October 2010 PTO Board Meeting Minutes

October PTO Board Meeting


Minutes taken by Vicki Haviland

Board members attending:

Anthony Sparkling, Stephanie Comai, Jennifer Streeter, Kirsten Segal, Tenagne Cameron Fields, Julie Morrison, Sally Steward, LaShawna Brandon, Jennifer Brogno, Michael Madison, Amy Nelson, Caroline Haider-Sutton, Kirstin Queen, Susan Farrell, Vicki Haviland


PTO members attending: Jim Anderson, TaKeisha Moore, Sonya Lewis, Janine Hutchinson


Introductions of board members and PTO members


September minutes approved


DESK group proposal– Jim Anderson

Jim described his proposal for a dads group inspired by South Arbor school where Jim’s son attended kindergarten.  The idea is to have a pizza night to launch an effort to encourage dads to volunteer in the school more often to emphasize the importance of school and high expectations to kids and dads because Jim noticed that dads are often under-represented at school.  There would be sign up sheets at the pizza night with slots where dads could sign up to come in regularly or even a few times over the semester.


Jim offered to put up signs for publicity and order pizza.  We discussed the idea of incorporating the ROAR program into this — Adrienne Licata  is organizing ROAR, so perhaps they could collaborate.  We might also link DESK with WESO. Another idea is to provide opportunities for dads to do volunteer tasks that have an academic focus since the goal is to improve the kids’ education.  We discussed how to be sure to make this program inclusive for kids who don’t have dads.  We discussed that Jim might be able to work with teachers to find times when they could especially use dads.  We discussed the idea that in some ways, this program would be a chance to familiarize dads and men with what already goes on in the school with the many opportunities we offer for classroom and special event volunteering.


Jim is not asking for money as he imagines making the pizza night self-funding by charging a small amount for pizza.


Sonya Lewis and Janine Hutchinson – Healthy Snacking Initiative

Sonya and Janine presented their concerns about childhood obesity and the link to nutrition and snacks at school.  They presented childhood obesity statistics and described how obesity impacts kids’ ability to learn and feel good in school.  They presented a list of all the places they’ve realized that food is served or given to kids in association with school including birthday celebrations, holiday parties, food as rewards for homework or behavior, snacks supplied by parents and teachers, school-wide functions, after musical, bake sales, fundraisers, field trips, and so on. They noticed that many of these involve sugar and candy.  Their goal is to try to make a transition towards less sugar, and see this as a great opportunity to model healthy eating behaviors.  They pointed out that there is an AAPS policy about healthy eating and that it discourages food as rewards, discourages candy sales or other non-healthy snacks, encourages providing plenty of time for kids to eat lunch and have physical activity.


They would like guidance in how to proceed.  Some ideas shared were:

Making a presentation at staff meeting and seeing how receptive teachers would be  Put together a survey for families

Committee to come up with additional ideas

Investigating the district Wellness Committee – we have a rep. from Dicken – Catherine MacPherson has done some farm to school work only on that.

Researching what other schools do – they do know that some schools offer non-food rewards (ex:  longer recess, free HW pass, lunch with teacher).

Exploring birthday alternatives — have one party a month per class – birthdays and holidays for that month all together in that one day

Exploring grants to help with some healthy eating initiatives to ensure that all families have access to fresh and healthy foods.

Could have an assembly to promote this for kids


We discussed that anything related to staff is not PTO matter, but that PTO could take a lead in getting some survey results to find out how parents feel about the issue.  Kirstin Queen volunteered to give feedback about a survey that Sonya and Janine will design. We discussed how to be sensitive because how parents feel and how we all define “healthy” varies and we want to be inclusive.  Staff would like to know how parents feel.  We will also look at the district policy.


