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January 5, 2016 PTO Meeting

  • Motions and Board Actions:

    A motion was made to accept the previous PTO meeting minutes by Angela Keiter, seconded by Kelly Delp, and approved with no objections.

    The following changes were proposed to the structure of the Thurston PTO and associated bylaws governing them. The board members voted to take the following actions. The final vote was 10 to 1 in favor—the motion passes.

    1. Elected Sharon Weiner, Room Parent Coordinator, to the empty 10th position.
    2. Added the Chairman of the Thurston Nature Center (TNC) and the President of the Thurston Community Players to the Board
    3. Amended the Bylaws: Member definition expanded to include a board member or chairperson even if they do not currently have children at Thurston.
    4. Added the TNC treasury maintenance to the duties of the Thurston PTO treasurer(s).

    The Ice Skating Trip was discussed. It was well received. Question was raised as to whether we plan to do this every year on a continual basis. Concerns were raised about fun-run totals decreasing in the future and whether we might need to cancel the “reward” event if this occurs. Discussion about cancellation policy: Natasha York will report back after investigating. Future events will have a parent organizer due to the already busy office schedule. Some suggestions were made, such as having a committee assist the parent organizer in getting feedback about the event and offering ideas, making sure there is something in place for kids with IEPs or physical difficulties, and the possibility of doing the event only every other year and use the funds to upgrade playground equipment and school supplies.

    NWEA testing dates will be published soon. Please make every effort to have your children in school. Avoid appointments on those days or reschedule when at all possible. Make-up days pull the child out of class and disrupt the schedule.

    Disability Awareness Workshop will take place March 4, 2016 and the program will be presented to the 4th Grade. Thurston needs a Parent Coordinator for this event. We currently have some volunteers but still need someone to be the Coordinator and contact person. Contact the Thurston PTO email address if you are interested.

    Teacher’s kitchen project. We are looking for suggestions on how to make the lounge more pleasant and relaxing. Janice Stewart will talk to the teachers about a wish-list and you may see requests for decorations, etc. in the near future.

    Fun Run proposed date is Saturday, April 23rd. Kiwanis will provide volunteers for the event. Proposed cost is $5 for the Fun Run, $10 for the 5K, and a family rate that will include the different runs. Proceeds are split between PTO and TNC. The lower fee structure was questioned. Feedback was that last year the price was too high for large families to participate. Kiwanis is interested in having a wide age range of participants for this year’s Fun Run. The distance is about a mile and an achievable goal for most. Thurston Nature Center welcomes suggestions for what projects at Thurston their portion of the money will be used for. If you would like to help out with the event or have suggestions for the TNC you can email

    Treasurer Report:

    YTD Income = $31,573 YTD Expenses = $11,061

    Savings Account Balances: $13,156 Checking Account Balances: $30,828

    Vice Chairs/Apprentices are needed for the following groups in order to keep them running smoothly (or at all) next year. If you are interested in helping out with any of these events now or in the future, please contact and you’ll be put in touch with the right people.

    Green Team: Year-long program includes assigning jobs, planning a pizza party and a field trip. The time commitment is about 1.5 hours per week (and works really well with co-chairs splitting the duties)

    Field Day: Mr. Fischer does all the planning for on-field events. Chair-people gather the supplies (water balloons) and a large number of volunteers (sign-up genius - through room parents and newsletter announcement). The time commitment is one full day, and some prep work.

    Scrip Cards: Time commitment varies with demand. Chair organizes the sale of gift cards (school gets a portion of the proceeds).

    Walk to School Day: Time commitment is a little over two hours a month. The Chair announces walk to school days and procures and hands out healthy snacks to kids who walk on those days. He/she also arranges the National Walk to School day which is a larger scale event.

    Bagel Friday: Vice Chair and Volunteers! The time Commitment is 1-2 hours per week a couple times a month (if we could get two vice-chairs to be co-chairs next year). The Chair(s) organize the ordering of the bagels and arrange for volunteers.

    Ice Cream Social: Time Commitment is 1 evening and prep work. Chair will plan the year-end ice cream social. If you are interested or just have ideas about changes, please contact the PTO email to be put in contact with organizers.

    Newsletter: Time Commitment is 1-2 hours a week. Chair assists with the compilation and publishing of the Heron Happenings newsletter.

    Talent Show: Ms. York is looking for two assistants to help with the talent show once this year’s helpers leave.

    Current Volunteer Needs

    Painting/Odd Jobs: We are looking for volunteers for several painting jobs and other small jobs to improve Thurston.

    5th Grade Service Club: They are looking for a parent to help with community service projects.

    Girls on the Run: They need a 3rd grade parent to act as coach for the Girls on the Run empowerment program.

    General Discussion:

    We need new playground equipment to replace tire swings. Cost is estimated at around $10,000 for a new piece of equipment. Though the district would replace the tire swings, they were deemed a safety concern and Thurston will look for something safe that can cater to more than a couple students at a time.

    Little Caesars Pizza Night will continue and fliers will be going out soon.

    Many Thurston families are in need of household products and food items. The Third Grade Community Service Club is looking at ways to get and distribute donations (toilet paper, laundry detergent, food, etc.) There was discussion of having a food pantry for hungry families in Thurston and the group will continue to look into the feasibility of such a project.

    There was a discussion about phone directories and whether they can be provided to the estimated 20 families with no email. It was recommended that someone gauge interest and discuss next week.

    Next month we will discuss uses for BoxTops for Education money. We are doing very well this year, so keep sending in those boxtops.

    A question was asked about where any undesignated Fun Run Funds are allocated and distributed. Extra funds have been allocated by a Wish-List from teachers/staff in the past. Last year’s funds were used to upgrade the reading room. The teacher wish list will go to the president and items will be voted on.

    Revisiting of allowing more balls and Frisbees on the playground for the lower level classrooms. Questions: Do we have enough balls for the students or do we need a wish list for more? What happened to the balls that were to be purchased with the Campbell’s Soup points last year?