May 2011 PTO Meeting Minutes

May 2011 PTO Board meeting
May 5, 2011

Minutes taken by Vicki Haviland,
submitted for approval June 1, 2011

Approved June 2, 2011

Board members attending:
Jennifer Streeter, Caroline Sutton, LaShawna Brandon, Kirsten Segal, Kirstin Queen, Amy Nelson, Jennifer Brogno, Julie Morrison, Sally Steward, Vicki Haviland, Mike Madison, Tenagne Cameron-Fields

PTO Members attending: Andy Comai, Amy Robbins, Sue Schneider, Sonya Lewis, Maggi Kennell

We reviewed the PTO mission statement.

We thanked the principal and the attending teachers who are attending, and who have been working with LaShawna – not all PTOs have representation from the principal and the teachers.

April minutes approved.

Project Grow – Andy Comai
Andy passed out a list of plots that have been taken so far. Some updates and background:
• Last year, PTO sponsored a plot for Sally Steward, and kids planted garlic and potatoes and were out there a lot! Andy will try to track the number of hours kids are in the garden. Sally’s webpage has pictures from potato harvest. We donated about 60 lbs of potatoes for Food Gatherers, and some Dicken kids had potato wedges made from the potatoes they grew. This plot supports the 2nd grade curriculum and ties in with 2nd grade GLCEs.

• 4-5 dads will be helping with the garden on Saturday.
• We sold one plot at the silent auction.
• We got $142 from the Ann Arbor Farm to School Collaborative for the garden. Jennifer Brogno had an idea of having a Dicken Farm stand – Jennifer will run the farm stand, Andy will manage and grow.

We approved spending $300 for Project Grow:
we will continue to cover the 2nd grade plot (plot #4) with the $100 fee + $100 for soil and plants. We will also pay for a second plot for the farm stand and expanded 2nd grade curriculum connections at $100.

We also discussed re-funding the gardening fund for Dicken. We have a group of dads who would like to help out this Saturday, and they already have $60.
We approved allotting $200 for the May Spring Clean Up of the grounds at Dicken.

Treasurer Report – Anthony Sparkling (via LaShawna)
All of our IRS fees have been waived! Anthony gave them additional information requested. We discussed that we do still have to pay some taxes.

Teacher Representative – Sally Steward
Sally reviewed the technology wishlist and how to finish up the year in a productive manner. It would be nice for teachers to purchase subscriptions to most up-to-date curricular materials that are cued to the most recent GLCEs. Writing A to Z has already been purchased by several teachers, for example. Some printers are getting outdated – we can check with Carole Webb, our tech specialist, to see how our printers are doing and what she sees going on. She also knows that teachers would appreciate 2 heavy-duty, high-powered pencil sharpeners. Sally agreed to develop a prioritized list from the teachers with prices by next Thursday, May 12 so that we can vote on how to support the teacher wishlist.

Dicken-Slauson Liaison/5th grade/PTO Thrift Shop — Susan Farrell

• Thrift shop – we will get a May 26 pay out, which is our last one for the year. We are expecting $2000 for various sources (WESO, 5th grade camp, 3rd grade pool trip). Susan will do this again next year! We need to schedule our PTO drive for next year.

Principal’s Report – Mike Madison
• We promised every student at Dicken a yearbook free this year. Yearbook is done! Thanks for doing that, Caroline! We had 80 students who did not buy picture packets. Yearbook people will cover staff yearbooks for free. We will ask for $800 for the 80 kids to get a yearbook. Mike also tries to get everyone a school picture out of other funds.

• Thanks for help with the millage this past Tuesday! Very important and sent a clear message that we support public education and our county! Possible that state might reduce their cuts to per pupil funding – our deficit might be down to $13M, if so.

• Based on 2 budget forums from parents: HS bussing – parents against cutting this funding because it would impact the neediest students. Also, asking elementary principals to share 2 buildings was very unpopular. These were the 2 biggest issues that will be going back to the AAPS school Board.

• Parent Input for placements sheets: should have received these this past week. Last year, people could write or email the principal, but this year we are using the forms. Some people were uncomfortable with last year’s procedures, so everyone got the form about children’s needs for next year. Mike will use these to arrange the classes.

• Preliminary staffing:
• K – 19 sts / class – 3 sections
• 1 – 18/class – 3 sections
• 2 – 24 – 3 sections
• 3 – 27 – 2 sections
• 4 – 26 sts – 2 sections
• 5 –26 sts – 2 sections

• There will also be 1 multiage classroom with 27 kids in 3rd and 4th. Mike will send out a letter to 3rd and 4th grade parents about this multi-age classroom so that they have more information.

• SIT – will spend $500/grade level for multicultural, guided leveled readers. SIT also reviewed the surveys from students, staff, and parents about school safety. The main areas of concern are before school, during lunch, and afterschool activities. We will develop a Positive Behavior Intervention system for next year. This is state mandated, and will include a matrix that will be published and displayed throughout the school.

• Hosted our last parent equity session—only 3 parents attended to focus on multicultural math with hands on work – we held 3 sessions this year– we had good attendance at first 2 – we don’t have any scheduled for next year .

• We’ve had several field trips in the past month! Also: Blood Drive, Vocal Music concerts, UMS concert, Talent Show Try Outs – Jennifer Brogno – 57 acts! Comerica Bank field trip, Youth Savings Bank – in classroom presentations to 3rd and 4th graders.

