PTO Meeting Minutes for May 14, 2019

Officers:

President: Terry Holt

Treasurers: Kate Leary and Andrew Malone along with Aletta Tibbetts (end of year tax review)

Secretary: Roslyn Fitzgerald

VP of Fundraising: Patsy O’Brien

VP of Committees: Stewart Ikeda

Principal’s report – Kate Peretz:

Kate continues to meet with School Council and the playground designers (Weston and Sampson) to ensure that the Chandler Street playground renovation plans stay on schedule.

We received hundreds of responses for the playground input survey from parents and students (which was due May 10th) and the playground committee will be discussing those results with the landscape architects next Thursday. It was noteworthy that many of the survey responses were close; no strong preferences emerged for particular equipment. They are hoping to have the plans finalized by the beginning of June and parents will be notified of the schematic updates before it proceeds. The playground inspector also came out this week and gave a preliminary inspection of our existing equipment and there is a chance that some of the equipment is still viable.

MCAS update – Kate reports that the teachers did a wonderful job supporting all the students during what can be a stressful time. The message throughout the school was that “we expect you to do your best, but not be stressed out”. The kids felt ready and the growth mindset curriculum was reinforced.

Teacher Representative’s report – Laura Ribiero:

The end of school year is feeling busy, yet teachers and students are feeling relieved that MCAS are mostly finished. End-of-year activities include field trips, field day, fundraisers and wrapping up the curriculum. Teachers are busy working on student placements for next year, as well as ordering their supplies. There is a sense of loss and sadness to say goodbye to their classes; but in the same way that teachers worked to build community and routines at the beginning of the year, they are also working to create closure for students.

During the recent flower sale, it was delightful to see the 5th graders show their emerging leadership skills while acting as “runners” to help shuttle younger kids between their classes and the plant sale.  

Thank you for teacher appreciation week! The highlight was “dessert day” (a buffet of homemade treats provided by one parent, Cathy Suarez!). A new thing they did this year instead of door decorating was “room service”, where teachers could pick from a few snack options that were delivered to them.

Laura asked the PTO if there is any specific information we want to know from her at these meetings? One parent commented that it has been really helpful to have a teacher representative at meetings to act as a liaison for coordinating enrichment activities organized by the PTO.

Another parent suggested that Laura email the teachers in advance of the meeting to ask if there is any information they want to pass on to parents.

Information session – Kate Leary:

Kate shared that there is an important vote on June 11th, for questions about the Arlington High School debt exclusion and operating override. See the website buildarlingtonsfuture.org for FAQ.

If the AHS exclusion is voted against, we will likely lose state funding permanently which will mean that Arlington must shoulder the burden of renovation/rebuild alone and taxes will be even higher than if the exclusion is passed.

How does the operating override affect our schools? Typically the Arlington school governance only plans ahead one year in advance, but currently they have a 5 year plan to address staffing and cultural deficiencies if the override is approved. Some of these plans include adding more librarian/digital learning specialist positions, purchasing more curriculum materials and library books, adding computer science instruction at the middle schools, addressing gaps in special education programming, adding more social workers and counselors, increasing professional development and making APS salaries compatible with state averages. Many of these plans will not be funded or guaranteed if the override isn’t approved.

Debrief past events:

Green team (Earth week festivities)  – Martha Ingols:

Three successful events were held all within one day: a garden cleanup, vermiculture demo, and a seed planting activity. The town-wide textile recycling drive generated about 6 tons of textiles, with Hardy coming in second place (assessed by pounds per student). Four new trees were planted by the second graders and the tree warden. There are also some high school seniors coming at the end of the month to fulfil their volunteer requirements and they will help with garden cleanup/weeding.

We are also replacing the materials of some of the raised garden beds, costing approximately $600. The garden budget has about $450 left and will reset June 30th.

Teacher Appreciation week – Patsy O’Brien:

On Monday we gave out succulents, on Tuesday Cathy Suarez brought in a load of desserts, on Wednesday we provided lunch, on Thursday room service, and on Friday we had a Principal’s breakfast. Thanks for all our teachers and volunteers!

Upcoming Events:

Kindergarten Orientation/School tours – Terry Holt:

On Tuesday 5/28 from 1-3pm we need at least 4 volunteers. All of the incoming Kindergarten classes and their parents will be coming in for a visit. The kids do activities in the classrooms while the parents get a tour of the school and there is a PTO presentation. Last year it took place in two shifts but year it will be all in one shift. Terry will have floor plan maps, including everything you need to know. This is our big chance to recruit new families into the PTO.

Field Day (5/31) – Lisa Fuller:

Out of 76 volunteer slots, we only have 3 left to fill! Permission slips and lunch order forms are ready to go out. Supplies have been ordered, and we are within budget. T-shirts: orders keep coming in for spirit wear t-shirts, and there is box downstairs for t-shirt recycling.

Craft days for Fox festival parade (6/15) – Ellen Pfeiffer/Terry Holt:

The theme for Hardy is dolphins. Craft workshops will take place on Sunday June 9th at the Fox Library, Tuesday June 11 after school and during the Hardy picnic on Friday 14th . The parade is on Saturday June 15th and kids will be able to use the animals they made during the craft times for the parade.

Hardy Picnic (6/13, rain date 6/14) – Terry Holt:

This year we will be holding the event at Hardy school and families should bring their own food as there will be no food for sale, although Terry is trying to organize an ice cream truck.  Terry requested $2500 to cover dunk tank fees, table rentals etc. A motion was put forth to spend $2500 for the Hardy picnic and it passed unanimously.

There will be a suggested donation ($5 per family) to cover the rental fees.

PTO/School Council Elections:

The nominees are:

PTO president: Patsy O’Brien

VP of Fundraising: Kate Leary

Treasurer: Carrie McKinnon

Secretary: Lidija Bosnjak

School Council: Ginna Smith Reeder, Martha Ingols, Laura Swan, Ryan Jacobs and Tom Wilhelm.

Although all positions are uncontested, Terry will count the votes at the conclusion of this meeting. Thanks to everyone who volunteered!

In past years, school council consisted of 4 members, but it was decided that since we have 5 parents on the ballot, we will increase the team to 5 members. The only reason there were previously 4 members was that there had to be equal numbers of SC members and faculty. Kate Peretz has agreed to increase the faculty number to 5 members.

