PTO Meeting Minutes for April 10, 2018

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

Meeting facilitated tonight by Stewart Ikeda. Terry sends her apologies, but can’t make the meeting due to a family commitment. She is reachable at for any follow-up questions.

Treasurer’s report – Kate Leary:
Kate and Andrew have experimented with various financial software to perform their treasury duties, but found it was more than needed. They will be using a Google spreadsheet to keep track of what is spent vs. what we’ve budgeted. Daniel Jalkut to review monthly bank statement (per our financial safeguards). There were a couple of 2nd grade enrichment requests that had to be denied due to budgetary constraints, but overall we’re spending around $10,000 on field trips this year. MBTA buses are being used more than private buses this year, which has significantly reduced costs. See budget here.


Walkathon – Patsy O’Brien:
Will be held Friday April 27th (with rain date the following Friday). Permission slips and information forms were sent in backpack mail today, and Sarah Evans will post it online at the Hardy school website by the end of the week ( A Sign-up Genius request will also be sent via room parents this week. Patsy is trying to ask Whole foods to donate oranges and watermelon. We need at least 4 volunteers for each grade level, plus registration and food prep volunteers.

Teacher appreciation week – Patsy O’Brien:
Runs during the week of 4/30/18 through 5/4/18. Celebrations include a lunch for the teachers, door decorating by room parents, and other ideas which are currently being worked on. We need many volunteers to be in the school that week. A Sign-up Genius request will be sent out via room parents.

Field day –  Patsy O’Brien:
Friday June 1st  (with rain date of 6/8). Again, we need volunteers but will wait until after the former events have concluded before sending out a volunteer sign-up to avoid volunteer fatigue. The permits have been secured to use the fields. Patsy is thinking of asking families to donate old, unneeded shirts back that we can wash and distribute to kids who don’t have them, or forget them that day.

Teacher representatives’ report – Heather Smith (ELL teacher):
No updates from faculty. However, Heather mentioned a program which she is coordinating with Hardy parent Laura Saylor. The goal is to organize playground playdates/connections among ELL families. The plan is to schedule one at Hardy on 4/20, one at Magnolia playground on 5/4 and one at Spy Pond on 5/18; each from 2:45-4pm. Holly Rossi will send out this information in the next newsletter.

Committee Updates – Stewart Ikeda:
Enrichment  – Stewart Ikeda:
Spy Pond cleanup project going ahead. The Friends of Spy Pond (FOSP) have also made a request for help with a new erosion control project there. They are asking Hardy families to help clear a 20 x 20 foot patch of eroding land in preparation for planting new trees that the Town has secured. They also need help with maintaining and watering the trees. Cedrine Bell suggested that our school could make laminated signs to post next to trees, asking if people on the bike path who have extra water in their water bottles could dump it on the trees. If anyone is interested please contact Stewart at

Green team:
Any interested committee members? We need new volunteers to help with this committee.

Communications – Aimee Miller and Holly Rossi:
Many parents involved in our communications team have kids aging out of Hardy and we need a transition plan for running the website, google groups, making decisions about ownership of the website, domains etc.  Stewart started a doodle poll for a meeting date to take place after the April break. It may need to become another committee. Please contact Stewart at if you would like to join this effort.

Holly Rossi noted that we are up to 254 subscribers for the email newsletter, which will be sent out on Friday. Some teachers had tried to sign up but it got stuck in spam, so please check your spam filters. Holly makes an extra copy of the paper copies for teachers to keep (after distributing in student backpacks) and asked the teacher representative to find out if staff specialists would also like a copy of the backpack mail for their own use? Heather Smith will ask at the next staff meeting and remind them they can sign up online.

Student Directory:
Terry Holt is organizing volunteers to attend a meeting for Kindergarten families on May 8th in hope of encouraging participation in PTO and to begin soliciting information for next year’s directory earlier. There was also a brief discussion about whether to make the directory a PDF vs. paper copy next year. PTO hopes to work more closely with the school to find other options to make directory opt-in easier.

Old business:

Literacy night:
It was a huge success and included a visit by new principal, Kate Peretz. Ms. Muirhead suggested in the future we have multiple organizers so that it’s not on one main organizer next year. Next year needs more advance planning as many parents didn’t realize they needed volunteers and could have signed up earlier. There was a question about whether to assign certain events to certain grade levels to increase parent participation.

Anti-bullying campaign:
While usually held in the gym, this year it was held in the cafeteria which didn’t allow the kids the required room to move around. It was led by Steve Nugent, a martial arts teacher. There was a discussion about making it more an enrichment/curriculum event rather than a one-off event, in keeping with the school’s goal to improve their social/emotional intelligence.

