Horseman PTA Meeting Minutes – September 8, 2017

Attendance
Amada Reimundez – President
Andrea Gottschall – VP, 8th grade/Spirit Wear
Angel Rafter – VP, 8th grade
Ben O’Connell – VP, Kindergarten
Christina Grillo – VP, 2nd grade
Dancy Balestrieri – VP, 3rd grade
Daphne Uviller – VP, 4th grade
Donna Gates – VP, 7th grade
Elia Londono – VP, 4th grade
Fiona Galloway – VP, 5th grade
Julianna Aloia – VP, 1st grade
Karina Arreola – VP, 4th grade
Lauren McBride – VP, 1st grade
Leah McVey – VP, 5th grade
Mitch Sylves-Berry – Parent Ed/Rivertown Parents
Nitasha Kumar – VP, 6th grade
Phyllis Arduino – Membership
Samantha Ford – VP, Kindergarten
Sara Scipioni – VP, Kindergarten
Tara Schatzel – VP, 4th grade
Laura Richardson – Box Tops Fundraiser
Sheila Murphy – VP, 2nd grade

Meeting called to order. Introductions.

Thanks to everyone who helped at Morse’s Back to School Night last night.

STAFFING AND EVENT SCHEDULE

Photo Day
Leah McVey will be point person with the photography company for the elementary schools.
JP and Morse – Recruiting
WI – Leah McVey

Book Fair
Dancy Balestrieri will be point person with Scholastic for all schools.
JP: Samantha Ford
Morse: Christina Grillo
WI: Will recruit at Back to School Night
SHMS: Dancy Balestrieri

Wrapping Paper
Donna Gates will be point person with the wrapping paper company for all schools.
JP: Sara Scipioni
Morse: Alison and Sheila Murphy
WI: Leah McVey and Tara Schatzel
SHMS: Angel Rafter

  • The flyers are awaiting approval with the superintendent’s office. Once they are approved, Donna will put the packets together for delivery October 20.
  • Fundraiser will run from Oct 20-Nov 3. Purchases can be made online.
  • The merchandise will be delivered to the schools on December 7. Each school will receive its own delivery.
  • Donna will write a detailed email to each Wrapping Paper Chair in the coming weeks.

Square 1 Art
JP: Recruit at Back to School Night
Morse: Lauren McBride
WI: Amada Remundez

  • Ms. Barrett asked the chairs need to send an email reminder to the art teachers.
  • We will start thinking about this event more in December.

Chess Club

  • Amada Remundez will serve as point person with the chess company for Morse and JP.
  • Individual coordinators are needed for each school.

Spirit Wear
Andrea Gottschall is the coordinator for all schools.
JP: Christina Grillo will send volunteer information to Andrea when it is all compiled.
Morse: Nitasha Kumar
WI: Leah McVey.

  • We will need volunteers to sell Spirit Wear at the various school events, such as Book Fairs, Back to School nights, movie nights.
  • High school kids should be available to do this as part of their community service hours.

Class Parent Teas
Budgets for the teas were confirmed as follows:
JP: $250.00
Morse: $75.00
WI: $75.00

Back to School Nights

  • Dates were reviewed.
  • Need to recruit new volunteers.
  • VPs from other schools should try and attend events to staff tables for the home school’s VPs while they are in the class meetings.
  • Sign-up sheets for JP and WI were passed out for review. WI sheets have been returned to Christina for small corrections. JP will email any corrections to Christina before their Back to School Night.
  • We need volunteers for the WI and JP Back to School Nights.
  • Andrea will do Spirit Wear at WI. The Boy and Girl Scouts will also have tables there.
  • The Middle School only hosts a Membership Table at their Back to School Night. Amada will send out a reminder email before each Back to School Night.

MEETING SCHEDULING

VP Reminders

  • All VPs should check their PTA mailboxes.
  • All VPs should set up a meeting schedule with their respective Principal.

PTA Meeting Schedule

  • We will start having evening PTA meetings to accommodate people who work during the day.
  • We will alternate – one month we will have a morning meeting, the next an evening meeting.
  • Right now we are considering Mondays at 7 pm for the evening meetings.

Superintendent Meetings

  • The first PTA/Superintendent meeting will take place on Wednesday, 9/20 at 1 pm.
  • VPs will rotate attending this meeting.

TREASURER REPORT

All check requests and financial matters should be sent to Fatima using the following treasurer-specific email address: tufsdtreasurer@yahoo.com.

Reimbursement Procedure:

  • Forms are on the Horseman PTA web site.
  • Reimbursements should be submitted with receipts to Fatima Gianni, Treasurer, as soon as possible after the event.

Budget and Financial Forms Update

  • We don’t have a printed budget yet, but it is coming.
  • Fatima is in the process of updating all the online financial forms on the website.

