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)