Here are the minutes from our first PTO meeting this year!
In attendence: Ryan Landi, Andrea O’Carroll, Megan McGonigle and Amanda McClafferty
Absent: Sheila Jones
1.) Call to order
Ryan welcomed everyone to the meeting and called the meeting to order.
2.) Minutes from the previous meeting
Julie Duhigg motioned to move to accept the meetings minutes from 9 May 2013, it was seconded. Minutes approved.
3.) Updates from Mr. Toure
M. Toure welcomed everyone.
New building update: he has meet a few times with the building team and the architects, and he is excited to move forward. The architects would like to come to next PTO meeting to lay out all of the building options. It will be PreK-6th grade with the ability to hold 550 students. M. Toure thanks the K teaching team for their work at building our class sizes and changing up the routine. We will be swinging for 2 years at Hubbard elementary in Victorian Village/Short North. It is not air conditioned, but the modulars have AC. M. Toure will be checking out spaces there soon in order to plan for what we need. The building committee will be expanded to include parents (currently it is him and Courtney Smith, Kenwood’s parent consultant). This meeting with the architects doesn’t have to be at a PTO meeting, there is some flexibility about that, just seemed like a logical time.
Report card system: This is a big change in the way school effectiveness is measured. It’s more detailed. Even though we were rated excellent last year, we would have had several “bad” grades last year with the current system. The value-added is a new measure, and it looks at the progress students have made in the past year. Overall we got an A there. We got a D in Gifted/Talented and will be looking for ways to improve there. There’s a lot of new things, teachers, math and reading coaches, principals. We’re adapting and looking at the weaknesses, and having data driven discussions. By mid October, they are hoping to begin reaching some of the populations that were weak. A big focus of M. Toure’s this year is providing the teachers with professional development time. If you have any questions, feel free to call M. Toure. He encourages us to read more about what others are saying about this new system and can see what opinions are out there. Kristen Allison pointed out that when you look at our test scores, notice that a bunch of them did jump. She asks about how Gifted/Talented are being tested with growth, since many kids are testing high on the tests and it can be hard to see where growth is needed or how it is being measured. There’s not a lot of room for growth if you go by the current test scores, since some kids are close to top. M. Toure added that the 3rd grade scores are traditionally not that high, but were much higher than previous years, so good things are going on here. A parent asked if the new building will allow for gap space for Gifted/Talented kids? (yes, there will be flexible space in new building for this)
A good friend of M. Toure’s is giving us US vs mexico soccer tickets; he called 20 families with high OAA scores and the kids are going to the game as a reward for their hard work.
He’s appreciating some feedback he has gotten from people for grant raising. Also, spread the word about the target fundraiser on facebook!
A big thank you to Tiffany Hanna for hosting Mme Ruiz when she first got here, and thank you to Mme. Legrand and Mme. Scoyez for mentoring her. Mme. Ruiz is very appreciative for help from all of us.
4.) Treasurer’s report
Ryan passed out the new budget, in Sheila’s unexpected absence. We are starting off the year with about $3500 less than last year–mostly because of the rainy comfest weather and water sales were down (this fundraiser typically is our largest money maker for the year; in comparison to this year, we made about $6000 in 2012). It’s a hit on our budget but we do have money. Andrea added that the 7th and 8th graders took their portion (2/9) of the budget with them, and that the account balance is what we have in the bank. We have already paid most of what we promised to International. We still owe them $500, and are just waiting on the invoice from them. Ryan: We set aside $2500 for the new building, we will keep doing this to have pocket money for things like playground equipment, which is not covered in the new building budget. We are starting at $16420 in the budget overall. Most of the stuff in here (the budget line items) is pretty self explanatory. We keep some money in discretionary funds, for teacher requests. For teacher requests over $100 we bring to the PTO meetings for a vote. We gave some additional funds to Mme. Cadenel, because much of her classroom needed to be replaced when supplies and educational materials were thrown out over the summer; we gave some incoming teachers some start up fees to help build their classrooms. We will vote on the budget at the October PTO meeting.
5.) Hot dog hoedown
Our first annual event will be coming up quickly (9/20). Amanda and Ryan have sign up sheets for volunteers. We get a lot of local vendor donations for food. Amanda explained the various needs for volunteers. The sign up is also online through sign up genius, we will put a link to it on FB/pto website. Sign up now if you know what you want to do, and Amanda will enter your info online, or think about it and sign up later at sign up genius. Ryan: HDHD is an annual fundraiser, and a chance to get together with school. We usually meet in the cafeteria, kids end up on the playground. It’s a great event and people have fun, and have a chance to get to meet other parents. Amanda puts a call out for any musicians who may want to play at HDHD; if anyone knows of anyone who may be interested, contact amanda at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have hotdogs from Weilands, all beef franks this year instead of a mix. We will have veggie dogs available as well. Baked beans will be donated from City BBQ; we will provide veggie baked beans. Cole slaw will come from Giant Eagle. There are pending items from GFS, and this may be something that comes to fruition at a later event. What we need from parents: hot dog buns. if you know someone in food service, this would be tax deductible. Q: what quantity? 320 buns.
6.) Room parent volunteers
Andrea: we thought this may help with communication if we had a point of contact for field trips, holiday parties, things needed in classroom, etc. She sees this role as being an ambassador for the PTO. We are still missing some volunteers and don’t foresee this being a huge time commitment. Mme. Foley, Mme. Startz, Mlle. Lipp, and Mme. Shoulders need parents. We hope this will be useful in helping us communicate will all parents.