OTHER DISCUSSION

Halloween Costume Drive

  • VPs need to think about the Halloween costume drive, as Pamela is not directing it this year.
  • Each school should think about making a flyer.
  • The point person for each school will need to work with the social worker to coordinate the distribution of the costumes.

Middle School Movie Night – November 3

  • May sell pizza again as a fundraiser as it was successful last year.
  • Not sure if they will let the students vote to pick the movie, or if they will just pick the movie.
  • The movie night is for middle school students only.

Selection Committee Training
Please remind parents about the Selection/Hiring Committee Trainings.

Information Sharing

  • During the WI VP meeting, Mrs. Bretti asked how the information VPs receive from the principals during these meetings is shared with the greater parent population.
  • Monthly updates should be forwarded to Karen as part of the minutes on the website.
  • We should have Jean O’Brien include this information as part of her Sunday night email blasts. The blast should include a link to the PTA website.
  • Add the PTA web site address to all flyers.
  • We are going to try and have more teachers join the PTA and attend our meetings.
  • Need to find the PTA Facebook page admins to update them and start using the page for regular updates.
  • We will consider setting up VP-specific email addresses next year. For example: Morse@tufsd.org. This email address would be passed down from year to year, to make it consistent.

Swagat
Nitasha mentioned that Swagat will participate in a program which would donate a portion of a night’s proceeds to the Horseman PTA. We should find out more information about the collection and distribution of funds.

TaSH

  • Sept. 9 event was canceled due to lack of volunteers.
  • We will reschedule for September 30.
  • We will sell Spirit Wear and distribute membership forms.
  • Christina will send out the sign-up genius as we get closer.

March Meeting Minutes

March 18, 2016 Meeting

Attendees

Jacki Geoghegan

Angel Rafter

Donna Gates

Mitch Sylves-Berry

Amada Reimundez

Elia Londono

Senia Sakarya

Dancy Balestrieri

Maribel Palacios-Perez

Karina Arreola

Kelley Anniccherico

David Neilsen

Nitasha Kumar

 

Our meeting was called to order at 8:40 A.M. by Jacki and Angel.

Superintendent Site Visit Recap

Angel gave a recap of the visit to Armonk for the Superintendent evaluation. They met with 3 groups of people. Teachers, Parents/students, and the administration (superintendent, heads of departments). The common thread was that Chris Borsari is honest, has a strong moral compass, hardworking and all about the students. Chris Borsari talked to the diversity issues in our district and is looking forward to working within the community, not just in the schools. All of the people interviewed are very sad to loose him. The overwhelming vote on the ride back was for Chris Borsari. Angel encouraged that we meet with the new superintendent as soon as you can with any issues.

Jacki made the announcement that during the next PTA meeting Dr. McCann, Mr. John Staiger and Ms. Pamela Rourke will present the budget detail to the group to help understand what is changing and to help encourage people to go out and vote. The Building committee will also be present to talk about capital work. All board members are expected to attend and we requested everyone come a few minutes before 8:30 as the presentation will begin at 8:30

Fundraising

Donna itemized the different fundraisers for the Middle School and Kelley will send the middle school vps a detailed list with the total dollar amounts the Middle School has to spend this week.  The highlighted issue was the wrapping paper loss. Several orders were stolen from the main office resulting in a $1000 loss. They still made money, just not as much as they should have. Donna’s father is making a lock box to prevent this from happening next year.

Donna discussed changing the wrapping paper to Yankee candle. The wrapping paper rep says that many schools alternate year to year. It was majority vote to keep the wrapping paper, maybe add the yankee candle to wrapping paper.

Looking for spring fundraiser. Suggestions were asked for in the last meeting. Amada said the Little Caesar’s pizza fundraiser worked in the preschool very well. She will send details to Donna later. A bulb fundraiser was mentioned, but a few members were not in favor bulbs, because it appears to be a lot of work for little payoff and more importantly, not everyone has a yard to plant. Jacki suggested a candy fundraiser perhaps for Valentines day. Mitch suggested Script, a gift card buying fundraiser, she will send more information later as well. We will bring materials to show everyone at the next meeting.

Square one art is well on it’s way. Order forms were sent home. Should be shipped before mothers day. You can go back and order past years online!

Cyber Parenting/ Internet awareness recap

Jacki thanked everyone who came out to the meeting. Gave many thanks to Jean O’Brien, couldn’t have done it without her. Jean and Jacki are working on a follow up, hands-on small group session that will cover using filters and parental controls, showing apps that their children may be using, etc. We discussed the little girl who went home after the meeting and told her parents about someone talking to her through Trivia Crack. Notices were sent home in Sleepy Hollow but not in Tarrytown. Question was asked if anything is being done for the 5th for internet awareness. Jacki said that the 5th grade PE classes the kids are being exposed to an age appropriate internet awareness program (digital passport) that educates kids in a game function.

