PTO meeting 11.12.2013 7pm
in attendance: Andrea O’Carroll, Ryan Landi, Megan McGonigle and Amanda McClafferty
Call to Order
Ryan called the meeting to order and thanks folks for attending, especially when the meeting had to be rescheduled.
Minutes from Previous Meeting
Ryan asked for a motion to accept the minutes from the October meeting, motion was made and seconded; motion passed.
Ryan comments that we are working in the black; we have more money in the checking acct than we have liabilities, so that’s a good sign. We may go over on our babysitting budget because PTO paid for childcare for the Dr. Good visit. We have additional cash leftover from planners and folders. We are about where we were last year with staff reimbursements. Ryan has a breakdown of operating expenses and other line items, see him if you’d like to go through that. Ryan has a gross and a net of school events. Remember that the money we make this year goes for things next year. We are already $553 in the black. Note: The walkathon revenue on this month’s treasurer’s report is not accurate by a small amount (a check in the PTO box was not marked with its intent; since it wasn’t attached to a citrus sale order form, the thought was that it was leftover walkathon, but it turns out that it indeed was for a citrus order). Ryan asks if there are there any questions about the budget. Lisa Ehleringer: what is “expenditures for the walkathon”? Andrea answers: Envelopes for the money collection, pizza party for the room who brings in the most money, bracelets that the kids received the day of the walkathon, etc. Reagan Bluel asks if we have found a treasurer, and no, no one has volunteered yet for the position.
Hot dog Hoedown
Ryan: we had a very profitable Hotdog Hoedown this year, almost $200 better than last year. This had a lot to do with the great turnout and we were able to get new sponsors for the event (for the food) and that helped out a lot. We were able to keep costs down.
Andrea: I was really thrilled with it, we made $4100, which is about $300 more than we made last year. The one item we need to discuss is funding half of Brainpop, and using the rest of the money for purchasing French reading assessments. Since then, there has been a lot of discussion about the reorganization of the school (referring to unsplitting the 2nd/3rd and 4th/5th classes) and how much teachers will use it. Andrea did a survey of the teachers. There is a free French version, we are looking at how much the english version gets used: 5 said frequently, 3 said occasionally, 7 said they never use it. Mary Rose: it seems to me that getting a strong foundation in getting the reading materials is critical for the school, and it may be a challenge to get the waiver (from the 3rd grade guarantee) through the district and the state, so if Brainpop is taking away from that, she would like to know. Amy Overmyer: I have had a problem with this from the beginning. The time my son spends in the French class is when he has computer, and it’s hard when some of that time is spent in an english program. This takes away from his french immersion time. Andrea: this is why we went out to the teachers about this, because this did change. Hope McGonigle: did the teachers indicate if they use the French version? Andrea didn’t ask them about that (this survey was more trying to determine the cost effectiveness of spending $2000 on a computer program). Mme Startz: the english is challenging for some of our kids, because our reading levels are typically a grade behind. Teachers who are using it probably use it once a week. Amy Overmyer: My son John who is in 3rd grade can understand the projects in french. She gave an example of one lesson she did with him and how he was able to follow it.
Lisa Ehleringer: how long have we been using it? Mme Startz: since forever. Lisa: there has to be something out there for free, right? Bob Meeker: is it a one-year license? Yes. So we would have it through november 2014. Angie Meeker asked about the french level for 1st grade. She pointed out that teachers in upper grades have indicated problems with math and science materials in French, so what if they used the french version of Brainpop for this? There were several comments about plans to do some research on this. Ryan: we are not making a curriculum statement here, but a financial statement. It’s not our place to critique its content, per se, there are not a majority of classrooms who use this program. Mme Startz: here’s the thing, I think the things most frequently used are social studies and science. It’s good to reinforce those concepts for the kids who are getting tested in these subjects. Lisa: do the computers work half the time for it to be used by the kids? Startz: the computer time is a great time to do testing because of the ability to have some one-on-one time with kids. It’s difficult in the upper levels to find websites that kids can do independently.
Mary Rose: what’s the upper limit of Brainpop jr? Andrea: 2nd and 3rd grade teachers are the ones who use it most frequently. FYI, it’s $1200/year for Brainpop jr, $1500 for just BrainPop and $2100 for both. Ryan: we should take 2 votes: whether we want jr at all, and then if we want any of it. Brian Hagemann: I’m hearing that it could be helpful for upper grades Natali Fausey: we should come up with an alternative proposal if we vote this down. Neal Bluel: can we use this at home? Yes, with limited availability (during school hours). Cary Carlton: In the meeting with Dr. Good, he asked what we wanted in our immersion program, and if our school “looks like” an immersion school, and this is something to think about in relationship to this. Ryan: Shall we vote? Amy Overmyer asks Mme. Scoyez how much she needs? The assessment kit for K-2 is $5000. We will get what materials we can have with what money we get. Hope McGonigle asks about the grant turnaround, as one of the grants we have applied for is selected in December. Mary Rose says that it will be paid out in January 2014. Hope: if you have some of the money, can you buy some of the books, or is it not worth it? Mme. Scoyez: you need the wide range of books because of the different reading levels of the kids, etc. So it would be better to have the whole set.