The next PTO meeting is June 4th.

PTO Meeting Minutes for April 9, 2019

Principal’s Report – Kate Peretz:

Thursday (4/11 at 6pm) is the second and final community playground meeting for parents to provide input about the upcoming Chandler Street renovation. The Weston and Sampson designers came up with another version of the playground (in addition to the three they had already provided), based on the feedback from the family meeting last month.

Kate is also looking into different options for extra teacher/staff parking in conjunction with the town. Even though parking issues aren’t part of the playground renovation, it factors into the plan because if we could find more parking, we could possibly reconfigure the playground space. For example, taking out curbing, relining the parking space and not needing to use any part of the playground as backup parking space during snow emergencies.

School council – the school improvement plan is progressing and they are trying to wrap up many goals with the end of the year approaching. There have been some grants which have allowed further help with reading instruction for students who are struggling.

Teacher Representative’s Report – Laura Ribiero:

There was an assembly on Friday to wrap up kindness week with Bren Bataclan, which featured a slideshow featuring each grade’s kindness project. There have been further enrichment activities for 3rd and 5th grade. MCAS started this week and the chrome books have been tested to ensure they are running properly (this is the first year all the classes are using the chrome books). Testing is based on common core curriculum for MA. The teachers actively try to make it a low key event so students aren’t stressed and it doesn’t feel like too much pressure.

5th graders: there are many fundraising events happening – on May 5th a car wash, on May 10th a flower sale, and a raffle for a knitted afghan. Funds go towards designing their own t-shirts, memory books, and a graduation ceremony on June 18th.

Debrief –

Silent Auction – Patsy O’Brien:

It was a huge success. The online auction in January raised $8 000, and the in-person auction last month raised $11 000. Moving forward, Patsy will likely do an annual online auction and the in-person auction every other year to avoid community burnout.

Thank you to everyone who participated, organized, donated, attended and volunteered!

Literacy Night – Alham Saadat:

It was Alham’s first year running the event and it was extremely popular. Thank you to all the volunteers and participants! There was enough pizza for the event (we ordered 42 pizzas).

Upcoming Events:

Green Team – Doris Pfaffinger:

Earth week festivities – plans include a textile drive/recycling week, a garden cleanup, a seed planting, a vermiculture demo and tree planting that week. On 4/26, each 2nd grade class is planting trees on the school grounds. The Arlington tree warden will give a speech and they will make a plan to water and tend to the new trees.

Teacher Appreciation Week – Patsy O’Brien:

May 6-10. We often do this earlier in the year, but this year it will run the same week as national teacher appreciation week. Every day of the week we do something special for the teachers. Room parents will be sending out ideas for how kids can also participate in appreciating their teachers. We are not doing door decorating this year because it’s a lot of work for parents, but we will do a smaller scale surprise instead.

Kindergarten Orientation – Terry Holt:

Each year we have incoming K parents come to visit the school, meet the teachers and take a school tour led by PTO members. This year it’s on 5/28 from 1-3pm. We need at least 4 volunteers (and up to 8) to do the tours. Please contact Terry at hardyptopresident@gmail.com if you could sign up to lead a tour.

Field Day – Lisa Fuller:

Planning is going very well. The town waived the fees for the official day, although they aren’t waiving the rain date fee. We need to rent a PA system for microphone/music projection. $75 rental fee. If you have old spirit wear T-shirts that you no longer need, consider donating them in the bin in the lobby for students who forgot their shirts or parents who want to buy a used one. Cedrine Bell and her daughter are recruiting high school students who could help volunteer on field day.

Fox Festival Parade – Ellen Pfeiffer:

The parade coincides with Feast of the East, 6/15. It involves a parade of kids walking down Mass Ave with puppets that they’ve made. Hardy is having a water/dolphin theme (eg. clean water, recycling etc). Working with a local artist to help create dolphin themed art that the kids can help create. She will be working with all grade levels. There are three workshops where students can make puppets/art for the parade:  

  • Sunday 6/9 from 1-2pm at the Fox library, which is open to the general public.
  • Tuesday 6/11 from 1:15-2:30pm at the Hardy school.
  • Thursday 6/13 at the Hardy picnic.

All materials are provided and the artist will be leading the events, although parents are asked to remain at the workshops to assist their children.

A motion was put forth for Hardy PTO to contribute $500 towards running the cost of this event, with the Arts Council contributing another $500. The vote was passed unanimously.

Hardy Picnic – Terry Holt:

6/13, rain date 6/14. Two dunk tanks have been rented. Terry is beginning the planning stages. We will have a bake sale, an art project and the Parade workshop. Cedrine and Terry are recruiting volunteers to help with planning. It will be at Hardy this year even though it was at Thompson last year. Food details are still being discussed.

Supplies drive:

Katrina Bernstein has volunteered to do it this year to give Ann Chhabra (who has done this for many years) a break. Thank you both!

PTO Executive Board Reports:

President – Terry Holt:

Eboard Election Committee Update: Most eboard positions are being vacated and need to be filled. These include President, Treasurer, Secretary and VP of Committees. If you know of someone who would like to nominate themselves or another for Eboard positions, please let us know by emailing Terry at hardyptopresident@gmail.com. Patsy O’Brien is nominating herself for President.

Workshop at Hardy – “Navigating the Teen Years”. The town often presents workshops for parents regarding specific parenting topics, but has offered to present the above mentioned theme at Hardy school for Hardy parents, instead of the usual town-wide presentation. If parents are interested, they could schedule this in May.

Treasurer’s report – Kate Leary:

Total current cash balance: $52, 978.56

Announcements and/or New Business:

A parent asked if we can make a tentative schedule of events for school year 2019/2020 at the next meeting? Yes, we will put on May agenda.

Last year the 4th grade participated in a service learning field trip at Spy Pond Park. The Friends of Spy Pond Park asked if we want to repeat it this year? It was challenging for the 4th grade teachers to coordinate, so this would need to wait until next year to ensure enough lead time. Laura Ribiero is interested in coordinating it for her 5th grade class next year as it aligns with her science curriculum. Ginna Reeder said she would volunteer to help with this next year and Stewart Ikeda will pass along all the materials and curriculum.

