PTA Meetings

PTA Meeting Minutes 11.12.19

Campbell PTA Meeting
November 12, 2019

6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Approximate # of Attendees: 25


1.       Welcome: Barbara Martinez, President

  • Barbara welcomed everyone to the meeting and introduced Liz Ryan, parent of a 4th grader at Campbell, who will be giving a presentation about gun safety


2.       Be SMART: Liz Ryan, Moms Demand Action

  • Liz volunteers with Moms Demand Action – this is the second time she’s presented to the Campbell PTA – the first presentation was about 2 ½ years ago and Campbell was the first place we’d ever given this presentation in Arlington. Since then, we’ve been to a lot of different communities. Tonight’s presentation is an updated version, about a program called “Be SMART.”
  • Let’s start with some statistics:
    • 1,500 American kids ages 0-17 are killed with guns every year (includes homicides, suicides, and unintentional/accidental deaths)
    • 4.5 million children live in a household with at least one gun that’s loaded and unlocked
    • 78% of shooters under the age of 18 obtained their guns from their homes or the homes of a relative or friend
    • Most children, when they die from a gunshot injury, it happens in the home
  • Tonight – we are not here to talk about politics or legislation (though Moms Demand Action does do a lot of work in that area) – we are here to talk about what we can all do to make sure that kids don’t have unsupervised access to guns 
  • Things we can all agree on:
    • We want our kids to grow up happy and healthy
    • We all have the right to make responsible decisions about how to protect our families and our homes, including whether or not to own a gun
    • If we can prevent even one child’s death, it’s our responsibility to do so
  • Headlines about gun violence are troubling: school shootings, accidental deaths of children who find unlocked guns, cycle of violence and gun deaths in some communities, suicides by gun
  • What can we do about it? Program is called “Be SMART”
    • Secure guns in your homes and vehicles
      • Keep guns locked, unloaded, and stored separately from ammunition
      • Hiding a gun is not securing a gun
      • There are many options to store your guns safely, even inexpensively: gun safes, cable locks, lock boxes
      • Arlington’s DHS has a program where they will provide lock boxes to families free of charge if they cannot afford them (both to store guns and medication)
      • It’s also important to secure guns in order to prevent gun theft there are 380,000 guns stolen every year, 25% of these are stolen from cars
    • Model responsible behavior
      • Always the responsibility of adults to prevent unauthorized access to guns, never the fault of a curious child
      • Make gun safety a part of the normal safety conversation you have with your children – keep the language simple, e.g. “If you see a gun, don’t touch it. Tell an adult right away.”
    • Ask about unsecured guns in other homes
      • Make it part of your general conversation when your child is invited to visit a new home – weave it into conversation about other safety issues like food allergies, pets, adult supervision, etc.
      • Try email or text; using technology may feel easier to have this conversation
        • A parent shared an example of a recent text exchange she initiated in advance of a playdate with a new friend – start by arranging details about playdate (time, location, etc.), then ask whether they have any guns or other weapons in their home
      • Volunteer information about your own home
      • Talk to family and caregivers (before visiting relatives, sending your children to home-based daycares, allowing your older children to babysit at another home)
    • Recognize the role of guns in suicide
      • Most people who attempt suicide do not die, unless they use a gun
        • 85% of suicide attempts with a gun result in fatality 
        • 40% of child suicides involve a gun
        • Nearly 50% of all those who survive a suicide attempt report spending less than 10 minutes thinking about it beforehand; What does this mean? Suicide is a very impulsive act. Easy access to a weapon can make a very impulsive act turn tragic.
      • If you have a specific fear about someone in your family being at risk for suicide, you may want to temporarily remove guns from your home; Arlington County, for example, will store your guns temporarily if you ask them, and there are other options (like a gun range, or asking a family member to store them safely for a period of time).
        • A survey of HS students found that 17% had seriously contemplated suicide
        • Another study showed that 41% of adolescents in gun-owning households reported having “easy access” to the guns in their homes
        • Resources about preventing suicide:
          • National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-8255
          • Trevor Project 1-866-488-7386
          • Text HOME to 741-741 in any type of crisis
    • Tell your peers to be SMART
      • Your voice and all voices are critical
      • Research shows that law enforcement, the military, and hunting or outdoor groups are particularly effective at communicating safe storage practices
      • Someone hears the Be SMART message every 21 minutes
      • Talk to you friends and family about what you’ve learned tonight
      • We’re happy to come to your church group, your civic association, your book club; no group is too small. If you’d like to have us come and present to another organization, reach out to me directly at
      • You can also go to for more information.
  • The group thanked Liz for the presentation and helping to normalizing this conversation, especially before the holidays when people might be visiting relatives. It’s a difficult conversation to have, and sometimes it’s harder to have the conversation with relatives even than strangers.

