PTA Meetings

PTA Meeting Minutes 10.01.19

Campbell PTA Meeting
October 1, 2019

6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Approximate # of Attendees: 28


1.       Welcome: Barbara Martinez, President

  • Thanks to everyone who came to the picnic on Friday night! It was a beautiful night, great to see so many Campbell families celebrating the start of the school year
    • We did the food a bit differently this year, i.e. we didn’t have a food truck, the PTA provided a great spread of fruit and desserts – some people turned it into a potluck
    • Feel free to send us your feedback so we can make next year’s picnic just as good!
  • Restaurant Night volunteers – we need 1-2 people to coordinate and promote these events throughout the year – these fundraisers are also a lot of fun for Campbell families
    • Restaurant Night coming up on Saturday, November 16 at Lost Dog on Columbia Pike – Liz Ryan volunteered to do the promotion and coordination for this one (thank you, Liz!)
    • If you can volunteer to help coordinate additional Restaurant Nights for this school year, please reach out to Erica Lord and Julie Bohler, VPs for Fundraising

2.       Counseling Survey Data: Kate Sullivan, School Counselor

  • When Kate started at Campbell in the 2017-2018 school year she did a needs assessment survey with parents, teachers, and students in grades 3-5 to see what they thought were the biggest issues/challenges, and to help inform the school’s responsive services
    • She has repeated the survey every year – interesting to track changes over time in terms of what issues Campbell parents, teachers, and students feel are the biggest challenges
    • Kate reminded parents to please complete the survey
  • Kate shared findings from the surveys with us – note, the survey is collecting perception data, it’s not tied to counseling referrals or outcomes
    • Student survey responses (from 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders) – overall their perception of what they need help with has improved over years
      • Paying attention in class – top concern, reported by 67% of respondents
        • Zones of Regulation (which is being rolled out schoolwide this year) can help students identify when they need help paying attention – ideally we can tie this to tools they can use to get back on track
      • Conflict resolution; Dealing with anger/frustration; and Perseverance in class – next highest concerns, each reported by around 50% of respondents
        • When Kate first started (3 years ago) bullying/teasing was seen as a higher concern than conflict resolution – the percent of students reporting bullying/teasing has come down over time, which makes sense since students are more likely to experience conflict with peers than bullying on a given day – also shows the importance of educating students and parents about the differences between conflict vs bullying so they can identify which is which and know how to respond
    • Teachers/staff survey responses – top issues they think students could use help with: Conflict resolution (84%); Asking for help (81%); Anger and frustration (77%)
      • Schoolwide Zones of Regulation will be helpful for everyone
      • Bullying/teasing as a concern among staff is low
    • Parent survey responses – top issues they think students could use help with: Conflict resolution (80%); Asking for help (75%); Perseverance (71%)
      • In general parents see things are being more problematic than students 😊 – bear this in mind when kids talk about the negative things that happen at school
  • Key takeaways:
    • Conflict resolution continues to be a top concern over the past 3 years – it is improving from the perspective of students and staff, but gotten worse from parents’ perspective
    • Self-advocacy /asking for help has improved by 17% since last year for students, held steady for parents, and worsened from staff perspective (i.e. 15% more staff think students need help advocating for themselves) – where is the disconnect?
    • This year Kate is focusing on ensuring all students can identify a caring adult at school they can ask for help with learning issues as well as emotional concerns
    • Zones of Regulation will be the key focus this year – emotional regulation-related topics
  • Discussion:
    • The survey ties into what Kate focuses on for the coming year, but the counseling lessons address all topics in the survey
    • Students’ independence, e.g. students asking teachers what they should do next (vs self-directing themselves to the next activity) – Kate is talking with students and teachers about building in strategies for how to address this – this is a schoolwide focus this year
    • Kate will send links/cheat-sheets about the Zones of Regulation so parents can learn too