Donna asked if there were any follow-ups to teach kids about stranger danger. It was pointed out that the email that was sent out by Pleasantville had great ideas and tips on how to talk to your kids about stranger danger. Karina requested that such notices be sent out as a flyer because not every family has internet access.

Mitch suggested that at back to school night that parents are given a chance to sign up for town notifications and the TUFSD site.

School Updates –

JP – Very successful book fair this year! Highest grossing bookfair ever at JP. PJ Party, good communication, weather, Clifford the big red dog were some of the reasons listed for the success.

Better communication is needed between Pre-k and K, Natasha met with Mrs. Barnett about how to improve this. Mrs. Barnett was very receptive to the suggestions. Pre-k will have it’s own back to school night and they will get a bus ride, like K does prior to the start of school.

Morse – Drop off is still a problem. The police officer is there but it is not really helping. Tickets need to be given to the offenders to make a difference.  Donna suggested copying Pleasantville, they are a walking school district. Donna will go and find out more and pass along the information to the appropriate people.

Dancy needs more money for trip around the community. It was denied.  Projects need to stay within the budgeted amount. It was suggested that they could use the VP fund if they decide that is where they want to spend the money. The request was for the backpacks. It was suggested to Dancy to find out from past chairs where they purchased the bags.

WI – Donna reported on Math Madness. Not a great turn out, but there were many competing sporting events on the same day. Year book is on schedule.

Middle School – Mitch told us about the successful dances they have had. A second one will be on April 1st. Coaches and teachers of the clubs are respecting the dance and adjusting their schedules around it.

2 children need scholarships for the DC trip. Middle School vps need to vote and approve to issue the funds. It was suggested that kids who get the scholarships pay back in community service, like they do for the band trip. How to do this without singling out children. Talk to band teacher to find out how they do it.

MS is doing booster ads in the yearbook, proceeds going to help purchase books for children in need. Jacki asked if the PTA was willing to sponsor an ad at the cost of $75. A vote was taken and all present were in favor.

Movie night was approved for MS students on the same night as the elementary movie night. The event is free, but a few parent chaperones will be needed. It will take place in the auditorium on 4/29.

 

Relay for Life update

Jacki asked if we should have a PTA team. Jacki will send out an email, since we were short on time.

Jacki concluded the meeting. Next one scheduled for April 15th.  Board member attendance required.

 

 

November Board Meeting Minutes

November 20, 2015 PTA Meeting at Administration Building

Attendees:

Jacki Geoghegan

Angel Rafter

Paul Pirozzi

Jennifer Bayliss

Mitch Sylves-Berry

David Neilsen

Jennifer Povman

Donna Gates

Katie Scully

Maribel Palacios-Perez

Senia Sakarya

Tara Schatzel

Elia Londono

Karina Arreola

Andrea Gottschall

Welcome, Fundraising Update:

Our meeting was started at 8:36 A.M. by Jacki and Angel.   Donna Gates updated the board on fundraising events.  Our wrapping paper campaign is completed.  PTA made over $11,200 in profits; Middle School numbers are included in these results.  Donna also noted that The Charleston Company was very easy to work with.  Thanksgiving pie sale totals have exceeded 134 and are very comparable to our sales total last year.  Pick up will be Tuesday at J.P. between 5 and 7 P.M.  Donna is accepting orders until Monday November 23rd and our profits should exceed $500.  This year, 630 coupon books went out to the community.  91 books were sold for a net profit of $1,200.  Unfortunately over 400 of the books were not returned.  Although this poses no risk to the PTA, in the future, a different venue may be more appropriate for this type of event.  The board suggested a Yankee Candle fundraiser in place of wrapping paper next year, however there was some dissent, and the board agreed to compare their respective profit margins.

Vote

A motion was passed to have the middle school PTA merge with the Pre-K to 6th grade PTA 210 unit.  The following is a list of PTA voters and the final results:

Jacki Geoghegan

Angel Rafter

Paul Pirozzi

Donna Gates

Jen Povman

David Neilsen

Maribel Palacios-Perez

Elia Londono

Karina Arreola

Jenn Bayliss

Andrea Gottschall

Tara Schatzel

Mitch Sylves-Berry

Senia Sakarya

Katie Scully

 

Voting in Absentia (via email

Dancy Balestrieri

Kelley Anniccherico

Melissa Eisele-Kaplan

Nitasha Kumar

Jhoana Segarra

Virginia Collins-Williams

Leah McVey

Fiona Galloway

Pamela Louis

 

Result Totals:

24 Yes votes

0 No votes

 

Another vote was held to officially name our PTA organization The Horsemen PTA; this vote passed unanimously.