Announcements or new business :

A parent asked if we have finalized copies of the new renovation playground maps? Patsy (who is involved with school council) said she hadn’t heard anything but would follow up with Kristin DeFrancisco.

5th grade car wash – Sunday May 6th. More details to follow.

Food policy:
There was a request from 2nd grade for reimbursement for a food project that ties in with what they are learning in their Japanese cultural unit. It was denied because of lack of funding, but it raises a larger question about food allergies and how it excludes some students from participating in educational events. There was a discussion about creating a working group of parents who can advocate on behalf of students to the Principal and administrators. It was felt that the school needs to set a clear policy about what is allowed rather than some classes allowing food/others not.


PTO Meeting Minutes for March 6, 2018

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

Update from Arlington School Committee – Len Kardon (liaison to SEPAC and Hardy):

Arlington schools will see a budget increase for next year of 8.5%, which is something not seen in many other school districts at this time. Arlington is starting to see enrollments level off at the Kindergarten level (after a huge increase in enrollment in past years) which means we’ll hopefully catch up with the growth in years to come. Overall, it’s an extremely busy time with so many projects/renovations and school constructions happening. Some points of note below:

  • An extra $1.3 million allocation has been made for Gibbs operating budget. Cluster numbers will be reduced – can be up to 150 students; now about 80 students. Adding staff at the high school, adding a half cluster at the Ottoson.
  • Full time Kindergarten teaching assistants: that was funded, so all elementary schools will have full time TAs moving forward.
  • High school – submission to the State targeted for April, which includes both suggestions for renovation/demolition/new construction. Per law, all options must be considered. Getting other options from architects/designers. April 4th forum where the architect is going to present ideas. Once funding approved, projected start date is Fall 2020, with a finish date of around 2023. $250 million expense, with the town planning to borrow $150 million.
  • Debt exclusion/override to fund the construction project:
    Arlington town funding comes mostly from property taxes. In MA, there is a law which limits the amount of increases in property taxes each year, even if there are more needs within the community. The cap is 2.5% increase per year unless the voters authorize an additional tax increase to pay for what we need. The current yearly tax increase only covers existing staff wage/inflation increases. Given that we have large building expenses and a need for more staff, an override must happen at some point in the near future. The Finance Committee and Board of Selectmen are in the process of working out how much extra to ask for and for how long (typically, an increase lasts 3-5 years).
  • Question about pool at High school? Len stated that it must be built in a separate building and can’t be contained within the high school main building due to MSBA budget/payment regulations. The town is funding a study addressing this for Capital planning, but either way it won’t be part of the building, if it is built at all.
  • Gibbs – moving along well. Mostly on schedule and budget.
  • Thompson and Stratton finished. Ottoson potential reconfiguration once 6th grade moves out.
  • Minuteman project – on schedule and budget. Open in fall of 2019.
  • A director of social/emotional learning was recently hired. Goal is to train all staff in mental health aid; safe and supportive schools plan. Even though there is one full-time social worker in every school, people have identified the need for additional support. She is looking at that and is trying to incorporate into the long range plan but focusing on professional training right now.

Principal’s report – Kristin De Francisco:
A huge thank you to all involved for an awesome silent auction (which raised nearly $13 000).
The biggest news is that the Principal candidates have or will be visiting the building. So far, Kristin has met with 2 candidates. She discussed the unique community of Hardy, and initiatives that can be built upon. They toured the building, during which many kids communicated the three C’s: Caring, Conscientious and Confident, which was impressive to see. On Tuesday 3/13 at 6:30pm, there is a parent question evening, where each candidate will give a short presentation followed by a time for questions. Please promote this event as it’s important to participate as a community, and Dr. Bodie will be reading feedback from parents after the event.

Playground update: bids came in from a couple of companies for the Lake Street side playground. There is a new facilities director who was recently hired, so they will be updated accordingly.
Question from parent to Kristin: can we consider a storage pod (with equipment that can be pulled out for play?). Kristin explained that last year the graduating 5th graders gave a gift which was a shed with equipment, but it was broken into one weekend and everything was stolen. Kristen is still open to the general idea but we need to think of something more secure.
Follow up question from parent to Kristin: will air quality be tested by a 3rd party during construction? We don’t want our kids exposed to construction dust, etc. Kristin will follow up on this.

Teacher Representatives’ Report – Heather Smith (ELL, teacher representative):
Thank you on behalf of the teachers for all the work the PTO does for the school.
A very helpful mindfulness training was conducted by the social/emotional learning director.
Friends of Spy Pond newsletter: Hardy is featured due to their role/interest in the Spy Pond cleanup, so look out for the newsletter.  