Ryan: I would entertain a proposal for separate votes: BrainPop Jr as a first vote, regular BrainPop as a second vote. My feeling is there is conflict of whether we should have both. Or do we want all walkathon money to go toward readers? Frequent users are 2, 3 4 6 grade.
Ryan asks for a motion to approve BrainPop Jr., motion moved and seconded. All in favor of purchasing please raise your hand: 2 hands counted. Motion failed. Motion made and seconded to vote for regular BrainPop. All in favor of purchasing: 6. Motion failed. Ryan asks for a motion to use all of the walkathon money to support Mme. Scoyez and the teachers and to support the purchase of French reading assessments and leveled readers, motion seconded. All in favor, no Nays: Motion passed. Brian Hagemann: maybe M. Toure would put the money that the school was giving toward BrainPop to go toward the French assessments and readers. Also, French BrainPop will be something for us to think about purchasing at some point (it is currently in beta testing and is free, but the assumption is that there will be an annual fee once the product is formalized).
Megan McGonigle reminds folks that the bazaar is coming up next weekend (11/23) and that we have 40 vendors booked, with more people who want to attend (we have run out of tables). She passes around a signup sheet for volunteers that are needed for both the show and the bake sale that the 5th grade students will host. There are 5 Kenwood families participating (and now Mme. Scoyez’s daughter will make 6) so it would be great if we could support them. A link to the Bazaar/bake sale volunteer signup: http://www.signupgenius.com/go/20F0C4EACA828A75-holiday
Ryan has made raffle tickets for the quilt that Jena Huebner’s mother donated to us last year. We will have raffle tickets at the bazaar and it will be on display there. Tickets will be available in the office, and interested folks may want to buy a handful for selling to family members, etc.
Parent Teacher Conferences
Amanda McClafferty passed around the signup sheet for the dinner that parents provide for the teachers (the 2nd night of conferences). We are doing Italian this year. She will be here after school that day (11/25) to receive the food. If you can get it before 3:00, that would be perfect because not all teachers get to take their dinner break and only have a chance to eat before the conferences begin. A link to the signup for the parent provided dinner: http://www.signupgenius.com/go/20F0C4EACA828A13-parent1
Asides: Online citrus sales are going on through tomorrow. Ryan is passing out flyers for the school event this Saturday (11/16) at Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt at Graceland. You need the flyer for Kenwood to get the credit from your sale. After the event, you can use a card they have given us to get 10% off all future sales.
8. New Business
Third grade reading guarantee discussion (Neal Bluel)
Neal: My daughter is a kindergartener this year, he was talking to his wife and they received their first DIBELS (reading) scores and report card, and they talked about the third grade guarantee. Maybe the PTO can fill the space . We are going to have more and more things to talk about with our schools in relation to these things, and how we can assist our administration. ODE is constantly changing things in response to legislators. We have a really informed group of parents and we could do a lot of work. I feel like my time here tonight is to ask the PTO that we have access to experts in the field. PTO could help schedule events or meetings, or parent interactions around these things. Neal is here, and ready and able to have these conversations, and the importance of doing the things every day that the teachers say we should do. We are trying to avoid a big scare when we get to third grade. As we get down the road, we can align our purchasing and meetings with the initiatives of ODE.
CISV international summer camps (Natali Fausey and Mme. Startz)
Mme Startz and Natali discuss the program for 4th and 5th graders. It’s an international exchange for the kids can participate in. It’s not a religious organization. It’s not like a traditional exchange program. There are a variety of programs, from international to domestic. Calvin Fausey went to Portugal after 5th grade, he says he especially used his French when he was there with people from Senegal. Mme. Startz’s son went to Brazil this year for 2 weeks, and she hosted a Brazilian student in return. It is very expensive (mostly if you’re flying internationally), but there are scholarships available. The deadline is 12/31. Look at the Columbus chapter (columbus.cisvusa.org) if you may be interested. There are several Kenwood families who have done this-others include Tiffany Hanna and Cheryl Kempf’s daughter and Nancy Neimuth’s daughter, who graduated from Kenwood last year, but she would love to talk to folks about it if they’d like. There is an open house program at Bexley. The leaders at CISV have loved our kids. Ask Mme. Startz if you need a teacher recommendation. The kids start paying attention to the news after going to this, they suddenly relate to it much more. There is a Mini camp in early December, a local one in Pittsburgh. Kids can attend for a weekend to see if it’s something they may be interested in.
Courtney Smith: The laminator needs supplies. Will PTO buy it? PTO can buy this for cheaper since we don’t have to go through school smart supply system, and we can buy the same exact laminating plastic. Courtney asks for a motion to vote; motion made and seconded. All in favor of PTO purchasing plastic for the laminator. Motion passed. Lisa Ehleringer and Courtney will see what prices they can find.