March 19, 2019 PTO Minutes

  • Motion to approve previous minutes made by Sarah Russell, seconded by Alisa Cox and passed with no objections.

    Safe Routes: They are working on a series of video safety tips and more safety rewards. A parent reported that people have begun to park in incorrect or illegal spots again.   Alisa Cox is hoping to recruit more safety volunteers since her role as a TA takes her away from that job.

    Parents have reported an aggressive response by residents at the drop-off site at Ardenne. Parents should be sure to not block driveways while dropping off children or to idle for extended periods. We have requested a re-painting of the parking lot to avoid accidents and keep people as safe as possible.

    Principal’s report: The report cards come out Friday, March 22nd and are a bit more complicated. Parents should look through all sections if they have questions about the levels. Any questions about the Principal and Assistant Principal and their duties are welcomed by Ms. York and Ms. Callahan. They are busy, but they will still make time for people.

    International Night is May 3rd, Disability Awareness Workshop is April 26th, and Ice Cream Social/Used Book Sale is June 7th.

    Bike Rodeo will be May 10th and safe routes will be assisting. Ms. York would like for PTO to consider purchasing 100 t-shirts (bright colors) for the first 100 children. The goal is to increase excitement about the event. PTO will consider advertising on the shirts to offset the cost. Ms. Wyse is willing to have kids create designs for the shirts.

    Motion to approve up to $700.00 for 100 T-shirts for the Bike Rodeo made by Alisa Cox, seconded by Dejuana Jackson with 10 yes votes and no objections. The vendor believes the shirts can be made with a marker design on the front and logos on the back for $6.00 per shirt. We will revisit the budget next meeting to discuss whether sponsorship can cover costs; and if not, what area the funds are best procured from.

    A parent sent a letter expressing a desire to separate the Fun Run and Turkey Trot and bring back the schedule to what it was the previous year. She also expressed disappointment in planning any adult-only events or events where alcohol will be present.

    Fundraising: Any adult-only offsite functions will be thoroughly researched to make sure all legal and insurance aspects are covered. A representative from the PTOC is planning to attend an upcoming meeting at 6:30 on the night of April 10th to discuss the logistics of these types of events. Many other AAPS elementary schools are already doing ones of the same style.

    A discussion took place about the unwillingness of some event chairs to hold auctions during their events. This could lessen the need for an offsite event. It was also stated that an adult event is just one of many choices to recoup funding from defunct sources.

    President Merritt mentioned that the positive discussion in the room should make its way outside the room. She expressed her desire for everyone to exit the meeting with a positive attitude and be careful not to “stir the pot” unnecessarily.

    Ms. York spoke to the evolution of the school and the need for some events as well PTO meetings to change with the times and truly be inclusive. Participation in the school has dropped over the years, and that needs to be addressed in order for Thurston to move forward and thrive.

    The district will be upgrading our playground equipment. Students are voting for what they like best of three choices.

    Ms. Callahan expressed a desire to beautify our common spaces to make Thurston more welcoming (an example was given of Mitchell’s space for families to gather and chat at any time of the day.) The dated look of the gym was mentioned, as was an earlier promise by the district of fans for the gym that did not appear. The PTO could choose one or two “big ticket” items or spaces each year and let parents know their donations will go toward those items.

    The Treasurers were asked to clarify the procedure for field trip reimbursement. All checks should be requested by Friday, which is the day payment requests by digital check are sent to the bank. The PTO insurance policy requires two treasurer signatures for any paper checks to be issued, which takes extra time. It takes six to 8 days from that Friday for payment by digital check to go through.

    The Treasurers also wanted to remind everyone of Best Practices regarding cash at events. Staff should avoid taking money out of the building at night when banks are closed. It can be locked in the office safe until the next business day when the Treasurers can deposit it directly.

    A motion was made by Maisha Ostergren to approve $250.00 for a “Coffee with the Principal” event to promote communication and accessibility. The motion was seconded by Alisa Cox and passed with 9 yes votes and no objections.

    It was announced that Nadine Wong will be taking over the the Newsletter next year.

    The PTO spoke about the Winter Carnival. It was a successful first run and the new decorations were beautiful. The popcorn and cotton candy machines in the MPR filled the air with a strong oil/smoke smell. If they are going to be next to each other in an enclosed space, there should be more ventilation.

    Ms. York shared that all future schoolwide events will need be scheduled to end by 7:00. It is too difficult for the custodial staff to clean up after events and complete their regular work when events go longer.