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PTA Meeting Minutes 4.18.17

By Katherine Novello | May 5, 2017

Campbell PTA Meeting

April 18, 2017

6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Approximate
# of Attendees
: 22

I.     Welcome
and Introductions: Nathan Zee, President 

  • Nathan
    welcomed everyone to the meeting gave a brief update on the Transfer and
    Enrollment policy revisions
    • Not
      much to update about specific to Campbell
    • We
      had good turnout at both community meetings (on March 30th and
      April 4th), and we were able to give a lot of feedback
    • Online
      Survey came out, so if you weren’t able to provide feedback in person,
      hopefully everyone has taken the opportunity to make their thoughts known
    • A
      two-page document went out to explain more about Campbell in a clear,
      concise, and cool way to help guide feedback for anyone who wanted to
      provide it

  • Beyond
    the transfer and enrollment policy, you could give feedback on:
    • the
      three HS siting options
    • K-12
      academic structure/plans

  • Lots
    of opportunities to comment, and hopefully everyone did; questions,
    comments or feedback?
    • Q:
      Site selection: if it’s the W-L site, being one of the smaller
      footprints, would that mean it’s a neighborhood HS? A: I don’t think the
      instructional focus has been determined; it has the potential to be an IB
      expansion, a 9th grade academy, a world language academy, a
      small extension of W-L, but decision has not been made. Presumably, they’d
      knock down the Ed Center and build something new, or possibly
      repurpose/refurbish the building if this site is chosen; there was a
      recent effort to get a historic designation, but I don’t know if that
      will be successful or whether it would affect the plans.
    • Comment:
      I asked about that at the meeting, and they said that even if it received
      a historic designation, they could build around the historic elements
      (like they had to do with the Stratford building)

  • Decision
    will be finalized in June
  • As
    far as Campbell is concerned, we did a fantastic job and we received feedback
    from staff and School Board members that we came together very quickly to
    advocate and our input was well-received. Good job, everyone.

 

 

II.    Presentation
of Slate for 2017-2018 PTA Officers: Chandi Krohl, Nomination Committee

  • None
    of the positions are contested and all positions have interested
    candidates
  • The
    slate, who will be presented for a vote in May, is as follows:
    • President:
      Nathan Zee
    • VP
      Programming: Paige Hamrick
    • VP
      Fundraising: Sean Doyle
    • VP
      Communications/Outreach: Barbara Martinez
    • Treasurer:
      Jenny Morris
    • Secretary:
      Katherine Novello
    • And
      while this isn’t a position we vote on, Ms. Hill has agreed to be our
      Teacher Liaison again for the coming year

  • Nathan:
    I would like to add, that these are just the nominations and we’re not
    voting to elect today. If someone wants to come forward at the May meeting
    and say they’re interested, they may do that.

  • Motion
    to accept the slate. Motion seconded. Motion approved unanimously.

 

III.           General Safety Tips: Ms. Dina Berhan,
School Counselor

  • In
    5th Grade, we do a lot of talking about refusal skills (on the
    topics of drugs, alcohol, peer pressure, friendship) in conjunction with Resource
    Officer Pagan from Kenmore Middle School. Refusal skills are:
    • Saying
      “no”
    • Giving
      a reason for saying “no”
    • Suggesting
      a different activity
    • Changing
      the subject
    • Walking
      away

  • General
    safety tips and topics we discuss are:
    • We
      want all kids to know full names, addresses, and phone numbers
    • We
      talk about play dates—that it’s okay to say if something makes you
      uncomfortable, it’s okay to ask to talk to an adult you love and trust in
      case of an emergency; they should feel comfortable telling a trusted
      adult when something makes them uncomfortable
    • Parents
      and their kids should have a “code word” for an emergency that allows
      kids to call parents and get out of a situation without feeling
      embarrassed
    • Kids
      should ask before touching people’s pets
    • We
      talk about medication in the clinic
    • Don’t
      talk to people who approach you or drive up to you
    • Try
      to walk in groups vs. alone whenever possible
    • Don’t
      walk with loud music on headphones
    • Don’t
      use WiFi/internet without parental knowledge
    • It’s
      okay to talk to other adults about home safety
    • Don’t
      accept candy, food, medication from people you don’t know
    • What
      to do if you’re lost, how to ask for help, who to ask for help
    • If
      you see something, say something
    • Know
      where your siblings attend school
    • The
      law about anonymous reporting (not that they’d be doing the reporting,
      but that if they pass on info to a trusted adult, their identity can
      remain anonymous)
      • Reporting
        suspected abuse, neglect may be done anonymously