Fundraising Report – Patsy O’Brien:
Thank you to everyone for donations, time, and money. Last year 80 parents attended and this year it was closer to 130. Raised about $13 000.
Walkathon – April 20th:  Terry to head up email list/committee to discuss with Kate and Patsy regarding the ongoing planning of this event. 20% of the Walkathon profits will be donated to Arlington EATS/Hardy snack distribution.
Arlington EATS/Hardy snacks (Ann Chhabra) – Sarah Evans suggested that we make a paypal link on the Hardy website to make it easier for parents to donate to this cause.

Treasurer’s report  – Kate Leary:

Payments made since 2/9 report:

2/6/18 – $371.40, parent, International Festival
2/8/18 – $338.00, Docuprint Express Hardy Directory
2/8/18 – $783.00, The Discovery Museums, Grade 1 Enrichment (Science)
2/14/18 –  $ 88.67, Kate Leary, admin expenses (stamps, office supplies, PictoChart)
2/28/18 – bank for silent auction, $300 cash         
2/28/18 – $52.15, parent, admin expense from 2016-17 (shredding, etc)
3/1/18 – $3094, BROADLink Technology Solutions             
3/1/18 – $90, Paula O’Sullivan, Teacher Reimbursement
3/1/18 – $279,    Histrionic Academy LLC, fifth grade freedom trail field trip           
3/1/18 – $5.83, parent, IF supply reimbursement              
3/1/18 – $123.77, Kathryn Feinmann, Teacher Reimbursement                  

Deposits made since 2/9 report:              

2/8/18 – $250, John’s Landscape Service, Inc, SA sponsorship
2/14/18 – $1,100, transfer from Paypal, mostly SA tickets, but it’s not all figured out yet.
2/22/18 – $ 200.00, SA sponsorship, community member
2/28/18 – $905, transfer from Paypal, mostly SA tickets
2/28/18 – $400.00, Bright Funds, DDD matching donation              
2/28/18 – $260, Another Chapter (Ms. Muirhead’s library fund) 
3/6/18 – $300 SA bank returned (cash)
3/6/18 – $2204.00 SA cash earnings (raffles, wine pull)
3/6/18 – $470 SA checks (mix of night-of tickets and payment for items won)

$1503.17 balance – all paying for auction items from invoices sent yesterday

Spirit Wear:
$435 profit so far this year. Bonnie will do another push soon. Lots of stock left because she did a big order earlier in the year.

Silent Auction:
Approximate profit is $12,000-13,000! All will go toward the new playground. We will work with the Town Manager’s Office to figure out the best way to handle our contribution administratively.  

BUDGET for rest of 2017-18
balance as of 3/6/18
$ 37,750.00

Projected expenditures

outstanding checks
$ (550.75)

transfer to savings
$ (8,000.00)

Silent Auction Sponsorships (playground)
$ (700.00)

Silent Auction ticket sales (playground)
$ (1,839.88)

website fees
$ (100.00)

EATS snacks (fresh fruit)
$ (100.00)

Field trips
$ (9,500.00)

remaining IF budget
$ (1,292.40)

remaining library budget
$ (1,734.07)

By the Book (Ms. Muirhead’s fund)
$ (260.00)

Fifth grade graduation
$ (1,900.00)

literacy night
$ (300.00)

Colonial Day materials
$ (500.00)

Colonial Day enrichment assembly
$ (450.00)

outstanding teacher reimbursements
$ (1,000.00)

Field Day
$ (400.00)

Teacher Appreciation Week
$ (900.00)

Tax Preparation
$ (400.00)

AHS Graduation Party
$ (100.00)

Science Camp Fund
$ (2,700.00)

MCBA Books
$ (1,200.00)

Art Teacher Supplies
$ (850.00)

Holiday help 2018-19 (earmarked from 2017)
$ (90.00)

possible expenses

Mini Grants
$ (500.00)

EATS snacks line item for 2018-19
$ (1,000.00)

Projected income

$ 2,500.00

matching Walkathon donation, Matt Urcioli
$ 2,500.00

box tops (April)
$ 237.00

Cause and Event race
$ 400.00

supplies drive
$ 2,500.00

Projected uncommitted funds 8/18
$ 9,719.90

Question regarding the budget: Is saving 1/3 of our operating expenses (per the bylaws) necessary?
– Need reserves in case of fiscal downturn/lesser fundraising
– Unanticipated expenses coming up with the new build.
– Transparency/fiscal responsibility
– Hard to reconcile having money set aside when we aren’t funding things that are promised (eg. overhead projectors)
– Too high a %; consider reducing?
– Parents concerned that money they donated isn’t used for their child that year. A motion was passed to approve the budget for the rest of the school year. Motion seconded. Motion passes unanimously to approve the budget, including the 1/3 savings requirement.