3.       Discussion of School Move Proposals and Advocacy Opportunities, Barbara Martinez, President

  • There was a robust discussion about the school move proposals
  • The PTA Executive Board sent a letter to APS (not from the PTA but from those individuals), a copy is available this evening 
  • Updated information, include answers to a list of FAQ, is posted online here:
  • Next steps for our PTA:
    • Sign up to speak at School Board meetings and School Board office hours using this form:
    • Plan to attend one or more Community Meetings in December:
      • December 9th, 7pm at Swanson MS
      • December 10th, 6:30 pm at Central Library
      • December 16th, 7 pm at Kenmore (en Espanol)
    • Thursday Moms group will be discussing this topic this week


4.       Overview of Enrichment Opportunities and PTA support, Barbara Martinez, President

  • This originated because at last month’s PTA meeting, we discussed after school activity funding, after we had a particularly large funding request from one club and we discussed concerns about how we are or are not funding other activities
  • Maureen noted that we don’t have a lot of after school activity opportunities for K-3, relative to those for 4th and 5th graders – we might need to revisit the Project Discovery offerings for the younger ages to offset
  • Overview of extracurricular activities at Campbell, the associated fees, and PTA support:
    • Odyssey of the Mind, $30 per family, PTA is not sponsoring, just collecting the fees
    • Boys on the Move, no charge, PTA funding of $550 went to T-shirts and a pizza party
    • Girls on the Run, $175 per child, PTA funding of $250 to reimburse coaches for snacks
    • Yes Club, no charge
    • Community Meeting Crew, no charge, PTA spent $81 for costumes
    • Patrols Program, no charge, PTA has $100 set aside (pizza party)
    • School Musical, no charge, PTA has not supported to date but would like to – request to music teachers to share ideas with PTA about how we can support the musical
    • Math Dice, no charge, PTA pays for team t-shirts each year
    • Band, no charge, PTA does not support
    • Project Discovery, fees charged by class, not entirely sure how scholarships are working with our new vendor Baroody; we don’t intend for fees to be a barrier so we’re following up with them to determine whether we need to increase support
  • Executive Board will discuss how we will bring more equity to after school activities



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

    • Funding requests:
      • Request for $255 to fund a PTA book club around the issues of race and equity
        • Idea is to have a few books per year that families and teachers read as part of a book club (for adults)
        • This money is to purchase books for the first book club, for 15 participants
        • Motion to fund book purchase ($255), seconded, motion carries
      • Request from Ms. Drabyk: $710 for additional flexible seating e.g. wobble seats/ cushions for her K/1 classroom
        • It was noted that we will discuss at a future meeting a more comprehensive way to address flexible seating across the school, rather than teacher-by-teacher – would like to make sure more kids have access
        • Motion to fund flexible seating ($710), seconded, motion carries
  • Budget highlights:
    • Expenses – normal expenses, plus:
      • Kindergarten expedition (toys for the “Play, Past and Present” expedition)
      • Reimbursed teachers for 5th Grade Shirlington field trip (Smart Trip cards)
      • Flexible seating for 4th grade
      • New Weatherbugs costumes
    • Income:
      • CCPTA has reimbursed us for the white board grants
      • Made over $10,000 from Fun Run


6.       New Business and Closing: Barbara Martinez

  • No December PTA meeting; next PTA meeting on Tuesday, January 14th  



PTA Meeting Minutes 6.2.20

Campbell PTA Meeting
June 2, 2020

6:30 – 8:00 p.m. [virtual meeting]

