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Horsemen PTA Meeting
Friday, May 18, 2018
Action items underlined
Daphne Ulliver presiding over meeting in Amada Reimundez’s absence
Bri Staudt taking minutes in Karen Kuhn’s absence
Approval of last meeting’s minutes
Daphne asked for approval of last meeting’s minutes — approved
School budget vote
Daphne announced budget passed. Discussion about how parents could access budget
summary and details prior to voting. School budget can be hard to understand. Next
year, PTA board member TBD will ask for someone to come into a PTA meeting prior to
the vote to give an explainer so PTA board can best articulate key budget points when
Daphne (relaying from Fatima): Next update will be provided in the fall, when new
president is in place. May or may not be realistic for budget update to be circulated
before each board meeting. Group agreed that the “need to know” budget info is the
fundraising-specific numbers so that the board can track progress against goals
throughout the year. This reporting should be the fundraising chair’s responsibility.
VP funds – audit coming of how these are being used to see if improvements can be
Summary of May 14th ad hoc 2018-19 planning meeting at Christina’s house
Christina presented a summary of the key points in the meeting minutes that were
already circulated to the board via email. Key points included:
Next year’s goals are to recruit more active volunteers and to recruit more dues
paying members. Recruitment for open positions should begin before the end of this
school year (sample recruitment letter drafted by Christina — to be customized for
each school’s needs). Membership and volunteer forms need to be updated. Angel will
send out summer packets to grade VPs so they can be updated – reply only to Angel
please. Membership forms updates will come next from Angel and Phyllis. Horsemen
PTA Facebook information should be added to all flyers. Need to clarify that class
parents are PTA positions. Need to clarify PTA benefits and recruit more teachers.
Volunteer Coordinator position to be expanded and focus on recruiting throughout the
year. New fundraising ideas needed (replace wrapping paper fundraiser). Book Fair
management needs to be decentralized back to the schools.
Nominating committee was Bri, Lauren, Juliana, Christina, Donna, Daphne. Positions
considered by committee were president, VP, treasurer and secretary for next year.
There was only one nominee per position. Bri presented slate of:
• Angel Rafter for President
• Nitasha Kumar for Vice President
• Fatima Gianni for Treasurer
• Karen Kuhn for Secretary
Angel notes that per by laws, vote can be verbal if there is only one nominee per
position (as is the case this year). Vote will take place during the next board meeting
(June 15 at 8:30 a.m.) Board members must be paid-up in order to vote. Phyllis
already looking into paid/not paid status of each board member and will let board
members know before the next meeting. Members may only serve for maximum two
consecutive years in each executive position. Next year would be second year for both
Karen and Fatima in their positions if they receive “yes” votes. Angel: grade VPs do
not need to be nominated. These are volunteer positions. Angel will collect if each
grade VP is returning outside of this meeting.
Jen nominated slate. Lauren seconded. Nominees approved for vote June 15.
Next Year’s Calendar
Book Fair dates:
• Morse: October 15-19, 2018 – Juliana confirms
• WI: November 26-30, 2018 – confirmed prior to meeting
• MS: January 21-25, 2019 – Needs offline action. Daphne will reach out to Dancy to
see if Scholastic can move the MS book fair back one week, per principal’s request.
Listed week is testing and musical. (Can’t make announcements during testing,
• JP: March 11-14, 2019 (only M-Th; Mrs. Barnett wanted to keep Friday for filling
orders and packing up without inviting parents to shop) – confirmed prior to
Movie nights: Auditoriums need to be reserved now.
• MS: usually on a Friday first week of November. Who will set this up?
• WI: usually on a Friday after state tests, in May, but discussion of moving to end of
March (to avoid spring sports). Who will set this up?
Monthly Horsemen PTA meeting dates:
• Amada to send these to HR/Nelly when settled. We will remove “exec” from
calendar listing…should only say “board” meeting. (“Exec” implies only president,
treasurer, secretary, VP, not rest of the board.)
• Discussion about if the board meetings should remain open for next year…not
much attendance outside of board itself currently. Tentative decision is we want to
make it clear these are working meetings (like Board of Ed meetings) and keep
them open for anyone from PTA to observe if they want. Will advertise occasional
meetings in the evening (to allow greater PTA participation, mornings don’t work
for most) throughout the year with speakers, etc.…these don’t need to be on the
calendar…will advertise them to parents/PTA via social media, flyers, etc.
