PTA Board meeting minutes
(see also agendas)
PTA General meeting minutes
(see also agendas)
GRAHAM HILL PTA
PTA General Meeting
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Susan Kingsbury and another GH instructor are teaching two courses in math through the Powerful Schools program, starting this week. They talked about the nature of the courses, and are actively recruiting both younger and older students. Explorations in Math (EIM) is the organization presenting these courses.
The goal of EIM programs is to make math fun, and to integrate math into everyday life. There will be games, and fun, challenging activities that students can rotate through. Ms. Kingsbury also announced that Jan 13th is the first Starbucks open mike evening. GH Students will read their own work. The reading goes from 6:30-8pm, and there is a Parents workshop at 5 pm. This is through the Powerful Writers program.
I) President’s Report – Deena
Deena welcomed all to the first meeting of 2010. Chris Morningstar, GH principal, was unable to attend because of the recent passing of her father.
Deena won a tour of the WA state capitol and lunch with Sharon Tomiko Santos at last year’s GH auction. She reported that this was a fantastic, educational time. Deena encouraged everyone to visit the state capitol. Santos spent time over lunch talking about her work. She’s on the Congressional Education Committee, Finance and Banking and Insurance. She was raised and educated in South Seattle schools, and lives in Rainier Beach. She is well aware of the issues that SE Seattle schools are facing. She has 11 grandkids – girls are graduating from high school, while the boys are not. Her first grandchild is going to college. Santos is working on getting kids to stay in school through her efforts on the Education Committee. She is very dedicated in trying to engage diverse communities in Seattle schools.
Sadly, Santos also shared that cuts to school funding are going to be more and more extreme. Our state is in a huge financial crisis. Some new revenue enhancing bills will provide minimal help. Deena believes that having strong PTAs will be even more important for schools.
Deena next reminded PTA members that the two education levies will be coming up for general vote on February 9th, and indicated that passage of these levies is crucial for the success of Seattle public schools. She urged everyone to help get the levies passed in whatever way is possible, perhaps by assisting School First, the organization advocating on behalf of the levies.
Deena also announced that the first Math Night will be held on Thursday, January 21st. It will be a new, expanded format with EIM teachers bringing games and activities. This should be a fun night for all. Deena is looking for more volunteers to come at 5:30 and help until the program ends at 7:30p.
II) PTA Board Teams
Treasurer’s Report—Keith Harrison
Keith distributed a streamlined budget, which he believes presents an easier way to visualize the PTA budget. There are no major changes in the budget regarding expenses.
In terms of fundraising: We eventually hit the goal for Chinook books sales. More checks will be trickling in. Keith thanked you Joela Maggio and Scott Ringgold for their great work on this effort!
About the Annual Fund: We are just under half way toward our goal. We need to do additional work on this effort. There will be more outreach to past donors. Keith encouraged everyone to give if they have not already.
Debbie Leonard asked if there was an ask to extended family members. Keith thinks that this was done. Debbie encouraged this approach. If anyone has any further ideas, please contact Keith, Ian Blaine, or the GH Annual Fund Co-Chairs this year, Nancy Siegel and Marmot Snetsinger.
Keith further announced that the Outdoor Education Overnight (OEO) fundraising was very successful this year. They did a fantastic job! Fifth graders and their parents exceeded their fundraising goal through cookie dough sales, a read-a-thon, and by holding a pancake breakfast. The OEO experience included three nights away at a fantastic camp, Islandwood. After some discussion, Keith suggested that there be a balance between student driven fundraising efforts and an overall, fund development approach for the PTA. Keith believes that a coordinated fundraising approach at GH would be beneficial. Keith proposed that we set aside the excess that occurred (due to such successful fundraising) for next year. The 5th graders did not need the $2,000 that the PTA had set aside for the Islandwood experience, resulting in an excess of over $3,000.
Dan Eder wanted clarification regarding earmarking the extra $3,000 to the OEO budget.
Dan Eder proposed a motion that the additional funds raised by OEO funnel into the general PTA fund. The motion was seconded. After considerable discussion, a vote was taken and the motion passed with one nay.
