November 2010 PTO Board Meeting Minutes

PTO November Board Meeting




Board Members attending:

Jennifer Brogno, Kirstin Queen, Anthony Sparkling, Naela Jenkins, Amy Nelson, Julie Morrison, Sally Steward, Susan Farrell, Mike Madison, LaShawna Brandon, Caroline Haider Sutton, Vicki Haviland


PTO members attending:

Mary Ann Whitmer, Jim Anderson, Barb Henkes, Barbara Byers, Takeisha Moore



October minutes approved.


BPSSG Kwanza Proposal: LaShawna Brandon

Kwanza: We have chairs for Kwaanza – Quatoria Curtis and grandparent, Cassandra Best are planning this all-school event for Wednesday, December 15th 6-8 pm with publicity via Dicken Data and backpack mail.


Background: Kwanza is an African American heritage holiday, not a religious holiday (though it appears that it is listed as such on the AAPS calendar), and means “first fruits” and is related to African harvest celebration traditions.  It centers 7 principles for character building.  It is usually celebrated from 12-26 to 1-1, but we will celebrate it for the 7 school days prior to school break.


We are requesting $250 for the side items and supplies for a celebration dinner slated for 12-15.  We plan to have dressing up, traditional games, African masks, and food specific to the holiday.  The BPSSG board is donating lots of food, but needs additional funds for further food.


We discussed how this relates to Community of Cultures, pros and cons of sharing Kwanza principles over the announcements each day, doing a day event rather than an evening event.  Mike shared that other schools celebrate Kwanza and that from a district perspective, it seems to be fine to celebrate it.


We discussed concerns about focusing on one specific culture given the events of the past 6 months.  The BPSSG’s goal is to address the achievement gap in many ways, and believes that education comes in many forms.   They see this as a chance to help the whole school learn about this holiday and the ideas behind it.


We decided to continue discussion online, as well as asking for some research to be done into how other schools celebrate it and how they frame it to their school population.



President’s Report – Naela Jenkins

  • DESK proposal

We discussed Jim Anderson’s proposal for the Dads’ Volunteer Group presented at the last meeting.  We agreed that we really like the idea and getting dad volunteers in to the school in a way that works with their schedules.  We thought it made sense to have Jim work with our Volunteer Coordinator and connect to the ROAR program, as well as to playground and lunchroom volunteering and WESO.  We discussed logistics of the Pizza Night launch idea where Jim would put sign up sheets on wall with all volunteer opportunities, including after hours.  We discussed dads as an underrepresented group and untapped resource at Dicken.   Sally Steward volunteered to ask for a teacher liaison to help with collecting information about needs for volunteers.  We didn’t finalize a date (Jim will work with Mike and Naela to pick one), but agreed that we will give $100 to the pizza night if the costs are not covered by donations.  We recommended he work with Hungry Howie’s, owned by a Dicken family, for food for the event.


  • Grant request form – Naela showed an amendment to policy and procedure manual which would be a new Grant Request form that people seeking PTO funds would use.  We approved this amendment.


  • Healthy Snack Initiative

We followed up on this proposal from Sonya Lewis and Janine Hutchinson from last meeting.  They are working on the survey they would like to put out there to Dicken community, which they will email to Naela so that we can all review it from there. Sally shared staff feedback:  there were questions about whether the concern was about all snacks, or just sweets. They understand the “food as reward” issue as problematic.  Teachers said they use sweets as a choice rather than the only option.  They are open to input and concerns and want to hear back from the survey, and bringing the topic up made people think about it.  All have children’s interests at heart and teacher views mesh with parents’.


  • Importance of using Google Calendar for scheduling events

In upcoming weeks, we have several events that could cause conflicts and overwhelm for our community. Each event is great, but we want to be thoughtful in how we schedule things for our community.  For example:


November 8 – old shoes collection  by student council will run along with food drive.  It is called  Soles for Souls, and Cathy Cieglo will take the shoes we collect to a singing group that sponsors this initiative.


Gift Wrap Sale– 11-5-10 until 11-25-10.


Thanksgiving Potluck  11-18.  There are 4-5 people on committee and to help with set up.  RSVPS are due back next week, so we’ll get the numbers.  We will get tables and chairs from district, and Mike will pay from his fund for them.