Grade VP/Principal meeting dates:
• Grade VPs want to wait until the beginning of the school year to set these up. Do
no go on the calendar, anyway. Need time to settle who grade VPs are.
Other calendar issues and coordination:
• Each grade VP needs to reach out to principal to confirm calendar dates that
haven’t been confirmed yet. Photo day dates roll over to next year, so comms on
that not needed, with exception of WI – Leah wants two days next year if possible.
Angel clarified that principals send the dates for each school to the
administration. They should have the current working version of the calendar. PTA
only sends PTA board meeting dates.
• JP: Lauren and Bri presented PTA overview at Incoming K info night this week.
Angel there to help with recruitment. Went well – over a dozen names of parents
who want to help out next year. Forms provided to Christina. Looks like we could
have a class parent coordinator and grade VP lined up. Need event chairs! Angel:
We should continue to emphasize/clarify that we are the org that is hands on in
the schools. Key difference from Foundation.
• Morse: Juliana/Lauren: Have not had May principal’s meeting yet
• WI: Leah: Principal (Mrs. Bretti) retired 5/17. Search for an interim principal on
now. Superintendent’s announcement was great but only went to WI parents. We
want this to be district-wide next time.
• MS: Donna: Focused on vaping issues and cell phone use in school in last principal’s
-Vaping: Good seminar occurred in HS. Want to bring it to MS – principal
agreed, but not likely to happen before end of this year. Aiming for the fall.
Vaping HAS been covered in health class for a few months now. Vaping is
also a parent education issue. Need to set up a sub-committee for vaping.
Vaping discipline policy is currently the same as for smoking. Mobil station
across the street sells vaping paraphernalia – Chris may reach out to
corporate Mobil to ask them to remove it due to proximity to school.
– Cell phone use: Requested a school-wide policy be put in place. It is “in
flux” now. Each class has its own policy – for example, art class may allow
students to look up photos on phones. Discussed pros and cons. Widespread
agreement among board that students should be using Chrome books
instead of phones for class work.
Need an overall fundraising chair for next year. Fundraising subcommittee/volunteers
to work with next president to find a chair. To find an alternative to wrapping paper
fundraiser, will call a separate brainstorming meeting (first fundraising subcommittee)
before June 15 where everyone will bring an idea. Laurissa Michael, a third-grade
parent contacted Dancy and Amada with these two ideas, which she is willing to
Dancy should reach out to Laurissa and arrange a meeting with Angel re: fundraising.
Donna raised Yankee candle fundraiser. Recent Thanksgiving pie fundraiser (pick up at
JP) was also fun for the community and benefitted a local business. Widespread
agreement that read-a-thon is a good candidate. Grade VPs to raise read-a-thon in
next principal meetings to gage interest. Each VP should do research at link above
prior to their meeting. 🙂
Jen: Mitch and Jen attended mindfulness discussion (Christopher Willard) May 2 at
Hastings HS. Great speaker, and caters to all age groups. Should consider this speaker
for our schools. Reminder that Tinker Night is tonight in Irvington. Ideas for topics for
Rivertown Parents next year include empowerment/“Me Too” movement; sexual
abuse; sports recruiting; and media use. Jen to add vaping to list of topics for RT
parents next year. Jen will reach out to Nitasha – she may know a psychologist who
would be good to talk about vaping. Jen will also reach out to guidance counselors
and health and wellness committee/SNAC for more ideas.
From Mitch: Need to send more reps (ideally from exec) to RT parents if possible.
• Angel: Anyone needing to reference bylaws should go to NY State PTA website. Still
looking for codes to access our unit-specific bylaws from that site.
Incoming student/info meetings
• Angel: For future meetings, should make sure our contact and Facebook info is on
a PTA slide. (For some schools, principals create all slides and include a PTA shoutout…
other schools, PTA sends a slide)
• Leah: Idea to post grade VPs’ pictures with names in school lobbies so parents can
match faces to names to better know their reps. Are also trying this with Facebook
High school needs to pass through its four-year period before it can become a PTA
again. It was dissolved after 3 years of inactivity. Currently a PAC (parent advisory
committee) now. Board agreed that we would like to be a K-12 PTA again when the
four-year period is over (after next year). There are currently K-12 vertical teams for
each subject — we want to also align ourselves with this “full journey” thinking.