• We had a ESL parent family night, and we have now a list of things to do to feel more included – everything comes home in English, so we need to work on getting things sent home in Spanish . . . EDM math books in Spanish. Mike will host a 2nd night later this month with same group of parents.

• Recess Yoga – yea Rachel Egelhof, Stephanie Comai, and Jennifer Streeter!

• Many activities coming up:
• Brainstormers is coming tomorrow! Pioneer HS will come for health work, Disability Day, Doug Sheerer – Trail Blazers got to Pioneer. Vocal music for 2nd graders, 5th grade instrumental, talent show, St. Joe’s filed trip, more assemblies and field trips! Recess Singers have all school assembly in June.

• Thank you so much for the staff appreciation luncheon today, and for all that the PTO does for our school.

• 5th grade activities: Should we do 5th grade activities and fundraising through PTO? Treasurer-Elect could help with this? Sonya Lewis and Mike and Susan Farrell can talk to 5th grade teachers together to get their input.

• Dicken Directory – PTO will take this on, and Micki Scheuler will get this by first month of school. She would like there to be a directory form for people to fill out in the first day packet.

Presidents’ Report – LaShawna Brandon
• New Board member – Sana Shakour has increased her workload, so she can no longer do fundraising. So Pamela Sparkling will be Fundraising! At our next PTO Board meeting on June 2, all new board will be here!

• Website – wordpress is limited and lacks images, we can put up a banner but to do more, you really need HTML knowledge. We could use the PTO Google docs page and Google sites. Rob can continue to look at other websites. All PTO members should try to play with Google docs – you can go on the website and see what you think.

• Dicken PTO Spring survey – Out of 280 families, we got 58 responses from last year. LaShawna suggests that we do it again . . . Jennifer suggested a few changes to the survey – we can use the feedback in the August meeting. We can use the Blast to give out the link and assure parents that it’s anonymous – this survey is how we determine how your money is spent!

• Nutrition Nuggets – School nurse Marcia White recommends that we take a look at subscriptions to Nutrition Nuggets – costs $100 for 10 months – they would preprint Dicken Elementary and we make the copies – would this be the best use of our $100? We decided to pass on this opportunity.

• Update on PTO insurance – it expires March 2012. PTOC recommends 2 other companies and we will get proposals from them.

• Students wrote letters thanking us form the 4th grade trip to Lansing that we funded! We also have thank you’s from the 2nd grade from the Scrap Box trip.

• Calendar: We need to be sure that parents know that we plan for the year over the summer – if you have an idea, let us know now so that we can plan it for next year. That way, parents with new ideas to add will understand that we can’t just add things at the last minute. LaShawna will send out a letter about this.

• Meeting for June 2 –We would like to have this meeting at a social and fun setting, but we can do it at Dicken if we need to. We can check with the Woodchase Internet café.

Presidents-Elect — Kirstin Queen and Stephanie Comai
They reviewed an officer handoff guide sheet that they’d like us to complete by the June meeting. This will make it easier to hand off. Please have a hard copy to hand off in June.

Treasurer Report – Amy Nelson
• Amy walked through the preliminary budget for 2011-12. Review it in more detail, and we will vote on it in August.
• Highlights: parent contributions changed to reflect what we got this year. Community Nights Out took the projection lower, same with New Book Sale, Westgate added for $200 projection. Reduced BoxTops and Busch’s. Adding line item for Target. Lowering Scrips. PTO Insurance will go up, Meet and Greet budget added, Dads’ Group added, increasing Hospitality, reinstating garden budget for $200.

• We have a $42,000 account balance at this moment, though we have more expenses coming in. This should give us some flexibility for next year.

• Send ideas or changes to LaShawna.

Room Parent Coordinator – Tenagne Cameron-Fields
End of year gifts will be getting organized.

Volunteer Coordinator – Julie Morrison
• She has been contacting committee chairs with officer handout guide and asking if people are going to continue next year.

• Disability Day –We will contact Frances to see what she needs help with purchasing. We need to add a line item for this in the budget.

PTOC — Kirsten Segal
PTOC wants to work with us more – they’d like us to share more – if you have questions, contact Kirsten. Tenagne and Kirsten will work together on that so that we can get more information.

Fundraising – Jennifer Brogno
• Original Art Works hasn’t come in yet
• Ice Cream Social – Kevin Lawson is chairing this and has lots of volunteers. Our goal is to try to break even, not make money on this event. Washtenaw Dairy is willing to give us a reduced price. Check Heather Palmer’s notes for free ice cream. Cakes for Cake Walk will be needed.

Teacher representative – Sally Steward
Thank you for the lunch we had today! We enjoyed being together and seeing that you recognized the other staff are all part of the community! We appreciate all the programs you have provided this year and the enrichment program – we thank you for all that you do all day (and night) for us! We appreciate your partnership. End of year events for volunteers – thank you for organizing people for that like Field Day, Popsicle party, and class picnics! We appreciate your feedback and suggestions! Thanks for all you do!

Enrichment Coordinators – Jennifer Streeter and Stephanie Comai
• They are seeking feedback from staff about what they would like for enrichment for next year and what they thought about this year. Sheets or email.

• We have a chance to do a Cyberbullying workshop for free – for adults, teachers, PTO Board, and so on . . . but at this point, we will wait for fall.