HorsemanPTA – November Meeting Minutes

Friday, November 17, 2017 8:30 AM

Attendees:
Amada Reimundez
Andrea Gottschall
Angel Rafter
Christina Grillo
Dancy Balestrieri
Ella Londono
Jennifer Povman
Juliana Aloia
Karen Kuhn
Leah McVey
Mitch Sylves-Berry

Meeting Schedule

Discussed keeping to morning meeting schedule and working on a once-a-quarter evening meeting. Treasurer, Fatima Gianna cannot attend in the mornings but will communicate with her when needed to set up meetings.

Budget completed. Amada will ask Fatima to email it out.


Superintendents meeting

SNAC is a new program to review the lunch menus in the schools. The committee includes a representative from each school and is led by the Athletic Director.
• We have a rep from all schools except for WI.
• Meetings anticipated to be twice a year, with maybe a couple more meetings at the start.
• Ideally 2nd week of December for first meeting, but can do start of the year. First meeting is educating the committee on what the federal rules are for school lunches and then the committee will work to tweak the lunch program under those rules.

Wellness Committee focusing mission on overall wellness – not nutrition-related.

Book Fair
Morse book fair went well – over $10K in sales.

Need to talk about how we take the profit from Scholastic (receive 25% in cash, 50% in scholastic bucks). Can use bucks for resources for schools and maximize the profit you get.
PTA only breaks even so the money we do get from book fairs is already earmarked for other things that the PTA has committed to district-wide. Book fairs support the full district budget. Libraries need hardcover books and there is concern about the titles available but the online teacher catalog is huge and might have more options.

We can do an additional book fair and sell it as a stock up for summer reading at the end of the year. Can be one fair for the entire district to get bonuses or can do buy-one-get-one-free.

WI Book Fair runs the week of November 27, Monday through Friday.

Photo Day
Morse retake coming up
WI changed to January 4
JP 11/28

Rivertown Parents
• Speaker about finances and kids for December may not happen (Ardsley).
• Looking to do a tinkering night in Irvington, looking for space. (Maybe Mercy).
• Biggest interest from parent survey is wellness and resilience
• Talking best practices between the PTAs to support each other. A district did a read-a-thon and made $13K for the PTA. Ran online. Worked it out so that every kid got one sponsor and one prize. (Dobbs Ferry)
• Mercy runs STEM programs on Saturday.
• Angst was our event we shared with everyone. We had over 100 people show up to the evening event. Mr. Whitham shared with 7th and 8th graders first and now wants to show to the 6th grade in the spring. Other districts want to do a screening of it because it got good feedback and press. Panel discussion was really informative and Mr. Borsari did a good job moderating.
• Jean O’Brien’s online safety course in the school was very well-received. We tried to do a safety program that is district-wide, might be good to do in the schools and tailor to the age group. Presentation is on the resources section of the district web site.
• If there is something that is a need to communicate to parents to help them, Jen and Mitch are available to help with that.

Middle School Recap
• Kids getting hungry before the late 12:45 lunch period, especially those who get in super early. Mr. Whitham letting the teachers allow kids to have a snack, be respectful, and use their best judgment.
• 7th math honors change happened and has been beneficial. Working on consistency between classes.
• Working on consistency between English teachers in 7th grade honors.
• Career Fair is 11/28 and is in a new format where parents t tables and kids come around and choose who they want to visit with. Parent Yvonne Ibelli is coordinating. About twenty adults signed up already.
• Parent Portal: Teachers not updating as per guidelines and there are some other issues, such as a possible need to standardize grading criteria among teachers. Would like to find a way to let parents know when portal is about to close for grading week. Student access to the portal is coming.
• SNAC initiative: Generally agreed that middle school food holds up well, but service and time allotment is an issue.
• Bussing issues – sometimes overcrowded in the afternoons. Teachers asked to report any changes to afterschool schedule that might affect number of kids going home, and the MS office will get info to transportation immediately. Also, a rep from the high school will be dispatched to keep an eye on their students as they board. Transportation said they can get an extra van to the middle school in five minutes if told there’s a problem.
• Fundraising – wrapping paper: all orders in; deliveries Dec 7th. Thank you, Donna Gates! Some concern about the variety of paper in this year’s catalog as it was mostly kitchenware.
• Fundraising – spirit wear: order info coming out imminently. Online ordering will be available. Spirit wear can do school-specific items with proceeds going to the school’s budget. MS will have an item.
• Fundraising – Stop and Shop: MS enrollment underway. Using funds from the program for a general activity fund with the first project being a clean up of the recess area around the aqueduct trail.
• Fundraising suggestion that we look into Target frequent shopper program.
• Halloween Monster Ball: Looking to make some improvements for next year.
• Movie night was decently attended and costs were covered.
• Still looking for donations of ping pong tables. Already have two air hockey tables. Very committed to bringing back more fun to recess and offering options to non-sporty types.
• Teachers getting trained on new website, which will roll out end of December/beginning of January.
• Jean O’Brien will hold ½ hour parent training sessions on Google Docs, which all teachers will be using by next year. Dates TBD, but one morning session, and hopefully some concurrent with parent/teacher conference days.
• Suggestion of district-wide family movie night up on the football field in the spring. This would be a fundraiser hosted by a school, then would rotate to another school.

WI Recap
• Staffing: Hard to find qualified applicants for dual language leave replacement.
• Would like more Principal’s Chat theme ideas. The one on internet safety was a HUGE success. Ideas? These could be shared across buildings.
• Afterschool programs: WI is looking to better handle the music programs, library help, play rehearsals, sports practice, etc. in terms of staffing and space and would like to ensure a manageable afterschool schedule for children in 3rd-5th grade.
• District Communications Committee will solicit feedback, probably in form of survey, on how Parent/Teacher conferences went, given new trimester reporting schedule
• Back-to-School night was chaotic and we discussed different ways to manage in the future, including having separate night slots for 3rd grade families and 4th/5th grade and parent volunteers to greet and direct parents.
• WI working with safety consultants on how to keep improving. New color-coded lanyards coming, which visitors will also have to wear.
• $2,005 raised last week at WI clothing drive!
• $1,492 raised by kids at Walk-a-thon
• Class parent tea will be renamed and revamped to be more efficient next year
• WI Stop&Shop dollars will go toward the greenhouse and garden.
• PTA principal funds spent on safety vests, We’re All Wonder books, batteries for translators, and crayons
• Assistant principal is out for a new adopted child in his family.The interim AP is known to the district.

JP

No one in attendance.

Morse

• Wrapping paper went well and submitted. Online orders can still happen but you must pay for shipping.
• Indoor recess program – not enough space for it and it’s a lot of effort for the small group of kids who are interested. Decided not to run this year.
• Working on school communication and outreach via social media. Will wrap school efforts into larger district communications plan in February/March 2018.

Dress Code
A group of parents met with the administration, Dr. Smith and Mr. Whitham about the middle school and high school dress code. Looking to bring to the steering committee and then to work with student groups to talk about options to bring to the Board of Education in the spring.

SEPTA
We should invite them to meet with us, not many come to their meetings.
Mitch will send information on a possible word-learning program that Bonnie has been discussing with her.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s