Next PTO Meeting is May 7th, 2019

PTO Meeting Minutes for March 12, 2019

Principal’s Report – Kate Peretz:

To coincide with the visiting artist Bren Bataclan, the theme this week is Kindness week. Each class has decided what activity they want to do, eg. kindness bingo, making kindness videos, kindness notes etc around the school.

Update: Two very large portions of the roof have been patched and we continue to address the issues (see February 2019 notes for more info). Air/mold testing revealed no issues.

The spring music concert is 6/5.

AHS Building Committee Update:

See AHSbuilding.org for more info. The AHS committee has been meeting for about 2 years. The high school needs to be rebuilt because enrollment is up and it is a deteriorating building that is on “warning” as inadequate from NEASC (New England Association of Schools and Colleges). Renovating doesn’t address the current issues and wouldn’t be as cost effective.  Teardown is cheaper than an addition and allows us to build a more sustainable building. It’s been 38 years since any renovation has been done. Waiting on MSBA to approve schematic design and then the town needs to vote on debt exclusion on June 11th. Construction could start June 2020 (assuming a favorable vote in June). One of the major benefits of the new design is that we will be building on the front of the school (two front wings) which will be built first. The new design will be more streamlined and functional. There will be a lot more usable open space, improved field space, courtyards, roof deck etc for educational and social purposes. Cost is $291 million, of which some portion will be provided by MSBA. There is a lot of opposition to the high cost, but high schools are a lot more expensive to build than elementary schools because they need more specialized spaces. If we are unable to secure the vote in June, we will lose the 1/3 funding and it will cost us more in the long run.

Questions:

1.       Some of the Town offices that are currently at the high school will be moved offsite as part of saving money, so what happens if we go over capacity and don’t have those extra spaces to reallocate if necessary?

Answer: It’s being built with 1755 capacity, even though we’ll go over that at some point temporarily. All of the common spaces are being built large enough to accommodate a large student body, and there are still some existing offices that could be repurposed where needed. Additionally, there is extra land where a future addition could be built.

2.       Will bikepath access stay? Yes.

3.       We heard there will be skylights plunging into the library, which are expensive to install. Are there lower cost options?

Answer: we are still looking at the design – it is more cost effective in the long run because you can use less electricity.

4.       What will façade look like?

Answer: The community voted for a historical/traditional look that still incorporates some of the original appearance. However, the original structure will not be used.

5.       Is there enough space to accommodate existing students while the build is happening?

Answer: The STEAM wing is being built first because that is the least flexible space, and needed the most desperately. There will be a period of time where there is more space than we need before the old part is demolished so there could be a period of use where there will be some new and old being used.

6.       Will it be air conditioned?

Answer: The air will be “conditioned”, although perhaps not by traditional air conditioning. For example, taking humidity out of the air.

7.       Will the parking structure have electric parking stations?

Answer: 10 electric spots out of 227.

Teacher Representative’s Report – Laura Ribiero:

Game night – 5th graders were delighted to have the leadership opportunity, especially as they missed out on the icecream social (where they typically help out). Visiting artist Bren Bataclan was here this week, which included a day full of assemblies yesterday and all feedback has been positive. The 5th graders were asked to draw something that represented Hardy or the community, which was collected by Ms. Peretz, who met with Bren to make a cohesive mural. The message is kindness, welcoming, a place where you will be cared for. He was hugely complimentary of the kids’ behavior and his interactions with them.

Issue of lack of substitute coverage in Arlington. Teachers often don’t have substitutes when they request them, which means other teachers are covering for classes, or special ed teachers are covering. The subs get paid a lot less than other towns and the superintendent is aware of this. It affects the administration and the kids because the teachers are stretched thin. Asking the PTO to consider if there is any way they can assist financially. Substitutes get paid approx. 125 per day in Lexington, about 80 per day in Arlington. Do not need to be teacher certified.

Upcoming Events:  

Game night debrief:

It was way more popular than we expected. We ordered 40 pizzas and could have used more. The 5th graders were really responsible and helpful in facilitating the event. Next year the minimum budget for pizza should be $600 and we will need to build it into next year’s budget. Consider using the gym next year, although it can end up being unruly. We should anticipate a comparable number of people at Literacy night and plan accordingly.

Silent Auction 3/30 /19:

Patsy O’Brien asked if people can buy tickets now, it would be helpful for planning. We still need parent items, eg. experiences. It would be great to see more teacher participation. Funds raised will go towards giving each classroom an extra spending budget, so it will directly benefit teachers and students. One parent had an idea to make a raffle basket only for teachers who attended to be given as an incentive.

Literacy Night 4/8/19 – Alham Saadat:

We have a few confirmed readers – Ms Peretz, Mr Ham (former music teacher), Ms Muirhead (former librarian). We will need at least 5 rooms allocated, including library, cafeteria, gym, and the new music room. Superhero theme (both fantasy and of this world). Budget: $650 (bumped up from $500) last year.

Field Day 5/31, rain date 6/7 – Lisa Fuller:

Last year they waived the fees for the fields, but this year they want us to pay $175 to hold the first day and $175 for the rain date. Lisa and Terry will talk to the town manager about reducing or removing the fee. The schedule will remain the same or similar to last year. Every child wears their spirit wear shirt, corresponding with their grade level.

Hardy Picnic 6/13, rain date 6/14 – Terry Holt. If interested in helping or being on the planning committee, please contact Terry. We will also ask 5th graders if they are interested in taking a leadership role.

Committee Updates

Green Team:  

Next Monday 3/18 at 7pm they are meeting to plan activities for Earth week.                                                                                                 

PTO Executive Board Reports

President – Terry Holt:

Forming Eboard Election Committee. Terry will lead the election committee and will need a volunteer or two to collect ballots. We are also having a turnover of our school council leaders. Thinking of instituting a proposal that we should run elections for school council and PTO at the same time.

Gym Improvement Proposal – Quote from contractor about installing retractable screen in the gym, the quote is $8500. We will table it until next meeting.

PTO Treasurer – Kate Leary:

Current bank balance is 53, 633.69.

