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PTA Meeting Minutes 6.13.17

By Katherine Novello | Jul 26, 2017

Campbell PTA Meeting

June 13, 2017

6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Approximate
# of Attendees
: 28

I.     Welcome
and Introductions: Nathan Zee, President 

  • Nathan
    welcomed everyone to the meeting and read a Thank You letter from Ms. Brewer
    and Ms. Cornejo for the area rug and carpet protector funded by the PTA
    for their Preschool classroom
    • They
      are very appreciative and think it makes the room look warmer and cozier

 

II.    Review
2016-2017 Accomplishments: Nathan Zee, President

  • Nathan
    highlighted what a good year we’ve had
  • Good
    feedback from the PTA survey
  • Great
    year from a community-building perspective:
    • Successful
      Back-to-School picnic
    • First
      Outdoor Movie Night; well-received despite weather delay and resulting holiday
      weekend conflict/cold weather
    • Penny
      Wars (combination of programming and fundraising success); we got a lot
      of good feedback on this event
    • Annual
      School Dance
    • First
      Fit-and Fun Run was a huge success and participants loved it
    • New
      activities at the Wetlands Festival (Dunk Tank, K-9 demonstration,
      face-painting); great feedback on new activities as well as repeat ones
      (like the live music, a perennial favorite)
    • Second
      DC United event; had 27 kids participate in the high-five tunnel
    • Too
      many Spirit Days to name them all (including the extra one students
      earned through Fit-and-Fun Run success: color wars)

  • PTA
    Membership increased by over 5%
    • PTA
      received an award for increasing PTA membership

  • Successful
    from a Fundraising perspective:
    • Raised
      more than expected
    • Fall
      Pledge Drive exceeded goal
    • Fit
      and Fun Run exceeded goal
    • Square
      One Art exceeded goal
    • Wetlands
      exceeded goal
    • Penny
      Wars raised an unexpected amount
    • Amazon
      affiliate link exceeded projections
    • Able
      to fund numerous teacher support projects, including some that we’ll
      present for approval tonight
      • We’ve
        spent almost $25,000 on teacher support ideas (including pond redo)
      • That’s
        a lot of funding that we were able to provide to support the kids at
        our school

    • Good, involved, supportive PTA
      with well-attended PTA meetings
    • Thank you to our members for a
      wonderful year; we’re looking forward to another great year
    • Thank you to Jessica Haney, for
      her work Wellness Committee and for spearheading new events like the
      apple tasting and the teacher wellness event; she’s stepping down from
      her role so we’re looking for someone to take over the Wellness Committee
      next year; there are big shoes to fill

 

III.   Review PTA Survey Results: Nathan Zee,
President

  • Good
    number of responses, about 60 including a few of the Spanish version
  • The
    responses to our survey give us lots for us to think about for next year
  • If
    you have feedback, it’s welcome anytime (you don’t have to wait for a
    survey)
  • Based
    on current feedback about Programming, possible changes we’re considering
    are:
    • Movie
      Night moved indoors (challenging to hold an event outdoors at this time
      of year, but warmer seasons present challenge of light until too late for
      a movie for young children)
    • We’re
      going to look at the School Dance trying a new direction; possibly
      replacing with a new event
    • No
      DC United game next year because they’re moving stadiums; highlight of
      this event was the community-building aspect so we’re going to try to
      take the fun from that event and transfer it to a new event (possibly
      another sporting event, but maybe not)
    • We’re
      looking at a doing Spirit Week rather than having Spirit Days throughout
      the year

  • Based
    on feedback about Fundraising:
    • Wetlands
      Festival is a definite, but we may make some tweaks to specific events
      based on feedback
    • We
      will not be doing a Fall Pledge Drive; we’re going to shift what people
      liked about Pledge Drive (the no-fuss aspect) to the Fun Run, which will
      take place in the Fall and become one of the two main fundraising events,
      the other event being the Wetlands Festival in the Spring

  • Thought/questions/comments?

o   Q: Why do away with the Pledge Drive when many
of us like the no fuss aspect and gave positive feedback, and participated in
the event? A: The main reason was the feedback we received, not all from the survey.
The Fun Run will have the no fuss component going forward. We’ll make it very
clear moving forward that you can “just write a check” for the Fun Run in the
same way you might have for the Pledge Drive last year.

§  Comment: We’ll need to communicate the No Fuss
option very clearly, that you won’t need to go online to register or send out
links and all that. You will be able to “just write a check” for this event.

