December 2010 PTO Board Meeting Minutes

December PTO Board Meeting


Minutes taken by Vicki Haviland

Board members attending

Jennifer Streeter, Julie Morrison, Tenagne Cameron Fields, Sally Steward, Naela Jenkins, Vicki Haviland, Kirstin Queen, Michael Madison, Jennifer Brogno, Amy Nelson

PTO Members Attending

Cathy Cieglo, Takeisha Moore, Sonya Lewis, Janine Hutchinson

November minutes approved.

Denene Smith – Comerica Bank

Denene Smith, Manager of Comerica Bank on W. Stadium, is here to talk about a partnership with Dicken elementary – currently, Comerica helps Dicken in several ways and has for several years:  they sponsor a bank tour, a field trip that we sponsor, the chess club, and link with Cooley University for holiday food for families in need at Dicken.  Now they would like to offer a financial literacy curriculum that could complement what staff are teaching.

Basic plan:

We bring a banking environment to the school, kids run a real branch of Comerica bank for students at Dicken – they get interviewed for various positions like teller, security, manager, etc. . . . Ms. Smith ran it in Ypsilanti elementary school first, and kids loved it.  Students can open an account with a zero balance, and there is no minimum deposit, though we don’t recommend coins. They will get quarterly statements, and the account can work at any Comerica bank.  However, at the school bank, kids cannot remove funds. Children would have deposit slips filled out from home, and at school, they would approach the student tellers and get a receipt and a statement in the passbook.  There would be fee waivers on the account for some period of time as they are minors.

Program details and requirements:

  • It would require an in-school coordinator who would be at the School Bank each time it is running, along with Ms. Smith.
  • This could be a trial year, and it would run once a month on Thursdays in the library.
  • Parents get a letter prior to this and Comerica would do a kick-off at school with a big assembly.  Parents need to be there to open an account, so they would work to make this convenient.
  • Kids would get an account number that they could use at Comerica or at the school bank.
  • Service Squad or Student Council could help with it.
  • Could coordinate it with an evening event to make it easier for families.
  • Could do it a couple times in the year for parents to open accounts

We discussed how to make this work for our school.  Some points we discussed:

  • How to make it work so that every child has some kind of banking experience (i.e. it is not just for kids who are going to bring money to deposit).
  • Account numbers being out there isn’t that risky because funds can’t be withdrawn by account numbers.
  • We need to discuss equity issues.
  • Starting small is an option.
  • We could launch it on NAAPID when there are people there.

Next steps:

  • Ms Smith will come to the staff meeting next week to talk to the staff about it. Then staff will report back to us via email, and we will vote online.
  • Denene will talk about how other people work in other schools and how they address equity concerns.

BPSSG – LaShawna Brandon

Thanks for approving our grant request for Kwanzaa.  After meeting with district representative and UM – US Department of Education equity expert Percy Bates,  we decided that we will postpone Kwanza for this year to be sure that all parents will be comfortable. BPSSG did send communication to the executive board right away about cancellation, and some parents were very disappointed.

LaShawna shared more information about BPSSG:

  • we have a board and several open positions
  • we target parents who are not normally participating in PTO things.
  • Every parent at Dicken should feel their voice is heard and that their culture is being recognized.
  • An alternative to the PTO, not in competition, goal is to feed information back into PTO and the entire school better to everybody.
  • Not a committee of PTO, but rather another parent group.
  • Had considered fundraising independently, but then decided that it would be better to go through the grant process, but still have programs to put on.
  • Don’t want to step on anyone’s toes, and want to respect the calendar.
  • Please understand how much work it is to start a new group and try to get some new things going.

We discussed how we could increase understanding about Kwanza this year to lay the groundwork for next year. Perhaps teachers could highlight all of the holidays that happen at this time of year.  It is a matter of educating, but not patronizing parents.   We could also include some things about Kwanza at Community of Cultures.


Wellness Survey – Sonya Lewis and Janine Hutchinson

Staff had similar questions and discussion to what we had at PTO.  Teachers did clarify that there are always other choices for rewards than food.  Teachers were thinking about this, especially since it was raised, and communication could be improved.  Talked about having just one sweet treat at a party rather than all sweets.  Room parents could also consider finding out from room parents what they can do within a room how things should go.  Teacher has a lot of control over what kinds of snacks will be allowed in a classroom.  Obama is proposing something about school lunch and vending machines to make things healthier!  Some districts nearby are going with fewer or no snacks.  Staff will see the survey.

Presidents’ Report – Naela Jenkins

General Meeting – at our next general meeting in January, we will have job descriptions of the PTO Board jobs so that we can recruit new board members from people who may be there.

