August 2010 PTO Board Meeting Minutes

8-22-10  PTO Board Meeting

Naela Jenkins’ house

Minutes taken by Vicki Haviland

Submitted 9-8-10

Board members attending: Naela Jenkins, Amy Nelson, Caroline Sutton, Sally Steward, Julie Morrison, Michael Madison, Vicki Haviland, Jennifer Brogno, Anthony Sparkling, Tenagne Fields, LaShawna Brandon, Susan Farrell

Dicken PTO members attending: Cathy Mellett

Dicken Book Club (DBC):  Cathy Mellett

Cathy discussed the rationale for the program to give away books to all Dicken kids each year that she started with her daughter Anna last year.  She discussed how having kids be able to pick out their own books can be a bridge to many other academic areas.  Many across the country are doing this (she shared a New York Times article on this), but not many in our area.  Last year, the DBC gave out 3 books to each kid.  She has collected about 700-800 books from AADL bag sales and Saline District Library, and now has contacts in these libraries who are gung-ho about our program! The books are averaging about 8 cents a piece  through these book sales. She would like to try to give out books before Winter and Summer break.  We discussed concerns about how to merge this with the Used Book Sale, which does raise over $600 each year.  We suggested asking for books just once a year in the fall, and then using books leftover from the Used Book Sale for summer give aways.  The teachers shared that kids do like being able to pick out their own book, and that books don’t have to be sorted beyond a general K-2 and 3-5 sort. Cathy Mellett will chair this project and follow through for this year. We suggested promoting it as “here’s a chance to recycle books and give to others” and to try to present a united sense of the Literacy events for the year so that parents won’t be confused.

Board member introductions.

June minutes approved. Will be posted on the Word Press website after sending out again with final revisions.

LaShawna Brandon – Black Parent Student Support Group (BPSSG)

The Dicken BPSSG was created this April as part of a Ann Arbor district-wide group that started in April.  This group was created to support NAAPID and MLK day events, as well as to help infuse volunteers into already existing program and help publicize other Ann Arbor city events that celebrate diverse cultures.  The group is meant to be complementary to other existing Dicken groups and programs. Goal is to make entire school an sensitive to all points of view of students and parents.  Bring awareness of achievement gap to all people by making personal connections, form alliances with other groups and community organizations.  The group has met monthly since April to get organized and established.

2010-11 plans:

  • Curriculum Night – will have table with a one-page document with info about the group.  They have arranged for AADL to be giving out library cards to everyone that night.
  • Help with Fall School Picnic
  • Provide Reading Across America volunteers.
  • Will have Monthly meetings to target families and kids who are impacted by the achievement gap.  Topics will include an introduction to Everyday Math, deciphering report cards.
  • BPSSG will chair NAAPID and are looking at other events as well and how to help in those.


5 parents are forming part of the executive board – have invited 12 parents who have previously attended PTO meetings.  The group is researching cadence and publicity protocols, but plans that all announcements will go out to entire community.  They will provide daycare and food for kids.

President’s Report – Naela Jenkins

Meeting Etiquette

It is easy to have side conversations in homes that can make meeting less efficient, so we will move meetings back to school so that we can better accommodate a larger group.    Please try to stay focused on the meeting and participate in the large group discussion. We’re all here to hear how to help and make best possible decisions and so we need all views and questions.

Childcare for meetings. Naela wants to provide childcare for the October, January and May general meetings.  All meeting are open and we hope to bring in many more parents with childcare being provided.  Susan Farrell will contact Slauson to give 8th graders a chance to volunteer hours, and will be the liaison to provide childcare for these 3 meetings.  Ask sitters to arrive at 6:45, and we can have crayons and paper and basketballs.  Need to reserve the gym with tables  — Naela will reserve these spaces and times with Patty.

Survey Results

We did an online survey last year about PTO, and received 57 responses of 320 families.  Naela went over survey results.

  • People would most like to give to school classroom projects. Sally will talk to staff about what they’d like the most.  PTO always gives each FTE $125 + $5 per student to all teachers, and we help organize wishlists for classrooms for parent donations. Teachers reported that the staff feels PTO is very generous and everyone got $50 gift cards up front for Target for summer shopping; we’ve received thank you notes for these.
  • Communications –people love the blast!

  • Fundraisers – People said they would prefer to save some of the surplus from last year, and also spend some of it.  Of the fundraisers, they liked these the most: Silent Auction, Used Book Sale, New Book Sale.  Spirit Wear and Community Night Out, Box Tops.  We’ve dropped Sally Foster and Pizza Kits.
  • Community building – people liked these events most:  Family reading night, Ice Cream social, beginning of year picnic.  Thanksgiving potluck was mixed.

Field trip fund: we will continue to ask people to make a donation this year to PTO budget, helping them see what the money goes for.  Last year, we received over $4K, which is half our field trip fund.  Slauson and Pioneer do the same thing with asking for a donation, so we will look at their letters.