Discussion about this motion included some of the following points:
Dan: The PTA’s commitment to OEO ought to be $2,000 or whatever we decide at budget time, and then if OEO fundraising falls short we can deal with it at the appropriate time. However, Dan believes that this question presents is a bigger issue than just this specific case. Dan raised questions about kids who can’t go on the OEO without scholarships, and other matters, and stated that in the past, the PTA allocated $2,000 and the 5th grade parents were responsible for the rest. Debbie Leonard commented that if the money is allocated to the General Fund, then there ought to be a line item. Perhaps the excess funds ought to be specifically earmarked back to OEO? Ian Blaine: there is a general management side of fundraising, and he is not sure that we want to get into specific earmarks. Keith would like to make a commitment to fund OEO. Scott: Strategically, it is a good idea to identify what we are spending money for, but it also is wise not to earmark funds. Anna McCartney: is there a way to keep fundraising separate and for specific purposes? This could serve as an inspirational framing device for making asks.
Dan Eder stated that the OEO is very expensive and inappropriate – a Cadillac version of an overnight experience in nature. Dan proposed that the PTA Commit to $2,000 for OEO annually, and have money in the bank which is not earmarked, then some of the remaining PTA dollars can be allocated for the OEO if necessary.
Auction Update—Anna McCartney
The 2010 GH auction will be held on May 1st at the Southeast Seattle Community College. Anna has created committees to coordinate the many facets of this important event. Involvement with procurement activities is especially needed at this time. Anna has an ask list of places to go to and is hoping volunteers will step up to make an ask. New auction software has been acquired, so everything will be more organized. Volunteers can pick certain “categories” that they’d like to procure for. Last year the raffle did very well: the prize was a Nintendo game. If anyone has any great connections to help secure a fabulous prize for this year’s raffle, please let Anna know. Also, the idea of having things that you buy into would be very successful – e.g. such items as last year’s tamale making classes, and the overnight at school – all made lots of money and didn’t cost much. Please volunteer to help with procurement!
Grounds Report—Deena McCartney, reporting for Cambria Cox
There will a clean-up session on Monday, 1/18, MLK Day at GH as part of a day of service to help honor the memory of MLK. There will also be clean-up activities that day at Lakewood Community Center
Dearborn Park and other locales close to GH.
Cambria hopes that everyone will continue bringing items for the food drive for the Rainier Valley Food Drive.
The composting training for 5th and 4th graders will be held on 1/27/10.
The new panel for the damaged playground slide will arrive later this month.
The green house project will start in February.
Eric Jewett will be working with students in each classroom to lead them in writing a class song and performing it. He will then create a music video. Each song’s message will focus on the one or two things that you would want to say to the world. Each child will receive a CD with art work of their class song. There will be an overall CD/DVD to be sold to help fund Eric’s artist-in-residency.
Membership and Communications—Angela McKinney
There has been a lull in recruiting new members for the PTA after the holidays.
All GH communications systems are up and running –
Angela asked GH families to please join our GH Yahoo group.
Also, she further noted that the PTA board posts our minutes on the Wiki, as well as our calendar. The Wiki is interactive, and is currently in the process of being updated, thanks to Debbie Leonard. Many thanks to Debbie!
Volunteers—Keith Harrison for Beth Jacoby
Heritage night is coming up, and volunteers are needed.
Debbie Leonard: Heritage Night will be held this year on Feb 21st. It is probably the best attended event of the year. Everyone brings some food to share taken from their cultural heritage. It is a great night for GH. Teachers are involved with its planning. Parents do set—up, and making sure the entire event flows. Debbie needs volunteers for set-up, greeters, table monitors, cleaning-up, etc. Most volunteer slots are one-half hour to 45 minute slots. Please contact Debbie if you need other information.
Julie Grove mentioned that the list serve was a most effective way to recruit volunteers for Fall Fest.
We have completed the peak ask period for the GH annual fund, and we’re about half way to our goal of $10,000. A few more outreach flyers will go out. We will be looking to extended family members, and others. Nancy Siegel and Marmot Snetsinger did a fantastic job of organizing the annual fund.
Keith proposed that an ask be made at Heritage Night. There was some discussion around this question, and an agreement was made to present a gentle ask at Heritage Night. Deena asked if we’ve engaged in any grant writing, and Ian informed her that we have not yet done so. For federal stimulus money, the grant writing process is extremely demanding. Accordingly, Ian is more inclined to apply for private sector monies and local foundations.