Approx. number of participants: 33


1.       Welcome: Barbara Martinez, President

  • Welcome to final PTA meeting of this very unusual school year – we also have a lot to celebrate: Campbell became an official EL school, Maureen was named Principal of the Year
  • Acknowledgement of what a difficult week this has been – we should try to talk about it with our children in appropriate ways if we can. Barbara shared links to National Museum of African American History and Culture resources.
  • Brief moment of silence


2.       Summer Reading overview: Mike Nelson, Youth Services Librarian, Glencarlyn Branch

  • 30 Days of Reading:– runs June 1 – September 1, doesn’t have to be consecutive – open to all ages – everything will be done online, there will be no in-person programming this summer
  • Login and track your reading! Everyone who completes 30 days is entered into a raffle for prizes
  • For each reader who finishes the 30 day challenge, Friends of the Arlington Public Library will donate $1 to AFAC
  • Brief discussion re: library branch openings:
    • Holds will be available for contactless pick-up at Central Library only after June 15 – please be mindful of social distancing, etc.
    • All library books that are checked out should be returned by July 1 – they can be returned at any library drop-off


3.       Q&A on the Transition to Middle School: Chandi Krohl, Christy Pryzstawik, Gareba Ali

  • Parents of former Campbell students shared their observations, tips, recommendations for ways to support rising 6th graders in this transition – Chandi (Kenmore), Christy (TJ), Gareba (Gunston)
    • Key takeaways:
      • Big transition for students and for parents – the schools are much larger than Campbell, parents might feel disconnected since students have more teachers – one way to navigate that is for parents get involved right away
      • Suggest getting a lock for students to practice using over the summer, since they will have locks on their lockers in middle school
      • Each MS does some form of grouping of students into teams – groups take classes together, so that helps it feel more manageable
      • Morning announcements are really important! That’s where students learn about after school/extra-curricular activities, etc. Prep students to take notes during announcements so they don’t forget. Parents can also check school feeds or sign up to receive announcements as well.
      • Don’t miss Back to School Night! It’s the only time you can meet all the teachers
      • Students may get overwhelmed with teachers’ different expectations
  • Brief discussion about how many students have phones in 6th grade – most of them do, it’s a personal family decision (some families like their children to have a phone for coordinating after school activities, others choose to have their children use the office to call home)


4.       Principal’s Update: Maureen Nesselrode and Karen Anselmo

  • We’ve been in touch daily with 5th grade teachers to see what students are asking about, what their needs are re: current events – if your student needs any extra support please let us know
  • Staffing changes:
    • Ms. Ammons is retiring after over 30 years in Arlington! She’s a longtime K/1 teacher at Campbell – Ms. Swartz will take over Ms. Ammons’ 1st grade class in the fall
    • Ms. Perry (4/5 teacher) and Ms. McBride (Interlude) are relocating out of state
    • Ms. Laumann (FLES) will be an English Learner teacher at another APS school
  • Picking up items from Campbell:
    • Staff are coming in to get their own items, and will be bagging student items next week
    • Contactless drive-by pickup/drop-off of items will be next week by grade level – you will receive your child’s personal items from their locker and classroom – bring library books, instruments, other school property but NOT IPADS (keep those) – please do not bring students to the pickup/drop-off, school won’t be open, teachers won’t be there – if you rented an instrument from a music store, you can return it directly to them
    • Art teachers will be taking down the art that was on display, but they won’t be given out at the pickup next week – that will be at a later time
    • All instruments students received through APS need to be collected and accounted for, even if students want to continue on their own this summer or next year
  • WILL SCHOOL BE IN-PERSON THIS FALL? We will all find out together when Governor Northam announces it – if it’s a hybrid model or online only, we would use Google Classroom again (now that we’ve all figured out how to use it) and APS has said we will be introducing new material – Maureen has no other details at this point


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

  • All in all we drew down our reserve by about $10k this year, which was more or less our goal
  • Funding request: in the past when a longtime Campbell teacher has retired we’ve purchased something for the school in their honor – Ms. Christy and Ms. Hill have requested $400 to buy something for the Outdoor Classroom in Ms. Ammons’ honor (TBD) – motion approved – it will likely be something like a canopy tent so students can use the outdoor classroom in any weather


