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PTA Meeting Minutes 11.14.17

By Katherine Novello | Jan 11, 2018

Campbell PTA Meeting

November 14, 2017

6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Approximate
# of Attendees
: 24

I.     Welcome
and Introduction: Nathan Zee, President 

  • Nathan
    welcomed everyone to the third PTA meeting of the year
  • Nathan
    reminded everyone:
    • Restaurant
      Night at Ireland’s Four Courts on 11/15 from 5-8 pm
    • Square
      One Art deadline packets will be coming home in this Thursday’s folders;
      opportunity to order your children’s artwork on various products (make
      great gifts)

  • Nathan
    introduced the guest speaker, Mr. David McBride, Principal of Kenmore
    Middle School

 

II.    Kenmore
Update: David McBride, Kenmore Principal

  • Mr.
    McBride introduced himself and his Assistant Principal, Ms. Christine Joy
    • Mr.
      McBride is in his second year as Principal, but has been at Kenmore for
      11 years
    • Ms.
      Joy has a teaching background (14 years classroom experience)

  • Mr.
    McBride conducted an ice-breaker exercise called Myth Vs. Truth
  • Mr.
    McBride noted that one of the great challenges of educating Middle School
    students is that they are prone to testing boundaries, therefore at
    Kenmore they try to:
    • Meet
      each student where he/she is
    • Provide
      needed support and structure
    • Model
      appropriate behavior and boundaries
    • Are
      proactive about messages pertaining to this age group’s boundary-testing (things
      like sex, drugs, alcohol, violence, etc.)

  • Mr.
    McBride opened the floor to questions
    • Q:
      I’ve heard about increased drugs in the county, things like drug-sniffing
      dogs and bathroom doors off the hinges. Have you noticed an increase and
      what are you doing to prevent? A: We have a Prevention Counselor,
      celebrate Red Ribbon week, and are ramping up prevention efforts. This is
      a nationwide concern, particularly the abuse of prescription medication
      and heroin, not necessarily specific to any one school in APS. We work
      with parents and encourage you to begin talking about these issues as
      early as Elementary School, to develop a plan/network of fellow parents,
      and to remain vigilant about preventing addiction.
      • Ms.
        Nesselrode: The March Campbell PTA meeting will be devoted to discussing
        the Arlington County Partnership for Youth and Families survey regarding
        risk-taking behaviors

    • Q:
      How do you promote the integration of your diverse student body, stop
      cliques from forming for instance? A: We have student “teams” comprised
      of diverse groups of kids. Each team has its own TA and Guidance
      Counselor to promote unity within the team. We see most of this “clique”
      type behavior taking shape online and outside of school hours, but it can
      still affect the school, so we talk a lot about character development in
      the homeroom classes to build a culture of kindness.
    • Q:
      Is there cyberbullying happening? A: Yes, it happens and it’s a challenge
      for schools because a lot of it happens outside of school.
    • Q:
      Are non-school-issued electronic devices allowed during school hours? A:
      No phone use is allowed in classrooms or hallways; children are permitted
      to use school-issued iPads at lunchtime; IT staff is trying to do a
      better job of filtering access to inappropriate content
    • Q:
      How hard is Middle School? I’ve heard some students saying it’s so hard,
      while other complain about being bored. So, is it easy or rigorous? A:
      APS doesn’t have an “Honors” track per se, so some students are going to
      need more challenge and find coursework easier, while others will find it
      challenging. It depends on the student.
    • Q:
      Is there a lack of afterschool activities at the school? A: We have as
      many afterschool activities as the other middle schools. We have Act 2
      and the Check-In program, as well as intramural sports. Many of our activities,
      like Lit Mag and Screenwriting, meet during school hours. We can have as
      many clubs and activities as we have sponsors, interested students, and
      space, so if you or your child have a great idea let’s talk.
    • Q:
      How do you support LGBTQ students? A: We are a diverse community and we
      respect all our students. We have LGBTQ students currently enrolled, as
      well as staff who identify LGBTQ. We are an accepting community and we
      work on being accepting in our anti-bullying program
    • Q:
      Being such a big school, isn’t there not enough spots for all children to
      participate in various activities? A: Yes, that’s a challenge that
      exists.
    • Comment:
      In terms of clubs/activities afterschool, everyone should consider that
      teachers may not be getting paid for that time if it’s outside of their
      contract hours. Also, clubs are supposed to be student-led (students can
      create or petition for a club that they want to start). Response: Yes, we
      do need students to want a club for it to be successful.
    • Q:
      Now that transfers aren’t being allowed, will the pride be lost if nobody
      can choose Kenmore? A: Well, that’s not necessarily true. The STEAM
      certificate program is a school initiative and wasn’t sanctioned by APS,
      but that doesn’t mean that it won’t be. There is an “academic” track at
      Kenmore; our STEAM focus is well-suited for our diverse community because
      Art is a universal language and Technology is an equalizer; we have more
      opportunities/courses for Art and Technology minded students than other
      schools, but it’s not forced and any student can do well here.
      • Ms.
        Nesselrode discussed her positive perspective on Kenmore