3.       School Board Update and Q&A: Reid Goldstein, Campbell School Board Liaison

  • Barbara introduced Reid and noted that before every School Board meeting Reid emails Barbara and Maureen to see if there’s anything we want him to bring up at the meeting (e.g. Wetlands Festival, the EL presentation, impressive student projects, etc.) – please contact Barbara or Maureen if there’s anything you want them to share with Reid and the broader School Board
  • Reid’s role as the Campbell liaison to the School Board is to promote good communications between our school and the Board
  • Reid began his presentation by noting that despite the mixed messages people may be getting from the national political scene, APS is a public school and access is guaranteed to all school-age children residing in Arlington regardless of citizenship status or anything else
  • Reid gave an overview of the School Board Action Plan for 2019-2020
    • This year’s plan is smaller than prior years due to the focus on hiring a Superintendent and Chief Diversity Officer (new position, already had money in the budget)
    • The Board adopted a 6-year strategic plan last year with 22 performance objectives – this year we’re focusing on 3:
      • Increasing achievement and reducing opportunity gaps
      • Improving mental health measures and access to resources
      • Ensuring every student has an adult in the building they trust and can talk to
  • Superintendent search – update
    • Interim Cintia Johnson in place since September 1 (appointed July 30)
    • APS issued a request for proposals on September 23 to hire an executive search firm to help with a national search – aiming to have search firm lined up by December and hire new Superintendent by Spring 2020
  • Enrollment (as of September 19): 27,976 students (a little shy of spring projection of 28,398) – these numbers go into projections which inform budget
    • Enrollment has grown 40% in past 10 years – enrollment projected to grow significantly
  • APS is focusing on safe, healthy, and supportive learning environments
    • We looked at APS student data from the 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, which showed that students have significant social and emotional challenges (e.g. half of all 8th, 10th, and 12th grade girls report they have been sexually harassed at school) – this led to much discussion about what APS is doing to keep students safe, especially with respect to sexual harassment/assault
      • Kate noted that the upcoming November counseling unit is about child protection which includes sexual abuse prevention (discussed in age appropriate ways, e.g. in upper grades they discuss unsafe/inappropriate/ unwanted touch – in all grades they discuss how to respect space)
      • APS staff all undergo Safe Schools Training which addresses sexual harassment among other things – parents who volunteer with APS (e.g. to be a chaperone or class parent) must also take a version of this training
      • Students can still have an adult in the building they feel comfortable going to with concerns in confidentiality without putting students or teachers at risk of anything untoward, e.g. staff are never along with students, Kate’s office has windows and there is always another adult in the counseling suite – all staff are trained on recognizing signs of abuse in students as well as how to conduct themselves professionally
    • At Campbell we have our School Resource Officer (SRO) come talk with 5th graders about substance refusal – last year the SRO gave a presentation to the PTA as well
  • APS salary increases – we lead the region in terms of staff compensation
  • Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) – both the School Board and the County Board do a CIP every two years – these lead to four bonds that go on the ballot in even years
  • Boundary planning
    • Two sites opening September 2021 (Reed ES and the Education Center) will necessitate boundary changes at elementary and high school levels – staff discussing several options
    • 5 new schools and programs opened this year to address growing enrollment issue: Drew ES became neighborhood school, the Heights building (houses HB Woodlawn and Stratford program), Hamm MS, Fleet ES, Montessori at Patrick Henry building
  • There are many ways to engage with the School Board and APS staff:
    • Visit the “Engage with APS!” section on the website
    • Come to / speak at / watch School Board meetings on the 1st and 3rd Thursdays
    • Stay connected – follow on Twitter, email, call, meet with Board members
  • Discussion:
    • Q: What is the most underutilized method of connecting with the Board? What would you like to see people do more of?
      • Meeting in-person – there’s a lot of power in a face-to-face meeting vs email (especially form letters, which aren’t that engaging)
    • Q: What is the status of discussion around the VHC Urgent Care site on Carlin Springs?
      • That is a really complex issue – the Joint Facilities Advisory Committee (JFAC) is leading efforts to identify capital needs and availability for this site – this is a joint initiative of the School Board and County Board, there is a public process
      • Someone will come talk to the PTA about what we can expect with building demolition, since we will be greatly impacted in terms of traffic and pollution
      • Sidebar discussion about whether APS has considered changing the start times of the elementary schools since right now Campbell, Carlin Springs ES, and Kenmore MS all start at the same time – staggering the start times could help alleviate traffic on Carlin Springs road during the 8am rush
    • Q: With respect to closing the achievement gap – it’s good that APS is hiring a Diversity Officer, but what is the Board doing to try to address some of these concerns? i.e. if we prioritize walkability in the boundary discussions, then demographics suffer (especially in the non-diverse upper Northwest quadrant of the county)
      • Raging debate on the Board over the past 4+ years re: which factors to prioritize during boundary process (e.g. proximity vs demographics) – this was a prime issue at the Board’s work session last Tuesday on Arlington facilities and school accommodation plan
      • Recent study talking about how achievement gap more related to economics vs race – also teacher quality is a big factor
      • The boundary issue is very challenging – there aren’t many solutions that will change the makeup of schools very much – almost entirely due to the inequity in housing and segregated history of Arlington County
      • The Board is focusing on increasing opportunity for students as a way to close the achievement gap – the budget line for the Diversity Officer (exact title TBD) came out of study results showing this was a key focus area for APS, will likely also lead to a department/additional staff
    • Q: Why did the Board push back the boundary change timeline for elementary schools? Supposed to go into effect this year (2019-2020) but now slated for 2020-2021
      • The timeline is still TBD – it has been a confusing process and there still isn’t an established timeline
      • Staff bandwidth is a real challenge in terms of rezoning all 25 elementary schools and 3 high schools – with the aim of having them all done by 2021
    • Q: Is there any discussion about hiring an ombudsman for APS?
      • Reid likes the idea but it’s gotten no traction from the rest of the Board or the Superintendent – hopefully the new Superintendent will support this idea
  • Reid comes to Campbell a lot – he was at the EL presentation – loves coming to the school and seeing what we’re doing here, how we’re providing successful outcomes for students – thank you to the teachers and to everyone providing support (principal, parents, hopefully the Board)!