Angel: Individuals can’t search on PTA board and school board simultaneously. Angel
will tell the HS principal we are interested in becoming a K-12 PTA again after next
• Daphne: Is consulting on the writing curriculum w/the district and recommending
teacher training programs. Four possibilities (e.g. Writopia) Going to the ELA
vertical meeting to present a vision statement.
• Daphne also noted that Dancy drafted and shared speech and debate proposal —
inspired by behavior we saw from Marjory Stoneman students after school shooting
there. They have a K-12 speech and debate program. Thank you, Daphne and
WHAT: 2018-2019 TUFSD budget vote
WHEN: Tuesday, May 15 from 7:00 AM to 9:00 PM
WHERE: Tarrytown residents vote at Washington Irving School; Sleepy Hollow residents vote at Morse School
For details on the proposed budget, please view the attached budget information sheet.
Thank you for taking the time to vote!
HORSEMAN PTA MEETING
Friday, April 20, 2018 8:30 AM
Trying to keep amount of money dispersed down as fundraising is down. Also have 9 applications, which is fewer than usual.
JP $300 for Pre-K outdoor toys (requested $500)
WI $300 Special needs field trip, $340 for math curriculum development, $1070 hockey set (request looking for better price)
Morse $1000 for 2nd grade field trip (try and partner with Foundation for additional $1000 needed)
Last-Minute Fundraiser Ideas
Suggestion for spirit night at a restaurant. Don’t need volunteers – just get the word out that if you go during one night you get money back from the restaurant. Chipotle, Applebees, etc. Only work is to get the application done and flyers out. Suggestion to try with a local restaurant to support local business. Phyllis will ask Hollywood Pizza and others, Angel will ask Bridgeview. Capri good option. Nitasha will take the lead on this one. We will pick one place and one night for the entire district.
Coupon books – removing the books and doing apps next year. Has a ton that we can get and sell at a discount so they can unload them. We can sell at existing events. 50 books. Tabled.
Christina and Nitasha have been posting on the Horsemen Facebook page. Needs likes and shares. Please send photos and information on any school events, or other programs to promote.
Last event: Angst showing in Ardsley.
Mindfulness with Dr. Christopher Willard from Harvard Medical School Weds 5/2 7:00-8:30 pm at Hastings High School. Will look to get translated and information distributed in schools/an email blast sent out.
Family Tinker Night at Irvington High School May 18th 6:30-8:30 PM. Registration opens May 1 8 PM (sold out last year). Appropriate for K-5. Space is limited.
Partnership with Center for Global Engagement is being discussed. Can bring people in to do the Model UN program, perhaps for 8th grade. Can bring in international kids to schools. Fall 2019 having 20 teachers from around the world coming to the States for 6 weeks and want to show how involved parents are in education as this is not the case in other countries.
4 book fairs sold over $41,000 in books. Get 25% of pre-tax dollars – made about $9,000 once expenses removed. Can make more in scholastic dollars and apply towards other purchases – worth considering next year. Dancy is stepping down from running book fairs next year and needs a replacement person. This is a great experience because it’s not just our biggest fundraiser, but is a real literacy and community event.
2018-19 proposed dates. VPs need to contact principals to confirm and let Dancy know ASAP so it can get on the calendar.
WI – 11/26-11/30 (emailed Ms. Bretti already)
Morse – 10/15-10/19
Middle school – 1/21-1/25
JP – 3/11-3/15
Please make sure that any school events are added to the calendar – speak to the principals.
Considering going to a different company than Irvin Simon. WI was an organizational nightmare.
They give a lot of scholarships and do a lot of the bookkeeping. We also do our WI yearbook with them. We make money on the photos, but not the yearbooks. Not sure that other companies will be ask giving with the scholarships. Will speak to Ms. Bretti about spreading out the picture day to a day and ½. Will give them another chance. Amada is booking the dates for next year.
