December 2009 PTO Minutes

PTO Board Meeting

December 3, 2009

Minutes taken by Vicki Haviland, submitted 1-5-10

Board Members Attending:

Kirsten Queen, Julie Morrison, Mike Madison, Tracy Janevic, Anthony Sparkling, Debbie Mielkwski, Jody Brecht, Jen Brogno, Vicki Haviland, Naela Jenkins, Kirsten Queen

Visitor:  Andy Comai

President – Naela Jenkins

  • Super Science Day – This program was well-received in the past and would cost about $1000 to cover every child in the school.  We could cover it from our budget.It would be an assembly demonstration program where K-2 and then 3-5 students would get to see demonstrations on stage and then do a few audience activities.  This is less than half the cost of the usual program where the kids go through 10 science stations.  We discussed that kids get tired of the same stations each year. Mike will look into what the experience would be like for Hands-On Super Science Day – needs to be different from this fall and last few years.

We discussed other possibilities since we’ve had a lot of science programs lately.  Ideas:  826 Workshop? Since writing is one of our goals, Aerin and Naela will look into the 826 to get an idea of what the workshops entail and what ages they would be appropriate for them.

  • AAPS Budget deficit: At PTOC, they did a powerpoint on how AAPS got to where it is and why we needed the millage.  There will be a series of 3 town hall meetings to gather information from people there to inform budget cutting that will be decided on by February.  These will be our opportunity as parents to make a case for  we care about the most.  Check the  AAPS website for dates.

Andrew Comai – Gardening at Dicken

Andrew gave a detailed Powerpoint about the possibility of developing up to 23 Community Garden plots on the Dicken grounds.

  • Clague, Lakewood, and Mitchell have plots on site.  He told us about Project Grow, the Wonder Sprouts educational program for kids 3-12, the Mitchell program called Go Gardners that included a weekly lesson from Project Grow with GLCs and MEAP things worked in.  He explained that a core group of students and teachers goes in to work on the plot in  the summer once a week.  He shared how Go Gardening’s  goals are:  include more classrooms, use produce in school meals, make more teachers involved.  He also described a possible grant for innovative teaching techniques for curriculum development, innovative teaching, field trip, community-school linking kids to where food comes from.  There is a Jan 15 is deadline for proposals, and he has some people interested in supporting it including Norma McCuiston fromm AAPS, Aerin Brownlee, Nicole Chardoul from RRI, Andrew Comai from UAW, Project Grow Staff His idea for the grant is to focue on innovative waste reduction – composting cafeteria waste, expanding Mr. Monash’s worm bin.  Teachers Monash and Cieglo are interested, and Aerin is happy to help write a grant.
  • The proposal is to locate 23 50×20 plots in a Community Garden in the back corner behind the kick-ball field.  An idea is to donate some of the surplus to families in need.
  • Questions: would it cause the drainage to change?  Randy Trent is the director of facilities for AAPS and we have to talk with him because of the drainage.  Could we give priority to Dicken families? how do Mitchell and Lakeview feel about and deal with having community access to school grounds?  Could we regulate no gardening during school hours?  How would this impact car traffic and parking?
  • Concern about parents and strangers on property.  Teachers would have to supervise around that area and keeping kids out of there.   Privacy issues for neighbors.
  • Steps:  contact neighbors, looking at other elementary schools (Mike)– how to tie in with schools—we have lots of resources in the neighborhood of people who are into gardening and who might be willing to help.  Dec 9 discussion by staff , then discuss at General PTO Meeting in January, then discuss it with community.