    • Mr.
      McBride scrolled through the Kenmore Twitter feed to give a visual
      representation of a typical day at the school
    • Q:
      Is Kenmore becoming Spanish Immersion? A: That’s not on the table any
      longer and our focus will remain STEAM.
    • Education
      for this age group has improved as a whole; we have an excellent and
      committed faculty at Kenmore.
    • Q:
      STEAM certificate will still be offered? A: Yes, until they tell us
      otherwise.
    • Q:
      Do you offer Latin? A: Yes, we currently offer it online, but we’d like
      to grow this program as student interest grows.
    • Q:
      Are you still a Kennedy Center CETA (Changing Education through the Arts)
      Partnership school? A: Not exactly. Due to budget cuts to their program
      we are no longer an official CETA partner school, however, individual
      teachers continue to work with them for professional development.

  • Kate Sullivan, Guidance Counselor
    reminded everyone that there is a Middle School transition “one-pager”
    available. Highlights include:

o  
APS will decide
whether transfers are allowed after the MS boundary decision is made

o  
Process for the
transition will not change; there will still be Information Sessions held at
each school, as well as an Orientation prior to the start of the year

o  
Your Child’s
teachers will recommend levels for your children’s core classes and you’ll be
walked through elective choices

 

III.   Wetlands Committee: Nathan Zee, President

·        
Planning begins
in about a month; first meeting likely will be held on 12/12 if you’re
interested in joining us look for
more information via announcements and Facebook

·        
Festival will be
held in April

·        
Activities likely
include:

o  
Rock-climbing
wall

o  
Dunk Tank

o  
Silent Auction

o  
Live Bands

o  
Food

·        
May change time
to move away from the dinner hour to earlier afternoon; would then change menu
from dinner foods to snack-type food to accommodate. Consider this and email me
your thoughts.  

 

IV.  Nominating
Committee: Nathan Zee, President

·        
Beth Cavey and
Stacey Zee have graciously agreed to be on this committee; we need one or two
more individuals to round out the committee

o  
Amanda Lowenberger
volunteered to join committee

·        
Motion made to
approve Nominating Committee of Beth Cavey, Stacey Zee, and Amanda Lowenberger

o  
Motion seconded;
motion approved unanimously  

 

V.    Treasurer’s
Report: Jenny Morris, Treasurer

·        
Highlights from
October:

o  
Dog Fish Head
Restaurant Night earned us $1,400

o  
Fun Run donations
this month equaled $4,200

o  
Collected money
for Spirit Wear

o  
Project Discovery
payments made

o  
Expenses included
previously approved PA system upgrade ($9,900),

o  
Any questions?