6.       New Business and Closing: Barbara Martinez

  • Bingo and Brick’s, June 17, 6 p.m.
    • Musical online bingo! Information coming soon. It will be via zoom and is a lot of fun!
    • Order Bricks Pizza and PTA will get 20% of proceeds that night
  • Q: will there be a virtual Kindergarten information night?
    • Usually we have an information session for parents, playdates for rising K families, and an open house before school starts – as of now, we don’t know what will be possible to offer – we will have time to figure things out as more time passes – Maureen did a virtual tour of a K classroom which is posted on the Campbell website
  • Motion to approve PTA spending up to $3k during period after books close until new budget approved – motion passes
  • Christy took home all of the Campbell seedlings (lettuces, beans, herbs) that were started in the spring – they were just harvested and will be going to families in need
  • Yearbooks – still have to figure out how to get them to people
  • Barbara thanked the current Executive Board for serving and the new Executive Board introduced themselves

PTA Meeting Minutes 5.5.20

Campbell PTA Meeting
May 5, 2020

6:30 – 8:00 p.m. [virtual meeting]

Approx. # attendees: 26


1.       Welcome: Barbara Martinez, President

  • Congratulations to the unanimously elected 2020–21 PTA Executive Board!
    • Electronic voting went very well with good turnout
    • Current PTA Executive Board lasts until the June meeting, after which we transition to the new team – we’ll have a joint old/new Executive Board meeting in early summer


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

  • It’s been a quiet month. Teachers can still make requests for postage for students.
  • Funding requests:
    • Flexible seating – thanks to all the teachers who submitted requests ($2700 worth of flexible seating from 11 different teachers) – motion to approve $2900 for flexible seating passes unanimously
  • Expenses still to come:
    • Spring grounds cleanup – PTA normally pays for this
    • 5th grade promotion – hopefully we’ll be able to celebrate them soon
    • Q: will we still be able to do the online auction?
      • When things had shut down we only had about 10 items in hand, which isn’t enough to make it worth it for the spring
      • We will talk to incoming Executive Board about doing one in the fall – we could also possibly do more raffles at the fall picnic