  • Ms.
    Nesselrode:
    • code
      words are really important, as is having a plan with your child for what
      they should do if something is making them uncomfortable at a play date
      or sleep-over, so they can ask to come home without being embarrassed;
      let them know it’s okay at any hour, safety is more important than sleep
      or anything else
    • have
      plans for scenarios where something goes wrong, like forgetting/losing
      your keys—what to do in that situation; family code words can also help in
      situations where there is a risk of known family kidnapping (it’s a way
      for child to know if adult who is picking them up has been sent by a
      trusted adult and has legitimate permission to be there)
    • Know
      which is the right number to call in an emergency situation (cell or home
      or another number?)
    • Do
      role-playing in various scenarios
    • Know
      your parents’ names
      • Comment:
        tell kids to look for people in uniforms if they need help
      • Comment:
        tell kids that not all strangers are bad; tell them to find a parent if
        they can’t find someone in uniform

  • Nathan
    thanked Ms. Berhan, and turned over the floor to Liz Ryan for a deep-dive
    into the specifics of gun safety

 

 

IV.  Gun
Safety: Liz Ryan, Parent and Volunteer with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense

  • Why
    am I here? I’m a recent volunteer with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense. I’m
    here to talk to you about a program called “Be SMART,” which is about how
    to keep our kids safe whether we own a gun or not, by bringing adults
    together to talk about kids, guns, and safety. This program is not about
    politics or laws, though those are important issues; this is simply about
    keeping our kids “SMART.”
  • Things
    we can all agree on:
    • We
      want our kids to be happy and healthy
    • We
      all have the right to make responsible decisions about whether or not to
      own guns
    • If
      we can prevent even one child’s death, it’s our responsibility to do so

  • Headlines
    can make you feel helpless
    • American
      kids are 11 times more likely to die from gun violence than children in
      other developed countries
    • Each
      year and average of 1,300 children die from gun violence; the bulk are
      from homicides and suicides, but about 100 kids a year die from
      unintentional shootings

  • Questions
    to ask yourself before bringing a firearm into your home:
    • Are
      the security concerns consistent with the local crime rates?
    • Will
      other adults in the home join in the firearms training?
    • Do
      risk factors exist? Such as does anyone: have a mental health issue, have
      substance abuse issues, have a chronic health condition or chronic pain?
    • Do
      all adults in the home support having a gun?
    • What
      precautions will you take to safeguard your kids?

  • 70%
    of children under the age of 10 report knowing where their parents’ guns
    are stored, and of those, 36% report that they have accessed them without their
    parents’ knowledge
  • 1.7
    million kids live in homes where guns are loaded and unlocked
    • Q:
      What recommendation do you have for families where gun storage is a
      sensitive topic? A: Chalk it up to kids being kids and getting into
      everything, and stress that this is about safety without judging gun
      ownership. Give examples of how kids get into things they aren’t supposed
      to (like finding hidden Christmas presents).

  • In
    children under the age of 16, the presence and availability of a gun is a
    more significant risk factor for suicide, over a mental health diagnosis
    (firearm is the most lethal suicide method)
  • Suicide
    attempts by gun are fatal 85% of the time; by contrast, suicide attempts
    by taking pills are successful only about 2% of the time; adolescence is
    an emotional and impulsive time; the majority of individuals who fail in
    their first suicide attempt don’t try it again, so it’s of the utmost
    importance to keep firearms away from those who may be contemplating
    suicide
    • Ms.
      Nesselrode: APS has aggressive procedures for monitoring suicidal
      ideation at school; we always contact parents when we have those
      discussions with students; suicide prevention is a number one priority
      • Q:
        Do you talk about whether there are guns in the home at that point? A
        Ms. Nesselrode): There are questions that asses what the student’s plan
        might be and what access they have to dangerous objects; we don’t want
        to suggest any ideas, so the questions are posed in a broad way; if the
        student mentions guns, we’re give this information to parents; this is a
        standard county risk assessment, and for students assessed as “high
        risk,” we may contact county health officials
      • Q:
        If you have a high school student, and your child tells you that they’re
        worried about a friend, would you recommend the parents contact the
        school? A: Yes, and teachers and school staff are required reporters, so
        by law, this would be elevated appropriately

  • What
    can you do about it? Program is called “Be SMART”
    • Secure guns in your homes and
      vehicles
      • Keep
        guns locked, unloaded, and stored separately from ammunition
      • There
        are lots of options to store your guns safely, even inexpensively