April PTO Meeting date is TBD

PTO Meeting Minutes for February 26, 2019

Officers:

President: Terry Holt

Treasurers: Kate Leary and Andrew Malone along with Aletta Tibbetts (end of year tax review)

Secretary: Roslyn Fitzgerald

VP of Fundraising: Patsy O’Brien

VP of Committees: Stewart Ikeda

Principal’s report – Kate Peretz:

The planning process has begun for the Chandler Street playground. Thank you Kate Leary and Ginna Reeder for volunteering to sit on the playground committee as representatives from the PTO and School Council. A company has been chosen by the town to design the playground (Weston and Sampson) and we will begin looking for feedback from students, faculty, and families. There will be a public meeting on Thursday, March 21, 2019 from 6:00-7:30 pm at Hardy. A reminder will be sent out when the time gets closer.

The railings on the new stairs adjacent to the new playground are completed. Please remind students to use the stairs and not walk or run around them. There are a few remaining tasks on the list for the building project, but it is very close to completion. A few minor punch list items remain inside the building, and all we have left outside is some fencing that is being replaced.

There is one issue that needs to be addressed again to do with the roof. There have been some water leaks that we thought were fixed during the building process, but they are continuing. These leaks are not in the new wing, but in the older part of the building close to the new wing, primarily (but not solely) in the area around our 2nd grade classrooms. APS has been addressing building envelop leaks at Hardy over the last few years. The repairs included roof patching in several areas, window caulking, waterproofing the exterior and some re-pointing of the brick. The district’s CFO and the Director of Facilities are evaluating what can be done now for the short term and Kate is in close communication about this issue with Dr. Bodie.  A new roof is on the Town Capital Plan. It may be necessary to re-prioritize its relative position on the capital list. Also being discussed are the next steps for the continued monitoring of air quality and testing for moisture. The ceiling space was inspected over vacation and there is no visible sign of mold. Staff have been working with our roofers to check again and patch the places where they think the leaks are happening. Kate wants to be sure that everyone knows and understands that the issue is being addressed and thought about. Will continue to send updates as we know more.

Lastly, Kate is working with the town to ensure a more even temperature in the building, as some rooms are significantly colder/hotter than others. Window air conditioning units are going to be installed in the hottest spaces to get them into a more normal range. Unfortunately, units can’t be placed in all classrooms as the amount of power required would continually blow fuses. However, screens were installed on all upper floor windows, so they windows can be left open overnight to cool the building down.

Teacher Representative’s Report – Kate Peretz on behalf of Laura Ribiero:

March is a busy month – MCAS, a visiting artist, Hour of Code, and Silent auction to name a few. See more details below.

Upcoming Events:

–          Game Night, 3/1 – Chrissa Banner and Kate Leary:

This is the first time we’ve done this at Hardy. In the cafeteria. GameWright has loaned us several games to try, or bring your own games. Free pizza and baked goods. Priority is to make it a community event. There is a fundraising component, we can sell new games from GameWright; we get 50% of every sold game and it will go toward the 5th grade end of year fund. 5th graders are volunteering to do some of the shifts or help with playing games. Kate ordered compostable plates and cups and custodians will help with sorting the items into the composting bins. No water bottles or juice boxes this time, we will use refillable water pitcher. Teachers and afterschool were also given the opportunity to make wish lists of games that parents can purchase. We can also use the library if it gets too busy in the cafeteria. Need more help cashiering and checking people in and out.

–          Hour of Code, Week of 3/4 – Eva Bitteker:

In the library during each classes’ usual library time. Hourofcode.org. More parent volunteers are needed for the first and second graders than for the upper grades.

–          Arts Enrichment week of 3/11 – Cedrine Bell:

Bren Bataclan, an artist from Cambridge will be at the school the week of March 11, painting murals on the walls. There will be two assemblies with the kids to introduce him, culminating with the big reveal of his artwork at the end of the week. The 5th graders will be helping him come up with ideas for the murals. His focus/message is spreading kindness.

We especially need photographers for this event. If you are in the building that week, please consider taking photos (non-identifying) as you see him working with the kids. Cedrine wants to get it publicized through the Superintendent’s newsletter and we are the first school in the town to do this. Bren will be donating a painting for the silent auction.

–          Silent Auction 3/30 – Patsy O’Brien:

Each year this event gets bigger. Consider donating an item, an experience, or you can purchase a wishlist to make a basket. Ticket registration and volunteering opportunities are available on the website. https://hardyschoolsilentauction.com/

–          Literacy Night 4/8 – Alham Saadat:

Terry will do a custodial request for the library, cafeteria and a couple of other rooms to be used. The theme that is most likely to be chosen is Superheroes (real or magical). Food funded by PTO, it will be pizza. Will also ask volunteers for baked goods. There will be a donation bin for gently used books that will be used for the Robbins Library used book sale later in the year. Would it be possible to invite incoming Kindergarten families to the event to help integrate them into the Hardy community? Parents will post to Facebook and ask neighbors to let their neighbors know.

–          Teacher Appreciation Week, week of 5/6 – Patsy O’Brien:

Patsy will discuss at next meeting.

–          Field Day 5/31, rain date 6/7 – Lisa Fuller:

To be discussed at future meetings.

–          Hardy Picnic 6/13, rain date 6/14 – Terry Holt:

Reserved two dunk tanks. Last year was at Thompson for the first time because of the construction but this year we’d like to have it again at Hardy. Terry will find a committee of people to help with organizing it.

Committee Updates

DIG (diversity and inclusion group) update – Sarah Evans:

Arlington schools are good at inclusion and diversity at a high administration level, but some of this information isn’t making it to the ground level, and a Brackett parent was concerned that the administration wasn’t hearing the experience at the ground level. If we are all aligned in some capacity, we can work together to make sure the curriculum is inclusive. It has been very well received by the superintendent. Brand new last year at Brackett, at Hardy we started this year. Inclusion doesn’t just mean racial issues, but special ed, family structures, cultural background etc. March 7th 7-9pm is next meeting. It’s included in the school council because it’s part of the school improvement plan. There is a question about the idea of holding some school council/DIG/PTO meetings in Boston instead of at Hardy, so METCO families would have an opportunity to participate. Is that something people are interested in doing?

Green team :

They want to do something for earth week but haven’t settled on anything yet. They wanted to do a festival, but the town is running one. Thinking of having the teachers doing something during their specials, and a plant sale (eg. Herbs and wildflowers). Anyone interested in volunteering for the third week of April? It would be after school. Will discuss during next PTO meeting.