BPSSG is sponsoring an event slated for 11-17 for all parents to get help on how to support their kids with math at home.


Google calendar has everything on there; we need to look at our overall school calendar – we can all work to think about the calendar,  we can all edit the calendar to add events so that we all stay on the same page and thoughtful about our overall calendar so we don’t create conflicts or hard choices for families.


Principal’s Report – Michael Madison

  • Honor to be here at these meetings with such talented parents!  Every staff member thanks us all for all the contributions!
  • Thanks to room parents for the Halloween parties and costumes – perfect weather!
  • Count Day report  follows.  Mike and the kindergarten teachers are noticing a trend towards different types of kids in PM kindergarten, who may be more challenging for the teacher.  We have added a TA to Brogno and to PM kindergarten – Diana Bear is their TA for both.

61 — kindergarteners

76 — 1st graders

68—2nd graders

63—3rd graders

53 – 4th graders

50 – 5th graders

371 total


  • Immunization report – we did not exclude any kids from Dicken because of their immunization records, so 90% of kids are compliant.  Parents have the right to sign waivers, but with  strep, whooping cough and stomach virus circulating, we appreciate compliance with immunizations and health care.


  • MEAP is now done; thanks to parents in 3rd, 4th, 5th for enabling us to test the kids – all kids seemed okay at lunch and hope test scores rise –


  • We had a Red Cross presentation on how to prepare for disasters at home, and kids shared with parents.  Staff has been practicing – fire and severe weather drills, lockdown drills and will work to make kids feel calm about this.  We do need this kind of practice as this fall, schools in the district had a real lockdown because of criminal activity in the area.


  • 1st and K – vision screening – all kids will be screened if parents sign off.
  • Superintendent search – Todd Roberts has retired, and Robert Allen is the interim.  The School Board is using a firm for this hiring process and is hosting community forums to get input.  They hope to get 80 candidates and then get to a pool of 5-6 people to interview to get someone on by June.


  • 11-6 – turn your clocks back one hour


  • 11-17 report cards


  • 11-23, 24 25 Thanksgiving holiday


Dicken-Slauson Liaison – Susan Farrell

  • 5th grade fundraising (should be done by Winter Break!)
  • Community Cookbook organized by Tracy Janevic turned out great and can still be purchased in the office for $10/each.  We will sell at the movie nights and Thanksgiving Holiday – we have made $700 so far on this.
  • Movie Nights – these are all upcoming or have already happened, and we’ve made $250 from movie nights so far.
  • Pumpkin Patch – Thanks to Susan and “the Pams” for organizing!  We sold all 100 pumpkins!  A big shout out to Kevin Lauson from Hungry Howie’s with his crew of volunteers for pizza sales at Pumpkind Patch.  Also,  Dave Queen and Kyle Pollen were the DJs!  We made $1000 from that venture in 1.5 hrs!  Used some Ice Cream Social games, and noted that the Fishing game is missing.  Perhaps making a new one could be a DESK crew project!


  • February 10 – Cluster concert at Slauson
  • March 8 – PTO Thrift Shop– Show your Support – we got $350 from our poster!
  • Jan 16 – for 5th grade camp – another Show Your Support time


  • We discussed the idea of doing some work on a guide book for 5th grade.



Hospitality — Caroline Haider-Sutton

  • We had our first coffee social last week on Oct 27, and it was a success and people enjoyed this avenue for meeting new people.  We would like to do more of these, up to 2 a month but sensitive to calendar.
  • We could do a volunteer thank you in December with Bearclaw.
  • Suggestion box is coming to have out during coffees.  Someone did send her a suggestion.   This will include envelopes so that people can seal them for confidentiality.  The PTO president will read them and direct them where they need to go.
  • Teacher treat days have started!
  • Caroline will also be doing the yearbook this year – if there are special events, she would like to come and take pictures for the yearbook.


