February 2010 PTO Board Meeting Minutes

PTO Board Meeting


Minutes taken by Vicki Haviland

Board members attending:  Jen Eyer, Naela Jenkins, Jen Brogno, Aerin Brownlee, Jody Brecht, Julie Morrison, Kirsten Queen, Michael Madison, Tracy Janevic, Barb Byers, Anthony Sparkling, Vicki Haviland

Dicken Parents attending:  Nick Els, Mary Durkeson,  John and Susan Bonds and several other supportive families.

January Minutes approved.

Presidents’ Report Jen Eyer and Naela Jenkins

  • Student Council and Connie Peurach will do Reading Month. Theme will be “Going Green.”   We will have a night reading event where a story teller will come and families can read in pajamas.  Our budget is $500.  It is going to be low-key and associated with the Used Book Sale.  There are a few options for the story teller.  People liked the reading clubs last year.   The committee will talk about that.

  • Someone has brought the idea of organizing a Dicken team for the Burns Park Run.  Maybe the current Dolphin Dash group could help organize the team.   We get some of the money back.  Millimans are thinking about doing a larger event for this fall.
  • Confusion with 3rd grade teachers – they weren’t sure if they could ask for money from parents for the several end of the year events they typically do including trip to Vet’s Park and picnic.   The answer is, “yes.” The PTO funds educational field trips, but teachers and/or class parents can ask for funds to support non-educational outings and events.  Make sure that they don’t call it a field trip – call it a party or celebration.  Jen made an announcement at the staff meeting about that.

Principal’s Report – Mike Madison

  • School year is half over!  Hard to believe!  It is so fabulous to work in a school with such a strong parent group that supports events and teachers.
  • Winter Walk – had to be the best event for Winter Walk ever!  At least 386 people went through the door  and maybe up to 450.  Lots of people who don’t have kids at Dicken came!  Weather was perfect.  Thank you to Teresa Erickson, all the parents, and Friends of Dicken Woods.  Kids were well-behaved, and teachers had previewed that expectation with them, so that seems to have helped.
  • Service Squad – Pasta for Pennies raised over $1600 in change!  Last year was about $900.  Kids at Dicken want to help!  The penny placards are all up on the wall in the lunch room and will stay there for awhile.
  • SIT team – Safety Survey may be distributed in the first week in March in kid-friendly language with a clear purpose.  We want to see where we are in school climate and want input from kids to see where and how we might improve. We feel that things are really good. Student Council is working on doing the survey.
  • District Equity Initiative – AAPS equity teams asking staff to think about race/racism.  CARE teams to work on instruction for kids.  PASS is the parent component for race/racism in schools.  We had a Book Club this year for staff – Hale’s Learning While Black and Black Students, Middle Class Teachers for this semester.  District wants to do this to help with Achievement Gap.  As a staff, we want to help increase self-esteem.  One way we will do this is to sponsor the Lunch Bunch for African  American boys and girls with Mr. Bell and Ms. Brann meeting with them on academic achievement and self-esteem.  Mr. Meier and  Ms. Erickson are helping, too.
  • We are also investigating having elementary-level Black Parent Support Groups – letters went to all African American parents in February to find out if there is interest in a parent support group – talk about their needs and how to be supported at Dicken.
  • NAAPID – next Monday, National African American Parent Involvement Day.  All parents are invited to come this day.  Purpose is to encourage parents to come to school and feel welcome.  2 assemblies about Honest Abe Lincoln, sponsored by PTO, also focuses on character, conflict resolution.
  • Joe Dolan, creator of NAAPID will be here for the NAAPID!
  • Music report cards come home in backpacks next week.
  • Feb 10: This is Count Day and it means more than last time due to budget cuts.  All kids need to come to school on time that day!  Blue sheets are for next year for staffing for next year.  Prediction of enrollment is how they are doing staffing for next year.
  • No School Feb 15:  staff development day – Algebra and math teaching and equity work.
  • WESO – ready to kick off! Janevics are still chairing it and need someone to take over it for next year. Feb 16 is the kick off  for Dicken students.
  • Kindergarten Round Up – please get the word out to get neighbors to the Kindergarten Round up.  We need a good count in advance to staff our kindergartens.  The first one is Feb 18,  6:30-8 pm
  • District notification  system. System is not yet working well by our informal survey as several people present did not get a call.  Letter to all parents will specify that you can choose a number to have called by the system.
  • Staff cost cutting efforts: Dicken Data – we make copies for each student.  We have an email address for most students, so we could send it that way and make hard copies of less than 30 copies.  We would prefer to have a direct link to it from an email. The  Middle Schools and High Schools do it this way,  and we should be going this way. 14 elementaries are already online.  Jen Eyer will work with editor Heather Chapman  on this.   It is a school publication, so we will put it on the school website with a direct link.