First Day Packet: Patty needs help assembling that.  Is there a date or time that people could help?  Thursday at 1 pm Sept 2.  Some 7 and 8th graders on the playgrounds to supervise younger kids.  We got a few volunteers.

Word Press website: Our PTO website was created last year and is linked to the Dicken home page.  On it we keep minutes, board contact information, and information about PTO events. We will keep this.

Google docs:  PTO also has a Google Document site that is a central place for PTO Board members to access agendas, list of all volunteers and contact info, and other Board business.  You click the link that Naela will send you and create a login  and password to access it.

Mike Madison – Principal’s Report

Mike thanked the board and all of the dedicated staff and parent volunteers who are being so supportive.  He reiterated that he is disappointed that his actions brought negative attention to our school, and also that he continues to see that people need help in order to move forward.  He asked for the PTO Board’s help in giving him perspectives from various views about what he can do to help people reach closure.  We discussed the idea that we all need to be positive and proactive; that we need to   “be the change” to move forward.  Moving forward doesn’t have to equate with agreeing with Mike or what happened, but you can still move forward and lead by example to help our school community.  We all want this to be a great year for our kids! Mike will be asking for more input from administrators and from parents and staff. People wanted to be heard by the district.  Mike will stress the open door policy.  Keep self transparent, visible, positive.  Letters will go out on Monday from district and from Naela. What happened last year was not a PTO issue, but we can help people learn how to move forward.  It’s going to be a great year!

Meet and Greet: this idea has been embraced by staff!  We will have juice and popsicles for kids to enjoy from 5-6 pm on Weds, September 1, as they get the teacher assignments and meet their teachers.  Teachers will be wearing matching T shirts! We agree that teachers are so great in setting the tone and leading the way!

Weekly coffees or teas with Mike: this idea is to provide coffee or tea and time to informally meet with Mr. Madison each week.  We liked the idea of helping provide a  social time for parents – we all need coffee!

Staff changes: There was a retirement incentive program in the district this year, and as a result, there was lots of movement in every building in the district.


Bell to Mitchell, Brecht to Bach, Houston to Bach where she can have a fulltime position, Harris to Eberwhite.  Warner to Open, Polizzi is retiring, Maksimchuk – position eliminated and moving to Willow Run

Changes in assignments at Dicken

  • Ms. Rossi will teach 1st – highly recommended from Burns Park and Eberwhite and earned her MA in the ELMAC program at UM.
  • Schneider will go to 1st grade.
  • Ms. Magri – will teach 3rd grade – she was a teacher in Texas and will teach 1st two days in Texas until they find replacement!
  • Nicole Davis from Slauson will be .5
  • Miller to 5th grade
  • Steward – 2nd grade
  • Collette Logan is full time ESL teacher
  • new K is Celica Gargaro – she was a highly-recommended long term sub in Burns Park .

Curriculum: we are implementing Humanities curriculum – 1-2 classes a week, blend of science and social studies integrated with gym, music, art.  World Languages – 3 and 4th will get Spanish 2 days a week in the classroom – part of SS curriculum!

PTO Thrift Shop will donate $6/student for field trips!

District and Dicken focus for 2010-11:

Academic achievement for all students – we are focusing on the disproportionality report, which shows that there are higher numbers of African American kids certified in special education, and that there are disproportional numbers of males suspended.  The federal government requires us to address these issues.  We will continue the achievement team process, and will find other ways to document what we do to help all kids and provide enrichment opportunities for all students.

Continuing equity initiative pilot for equity conversations for students and parents as part of District’s equity initiative.  Dicken and the district are working with UM to figure out how to pilot an initiative about race and equity with parents as announced by the district in parent letters last Spring. UM people have met with some people from Dicken equity and SIT teams, and in September and October will be planning for this.

Policies, Procedures and Bylaws – Naela Jenkins

Anthony, Kirsten, and others have worked on creating a step by step handbook for people chairing PTO events to know how to go about doing things.  Naela walked through the pages asking for changes – we like the new process of adding events that calls for a timeline, rationale, and look at the larger Dicken calendar to see how it fits in with existing events and programs.  Bylaws will have to be adopted at General meeting and will get out to people ahead of time.

2010-11 Calendar Review

Date Event Time Details
9-1 Meet and Greet 5-6 pm Tables, water, ice cream cups, garbage cans, on playground by kindergarten – MP room and gym if rain
9-2 Stuffing 1st day packets 1 pm
9-7 Welcome coffee 830-930 People bringing baked goods already;  Mike will announce; name tags – Caroline will have name tags – Mike will find dicken dolphin decals for cars – dolphin key chains
9-14 Curriculum night 6-630 PTO general meeting – introduce everyone – brief agenda – adopt bylaws, wordpress 

Chartwells always provides food – we bring food – hoping to do a milk and cookies thing – budget – mission statement – volunteer table

9-21 Family Picnic 5:30-7:30 Bring own dinner and bring a dessert to share with tables so you can share – clown making balloons?  Could use a Jazz band from Community?  Tekisha Moore from BPSSG can help with that
9-22 Picture Day Have a parent volunteer – could ask Nicole Marshall b/c she did it last year – she gets a free picture package
10-7 PTO Meeting 7 pm Would like sitters at school.
10-12 MEAP starts for next 2 weeks (through 10-29)
10-6 National Walk to School Day Need something for first day packet from Rich Tuzinsky, who is heading it up.  Julie will contact them.
10-28 Pumpkin Patch Usually 6-7:30 Pam Sparkling and Lewandowski are doing it! 