Debbie Leonard: There are different pools of people to think about to turn to for support, like relatives that are farther away, etc. The auction was so successful, maybe people are holding back contributing a gift now, because they are anticipating the auction.
In terms of the Safeway eScrip program: we’re up to 90 supporters. Beth Jacoby, who is heading up this effort, would really like to get to 100. Beth has done a great job with this!
Angela suggested that we distribute a flyer with the e-scrip information. Debbie: Have a table at Heritage Night where folks can sign up for the Safeway seSrip program. Angela agreed that there should be a table for the eScrip program at Heritage night.
Scott Ringgold suggested that we set up a table outside of Safeway. Keith responded that Beth is determining if this is possible.
The PCC “scrip” program needs a volunteer manager. The cards have to be purchased up front and then sold to a person who uses them, and then recharges them as they shop. Beth is hoping to have a volunteer for this job who is at the school on a daily basis. If you are interested in this, or know someone who might be interested in helping in this way, please contact Beth.
Math Night and Heritage Night had already been discussed. Accordingly, Deena simply thanked Debbie Leonard for volunteering to serve as coordinator for Heritage Night this year. Thank you Debbie!
On January 21 the ballots will be mailed for the Seattle schools operating and capital levies. These levies raise 25% of the school district’s operating budget. Schools First is advocating so that the ballot measures will be successful. GH has already endorsed the ballots. Schools First is looking for volunteers and also needs money. Historically, the levies have passed, but we’re in the worst of times – there is a fair chance they may not pass this year. Dan urged everyone to please share information about the levies with others that may not understand their critical importance.
Questions & Reminders
Keith: School tours are coming in mid-February. Deena asked Ms. Morningstar if she would like help from the PTA. When Deena hears back from Ms. Morningstar, she will let everyone know if their help is needed during the tours.
Deena adjourned meeting at 7:40pm.
Graham Hill PTA Board Meeting Minutes
December 1, 2009
Principal’s Report—Chris Morningstar
Graham Hill is getting ready for next round of MAP testing to give us information to compare first go round with 2nd go round and see what progress we’re making. Chris was at AS1 and felt thankful for being at Graham Hill, based on what she saw with their building. We have no dates for budgetary things. CSIP review, also known as the Transformation plan is a working document where you can review goals by school. The report is on the web and can be reviewed by all.
1) FEAT: Stands for Family Engagement Action Team & includes teachers, parents from BLT and a few other parents. FEAT’s mission is to find ways to engage families at school and at home, tied to CSIP to help children do well academically. Once CSIP goals are established, the FEAT team will build their goals. EIM and Heritage night are two examples of ways that the FEAT team can engage with families. They are defining what it means to be part of GH as a teacher, student, staff person, family, etc. Bringing together the Montessori and the traditional programs are also part of the goal.
2) GH family support worker Nina asked for help assisting GH families during the winter break. Safeway gift cards are needed in any amount to help low income families during winter break. The gift cards will be collected by Vicki in the office. Keith reported we have $750 family support budget. Keith thinks last year we used it for gift cards. Keith will let Nina know that funding is available.
3) Ms. Sharp has questions for our PTA Treasurer. She would like to confirm that $1,000 in funds will be allocated for the 5th grade Islandwood experience. She was told by the previous treasurer that there was $1,700 in bank from last year, and would like to know if that funding available. If there is extra money this year, how do we record for future treasurers to know? Are checks being deposited for Islandwood? We need timely check depositing so we don’t have NSF when checks are delayed in being deposited. Keith will follow up with Shelly Sharp. Keith reported there is $2,000 allocated in the current budget for Islandwood.
Cherrie Adams reported that Heritage Night will be held on Friday 2/26/10. The Heritage Night Committee met last week to review last year’s format and times. There was discussion about having the start time from 5:30-7p. That would allow time to view displays. There will be music in the library from 6-7p. From 7-8p there will be live entertainment, with cleanup from 8-9p. Concern was expressed that there is not enough time for people to look at displays. Consider using all hallways and bulletin boards. Then close downstairs at certain time. That way displays could be left up for next day and further review by classes. Alternatively we could make the event go later, but concern that the day is too long for the clean up crew. Not easy to start earlier because set up barely gets done on time with people coming after work. The potluck also revolves in its arrival. We need time for people to mingle. Possibly have tables downstairs for desserts. Andre Canty has agreed to MC for the evening. Hard to fit it all in with the live entertainment. Many people come for socializing and not necessarily to review the students work. The night is about heritage and they spend lots of time building their displays.