3.       Principal’s Update and Q&A: Maureen Nesselrode

  • APS budget –
    • Furlough no longer in the budget, however FLES program is being cut countywide
    • Class size may impact Campbell – we are expecting to have 3 teachers at grade level for next year but we may need to take more students from the lottery
    • Field trips have been eliminated for next year (it’s possible we wouldn’t be able to take students on field trips next year anyway) – cut from the APS transportation line so PTA can’t help bridge this gap (it’s not cost, it’s availability of APS busses) except for things we normally charter busses for, e.g. Jamestown – this doesn’t impact Outdoor Lab, but may impact swimming and/or planetarium trips
    • It actually costs APS more to be closed since we don’t have any revenue coming in – this coming year APS is at a loss, and then obviously there’s less community revenue from taxes due to quarantine – so the budget will be a challenge for the foreseeable future
  • Online learning is up and running K-5, using Google Classroom – we’ve gotten packets out to people, the Ed Center is prioritizing ESOL and SPED families in K-2 to ensure they can get online
    • We will probably be up and running through June
    • Still lots of discussion about whether we’ll be back in the fall – we really don’t know what this looks like
  • Food site is M/W/F – families get 2 days’ worth of food – we served 375 families on Monday, each family gets 2 meals
    • We also distributed school supplies to VPI families
    • Groups continue to contact us about distributing supplies this way
  • Q: will there be spring conferences this year?
    • Unlikely – spring conferences aren’t even part of the APS calendar, it’s only at Campbell
    • Most teachers have office hours, times when they are available on Microsoft Teams for parents to pop in and ask questions
  • Q: would the school year end early? Will there be June packets?
    • There will probably be some instruction in June, not sure for how long
    • It’s a very top-down decision – we have no idea what will transpire
  • Brief discussion about what the FLES budget cut means for Campbell teachers
    • Campbell was one of the earliest schools to adopt FLES, it always was a nice fit for our school since we have such a large Spanish-speaking population – it ended up on the chopping block since it’s not required by law
    • Reach out to Campbell’s Spanish teachers during Teacher Appreciation Week!
  • Brief discussion about how to help distribute food – there are neighborhood and countywide efforts being coordinated, Barbara will circulate details to the listserv. The APS food site is only open to certain employees so it’s not that easy for non-staff to help with distribution.
  • Q: will online apps be available to use during the summer? Will the activities and resources on Google Classroom still be available?
    • Google Classroom has to be monitored by adults so it will likely not be available this summer since the teachers monitor it all the time – some of the things like book readings we have to keep within Google Classroom because of copyright laws, we can’t just put them on websites
    • Some of the apps we pay for e.g. Dreambox and Razkids – are on annual contracts that aren’t necessarily lined up with the school year, so those subscription periods may extend into the summer and students will be able to access them
    • Overall – we don’t know yet – we will still do something like our summer math packets
  • Q: will the students keep their devices and APS instruments over the summer?
    • 5th graders will most likely be returning their devices because they won’t be taking those to middle school
    • Instruments will probably be returned at some point as well, probably via some kind of drive-through drop-off
  • Brief discussion about option school lottery
    • Don’t know where the numbers landed yet in terms of higher or lower than prior years – almost all pre-K families applied, so there aren’t many openings for K – we are taking a few students in grades 1-5 – class sizes are in pretty good shape
    • Maureen put a classroom tour, her “introduction to Campbell” PowerPoint and other resources on the Campbell website for incoming families
    • Barbara: we’ll have to brainstorm ways to welcome new families, since we won’t be able to do the summer playdates
    • Maureen: we’ll likely be able to have small groups get together before school starts (whenever that may be) so we’ll be able to welcome new families
  • Campbell is being included in a book of EL case studies! Maureen is writing an article with ASCD about EL, about how we do parent engagement in a Title I, EL school – our EL school designer is very impressed with how well Campbell is implementing the model
  • Q: do we know about safety patrols yet for next year?
    • Typically students apply to be safety patrols, and the patrol sponsors get feedback from teachers about who has applied, and then they get selected – not sure yet whether the sponsors have had sessions with 4th graders yet about what it entails
    • Not going to patrol camp doesn’t eliminate anyone from being in the patrol – so even if that part doesn’t happen we will still have 5th grade patrols next year
  • NOTE: we have to be mindful about promising things to students for next year – we just don’t know what the new normal will look like (e.g. there may not be an overnight at the Outdoor Lab or swimming for 4th graders or a huge celebration for 5th graders next year)
  • Families will likely not be able to come in and get students’ belongings until at least June/July – as soon as we know, we’ll work out a plan
  • One thing parents may not be aware of is that with testing taking up so much of the 4th quarter there isn’t as much new material introduced during this time anyway
  • APS is standardizing how content will be addressed next year – no students will be held back next year – teachers will be given revised scope and sequence


4.       New Business and Closing: Barbara Martinez

  • Teacher Appreciation Week is happening now! May 4-8
    • Please remember to thank your teachers for all they’re doing! Any notes of encouragement are welcome, they are working so hard, they miss the students so much
    • Cheers for Maureen as Principal of the Year!
  • Next PTA meeting will be June 2, 6:30-8 PM
  • Tammy: can PTA help think of resources/activities/etc. we can share to keep morale up over the summer – to help fill the void that teachers are filling for students now

PTA Meeting Minutes 4.14.20

Campbell PTA Meeting
April 14, 2020

6:30 – 8:00 p.m. [virtual meeting]

Approx. # attendees: 25


1.       Welcome: Barbara Martinez, President


2.       “Screen Time or Scream Time? A presentation to help empower parents to manage the screen use of their youth” Michael Swisher, Adult Outreach and Engagement Arlington Partnership for Children, Youth, and Families