SRO vs. Youth Officer

The board discussed the use of a special resource officer (SRO) vs. a youth officer, or no police presence in our Sleepy Hollow schools, Angel spoke about a district meeting attended by our mayor where these issues were discussed.  Angel advised the board that out of the 28 districts, 11 have SRO’s and 11 have youth officers.  December 10th this topic will be discussed further at the Board of Ed. Meeting with an expert in the field.  The board went around the table and voiced their opinions individually regarding this topic.  The majority of the 15 members were in favor of an SRO with 4 people choosing to abstain.

School Updates

JP-

Jen Bayliss advised the board that photo day was a success and that unfortunately there was a recent lockdown at JP.  Although chaotic, everyone was O.K. and dismissal was uneventful.

Morse-

The book fair event was a big success. Although there were some tough parking challenges with street closings, the event brought in over $11,000.00 in sales.  Photo retake day is being held December 3rd.

WI –

Book fair supplies were delivered yesterday and the event kicks off November 30th

MS-

Jacki informed the board that career day went well this week.  Although there were some cancellations of candidates, there were a wide variety of careers represented with pledges from speakers to return next year.  Katie spoke about the recess redesign project.  Phase I of the project has been completed.  Phase II has started and the committee are considering which surface option to use.  Dr. McCann is helping to price out different options.  Katie also said the percentage of children that now play outside has almost doubled.

Other Updates

A few members of the board met last week regarding the Board of Ed’s superintendent search.  The members helped to draft an email to the board requesting permission to pose questions to potential superintendent candidates, and also requesting to see each candidates answer verbatim.  The board replied that they would consider our questions but that they would not submit each candidates reply back to the PTA.  The board noted that executive sessions are to be kept confidential.   Angel followed up with a sample question to the board with no reply as of yet.

Jacki noted that the Main Street Laundromat in Tarrytown has volunteered to launder all coats for the upcoming coat drive.

A flyer was distributed to the board regarding a “Relay for Life of the Tarrytowns” interest meeting that is being held Tuesday, December 1st at 7PM in the Administration building boardroom.  Jacki asked each board member to please distribute this flyer to 3 people.  Maribel noted that she will be recruiting volunteers to be on a district committee for this event.  The committee will help raise money, educate the public and create awareness.  This event is the American Cancer Society’s signature event and will be held in June, it is an overnight event.

Andrea advised the board that Spirit Wear fundraising is finished for the year.  All merchandise has been distributed except for the middle school.

Jen Povman spoke about the Rivertown Parents seminar on October 15th given by Jessica Leahy.  More than 100 people attended.  The next seminar will discuss managing your money; this will be in February or March.

The meeting was adjourned at 10:18; our next meeting will be Friday, December 18th.

September 2014 PTA Approved Meeting Minutes

September 14, 2014

Attendees:

Paul Pirozzi

Julia Reimer

Mitch Sylves-Berry

Andrea Gottschall

Fiona Galloway

Greg Galloway

Pamela Louis

Bonnie Boyce

Kelley Anniccherico

Jennifer Bayliss

Jacki Geoghegan

Donna Gates

Virginia Lustyik

Tara Schatzel

Angel Rafter

Jen Povman

Meg Greenburg

David Neilsen

Leah McVey

Welcome and Introductions:

Our meeting started at 8:05 A.M., Introductions were made again and Bonnie gave an explanation of SEPTA’s functions, informing everyone that a joint meeting with the PTA will probably happen soon.  Their next meeting will be held on October 7th at J.P. in the evening, including a discussion of Special Education and the Common Core.

Budget

The 2014-2015 Estimated Budget vs. 2013-2014 Actual Budget was distributed at our meeting, along with a sample Check Request Form.  This year the budget is tighter, due to less earned last year at book fair and other events (brutal winter and traffic issues from TZee Bridge ramp closure).  Kelley discussed Middle School budget, requesting cash denomination breakdowns when submitting charitable funds. It was recommended that they would keep the elementary and middle school separate for finance purposes.  The board suggested including Bus drivers appreciation items in the budget as well (possible gift certificates).

Website

Greg Galloway is adding editor functionality for all PTA members.  Each member should’ve received an invitation via email from WordPress.  If you have not received that email, please advise Greg via email, greg@gallowayworld.com.  Volunteer forms are being added to our PTA website under the Volunteer Form Tab.  Jean Obrien is giving the PTA website a breakdown by grade.  Flyers that go out are being updated to include our web address.

Class Parent Teas

Welcome letter forms were distributed at back to school nights.  The grade VP’s need to communicate to coordinators that the folders be ready for the class parent tea events.