PTO Executive Board Reports:

President- Terry Holt:

Ms Flynn asked Terry if a screen could be installed in the gym against the wall to be used during gym class and for community use. Terry has asked for a bid from the construction team and will get back to us for the next meeting.

Directory update: School council has asked if we can print out the guidebook only and pay for production and printing. It will be in both pdf format and printed so it is accessible to everyone. Everyone voted in favor.

Fundraising – Patsy O’Brien:

The online silent auction raised $7973. The best part of it being online was that it could be sent out to people beyond the Hardy community. Anything that was left will go into the town silent auction at the end of March.

Treasurer – Kate Leary:

A motion was requested to increase our savings budget to $10 000, as we are required in our bylaws to save at least 30% of our operating costs. It was unanimously passed.

Enrichment – Stewart Ikeda:

Fox Festival Parade/Feast of the East – one parent has volunteered to lead it. See more details from the Dec 2018 notes. We will discuss again at the next meeting.

March PTO meeting is Tuesday March 12.

PTO Meeting Minutes for January 9, 2019

6:37 start

welcome and intro

Cedrine says hi because Terry PTO president is sick.

14 parents

1 principal

1 teacher rep

1 PTO prez

1 secretary

principals report

Excited new rooms are open! Kids giving a lot of advice about what room should look like! Still some things to do but weather is in the way. Nothing major, just odds and ends. Like cubbies outside library need to come down.

5th grade – Laura

3rd grade – in

Music – in

Chandler playground – this is the next phase. A company was chosen to get feedback, ideas form community. Last facility meeting it was all go. That by the next year, it will be done over the summer. We are optimistic but realistic given the struggle to get teams here to construct during summer.

Q: status of stairs in front?

A: Yes, we are desperate to walk on them! The railings just aren’t here yet.

teacher rep report

Move went smoothly. 5th and 3rd took a couple of weekends. I was very nervouce beause I have bene in room for 15 years. But I don’t have a complaint. The tech is really high end. Each room has a teacher and kiddo microfphone. That is increasing participation. But they all now want to be flight attendants 🙂

The biggest drawback for kids is there is no water foundation in sink. But they are adjusting. They can walk down hall for drink

Updates: Ms Tssone goes to Dougherty old class. Merson goes to Riboero until next year because kids want to stay put. So she will stay until next year.

The overhead projectors are excellent. Teachers were excited about seeing them after break.

Teacher Ribero says – thanks for the teacher rep gift from PTO.

Q: Overhead projectors. Do new rooms have them?

A: Yes, automactially built in. And they are nicer. But now all classes have projectors.

KP : Other rooms are empty. From now until end of year, reading teacher small group will be in empty class. Two math people were sharin galmost a closet, now they are in classroom. And some teacher PD in a class. Four spec ed were in one office. They are using another one, too. Another happy bonus, all of storage was all over, but now hallways are less crowded. And each new classroom got a cart of Chromebook

5 new class rooms + music

HASP has own room

Music has own room

We’ll become a 24 section school with two extra classrooms.

(k-5 with four classrooms each)

There used to be a daycare! Maybe another one here for teachers.

District is more of a budget 3-5 year plan so everything is building over time in a systematic way.

Q: Chromebook and typing

A: Nothing short-term, but it may be in longer term plans as tech becomes more prevalent.

Patsy and silent auction

Every year an auction as a fundraiser. This year, two parts: in-person auction in March, online auction for bigger items like holiday homes, summer camps. This went live 1/22. Some bids already. At $2,000 so far. Anonymous bidding. You can set in increments to advance, too. Like ebay. Its city-wide. You don’t have to be a Hardy family. Online one ends on January 31st.

Enrichment

Cedrine.

Bren Bataclan (cambridge) : Week of March 11. Two assemblies with kids.Gauged to kids. 5th graders will meet with him first afternoon – based on their ideas they come up with – he will get ideas for murals. He will be working on them all week – making murals on the walls. In the common space so all kids as you are moving around, will see his stuff. He is in to kindness. He has a TedTalk (link?) Hasn’t been an artist in residence here for at least 10 years. So important for an artist to spend time on a message here. The fifth graders will be charged with spreading the messages, too.

Other smaller projects in the works but working on dates.

Chrissa Banner – Game Night

5th grade teachers gave input on what will work. Early March dates. The fifth graders will be game ambassadors and facilitate throughout the night. But also be ale to play. Maybe some kind of events where parents run games. Maybe they will go into classrooms, we don’t know. Chrissa will work out details of how kids play games. Its a fifth grade fundraiser. You can buy games and PTO gets a cut.

Laura says it would be helpful to separate out the enrichment (in march) and game night (maybe later in march). Its a lot to talk about if it happens together. Kate says it would great to have game night after because then everyone could see the murals. What about March 18-22? Kate says that works.

Executive stuff

Election Committee: many board members will be leaving. so we will need a committee to find people to run. We’ll need president, treasurer. If interested in running or being in committee, contact.  Also, looking for school council members, too. http://www.arlington.k12.ma.us/asc/

https://www.arlingtonma.gov/town-governance/all-boards-and-committees/school-committee

Treasurer

Kate and her husband Andrew took over middle of last year. She will keep doing the direct donation drive – sending out thanks letters and emails, getting enthusiasm for dollars.

Kate can help transition new treasurer. Unlike last year, she will still be here next week. They have created better categories so much more automated. Quikbooks is a possibility. They don’t use it but the tax person is also a hardy parent can install.

Great to have two people. One good at excel, other public facing. It is actually a great 2 year term – so one year and run twice. You get more consistency that way but one year is okay.

Only change, we bumped up enrichment from 4 to 6k. Why? the budget in spring is more in focus so we know we have enough cash. She forget picture day money making, teacher grants done. So she felt like 6k (previous years number), was worth doing.

Highlights. this is the budget without silent acution because that cash is usually earmarked to something. 50, 861 avaiable. Spending 45795. Does not include other money like silent auction. Patsy is talking to Kate about how to spend auction money.

Q: Harvest fest $371 – came in December, why?

A: Paypal didn’t process until then.

Cedrine: motion to vote on the budget?

Kate L: wait, that spending includes 800 transfer to saving. I think we should put the 15k into savings or something so we can build that up.

Q: Why are we voting on this now?

A: We’ve been voting individually but now we are trying to vote on this as the 2018-19 budget. Ultimately, we’ll be voting at either end or beginning of year. We’ll get there hopefully next year.

