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: Voting on nominee, Stewart Ikeda
Principal’s report – Terry Holt (on behalf of Kristin DeFrancisco):
There is a new page on the Hardy website with information about the new construction that will be happening. Go to hardyschool.com and at the top you will see a “Facility expansion” tab. Thank you to the web team for putting that together.
Treasurer’s Report – Kate Leary:
Current balance: $37,927.86
Balance after checks clear: $36,214
Kate is working on the budget and plans to present it at February’s meeting.
Money came in:
- $650 candy buyback! It was $350 last year. Big thank you to Ann Chhabra for coordinating and doing publicity!
- $1721 Picture Day Commission (was $1882 last year). Big thank you to Janet Marsden for organizing picture day!
Money went out:
- Lots of teacher reimbursements. $4,925 since our last meeting. (We have paid out $7122 in teacher reimbursements this year.)
- $917 for new projector set-up for Ms. Merson
- $395 Kidstock (K-2); $350 author visit (3-5)
- Mini grant: subscription for hip hop educational videos
- Working on closing old PayPal. Transferred $1591 from old PayPal acct to new PayPal account. Old one is now empty.
- Made two transfers this month from new PayPal to BoA: one for $1400 and one for $2000.
- Current balance is $290.07
- Holiday Help, managed amazingly by Sarah Evans! Sarah and another volunteer purchased remaining presents. Community stepped up with donations. They spent $795. We took in $890 in donations. Kate will reach out to the last few donors to see if they want their money back or if we should just earmark $95 for next year’s HH purchasing.
What’s coming up:
- International Fest – $2000 budget
- Enrichment, Allistair Moock (music and social change) – $1400
- Field trips were $9200 last year
- Possible teacher reimbursements up to an additional $2500
- About $4000 earmarked for projector installation (Terry has made progress on this– update in February.)
Testing cloud-based accounting software to make this role easier to manage and hand off:
- Doing free trials of Zipbooks and Quickbooks. Will report back next month.
BoA update on attempt to recover remaining $2000-2400 frozen in account:
- BoA won’t sign Hold Harmless agreement, which means they consider our case closed.
- A Hardy parent who works for BoA is helping us get answers.
- We are also following up with the receiving bank and have an APD detective ready to talk to them.
- We now have a Google form so teachers can apply to fund grade-level curriculum enhancements, tech and infrastructure, and community building.
- Last year PTO spent about $5000 on these grants.
- Kate will send along the form and application instructions to Heather Smith, who will send it out to teachers this week. Deadlines this year will be 2/1 and 5/1. Applications will be discussed at the following PTO meetings. If an application is time-sensitive, teachers may ask for special consideration outside of the grant cycles.
- We voted to fund a grade one enrichment, which Jennie French applied for (testing the new form). It’s a traveling science workshop on sound by the Acton Discovery Museums. The workshop will cost $625 for four sessions (one for each class). It will happen later this winter or early spring. http://www.discoverymuseums.org/education/traveling-science-workshops
International Festival (Aimee Miller):
Date changed to Saturday Feb 3rd, 2-5pm at Hardy School, which is a change from the original Town Hall plan. Doris Pfaffinger is coordinating the international tables. We still need fashion models, and volunteers for international café. Three restaurants will be providing food samples. Performers are lined up and will work out an agenda, including tango, martial arts, fiddle group. Hoping the event will be free, but still taking donations. Please sign up on the hardyschool.com website if you’d like to volunteer.
CANCELED. The Books and Arts Committee worked incredibly hard on the book fair and the team needs a break. Sarah Evans suggested that we make the movie night earlier in the school year in future years as a way for students to meet.
Enrichment – Terry Holt for Cedrine Bell:
Friday, Jan 12th – Author and illustrator Maris Wicks is coming to visit grades 3-5. We could use another parent volunteer for the 5th graders (11:35 – 12:20 in the library). Please come and help if available. Wednesday, Jan 24th – singer/songwriter Allistair Moock coming to visit with a program for 3-5 and K-2.