Communications update – Sarah Evans and Aimee Miller:
This is Sarah and Aimee’s last year at Hardy and they need to transition their role of managing the Hardy website. There are questions about whether to continue with the same host site, Weebly. There’s not much continuity among Arlington schools’ host websites. The district should own the school websites, but we also need access and flexibility. WordPress recommended over Weebly. Need a committee to help with the transition.

Electronic newsletter update – Holly Rossi.
Each month after the Tuesday PTO meeting, Holly sends out the electronic version by that Friday. The paper
backpack letter goes out on the last day of the month. If anyone wants to participate in the process, contact Holly at

Committee updates:
Enrichment committee – an anti-bullying program taking place on 3/23.
Books and Arts – Literacy night will most likely be on 5/10 but still TBD.
Sports Committee – Walkathon on April 20th. Terry to head up email list/committee to discuss with Kate and Patsy about coordinating the event.
Field Day – need new leadership. May 1st, raindate May 8th. If interested, contact Terry at

Old Business:
Overheads project: 8 classrooms have been installed with HDMI cables (K &1st). IT guy came in and gave teachers instructions for how to use them and the feedback has been great. That is 1/3 of the project completed. Cost $3094, a little less than expected.

New Business:
Cause and event – Kate Leary:
This is a 5K event on May 13th where 50% of the registration fee goes to a charity of your choice. ( That could mean $15 donation to the Hardy PTO. If anyone wants to have a family meetup for the race on Mother’s Day May 13th, please contact Kate at Aimee will put on the Hardy calendar.

April teacher appreciation week – Patsy O’Brien:
Last week in April. Still need volunteers. Contact Patsy at

Snow Day Traffic volunteers – Terry Holt:
There continue to be areas of congestion during drop-off and many places where kids aren’t safe. This includes the circular driveway in front of the office and the teacher carpark, where parents are NOT allowed to enter. Terry seeking volunteers to stand out there, (especially on snow days) to help with the safe flow of traffic. Contact Terry at

Bike Safety – Terry Holt:
Terry trying to schedule a Mass D.O.T (Department of Transportation) free bike program. They come to the school to teach kids about bike/road safety. Terry is thinking we’ll focus on the 5th graders, as they are the ones likely to be riding to Gibbs next year.

NEXT PTO meeting will be April 10 at 6:30pm in the library

PTO Meeting Minutes for February 2, 2018

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 – Kristin DeFrancisco:
The school council met with a representative from Little Tykes. He presented ideas and sketches for the Lake Street playground, along with listening to the data that was obtained from the recent family survey.  There were 169 responses for the playground survey, which is a great return. The school council will review again in March to keep things on track for a September finish. Kristin continues to publicize February 27th for the parent playground presentation. It will be an informational meeting vs. a question night.

Thank you to Aimee Miller and Rich (custodian) for the hugely successful International festival over the weekend. Thank you Kate Leary for presenting at the CPA meeting last week.

The school continues with their cultural proficiency goals (teaching students to be both learners and citizens). Transgender/rainbow club, safe schools teaching for staff. Superintendent’s diversity committee joining in to share information to principals and staff.

Treasurer’s report – Kate leary and Andrew Malone:
As Kate and Andrew continue to embrace their new role as treasurers, they are finding that for many years the PTO was in a spending period but there is no backup or savings. Per the bylaws, we are responsible for keeping 1/3 of annual funds in savings, which we are not meeting right now. We have to look carefully at a sustainable budget and can’t assume that every expenditure in past years will continue. We are also thinking about making a PTO handbook at the beginning of the year for parents to explain how things work.

There are also some serious concerns that PTOs (both in Hardy and elsewhere in Arlington) are paying for things which should be funded by the town. Kristin suggested partnering with principals and PTOs of other Arlington schools to talk to the district/board of selectmen about these budgetary concerns.