Sidenote: Kate says we are also getting directors insurance so we get insurance because we handle so much money. With the increase population, change in fundraising, treasurer turnover, its been tough to have Sept budget vote. We should be also putting in 33% into savings.

Holly moves to vote on motion.

Daniel seconds.

All hands in favor?

No hand not in favor.

Rest of year events

Fox Festival – stewart absent but he may have information for next time

Upcoming social events for spring – patsy says “we need organizers!”

Teacher appreciation – sarah and patsy

Literacy Night? We have two volunteers. (good for 4/5 graders to help) Typically this is in April. If we do it, it has to organize it now. Need to talk to Librarian now. Michele Marshall always did it in past. Maybe reach out to her.

Voices say, If we do a limited amount of events, it should be for everyone. How about one parent per grade level?

Field Day?

Hour of Code? Ava – parents ran it in the past. in talking with teachrs, parents don’t mind that but don’t want to run it themselves. to do it, people need to work with hour of code to make it happen. teachers support it but no time to plan. Kate will talk to Ava about it.

April event?

May event?

First green team thursday at 7p

-they may have a earth day event! (april 23)

Kate P suggests sending out some messaging about

DIG meetings for next two months.

Talk of returning to grade-level events.

Maybe pairing K and 5th grade.

Principal Kate says maybe attach a little classroom reveal of the new audition.

Maybe these three things are good events?

game night

literacy night

earth day

So the PTO will come up with a list of 2019-2020 activities done and figure out which grades are assigned to group. Vote on it by June. Patsy and Annie will help that out.

Event ideas: http://www.bishopschoolpto.com/bishop-school-events.html

Parent says: I’m a room parent for two rooms. For k and 2. For both at beginninng of year, it was so hot the kids were sick. Because of generous doantions, we have enough to buy two 400-500 dollar air conditioners. Can we?

A: Kate P says she talked to Kathy Bode. We need a plan. Now that it is cold, we should think about it. We can’t buy it for one classroom. So Kate will be working now so a plan is in place.

8:03 adjourned

PTO Meeting Minutes for December 11, 2018

Officers:

President: Terry Holt

Treasurers: Kate Leary and Andrew Malone along with Aletta Tibbetts (end of year tax review)

Secretary: Roslyn Fitzgerald

VP of Fundraising: Patsy O’Brien

VP of Committees: Stewart Ikeda

Principal’s report – Kate Peretz:

Parent-teacher conferences are going well, and teachers are working hard to make sure they are prepared to give parents as much information as they can. Report cards were going to be distributed electronically (through PowerSchool), but there are still too many technological problems that must be resolved. Kate is also investigating other ways that the school can use PowerSchool, as it is currently underutilized.

Facilities update –

  • Furniture will begin to be delivered on Monday, 12/17, as well as packing boxes.
  • The new classrooms are getting a final cleaning this weekend and the furniture will begin to be assembled as soon as it is delivered.
  • Over the next week, final details will be completed like painting the back stairwell and touching up the connecting hallways, as well as cleaning floors and landings.
  • Concrete will be poured for the sidewalk and Lake Street playground stairs on Monday and the final section of fence will be replaced on Lake Street. The sidewalks should be set and ready by Wednesday 12/19.
  • The construction fence will come down behind the school and the back play space will open again in January. The painting of the blacktop area will wait until spring and the arrival of warmer temperatures.
  • The Chandler Street playground planning is progressing. The landscape architecture firm Weston & Sampson has been chosen to work with us on this job. Watch for information in January about sharing thoughts on the project.

Over the vacation, work will continue in the school on the heating system, lighting, and AV equipment. When we return in January, we will send out a message with the final plans and room assignments. It’s all very exciting and we can’t wait to use the new space. There will definitely be a ceremony of some kind, and we will be sure to let you know when that will be.

There are other discussions going on at school right now that have to do with the way Hardy supports and follows various school policies. Committees are working on assessing a wide range of topics. This is a good thing to do when there is a change in leadership. Administrators and teacher leaders are looking at discipline, for example, and School Council is looking at our expectations around food and allergy awareness in the classrooms. These are just two examples. In the new year, we will be sharing out our thoughts on some of these topics and will look for you to share your thoughts, too. A strong school culture engages many voices, and we would like to hear yours.  

Upcoming Events:

January Silent Auction (online version) – Patsy O’Brien:

This will be the first year of adding an online auction in January, in addition to our March silent auction at Town Hall. Patsy is trying to get items donated that will appeal to a wide audience and will be available to bid on for 1-2 weeks.

Movie night or game night (possibly hosted by 5th Grade):

If someone would like to plan the annual movie night or a game night, please contact Terry (HardyPTOPresident@gmail.com). Kate Leary also suggested that we could host a game night through GameWright (https://gamewright.com/gamenight/), which can double as a fundraising event (similar to BookFair).

Other events – Kate Peretz:

Art show is April 25th, Spring concert during school hours is Tuesday June 10th. Field Day TBD. Walkathon cancelled this year. It wasn’t safe; there were not enough parents last year to make sure students didn’t end up walking on the street. There is enough fundraising, especially with the silent auction, to keep our budget healthy enough even without the Walkathon. International fair won’t happen this year (aiming for every other year).

Teacher Representative Report – Terry on behalf of Laura Ribeiro:

Laura Ribeiro and Carolyn Rabito will remind teachers of the December 14th deadline to submit teacher reimbursement requests.

PTO Executive Board Reports:

President – Terry Holt:

Terry reports that the contractor is scheduled to finalize the overhead cable installation on December 26th and 27th, which should wrap up a nearly two-year long technological upgrade project.

Terry and Stewart report that the school directory project is slightly delayed, but they are aiming for a January distribution. It took longer than expected this year because they were using a new input system, but they expect that next year’s handbook will be produced more quickly because the technology will already be in place.

PTO Treasurer – Kate Leary:

Expenses since last meeting (Nov 11)

Revenue is covered (mostly) in the budget proposal. Lots of transactions because of the book fair. Bank statement is also available to look at during the meeting.

Tax filing summary (filed November 11, 2018)

Question from parent: What are teacher reimbursements?

Answer: $250 reimbursement annually per teacher which can be used for any classroom supplies.