Sean Rolloson talked about entertainment: PAYO, the Phillipino Area Youth Organization, will be presenting a pole dance with 15 kids, which will last about 20 minutes. There is not a set fee, so we we pay what we can.
Last year we had money from an MIP grant, and we paid the storyteller $200. BogiNam and the Mexican dance group were also paid. This year we have no money. They would be happy with an honorarium for the community outreach space. Tracey Helming is playing in a heritage group and they could possibly play. Tracey will find out from the band tonight how much, probably $150 for the group.
Keith said we have a budget of $850 for Heritage Night. We pay for paper products, and the grant paid for decorations. Our PTA paid for performers and the paper products. Dan thinks performances go on beyond the attention span. Can we ask them to perform for shorter times? Nan-Li will have kids sing some Chinese songs. We have had kids from our school in the actual performances in past years, but since we’re trying to do more outreach to other cultures, it’s harder to find organizations with students in them.
PTA Parents need to do the food in the lunchroom and Debbie Leonard has guidelines for what was done last year. Beth will help to determine a parent leader. Beth will call Debbie. Dan Sanger will do the fliers to go home. At some point, it was suggested that a Heritage Night recipe book might be created as a possible fundraiser.
Fathers @ Graham Hill
Ray Robinson reported about an initiative at GH with fathers. We want to get more fathers to come back into the classroom to support students without fathers. We need to support the children and the staff. There are 11 fathers currently on board and willing to come into classrooms and volunteering. Ray says statistically mothers are now the breadwinners and that means the fathers are at home and should be able to come to the school and work in the classrooms and in the playground. Fathers can help to find non-competitive games for kids to play so young boys will have less conflict on the playground. Ray has a program called the Dad’s Program on Rainier Avenue which tries to cross the bridge between Mom and Dad when there are problems. We want to keep kids safe. It would help the school a lot. Sean and Ray would like to have input about how the program would work.
Beth was mentioning African American parent involvement day February 8th. Last year it was opened to all parents and then they went into the classrooms. Stacey mentioned they should go through a special volunteer program for fathers. Address this in January, a parent meeting more geared toward fathers and have a roundtable with questions and IAs. Chris suggested we do Donuts for Dads weekly. Sean will follow up with Chris and Ray to set a date for the father’s meeting. Beth can talk with teachers in advance to see who wants father volunteers and with Ms. Lafayette to coordinate recess. Fathers are especially effective when we have subs. Perhaps Ms. Lafayette could teach the Dads some games.
Sustainability/Fiscal Responsibility Team—Ian
Ian Blaine reported on sustainability. We have a great problem to solve, an “embarrassment of riches”. While this is fantastic, it is also something we need to manage with expectations, etc. We were asked to look at sustainability and the core mission of our school, to tie together, and make sure our budget reflects the school’s core mission. This was difficult, and so a historical view was taken. They usually start the year with the budget they spent in the last year. It creates flexibility and a cushion that programs didn’t have to be stopped. We ended up with a surplus last year. Decisions should be made about what to do next. We should take some time at year end and ask questions about effectiveness of spending. Let’s do a survey about the ways that the money was spent and see if people think the spending plan was a good one.
Dan Eder commented that the other main reason to have a positive year end balance is so that the timing of the outlays doesn’t match the timing of expected income, so the buffer is needed. Dan thinks there will be hard choices this year based on the spending rate if we raise the same as last year because there won’t be a carryover.
Historically the carryover was $25-$30,000, and planned program spending was $75,000. Have as one of the goals that as we’re building the budget, and let’s spend what revenue we think we’ll get.
Keith suggests we propose an amendment with the bylaws: Budget expenditures should match the budget revenues with another goal to build up the reserve to X%. We’ve always raised more than we thought we would and spent less than we thought we would.
Deena to talk to State PTA to see if there have been other schools in this situation, find recommendations and follow up to resolve.
Ian will follow up with the District. Kevin Corrigan runs the school district Grants Office.
