen.

Birthday Lunch

On or around their birthdays, students may bring a few friends and eat lunch with the principal in the office. Summer birthdays are celebrated in the spring.  Birthday celebrations in classrooms are at the teacher’s discretion.

Book Fair

The Scholastic Book Fair is set up in the library once or twice a year. Students visit during the day, and families may come at selected times after school and sometimes the weekend.

Volunteer: 2 hour shifts/year in fall – Set up/take down bookfair, man cash register

Box Tops

Families are asked to send in “Box Tops for Education” coupons found on various foods and products. These may sent in at any time. Twice a year after the school day, volunteers tally these slips which are then redeemed to purchase items for the school.

Volunteer: 3-5 hours/year after school collect, trim, submit box tops


Each class is paired with an older or younger class. These two classes get together a few times a month to work on special projects. Often, students work with the same older or younger student throughout the whole year, forming a special friendship with a child outside of their age group.


Children and Parents Enjoying Reading – held on four or five evenings a year from 6-7 pm in the library. Children/Parents sign up (using SignUp Genius) to read a short book to the audience. A snack and prizes are often provided. All are invited to attend. Dates can be found on the district calendar.

Coordinator: 5 hours/yr.
Volunteer: Evening events – 1 ½ hours/event – Set up, clean up event

Community Day

Once per year in the spring there is an event held at Elsmere on a weekend to celebrate the school community.  This event has included carnival style games, food, and raffles or an auction in the past. 

Coordinator: 10-15  hours/year plan and run event in June
Volunteers: 2 hour shifts/one day in June – Run games, organize raffles


Twice a year, fourth and fifth grade student musicians perform an evening concert at the high school. Dress rehearsals for the student body are held during the school day just prior to the concert.


For fifth graders, this six-week program is taught by a Bethlehem School Resource Officer. Students learn about positive decision making, specifically for dealing with peer pressure related to drugs and alcohol. At the conclusion of the program, a DARE graduation is held for students and parents.

Earth Day

On or around Earth Day, students participate in various 30-minute sessions to increase their awareness of environmentally-friendly practices. Sessions are taught by the Cooperative Extension, NYS DEC, recycling experts and others. Our school garden is often refreshed at this time, and students are invited to participate in Litterless Lunch.

Volunteer: 1-2 hour shifts/ one day in April – Greet presenters, bring them to locations in school

Elsmere PRIDE

Our school motto interwoven into all we do. Monthly assemblies and bulletin boards often focus on the PRIDE traits of: Personal Best, Respect and Responsibility, Integrity, Determination and Enthusiasm.

Family Photos

Usually held concurrently during the Fall Book Fair. For this fundraiser, families pre-register to have their photos professionally taken at school after school hours or on a Saturday.

Volunteer: 2 hour shifts/ one day  in fall, check in pre-registered people

Family Social

During the winter, some sort of event for families is held at the school.  In the past, this has been a movie night, a Cabin Fever food tasting event, or a game night.

Coordinator: 5-7 hours coordinating/ planning
Volunteers: time needed depends on event

Field Day

One morning in the late spring, students all engage in games at stations with their class. Parents run morning stations such as potato sack races, parachute play and water games. PTA often arranges a special assembly for all students in the afternoon.

Volunteer: 9:10-11:10 one day in late June – Run a game station


Elsmere has a courtyard garden that is cared for by Elsmere families, students, and teachers.  The garden requires planting, maintenance, and harvesting. 

Volunteer: Approx. 1 hour/ week throughout the year – Tend school garden

Grade Parent

Grade parents (sometimes called room parents) are responsible for assisting in signing parents up for classroom activities, coordinating classroom special events with teachers, and providing parents of students in each classroom with information from the PTA or teachers as needed. 

Volunteer: Approx. 1 hour/ month, may be outside of the school day – Assist teacher in organizing events

Grade Level Breakfast

One morning a year, families are invited to bring their breakfast to school (8:45-9:10) and dine with children’s classmates and families. The PTA provides juice and coffee. Dates can be found on the district calendar.

Volunteer: ½ hour per grade level – once/ yea – Get and set out coffee/juice

Grand Lunch Event

Typically held during the fall book fair, grandparents or other special adults (including parents) are invited to have lunch with their grandchildren in the cafeteria and visit the book fair in the library.  Lunches may be brought or purchased at school.

Growing to Maturity

For fifth graders, this series of lessons taught by classroom teachers gives students a basic overview of puberty. A parent preview is offered.

Healthy Kids Week

One week in May each year, health and wellness are encouraged through five days of healthy activities/ ideas.  Students are rewarded for participation in activities with small prizes and new ideas to develop healthy habits. 