Parent presenter:  Tenagne Fields presented a detailed plan for starting a Daddy-Daughter dance and Mother-Son activity night and Family Fun day at Dicken.  She has 3 sons here  and 1 daughter at Slauson.  In their old school, her family enjoyed the Daddy-Daughter Dance.  Geared to bringing parents in to do things with their families.  Important way to bring parents into the school and see the teachers and have fun with the kids and leave their dollars here for the PTO!   Open to guardians, big brothers, moms could come – all are welcome – and also invite surrounding business communities, could have photos and invite Fantastic Sams to come in and fix up the kids.  Has a date already planned – May 5.  Call it Belles of the Ball dance – parents could donate dresses for the night.  No pressure to dress up, but just come nice. Could survey parents to see if parents are interested.  If teachers and staff could be here, that would be great and could help tighten up the community. Hope to use DJ for the Pumpkin Patch because the kids loved the music and the parents seemed to, too.  Could have a photographer to come in and take pictures.  Might be able to make profit from photos, as well.  Tenagne would chair and do it and will ask for volunteers and what suggestions they might have as well and will work with Jen and Naela.

In later discussions, we decided to table this wonderful idea for this year as we are having trouble staffing our current array of events, but want to encourage Tenagne to join us on the board next year with her great ideas and organizational skills and energy!

Amy Lorenc– Year Book

There is confusion over whether or not this was included.  They already have $1000 from us for kids who did not buy a yearbook.  Naela assures Amy that we already have the yearbooks included in the cost of the picture packages!  The 5th grade also gets a little yearbook.  Will have about 3 pp for candids.  Put in a call for pictures by the end of the month.

Treasurer – Anthony Sparkling

Anthony went over the budget outflow and income for the month, which is posted online.

We had an audit performed by AAPS finance department, and the books are now reconciled from August 2006-2009.   Anthony reconciles the books monthly and the software will do this.  They recommended that we keep the treasurer information on another hard drive of another PTO officer and have 2 parties sign off for cash and lock in safe.  All fundraising chairs should reconcile expenses and income (Jen will send a template).  Money cannot go to people’s houses.  Guidelines could come from Anthony and go out to people through Volunteer Coordinator.  Barb volunteered to reconcile each month and will start at end of February.  We still have outstanding checks from years past – we can give them a courtesy email to provide documentation that we are trying to reconcile this. In the Presidents Report next time, we will report this to the school.

Communications – Kirsten Queen

Schedule change – the PTO blast will come out on Mondays from now on, so please let teachers know.  Submission cadence remains the same.

PTOC — Barb Byers

  • PTOC – Budget forums were well-attended. There was a thank you letter from Todd Roberts.  They are aggregating all the responses, and will work with a Strategic Planning group.
  • Disability Awareness on March 19.  Last year Barb can do it, so recruit volunteers to help work on it.

Fundraising – Jen Brogno

  • Community Night Out is Wednesday the 17th – all day, including Take Out.  Coney Island raised $300.  Banditos is local, but small and want to do a day for us.  Could do a catering event here?
  • Auction committee – close to 190 items in so far – doing great!  Baskets are doing well.  Teachers are spreading the word and more marketing. Suggestion to release where we are so far financially, and how we are doing in terms of where we are going.  Staff this year is donating lots of their time for fun events.    Date and location went out in the Friends of Dicken Woods newsletter.
  • Pizza Kits – Christine Kim is chair.  Jen ordered the order forms and will give out the week before we leave to take orders.  Will distribute the week after break.
  • EGGs – Sarah Boylan – we have at least $700 of Whole Foods cards existing, but board members bought them all at this meeting!  We will create an EGGs booth at auction.
  • Box Tops – is making some money but not as much as in the past.  We can do some sweepstakes and Jen will do some publicizing.
  • PTO Thrift shop =- Student Council will have a push to collect items and clothes to earn money from PTO Thrift Shop.  If you fill a truck, you can earn $500.

Teacher Liaison – Jody Brecht

  • 5th graders are going on the winter cook out – if you have any snow pants that would fit a 5th grader, please donate them.
  • SIT grants – The SIT team had a program to let teachers apply for money to  increase achievement and teachers are happy about it and are going to use the money to collaborate, buy materials, and do things to impact students directly.

Enrichment Coordinator – Aerin Brownlee

  • MI Humanities Grant– we can get money back perhaps from other field trips for buses depending on if they qualify.
  • Michelle at Children’s Orchard is donating a gift certificate for each child in the school to come in to get an item valued at $5.99 or less.  Jen will take these and use in coordination with Family Reading Night.
  • Super Science Day – we should be getting a quote this week for this program.
  • Grant for Garden was submitted on time.
  • We are getting trees and bushes from Farm Bureau and it was from a grant written by former Dicken parent Trish Koman– $600.  Daisies and Brownies and Cub Scouts are helping.  Thank you note from the school for this.

Hospitality — Julie Morrison

Breakfast on Monday for NAAPID and SIT is providing lunch through Sue Jenkins’ fund.  Also providing refreshments for Kindergarten Round Up.