Draft Budget, Rest of 2017-18        

Balance as of 2/1/18

Projected expenses

  • outstanding checks  – $ (350.00)
  • transfer to savings – $ (8,000.00)
  • projector installation (8 classrooms) – $ (4,800.00)
  • Hardy Directory – $ (600.00)
  • 1st grade science enrichment – $ (783.00)
  • Silent Auction Sponsorship – $ (250.00)
  • Field trips – $ (9,500.00)
  • remaining IF budget – $ (1,292.40)
  • remaining library budget – $ (1,734.07)
  • Fifth grade graduation (duck tour) – $ (1,900.00)
  • Colonial Day – $ (500.00)
  • outstanding teacher reimbursements – $ (2,700.00)
  • Field Day – $ (400.00)
  • Teacher Appreciation Week – $ (900.00)
  • Tax Preparation – $ (400.00)
  • AHS Graduation Party – $ (100.00)

Possible expenses

  • Science Camp Fund – $ (2,700.00)
  • MCBA Books – $ (1,200.00)
  • Mini Grants – $ (2,000.00)
  • Art Teacher Supplies – $ (850.00)

Projected income

  • Walkathon – $ 4,000.00
  • matching Walkathon donation, Matt Urcioli – $ 2,500.00
  • box tops – $ 400.00
  • Cause and Event race – $ 400.00
  • supplies drive – $ 2,500.00

Projected checking 8/18 – $ 6,690.11

Payments since Jan 9 report:

  • $175 – Paypal refund (spirit wear and double donation)
  • $708 – Int’l Fest (Sinha Capoeira, Tom’s Bao Bao, Aimee, more to come)
  • $279 – PA system for events
  • $1400 – Alastair Moock enrichment
  • $816.35 – library budget
  • $100 – teacher rep appreciation
  • $189 – Tracy Bernier K grant (app subscription)

Revenue since Jan 9 report:

  • Frozen funds returned – $2485.28 (not really revenue)
  • Benevity (matching) 1/8 – $97.10
  • Benevity (matching) 1/23 – $1200
  • Box Tops – $503.30
  • Helena’s shopping event – $300.00
  • Maxima’s shopping event – $248.11
  • Direct donation (family) – $65.00
  • $500 in Silent Auction sponsorships. These will be used for SA expenses.

DDD update:

  • Total Direct Donations: $24,498
  • $2,275 of total from matching
  • 196 donors


  • $793.53 balance, most from silent auction ticket sales

Systems update:

  • Finished testing cloud-based software and it’s more than we need.
  • Andrew will create a google form check log that feeds into a google sheet (with strict permissions) this month.

Teacher representatives’ report – Laura Ribiero (5th grade):
Thank you from the teachers for the International Festival. The recent enrichment program (Allistair Moocks) was well received and teachers thought it was valuable and contained good content.

Teachers are still concerned about parents parking in the parking lot, which prevents them from using the parking lot. PTO will broadcast a reminder on Facebook and in the school newsletter that parents should not be using the carpark.

Budgetary concerns – teachers are worried that the PTO budget may be reduced. They understand that cutbacks may need to occur if necessary, but suggested that the PTO be clear about any changes. Kate reiterated that there will be no changes in the 2017/2018 school year, but that we all will be thinking about necessary changes after that. The goal is to have a clear written policy in place by the end of the school year so that there are clear policies in place for 2018/2019. Terry has also sent a letter to teachers to explain things. A lot of turnover in treasurers (4 in 3 years) coinciding with an extra 100 kid enrollment has created some confusion and we are working on more clarity.

Committee updates:

​Arlington EATS – Rebecca Saff:
Arlington EATS would like to provide a bin to each teacher for healthy snacks within the classroom to avoid kids going through the nurse’s office during flu season. There will still be snacks outside of her office but trying to reduce exposure.

Communications – Pete Gast and Stewart Ikeda:
We have a proof of the student handbook which is ready to be printed and distributed. We will be revisiting our strategy for collecting data/distributing next year.

Fundraising – Terry for Patsy O’Brien:
We made nearly $250 from the Maxima shopping event. Patsy has sent home back pack flyers to remind people to buy tickets for the silent auction on March 3rd. We still need volunteers for the event.

STEM – Daniel Jalkut:
We still need more volunteers for Hour of code. NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY.

Enrichment – Stewart Ikeda:
Spy Pond Cleanup – 4th graders will have an educational presentation followed by cleanup in tandem with the Friends of Spy Pond on June 6th from 8:30-1:30. Will need volunteers. The Arlington Rec. and Sanitation Dept. will provide bags and information about safe cleaning. If it works well, we could roll it out for other grades and schools in the future. No cost except for making sure students have lunches. 4th grade teachers will have first aid backpacks with them. Stewart to coordinate with 4th grade teachers.

Books and Arts – Rebecca Saff:
Literacy Night will be on 4/5 or 4/10. It’s a night where there’s a theme, and rooms where people read books to students, as well as snacks in the cafeteria. The goal is to get kids excited about books. Mystery theme this year. K-3 and 5th graders will be guides.

Sports/Action – Kate Leary:
Walkathon will take place in April but this time we’ll pair it with Arlington EATS (for Hardy school snacks). Arlington EATS has been contributing to pay for the healthy snacks at Hardy School, so this will help defray those costs. Kate proposed 20% of the Walkathon profit going towards Hardy school/ Arlington Eats and the vote was passed by the majority.