Keith has modified the format of the budget to get onto one page. He tried to do a P&L, but the consistency of funding month to month is not stable. Keith will do a bit more revising to make it more apparent when there is disparity between what is budgeted and actuals.
Other budget items of note: Chinook books are inching toward our goal, nearly there. Catalog sale fell short $3,400 against $6,000 goal. Catalog stuff came in today and is in the PTA room. Cookie dough arrived and went home today.
Keith has an invoice for $836 for a plastic panel. The slide will not be replaced. We’re simply looking for a way to replace the plywood. She’s going back to see if they can do better. Do lemonade or Hawaiian punch and pre-pour them.
Phone thank you will be Tuesday 12/8 from 6-7pm. Approximately 10 people calling. All Board members should attend. Stacey will look at the list of members and determine who may need interpreters for the calls.
Catalog sale covered above.
Chinook Books – getting close to goal. Joela will ask Scott to put a reminder on yahoo group about what a great holiday gift they are to give and try to sell some more.
Auction - Anna and others were part of training for auction software and they are pleased.
eScript – 24 new people have signed up since Beth took this job on. Beth will look into if we can have a table at the two nearby Safeways to sign up people.
Communications: Stacey would like to be CC’d on all communications with our IA community so she can know what is being asked of them. Stacey is also willing to do follow up with the IAs to better engage our diverse community as needed. Keith believes the old GH website is still posted and will follow up with Tom Thompson to see if he can get the site taken down. Keith will also follow up with Tom about verifying dates of all upcoming GH events so we don’t have inaccurate information being auto-generated to the Yahoo group.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service – Cambria has offered to lead this if no one else is already doing so. Go Cambria!
The Board discussed Parent Education meetings and didn’t completely sign off but most of the feedback discussed was that we don’t think there is enough of a draw for parent education meetings to hold them in addition to PTA meetings. Also, the PTA meetings are quite full this year, not allowing time for education topics to be well covered in addition to the PTA business. Beth suggested we have guest presenters like the librarian to talk about what is happening with various lesser known programs at GH and keep the parents involved. Angela & Deena to consider for future General Meeting agendas.
Chris suggested we invite new school board member Betty Patu to come to one of our meetings. Deena to work with Chris to invite her.
Chris also suggested the GH PTA should write a thank you to Cheryl Chow for her service to the school board. Deena to work with Chris on language for the letter to acknowledge her involvement when GH was on the closure list.
We need to decide the menu for 1/12 General PTA meeting. Angela to check previous menu notes and make a recommendation and email board to decide. Beth suggested more definition on the PTA meeting fliers about what families should contribute to the meal. Go back to last year’s system of A-F bring salad, G-N bring …
Incorrect date was listed for Math night in January. The correct date is 1/21/10.
GRAHAM HILL PTA
Tuesday, November 10th, 2009
Angela opened the meeting and thanked everyone for attending. Agendas were distributed, as well as budgets and other items.
II) Principal’s Report—Chris Morningstar
Ms. Morningstar indicated that there was nothing additional to report about the new School Assignment Plan (SAP), which would be voted on by the school board on November 18th. Andre Canty, Graham Hill’s school “connector” will discuss the SAP at a later point in the meeting.
Next Ms. Morningstar reported on GH health issues: Regarding the H1N1 virus, GH has been doing very well. 7.5 percent has been the highest absence rate to date, and absences seem to occur in groups. There have actually been no confirmed cases of the HINI virus, but many suspected cases. The school is working hard with students to practice good health, which includes frequent hand washings and the use of hand sanitizers.
III) Committees Presentations
1.Treasurer’s Report—Keith Harrison
There is not much to report regarding budget changes for this month, with the exception of fundraising totals, which will be discussed by the Fundraising Committee.
Next Keith resumed the sustainability of budget discussion, reporting that this was discussed at the last PTA Board meeting. However, the board did not come to an agreement about the goal to shoot for regarding carry over of X amount of dollars each year. Questions such as, should this be a percentage of the budget, etc. , were discussed. This issue remains an open discussion. It might make more sense to have this talk later in the year when we know more about the numbers for the current year and are beginning planning for next year. Please give input to Keith on this topic.
We’re spending about $30,000 more this year than last year, and currently the
total cash on hand: $66,000.