VP of Fundraising update – Patsy O’Brien:
Silent auction is March 3rd at Town hall. It’s a parent only event, so start booking babysitters! The admission prices are less than last year. Patsy and Annie have collected over $5000 in donations already and found two sponsors (Cambridge Savings Bank being one of them). If your employer offers tickets, unique experiences, please let us know.
Old business – Terry Holt:
Hour of code (1st-5th grade) – Daniel Jalkut:
Terry will assist with scheduling a day for hour of code. Next steps involve getting preparatory information for parent volunteers and then recruiting parents to help. Parents supervise and help kids connect to the hour of code website which teaches basic coding. Need 25 people per class for 1st grade. Let’s get a date on the calendar and then STEM committee will get the materials together. You don’t have to know anything about computers of coding to be able to volunteer. Contact Terry at firstname.lastname@example.org if interested in volunteering or watch the website for upcoming info.
New business – Terry Holt:
VP of Committees nomination and vote – Stewart Ikeda:
Stewart has volunteered to be the VP of Committees. Although relatively new to the Hardy school community, Stewart has already volunteered a lot of time to the PTO. As a newcomer to the school, he feels he brings fresh eyes to the PTO. Stewart’s professional background is in marketing and communications. The vote was unanimously passed.
Hardy Principal search/parent focus – Dr. Kathleen Bodie, Superintendent:
She explained the hiring process: a search committee of 10-12 parent representatives, teachers and administrators are on the search committee. 3 or 4 nights of interviews will begin the week of January 22nd, with the goal of being finished by February vacation. There are some very strong candidates, and we will be interviewing at least 11 people. 3 or 4 finalists will be selected, who will visit the school (all day) to meet with lots of different groups; including staff, students and afterschool program. We are going to have one evening meeting that will include all the finalists, for parents to ask questions and fill out a comment sheet. Dr. Bodie reads every one of the comment sheets. We may also do on-site visits to the candidate’s current workplace if there are remaining questions.
Dr. Bodie asked parents who were in attendance to list the characters/qualities that are most important for them to be looking for in a candidate. Once the brainstorming was completed, parents were asked to vote on their top 4 priorities, with the number of votes being tallied beside each item below.
- Efficient systems for communication (1)
- How does the new principal regard the Vice principal as an assistant in communicating?
- Prioritizing social and emotional learning focus. Particularly with the new construction and changes to recess. They must have a good sensibility of how this is going to affect students in their new environment and making students feel safe. Communicating this to parents so we can reinforce the same messages at home. (7)
- Someone who supports the teachers and helps them grow. We have a very special group of teachers who need a supportive environment.
- A resume that shows that they’ve worked with diverse communities in terms of race, diversity, socioeconomic groups. (2)
- Someone that will make our kids feel valued. Someone who connects with the kids. Equal respect for staff and children. (4)
- Approachable, visible to students. (5)
- Directness in communication, not wasting time or energy.
- Works well with PTO. Giving some power to parents but also balancing it as a separate entity. (1)
- Experience with working with town during large projects, eg. construction. Change management experience.
- Strong advocacy. (8)
- Basic love of educating kids. Passionate for staying up-to-date to seek ideas. Ability to implement those things. (3)
- Clear and constructive discipline philosophy. Helping kids to understand constructively what went wrong and how to do better next time rather than a “badge of shame” if you go to the principal’s office. Positive discipline philosophy. (2)
- A mindset for understanding.
- Technologically savvy. Embrace technology. (6)
- Experience with hiring. Especially with the school growing and new classrooms. (5)
- Instructional leader. (5)
- Synergy between special-ed and gen-ed students.
- Elementary experience (2)
- Good broadcaster of information both in groups and individually. Ability to follow up with responses. Email responsiveness. This may be easier to ascertain during a site visit vs. an interview. (8)
The next PTO meeting will be Feb. 6th at 6:30pm.