Hardy PTO November  Minutes 2017

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November 7th, 2017 in the school library

President: Terry Holt
Treasurers:  Hemant Verma and Aletta Tibbetts
Secretary:  Roslyn Fitzgerald
VPs of Fundraising:  Kate Leary and Patsy O’Brien
VP of Committees: Volunteer! – Open Position
 
Teacher’s report – Julie Harrington, (4th grade)

This is Julie’s last meeting. Heather Smith (ELL teacher) and Laura Ribeiro (5th grade) will be taking her place. Teachers are currently preparing for progress reports and teacher/parent conferences which will take place later in the fall. There will be an ELL (English Language Learner) meeting for parents on November 28th from 8:30-9:30am in the cafeteria. Teachers are also hoping to have PTO representation at this meeting, especially for new parents to learn more about the PTO and how to get involved.
 
Hardy School Council – Scheduling Community Meetup – Ginna Reeder

Hardy School Council will meet next week to plan a community event where parents and other interested community members can review plans that the architects have drawn for the classroom addition/renovation (adding 6 classrooms which will start late winter/early spring and being completed next fall). Although most of the building plans are final and there won’t be an opportunity for input, there are still questions surrounding whether there will be improvements made to the Chandler Street side playground. For now we know that the smaller (kindergarten) structure will be removed as part of the renovation and there is an intention to replace it with something on the Lake Street side. But could we also make improvements on the Chandler Street side? Given that there were 280 students 13 years ago when the original structure was installed, and now there are approximately 460 students, we need to be smart about maximizing how the land is going to be used. If possible, the school council would apply for a grant to pay for a landscape architect study to professionally assess the best use of the school grounds.  It was suggested that this community meeting could be paired with the “Gate Lighting” ceremony on Dec 11th. School council will propose this during their meeting next Wednesday and continue to collaborate with PTO to organize it.
 
Treasurer’s report – Hemant Verma

Starting balance 8/23/17 = 0.00
November credit (including approximately 21 000 carried over from previous school year & 22 000 from direct donation drive) = $46 893.48
November debit = $14 860.50
Balance as of 11/6/17 = $32 032.98
 
Secretary’s report – Roslyn Fitzgerald

Rebecca Saff (formerly co-secretary) will be transitioning to another role assisting with Arlington EATS program at the Hardy school.
 
Discussion on Book Fair – Holly Rossi et al

Book Fair is November 13-17. It will be set up in the library for kids to purchase books during their library times on 11/13 – 11/17. In addition, there is an after school hour for parents to buy books on 11/14 from 1-2pm and the “Starbooks” café on 11/15 from 6-8pm. This event needs more volunteers – sign up at http://bit.ly/HardyBookFair2017. We especially need people to bake or buy snacks for the café portion of the event. Baked goods can be dropped off any time after 1:30pm on 11/15. Teachers will be able to fill out wishlists for parents to purchase books, and this year is the first year that books will be tax exempt at the book fair thanks to Cedrine Bell.
 
VPs Fundraising Update – Kate Leary & Patsy O’Brien

The direct donation drive of October was extremely successful: There were 186 families who participated (up from 122 last year). We raised approximately $22 000 ($17 000 was formerly the highest donation within the last 5 years). It was helpful that both teachers and Kristin DeFrancisco sent out email reminders to parents. Kate will follow up with parents about whether their workplace offers job matching donations.  ¾ of donations came in via Paypal. We still need volunteers to help with sending out receipts.

Shopping Night at Helena’s – Patsy O’Brien
Thursday November 9th, 10% of sales get donated back to Hardy school. PTO made around $500 last year from this event.
 
Silent Auction – Patsy O’Brien
Silent auction is scheduled for March 3rd at Arlington Town Hall – the main focus is obtaining donations right now.

Box Tops Update – Anne Coleman
Box tops are submitted twice per year. $480 was raised this submission. Anne will send them in again in March. Anne has been giving pizza vouchers out to kids as raffle prizes, but she would also like to give out movie tickets. If anyone knows how to get tickets/a response from Capitol Theatre let her know but if no donations then PTO can pay for movie tickets.
 