  • APCYF is putting together sessions on parenting skills – Thursdays @ 8:30 PM – upcoming session on incentives – also in Spanish at 7 PM
  • Creating Responsible Digital Citizens:
  • Trying to reframe presentation in light of our current situation where everything is now online!
  • Start with 1 question: what do we want kids to learn?
    • Taking care of devices
    • Going on approved sites
    • Treating each other well when online
  • Digital citizenship:
    • Safe use – where they go, what they’re doing, not sharing personal info
      • Common Sense Media, Netsmartz
    • Care of others – how they treat each other online
      • Means monitoring on our part
    • Healthy and balanced use – amount of time
  • What is the best way to help them learn digital citizenship?
    • Informed parents
      • How screens are used
        • Education and learning
        • Communications and social life
        • Entertainment
        • Creativity
    • Setting/enforcing clear limits and expectations
      • Where and when devices can be used, e.g. car, meals, bathroom, bedroom
      • Max time per use – should be time limits on certain apps
      • Max time per day
      • 20/20/20 – every 20 minutes you’re on a device, take a 20 second break and focus your eyes 20 feet away
  • Clear expectations
    • When we give children screens to keep them quiet at restaurants/stores/etc. we are losing opportunities to teach them limits around expected behavior
    • What kind of limits and expectations are we setting – how do we do this for ourselves?
    • Think about creating a phone agreement (see “teen whisperer” website for ideas)
    • – create a family media plan – like a budget for spending time online
    • Expectations – screen-time checklist – “before screens, you need to do the following things” (e.g. finish chores, read, play outside, do something creative, write, etc.)
    • Clear limits – consequences – what are they doing that’s an issue for the family – a consequence is a decision we make based on a decision you made (“I didn’t take your phone away, you lost it because of your choices”)
    • Nuclear option = lockdown, i.e. taking away the device, shutting down the modem
    • The goal isn’t to control our children, it’s to give them the ability to learn how to manage their screen use/screen time
  • Discussion:
    • Q: What do you recommend for children whose friends pressure them to use a device?
      • F (feelings) – start with empathy – they are feeling left out, we need to acknowledge that
      • L (limits) – explain “this is what we do in our family” and hold the line
      • I (inquiry) – ask them what solutions they suggest, ask “how can I help you”
      • P (prompt)
    • There is a lot of pressure for students around having a phone, especially as they approach middle school
    • Michael: Big believer in setting the expectation that parents will have access to their children’s devices to be able to see what their children are doing
    • Q: How can we help our children monitor their time usage on APS devices? There are no monitoring apps on APS devices
      • Teachers can see everything students do on their APS devices
      • Maureen: overall we’ve been very happy with how students are interacting in the google classrooms – they’ve been very appropriate
    • It’s okay to let screen limits go for right now (during COVID-19 quarantine) – be up front with children about why, and set expectations with children about how screen time will go back to normal after quarantine is over
  • Michael’s contact information:


3.       2020–21 Executive Board Election Process: Barbara Martinez

  • 2020–21 Executive Board as nominated at March 3 meeting:
    • Tammy Bewitz—President;
    • Rona Jobe—VP for Fundraising;
    • Katherine Novello—VP for Communications;
    • Monica Flores and Mecca Keller—VPs for Programs;
    • Jenny Morris—Treasurer;
    • Claudia Cuellar—Secretary
  • Members may self-nominate by emailing
    New guidance for nominating Board virtually (since we can’t gather in person right now) – between now and May meeting we will vote electronically
  • PTA members will get email with link to vote – we need a quorum of at least 10 to vote to elect the new board – watch your emails for that! Results will be announced at May meeting

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

  • We’re in good shape for the rest of the year – we’ve drawn down our reserve as was our goal
  • Since Spring Festival is cancelled – we need to decide whether we want to have a small online auction with the few items we do have – it’s quite a lot of work to do the online auction and then we have to figure out how to get the items to people – we will look at the inventory and see what might still be viable for auction items (e.g. summer camps?)
    • Could look at doing some of the teacher items in the fall, or do raffles/auction at the fall picnic – will depend on when we’re able to gather again
    • We have a large budgetary reserve, we’ve missed all of our opportunities to do community building activities this spring, so maybe we will be able to host the fall picnic
    • Maureen: formal 5th grade promotion is cancelled, but I’ve promised the students we’ll do the kickball game, even if it’s in October as a reunion, which PTA can fund
  • Flexible seating initiative: all teachers should have received link to google form, can select up to $400 of flexible seating for their classroom which PTA would then vote on – aiming to get items to teachers for start of next year – any teacher that has a classroom space can order flexible seating, about 10 teachers have already responded


