Archive for September 2014

: Campbell PTA Minutes 9.9.14

Following are the minutes of the PTA meeting last Tuesday, September 9th (excerpted and attached below).  A Spanish version is forthcoming.  Apologies for formatting issues (formatting does not always transfer when text is cut and pasted from a Word document).  If you have questions or problems opening the attachments at the bottom of the email, please contact  

Campbell PTA Meeting

September 9, 2014

6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Attendees:  approximately 35 individuals

I.     Welcome
and Introductions

President, Beth Cavey, welcomed everyone to the first Parent Teacher
Association (PTA) meeting of the year.

II.    Overview
of Campbell School Outdoor Classroom

Presenters: Jessica Haney and Christy

  • The former Garden
    Committee has been renamed the Outdoor Classroom Committee.  Jessica Haney and Christy Przytawik are
    the co-chairs. 

  • The Outdoor Classroom Committee
    is seeking volunteers.  If you are
    interested, please email
    or Christy at
    or call the school.

  • The co-chairs provided a brief history of recent
    efforts for the Campbell schoolyard, the vegetable and flower gardens, and the
    Wetlands Learning.  There was also an
    extensive discussion of next year’s plans which in general focus on increasing
    utilization of the Outdoor Classroom by teachers and students.  Some of next year’s goals include:

    • Maintaining the garden beds and assisting the
      teachers and students in using the gardens

    • Assisting in the management of small groups of
      students doing outdoor lessons

    • Assisting with farm-to-table lessons that can be

    • Developing expedition-related outdoor lessons in
      conjunction with teachers and the Expeditionary Learning Specialist, Pam Clark

    • Fostering connections with local nature centers
      and other community based organizations

    • Helping to plan and recruit for Garden Work Days

    • Learning more about native and invasive plants
      in the Wetlands

    • Helping engage children in outdoor exploration
      outside of school hours


  • In order to create a sustainable solution for
    the entire school yard and grounds so that it can be better utilized by
    teachers and students, the PTA is recommending the creation of a paid Garden
    Docent position.  The Garden Docent
    would, among other responsibilities, conduct 2-4 classes per week.  

    • This position would be filled by Christy
      Przystawik, who has extensive experience in this type of work.  She is a garden teacher at a public school in
      Washington, DC, where the school grows, harvests, and cooks all of its food
      from their own garden.  She is also a
      trained chef.  This position is not part
      of the Arlington Public School System. 
      The cost to pay for the position has been included in the PTA Budget

  • The first garden day is September 20th.
    We hope you can join us.

  • There is interest in researching other possible
    items for the grounds, including a beehive and chicken coup. 


  • For questions or more information, please see
    the attached document, “Campbell Outdoor Classroom Committee, Maintaining Our
    Schoolyard, supporting outdoor learning” or contact Jessica or Christy at the
    emails noted above.

Priorities, Review of Calendar, and Budget Discussion and Approval

  • PTA Meeting days and times:  A survey sent out last year to PTA membership
    and the broader Campbell community identified concerns with the PTA meeting
    time.  Unfortunately, there was no
    consensus about preferred days and times. 
    Because Tuesdays have been identified as a day that does not conflict
    with other Arlington Public School System meetings, Campbell PTA meetings will
    remain on Tuesdays.  However, the PTA
    Executive Board is proposing to alternate the times to try to accommodate
    different work and family schedules.  To
    that end, the meeting in December will begin at a later time (7:30 or 8 p.m.
    TBD), rather than at 6 p.m.  We look
    forward to your feedback on how this alternate schedule is working. 

  • PTA Priorities for the 2014/2015 School Year:  The PTA Executive Committee, taking into
    account survey responses, identified the following four priorities (not in any
    order) for PTA activities this school year: 
    (1) the outdoor classroom; (2) field trips; (3) reading support; and,
    (4) teacher appreciation. 