PTA Administrative Items

The board was notified of the copier machine location upstairs in the admin. Building, and the supply closet in the room behind the fireplace on the first floor.  All flyers that go out need Dr. Clouet’s approval beforehand.  Please submit flyers to nvalentin@tufsd.org.  We are working on getting building dedicated translators in the near future, which should help to keep things running more efficiently.  We need to find out from Jean O’Brien when the deadline is to include information in the weekly email blasts that she sends out.

Fundraising

Box tops donations are 10 cents each and we should better publicize how much, and what we do with the revenue received.  Perhaps a grade wide box top competition could be held.  Board also discussed ways that we could get the community involved by posting drop boxes in the library, senior centers, Kendall and other local venues.  Laura Richardson should be notified.  The direct donation letters that will be replacing the wrapping paper drive should have paypal account capabilities.  Greg Galloway thinks this is something that can be done fairly easily.  Letter should include paypal information as well as the field trips/and or other benefits created as a result of the funds being raised.  There is a Goodshop link on the Horseman PTA website, located under the Blogroll tab.  The board acknowledged the success in allowing water bottles in classrooms and suggested adding BPA Free clear water bottles to the Spirit Wear inventory, and to include a “Your Name” label on the bottle as well.  We also discussed a “Teacher” driven Spirit Wear fundraiser, because many teachers have shown an interest in the merchandise in the past.  Flyers will be going out for Spirit Wear in Early October.  Donna Gates had some literature from “D Fun Shops” that could be set up in the schools (perhaps W.I. and up) where kids could shop during lunch hour for example, perhaps twice a week.  However, there may be a rule in place, prohibiting students from spending money during school hours, in the schools.  If the rule exists, perhaps a kiosk can be set up during Friday movie night for this idea.

School Updates

Andrea started with W.I.  A VP meeting is scheduled for October 3rd.  Mitch from the middle school mentioned the book swap in February, and David said he can supply a starter batch of books; Mitch is going to check on the need for that.  Jacki mentioned a meeting that she is having on Monday September 22nd with Mr. Gentile regarding organization of the yearbook event.  The membership “Join EPTA” forms copies are being made by Donna Gates.  Leah met with Mr. Holland and an auditorium renovation is in the future for Morse.  Leah also mentioned that the 20 minute interval of arrival and dismissal is very chaotic; specifically the cross walks at Morse School.  She is looking in to getting a Sleepy Hollow officer from the precinct to volunteer during those times of day.  She will keep communicating with SH police Dept. and a letter will be sent to the trustees if needed.  Thanksgiving flyers forms (Carmines) will be going out.  Jacki will provide Leah with an email contact.  Also, Leah is verifying if all Chairs are set up at Morse.  J.P. needs to have 1 class parent take the lead on communicating with PTA and with the teachers.

Open Discussion

Pam has been getting information on the Scripts National Spelling Bee.  Greenburgh seems to be the only town participating.  It seems that Tarrytown may be able to join in under Greenburgh.  Grades 4 through 8 are eligible, and a sponsor (probably corporate) would probably help Tarrytown to getting into the contest.  Jacki mentioned Family Science Night and questioned if it will be in the fall or winter.

Next Meeting scheduled for Friday October 24 at 8 A.M.

December 2014 Approved PTA Meeting Minutes

December 12, 2014

Attendees:

Jacki Geoghegan

Angel Rafter

Paul Pirozzi

Andrea Gottschall

Donna Gates

Tara Schatzel

Meg Greenburg

David Neilsen

Jennifer Bayliss

Leah McVey

Fiona Galloway

Greg Galloway

Mitch Sylves-Berry

Welcome and Introductions/Advocacy Letters:

Our meeting was started at 8:10 A.M. by Jacki and Angel.  Advocacy letter samples, opposing mandatory stand alone “field tests” as well as the repealing of the Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA) were distributed to the board and are being put on the horsemanpta.com website.  Information desks are being set up & manned by EPTA members this week at the school concerts to help with distribution of the letters to the community.  David is asking if a box can be set up in the lobby of the Warner library for submission of the signed letters. The board is hoping for a large number of these letters signed by parents and members of the community, so that they can be sent to Albany before year end.

Mini Grant

A grant has helped subsidize the price of the Morse school field trip to Stone Barns.  The Mini grants will also help with the following: ESL Lending library at Morse; books and sensory tools at JP and Morse; Razz kids-for children in need in 3rd grade at WI; a new binding machine at Morse, and supplies for the 5th grade mural project the art teacher at W.I.  Others not listed will be awarded too. Notification to grant applicants will be done the week ok 1/5.