§ 
Q: When will we receive
Spirit Wear? A: Possibly this Friday.

§ 
Q: Where can we
purchase car magnets? A: We have them in stock. See Heidi Heim after the
meeting if you’re interested.

·        
Funding requests:

o  
Ms. Bradley, the
school Social Worker, $195.29 for Lego therapy set

§ 
Q: Is it a
specific set? Because we have a lot of Legos in the PTA closet. A: It may be a
specific set; we can approve the money and then loop back with her to see
whether it’s something specific. If she can use what we have, she won’t spend
the approved money.

§ 
Motion to approve
funding; seconded; approved unanimously 

o  
Ms. Ammons, $49 to
offset the cost of Claude Moore Colonial Farm Kindergarten field trip

§ 
Motion to approve
funding; seconded; approved unanimously 

·        
As many of you
know, we raised approximately $4,000 more than expected/budgeted during the
recent Fun Run fundraiser. At our last Executive Board Meeting we discussed
what that money should go towards. Campbell has identified a larger need in our
community for coats, boots, gloves, hats, scarves and other winter gear. We’d
like the PTA to consider contributing to this event. Ms. Monica Castillo helps
to organize this event every year; it’s run sort of like a pop-up shop on the
last day before Winter Break. The donations typically come from a local church combined
with donations of clothing/toys/games/other gifts from individual Campbell
families and surrounding neighbors who wish to donate during this season of
giving. We’d like to help round out the donations/fill any gaps with some of
our excess money earned through the Fun Run campaign. We’d like to approve funding up to $3,000
toward this goal. Thoughts, questions, comments?

o  
Comment: Purchasing
these items individually must be difficult to coordinate. There is no physical
space to store things here at the school, so most of the shopping will have to
happen at the last minute. It would be helpful to have a set amount of money to
better coordinate this event and make sure the needs are met.

o  
Q: What about a
Giving Tree? We could be more organized if we knew the exact needs/wants
beforehand. A: This is how we’ve organized the event it in the past, but that’s
something to consider.  

o  
Comment: I don’t
think we should use PTA money for this, because it’s for a select group of
students rather than all students.

o  
Comment: We fund
specific requests for individual teachers for specific items that won’t be used
by everyone all the time. I don’t see how this is different.

o  
Comment: These items
will benefit students’ instructional needs indirectly. Students don’t need only
books and classroom supplies, they have socioemotional needs, too.

o  
Comment: This is
a unique, one-time thing we’re doing. This isn’t a recurring PTA event. It’s a school-run
event and our PTA has had a one-time windfall. What better way to spend that money
than to turn around and spend it to support those in need in our own community?

o  
Comment: This is
a schoolwide event, so it’s not just benefitting one specific family.

o  
Comment: This is
good service modelling.

o  
Comment: Our
community should support our own.

o  
Comment: Perhaps
we should create guidelines or a framework with how we spend excess money in
the future; a set of parameters for what are and are not appropriate asks?

o  
Comment: Setting
aside the charitable aspect, barriers to education affect all students in a
school, not just the ones particularly affected by being cold or hungry, so an
activity like this is for the benefit of all students.

o  
Comment: This is
in direct alignment with our PTA mission

·        
Motion to approve
funding; seconded; approved unanimously

 

VI.  New
Business: Nathan Zee, President

  • Nathan
    called for any new business
  • Paige
    Hamrick reminded everyone about Movie Night on 12/8
    • Pizza,
      beverages, and snacks will be available for purchase (no pre-orders for
      pizza)
    • Cars
      3 will be shown

  • Ms.
    Nesselrode informed us that new bottle-fillers had been installed in the
    hallway water fountains, and a new TV at the entrance displaying the
    Campbell Twitter feed was installed

 

 

VII. Closing:
Nathan Zee, President

  • Remember:
    we won’t have a December PTA meeting.
  • Thanks
    for coming and see you in the new year! 
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Treasurer Reports