Web site and Emails
Set up position-specific email addresses for everyone. Karen to look into options with the ISP.
2018-2019 PTA positions
Need to know who is returning next year. Also looking to set up coordinators to chair school events. Will start now so that we can reach people before they leave for the summer and look to get new people involved. Opportunities include: getting a few minutes in every classroom at Back to School night, Class Parent Teas and JP incoming parent orientation. Dancy will write a script to share with people for use at events.
Contacted again by TASH. Sold Spirit Wear but didn’t get a lot of interaction for PTA. Need a new lead as Christina Grillo is stepping down from this lead role this year.
JP – No rep here. Need to know about Teacher Appreciation lunch coordinator and date and Field Day. Question about re-opening Tappan Hill?
Morse – Melissa Miller handing Teacher Appreciation 5/11. VPs will manage Field Day. Trip Around the Community 5/4 and flyers sent out looking for parent volunteers/backpacks ordered. Book swap at the end of May. Still working on getting the library space running for kids.
Square One complete and needs to be delivered.
WI – Movie Night for all elementary schools 5/4 (doors 6, movie 6:30) at WI. Waiting on approval for Despicable Me 3 before starting promotion. Need volunteers and baked goods. FYI: Boosters in high school set $2/chips or candy and $1/water consistent pricing for events, which works well for management. Elementary schools have different rules and no food in the auditorium.
Incoming 6th graders start with a language. Frequency increasing so that it’s daily in 8th grade.
World Languages is dead.
State testing issues were reviewed with the principal – we will not computerize unless mandated. More opt outs as the kids age. Were scheduled for science testing and now we are no longer doing that.
Teacher appreciation coming up. Food drive very successful. Box tops submitted and very successful with $822 raised for the school – thank you Laura Richardson! 1st and 2nd place class winners will get a pizza party.
Book clubs wrapping up when it’s warm in the next couple of weeks.
5/10 blood drive – 5th graders dress as doctors and distribute snacks. Goal of 34 pints from adults.
Circus Arts happening now. Writing up something on the WIN program for the district newsletter mailing – enrichment program in the school.
SHMS – Meeting is next week. DC trip going on now – checking to make sure everyone who wanted to go, was able to go, regardless of their ability to pay.
Need volunteers for staff appreciation. Mitch will help. Date to be set.
Jen would like to start this kind of group for support and working with the community. Suggestion to open to all. Goal – information, support, resources.
Schools met with students and got feedback. Looking to incorporate comments into rewrite. At least meeting discussed training for teachers on how to manage new code. Parent group waiting to hear back from administration on next steps to prepare this for the School Board.
Did you know that the Horsemen PTA organizes STAFF APPRECIATION LUNCHEONS during Teacher Appreciation Week (which happens to be next week)? We need your help to show our teachers how much we appreciate them!
Please sign up to help your school using the SignUp Genius links below:
Come enjoy family fun watching Despicable Me 3, Friday, May 4, from 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM at Washington Irving School auditorium. Admission is free and doors open at 6:00 PM!
Adults must stay with their children for the duration of the event. Snacks, baked goods and spirit wear will be available for sale!
January 19, 2018
New VP – JP
Welcome to Brianna Staudt!
Karen Kuhn, Secretary, resigned due to child leaving the district and work commitments. Brianna can help with the WordPress web site. We will post position via Jean O’Brien and via Phyllis. Karen will work up a job description with Amada.
Friday, February 16 at 8:30 AM.
Dates for February Superintendent meeting TBD. We’ve had postponements due to snow days.
Meeting postponed due to snow day – scheduled for next week.
We’ve had issues with the photography company. There are a lot of children to move through the process and in moving people through the company representatives did not use printed labels for photos. Now we have had mismatches of names and portraits. This is a major issue for the yearbook and identification in the school system (kept last year’s photos for the moment). Yearbook deadline is March and as everything is linked, it will mean an incorrect yearbook.
• Recommend not using Irvin Simon again unless this gets resolved and we are confident it will work more smoothly in the future. Brianna will ask which company Irvington uses.
• Working with the company on support, especially with yearbook. Donna will call to ask what they need to fix the problem and then will work with the school (teachers?) to get corrections.