As it stands right now: if we take the $29,000 debit that’s budgeted and subtract this from the cash on hand – we are still going to be in a cash position of $30,000 at the end of the year. This is similar to previous years. Depending upon where fundraising winds up, we may need to change the budget. At some point, we need to pass a resolution and add the resolution to the bylaws, such as: our goal is to carry X amount over each year.
There was a question/comment from a PTA member about the need to prioritize budget items.
Keith then indicated that we don’t want to add to this year’s budget. He mentioned that there are buckets in the budget we can tap if we want to move funds around and leave it fiscally neutral. We have allocated $4,000 for building maintenance. This is new – not earmarked for any specific project. This pot of money can potentially be shifted for another purpose, and other budget items we can perhaps scale back.
Ian Blaine commented that the notion of sustainability for some programs is important, and added that not all budget items have the same value. Ian believes that the GH PTA ought to commit to a budget that makes critically important issues happen. We should have core values reflected in the budget that are untouchable – with some items variable, and others are not. Keith: There may be differences of opinions regarding core values/items. Ian: Think about what is operationally necessary for the school to succeed. We could develop that list. Ian would like to see some governing principles developed to help the GH PTA shape our budget.
Andre Canty remarked that we are going to have to make tough choices, and agreed that we need to define sustainability issues. He further commented that if we don’t build principles now, we may make decisions from a place of fear later on.
Angela requested that a committee be created to determine these core values/principles, to help the GH PTA determine what is essential about its budget.
Sean Rolloson suggested that the mission statement serve as a road map for core values development, and then consensus could be created within the group.
Keith ended the budget discussion by informing everyone that the budget is reviewed at the last general PTA meeting of the year – usually in April/May.
2. Grounds Committee Report—Cambria Cox
The work party held earlier in the month was great, much was accomplished despite the challenging weather. Thanks so very much to all who participed!
The greenhouse is full with classes. There are five classes participating. There will also be Garden Buddies for each class; this will be a parent or other volunteer to work with the teachers. The food composting project has been a long haul: we have the funding now and are good to go. Cedar Grove with train 4th and 5th grade classes. They go through a week of training, and then actual composting begins. This program will start in Jan.
The slide replacement will be done within the next month.
Maura Whalen asked if there was a plan for sustainiabilty of compositng? Cambria indicated that the 4th graders shadow 5th graders.
Bee Weuthrich asked about how GH deals with graffiti? Angela responded that it ought to be reported, and then its elimination could be tied to a work party, or we could go through the school district’s procedure.
3. Arts Team—Traci Hoveskeland
The Arts Team is new this year. Its goals include increasing awareness of student art projects and others. We are working towards uploading photos to the wiki; each art team member has 3-4 teachers they work with to facilitate existing projects or create new ones.
The Art Team is also working on creating a GH Gallery. This will include long stretches of space that will feature art done by students, and also include teachers and local artists. Help is needed with labeling the art on walls.
Other projects include developing a mural for the Greenhouse wall. Maura Whalen is also working on bringing an artist-in-residence to GH this year. Lisa Conover is a 2nd grade teacher who is very enthusiastic about using the arts as the bridge to connect GH’s two programs. Lisa is heading up a Staff Arts committee, which has selected an artist-in-residence. His name is Eric Ingrem. He will work with all teachers at GH to produce a music video for each class. The topic for the video will be one question: if you culd choose one thing for the whole world to hear or sing, what would it be? Sounds very exciting. Consideration is cost. GH’s PTA has allocated $3,000 for artist in residence in the past. This artist is requesting a fee of $5,550, as video editing is time consuming process.
He might be willing to negotiate a smaller fee if he sells the videos. Andre: let’s negotiate some of the costs. Chris: This artist has not yet been presented to the staff.
One option: Guarantee the artist $3,000, and then indicate he could receive a percentage of the sales.
Bee: 16 classes sounds v. ambitious. Is this realistic? Check out with artist. The artist is suggesting that each copy of the video be sold at $9.
Beefurther commented that the GH Arts Team is hoping to also feature local community artists, and possibly include an art walk through the school.
Celia Weisman mentioned that she had talked to an artist who was part of the cooperative at the Columbia City Gallery, and that they might be interested in helping with this project.
4. Membership—Angela McKinney
We have the most PTA members that GH has ever had. We have 168 memberships, that were submitted to the state PTA. We’re holding a thankathon to thank all members, and are looking for volunteers to help with this effort.