Old Business – Terry Holt:

Overhead update – Terry Holt:
Over the winter break in February, the K & 1 overhead projectors should be installed. As the budget allows, we will install more. It costs around $500 per classroom installation fee. 22 classrooms total.

International Festival Debrief – (Aimee Miller):
Nearly 500 attendees. Gave out 375 “passports” to children. People came from other schools and the general community. Tried to use all the supplies we already had at Hardy school to reduce the budget. The PA system that was purchased through PTO worked well. Over 45 families donated food with 27 countries represented.

NEXT PTO meeting will be in the Hardy Library on March 6th at 6:30pm.

PTO Meeting Minutes for January 9, 2018

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: Voting on nominee, Stewart Ikeda

Principal’s report – Terry Holt (on behalf of Kristin DeFrancisco):
There is a new page on the Hardy website with information about the new construction that will be happening. Go to and at the top you will see a “Facility expansion” tab. Thank you to the web team for putting that together.

Treasurer’s Report – Kate Leary:
 Current balance: $37,927.86
Balance after checks clear: $36,214

Kate is working on the budget and plans to present it at February’s meeting.

Money came in:

  • $650 candy buyback! It was $350 last year. Big thank you to Ann Chhabra for coordinating and doing publicity!
  • $1721 Picture Day Commission (was $1882 last year). Big thank you to Janet Marsden for organizing picture day!

Money went out:

  • Lots of teacher reimbursements. $4,925 since our last meeting. (We have paid out $7122 in teacher reimbursements this year.)
  • $917 for new projector set-up for Ms. Merson
  • $395 Kidstock (K-2); $350 author visit (3-5)
  • Mini grant: subscription for hip hop educational videos


  • Working on closing old PayPal. Transferred $1591 from old PayPal acct to new PayPal account. Old one is now empty.
  • Made two transfers this month from new PayPal  to BoA: one for $1400 and one for $2000.
  • Current balance is $290.07

Holiday Help:

  • Holiday Help, managed amazingly by Sarah Evans! Sarah and another volunteer purchased remaining presents. Community stepped up with donations. They spent $795. We took in $890 in donations. Kate will reach out to the last few donors to see if they want their money back or if we should just earmark $95 for next year’s HH purchasing.

What’s coming up:

  • International Fest – $2000 budget
  • Enrichment, Allistair Moock (music and social change) – $1400
  • Field trips were $9200 last year
  • Possible teacher reimbursements up to an additional $2500
  • About $4000 earmarked for projector installation (Terry has made progress on this– update in February.)

Testing cloud-based accounting software to make this role easier to manage and hand off:

  • Doing free trials of Zipbooks and Quickbooks. Will report back next month.

BoA update on attempt to recover remaining $2000-2400 frozen in account:

  • BoA won’t sign Hold Harmless agreement, which means they consider our case closed.
  • A Hardy parent who works for BoA is helping us get answers.
  • We are also following up with the receiving bank and have an APD detective ready to talk to them.

Teacher mini-grants:

  • We now have a Google form so teachers can apply to fund grade-level curriculum enhancements, tech and infrastructure, and community building.
  • Last year PTO spent about $5000 on these grants.
  • Kate will send along the form and application instructions to Heather Smith, who will send it out to teachers this week. Deadlines this year will be 2/1 and 5/1. Applications will be discussed at the following PTO meetings. If an application is time-sensitive, teachers may ask for special consideration outside of the grant cycles.
  • We voted to fund a grade one enrichment, which Jennie French applied for (testing the new form). It’s a traveling science workshop on sound by the Acton Discovery Museums. The workshop will cost $625 for four sessions (one for each class). It will happen later this winter or early spring.

Committee Updates:

International Festival (Aimee Miller):

Date changed to Saturday Feb 3rd, 2-5pm at Hardy School, which is a change from the original Town Hall plan. Doris Pfaffinger is coordinating the international tables. We still need fashion models, and volunteers for international café. Three restaurants will be providing food samples. Performers are lined up and will work out an agenda, including tango, martial arts, fiddle group. Hoping the event will be free, but still taking donations. Please sign up on the website if you’d like to volunteer.

Movie Night:
CANCELED. The Books and Arts Committee worked incredibly hard on the book fair and the team needs a break. Sarah Evans suggested that we make the movie night earlier in the school year in future years as a way for students to meet.

