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