There seemed to be interest in using the remaining funds from the mini grant to help finance the Random Farms Production of “New Kid” Anti-bullying play to W.I.  It is a 45 minute show starring 11-13 year olds and the cast sits with the audience after for a Q & A session.  We would need another $300- $400 to cover the remaining cost of the play. The board voted to use the remaining funds from mini grants and approve funding the remainder of the costs to sponsor this anti-bullying play.

Book Fairs

The Morse book fair is the first week of March.  Tara and Meg reported that the Morse book fair has many volunteers for their March date and they will be ready to go.  WI book fair was a success.  Because more books were sold than the previous year by more than 5%, the children earned a no homework day bonus.  MS book fair reported problems with restocking of inventory by Scholastic. Our Scholastic rep is trying to make improvements for future sales.  Andrea reported that the fair wasn’t very well attended the evening of parent-teacher conferences, and that maybe they should consider moving it from the 3rd floor to the lobby that evening for better sales.  Jackie and Julia are looking for another book supply company for better book content, and better inventory management for the Middle School.

Thanksgiving Pie Sale

Donna reported that 106 pies were sold and they netted $530.  Pie pickup went well and Donna is sending a follow up thank you email asking for feedback from the community on how to improve the process.  One idea already discussed was making the pie pick up earlier in the day.

School Updates

M.S. – Did not have their meeting this month.  However, Mitch advised that they have been receiving a lot of feedback from parents after completion of the 1st marking period, on how the children are graded.  Citing examples of children that have been testing high on weekly exams and still only receiving 3 ratings on their report cards.

W.I. –As previously mentioned, the book fair was a success.  Advocacy letters will be explained and print outs will be available for signatures at the WI winter concerts next week.  The hat and glove drive is going well, and the boxes have been overflowing at the school.

Morse – Leah and Meg advised that the crossing guard is still being ignored by many drivers at Morse, and there is still no police guard helping out at this crossing.  Angel and Tara agreed they will meet with Mr. Holland, emphasizing the safety concerns for the children, regarding the timing of the drop off and making sure that the doors are open prior to 7:55 to avoid backups.  Angel volunteered to be present at the discussion if needed.

J.P.– Jen reported that Stop n Shop rewards was initiated and people are starting to sign up.  Jen will speak with Donna about the box tops program.  Literacy night had a small parent turn out.  The teachers did a great job, the board agreed that maybe moving it to January at a less busy time of year and possibly changing the name from literacy night will help with attendance going forward.  A food chain is being started for the donations to help a child at JP who lost a parent recently.

Our meeting adjourned at 9:45 AM

Next Meeting scheduled for Friday January 23rd at 8 A.M. The change in date is so Dr. Clouet can be present for our meeting. He would like to come and talk with us.

March 20, 2015 PTA Meeting Minutes

March 20, 2015 PTA Meeting at Administration Building

Attendees:

Jacki Geoghegan

Angel Rafter

Paul Pirozzi

Pamela Louis

Andrea Gottschall

Tara Schatzel

Jennifer Bayliss

Leah McVey

Fiona Galloway

Greg Galloway

Mitch Sylves-Berry

Katie Scully

Julia Reimer

David Neilsen

Jennifer Povman

Donna Gates

Welcome, Introductions and Budget Items:

Our meeting was started at 8:02 A.M. by Jacki and Angel.  The budget copies will be sent via email to the board members.  Jacki reminded everyone that receipts cannot be accepted after the last day of June.

Direct Donation Campaign

The Direct Donation letter was sent and received via backpack mail the week of March 9th.  All schools were combined and the letter mentioned the benchmark amount of $32,000.00 that needs to be raised annually to operate all of our activities at the elementary schools.  Email follow ups will go out after Spring break.  The board members agreed that these letters should be going to high profile alumni as well.  The overall goal for this campaign is $10,000.00.

Movie Night

Andrea announced that movie night is being moved from March 13th to April 24th and that flyers will go out.  The movie of choice will either be; The Lego Movie, Big Hero Six or Alexander and the no good very bad day.  There will be a bake sale and a Spirit Wear table at the event.  Doors will open at 6:30 and the movie will begin at 7PM.

Square 1 Art

Due to the unusual amount of snow days, some of the art work has yet to be completed.  The final product is expected to be ready before Father’s Day.  The board agreed to forego sending a notice to the families regarding the delay.

Spirit Wear Update

Andrea advised that Spirit Wear supply invoices were paid, with a slight profit and will reopen after the break.  Merchandise will be sold at the aforementioned Movie Night.

Cyber Safety

Donna Gates attended the Cyber Safety Presentation at the J.C.C. in February, hosted by an F.B.I. agent.  When Jacki and Angel met with Dr. Clouet, they expressed the interest of the PTA to host a presentation for students and one for parents in June for M.S. and W.I. students.  They are considering hosting one in May for the parents.  Dr. Clouet has given us his support and agreed that hosting one for the students in a town hall type of setting would be beneficial to the WI & MS students. Ideas and suggestions regarding this should be forwarded to Donna Gates.