  • Thursday Folders (Teachers Need Our Help):  Every Thursday, a folder comes home with
    important information in it from the school, the county, the PTA, and outside
    vendors.  Our teachers could really use
    help in stuffing the folders on Thursday mornings.  If you are able to help out, please contact
    Elizabeth Cavey, PTA President, at


  • Calendar:  Principal Nesselrode will be sending out the
    calendar for the year soon.  In the
    meantime, here are the events scheduled for September: 

    • Wednesday, September 17th (6:30-8):
      Back-to-School Night

    • Saturday, September 20th (9-1
      p.m.):  Garden Work Day

    • Monday, September 22nd (2:45):
      Outdoor Classroom Committee Meeting

    • Friday, September 26th (8:30
      a.m.):  Garden Work Day

    • Friday, September 26th (5:30-8
      p.m.):  School Picnic 

  • Classroom Parents:  Each classroom will have a “Room Parent” who
    will serve as an advocate for the parents and kids in the classroom.  Parents can reach out to the designated room
    parent if they have questions or concerns or to get more information.  Teachers can utilize the room parents as well.  If you are interested in being a room parent,
    you can sign up during the Back-to-School Night or contact Rachel Schroeder at 

  • PTA newsletter:  The PTA will publish a monthly
    newsletter.  It will include meeting
    notices, recipes, and other interesting items for parents.  If you have ideas for the newsletter, please
    contact Beth Cavey at  

  • Fundraising
    Committee report

    • Ideas to raise money include:  a fall fundraiser – some kind of pledge drive
      TBD; Read-a-thon; Barnes & Noble wrapping presents on Black Friday;
      restaurant nights; Wetlands Festival

    • Don’t forget to link all cards to Campbell
      School. Some places like Target and Amazon give Campbell 5% of all
      purchases.  This is one of the easiest
      ways to raise money for the school. Participating vendors include: Amazon,
      escripts, Giant, Safeway.  For more
      information or to sign up your cards online, go to For
      questions, contact

    • Please also be sure to “friend” Campbell on

    • If you are interested in helping out with the
      Fundraising Committee, please contact

  • Budget for School Year 2014/2015: 

    • Copies of the proposed budget were passed out  

    • Eva Clark, the Treasurer, reviewed some of the
      key projects funded last year (e.g., Chrome books, bikes for the pre-K
      classroom etc.) 

    • Last year, the Wetlands Festival raised about
      $10,000 – some of these funds are carried over the following year

    • Campbell Outdoor Classroom Fund: $5,363.40 has
      been put into savings

    • The proposed budget includes up to $6,000 to pay
      for the Garden Docent position

    • Other priorities included in budget: School dances,
      School picnic; Project Discovery

    • To get reimbursed for approved expenses, go to
      the Campbell website and print off a reimbursement request form and submit it
      to Eva Clark (you can drop it off in the front office or email it to her at  Expenses under $300 in general do not need
      general PTA membership approval, but our practice is to bring all such requests
      to the general PTA.

    • The proposed budget includes carrying over funds
      for next year’s budget.   

    • MOTION
      :  Nathan Zane
      made the motion; Chandi Krohl seconded it. 
      The motion was approved.  A copy
      of the budget is available on the Campbell website.  The website will also include the Treasurer’s
      monthly report. 

  • Project Discovery:  Project Discovery is an after school
    enrichment program run by the PTA.  The
    classes are after school on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays.  Classes have included such things as zumba,
    martial arts, chess, art etc.  There is a
    fee, but scholarships are available.  It
    is important to note that this is not a fundraiser – money raised by the
    program is put back into program operations. 
    Another way to save $25 on program expenses is to volunteer to check-in
    kids after school.

  • Funding request:

    • MOTION
      :  Motion
      to fund an aerator for the turtle ponds up to $100 was approved.  Patty Healy made the motion; Nathan Zane

  • School Picnic:  The picnic is scheduled for Friday, September
    25th (5:30-8 p.m.) on the Campbell School Grounds.  There will lots of great food offered by a
    variety of food trucks.  10% of all
    proceeds from the food truck will be given back to the PTA.  Campbell wear will be available.  Bring your blankets and be ready to have fun!


  • Parent/Teacher Conferences:

    • Conferences
      are scheduled for Thursday, October 9th and Friday, October 10th. 

    • Everwonder
      will be offering a camp on both days.  
      Moley Evans, who runs Everwonder, will donate a percent of the proceeds
      to Campbell.  Everwonder camps will be
      available to all APS parents/students. Look out for more information in your
      Thursday folders.