5.       Principal’s Update: Maureen Nesselrode

  • Many people have asked how things are going, what the biggest needs are, and how to help
  • Huge thanks to Karen Anselmo and Vasthy Delgado (sub for Ms. Sullivan, on maternity leave)
  • While it is disappointing that the rest of the school year has been cancelled, we are fortunate that we know already (so many other districts are still waiting to see what will happen)
  • We are asking parents to please have students participate in the online platforms so they can interact with each other and their teachers
  • Most of the feedback we’ve received from parents has been positive, this will be a learning curve for all of us – we’re expecting a pretty minimal amount of work from everyone
  • Q: will there be video class meetings as they are doing in Fairfax?
    • No, APS isn’t allowed to use Zoom. Microsoft Teams can work but only for small groups, so this will be our general approach
  • Q: how are we doing helping vulnerable families?
    • Thanks to the PTA increasing funding for the emergency food pantry at the March 12 meeting we were able to get food to 30+ families before we closed as of March 13
    • Since we can see when students access APS apps we were able to contact families whose students weren’t popping up online to make sure they were okay – we made another list of families who needed help and reached out to them
    • There is a lot going on “behind the scenes” that parents might not be aware of, e.g. we got mifi devices to families with students in grades 3-5 who didn’t have internet access, special ed case managers have been reaching out to students to make sure they can access the work, Maureen has been connecting with families at the food sites
  • APS budget process is well underway (usually wraps up in mid-April) – there is a huge budget deficit that will likely not go away – there’s no cost savings with schools closed since we’re still paying staff – looking at significant budget cuts – important for parents to be aware


6.       New Business and Closing: Barbara Martinez

  • Teacher Appreciation Week: May 4–8
  • Next PTA meeting: May 5
  • Some interest in organizing a book/puzzle/game swap, perhaps to be conducted in conjunction with food distribution – to be discussed offline
  • Call for Audit Committee volunteers

PTA Meeting Minutes 3.12.18

Campbell PTA Meeting
March 12, 2020

8:00 – 9:00 a.m.

Approx. # attendees: 15


1.       Welcome: Barbara Martinez, President

  • This meeting is a make-up for the January 7th meeting which was cancelled due to snow


2.       Treasurer’s Report: Amanda Lowerberger

  • Normal expenses and income (report only covers first 11 days of March)


3.       Review of Budget and Priorities

  • We still have money in the budget for end-of-year community event – brief discussion about what we could do for this


4.       Proposed Slate for 2020-21 Executive Board

  • Nominees (recap from March 3 meeting):
    • President- Tammy Bewitz
    • VP Communication- Katherine Novello
    • Programs- Monica Flores  & Mecca Keller
    • Fundraising- Rona Jobe
    • Treasurer- Jenny Morris
    • Secretary- Claudia Cuellar and Andrea Ross


5.       New Business and Closing

  • Project Discovery spring session April 15 – May 22, catalogue coming soon
  • Spring Festival – May 2 at Campbell, 4 PM – 7 PM
    • New things for this year: collaborative art project for teacher appreciation, drum circle, Project Hera, two student-led bands
    • Book swap happening again – donations accepted now
  • Teacher Appreciation Week – May 4-7
  • Next PTA meeting April 14 (after spring break): “Screen Time or Scream Time? A presentation to help empower parents to manage the screen use of their youth” By Michael Swisher, Adult Outreach and Engagement, Arlington Partnership for Children, Youth, and Families
    • Presentation will be repeated Friday, April 17, after Community Meeting
  • Discussion about how Campbell is preparing for likely school closure due to COVID-19
    • Students are taking home extra books, teachers and staff are putting together resources for families to use
  • Discussion about Campbell’s emergency food pantry
    • Motion to increase budget to $1300 to restock the pantry, because if schools close imminently (spoiler alert: they do!) Campbell would need to send food home with students today or tomorrow – motion approved