§  Comment: The timing of last year’s Fun Run
made it difficult to communicate a clear message about the event because there
were overlapping fundraisers (Penny Wars and Square One); the objective of
revamping the timeline of events is to smooth this all out so we’re not
overloading everyone with fundraising messages.

o   Q We like the incentives from the Pledge Drive,
can we move them to the Fun Run? A: Good feedback; we can consider it.

o   Comment: I really like consolidating/simplifying
it to just two big fundraisers per year and applaud this change.

·        
We don’t want
donors to get fatigued, so we may switch up the events again in the future to
keep things fresh without making people feel uncomfortable about how frequently
we’re asking for money.

·        
Square One Art:
moving it back to November, so people can order and receive the products before
the Winter holidays.

·        
Penny Wars: We’ll
do it again next year, tentatively scheduled around the same time of year:
Lincoln’s birthday.  

·        
Feedback about Communications:

o   No major surprises in the feedback

o   Most people get their information from
Announcements, with Thursday Folders being the second most popular source.
Facebook was also mentioned as a main source of information.

o   Got email addresses from new parents at Kindergarten
Orientation and will add them to Announcements this evening.

·        
Thank you for the
responses, we’re working on incorporating your feedback in our planning. Any
questions or comments? No.

 

IV.  Feedback
on School Initiatives: Maureen Nesselrode, Principal

·        
At the beginning
of the year, I shared school plan with our goals for the year. I thought we’d
circle back tonight and look at the highlights.

·        
At the end of
last school year, I surveyed parents to help inform our plans for this year. From
the survey, I learned that Outdoor Learning, evenness, equity was major concern.

o  
233 Outdoor
lessons last year, so we set target of 300 for 2016-2017 school year

o  
Ms. Christy
completed 374 lessons; broken out by grade level, it averaged about 50 per
grade level to ensure greater equity across the school

o  
Teachers also
noted when they did Outdoor lessons without Ms. Christy; there were 37
additional Outdoor lessons beyond the 374 lessons

o  
Countywide goal
of adoption of Writer’s Workshop model; we implemented it earlier and are
farther along in meeting this goal, including using writing to identify
giftedness

o  
Changed the
homework model to be just some math, plus reading and writing in journals

o  
While it wasn’t
part of the school goal per se, we did leverage our relationship and proximity
with Long Branch Nature Center by having them here more and by taking more
walking Field Trips to Long Branch

o  
Outdoor Community
Meeting twice this year

o  
Created schoolwide
electronic Google calendar

o  
4th/5th
Grade intervention, is a countywide initiative but we implemented it in our own
way and it went very well in terms of supporting student achievement

o  
4th
Grade Big Bad Basil Expedition won a Green Action Award

o  
Ms. Norwood
developed an artist-in-residence program

o  
PTA-funded Poet
for 4th and 5th grade students; will be having a poetry
slam

o  
Student-led
conferences in K-5

o  
Updated number of
expeditions to meet high bar that the EL model sets

o  
Renewable energy,
concepts of social justice incorporated into expeditions

o  
iPad initiative:
we’ve found a way to incorporate technology in a meaningful way

o  
Student
achievement is increasing, not through drill-and-kill but rather through
engaging, meaningful work

·        
What’s new for
next year?

o  
Ms. Christy will
be full-time next year, PTA will continue to pay her for lesson planning

o  
Reader’s workshop
may be adopted countywide; we’re already doing it to some extent, but we’d
increase implementation to meet county expectations

o  
Expanding our movement
furniture (for instance: pedal desks)

o  
Interlude would like
to infuse more Outdoor Learning/project-based learning into their program

o  
Montessori
teacher will be incorporating more Outdoor learning into their program

·        
Feedback/Questions/Comments?:

o  
Loved the
consistent trips to Long Branch

§ 
Yes, agree. Even
at the youngest levels, it’s teaching them so much more beyond just getting out
of the classroom. It’s been amazing.

§ 
Response (Ms.
Nesselrode): Yes, EL is all about consistent Field Work, so this aligns with
the principals of EL

o  
Wolftrap artists
and Pre-K collaboration was great

o  
I like the electronic
Google calendar. Can we put notifications of new events into it?

§ 
We’ll look into
it

o  
Kinesthetic
furniture: maybe it could be incorporated somehow into the Simple Machine
expedition, by having testing out the furniture and comapring?

§ 
Can we ask students
for feedback about the kinesthetic furniture we have before we purchase more?
To see what kids like/prefer? Response (Ms. Nesselrode): Yes, we can explore
this.