Enrichment – Terry Holt for Cedrine Bell:

Friday, Jan 12th – Author and illustrator Maris Wicks is coming to visit grades 3-5. We could use another parent volunteer for the 5th graders (11:35 – 12:20 in the library). Please come and help if available. Wednesday, Jan 24th – singer/songwriter Allistair Moock coming to visit with a program for 3-5 and K-2.

VP of Fundraising update – Patsy O’Brien:
Silent auction is March 3rd at Town hall. It’s a parent only event, so start booking babysitters! The admission prices are less than last year. Patsy and Annie have collected over $5000 in donations already and found two sponsors (Cambridge Savings Bank being one of them). If your employer offers tickets, unique experiences, please let us know.

Old business – Terry Holt:

Hour of code (1st-5th grade) – Daniel Jalkut:

Terry will assist with scheduling a day for hour of code. Next steps involve getting preparatory information for parent volunteers and then recruiting parents to help. Parents supervise and help kids connect to the hour of code website which teaches basic coding. Need 25 people per class for 1st grade. Let’s get a date on the calendar and then STEM committee will get the materials together. You don’t have to know anything about computers of coding to be able to volunteer. Contact Terry at if interested in volunteering or watch the website for upcoming info.

New business – Terry Holt:

VP of Committees nomination and vote – Stewart Ikeda:

Stewart has volunteered to be the VP of Committees. Although relatively new to the Hardy school community, Stewart has already volunteered a lot of time to the PTO. As a newcomer to the school, he feels he brings fresh eyes to the PTO. Stewart’s professional background is in marketing and communications. The vote was unanimously passed.   

Hardy Principal search/parent focus – Dr. Kathleen Bodie, Superintendent:

She explained the hiring process: a search committee of 10-12 parent representatives, teachers and administrators are on the search committee. 3 or 4 nights of interviews will begin the week of January 22nd, with the goal of being finished by February vacation. There are some very strong candidates, and we will be interviewing at least 11 people. 3 or 4 finalists will be selected, who will visit the school (all day) to meet with lots of different groups; including staff, students and afterschool program. We are going to have one evening meeting that will include all the finalists, for parents to ask questions and fill out a comment sheet. Dr. Bodie reads every one of the comment sheets. We may also do on-site visits to the candidate’s current workplace if there are remaining questions.

Dr. Bodie asked parents who were in attendance to list the characters/qualities that are most important for them to be looking for in a candidate. Once the brainstorming was completed, parents were asked to vote on their top 4 priorities, with the number of votes being tallied beside each item below.

  • Efficient systems for communication (1)
  • How does the new principal regard the Vice principal as an assistant in communicating?
  • Prioritizing social and emotional learning focus. Particularly with the new construction and changes to recess. They must have a good sensibility of how this is going to affect students in their new environment and making students feel safe. Communicating this to parents so we can reinforce the same messages at home. (7)
  • Someone who supports the teachers and helps them grow. We have a very special group of teachers who need a supportive environment.
  • A resume that shows that they’ve worked with diverse communities in terms of race, diversity, socioeconomic groups. (2)
  • Someone that will make our kids feel valued. Someone who connects with the kids.  Equal respect for staff and children. (4)
  • Approachable, visible to students. (5)
  • Directness in communication, not wasting time or energy.
  • Works well with PTO. Giving some power to parents but also balancing it as a separate entity. (1)
  • Experience with working with town during large projects, eg. construction. Change management experience. 
  • Strong advocacy. (8)
  • Basic love of educating kids. Passionate for staying up-to-date to seek ideas. Ability to implement those things. (3)
  • Clear and constructive discipline philosophy. Helping kids to understand constructively what went wrong and how to do better next time rather than a “badge of shame” if you go to the principal’s office. Positive discipline philosophy. (2)
  • A mindset for understanding.
  • Technologically savvy. Embrace technology. (6)
  • Experience with hiring. Especially with the school growing and new classrooms. (5)
  • Instructional leader. (5)
  • Synergy between special-ed and gen-ed students.
  • Elementary experience (2)
  • Good broadcaster of information both in groups and individually. Ability to follow up with responses. Email responsiveness. This may be easier to ascertain during a site visit vs. an interview. (8)

The next PTO meeting will be Feb. 6th at 6:30pm.

Hardy PTO December  Minutes 2017

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December 5th, 2017 in the school library

President: Terry Holt
Treasurers:  Hemant Verma (Hemant is resigning; see “November Email fraud” report below)
and Aletta Tibbetts (end of year tax review)
Secretary: Roslyn Fitzgerald
VPs of Fundraising:  Kate Leary and Patsy O’Brien
VP of Committees: Volunteer! – Open Position

Principal’s report – Kristin DeFrancisco

Kristin continues to meet with the school council, where they are currently discussing the best way to communicate about the new renovation/ build, timeline, pictures, etc. The goal is to communicate via a variety of mediums, including adding an information page on the website, directly emailing families, and adding an email address linked to school council members for parents to send questions about the renovation.