5. Communications—Angela McKinney
Angela listed the various mechanisms that GH uses for communication purposes, including the Yahoo group, the Wiki, the District website tied to the Seattle Public Schools website. Thanks to Beth Jacoby, this is updated. We’d like more people to work on the Wiki.
Angela has reached out to the bilingual instructional assistants, given them flyers, and askd the IAs to share with their families. Angela also gives flyers to Kids Co. We are reaching out to families that do not have computer technology at home. Please share other suggestions for communications outreach with Angela.
6. Volunteer—Beth Jacoby
Thanks to all of GH’s wonderful volunteers!!!! Volunteers have been very busy and dedicated with fundraising efforts, events, room parents and in other areas as well. Currently there are 17 classrooms at GH with 30 room parents. Special thanks to Christine King, who organizes the Wednesday coffee hour, and hosts our Mandarin teacher. We still need volunteers, so Beth urged meeting attendees to fill out a form for volunteering, if they have not yet done so. The form helps us funnel volunteers to the right committees and projects.
Beth has also taken on the Safeway Escrip program: Safeway contracts with Escrip to handle their charitable giving. A percentage of what you spend at Safeway goes to GH. Last year we made about $1,000. This year we have 70 people signed up. Beth wants to get us to 100. Please sign up online or bring your club card to Beth and she’ll fill out a form. You can call an 800 number to get your club card number if you’ve lost it. There is no security breach, and this is basically free money for us. PCC is a bit different — you buy a gift card, and everytime you reload your card GH gets 5%.
Sean Rolloson: A lot of parents shop at Safeway; we ought to set up a table at big events to register folks. Beth indicated that this was already occurring.
7. Fundraising—Ian Blaine
Ian has taken on the role of serving as GH’s new fundraising co-chair. He reported that there are lots of ways to raise money, and that everyone can help. Next he gave an update on the various fundraising strategies that the GH PTA is currently utilizing:
Chinook book sales: we are currently under budget, but on track to hit our goal of $7,000 for a net of $3500.
Catalogue sales – will probably come in short. Maybe make half as much as we had planned. Seems that we will come in about $3,000 short of what was planned. Annual Fund: the highest pure profit strategy. The annual fund co-chairs are Marmot Snetsinger and Nancy Siegel. The letter will be sent in mid-November. We need to put the word out and understand the importance of this letter. Ian indicated that he would also make sure that a secondary letter is developed to pass on to friends and family.
The auction is in place: the location is firmed up and date. Now it is time to procure. Njat has volunteered to work as co-chair with Anna McCartney. Thank you so very much Njat!
We are thinking of new ways to fundraise – please contact Ian for these ideas.
8. Events—Joela Maggio
Fall Fest: thank Julie and Eland Grove for their great work, and Sean for music.
Family Fitness Night was a great time. Thanks to all the volunteers!
Next event: January. This Thursday night there is a Math Night at Rainier Beach High School.
9. Legislative—Andre Canty
Andre is the family connector between GH and the School District about the SAP. You may reach him at moc.oohay|ytnac.erdna#moc.oohay|ytnac.erdna. Ms. Morningstar will publicize this in the next newsletter. Dan Eder is the back-up.
Therre is good news: I-1033 went down!
The PTA can’t endorse a candidate, but we can say whether or not we support or reject a ballot measure.
In Feburary, there will be some measures that affect schools: Capital and Operating Levies that are up for renewal: Feburary 9th
IV) Special Presentation by Heidi Bennett, Legislative VP for Seattle Council PTSA, about Schools First
Heidi made an excellent presentation on the two school levies which will be voted on by the electorate in February 2010. The following are some of her key points:
GH rolls up to the Seattle Council, which then rolls up to Region 6, and then to the WA State PTSA.
Currently, we are in an education crisis. Our state budgets have been cut by $1.5 billion for 09-10 for K-12 for all districts. This cut has had profound effects. WA state is one of the states at the bottom of school funding per child. Most states fund public education locally, but Washington is different. Our Constitution requires that the state needs to pay for education. Supposedly this ensures that one district doesn’t get a better education than others, but this really ends up with mediocrity for everyone. We rank 45th of the 50 states in terms of funding per student. Last year: a lot of talk about reform. Everyone wants a system that is better for our kids.