Volunteer: 3-5 hours/year in May coordinate visitors and events at school

Jump Start

Support for beginning readers is provided by parent volunteers once a week to build skills and confidence.

Volunteer: 1 hour/ week throughout the year – Read with K-1 students during school day. Training is provided.

Halloween Happenings

Usually the Friday of Halloween Week, there is a Halloween Celebration at the school put on by the PTA.  In the past, this has been a dance and auction with crafts.  This could change into some other Halloween celebration. 

Coordinator: 15 hours plan, run event – October
Volunteers: 2 hour shifts/late October monitor activities during evening event

In-School Programs

The PTA funds several events and programs that happen during the school day.  There have been author visits, plays, the Albany Symphony Orchestra, and character building workshops along with other programs. 

Volunteer: Coordinator: 20-30 hours/year, both during and after school

Intensive Skills

Elsmere is home to two classes of elementary students with significant special needs. Fourth and fifth grade students work with peers in intensive skills class in various ways throughout the school including morning jobs.


Beginning in fall 2017, BC elementary schools will be using the on-line tool iReady three times a year to assess students’ progress and determine areas of need. Results of these assessments are shared with parents.

Krause’s Chocolate Sale

Krause’s Chocolate is sold as a PTA fundraiser one time during the school year. 

Volunteer: 2-5 hours/year in spring  coordinate sales

Lip Sync

Every other year, the PTA invites all Elsmere students, Kindergarten to grade 5, to form groups and perform lip sync routines.  Historically, canned goods are collected for admission, and these are donated to a local food pantry.  Lip Sync occurs during even numbered years [i.e. Early (Jan-Mar.) 2016].

Volunteer: Approx. 5 hours/year early spring – Coordinate event, take photos, make programs

Math and Science Nights

Three times per year (once each for grades k-1, 2-3 and 4-5), there is a night filled with fun and challenging hands-on math and science activities for parents and children to do together. Activities are pre-set. This event is often preceded by a pizza dinner.

Volunteer: 3-4 hours per event, three time a year plan/set up/ run/ clean up event

Monthly Assembly

Once monthly, the entire school gathers for a half hour assembly. The assembly includes birthday recognitions and special presentations related to our PRIDE theme.

Moving Up Ceremony

Ceremony for our “graduating” 5th graders. Parents and families of the 5th graders are invited to attend.

Fourth grade parents – Volunteer: 1 hour/year, late June organize reception for fifth graders and families.

Nature’s Classroom

For fifth graders – a three-day trip to the YMCA Camp in Becket, Mass. Students engage in team building and educational activities. Fundraising for this event occurs throughout the year (Yankee Candle Sale, Plant Sale, Pizza Sale). All BC fifth graders go on this trip with their school. Elsmere students go in the spring.

Volunteer: Fifth grade parents – Overnight chaperones, drivers of luggage

Noon aides

Each classroom has a Noon Aide adult who monitors and assists students at lunch and recess (if the weather is inclement, the noon aide oversees “indoor recess”).

PALs (Peer Assistance League)

A group of 5th grade students who assist with outdoor recess time in the spring. Fifth grade PALs are required to apply to the program and complete a conflict resolution training program to participate.

Plant Sale

The 5th grade class holds an annual plant sale on the Friday and Saturday of Mother’s Day weekend to help raise money towards their trip to Nature’s Classroom. Parents of these students volunteer to work at the sale.

Volunteer: Fifth grade parents – 2 hour shifts/ one day in May – Sell plants

RtI – Response to Intervention

A three-tiered intervention to assist students requiring short-term extra assistance in the areas of math, reading and behavior. Parents are notified if students qualify.

School Banking

Students may open student bank accounts at a local bank, then make weekly deposits at school. A parent volunteer meets in the library one weekday morning per week to collect student deposits. The volunteer then takes all deposits to the bank. (Bank account must be set up at the participating bank prior to their student bringing deposits to school). Some extra parent volunteer time required early in the year helping students and parents to open accounts.

Volunteer: ½ hour per week collect and record student deposits in the morning

School Directory

The PTA creates and distributes a directory of students’ information each year to be used for play dates/ parties/ etc…  This has historically been a fundraiser and incentive to join the PTA. 

Volunteer: 5-10 hours/year early fall – Create/ distribute directory

School Pictures

Once per year, students are photographed at school for school pictures.  Volunteers assist photographers and teachers in organizing this. 

Volunteer: 2 hour shifts/year in fall – Keep the schedule running smoothly.

School Store

There is a store filled with low cost items (1 cent to $1.00) open during student lunch hours one time per week in the fall and spring (Tuesdays).  Volunteers run this store to assist students in practicing math skills.  Student purchases are limited to $2 per week.

