April 2010 PTO Board Meeting Minutes

April PTO Board Meeting – 4-1-10

Minutes taken by Vicki Haviland

Submitted 5-2-10

Members attending: Jen Brogno, Jody Brecht, Aerin Brownlee, Jen Eyer, Michael Madison, Kirsten Queen, Julie Morrison, Naela Jenkins, Vicki Haviland, Tracy Janevic

Guests – Donna Lasinski, Susan Farrell

Donna Lasinksi – Think Stretch Summer Program

Before Donna began her presentation, she encouraged the board to join the PTOC council group advocacy group for AAPS.

Think Stretch program

  • Donna developed this program at Haisley and it is now  used  in 6 states and has 2 more states for this summer.
  • Achievement Gap has been widespread problem.  Donna reports that 2/3 of gap is what happens over the summer, so this accumulates over the elementary years.  The program is designed for a whole school to remove stigma from summer learning;  everybody does it in the school,  and for everyone, learning is year round.  The program is not remediation, just touching on already-taught skills each week.  There are medal awards for completion, not right or wrong.  There is a parent guide for the summer.  She does a parent education program for launching it.  It costs $8/kid for AAPS (which is a discount compared to costs for program elsewhere).  The student kick off is with a video.
  • Last year, we used it for K and 1st – we had 50% turned in for gold.  This is typical for a first year of a program, and typically, completion rates jump to 70-80% for the next year.  Some schools use Title I funds,  some use PTO funds,  and some use other school funds.  Ann Arbor Educational Foundation has paid grants for funds for this, so we could apply next year.  She does not track how many Title I kids complete them.  Some schools have paid ESL teacher extra to work on it with kids in their community center with 100% completion rates.  Teachers have volunteered one visit a summer to do it on the playground with kids. Donna recommends that we try to have peer learning and momentum, and that we need a program coordinator.
  • Mary Ann Whitmer likes these books and would like to use them; this would take the place of the materials she typically provides for her students in the summer.  Her Title I funds can pay for her Title I students.

Donna left the meeting, and we reconvened our discussion of this topic later with these notes, included here though we actually discussed it later in the meeting.

We estimated that $2024 would be the cost for all students in K-4 to get the books as Donna recommends.


  • This could be seen as a concrete giving back to our community from our PTO for all the work we’ve done together this year to raise funds.
  • Teachers did not look at the books last year.
  • Concern about the 20-30 kids who weren’t here each year when school starts.  This year, K –75 kids,  and 31 were returned.  1st year:  55 ordered, 28 returned.
  • Concern that people who do the books are the ones who already are doing well in school.  Some parents didn’t think it was money well spent.  It would be helpful/crucial to know return rate and demographics before deciding on such a big investment (i.e. does this really do any good for the kids who need it most?  Can we say anything beyond completion rates?  We don’t even have those broken out demographically).  We could support the community and say thank you in other ways.  We could also some lesser amount to develop a program that would target kids who need support.  Jen cautioned that she understands that the PTOC says we can’t spend more than a certain percentage of our funds to benefit groups; we need to check on that to understand what rules exist about how we spend our money.
  • We voted to not purchase the books for the entire school, but there was support for the idea of investigating providing funds towards a teacher stipend to support Mary Ann’s work.
  • Jen Brogno and Vicki will work on a proposal for a summer program, and Jen E. will work on what we can do within the PTOC guidelines.

Susan Farrell

  • Susan has volunteered to become our representative to the Ann Arbor PTO Thrift Shop, because we will get a donation from the PTO Thrift Shop if we have a representation.  Like Boxtops,  it is free money.  As long as we contribute 20 hrs a year, they give us $500. Anybody can donate or shop there. We can take contents of lost and found –$ 10/bag.  5th grader families (and siblings above age 14) could work there.   First check will come in mid-May.   Books, clothing, household items.  This is part of the Go Green effort, so student council will be part of it.
  • We are also planning to do a clothing collection drive in June.  If we fill a truck, we will earn $1000, and we can put out fliers to the neighborhood.  The date is Tuesday June 8 or maybe June 9.  Student Council will help out with collection.
  • Susan also created a “Show your Support” poster for Dicken to be displayed at the PTO Thrift Shop, and there will be awards for groups who get votes on the posters: 2nd place is $250, up to $500 for winner.  It was in the Dicken Data.

Presidents’ Report – Jen Eyer and Naela Jenkins

Next year’s board: We put a flier in backpacks – taking nominations until 4-19, May 3 blast notification will give the proposed slate, and then we will vote on it at the May 6 general meeting.  Goal is to target people and do outreach.