·        
Wanted to share
some information about a topic that keeps coming up, Field Trips:

o  
Baseline: each
class budgeted for two Field Trips, one per semester; PTA assists with
additional trips

§ 
This year, every
grade level took between 4-9 Field Trips

o  
Field Trips are
meant to support the curriculum and enhance learning; most of ours are tied
into expeditions

o  
We are going beyond
what is expected from APS w/ regard to Field Trips, and it’s asking a lot from
teachers to have as many as 9 per year because of the amount of work each
teacher must do for each trip (planning, collecting permissions slips, money,
etc.)

o  
We’ve done
virtual Field Trips via Skype

§ 
Comment (Ms.
Hill): experts do come here for learning and enhanced student experience, so
while it may not be a “trip,” it’s still special and people coming here from
the field supports learning, too

§ 
Comment: I’m a
teacher at the HS level and the paperwork for Field Trips is onerous; we do one
per year in my class. Field Trips are hard for teachers and if there isn’t an
educational component to the trip, it’s a waste.

§ 
Q: What are the
field trips for each level, are they consistent? Does the same grade level
usually have the same number of Field Trips? A: Yes, many are consistent year
over year. Sometimes additional opportunities come up that add to the number.

§ 
Comment (Nathan
Zee): The general PTA stance is that we want to support and fund any teacher
requests for Field Trips, but not force teachers to take Field Trips they don’t
want.

o  
One of the most
difficult parts of planning a Field Trip is worrying about funding, so PTA
support certainly helps with this. We just need to be reasonable with our
expectations. Also, from a culturally competent perspective, overnight trips
are not a typical experience. That’s one of the reasons we don’t tend to do many
Field Trips that require an overnight stay.

§ 
Comment: Parents coming
in to present their foods and cultures to kids in classroom at First Grade was
wonderful.

§ 
Comment: I didn’t
realize how many in-school activities were taking place (experts coming in from
the field), so really the kids are being exposed to more than I even thought.

§ 
Question: Do we
typically have enough chaperones? A: Yes, we often have more volunteers than
there are spaces for and turn people away.

§ 
Comment (Ms. Christy):
Thank you to the PTA for supporting me, financially and otherwise, for the past
three years. I’m happy and thankful that the PTA will be relieved of much of
this expense for next year. If there’s anything you need from me, I am here and
open to new ideas, so come find me or get in touch.

V. Treasurer’s
Report: Jenny Morris, Treasurer

·        
As of May 30th,
the highlights for the month:

o   Paid for Teacher/Staff Appreciation week
activities and gifts ($30 vouchers to each teacher for miscellaneous expenses
they had during the year)

o   Paid for a bunch of the approved teacher funding
requests

o   Paid for DC United tickets

o   Received $1400 from Square One Art

o   Paid for Penny Wars class incentive prizes

o   $144 from Amazon sales this month; $2,500 for
the year

·        
Any questions? No
questions.

·        
Funding request:

o   $10.99 for a six pack of reusable K-cups for
the Staff Room Keurig Machine

§  Ms. Hill read a sample of persuasive letters
that her Kindergarten students wrote in support of the reusable K-cups to
protect the environment

o   Motion to approve funding; seconded; approved
unanimously 

·        
Funding request:

o   $159.50 for reusable BPA-free plastic water
bottles for Kindergarten students to take home at the end of the school year
(to celebrate completion of their Water expedition)

§  Comment: Would prefer non-plastic bottles be
used. Can we purchase stainless steel ones instead?

§  Comment: Can we look at a grant to fund
pricier reusable water bottles in the future?

§  Comment: Metal dents easily, maybe plastic is
preferable for this reason?

§  Comment: EPA staff told our class that single
use K cups and plastic single-use water bottles are the worst environmentally

§  Comment: In the future, we could buy them from
Square One and give one to each student

o   Motion to approve funding; seconded; approved
unanimously 

·        
Funding request:

o   $300 for outdoor recess kits; purchased in partnership
with GS Troop 3090, who is donating $300 of their proceeds from Cookie Sales to
provide the recess kits to Campbell

o   Motion to approve funding; seconded; approved
unanimously 

·        
Funding request:

o   Not to exceed $400 for hanging book garden (about
40 books for graduating 5th graders, in celebration of their
promotion and to encourage summer reading)

o   Motion to approve funding; seconded; approved

·        
Sound System
Update:

o   Ms. Nesslerode: Nothing wrong with the
components we have (speakers, equalizer, etc., but the experts from APS
recommend wireless lavaliers for performances and a new corresponding receiver,
at a cost of approximately $10,000

o   Sound quality would be improved, in the sense
that kids won’t be passing a handheld mic back and forth, but quote is more
expensive for a smaller scope than expected and would not be a complete
overhaul of the system

o   In our research, we learned that other schools
have purchased similar sets

o   We’ve also learned that many sound problems we’ve
had at Community Meeting are not about the hardware in the current system (like
the most recent Community Meeting when the issue was the Zumba song file was
corrupted and would not play)

o   We’re looking at getting 8 total mics: 7
lavaliers and 1 upgraded handheld wireless mic, plus jacks for regular mics

o   Offered us the option of a completely portable
system for around $8,000, but I’m not comfortable spending that much for a new portable
system as we’d be less able to secure it

o   Current portable system will still have to be
used in any areas outside of the multipurpose room