We are going to do a last-minute Borders fundraiser, and anyone who shops on the designated day will be able to donate $15 to Dicken through Donors Choose, so we need to have a project designated on that website.  Jennifer will put it together for the technology wish list in time for the shopping day and let people know how to do this.

Principals’ Report – Mike Madison

  • Thanks to PTO for parents we have at our school!
  • We are holding same enrollment, as we’ve lost and gained families already this year. Try to keep classes at 23-25.  Parent volunteers are helpful for readers’ and writers’ worskshops.
  • Due to some increased numbers, we have 2 new staff – Diana Baher for kindergarten support in morning and afternoon.  She may move to 1st grade to help in Ms. Rossi’s class of 27.
  • The district has a new enrichment coordinator for the Slauson cluster.  She will work 4 hrs per bldg in each of the 4 Slauson elementary feeders. It is Kris Groh, a Bach mom and longtime enrichment educator.
  • We are lucky to have 2 Partners in Excellence:  Knox Church, who gave us 37 baskets for Thanksgiving, and Cooley Law School, who gave 100 gift baskets for Thanksgiving.  Thank you to Julie Morrison to connecting with Cooley, we were able to donate what we didn’t need to SOS Crisis Center.  We did save some of the baskets for Christmas.
  • Parent Teacher Conferences – 90% of parents met!  Our goal is 100%, so we try to do home visits, calls, emails, etc. . .
  • November report cards should have been received by parents through backpacks.  Any questions, please contact your child’s teacher.
  • BPSSG—education sessions will be upcoming, including perhaps one on understanding report cards.
  • New AAPS initiative – all teachers have to be evaluated annually, due to State of MI requirements, and this is underway supervised by Mike.
  • Lots of field trips have gone on – Leslie Science Center, In Cold Blood, walk in woods, vision and hearing screening, conducted 3 safety drills, KGrams, EMU Chemistry Lab, AADL, recycling club now meets every 2 weeks to sort through everything!, and a farm to school presentation.
  • BPSSG and teachers started the Homework Club at Woodchase with teachers there – staff going there and reaching out to community in lieu of some staff meetings, and has also hosted a session on how to help with math at home.
  • Feb 8 Kindergarten Round-Up for parents – 6:30-8 pm ; for students – March 24 from 4-5 pm.

Treasurer — Amy Nelson for Anthony Sparkling

Amy reviewed the budget.

Highlights:  new line for recess singers to track donations, new book sale invoice has been paid, spirit wear we got a $35 refund, Target gave us $728, sales tax – refund for annual overpayment.

Volunteer Coordinator — Julie Morrison

  • January 11 – DESK Pizza Night – details will follow!
  • New Time and Talent will go home in backpacks when we come back.
  • ROAR – we will look into that, Sally can help with teachers.

PTOC — Kirsten Segal

  • Superintendent search is going well.
  • PTOC heard about the proposed UM Lab School and balanced school proposed for Mitchell and Scarlett – no  immediate plans to spread this to AAPS.
  • If Enrichment chairs could be at PTOC next time, that would be great – they are hosting a round robin with enrichment and fundraising
  • 1-10 – leadership training at Ballas
  • 2-8 or 2-10 treasurer training at Ballas

Teacher Representative – Sally Steward

At staff, we will bring up the DESK initiative and find out where teachers need help.  Did get $25 from Sam’s for technology wish list.

Fundraising – Jennifer Brogno

  • Westgate – made $331 (maybe more from Nicola’s) – thanks to Janine for that!  Abbot does Westgate as main fundraiser and makes more money.  We may not do that big spread out next year.
  • Monday is a Community Night Out at Community Lanes from 4-8 pm.
  • Joe’s Crab Shack will be next, and there’s a staff discount.  A fun family place, according to Jennifer Brogno.
  • Hungry Howies – can do an ongoing rebate to Hungry Howies with a special number.  Also the Big Chill – 12-11.  Can send this request to the One Time Only list of people to find out if they can help.
  • Scrip backpack order has just gone out.  Deadline is Tuesday, 12-7.
  • Innisbrook — $1700 .  We budgeted $750!!!!!  Way to go, Jennifer Brogno!  Vicki will help with delivery on Monday.
  • Busch’s cards– let Jennifer know if there is any problem.  Doublecheck there.

Enrichment – Jennifer Streeter and Stephanie Comai

Super Science Day final dates are: 1-25 and 1-28.  Could we possibly move the 1-28 to the next Tuesday – 2-1?   Jennifer will email Senay Shakour to possibly change this.

Hospitality – Caroline Haider Sutton

12-9 — There will be a cookie exchange from parents to give to Dicken staff.  If you would like to donate, please see Caroline.

Meeting adjourned at 8:03 pm