Jen Eyer — Annarbor.com neighborhood pages

Liz Margolis and PTOC met with Annarbor.com representatives and hashed out some guidelines.  AAPS feels its positive to do notes without publishing photos; any photo that we want posted would need parent permission.  PTOC said that if we participate, we would establish an official account for the PTO for each school with someone to be the gatekeeper.  Annarbor.com won’t make it uncommentable, but Jen says that they will be taking an especially critical eye to keep it kid-friendly.

Jen, “wearing the Annarbor.com hat” J, fielded questions and concerns:

  • Why expanding it to put up more stories?  Trend of hyper -local coverage overall in the nation, so we are trying to find a way to have a dedicated home for these stories.  Jen noted that this idea has been well-received in many schools.
  • Mike shared that he knows many principals have concerns about being maligned and possible blogging, and about PTO being put in harm’s way.    He also said that he knows several staff who would be against it.
  • Jen noted that this would give us unlimited space to write about the great things that are going on here at Dicken.  This goes out to everybody.
  • Could anything about the school that doesn’t come from the gatekeeper come up?  Yes, anyone can post on the neighborhood page, and this is already the case!  But only the gatekeeper could use the icon of Dicken PTO, which would be the official stories from Dicken. Tracy noted that she had someone post her home phone without her permission.
  • Is this more complicated for us as a PTO because of Jen’s two roles as PTO president and as representative of Annarbor.com?
  • We ended the discussion with the idea that we could wait and see how it’s going  for other schools.

Treasurer:  Anthony Sparkling

  • We are $10K above what we had budgeted for fundraising this year.  We discussed how to think about this budget situation including an ice cream social that is totally free.  We will be able to have better numbers from now on so that we won’t have to do such extraordinary fundraising.
  • Anthony walked us through the revised Policies and Procedures document that he has revised.  (Vicki should have done this!  She loves Anthony!)
  • $3298 for field trips so far, but many more are coming.  We budgeted $9000.
  • Anthony has deposited the grant money for planting our new trees.  April 24 is our workday for trees, and Trish will need money then for the tree planting.
  • $5438 brought in by Original Works, but we don’t have our final profit yet.
  • Anthony paid our PTO insurance, and it is still current; we got an extra $334 discount.
  • We gave money for art room supplies.
  • We have a $16807 account balance currently.

Communications – Kirsten Queen

We do not need to know the names of people who don not have email; we simply need to know the numbers in each class so that teachers can distribute them.

Fundraising —  Jen Brogno

  • Kroger – makes us re-enroll every member in a small window of April 1-30.
  • We will have one special blast next week about this and provide the link .  We have around 97 families who need to re-enroll.
  • Pizza kits – made  $750  with only 39 families.
  • Auction –Micki already has date and committee is already committed to next year’s auction.  Micki would also like to do spring Spirit Wear order– not a fundraiser, just to offer these items – flip flops, shorts, baseball hats.
  • Next year we won’t use Original Art Works because of difficulty of the program.  In the end, only 30 magnets didn’t come back in.
  • This year, like last year, we are planning that Ice Cream Social is not a fundraiser; it’s an enrichment, community building event.  Heather Palmer is the chair.
  • Jen also reported about Rob Maier doing Jump Rope for Heart; he is passionate about it, and sees it as a means to promote a fun way to exercise and is a fundraiser for American Heart Association.  It will be April 19-23rd – every child will get a token for participating; if they raise money, they receive gifts.
  • Community Night Out – no more this year because of all the other things going on this tme of year.
  • Idea of offering all incoming kindergarteners Dicken t shirts.  We coul dspend $500  and got their sizes at round up – we will have them at the Dicken Ice Cream Social  to give out.

Teacher representative – Jody Brecht

We talked about procedures for parent request letters for next year since so much of staffing is up in the air. Letters will still be accepted, but no teacher requests.   It is likely that all elementary schools will see splits next year.

Enrichment – Aerin Brownlee

Super Science Day volunteer sign up is online and you can sign up.  We asked if we know that we are going to have different stuff than last year?  Aerin will follow up on this.

Hospitality — Julie Morrison

Teacher appreciation week — Parent Faith Kain will chair it, and she knows that we will do the catered lunch for 40.

Principal’s Report – Michael Madison

  • Kindergarten enrollment is at 52 right now, usually in the 70s at this point in the year.
  • Over Spring Break the multipurpose room will be painted blue and yellow, done by the Lechtners!