    • Model responsible behavior
      • Always
        keep your gun pointed in a safe direction
      • Treat
        every firearm as if it’s loaded
      • Be
        aware of your target and what’s beyond it
      • Don’t
        rely on your gun’s “safety”

    • Ask about unsecured guns in other
      homes
      • Make
        it part of a discussion
      • Volunteer
        information about your own home
      • Use
        technology; it may feel easier to have this conversation over email or
        text
      • Talk
        to family and caregivers

    • Recognize the risks of teen
      suicide
      • Changes
        in behavior
      • Feeling
        hopeless, ashamed, or desperate
      • Increase
        in aggression
      • Talking
        about wanting to kill themselves

    • Tell your peers to be SMART
      • Talk
        to you friends and family about what you’ve learned tonight
      • You
        can also volunteer to lead a presentation, we’re always happy to have
        more volunteers, or if you’d like to have us come and present to another
        organization, we’re happy to do so. Go to BeSMARTforKIDS.org for more
        information.

  • Any
    questions?
    • Comment:
      Some safes are better than others; having a safe that kids cannot get
      into is critical (there have been some reports of children being able to
      pick up safes that are not bolted down and throw them to get them to pop
      open). If you’re relying on a safe because you want to have quick access
      to a weapon and ammunition, you have a high burden to make sure that it’s
      doing what it’s intended to do.
    • Comment:
      I’ve had two students affected by gun violence. One was a parent’s
      suicide and another was an accidental shooting. The impact on the people
      left behind by these incidents was tremendous and devastating. All of
      their lives will never be the same. Liz: Thank you for bringing that up.
      Our presentation doesn’t really delve into that, but the truth is that
      gun violence is devastating for everyone.
    • Q:
      What age is appropriate to talk to kids about the danger of guns? A: You
      can talk to them at any age, however our goal is to talk to parents and
      inform them, because it’s the parents who ultimately need to take the
      proactive steps to keep their own kids and other kids safe. We emphasize
      that the onus for responsibility is on the adults. That said, I still
      talk to my kids about gun safety, and tell them to find an adult if they
      discover a gun. But I would not skip the step of talking to other parents
      before a play date or family members before a visit because kids, by
      nature, are curious and impulsive, and cannot be relied upon to make good
      decisions and the stakes are too high.
      • Comment:
        Study after study has shown that even children who’ve been taught gun
        safety and responsibility from a young age, still make mistakes and I
        wouldn’t trust any child with a lethal weapon, because I’ve witnessed
        their impulsivity.
      • Comment
        (Ms. Nesselrode): I’d expand it further when talking with kids about
        safety and kind of build up to it. In my years of experience, I’ve had
        kids bring inappropriate things to school and 90% of the time it’s to
        impress a friend; things like: cigarettes, lighters, pocket knives, etc.
        Managing those items, and keeping them locked and safely stored are
        important. If you’re not ready to tackle the “gun talk” with your kids,
        you can start talking about these other thing, because it’s the same
        mechanism—those impulsive kid actions that progress from smaller to
        larger things. Talking through this can’t hurt, although, as others have
        pointed out, kids make unreliable decisions.

    • Comment:
      I really appreciate the normalization of the conversation around gun
      safety. I wonder if we, as a PTA, can do more to help spread the word,
      maybe through Peachjar, or some other mechanism, and normalize/spread it
      even further.
      • Response:
        we’ve looked into Peachjar, but it’s expensive. We’re open to ideas
        about how to spread our message and outreach.

 

V.    Treasurer’s
Report: Jenny Morris, Treasurer

  • For
    the year, we’ve been doing great on our fundraising goals. This month we
    had income of:
    • $1,046
      from Penny Wars
    • $155
      from Amazon payments
    • $127
      from Brick’s Pizza Night
    • Approximately
      $6,700 from Fun Run

  • This
    month we had the following expenses
    • Paid
      Ms. Christy $315
    • Bought
      remaining books on teacher’s wish lists from the Book Fair
    • Spent
      $2,000 to fund various Field Trips
    • Paid
      $148 for wobble chairs for Ms. Sim’s class
    • Spent
      $96 for 100 thermometers for school clinic nurses to distribute to
      families who need them

  • Any
    questions?
    • Q:
      Did the Campbell Spirit Wear t-shirts bring in a lot of money? A: That
      income was not received this month, that was a few months ago but we did
      well and it’s been very profitable. This month we paid for the Fun Run
      t-shirts.
      • Comment
        (Heidi): We’ll do one more Campbell wear offering for warm weather, so
        there will be another opportunity for those who may want short sleeved
        t-shirts for the season

  • We’ve
    been taking in money for the upcoming DC United game this month, too
    • Comment:
      We still have about 20 tickets remaining in our block of 100 tickets,
      we’ve sold 80 so far; game is May 20th.