• Parents directed to contact company directly.
Book fair hours worked out. Ms. Barnett connected PTA with families who volunteered. Sign up Genius going out today and flyers in backpacks. March 12-16, Monday evening event, Weds and Thursday breakfast. Karen will talk to High School musical about volunteers for bringing Beauty and the Beast crossover. Have costumes and need helpers to wear them. Suggestion made to look for diverse people for these opportunities.
Thanksgiving feast went well. Received some complaints from parents that during sing-along not everyone could see their child. Looking at options for next year.
Looking to add more information on pre-school program on web site when it’s re-launched. Want to provide information easily – hours, transportation options, program information, registration. (February launch for new web site!)
Add Communications Committee updates on monthly meeting agenda.
There were some issues with parents not happy with timing of delivery of the spirit wear. Andrea is working on resolving the issues. Some chatter on Facebook . JP and Morse orders need to be picked up and distributed.
• Adding an advisory period in 2018-19 to have a home base and address issues coming up with social workers: studying, social issues, etc. May send out a short survey to parents.
o Discussion of teaching study skills to students in preparation for high school.
o Joshua also looking at some other programs (AVID).
o Suggestion of using Cahoot to quiz at home
• Hidden Mischief program at high school February 1 to teach parents about drug abuse.
• Busing issues are resolved.
• Reviewing sports and space issues with modified sports (too many kids). Looking to add intramural program so that people have an option that is less competitive and solves numbers issues. Will not approve MS games being played at WI in the future.
• New screen in entrance of Middle School as an information center for students.
• Winter recess more successful with ping pong tables, etc. 7th graders don’t get the gym for indoor recess due to scheduling.
• SRO is outside during lunch period in car making sure students are not leaving the school for lunch. No longer going between the two cafeterias. Will contact Mr. Borsari about this issue in the next superintendent’s meeting.
• Book fair next week. Need help Friday night and Saturday morning.
• DC trip has a wait list due to 4th bus being mostly empty last year. Good funding from Foundation so this is a space issue.
• Issue with employee taking funds last year is being resolved in court. New accounting procedures in place now.
Rivertown Parents Update
• May 2 Hastings offering an event on mindfulness with a Harvard doctor.
• May 18 elementary Tinkering night in Irvington. Limited spaces. Could use support for carpooling with families in need of transportation.
• Looking for Rachel Simmons (author “Odd Girl Out”) for the fall, but negotiating price as it’s very expensive.
• Our contribution for Rivertown Parents is $1000/year.
• “Wilderness” presentation in RiverArts in Irvington this weekend.
• Working on updating the Rivertown Parents web site with information and events.
December 15, 2017 8:30 AM
Next meeting January 19th at 8:30 AM
Then February 12th 7:00 PM
Amada will email Nelly to set up January and February superintendent meetings.
Did well, but didn’t make as much money as in the past.
WI – 28 orders made $1,718.40
JP – 27 orders made $1,531.20
Morse – 25 orders made $1,306.00
MS – 16 orders made $1,075.20
Total profit $5,630.80
Made over $10K in the past
Timing of the year an issue?
Are people tired of the fundraiser?
Some people didn’t get catalogs
We need to look to find something else.
Square One art
– Announced January with art collection by February.
– Reps are Lauren – Morse, Amada – WI unless someone wants it, JP also covered.
– Art arrives around Mother’s Day.
Bulbs, seeds, plants and baskets fundraiser has been suggested in the past. Donna will look into this again to see if a spring fundraiser would help recoup expected income from wrapping paper. Mitch will check with Dobbs Ferry. They used a company that shipped directly to the home and had a successful fundraiser.
WI did Kids Stuff coupon book for the circus last year. Did a walkathon this year and raised more money. Not interested in the coupon book this year. It was a lot of work to put them together and timing was not the best. Had over 300 books not returned and made little money. Perhaps we can sell a number of books at events or online – 50% profit. Amada will contact the company to find out minimums and what we sold. Be careful not to cannibalize other sales.
Smencils are also popular with the younger grades.
Chipotle 50% back day. Can sign up at http://chipotle/fundraisers. Can do by school if we want. Amada will follow up with VPs on interest in running this. There is one in Dobbs and one at the Kmart shopping center.