7.) Future volunteer opportunities
Amanda: She mentions the blue sheet (that has gone home with students, or that K parents filled out at school during orientation) that lists the PTO activities for the year, and says that this is the most important thing she does for her child, so she volunteers for everything she can. She wants to touch on each one so people know what to expect. Ryan and Amanda are in charge of Hotdog Hoedown, and thus are the ones to contact with any questions. In November and February we provide dinner for our teachers when they are here during conferences. It’s usually a theme–soup and sandwiches, italian, asian, etc. You drop off your food after school, it’s very simple and very nice. It doesn’t take a lot of time. The holiday craft bazaar is in November, Megan will be in charge of organizing that. There is the international potluck early next year: you bring food and eat!. There’s no charge, just a great community building event. PTO will run the scholastic book fair and will need volunteers to staff the book selling. We have a family fun night in April. Our last two events are our biggest money makers and they require the most volunteers: Fancy Fair in May (the games, the food, the silent auction all need people) and Comfest in June: (majority of our operating budget comes from this, we need volunteers to sell water, as well as comfest volunteers for security, trash etc).
Andrea adds that the blue sheet is a sign of interest and not necessarily a commitment to the event. It’s just a contact list, and you will get individual emails and info about these events throughout the year. Kristen Allison adds that Mme. Shoulders and Mlle. Lipp may be able to share a parent since there aren’t field trips, etc. Hope McGonigle: just wanted to clarify the difference between being a room parent and volunteering in the classroom. Ryan: you could do both, but they are separate things.
Also, in the past 7th grade parents have supported 8th grade with graduation, this is something for us to think about this year for the 6th graders.
8.) Kenwood kash
This is a gift card program where Kenwood gets part of the proceeds. In the past, we have split the proceeds, 40% to PTO, 60% to the Canada trip. Since the trip is in limbo, maybe this $$ could go to Camp Willson. What is camp willson? Mme. Jezerinac shared that this is year 19 of her going. It’s a 2 day 1 night, ymca camp in Bellefontaine, OH. There a variety of different activities, mostly science related. They play games, eat together. It’s an exercise in learning through cooperation. In past years, it has been a 3 day 2 night camp, but there was not enough money last year for that. It would be nice to take it back to that 2-night camp because with the one night, they get to camp, set up, have a few hours, and then have to tear down the next morning. It’s not really enough time for the experience. The kids really enjoy it (this is a 5th grade trip). It’s a bonding experience. It costs about $126/kid for 3 days. $60 for one night. Former principal Mme. Palma has paid for half of that (with Kenwood money), that didn’t happen last year. It’s in January this year, partly to give kids more time to raise money. Kristen Allison: what if your Kenwood kash exceeds your amount for your kid, can it go to a general fund for Camp willson? VOTE: Kristen proposed this; Julie Duhigg. seconded, all in favor; motion passed.
Bannon McBride gave a short presentation about Kenwood Kash: she buys gift cards from a seller in MI, she is here every Friday after school with them. She has a form that outlines what cards are offered–grocery, gas, amazon, many many stores. You place an order through Bannon over email; she will initiate an email through the pto list (Bannon’s contact info: email@example.com, 263.9167) If she doesn’t have the cards on hand on Fridays, she will put them in your child’s backpack. If you have a problem with that, let her know, she has never had any problem with cards gone missing, etc. You pay via check or presto pay, no credit cards. You can order online as well (shopwithscrip.com). Some you can get emailed to you within 10 minutes (Hope McGonigle notes that amazon.com is one of those places, so if you are placing an order, you can order an amazon giftcard online for the amount you need, receive the code over email, and receive kenwood kash credit. easy!) . Andrea: also, you can get Giant Eagle gift cards through Bannon, then buy other gift cards at GE for which you get fuel perks, so it’s a win win if you plan ahead. It’s free money for you for Camp Willson. Most of the cards don’t earn a ton of $$ but it adds up. Tiffany Hanna added that she got her (child’s) $1100 Canada trip paid for, and had enough extra in her acct to pay for 6 kids to go to Camp willson.
Bannon explained the kroger rewards card that can be connected to Kenwood (as can Giant Eagle). The hardest part is logging into the kroger website! Every quarter, we get about $200 from Kroger. It’s very easy to do.
9.) Open Discussion
Mme. Vanden Noven thanks everyone for donating items for her classroom this year. They made a card and the kids are so excited. She received so much that she was able to supplement the other K rooms.
Andrea: She plugged clicking on the facebook target promotion/fundraiser again. Also, Mme. williams will be collecting box tops again. [All classrooms usually collect these during the year, and have a contest as to who can collect the most] Finally, we will have another walkathon in October, would love your feedback of what you would like to buy this year with that raised money.
Ryan: at the ice cream social, a parent asked if we (we=a seasoned Kenwood parent) would consider calling the incoming K parents and telling them what to expect while they are here during the first year. It’s a little late to do this this year, but we should think about this for next year. Kristen Allison: the feedback we got before was that this wasn’t completely helpful, because new parents didn’t feel comfortable getting cold called, etc. Maybe the K families can be given contact info for/matched with an older parent so they can make contact at their leisure.