Principal’s Report—Mike Madison

  • Kudos and thanks to Naela and Julie and everyone who helped with the Thanksgiving potluck!  To Mike, this is one of the best events in his years at Dicken.  Next year we should  rent tables next year.  We had over 200 people at this event!
  • Partner in Excellence – Knox Church: This group distributed 47 thanksgiving dinners for Dicken families, and we could have used 10 more.  The dinner was  a complete meal for a week and $20 Kroger card.  Vicki will write a PTO thank you.  They also gave out school supplies for teachers at the beginning of the year, along with over 50 hats, mittens, and scarves for teachers to give out to students.
  • Flu Season – We hit our peak so far on  Nov 22, 23 with 31 kids out with flu.  Now we are averaging only about 3 a day.
  • Equity: We had a report from our teacher book club on the book Learning While Black by Janice Hale.  Teachers shared with colleagues what they learned and then will develop action plans at next staff meeting to address the question:  What can we do during the day to impact the achievement gap?
  • Doug Sheer assembly is tomorrow.
  • Emergency Fan-Out system – Thanks to all room parents who have gotten this together.  We want to have a dry run with the system to test it.  AAPS is looking at a fan out company and would pay $1.99 per student to do the fan out to reach each student’s contact numbers within 10 minutes.
  • State of MI:  MI will have to take back $525 per pupil for this year (it could be as low as $292 per pupil) to deal with the deficit.  For AAPS, there is a  4.8 to 8.6% deficit this year and a predicted shortfall of $13.7-19.7 million for the next year.

Teacher Liaison — Jody Brecht

Teachers want a large group to go to town hall meeting for AAPS.  We feel that the Dicken community is very supportive and don’t need more from them this year.  Low class size is most important to teachers.

Treasurer — Anthony Sparkling

  • Budget review:  We have $17K – we will be paying Sally Foster and Scholastic, too, though.
  • Every event is now itemized.  We discussed auditing our accounting system and discussed internal audit with a parental auditing committee or using an outsider auditor.  We would use it to examine our accounting system for this year to see how it worked for us. We tabled whether it’s outside or inside auditing.
  • $1100 has been spent for school performances (and we can deduct $220 because we got the MI Humanities grant).
  • We will post the budget on the PTO website  — what format should we use?  Anthony will play with some formats to see what will make the most sense.   WESO paid.  EGGS:  We’d like Sarah to give a report on:  how many families, how much, how many people per store and so on.

Fundraising – Jen Brogno

  • Student Council Spirit week: M:  red, white , blue day – Tuesday:  backwards  W:  favorite book character day – Thurs:  PJ day  Fri:  Peace day – week before break
  • Money Raised so far this year:

Community Night Out and Learning Express:  more than $1200

Spirit wear:  $700

Sally Foster:  $865

New Book Sale:  $1221

Box Tops:  $740

Scrip:  going to every other month b/c it’s low return and 7.50 fee

Given check for $250 by a family to support PTO and the school.

We could encourage giving money for PTO as an end-of-year deduction.

Closer to the auction:  do a breakdown of how much we’ve made – and what our goals are.

Dicken-Slauson Liaison – Debbie Mielkwiski

We’ve been attending Slauson meetings and more of our work will be in spring with coordinating visit.

Movie Nights – we’ve made $700-800.  Though Quality 16 popcorn said the popcorn is peanut free, someone reported that it may be popped in peanut oil.  All candy is peanut free.  The can drives have earned $750 each.

Calendar for 2010:


7: 7 pm at school general PTO meeting

15:  LaRon Williams MLK assembly

Pasta for pennies?  Penny drive – January Service Squad — Carino

Heifer International– Cieglo and Miller


4:  PTO mtg – chez Madison!

8:  NAAPID – looking for an assembly dance group

11:  disability day

10 — WESO kick off  — probably not

18 6-7:30 parent evening for kindergarten round up – need snacks from Julie


4: PTO meeting at Dicken

Reading Month

13 Silent Auction

18:  4-5 kindergarten round up for kids – snacks – Kirsten Segal has a bunch of juice boxes

Week of 15th:  Used Book Sale in Art Room


1:  PTO meeting at ______

2-11:  Spring Break

Doug Sheer performance at some point

Art Works fundraiser

SC tree planning and bake sale


6:  meeting at Naela’s house as good bye to the board and thank you’s

2nd week in May:  10-15:  Teacher appreciation week

Service squad tie in with teacher appreciation week

28th:  Talent Show

School supply for Phillipenes


New board meeting

Ice cream social – Heather Palmer is chairing it

5th WESO competition at Skyline

Not sure when Community of Cultures is