(Thank you Daphne Uviller for the notes.)
JP: Sara Scipioni
Morse: Christina Grillo
WI: Dancy Balestreri and Daphne Uviller
MS: Phyllis Arduino
HS and Rivertowns PTA: Mitch Sylves-Berry
I. Update on SNAC
Parent representatives from each building (except for WI) have been selected as representatives on this nutrition committee. SNAC is different from the Wellness committee; SNAC focuses only on food in the cafeterias, whereas Wellness will address social/emotional/overall health. WI still needs to pick someone, ASAP.
JP — Sara Scipioni
Morse – Sheila Murphy (a holistic health coach)
WI – to be determined
MS – Jean McLuren (nutritionist)
HS – Katherine McKinley
There will also be two kids selected, one from the high school, to offer a more reflective perspective, and one from WI.
First meeting will be 2nd week of January
II. Federal Tax Bill
– Hurts states that have higher state/local taxes and will impact our district in the not-to-distant future
– Would like PTA to help produce and circulate an info sheet on any issues at budget time to educate voters. Asked us to check with National PTA on advocacy on this issue.
– With more possible options to afford private school, we want to retain our families.
– District has essential, but unglamorous improvements to make like LED bulb and window replacement and blacktopping and three or four of our government bond funding options are likely to disappear with the new tax bill. He hopes to push these improvements through in this May’s budget while we can still take advantage of those options.
• There was an update on FLES (foreign language in the elementary schools) – Spanish instruction has begun for all students in K, 1, 2, and will include 3rd graders next year. Discussed how this will change Middle School curriculum in the future (6th grade World Languages may be eliminated)
• Enrollment in the district is more or less steady, with some grades consistently higher than others, but with the range being 194-229 per grade (largest is current 9th grade)
• Discussion of some wishing Dual Language was bigger led to discussion of Dual Language in general, and how it’s being coordinated better than before. Working to improve transition to 5th grade and middle school. Downside of increasing the program is keeping equity in the room (50/50 native English and Spanish speakers) and the cost of teacher hires (special training).
• The district is working hard to operate as a K-12 school, something that can fall through the cracks with our Princeton system (official name of having each grade together, rather than feeder elementary schools). Namely, transitions, or what is sometimes called “articulation,” need to be refined.
– Jen will look into what National PTA is doing for advocacy.
– Amada will email DL parents to get some testimonials of the program.
– Branding – communications, web site design, looking to sell the district. DL is one of the crown jewels of the district and uses what could be perceived as a disadvantage as an advantage.
o INCLUSION direction would be smart. Mitch/Jen will look to contribute something for language and culture with Rivertown consortium
o Challenge/Enrichment program is impressive to other districts and parents as well.
o Drama program is also a big deal.
Purchase gifts for families in need.
School VPs took list of families from Amada and will work out purchases/volunteers to purchase items as there are a couple lists running at the moment.
Nitasha talked to Transportation Manager about possibly doing something nice for the 40 bus drivers e.g., “adopting a family”. The union manages all of the support staff so there are many more people – more than 100. Suggested that going forward for next year we can do something inclusive like giving out raffle tickets for everyone to get something (if we get donations for items for them). Bus drivers are the least paid in the community.
SUPPORT FOR PTA VPs/PROGRAMS
We need to recruit more people in the PTA. We need to increase the number of VPs, get more bodies to do all the things that we need to do. People sign up to do work and don’t show up.
Put on agenda ideas on how to bring on more people, increase visibility of the PTA and what we do.
WI book fair was a success – over $15K (keep 25% of pre-tax amount)
Lot of enthusiasm from parents and kids, successful opening night with support from teens for crafts and ice cream
Major problem with people volunteering and not showing up to help.
Middle School – January 23-26
Needs list of volunteers and times. If we don’t have people, should be limit hours of the event if we do not have people
Dancy cannot be there on her own the whole time
Need to get word out about the event and to get volunteers
Phyllis can input people into Sign Up Genius
Get Jean O’Brien to email blast all middle school parents
Consider options for limiting hours, locking up books, etc if we don’t have enough volunteers.
No spring book fair.
Next year consider one bigger event instead of many of them