Lauren Hague also reminded us that the Arlington Education Foundation provides grants each fall/spring for innovative proposals.

PTO Vote for Approval of Expenditures – Field Trips:

PTO attempted to write a new policy regarding field trip spending to make our expenditure clear and fair (eg. one field trip per grade). The feedback is that teachers would prefer to know how much money they can spend in total, rather than the amount of field trips. Each grade’s allowance will likely be based on the amount of students. Teachers can collect extra money from students if they want to add additional field trips. If they came in under budget, it could be used for in-school enrichment.

Motion to vote for field trip budget of $13 000 for the year and we will figure out the per-grade details with Kate Peretz and teachers. (not including science camp). Motion approved unanimously.

Enrichment:

Fox Festival Parade/Feast of the East – Stewart Ikeda:

Money is available from Arlington Commission for Arts and Culture (ACAC) to promote a collaboration of public art programs and school participation/workshops. ACAC would pay to bring an artist to work with kids to create art for the Fox Festival Parade during workshops during school hours. They are suggesting that grades 3-5 would work best based on other school experiences (although all families are welcome to participate in the parade). We would need PTO and Green team volunteers to oversee the workshops. ACAC is asking for a $1000 matching donation from PTO. We would need afterschool space and storage space for the materials.

There seemed to be parental interest in pursuing this idea, and Stewart collected names to form a committee. To be discussed at future PTO meetings.

JANUARY PTO MEETING DATE TBD (8th or 15th)

PTO Meeting Minutes for November 13, 2018

Officers:

President: Terry Holt

Treasurers: Kate Leary and Andrew Malone along with Aletta Tibbetts (end of year tax review)

Secretary: Roslyn Fitzgerald

VP of Fundraising: Patsy O’Brien

VP of Committees: Stewart Ikeda

Principal’s report – Kate Peretz:

Newsletter for Hardy facilities/construction update went out today. This week is particularly active with construction, including the temporary removal of the Brooks Street sidewalk. New cafeteria motion sensor lights are being installed. New addition classrooms are nearly completed and they are on track (the move is still anticipated to be in January). When the fencing comes down around the new addition, they were supposed to refresh and resurface the blacktop, but it will be delayed until the spring because the weather will be more suitable and it allows any changes that might occur with the changes to the Chandler Street playground side to take place first. Some smaller changes are also happening to bring the building into ADA compliance.


Parent question: even if the blacktop area isn’t immediately resurfaced, is it available to the kids? Yes, the surface will still be there but not new yet. They may have to patch parts to make it temporarily safe.


Parent question: how long will it take to complete the front sidewalk? About one week.


Teacher Representatives’ report – Laura Ribeiro, 5th grade:

Teachers enjoyed filling up book bins for the book fair this week, and are thankful for any parent contributions. Teachers won’t be responsible for administering money for the book fair from the PTO to students in need –  this year parents should contact Kate Peretz directly if they need assistance.
Teacher/parent conference sign-ups went out today via email. 5th grade getting ready for science camp in a couple of weeks.


Current and upcoming events:

Book Fair – Holly Rossi:  this year there are a lot of “news” – new vendor, new librarian, new principal and new teacher’s classes visiting the book fair! In light of that, everything went very smoothly in the first couple of days. Holly would love feedback about the new selection of books and how parents feel about the new vendor. Please make sure your kids know that tax will be added to their purchases, so that the kids aren’t confused when they make their purchases. Wednesday night is Starbooks café, from 6-8pm.  For the first time this year, the PTO is buying pizza for the cafe night, which will allow parents to give their kids dinner while shopping the bookfair. After-school shopping hour today went well. Wishlist forms are going well. To contribute to the wishlist books, select a book from the bin and fill out the tag to be given to your child’s teacher/classroom.


Thanksgiving food drive – Anne Coleman: ends this Thursday, 11/15. This Friday morning, Anne could use extra help to load up the car to take it to the food pantry on Broadway.


Holiday STARS program – Megan Recupero: Holiday STARS is a community wishlist of qualified Arlington families that need help getting gifts to their children. Hardy families can anonymously select a gift by age/gender and price of gift. More information will be sent out via Facebook and backpack mail.


Gate lighting:
Each year in December, parents string lights all over the wooden Japanese gate (by the corner of Lake and Brooks Street), next to the new playground. We serve hot cocoa, and kids decorate paper ornaments to hang on the gate. It’s a smaller event than the usual community events. We need a volunteer to run it, or it won’t happen this year. PTO will advertise it on the Facebook website to find out if anyone would be interested in coordinating the event.


PTO Executive Board Reports:

Treasurer’s report – Kate Leary:

Current balances:

Bank of America: 4,636.13

Cambridge Savings Bank: $41,405.08

Paypal:  $3,719.70

Total: $49,760.91

Direct Donation Drive:

51 cash/check: $6,990

172 paypal: $18,726.83 (Paypal received $612.57 in fees)

Total : $25,716.83

Participation: 223 families

This doesn’t include any matching. Last year we received more than $3,000 matching, but it takes several months to come in. We’ll remind people again in thank you letters, which will go out by the end of the year. Most go out by email now. We have a pretty good mail merge system with Outlook.

Harvest Fest: $1693 profit!

Box Tops: $637 expected in December

Payments since last meeting

October 9-November 13

  • $685 in teacher reimbursements
  • $323.71 EATS Snacks
  • $419.93 teacher back to school lunch
  • $84.43 other fundraising expenses
  • $1454 to Wilson Farms for Harvest Fest (but we made it back and then some)
  • $320 book fair operations (this will come back to us)

Financial Commitments:

  • $2954 has been paid out to faculty. We may pay out approximately $8000 more if we have full participation. Deadline to submit receipts is Friday, December 14th. We’ll send out a reminder. Most come in the week of the deadline.
  • $4000 for projector project
  • Field trips: $12,000
  • Science camp scholarships will be in the $2000ish range

Budgeting

  • Executive board will need to get together with this and then meet with principal. We’ll aim to have something to present by the next meeting.


Fundraising update – Patsy O’Brien:


Eat at Not Your Average Joes’s every Thursday (dine-in or takeout) through November. When you mention Hardy School, we will get 15% back.

Helena’s boutique, 11/15. Shop all day 10-6, or privately from 6-8pm. 10% back if you mention Hardy.