      IV.  Principal
      State of the School Address and Questions

      Presenter:  Principal Maureen Nesselrode

  • Enrollment
    for each grade

    • Prek = 65 students (5

    • K -= 71 students (3 classes)

    • 1st = 59 students (3

    • 2nd = 64 students (3

    • 3rd = 54 students (3

    • 4th = 58 students (3

    • 5th = 47 students (2

    • Largest class is 24 kids;
      smallest 17 kids

  • Standards of Learning (SOLs):

    • Very strong PALS scores
      school wide K-2

    • Significant gains in Reading
      SOL pass rates in grades 3 and 4

    • Strong math SOL results in
      grades 3-5

    • Progress among ESOL/HILT

    • Met state targets in all
      areas 2 years in a row


  • Areas to focus on for

    • Consistency in Expeditionary
      Learning (EL) practices

    • Coordination school wide
      (vertical alignment of Expeditions)

    • The Workshop Model

    • Student Led Conferences –
      expanding in Grades 2/3 (students will do it at March and June

    • Learning outside when

  • Refreshing the building:

    • Soccer field has been seeded

    • Murals hung in cafeteria

    • New stage curtains

    • New art furniture coming

    • De-cluttering

    • New gym floor

    • New bulletin boards

    • Some new chairs/desks

    • Requests have been put in for
      bike track and new carpeting

  • Changes in testing in VA
    – these are state decisions, not Arlington County

    • 3rd grade Science
      SOL eliminated

    • 3rd grade Social
      Studies SOL eliminated

    • 5th grade writing
      SOL eliminated


  • The Workshop Model:  This model of learning is considered a
    “best practice” for Expeditionary Learning and is endorsed by other
    experts, such as Teacher’s College. 
    Principle Nesselrode provided an example.  In music class, there may be a workshop
    on playing the keyboard.  It might
    run something like this:  the
    teacher shows the students how to do it; the students go to keyboards with
    headphones and when they have mastered a particular skill, they demonstrate
    the skill for the teacher.  The
    teacher checks off the skill and the child moves on to another skill.  This model can be used for all subjects.  Because it involves a level of
    independent work, a child’s progress may vary from his or her peers.

  •  Ipad Countywide Initiative  

    • Campbell has 3 pilot
      classrooms.  Liz Seitz, a K/1
      teacher and trained reading specialist, researched and identified
      appropriate applications (“apps”) for the kids to use on the Ipads.  These have all been vetted with the Instructional
      Technology Coordinator (ITC).  The
      “apps” are directed by the teacher and used to support classroom
      instruction.  Principal Nesselrode
      will share the list of approved “apps” with parents.  More information on the pilot projects
      will be made available later in the fall/winter.

  • Forms of communication with
    :  Thursday folders;
    School Talk; Twitter Account; Campbell Website; Turtle Tales Newsletter;
    PTA listserve; Call the main office for logistical questions

  • Safety and Security:

    • Please always enter the
      school through Door 1 and sign the visitor log in the front office.  If you need to walk through the school,
      wear a visitor’s badge sticker.

    • We have three additional
      elementary school resource officers (SROs) – these are police officers who
      work for the county and they are divided among the schools

    • All schools have lock
      down drills in September and January and monthly fire drills; there is an
      annual earthquake drill

  • Opportunities for 4th
    and 5th graders
    Safety patrols (5th grade); chorus (4th/5th
    grade); band/orchestra (4/5); Weatherbugs/Community Meeting (4/5); Yes
    club – 4/5 by invitation; Book clubs – 4/5 by invitation; Encourage
    students to stay committed to activities.

  • Principal Chats:
    Principal chats are scheduled once a month; however, because of
    parent/teacher conferences in October there will be no Principal Chat that
    month.  The next one is scheduled
    for Thursday, November 13th at 8:00 a.m.  Contact Principal Nesselrode if you have
    ideas for topics of discussion.






doc icon Campbell-PTA-Meeting-Notes-9.9.14.doc
doc icon Campbell-Outdoor-Classroom-handout-9-9-14.doc

Welcome Back to School!

I hope everyone is enjoying school being back in session. The PTA Executive Board is looking forward to a great year!

Mark your calendars for the following events:

September 9: First PTA meeting, 6-8pm in the Multipurpose Room

September 20: Garden Work Day, 9-1

September 26: Morning Garden Work Day and Fall Picnic! Details to follow.