Enrichment – Jennifer Streeter and Stephanie Comai (via email)

  • 12-6 from 2-3 pm – for grades 3-5, author Jonathon Rand of Michigan Chillers will be here.
  • Science Theater is having trouble scheduling.
  • BioFuels workshop through Hands-On for grades 4-5 after school is in the works.
  • They found out that we can submit up to 4 MI Humanities Grants for field trips, so they will submit them.
  • Based on the success of Recess Singers, they are working on the concept of developing lunch time enrichment for each day of week, such as:

Monday –Recess Singers

Tues – Recess Readers starting in January

Wed/Thurs – Recess Reporter – Margaret Yang, Cathy Mahoney

Volunteers for Recess Speakers – French or Spanish

Friday — Recess Players – play games with academic merit


  • March 4 – Brainstormers will come and help kids work on stories that will get performed by Sky Riders on May 6.
  • Joe Reilly will come on 12-3  with 2 shows for K-2
  • NAAPID will be LaRon Williams.
  • 4-15 will be Doug Sheerer
  • They are working on scheduling Community of Cultures
  • Hands On Museum Super Science Day – we have a good list for volunteers and are finalizing January dates.


Fundraising – Jennifer Brogno

  • Janine Hutchinson is organizing the Community Nights Out.  For CPK, we earned over $400!  Biggest one ever!
  • Book Sale – earned about the  same about as last year; we can can take $1200 cash or more in Scholastic dollars that teachers could spend.
  • Innisbrook – gift wrap and other stuff can be ordered online.  This fundraiser ends 11-22 and will be delivered on 12-6.
  • Westgate — Learning Express fundraiser last year was $500!  We got a group of businesses to sign up – Norton, Nicolas, Mast, etc. . . so now we have lots more for this fundraising event where we earn a percentage for shopping at local businesses.
  • Next Community Night Out is 12-6 at Colonial Lanes for bowling from 4-8 pm.
  • Gift card order will be placed in December.
  • Busch’s SCRIP, please spread the word about getting a new card to anyone that you know uses Busch’s.


Teacher Representative — Sally Steward

  • Thanks to all for the stipend and the classroom funds!  All the teachers have thoughtfully purchased items and the activities and resources you provide in multiple ways!
  • The teachers are so amazed at our energy and time that so many of you put in for your child’s school. They see so many parents here daily doing so much hard work – pumpkin patch, parties, book fair, teacher treats, aroma of coffee in hallway – they also appreciate the fundraisers lately and what that brings to classrooms and the field trips for all children!  Makes it a level playing field to discuss experiences they’ve had together!


  • Teachers are enjoying parent conferences – good turn out of parents for conferences and we are working to find times for others for whom these times don’t work.  Please remember to keep us in the loop if you need special help for your child.
  • Based on some previous discussion, Sally talked to teachers about a technology wish list.  They were excited and surprised to hear that technology had a place on the accounts in our budget that PTO is considering.  Sally passed out the Staff Technology Wish List and walked us through the list that included:


Classroom CD players and 2 headphones

Scholastic Online Printables subscriptions

Class of Kindle ereaders loaded with guided reading books

Writing A-Z Online subscriptions — $49-$79

Audio Material for Humanities Musicals

Enchanted Learning Online Subscriptions $30

2-3 Digital Cameras

Projectors mounted on the ceiling – could talk to Randy Trent about how much this would cost.


  • We asked that Sally have figure out how to decide how to choose from this and what the highest need would be.  We could look into getting some of this donated.  We can revisit this in January with more figures.


Treasurer – Anthony Sparkling

  • Anthony reviewed the most recent version of the budget, also posted online.
  • He asked for 5 days lead time for cash box requests, the forms for which are located in office.


President Elect– LaShawna Brandon

  • LaShawna attended some PTOC Training, and distributed some handouts for people for their particular office.
  • She also reported that there are some Dicken families in need to cover basic needs.  Having noticed the shoe drive and PTO Thrift drive that we do, she wondered if we could segment some of the donations to meet needs of people in our Dicken community.  For example, Woodchase used to have a program for breakfast, but this has been cancelled. Families can apply to get winter clothese and needs through Dicken and Warm the Children, but there are other needs.  We agreed that overseas initiatives are good, but there is also local need.  We must be sensitive to privacy and the concern of one child wearing another child’s donation.  We talked about the idea of partnering with another school to coordinate some local donations that would protect privacy.


9:24 Meeting Adjourned