MS Playground Initiative

A survey is in progress with the MS children to determine interest in an outdoor grassy seating and designated recess area.  Feedback has been positive and preliminary results are showing that the children definitely have interest in a small field/area behind the school.  An email communication was sent by Jean O’Brien on March 17th informing the community and asking for ideas and volunteers.  A community meeting will be held Wednesday April 8th from 7-8:30 PM in Room 101 South in the MS, with some time spent out in the open space.  A committee has already been set up to help with this initiative, but more volunteers are needed. While this great initiative is being spearheaded by Julia Reimer, Katie Scully and Mitch Sylves-Berry, who are PTA representatives, this is not a PTA effort. The PTA commends them on taking this project on.

School Updates

J.P. – Jen Bayliss advised the board that the ziti dinner was canceled due to snow.  Monday and Tuesday March 23rd and March 24th, a breakfast is in place and there are volunteers that will be coming to help facilitate.

Morse- The book fair has ended.  There were more than 40 volunteers and the event was a big success.  In spite of all of the snow days, they sold over $10,700 in books.  An additional $500 is going to the Mr. Holland book fund because they surpassed last year by 5%.  The parent feedback on book variety and quality was very positive.  Next year the event will probably be moved to a more “weather friendly” April or October.

Meg and Rosemary suggested that we start a book drive for children in need at Morse. Jacki has met with Mr. Holland regarding this, and we will start a  book drive in first two weeks of June to help get books to kids in need. The third week of June, we will need volunteers to help sort the books. The books will be stored at Morse so the teachers can distribute them throughout the year to children in need. Jacki gave a special thanks to Tara, Fiona, Greg, Meg and Jen B. for all of their hard work.

W.I. – The principal chat took place on March 5th and focused on “The Habits of Mind” and the transition from W.I. to the Middle School.  The booklet is being written at the MS and a video presentation with a map and virtual map will be included.  The P.T.A. will be providing locks for the incoming students and peer planning is being discussed, where 7th and 8th graders would help the incoming 6th graders.  One possibility would be to designate 1 mentor per class.  The yearbook committee needs more pictures, specifically of Halloween, and any classroom pictures.  Please send to Andrea.  Pam will work with Andrea about chairing the yearbook committee next year.

M.S. – Friday March 13th was the school dance.  The dance went very smoothly and there was very positive feedback on moving the end time from 6PM last year, to 7:30 PM this year.  Thanks to Mitch for helping make this a great experience for all of the kids.

State Testing

An advocacy email blast went out on Thursday March 19th with links explaining that the governor needs to release state aid A.S.A.P., and education reform should not be tied to the budget.  The HS social studies department chair, Ms. Jessica Hunsberger visited the meeting and spoke to the board about parent’s options regarding taking or refusing to take the state tests.  Jessica mentioned the website NYSAPE.org as a great resource for parents looking for information.  There are forums for parent’s statewide rights for kids testing, and that as of now, no school has lost funding as a result of refusal to take the tests.  Generally speaking, she said that the testers are looking for growth and improvement from 1 test to the next.    Dr. Clouet agreed that we can release a statement to all parents as to what their rights are.   The position of the PTA is that parents have the right to know what all of their options are, but will not make any specific recommendations regarding testing and links will be posted on our horsemen website with backpack letters to be distributed after the break.

 

Our meeting adjourned at 9:54 AM.

Next Meeting scheduled for Friday April 24th at 8 A.M.

Approved January PTA Minutes

January 23, 2015 PTA Meeting at Administration Building

Attendees:

Jacki Geoghegan

Angel Rafter

Paul Pirozzi

Pamela Louis

Andrea Gottschall

Tara Schatzel

Meg Greenburg

Jennifer Bayliss

Leah McVey

Fiona Galloway

Greg Galloway

Mitch Sylves-Berry

Amada Reimundez

Katie Scully

Julia Reimer

David Neilsen

Kelley Anniccherico

Virginia Lustyik

Jennifer Povman

Welcome and Introductions:

Our meeting was started at 8:07 A.M. by Jacki and Angel.  Angel distributed a volunteer sign up form for February 4 Transition Meeting being held by PTA in conjunction with Rivertown Parents.  The meeting will cover time management skills, and other important topics for students moving from W.I. to the M.S. as well as those moving from the M.S. to H.S.  Volunteers are needed to make copies on February 4th, to help facilitate various speakers that night, to man the Spirit Wear table, as well as other important tasks.  Jacki also asked each PTA member to personally invite 5 friends.