In Seattle, this the following is absolutely criitcal:
1) Protect school budgets from further cuts
2) Pass the two levies: the operations levy accounts for 24 % of SPS budget. Building, technology and academics is 100% of the capital improvement budget. Parents haven’t been voting in the past. Now we must get everyone out to vote. These are not new taxes, but renewals. There are two building levies we just finished BEX. (Big projects) In February, we are voting on the BTA – smaller projects.
Our state only pays for 5 periods. The levies pay for a 6th period. This is very serious. The State was supposed to pay for everything – this is no longer the case. We need levies to pay for counselors, librarians, bilingual instructors, special education, etc. Currently WA State is not paying for enough credits for students to attend our own colleges and universities. The state requires a minimum of six periods, and WA state is only paying for 19 credits – One of the levies to be voted on in February will pay for extra credits so our children will be eligible to go on to college and universities.
Our levy rates are lower than the surrounding districts.
Levy election: Feb 9th, 2010.
Only 30% of families vote.
SchoolsFirst is asking every PTA to endorse the levies, and donate to the pro-levy campaign. Additionally, they would like each school to participate in the effort to get the levies passed by establishing a “Levy Captain,” who will create phone trees and get out the vote.
The Operating levy is 24% of the operations budget.
SchoolsFirst Is the organization that comes together every 3 years to endorse the levys.
Beth Jacoby made a motion that GH endorse the two levies that will be voted on in February 2010.
The motion was seconded by Maura Whalen and Ms. Morningstar.
The motion passed unanimously, with no opposition and no abstentions.
V) Introductory Discussion to Positive Discipline—Sean Rollosson
This is the 4th year that GH has instituted a positive discipline approach. All teaching staff has been trained in positive discipline, which includes classroom meetings, and getting kids involved with decision-making, and learning how to cooperate. SWISS is an online program to look at lots of numbers – what kinds of incidents are happening and when. Sean also leads parenting classes. He is starting a new parenting group in late February 2010, which will meet for 7 weeks, most likely Thursday nights.
Sean led the PTA through a brainstorming session that resulted in two lists:
One of problems and challenges, and the other included gifts we’d like our children to have as they grow up. The gifts list included the following:
Healthy life style
Ability to work hard
With positive discipline, you move from the problems list to the gifts list, by guiding children through making little mistakes, building skills, and other strategies.
Parents are not always modeling what we’d like our children to be like.
Modeling is a big part of positive discipline. Much of the postive discipline approach evolves from the theories of the humanistic psychologist Alfred Adler. Adler believed that humans are motivated by the desire for belonging and significance. He believed in horizontal relationships, and he was an early advocate of feminism. Adler believed that it is the therapist’s job to encourage and give heart. He maintained that a misbehaving child is one that is discouraged.
Critieria for effective discipline:
Does it help children feel a sense of connection?
Is it mutually respectful? (Be firm and kind.)
Is it effective in the long-term?
Does it teach important life skills?
Learn from mistakes, and build skills
Basic tools of positive discipline:
Understanding the power of perception and interpretation, and realizing that mistakes are opportunity to learn.
Part of the Positive Discipline approach that GH has embraced includes the formation of Friendship Clubs. These are groups of students that teachers put together to talk about respect, problem solving, anger management, and to play some cooperative games.
In primary classes, Sean also teaches Kelso’s Choices, which presents conflict resolution strategies. The students practice these strategies in the classroom, and hopefully at home. The GH staff is working on how to help kids solve problems on the playground. GH is also presenting an Empathy building curriculum for the preschool through 2nd grade.
For 3rd/4th/5th grades, GH is implementing a curriculum that will cover steps to respect and anti-bullying.
Sean further noted that positive discipline in schools can not be a cookie cutter approach. In each context, though, attention must be given to what kinds of thoughts feelings and decisions are kids making that lead them to misbehave?
He further indicated that kids are great perceivers, but poor interpreters, and that 95% of kids don’t need discipline policy. And Sean also mentioned that today, we are treating misbehavior almost as a learning disability. GH takes an eclectic approach, and is not a 100% positive discipline school.
Sean then distributed some extremely informative and helpful material, Parenting from the Heart. Thanks were expressed to GH’s much appreciated school counselor!
(see also agendas)
Outreach & Communications team
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