October 16, 2018 PTO Meeting

  • Motion to approve September Meeting Minutes made by Anne Traicoff, seconded by Kevin Cox and approved with no objections

    Spelling City: Mrs. Bell & Mrs. Tabaka represented the third through fifth grades in a request to continue funding the premium edition of Spelling City that was implemented last year. The license fees have increased to $2.70 per student which for 240 students would be $648 for the schoolyear and the summer. Third grade reported 85% mastery from one classroom after its use, and other classes also showed improvement. Ms. York shared that the district will only fund specifically listed curriculum materials and not additional supports like Spelling City. The licenses can travel up with students as they rise in grade level. Motion to approve funding made by Amy Sonntag, seconded by Kelly Delp, and approved with no objections.

    Our new Treasurers Benjamin Badalamente and Burde Gunal were introduced as was Corentin Cras Meneur’s move to the One-Year-Past-Treasurer position.

    Principal's Update: Ms.York shared that the Halloween Parade route has been extended for the older kids and shortened for the younger grades to alleviate congestion. Parents should wait outside and not try to enter the building or stand in front of entrance/exit doors. Parents are welcome to assist children in keeping on the route and moving. Halloween parties will be 60 minutes or less this year, and the room parents will be receiving emails about this. November 5th is the parent/teacher conference common night for those with multiple students. NWEA fall testing has concluded. Community Service Club will be holding a candy drive the week after Halloween so bring in any extra candy.

    Science Olympiad: Maisha Ostergren spoke about the program and mentioned a need for parent Head Coaches for every grade. The coaches would make sure we are registered and doing what needs to be done for the projects. The competition is May 11th and questions can go to the PTO or Allison Jeter.

    Fundraising Update:   Kevin Jacobs from Airtime Trampoline spoke about a donation program for school supplies that they held. He delivered a box of supplies for Thurston from their program. They also offered to hold fundraising jumping sessions and a reading assembly in the winter featuring airtime rewards for finishing reading logs.

    Kevin Cox spoke about the Rappourt fundraiser on October 6th which was quite successful with an online auction and raffle in addition to beverage sales. Over half of the money raised will go to Thurston, and Kevin presented the first installment to the treasurers.

    Chuck E Cheese is also offering fundraising days and reading rewards for schools with free meals to teachers for attending. Some preliminary dates have been discussed, but more discussion will be taking place.

     School Safety: Walk to School day is Friday October 19th and we will be having college athletes helping cheer on our kids. There will be a small presentation, but students will go to the classrooms first and be walked to the MPR by their teachers. Every student will get a walk to school participation award if they are in school that day.

    Jamie Tomasillo had a request to purchase self-adhesive bibs for $354.00 and a turkey medal for each student at a cost of $930.00 for the November Turkey Trot/Fun Run. Alternatives were discussed and a motion to approve plastic charms ($60 for 1000) or other items under $200.00 was made by Sarah Russell and seconded by Amy Sonntag. Motion passed with no objections.

    Ms. York would like to see the fundraising committee event-planning process streamlined. She suggested they present a list of planned events, then the PTO discusses and votes on the slate at one time instead of several individual meetings that can be cumbersome.

    Community service club will be doing a food drive soon.

    We are looking for a Girls on the Run representative for this year. You can go to the Girls on the Run of Southeast Michigan website for more info.

    The PTO Secretary will not be available for the November 13th meeting, so someone else will need to take notes.

    PTOC report: All 32 schools send a representative to the PTO Council to discuss common issues. Michelle McManman attended the first meeting and shared the following information:

    A goal of PTOC this year is unifying our community through engagement – with a focus on communication and increasing volunteerism.

    Freeman Environmental Education Center will have an event this week - the school district quit leasing it out and brought it back "in house" to provide lots of opportunities for exploring nature and biological sciences. There may be field trip opportunities.

    The PTOC is creating an Alliance to address 3 main issues throughout the state.  

    1. A bipartisan rewrite of Prop A
    2. Rewrite or remove the 3rd grade reading law that requires students to be held back if they don't meet reading level.

         Note: AAPS does not support retaining kids and has opted to provide people (we have a literacy expert and someone who helps with dyslexia), processes, and resources for learning (more tools in more ways to promote reading)

    1. Vote no on guns in schools

    October is bully awareness/prevention month – some schools have kindness campaigns going on (one school has 'Love Is Louder')

    A presentation by Dr. Swift covered many topics and detailed information should be available online.  To summarize: Some may have participated in the Strategy Thoughts Exchange survey that went out.  The results will soon be available on their own website and are driving the new district wide strategy that will be available from the Board.  The demographics slide showed that 25% of AAPS students are in poverty, 10% are ELL and 10% have IEP needs.

    Two key takeaways from her presentation are that: 

    1. Every school should have some work in progress for the social emotional support system for students. Focus should be on clarity (welcome for all students), capacity (how to interact even when we disagree), and culture shift.
    2. Lead in drinking water.  The district is providing hydration stations that have the lead removal filters - many schools already have them and Thurston had some installed this week.  They will be focusing on mitigating locations with high lead levels and more testing.  They are starting from the bottom up - pre-schools, elementary, middle then high schools. Thurston had very low acceptable numbers while some other AAPS schools have high levels.

    Eberwhite has been focusing on access and equity in activity gaps.  The PTO provides support to families in need (identified by the principal and not shared with anyone for privacy) so that everyone can obtain spirit wear, receives a book during book fair, receives photos/yearbook, and works with Rec and Ed to provide scholarships to after-school sports.  They also made sure to work out after-school rides as needed. This initiative has led to lower instances of classroom conflict as the kids were all participating in an after-school activity together.