Volunteer: 2 hour shifts available each week – Sell items at the school store during student lunches

Science Fair

One time per year, students of all grades are invited to create and present a science experiment at a science fair. Families may visit the Science Fair after school to view projects. “Judges” individually talk to students about their project and award ribbons to all participants. Usually held in late winter.

Volunteer: 3-5 hours/year coordinate event
Volunteer: 1-2 hours/year – Discuss projects with student participants, hand out ribbons

Screen Free Week

During Healthy Kids Week in May, students are rewarded for days that they do not use screen time and participate in other healthy activities.  There is usually a calendar with spaces for students to fill in the healthy activities that they did each day. 

Volunteer: 1-3 hours/year early May – Coordinate/ promote event

Senior Assembly

   A wonderful school celebration of former Elsmere students who are about to graduate from high school. Elsmere school students show their PRIDE for the seniors by singing to them and congratulating them. A slide show showcases the time these seniors spent at Elsmere when they were elementary students. A small reception for the seniors and their families follows the event.

Volunteer: Approx. 1 hour – Late May – Organize reception for seniors following the assembly in late May

Silver Graphics

This is a fundraiser to support the PTA. Student artwork created in art class can be put onto a variety of objects such as t-shirts, notepads, coffee cups, etc, which can then be purchased by parents. This is held once a year.

Volunteer: 5 hours/year – Manage sales and distribution of items ordered.


School News Notifier. An opt-in e-mail system used by the district to send out notifications. Parents may sign up for SNN notifications at 

Spirit Wear Sale

At different times during the year a flyer is sent home for the sale of Elsmere or Bethlehem clothing and products as a fundraiser for the Elsmere PTA.  *Shirts sold during the Spirit Wear sale are great for wearing on a “Spirit Day”

Volunteer: Approx. 3 hours/year organize sales, distribute spirit wear

Staff Appreciation Luncheon

A group of Elsmere parents organize and throw a wonderful luncheon for all of the staff at the school. The main meal is catered, and all the desserts are freshly made and graciously donated by parents. Usually held during parent-teacher conference week in late January.

Coordinator: 5-8 hours
Volunteers: 1 hour shifts at luncheon – Set up, help out, and clean up, or send in a dessert.

Supply Drop Off Day

Students are invited to drop off school supplies in their classrooms on a specific day and time just before the school year begins. This allows them to see their classrooms, meet their teachers, drop off supplies, see who else is in their class, and visit Elsmere before getting into their school routine.  For new students, this is a nice way to get familiar with the school. 

Survivor Day

A fun filled late Spring event held at the Town Park for all of the 5th graders district-wide. Teams are made up of students from all the elementary schools and they move through a circuit of activities ranging from artistic to agility to brain teasers. A great way to make some new friends before heading off to the middle school. Activities are supervised by a mix of middle school and 5th grade staff, as well as 5th grade parents.

Volunteer: Fifth grade parents – 3 hours/year one morning in June – Run stations

Transportation Breakfast

All of our wonderful bus drivers and crossing guards are invited into school after student drop off to enjoy a special breakfast prepared just for them by some of the families at Elsmere. Students also prepare cards, notes and drawings in advance to leave for them to read while they eat.  Usually held in early spring.

Volunteer: Approx. 1 hour/year early Spring – Organize reception for transportation staff

Veterans Day Assembly

Veterans are honored annually at Elsmere at an assembly.  Veteran and active duty family members of students are invited to participate in the assembly, and refreshments are provided for honored guests. 

Volunteer: Approx. 1 hour/year in fall Organize reception for veterans following the assembly.

Walk to School Day

One day in October, families are asked to walk their children to school.  There are small prizes and snacks for students that walk to school on that day.

Volunteer: 1 hour/ year in fall – Set up/ handing out snacks and prizes/ clean up

Welcome Back Coffee

On the first day of school, parents/guardians are invited to the cafeteria after their children begin the school day.  Coffee is provided by the PTA, and friendly faces are available for anyone who wants to talk or ask questions. 

Volunteer: 1 hour/year – First day of school – Organize, run reception for parents

Welcome Back Dessert

Usually held on the first Friday evening after school starts, families of students are invited to come to the playground to meet up and share food.  Families provide drinks and desserts to share at this event. 

Volunteer: 1-3 hours/year –  early fall – Set- up, serve, clean up


PTA volunteers create and sell a yearbook each year as a fundraiser and to help students remember their friends and days at Elsmere.

Coordinator: 20-30 hours/year
Photographers: approx. 4 hours/ year  take and upload photos