10-29 Halloween Parade 1 pm Halloween parade around Dicken neighborhood
11-4 PTO meeting 7-9 At Dicken
11-18 Thanksgiving Potluck 5:30-7:30 Naela will chair –can have tables and chairs delivered from the District
12-2 December PTO meeting 7-9
12-13/12-17 Spirit Week
1-3 School starts  back
1-6 PTO General meeting 7-9 pm At Dicken
1-21 and 1-21 Super Science Day Could use PTO thrift money for this
1-14 MLK assembly
2-3 PTO Board Meeting 7-9 pm At Dicken
2-14 NAAPID TaKisha Moore is chairing – Hospitality provides breakfast, Mike providing lunch
In Feb Disability Day
In Jan or Feb WESO Fair
In March/ 


Kindergarten Round Up
First week of Feb? Winter Walk
March Reading Month
Used Book Sale
3-12 Silent Auction Lake Forest Golf Club
3-03 PTO meeting 7-9
4-14 PTO Meeting 7-9
In April Community of Cultures
In April PTO Thrift Shop Drive – Tie to Earth Day
April Original Art Works fundraiser
5-5 PTO General Meeting 7-9 pm Vote in the new board
5-2/5-06 Teacher Appreciation Week May 4 is Teacher Appreciation Day
May 20? Talent Show 1 pm
5-26-27 5th grade camp
6-2 June old board/new board meeting 7-9 pm
June Ice Cream Social
June Field Day
June Popsicle Party
6-15? 5th grade promotion

President Elect — LaShawna Brandon

LaShawna created a parent tip sheet that she might give out at the Meet and Greet.  List Dicken phone number and use some signage from Dicken – by August 27th.  Everyone should review it.

Treasurer – Anthony Sparkling

Anthony reviewed the budget for this year, based on what happened last year with our budget.  Need to share the field trip report with teachers to review for planning for this year.

Anthony will send out a budget to each committee chair.

Hospitality budget might be raised – we need more actual figures.

Room Parent Coordinator — Tenagne Fields

Tenagne would like to have a room parent coordinator meeting, and will have a folder and calendar for each of them.  She wants to let them on board with Sign Up Genius. Be sure they know they can talk to Mike and move the school forward. Volunteer holding committee – people to be on hold to be there at the last minute.  Maybe have a tip sheet.  Ask each teacher to set aside 15 mins to meet with room parent.

Volunteer Coordinator – Julie Morrison

Age-old concern of how to be sure that our volunteers community feels valued.  She plans to resend the time and talent for semester 2 in January so that people can reevaluate how they can help the school.

Fundraising  — Jennifer Brogno

  • Juice and snack bag recycling will continue.  We can recycle Capri Sun and other juice bags and all Frito Lay snack bags – we’ve made about $100, which is money that’s good for the school and the earth.
  • We will cancel Sally Foster but instead used the company Innisbrook, which has similar products, but which are all made in USA.  They also promise that nothing will be backstocked!
  • Community Nights Out will start in October. Our restaurants will include Red Robin – Coney Island – CPK – Bowling Night –Max and Erma’s.

We need an Enrichment Coordinator; Leigh Ann had a lot set up for us from this summer.  Need someone on board soon to get things going for fall.

Hospitality — Caroline Haider-Sutton

  • First day welcome coffee is ready to go.  She has a large committee who will help with this event and others.  She hopes to give out  Dicken things on the first day welcome coffee.
  • She would also like to start teacher treat days and has a group who will help her.

DIcken-Slauson Liaison – Susan Farrell

  • Pumpkin Patch meeting will be on Tuesday night.
  • 5th grade Bottle drive people  need to report soon.
  • Wanda Brann knows when we need to make our first payment for 5th grade camp, so she will find that out so that we know how to orient our fundraisers.
  • Movie Nights – October and November – concessions run by 5th grade families – have been doing on Fridays – room parents pick the film they want to show.
  • AAPS has changed some of the Slauson bus routes that serve Dicken kids, so be sure to check the schedule.
  • She would like to think about doing a 5th grade transition meeting or information handout for students and families making the transition to Slauson.
  • Will get more info on PTO Thrift – talk of eliminating clothing drives, but we have one tentatively scheduled for April.

Naela went over the list (covered in the above) of what has to happen as follow up to this meeting.

Adjourned at 9:45.