PTA Meeting Minutes 3.3.20

Campbell PTA Meeting
March 3, 2020

6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Approx. # attendees: 27


1.       Welcome: Barbara Martinez, President


2.       Family Emergency Preparedness: Kelly Discount

  • Kelly is a Certified Emergency Manager (CEM):, 703-724-7853
  • Important to have resources to sustain your family in a disaster – think about a plan if you are home, at work, or on travel
  • There are things we should do and what first responders can do to save lives, protect property and bounce back from an emergency 
  • Personal safety – reinforce with children the importance of listening to their gut instinct (“spidey sense”) – don’t go into fear mode, instead respond – e.g. “that storm looks scary, I should move away from the windows”
  • Familiarize children with the idea that emergency workers may look big and sound scary when they are in their gear – children shouldn’t hide from them (fire fighters frequently have children hide from them)
  • Teach children that if they smell smoke or see fire – get out of the building
  • Trusted adult/Tricky adult:
    • Trusted: uniform, nametag, police officer, doorman, parent with child or stroller
    • Tricky: Someone you don’t know that looks like a stranger in an area where you have never seen them. If they try to take you away from where you are, run away from them.
  • Personal Identification for children is available in the community – child ID kit/fingerprinting, DNA (can do fingerprinting at Arlington County Fair or police station) – always have a recent picture at your disposal – can get ID bracelet with your contact info printed on the inside
  • How to build a family emergency plan – FEMA has worksheet available online
  • Check out the kids section on FEMA – has some great resources
  • Emergency Plan-
    • How will you communicate
    • Where will you go
    • Make sure it covers all family members *including pets
  • Emergency Kit-
    • COVID 19 mostly dangerous for 50 and up or compromised immune system – the flu is more dangerous for our children 
    • Baby wipes are a great idea in case of infrastructure issue
    • Put emergency documents in plastic enclosed folder in case you need to evacuate in bad weather
    • Back up battery charger – solar is a great option
  • Tips for staying safe in large venue or when traveling – take picture of family at the beginning of the day and determine meeting place, that way you have a current picture with what they are wearing in case they get lost
  • Emergency apps for your phone (there are lots) – save documents and insurance policy info pictures in app- i.e. evernote




3.       Proposed Slate for 2020-21 Executive Board: Nominating Committee

  • We will vote on the following slate in April: (can still take nominations from the floor)
    • President- Tammy Bewitz
    • VP Communication- Katherine Novello
    • Programs- Monica Flores  & Mecca Keller
    • Fundraising- Rona Jobe
    • Treasurer- Jenny Morris
    • Secretary- Claudia Cuellar and Andrea Ross


4.       Treasurers Report: Amanda Lowenberger

  • Funding request: thank you gift to teachers who give of their own time / funds to support an extracurricular- $1200 to provide $100 gift cards to teachers who don’t get stipends. Approved!


5.       APS Budget Heads up: Barbara Martinez

  • Suggest parents and teachers look at Arlington Public School Budget documents – there is a gap between proposed budget and what is being funded.  Don’t just write to APS, talk to county board and civic associations. The large cuts that will most impact us are the ESOL settlement agreement and FLES cuts are likely.  Special Ed and ESOL are two big priorities. 


6.       New Business and Closing: Barbara Martinez

  • Teacher Appreciation Week coming up May 5-7
  • Restaurant nights coming up in May: Pupatella and Chipotle (details coming soon)
  • Spring Festival update:
    • Diverse Book Swap with read early and daily for 100 books and 200 donated – students are welcome to bring back the books they got last year and write a note on what they thought! Donate in book box at entrance to school
    • Next Festival planning meeting is March 15
    • Request for help with auction items and raffle items, especially experiences
  • Spring Project Discovery registration will be before spring break
  • Next PTA meeting is Thursday March 12th 8-8:45 am with the Thursday parents group 
  • April PTA meeting on April 14th – presentation on screen time vs scream time at PTA meeting and after community meeting on Friday the same week

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