Dr. Clouet

The PTA Board introduced themselves to Dr. Clouet and he was good enough to spend an hour discussing the following topics, along with some Q&A time with the board.  Dr. Clouet spoke of the importance of integrating technology into our education program and the revamp of our district website.  The goal of the website is to be more responsive to the parents and more user-friendly.  Dr. Clouet mentioned that he would appreciate some feedback from the PTA Board.  The website committee would like to see more of the older kids signing in to see their class assignments and discussions.  He also mentioned the Imagine Learning program that can help students with their reading skills, as well as helping teachers to track students’ progress.  He also highlighted the “Read 180” program, produced by Scholastic and the System 44 program, a computer program designed to help special needs children with their reading skills.  Dr. Clouet also spoke about the millions given in government grants to the I3 (innovation) and ENL (English as a New Language) Funds.  Katie Scully was mentioned by Dr. Clouet, for the work that she and her husband have accomplished in bringing the Peabody Preserve to our district.  The outdoor classroom has been a big hit with the children, and the Dr. recommended a PTA field trip through the preserve as soon as the weather permits.  Dr. Clouet also discussed the importance of the district’s writing program.  There is a committee of teachers creating a model of exemplar texts i.e.: samples of written paragraphs to show their students for analysis and discussion.  The Dr. also mentioned “Habits of Mind” a book written by Arthur L. Costa and Bena Kallick.  The authors share their research on habits of successful people across a variety of professions.  Dr. Clouet talked about blended learning and the importance of our teachers blending digital technology with traditional teaching methods.  The effectiveness of showing students video clips of math problems and use of digital tutorials to analyze problems, with the teachers acting as “coaches”, pausing and rewinding the clips to help the students understand the problems.   Dr. Clouet also discussed Albany’s contingent budget.  The budget may depend on implementation of various law changes.  For example, a law was introduced that would make state tests 50% of a grade 3-8 teacher’s evaluation, with outside evaluators used to help determine a teachers performance.  Greg Galloway asked Dr. Clouet about coding courses that are being offered in our district.  The Dr. mentioned courses being offered at the A.P. level in High School, and agreed that we need to bring some basic version of this to W.I. and the M.S.  The Dr. finished his discussion with a wish list that included more foreign language exposure in our district.  Perhaps we could hire a specialist teacher and find a way to manage the student’s busy daily schedule to fit these classes.  The idea of a summer Spanish immersion camp, partly funded by grants and paid for by the parents was also discussed with the board.  Lastly, the board asked about cyber bullying and Dr. Clouet spoke about digital citizenship, and its importance in cutting off cyber bullying.  Possibly setting up an in school meeting for the kids and then for the parents.  Similar to the meeting put on by the JCC recently.

Direct Donation Campaign

The board agreed that the letter being sent for direct donations needs to communicate our bare bones budgetary needs exceeds $32,000 annually.  It also should include an itemized list of some of the grants and other accomplishments the PTA has provided to the district in the past.  The letter is being prepared to go out before the February break.

Spirit Wear Update

Spirit Wear merchandise will be sold at the Aladdin production Friday and Sunday.  Spirit Wear will also be sold at the February 4th transition meeting.

Calendar Discussion

Jacki advised the board that some version of Draft C will likely be selected with some adjustments.  Jacki promised to forward more information as she receives it.

Movie Night

Andrea announced that movie night is being moved from February 6th to mid-March and that flyers will go out.

School Updates

M.S. – Mitch mentioned that their meeting went well.  They are working on not having recess taken away as a punishment.  Angel agreed to find the clause in the districts by-laws that forbid this from happening and will forward them to Mitch and Julia.  Mitch also discussed a survey to be distributed to the students in class to determine if they go outside and what might motivate them to go outside for recess.

W.I. –Leah mentioned that their meeting will be a week from today.  They will likely be discussing Circus Time.

Morse – Leah advised that the book fair will be the first week of March, and that additionally, Mr. Holland is determining the prize for the Box Top Contest winner.  Leah and Meg advised that space in Morse is very limited, specifically for special services and the Book Club.  Often there are services given for special needs in the middle of Chess Club time, compromising the privacy of the special needs children.  Mr. Holland said that there are only 2 hours a week that the gym is not being used.  Additionally, Morse students only have 20 minutes for book club.  In the meeting they also discussed whether or not the students are allowed to go on an outside walk if the temperature is between 15 and 27 degrees.  Angel said she will discuss with the Board of Ed.  Lastly, morning drop off and dismissal has improved, however safety at the drop off area is still an issue.  The crossing guard is being ignored in many instances.

J.P. – Jen reported that they were in the middle of their Box Top campaign.  She also mentioned that the principal will have her own fundraiser with bag sales and that it will not conflict with any PTA fundraisers.

Our meeting adjourned at 10 AM.

Next Meeting scheduled for Friday February 13th at 8 A.M.