4.       Treasurer’s Report and Funding Requests: Amanda Lowenberger

  • Budget highlights:
    • Expenses:
      • 5th grade expedition trip to Green Springs Garden, purchase of plants to study – 5th grade students wrote a thank you note to the PTA for supporting their trip
      • Square dance caller for Fall Festival
      • New shed (final costs came in at $4500, way under budget)
    • Income:
      • $2900 raised for Fun Run as of September 30 (mostly through PayPal)
      • $1700 from PTA dues + $1600 from people adding on to PTA membership dues
      • CCPTA has reimbursed us for the white board grants
  • Funding requests:
    • Metro card reimbursement for 5th grade field trip to Shirlington to do placards project – doesn’t need to be approved by PTA
    • Request from Kate Sullivan: $450 for Boys on the Move for additional snacks, t-shirts for all runners, and an end-of-the-year pizza party
      • The budget currently has $500 in one line for BOTM and Girls on the Run – it is assumed both activities will split this line evenly, e.g. $250 for each
        • GOTR uses its $250 budget for snacks – there is a national organization so participants get t-shirts and race registration when they sign up  
        • BOTM also uses its $250 budget for snacks, but since there isn’t a national organization Kate is requesting this additional $450 to cover the cost of t-shirts for runners as well as additional snacks (there are 22 participants this year, double the number from last year) + pizza party
      • Discussion: this is an equity issue since PTA funds lots of extracurriculars, so if we fund a pizza party for one activity we should fund them for the rest – it was decided that we could fund the request minus the pizza party to be equitable
      • Motion to fund t-shirts and snacks ($300) passes unanimously
    • Request from 4th grade team including Ms. Allen’s class: $1504 for additional flexible seating e.g. wobble seats/cushions – note this is not part of the 4th grade resources line
      • Motion passes unanimously
    • Request from Ms. Olson: $77.36 for new costumes for the Weatherbugs
      • Motion passes unanimously


5.       New Business and Closing: Barbara Martinez

  • Challenging Racism – new course starting soon
    • Campbell and Tuckahoe are partnering to offer the course, so meetings will alternate between both schools
    • This is a great course, note the time commitment
    • See flyer for more information
  • Election Day Bake Sale on November 5 (no school that day)
    • Please sign up to bake (or buy) something or to staff the table for a shift – you can bring your child(ren) to the bake sale – sign-up sheet will go out soon
    • This is a great way to connect to the community that lives near Campbell – suggestion to make a poster that talks about Campbell and what our school is about – are there any volunteers to take that on?
  • Fun Run on Friday, October 11 – information about class times and colors coming home soon and will be posted on Campbell Facebook page
  • Next PTA meeting on Tuesday, November 12 (change to second Tuesday for next month due to Election Day on November 5) – Liz Ryan will give a presentation from Moms Demand Action