 

VI. Classroom
Proposals: Nathan Zee, President

·        
We put out a call to teachers for
funding requests, and our teachers have submitted 18 requests so far

·        
Our first request is being presented
by a special guest, Third Grade student, Logan:

o  
Logan read a short letter to the PTA,
outlining his class’s request and demonstrating the skills he has honed during
the persuasive writing unit in the Third Grade curriculum

§ 
Nathan: perhaps we can take this
opportunity to provide some instant feedback?

§ 
Motion to approve up to $300 for purchase
of three Bean Bag chairs for Ms. McAleer’s Third Grade class; motion seconded,
motion approved unanimously.

·        
I’ll read through the remaining 17
items, and then we can have a discussion; then we’ll take a vote on the items
all at once; if anyone objects to an item being included, please speak up at
any time as we go through the list:

o  
The first request will not be included
in the items that we’re voting on. As Jenny mentioned earlier, we spent about
$100 to buy 100 thermometers; technically per the PTA by-laws, we don’t have to
vote on items that are within $200 of a previously budgeted item, so that’s why
we didn’t take a vote prior to purchasing these urgently needed items when they
were requested. Under normal circumstances, we would take a vote, even on items
under $200, just to make sure that everyone is on board.

o  
$500 for a poetry workshop for entire
Fifth Grade; includes two two-hour sessions culminating in a separate poetry
slam competition session, submitted by reading specialist, Ms. Fiordellisi

o  
$39.99 for Scholastic Sentence
Building Tiles super set, support materials for speech and language program

o  
 $54.95 for Say New Vocab Bingo, support
materials for speech and language program

o  
$12.95 for Auditory Memory for WH
Questions Fun Deck , support materials for speech and language program

o  
$4.95 for Webber Photo Cards Story
Starters, support materials for speech and language program

o  
$249.50 for ten noise-cancelling
headphones

o  
$27.15 for Sandtastik Play Sand
(white), support materials for occupational therapy program

o  
$7.66 for Dinosaur Fossil Skeleton
toy, support materials for occupational therapy program

o  
$8.95 for Educational Insights Play
phone, support materials for occupational therapy program

o  
$18.99 for Giggle Wiggle game, support
materials for occupational therapy program

o  
$16.99 for Jumping Jack game, support
materials for occupational therapy program

o  
$10.62 for Yeti in my Spaghetti game,
support materials for occupational therapy program

o  
$20 for Guiding Reading Level M, set
5, reading books to add to the classroom library, high interest lower level
chapter books

o  
$20 for Guiding Reading Level M, set
4, reading books to add to the classroom library, high interest lower level
chapter books

o  
$20 for Guiding Reading Level, set Arthur
chapter books, reading books to add to the classroom library Chapter books,
high interest lower level chapter books

o  
$20 for Guiding Reading Level L,
number 15, reading books to add to the classroom library, high interest lower
level chapter books

·        
Total of these sixteen requests, not
including the poet (which was $500), is $554.15

·        
Questions/comments?

o  
Q: Looking at the budget, do these
fall under classroom and teacher support/classroom resources? A: Yes.

§ 
Follow-up Q: Okay, so we have a total
budgeted of $3,000/year, so this won’t take us anywhere near that. A: Yes, so
technically we didn’t need to vote on any of this, but that’s not how we’d
prefer to conduct our business.

o  
Q: Why are these needs being asked of
the PTA? Have their particular budgets already been exhausted? A (Ms.
Nesselrode): OT/SpEd/Speech teachers have no line item in the budget for
materials; SpEd has a very small budget and most of it goes to funding testing
protocols (i.e., Woodcock-Johnson testing forms); if the PTA could not fund
these items, I’d be able to find money elsewhere in the budget

§ 
Q: Do you ever leave money on the
table? A: No, it’s all spent.