Maxima fundraiser – 12/6. Details to come.


Silent auction – this year will be split into two parts, including an online auction in January, and an event at Town Hall in March. More details to come.


Old business – Terry Holt:

Overhead project –  $4200 expense approved at the last PTO meeting to install overhead projects in all the classrooms; a project dating back to the PTO of 2016. Finishing this project on the 26th and 27th of December, if it goes to plan.


Announcements or new business –  Terry Holt:

Sometime within the next school year Terry and her family are considering moving out of the neighborhood and would like people to consider taking on new leadership roles. Please talk to Terry at any time for more information or email her if interested, HardyPTO@hardyschool.com

NEXT PTO MEETING WILL TAKE PLACE ON DEC. 11th in the school library.

PTO Meeting Minutes for July 17, 2018

Notes from 7/17/18 “Ideafest” Meeting

In attendance:

Ann Chhabra, Roslyn Fitzgerald, Stewart Ikeda, Michiko Kurata (new) Kate Leary, Aimee Miller, Kate Peretz (principal), Doris Pfaffinger, Ginna Reeder, Holly Rossi, Laura Smart

Terry Holt (notes)

PTO meetings for 2018-2019

Monthly PTO meetings will be changing to a more social/event-focused meeting beginning in September to help with recruitment and retention of members. The business part of PTO meetings will follow. Any member is welcome to stay for the business meeting.

Terry is in discussion with our new principal regarding changing the day of meetings to Monday. This decision is complicated, as it requires the approval of Hardy teachers and cannot be in conflict with other district school meetings.

Discussion regarding Hardy events.

Participants (11) ranked events in order of preference for future:

Fundraising#votesnotesCommunity Building#votesnotes
DDD7Ice Cream Social4Needs to be utterly changed
Book Fair6Back to School Coffee7Terry wants to expand
Silent Auction6HarvestFest3Patsy wants to expand
School Supply Drive6Literacy Night8
Walk-A-Thon1Kate wants to cancelInternational Festival/Sustainability Fair8These swap annually
Helena’sMaxima’s
fundraising via local stores should be increasedHardy Family Picnic5Run at Thompson again? Maybe more ice cream trucks?

All PTO events, in order (questionable ones in italics)

September
School Supply DriveAug-FDOS
Welcome Back Luncheon – TeachersFriday before school starts
Welcome Coffee – all parentsFriday after school starts
PTO Kick-Off! (First Meeting)TBD
Ice Cream SocialTBD ??????  Sept
Back to School Night — PTO tableTBD – Sept
October
PTO DDD Appeal Letter goes out10/1
Safe Routes to School Day10/3
Picture Day10/4   (confirming with Janet)
HarvestFestTBD
November
Book FairNov 5-8
December
Gate LightingTBD ??????
January
Movie NightTBD
February
Sustainability FairTBD
March
Hardy Silent AuctionTBD
April
Literacy NightTBD
Walk-A-Thon???? TBD
Teacher Appreciation WeekTBD
May
June
Field DayTBD
Hardy ElectionsJune meeting TBD
Hardy Family PicnicTBD

Ideas for next year re: events

  • Proposal:  Ribbon-cutting Ceremony for the Lake Street Playground (Kate Peretz)
  • Back-to-School Coffee for parents needs to be re-envisioned because of space allocation challenges and visibility. Hosting it in a space that is visible and accessible to all families necessitates setting up somewhere in the front of the school. Possibly using the circle in front of the school? Boost promotion using signs in “drop-off” places, so all parents see it.
  • Sustainability Fair instead of International Festival this year (Doris). Run on a Saturday in February. Maybe choose a theme? Science projects, art exhibits, creative ways of engaging the students and families to think/talk about using more sustainable practices.
  • Walk-A-Thon could be a joint effort with other schools participating, since making this event happen at Hardy is out of the question for next year (Kate Leary)
  • Ice Cream Social is a beloved event that needs drastic changes. All agreed we should discuss this more and find alternatives to PTO purchasing, storing, serving $1000 in ice cream.
  • Patsy wants Harvest Fest to be THE Fall community-building event. We should assemble a committee to begin working on this effort.

Hardy Directory

PTO will be bringing the effort to collect data and produce the annual Hardy Directory in-house for 2018-2019. We will be sending out a link to an online Google form via a multi-layered effort, beginning at the start of the school year. We will be utilizing some space in the newsletter and/or  sending out the form directly via the opt-out email list we have created for disseminating the newsletter. As this is a list we have ourselves procured and curate through mailchimp, using it for directory efforts should be relatively easy. We will discuss this in more detail among communications team and e-board members and bring it up at the September meeting for more discussion and agreement. Shout out to Pete Gast and Stewart for all their work making this happen last year!

Field Trips Policy

PTO Treasurer has been in talks with teachers and determined that we need a consistent policy regarding what costs PTO will cover for field trips that is fair. We agreed that PTO will fund one field trip per grade level. And teachers can, of course, request PTO funds for additional field trips, and PTO will decide on these on a case-by-case basis. ANY family can request PTO help if additional field trip costs requested by teachers doesn’t fit into their budget, and PTO will cover these with no questions asked. All field trips where teachers request funds need to have a checkbox for parents to use for financial help.

Proposal for PTO to communicate a one field trip per grade level policy to teachers passed unanimously.

Rainbow Club and Diversity Inclusion Club

Hardy parents are in the beginning stages of formulating a Rainbow Club at Hardy to support and celebrate LGBTQ youth. More information will be available after Terry meets with the organizers. In addition, Sarah Evans is part of an effort to have a club that celebrates diversity at Hardy. Both of these clubs are still formulating. If/when they request funds, PTO will consider helping funding them (which will require a vote of the PTO members).

Open positions in PTO

Needed:

Field Trip Coordinator to liaison with teachers to schedule field trips

Fundraising Assistant for organizing local events

Co-President or President in Training to take over leadership in June 2019

Thank you to Ann and Terry for bringing food, drinks to the meeting!

Our new home on the web

Welcome to the new Hardy Elementary PTO website! We are still under construction, so please stay tuned for a new look and content. Many thanks to all the dedicated parents on the Communications Team — especially Brett, Aimee and Sarah — for years of hard work producing the original Hardy School site, and the parents who are joining the team to make this site a great place for the Hardy Community moving forward.