§  Comment: Maybe we should get fewer mics to
save money? Response: Passing around the mic is part of the problem we’re
hoping to solve, so we need an adequate number of lavaliers; also, the bulk of
the cost is the receiver and not the mics, so it wouldn’t really save that much
to get fewer.

§  Comment: I am in favor of this just because of
the school musical, having just seen this year’s musical which was very hard to
hear.

§  Q: What do you and Karen want? Do you feel
that this is a valuable endeavor? A: I feel that it will improve the sound, but
it’s a lot of money, and to be frank, I thought we’d get more for the money.

·        
Q: Is there
another expense you’d rather we fund? A (Ms. Nesselrode): Not really. We’re
well funded and I can’t think of another big item that we desperately need.

·        
Q: Nathan, what
do you think? A: I think we should do it. Having wireless mics would be great
for Community Meeting and the Musical. Other schools have them, and it’s what
the experts recommends. I think it will be an improvement.

§  Q: Since new system won’t work outside of the multipurpose
room, could we move the location of the Promotion Ceremony? A: We’re looking at
logistics (if we can work out adequate seating, etc.), but open to the idea.

§  Q: How long will the old system components
last? Are they getting too old? A: Expert didn’t seem to think those items need
replacing in the near term.

·        
Nathan: We’d do
this “not to exceed $10,000;” work would be done over the summer. Quote is
$10,200 and includes installation but we think we can negotiate, so we’re only
asking for up to $10,000.

·        
Motion to approve
funding for up to $10,000 for upgrade to Campbell Sound System; seconded;
approved unanimously 

 

 

VI. Review Draft
Budget: Nathan Zee, President

·        
We have a draft budget for 2017-2018
but we’re not going to go through it tonight because we’ll be making tweaks
over the summer; however, I will present the timeline and our current thoughts

·        
If you have
thoughts/questions/comments, please send them to me or Jenny Morris prior to
our Executive Board Meeting on 8/29

·        
At Executive Board Meeting on 8/29 we’ll
vote to approve the draft to be presented for a vote at the first PTA meeting
in September 2017

o  
Highlights of changes:

§ 
Plan to spend $20,000 more than we
plan to take in, with $10,000 earmarked for Sound System upgrade (plan to spend
more due to our surplus funds rolling over)

§ 
Change to allocate funding on a per
grade level basis

§ 
Increase in EL budget line item to
support Field Trips

·        
Q: Better to do it by grade level or
teacher? A: In theory, we’d like this money to be used for things that everyone
at the grade level will do/experience have access to; perhaps we might consider
doing it by teacher in the future depending on how this works

·        
Comment (Ms. Christy): The Wetlands
need to be tended to annually, Colonial Garden will need to be maintained
annually. Response: We have the Wetlands CIP fund to draw from. We need to talk
about the Colonial Garden issue more in depth in the future. Can you summarize
your thoughts and send them to me in an email?

·        
Q: What about the front of the school?
A: Fence is coming down. Work Order through APS; we can talk about additional
beautification at a later date.

·        
Q: What about the marquee? A: Got an
answer from Facilities: marquees cost between $30,000-$50,000, so we’ll have to
look at options. APS is not paying to install them any longer.

 

 

VII. Closing:
Nathan Zee, President

  • There’s
    no new business.
  • Reminders:
    • Rising
      Kindergarten playdates are scheduled for 7/22 and 8/19 at 10 am here at
      Campbell
    • PTA
      Audit schedule for 7/26
    • Executive
      Board meeting on 8/29
    • Next
      year, PTA meetings will revert to being held on the second Tuesday of the
      month; there will not be a December meeting

  • Ms.
    Nesselrode: I forgot to mention earlier in our list of accomplishments
    this year, the start of the Latina Parent Group, which has been a great
    success. Thank you to Claudia Ramirez Cuellar for the wonderful idea!
  • Nathan:
    That’s a wrap. Thanks everyone for a wonderful and successful year! See
    you next year. 
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