·        
Q: So if you don’t spend money on
these items, you’ll spend that money on something else that benefits Campbell?
A: Yes.

o  
Q: Have we ever asked for donations of
these items? A: We have in the past, but most of these are small items that we
are able to fund.  

o  
Comment: One idea is at the school
where I teach, we have a “giving tree” with teacher’s wish lists at the
beginning of the year at Back-to-School Night. A: Let’s work towards that for next
year’s Back-to-School Night.

o  
Q: Is this all that was requested? I’m
surprised there weren’t larger requests. A: Yes, luckily, we were able to get
many needs met prior to this push for funding requests.

o  
Nathan: feedback to the teachers, is
that hopefully they can put requests forward earlier in the year through a wish
list/”giving tree” concept.

o  
Q: Do teachers request PD? A: PTA is not
allowed to fund professional development; sometimes EL money can be used
towards teachers going to the more expensive trainings (like Responsive
Classroom training, because it’s in line with the principles of EL), and APS is
offering more training for free in the summer.

o  
Nathan: we can publish list of
everything we’ve funded in the past year to give teachers ideas for requests;
what we don’t want to do is tell teachers what they should and should not be
requesting, so we’re very sensitive to that; we want the request to come from
the teachers themselves

o  
Comment: Are teachers holding back
requests, maybe feeling like they’ve asked for too much already? What if we encouraged/inspired
teacher with grade-level set-asides, so that teacher knew how much they could/should
expect to be directed their way?

·        
Motion to approve slate of funding
requests. Motion seconded. Motion passed unanimously.

·        
Bigger ticket items that we’ve
discussed:

o  
Long-term, multi-thousand-dollar
project for new sound system is being investigated and we’re working on getting
details straightened out before proceeding

o  
Buddy bench: we’re probably going to
try to refurbish an existing bench and see how that goes first

 

VII. New
Business: Nathan Zee, President

·        
Tammi Bewitz: We have a $600 budget
for Teacher Appreciation; I request that we increase the budget by $400, to do
more for our teachers (maybe buy them a little something extra that won’t
require additional volunteers or parent donations)

·        
Motion to approve an additional $400 for
Teacher Appreciation Week. Motion seconded. Motion approved unanimously.

o  
Nathan: we’ll look at increasing the
Teacher Appreciation Budget for next year

·        
Wetlands Festival
planning:

    • Call
      for volunteers went out (Sign-Up Genius)
    • Food
      will be catered
    • Dunk
      tank (teacher and staff have already volunteered)
    • K-9
      Unit demonstration
    • Face
      painting 4:30-6:30
    • Music:
      four bands scheduled
    • Auction,
      lots of wonderful things to bid on
    • Online
      auction kicks off Thursday Night
    • Class
      baskets filing up; Kathy will coordinate getting these packaged for
      auction
    • Barbara
      is leading the marketing and communications for the Festival
    • Jenny’s
      running the budget and finances
    • Kelly’s
      coordinating signs and field paint to line off areas and keep activities separate
    • We
      have a Rain Plan, fingers crossed we won’t need it
    • T-shirts
      (spring offerings can be ordered, “Fire Sale” of old Campbell wear in odd
      sizes)
    • Thank
      you to everyone working so hard to pull together a great event

 

  • Jenny
    and I will take a first pass at next year’s budget during May, and the new
    Executive Board will discuss the draft at our meeting in June
  • D.C.
    United on 5/20, there are about 20 tickets left
  • We’ll
    put out a survey about PTA activities (programming and fundraising) after
    the Wetlands Festival in May some time to guide the Executive Board budget
    discussion. We’re going to ask about:
    • Our
      three big fundraisers this year were: Pledge Drive, Fun Run, and Wetlands
      Festival
    • We’re
      considering going down to just two major fundraisers (Fun Run in the fall
      and Wetlands Festival in the spring)

  • Comment:
    Spring Garden Workday is this Saturday from 9-noon, rain or shine, bring
    gloves and water
  • Ms.
    Nesselrode: In terms of cultural competency, parents have specifically
    been asking about how this relates to gender identity issues, what are
    staff talking about with students? Staff is having the first of many
    conversations about best practices in supporting students who don’t fit
    into gender norms or who may begin to identify as LGBTQ; not political
    mostly about avoiding gender stereotypes. We never promote any ideas, but
    we share factual information when students ask questions. We have
    materials that you can borrow if this is a conversation you’re interested
    in having at home.
    • Ms.
      Berhan: looked over FLE (Family Life Education) curriculum w/APS staff and
      a Campbell parent, so if you’re interested in talking more about this, I am
      happy to discuss

 

VIII.        Closing:
Nathan Zee, President

  • We
    have two more PTA meetings this year
  • Teachers,
    feel free to send in more funding requests
  • That’s
    a wrap. Thanks everyone. See you next month.

 

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