HorsemanPTA meeting minutes 5/18/18

Horsemen PTA Meeting
Friday, May 18, 2018
Action items underlined

Daphne Ulliver
Phyllis Arduino
Christina Grillo
Donna Gates
Lauren McBride
Bri Staudt
Leah McVey
Juliana Aloia
Nitasha Kumar
Angel Rafter
Jen Povman
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

PTA Budget
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.

School updates
• 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. 🙂

Rivertown Parents
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.

Other business
• 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)
PTA visibility
• 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
K-12 PTA
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

April 20, 2018 Meeting Minutes

Friday, April 20, 2018 8:30 AM

Juliana Aloia
Christina Grillo
Phyllis Arduino
Dancy Balestrieri
Karen Kuhn
Angel Rafter
Mitch Sylves-Berry
Nitasha Kumar
Kevin Miller
Amada Reimundez
Fiona Galloway
Jen Povman
Leah McVey
Nama Lamoux-Welch

Mini Grants

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)
$3000 total

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.

Facebook Posts

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.

Rivertown Parents
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.

Book Fairs

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

District Calendar

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.

Farmer’s Market

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.

LGBTQ Advisory

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.

Dress Code

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.

January 19, 2018 Meeting Minutes

PTA Meeting
January 19, 2018


Amada Reimundez
Donna Gates
Mitch Sylves-Berry
Daphne Uviller
Brianna Staudt
Leah McVey
Karen Kuhn
Dancy Balestrieri

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.

Next Meeting

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.

Photo Days

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.

Spirit Wear

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.

Middle School

• 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.

HorsemanPTA Meeting Minutes – December

December 15, 2017 8:30 AM

Amada Reimundez
Christina Grillo
Danny Balestrieri
Daphne uviller
Donna Gates
Jennifer Polman
Karen Kuhn
Lauren McBride
Mitch Sylves-Berry
Natasha Kumar
Phyllis Arduino
Samantha Ford

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.

Wrapping paper
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.

Other Ideas
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.

Reps are:
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.

III. Other
• 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.

Action Items
– 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.

Bus Drivers
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.

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

Meeting adjourned.

HorsemanPTA Meeting Minutes – October



Amada Reimundez – President
Dancy Balestrieri – VP WI 3rd grade
Christina Grillo – VP Morse 2nd grade
Juliana Aloia – VP Morse 1st grade
Karen Kuhn – Secretary
Lauren McBride – VP Morse 1st grade
Phyllis Arduino – Membership
Fatima Gianni – Treasurer
Daphne Ulliver – VP WI 4th grade/SHMS 7th grade
Nitassha Kumar – VP Morse 1st grade/SHMS 6th grae
Toya (parent)
Sheila Murphy – VP Morse 2nd grade

Meeting Schedule

Discussion about alternating between morning and evening meetings to allow those who work to join some meetings and to help with family engagement.

Proposed dates/times for remainder of 2017 are:

11/20 – 7:00 PM
12/15 – 8:30 AM

Budget Discussion

The fastest way to reach Fatima is via text.
Reviewed 2016-17 budget and actuals from the end of the summer to determine needs for 2017-18 year.
(NOTE: Budget was approved but then final budget numbers were reviewed in a meeting after this one and will be provided separately.)

Notes and action items:

*VPs need to ask their principals how they want the library fund to be allocated (per class, school library). Fill out the form to request the money needed in the allocation needed.

*VPs need to send a form for what’s approved for the Principal’s Fund and Fatima will write checks.

*Fatima needs receipt even if something is donated to know how much things cost.
*Need to get word out to parents about A+ with Stop n’ Shop to fund PTA. Schools must register every year.

*Mini grants need information and allocation to all the schools.

Publishing Center no longer needs funding as done in-class.
Morse should use Box Top money to buy pizza party pizza.

Math madness no longer running
Looking for someone (contractor) to take over the plantings in front *Need info from Leah McVey
Principal’s Fund is $750 *Asking Principal Bretti what it was used for last year. Do they need $750?
*Circus funding is different this year and needs to be reviewed.

Middle School
Separate account so it has income listed
*Need to review money for staff luncheon. Leaving $250 to be safe.
Holding money for IRS due to taxes not being paid in the past.