Old Business  – Terry Holt

Grant Policy for teachers Terry Holt and Kate Leary
Terry and Kate continue to work on finding new and different ways to track initiatives and formalizing procedures so that each year it’s standardized and easy to access, especially with volunteer turnover on the PTO expected in future years. Teachers need to know the formal procedure rather than relying on word of mouth.
See below for explanation of the teacher grant from former October PTO newsletter: “Teacher support committee update – The PTO needs to decide what we can do for our new teachers. There have been inconsistencies where some new teachers apply for a $250 grant to purchase supplies for their new classrooms while others don’t know about it. There is also something called the “Red Backpack” initiative, which is a red backpack that new teachers are given which they can take on field trips to carry epipens, first aid kids etc. Again, some teachers know about it and others don’t. We need to have an official policy in writing, so that all teachers know about the grant and the application process, especially since we’ll be hiring a bunch of new teachers with the new classroom additions.”
 
New Business – Terry Holt

SEPAC donation of $50 – vote
The PTO would like to donate $50 to the Special Education Parent Advisory Council. SEPAC is a volunteer run group which provides advocacy for special education in the town of Arlington. Volunteers who run it typically use their own money to pay for snacks during meetings, so the PTO would like to help them out. The vote passed unanimously in favor.
 
Parent forums annual donation – $350 – vote
The town of Arlington hosts various speaker events for parents in Arlington on a variety of topics and it costs money to run these events, so each school in Arlington pays an annual amount to fund this. The vote passed unanimously in favor of paying the $350 fee. 
Nominations for VP of Committees
Nominees are still needed for this position. Vote tabled until December.
 
Committee Updates

Gate lighting – Terry Holt and Cedrine Bell
Scheduled date is December 11th. More information to come as the event is still being planned.

STEM Committee – Eva Bitteker
The “Hour of code” event is scheduled sometime in January or February. It’s not taking place Dec 4-10th which is the international hour of code week because we need to make sure the internet servers are set up adequately. We will be looking for volunteers, who don’t need to have any experience in coding.

Books & Arts Committee –
Movie night is January 19th. Kids come in PJs and bring their sleeping bags and blankets to watch the movie in the gym. Despite charging for pizza and refreshments in the past, there was a suggestion to make it a free event, so the PTO will look into past year costs and see it that is possible.

International Day will be February 2nd or 9th – Aimee Miller is going to find out if we c
an use Town Hall for this new event. She is also working on finding volunteers, and soliciting food donations from vendors. Julie Harrington (4th grade teacher) will also ask teachers if they have time for students to start participating in making culturally appropriate crafts/items for the event.
 
Community Outreach

November Thanksgiving collection – Anne Coleman
Backpack mail has been distributed to inform parents of this Thanksgiving donation drive.

Holiday Hardy STARS program – Sarah Evans
In past years Sarah has organized this donation drive, whereby Arlington families who don’t have enough money for holiday gifts are able to request gifts for their children. Sarah and two other Hardy parents will coordinate the lobby decorations, sign up forms, gift wrapping and distributing gifts.

Winter Weather Wear Drive – Michele Phelan
Michele is collecting used winter gear to bring to a homeless shelter in Boston (Boston Healthcare for the Homeless). She is asking Hardy parents if they can donate gently used winter wear, which can be dropped off in the box in the lobby. Donations will be accepted through the first week of December. All sizes accepted, although possibly more adult than kid sizes needed.

Arlington EATS – Terry Holt, Ann Chhabra & Rebecca Saff
The goal is to provide a continuous supply of healthy snacks for Hardy students who need them. Snacks are located in the nurse’s office. If interested in purchasing snacks or making a donation, please talk to Ann or Rebecca.

Enrichment – Cedrine Bell
Some PTO money is used to bring enrichment programs to the school. A past event, for example, was a National Children’s Theatre production about energy conservation.  We are considering a variety of future programs, including an anti-bullying program, a local singer/songwriter who uses social movement themes, and a local author who wrote and illustrated a very unique book about coral reefs.

Spy Pond field trip/community service – Stewart Ikeda
Stewart Ikeda proposed a new initiative, whereby students participate in a service-learning field trip during the spring in cooperation with the Friends of Spy Pond (FOSP) Park organization. Suggested activities could include helping with a clean-up, gaining education about conservation, and incorporating the nature aspects into the existing Hardy science curriculum. Stewart reached out to FOSP, who think they can handle about 90 students at a time. It might even be possible for kids to start learning about this topic in earlier grades and then building up to the field trip in subsequent years. Can we find a faculty member willing to participate in planning meetings to assess the feasibility of this idea and could it be an annual curricular event? (eg.  “Hardy adopts Spy Pond”). Cedrine Bell (who already teaches middle school science) indicated she may be able to help out, but that we would need the educational materials that FOSP already uses to adapt their materials to grade appropriate levels. Julie Harrington (4th grade teacher) will ask if teachers are interested in the idea.
 
THE NEXT PTO meeting will be Dec 5 at 6:30pm in the school library.