Summer Enrichment:  LaShawna Brandon and Vicki Haviland

Vicki and LaShawna shared what happened at the Summer enrichment program cosponsored by PTO, Title I, and Woodchase apartments. About 40 kids participated.  The first of two 4-week sessions was full, with about 25-30 kids from grades preK-8 in a creative learning environment that featured work on summer enrichment books, a group learning activity that promoted social interaction, and literacy or math skills, and a learning activity centered around creating a snack. Gina Maksimchuk and Bethany Krumm were the teachers who worked with many parent volunteers each week.  The second session had a smaller group of kids and parents who came each week.  Overall, we thought the program was a great success as it engaged a large number of kids in learning, involved lots of parents each week, and cost the PTO about $400.


LaShawna shared results from the survey she administered to parents.  They liked having a summer enrichment program, felt like the kids had fun, thought the program helped to motivate self and summer study.

They listed some areas to improve: timing – the program was from 3:30-5 pm – kids already enrolled in a summer camp or other program, and they would prefer something after the typical work day with a longer session (2 hrs) and would like more days a week (2-3 days a week).

They would like it to be promoted more throughout the year.

Vicki and LaShawna can talk about this with people for next year


President’s report – Naela Jenkins

We revisited the Reading Initiative proposed by Cathy Mellett at our August meeting.  She proposed that we d a book giveaway before the long school breaks (Winter and Summer) and give kids 2 books each around their grade level.  She hasn’t requested funds at this point.  She has about 1000 books.  After discussion, we decided that we don’t want to fund a book giveaway since that interferes with other fundraising efforts, but that we would like to support this project.  WE approved moving ahead with the book giveaway for December and June with no further asking for book donations from the school community.  We will add this to the January Time and Talent survey.  We will let Cathy know that we all think this is really generous and that we appreciate her efforts.


Annarbor.com PTO posting

Last year, we tabled discussion of choosing someone to be a gatekeeper for posting stories about our school at Annarbor.com.  There were concerns about picture posting and what goes out there for comment in terms of teacher names and classroom details.  Staff had concerns about it last year.  We learned AAPS has a similar thing right now that we could  use, and that PTOC has encouraged us to contribute to news@annarborschools.org.  We decided to encourage subscribing to news@annarborschools.org, and to encourage PTO chairs to contact annarborschools.org for advertising and posting to a2schools.org.  At this time, we will not designate someone to serve as a Dicken representative to annarbor.com.



Support Staff stipend

Support staff (9 people) wondered if they could receive money this year from PTO. They would like to be validated by the PTO, and this fell off the radar somehow.  We have more than we budgeted for parent donations so far.   We moved to allocate $125/FTE to each of the support staff for about $700 total, and Anthony will email them to let them know the procedures for tapping this money.


Principal’s report – Michael Madison

Thanks for a great start of the school year with 372 kids. The Meet and Greet was great; thanks to parents and teachers for doing that!  We hope to do it again next year.

  • Curriculum Night – great job to everyone for a great turn out!
  • Thanks for Family Picnic with great weather!  Thanks to Caroline for the pizza and desserts!
  • We have 3 new teachers who are doing a great job getting acclimated.  2 new support staff are here part time and working with reading and ELL and doing great.
  • We have begun a Take a Stand Bullying curriculum – everyone is working on that in September.
  • Picture Day – this year we gave out 32 scholarships.
  • Safety Patrol – Brogno and Bahr are the safety patrol leaders.
  • Trailblazers – Pioneer High kids who come in to mentor have begun.
  • Fire drills – 2 so far and need 6 more.
  • Coming up we have lots of new initiatives and events:
  • Muffins for Moms and Donuts for Dads with the 1st grade
  • 3rd grade field trips coming up
  • National Walk to School Days — 97 out of 100 bus kids walked!
  • Student Council and Service Squad have launched and met with Naela to coordinate with the PTO calendar.
  • Recess Singers – Kirstin Queen, Laura Oeschger, and Jennifer Brogno are running this and there are about 75 kids!  4 boys!
  • A new Recycling Club has started with Cieglo and Justin Harper to take over the Terra Cycle initiative.
  • Lots of assemblies and field trips coming up in the next month!