Library Fund/Book fairs:

– Idea of person in charge of books for the school could come select books from book fair instead of getting the $100 per grade checks. (Check with principals)
– $50 line item for people missing money (sales tax) allocated in budget. $200 for the drawer.
– Scholastic Bucks available

Chess Club WI and Morse:
– Instructor will send information on how much the program costs. Apparently we are underpaying and we should be charging more per child. *Amada will give an invoice to Fatima
– Also have scholarships and donations for the program

Superintendent’s Meeting Agenda Items

Communication and having advocates from the PTA in the community
Borsari needs points of contact in the community to help bring him information and to direct people to facts and to communicate with the schools

*Facebook page for HorsemanPTA send to Lauren

Science Night

November 8 at the high school
PTA provides some financial support

Meeting adjourned early due to closure of building.

Horseman PTA Meeting Minutes – September 8, 2017

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.


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.


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.


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

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.


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: This email address would be passed down from year to year, to make it consistent.

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.


  • 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.

June 15, 2017 PTA Minutes


Jacki Geoghegan

Angel Rafter

Paul Pirozzi

Dancy Balestrieri

Thomas Lipping

Leah McVey

Christina Grillo

Pamela Louis

Phyllis Arduino

Nitasha Kumar

Donna Gates

Amada Reimundez

Mitch Sylves-Berry

Jen Povman

Andrea Gottschall


-Welcome/TASH update

Our meeting was called to order at 8:37 A.M. by Angel. Christina Grillo gave a summary of the PTA’s 1st TASH representation last Saturday at Patriot Park. A table was manned with flyer hand-outs and crafts for children. Foot traffic was light, perhaps due to spring sports practices. PTA agreed to try and keep a presence at TASH this fall. Jen Povman agreed to help man our table. Christina said she will sign us up again for a table in September. The board suggested selling spirit-wear at these events. Christina also agreed to send an email reminder in August to the board to help represent at our table in September.

-Rivertown Parents Update

Mitch Sylves-Berry reminded Christina and all board members that all registered PTA members have access to the email distribution list of Rivertown Parents. Mitch noted the following upcoming Rivertown events: Tinker night, kid’s money management workshop, a college transition seminar, and a mental health presentation that will be hosted by Tarrytown/Sleepy Hollow.

-PTA Branding

The board agreed on focusing their efforts on branding, getting more recognition in the community for our PTA. Some ideas included posting pictures on our horsemen website, utilizing Jean O’Brien’s email blasts more frequently, creating a position on the board for nursery school representative. The rep could attend nursery school events and inform new parents how PTA works. Members of the board also suggested that chairpersons of past events post various tips and protocol procedures of said events on our website as guidelines for new chairpersons in future years. Phyllis Arduino has agreed to attend and represent PTA at certain events this summer, for example, Shakespeare in the Park. If 3rd Friday should return, the board agreed to get a table at this event.

-School Updates

JP-Nitasha Kumar said they had their last principal meeting. She mentioned that PTA wants to be a part of the prek/k registration next calendar year at JP. Fun day is all set for June 21st. Registration for kindergarten was moved up to January and February (earlier than last year).

Morse- Dancy Balestrieri mentioned that field day was last Friday June 9th, and all leftover food was donated to the Life Center in Sleepy Hollow, with thanks to Christina for coordinating a wonderful day! Dancy spoke with Principal Holland and they agreed he would address bullying and specifically social media bullying at Morse. Dancy mentioned to Mr. Holland the idea of having a Morse PTA representative present at any principal/parent meetings if the parent wished. The PTA’s position regarding this issue is to suggest to any affected parties the appropriate chain of command to follow with instances of concern. Parents should always advocate for the child by keeping the lines of communications open with teachers first, and if necessary, escalate up the chain of command at the appropriate school and ultimately with the district superintendent. Jen Povman and other board members suggested a statement be included at back to school night regarding all bullying.

WI- Field day will be tomorrow June 15th and they are hoping for more volunteers to help out at the event.

MS- The middle school transition committee met yesterday to discuss new ideas to help children make the transition from WI to MS more smoothly. The committee hopes to meet with the new MS principal in July. Pam suggested putting some bullet points on the horsemen PTA website to help parents and kids with their transition.

