August 2020


Dear Cornell Parents and Teachers,


We would like to begin by acknowledging the hardship we have all experienced in the past few months. This time has challenged us in our various roles as caregivers, employers/employees, and citizens. The usual expectations around safety, freedom, and connection have shifted (and shifted again) while we attempt to maintain some sense of normalcy. Yet we find ourselves acknowledging the flaws in our old “normal.” The realities of budget shortfalls, systemic racism, and climate change (just to name a few) that affect every aspect of life - including our schools - have moved front and center. We feel an undeniable urgency to act while facing the barriers presented by a pandemic to take collective action.


Amongst this uncertainty, we are tasked with the vitally i​mportant job of remaining strong and hopeful for our children.​ It is this mission that inspires the PTA and its members. We are committed to working collaboratively and creatively with Cornell staff to provide a nurturing educational experience for our kids. While we may not be able to host the Silly Olympics in person or share in the time-honored International Potluck, we can still build a supportive and inclusive community -- and we are determined to do so.


With all of those somber points out of the way, we would like to extend a warm welcome to all of our new students and their families, including incoming transfer, TK, and Kinder students! Please do not hesitate to reach out if there is anything we can do to assist you.


Please consider joining the PTA if you have not yet done so. In the past, the generosity of our members has allowed the PTA to support students by providing community-wide events, in-classroom enrichment activities, transportation to field trips, classroom and office supplies, and classroom magazine subscriptions. In addition, a portion of our budget this year is earmarked towards a prior agreement with the school district to purchase and install overhead projectors for every classroom.


It goes without saying that we must shift our spending to accommodate COVID-19 realities. We aim for complete transparency in our spending and decision making. ​Our priority is to support efforts that impact social-emotional education, on-site safety, student mental health, and community building. We would like you to attend our four annual meetings to ensure you are part of our process. The first meeting will be held online on September 10 at 6:30 pm. We will send additional details closer to the date.


We are also pleased to announce two new open positions on the PTA board: 1) Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) Chair, and 2) Diverse Learners Liaison. They are part of our broader efforts to ensure that our PTA reflects the many voices and experiences of the Cornell community and help drive necessary action. We hope to nominate and elect these positions at our first general meeting. For more information about these (and other) unfilled positions, visit the “Volunteer” menu of our website at


As a member, we invite you to use the PTA as a platform to share your invaluable input and feedback. In a time when in-person interactions may be limited, we will try our very best to create opportunities for parents to be heard. Additionally, we will continue to keep the community updated through multiple communication channels as well.


Our first direct effort to connect with each of you is going to be our “Care to Call” campaign. Since the year begins with an all-virtual paradigm, we feel that an old-school “phone-a-thon” would provide a great way for us to connect. If you are a parent at Cornell, you will be receiving a phone call from the PTA in the next 6 weeks. We want to check in with each family to hear how things are going, and hopefully create a phone tree for periodic check-ins with parents from a grade level above your child(ren)'s, throughout the year.


So what's next?

  • Join the PTA!
  • Become a dedicated supporter:​ Our Cornell dedicated supporters help us build stable and predictable funding that can be drawn from to support the children throughout the year. Sign up to become a Dedicated Supporter.
  • Follow our communication​: To stay up to date with our communications and activities- you can join our Google Group (etree) communication and/or join the Cornell Facebook group.​ Be sure to visit our​ website as well, as we try to develop a comprehensive and secure parent directory.
  • Lend us your time, skills, and talents!: While financial donations are certainly appreciated we want to elevate the impact of non-financial ones. Join our meetings, volunteer for activities, and let us know your thoughts! You can always email the PTA presidents at

In closing, we know that this year will be different. With this dramatic change, the opportunity for creativity and collaboration has never been so relevant or important. There is an incredible possibility for us to try new things and to think differently to make this difficult period of time one that elevates our children's experiences at Cornell elementary school. Our job as a PTA is to convene this talented and compassionate community of parents and educators to make this possible. We are ready, please join us.



Cornell PTA Co-Presidents
Natasha Khokhar & Derrick Wu