President-Elect – LaShawna Brandon

LaShawna has participated in officer training on topics such as succession planning, and how all PTOs can have better records in place so that you can pass on the information and having transparency, legitimacy.   She learned about legal duties as a nonprofit and that PTOs can’t advocate for any candidate, but PTO Boards can endorse policies or millages.  They also discussed the district whistle blower policy, conflict of interest, indemnity, removal clause for board members.


Treasurer – Anthony Sparkling

Thanks to Amy for taking lead at last meeting!

Anthony reviewed the latest budget, which is on the website.


Kirstin Queen – Communications

Blast will go on paper to people without email and to comcast people who are having trouble with it going to spam folder.  She will print how to deal with that in the next Dicken Data.


Volunteer Coordinator — Julie Morrison

Julie gave out a list of all the volunteers.  We still need chairs for Gift Wrap, Reading Month, Ice Cream Social.





PTOC – Kirsten Segal

Kirsten shared that she learned how much is in place at the district level to help us!  She shared information about the PTOC Launch Party – there will be meet and greet at the beginning to have the administrators of the district discuss what they do, followed by presentations and break outs.  It will be Oct. 18 from 6:30-8:30 pm at Logan.


She also shared that there is a fundraising forum (like for officer training) if we are interested.


Fundraising – Jennifer Brogno

  • We need a Holiday gift sale chair.
  • We are launching the Community Night Out —  CPK night is next Tuesday – 20% of bill goes to Dicken!  All day!  Janine Hutchinson is setting them up this year!
  • Oct 26-27 – Scholastic Book Fair – corresponds to a conference night so that parents can attend.
  • We will use a new gift wrap and gifts company this year, with all products made in the US.  The company is Innisbrook, and this will take place in November with products delivered before holidays.

Enrichment – Jennifer Streeter and Stephanie Comai

  • Fire trucks will come for Pumpkin Patch!
  • Early November will bring Science Theate, a volunteer group from MI State — or we will find something else
  • They are working on Red Cross disaster stuff and fire prevention week.
  • December 3– Joe Reilly, environmental singer, for K-2.  3-5 will get Jonathan Rand who writes the MI Chillers books on Mon Dec 6.
  • They are working on Doug Sheerer for some dates and programs in March and April.
  • LaRon Williams for February is to be scheduled.
  • MI Humanities Grant – we will see what we can maximize for this year.
  • Super Science Day – will be handled by the co-chairs – will contact them to be sure that it is all scheduled.
  • Will talk next month about lunch time and after school enrichment.
  • We will find out who the district enrichment coordinator is.



Hospitality – Caroline Haider Sutton

  • Thanks for help at the successful Welcome Coffee!
  • Curriculum Night – hot coffee pots were dangerous around kids, so we will remember that for next year.
  • Fall Potluck – had large turn out – 47 pizza packs were preordered.
  • Hungry Howies suggested that at Ice Cream Social, they could staff the pizza table.
  • Caroline plans to organize coffee socials from PTO and Mr. Madison to socialize and learn about volunteer opportunities – may have travel coffee mugs that would be sold at cost to parents and would be green – also thinking about water bottles.
  • Could we have a suggestion box at Dicken?
  • She is also organizing staff/teacher treat days – 5 days a year with different themes.


Dicken-Slauson Liaison – Susan Farrell


  • Cookbook went over pretty well, and we ordered 200 copies.
  • Movie Nights start next week through Dec.
  • Bottle collection will be next week at school
  • · Pumpkin Patch – we will sell pumpkins the week of 21st.. Kids can’t be dropped off at Pumpkin Patch, and things are underway for staffing games, food, and haunted areas!
  • PTO Thrift – there is a Poster contest, and 5 “show your support” days – you get at least $250 for being in it, so we will get at least $1000 from PTO thrift.  They will also pay $500 for an ad in our directory.




The meeting adjourned at 9:30 pm.