-PTA Board Position Planning

Jacki Geoghegan distributed a printout of the latest PTA board positions for next calendar year. She advised the board that she received some email responses for possible volunteers for next year. She suggested to the appropriate board members to follow up with these individuals.


The board agreed that the wrapping paper fundraiser will continue next year, the board needs to select the best vendor for this event.

Pam noted that we still could use some more Halloween costumes for this October. She suggested mentioning this costume drive at our TASH table in September.

Pam and a few others suggested forming a committee to bring together all of our community fundraisers for better planning and cooperation; a calendar meeting of sorts that would reduce redundancy and hopefully eliminate the feeling of fundraising fatigue in our community.

In conclusion, Jacki and Angel thanked all board members for their tireless efforts during their tenure as co-presidents. Of special note, Paul Pirozzi, Kelley Anniccherico, Thomas Lipping and Katie Scully, who will be retiring from their positions this year. Donna Gates led the board in thanking Jacki and Angel for all of their hard work as co-presidents, and presented them with gift cards and flowers as a token of the board’s appreciation.

Our meeting adjourned at 9:55 AM

May 19, 2017 PTA Meeting Minutes


Jacki Geoghegan

Angel Rafter

Paul Pirozzi

Dancy Balestrieri

Thomas Lipping

Lauren McBride

Kelley Anniccherico

Leah McVey

Christina Grillo

Karen Kuhn

Pamela Louis

*Pamela Fisk (Director of Human Resources)

Elia Londono

Karina Arreola

Phyllis Arduino

Daphne Uvilles

Juliana Aloia

Nitasha Kumar

Donna Gates


Our meeting was called to order at 8:33 A.M. by Angel and Jacki. Director of Human Resources, Pam Fisk was in attendance, and the board went around the table with introductions. Pam advised the board that the district will be hosting a 1 hour training seminar this summer for individuals interested in participating on any district wide interview committees. The training will focus on appropriate and legal questions to be asked of potential candidates, in addition to other important information. Pam will have a flyer distributed communicating the details to our community. The board also agreed to send any other suggestions to her at


-Angst (Breaking the Stigma around Anxiety):

Indie-Flix Foundation is offering our district this documentary that focuses on anxiety, its causes and effects, and what we can do about it. This is the same foundation that brought us the Screenagers documentary. The target audience is 5th graders and up. The cost is $1,000.00; however, Indie-Flix is providing our district with a 40% discount on the cost if we book before Memorial Day. Jacki is asking the board for feedback by early next week.

-PTA Planning

Jacki asked the board to email their intentions for next year PTA positions. Jacki created a “Help Wanted” flyer to communicate open PTA Board positions to the district. The flyer will be distributed via backpack mail, and will be included in Jean O’Brien’s weekly email blast.

-PTA Branding

Christina Grillo questioned why our PTA isn’t better attended. Angel and other board members agreed that we have very low brand recognition. The board suggested that our monthly meeting dates go out in Jean’s email blast. Pam Louis mentioned Emily McCormack as a resource to help with our brand recognition. Nitasha suggested a digital newsletter to improve our presence. Some board members suggested holding some of our monthly meetings in the evenings with principals, and different administrative positions as guest members.

-Parent/Teacher Conference schedule

The district will be changing the academic year for K-5th grade back to trimesters with the parent-teacher conferences occurring before the distribution of report cards to the homes. The board agreed that this format will help to give parents ample time before report cards to know where their child needs improvements. It should also move the conferences away from simply reading off of the report cards.

-Fundraising & TASH initiative

June 10th is the first date on the TASH calendar where we will have our Horsemen PTA table set up to create more community awareness. Christina also mentioned that she will have copies of our new “Help Wanted” flyer on the table to help recruit new board members.

-Volunteer Thank You Event & PTA Book Drive

Instead of a daytime event thanking the volunteers in our district, the board is considering an after-hours event, perhaps in a park, where volunteers can bring their children. There would be light refreshments served. There is a PTA Used Book Drive currently in progress.

The gently used books can be donated from May 22-June 9th at any of the school buildings. Jacki is in need of volunteers to help sort these books the week of June 12th. If available, please contact Jacki Geoghegan at

-Miscellaneous Questions/Discussions

Pam Louis mentioned that there seems to be some issues regarding the transition of students from WI to the middle school. Angel and Pam agreed to meet with Ms. Bretti, Ms. Strippoli and Ms. Mullin to discuss.

-School Updates

MS- Mitch is working on setting up a meeting with the new principal in June. The middle school spring dance will take place tonight, Friday May 19th.

WI- The staff appreciation lunch was a success, with many compliments from the staff. The 5th graders have completed their gardening project in the front of W.I. Amy White and Leah McVey will take over the greenhouse project at W.I. Angel advised the W.I. VP’s that PTA will provide the same amount of funding for field day inflatables as last year.

Morse- Staff Appreciation Luncheon was a success, with flowers and raffles. Many thanks to Melissa Miller and her help in organizing this event. Christina Grillo mentioned the planting project that is underway in front of Morse school. They are working on having a 4-square board painted on the playground. Leah advised Christina to speak with Ms. Chulla about the 1st grade Publishing project.

JP- The staff Appreciation Luncheon was a big hit. Our meeting adjourned at 9:49 AM, our last meeting is scheduled for Friday June 9th.

PTA Minutes April 21, 2017


Angel Rafter

Paul Pirozzi

Mitch Sylves-Berry

Amada Reimundez

Dancy Balestrieri

Andrea Gottschall

Thomas Lipping

Jen Povman

Fiona Galloway

Sheila Emery Murphy

Lauren McBride

Kelley Anniccherico

Samantha Ford-Godette

Tara Schatzel

Leah McVey


Our meeting was called to order at 8:36 A.M. by Angel.

-Fundraising & TASH initiative

Christina Grillo spoke with TASH (farmers market at Patriot Park). They are OK if Horsemen PTA sets up a table at their Saturday event in the spring and fall. Sheila, Nitasha and Christina will have a table with crafts and PTA membership forms (and other literature taken from Horsemen website) from the hours of 8:30-2PM. Please consider volunteering some time for this event. June 10th is the first date on the TASH calendar. High School students can receive community service credit for their volunteer efforts. Please email to volunteer. Jen Povman mentioned that she will stop by on June 10th to help out at the table.

Without a chair willing to run the “Bulbs” fundraiser, the board agreed to table this event for next year. Kelley mentioned that she will consider chairing this event next year.

-Rivertown Parents

On April 20th Rivertown Parents hosted a “Family Tinker Night” at Dobbs Ferry High School. A family learning program on all things science, designed for K-5 children and their parents. Our district is expected to host one event a year. Mitch will summarize a few ideas in an email, and the PTA board agreed to email feedback as well as any other ideas.

-WI Garden

Leah mentioned the need for volunteer gardeners. She and Tom will distribute a flyer in the WI backpack mail requesting volunteers. Westover landscape is under new ownership and will be working with WI to improve the garden. Leah mentioned the need for a master design garden plan. The budget has $400 allocated to the garden. The WI garden needs $250 for mulch, perennials, annuals etc. The board discussed approaching The Foundations for additional funding. Leah and Tom will have a discussion with Ms. Bretti and email the results to Jacki and Angel.

-PTA Planning:

Angel reminded the board to email their intentions for next year’s PTA to her and Jacki. We need a new president, Treasurer, and Secretary.

-Used Book Drive

There will be a used book drive in late May/early June. Jacki will send out a flyer asking for books and volunteers to sort.

-School Updates


Andrea advised that Spirit wear sales just closed. They will open again if orders exceed 12 items or more. 8th Grade students are currently on the Washington D.C. field trip.


There is a hiring process in progress at WI due to bigger incoming class sizes, resignations and maternity leaves.



There were no Morse representatives available this month to discuss school updates.


ESL teacher Helen Sanchez-Zhu will be retiring at the end of this school year and JP is looking for a replacement. The Peabody Preserve field trip has been postponed numerous times due to inclement weather.

-Miscellaneous Questions/Discussions

Andrea Gottschall noted that mini-grant requests have been added to the High School’s future agenda.

Tara noted a drop-off in volunteer participation this year.

The board agreed that we need a new Horsemen PTA banner. The board also discussed the need to increase our membership numbers and the branding of Horsemen PTA. Next month’s agenda will include discussing some ideas to improve our overall memberships. The board suggested holding an event at the Kindergarten registration, such as a tea social for incoming parents/families.

Our meeting adjourned at 9:37 AM, our next meeting is scheduled for Friday May 19th at 8:30 AM.