Superintendent (Dr Bodie) is expected to sign her approval for a grant to do a landscaping playground study and how to most effectively use the limited land space during the renovation. 
The School Department would like to engage in a holistic planning process for Hardy Elementary School’s outdoor space and is requesting funds to conduct a site analysis and feasibility study. The study, to be conducted by a landscape architecture firm, would focus on the main playground, which is bounded by Chandler Street and Herbert Street. 

Enrollment at Hardy School has grown rapidly in recent years, and that growth has necessitated a six-classroom addition. This change to the building’s footprint will significantly affect the playground, which is already inadequate for the current population. Because the space needs are urgent, and because the current surface of the playground will be damaged during construction, it would be most efficient to reconsider the Hardy campus and implement changes immediately following construction. In addition to serving Hardy students, the playground is a heavily used community resource. 

Given that the Chandler Street playground will be permanently reduced in size, the school council continues to discuss how the Lake Street side of the campus can be used as both an interim and permanent solution to adding more playground space. The goal is for it to be in use by both Kindergarten and 1st grade by September 2018.  

Teacher’s report – Laura Ribeiro (5th grade): 

Teachers continue to ask about the overhead projectors and when they will be installed (which were purchased last school year through funds raised by the silent auction). Cedrine Bell and Terry Holt said we continue to wait on installation through the town of Arlington, even though we have all the equipment ready. The work involves both a handyman component (mechanical installation) and an IT component, and both people must be insured through the town of Arlington to ensure accurate installation (and there is currently a shortage of qualified Town employees, hence the delay). Terry and Kristin will follow up on this. 

Treasurer’s report – Hemant Verma

We made $12,103.76 in sales at the Book Fair, of which we earned $2,349.52 in cash plus $627.36 in books purchased directly from the fair by the librarians. The cash we earned will go toward future book purchases.

A bonus was the “penny jar” that Cedrine Bell added this year, which generated an additional $90 for the librarians to use to buy books. Margaret plans to label those books as gifts from Hardy, 2017.

Discussion of November Email fraud Incident and Executive board Response – Terry Holt, Kate Leary, Patsy O’Brien, Roslyn Fitzgerald, Hemant Verma
On Thursday, November 9th, our treasurer, Hemant Verma, received an email. The email was designed to look as though it came from our president, Terry Holt, asking for a bill of $4000 to be paid that day by wire transfer. Hemant made the payment. Shortly afterwards, the perpetrator requested an additional payment. At that point, Hemant called Terry and the fraud became clear. Hemant immediately contacted our bank (Bank of America) the afternoon of November 10 and filed a report with the Arlington Police Department (APD). He has also filed reports with the FTC and the FBI.

The APD acted with admirable speed to freeze the receiving bank’s account. $1500 had been withdrawn. The account is still frozen and the APD has let us know it’s very unlikely that the withdrawn $1500 can be recovered. The investigation is ongoing, and the APD is working in concert with other law enforcement agencies. It is unclear when/if these funds will be recovered anytime soon. The delay could be months, but the PTO remains hopeful. We are very grateful to the APD for their swift action and excellent work on this investigation, and for their continued attention to it.

The PTO executive board has been examining our policies and working to implement safeguards to protect future PTO volunteers against any financial vulnerability. 

As a result of the lessons learned from being the victim of an online fraud scheme, Hardy PTO has initiated the following to ensure funds are secure. 

  1. Contacted police department and bank — Arlington Police reported we may be able to recover $2000 or so of the $4000 lost as mentioned above.
  2. Removed all personal email addresses from the Hardy Elementary School website.
  3. Ended all online payment of bills. 
  4. Moved to a paper-check system for paying all bills. 
  5. Written best practice protocols for treasurer process. 
  6. Are in the process of writing up a description of the PTO Treasurer Team position and its time constraints for legacy purposes.

Future steps the Executive Board would like to take:

  1. Closing down the corporate bank account we opened (we changed banks in August to take advantage of online banking/modern technology.) 
  2. Opening up a new account at a small local bank that has earned our trust in the past. Hardy PTO will be opening a money market account to earn interest on funds in the account. We will also be opening a standard business checking account. 
  3. The new account will require 2-signatures for every check.
  4. The capability to make payments online will be closed down. We will continue to be able to access account information online and move money between our money market and checking accounts as needed, but there will be no outflow of money from our account via electronic banking. 
  5. The Hardy PTO PayPal will be transferred to the new bank, and electronic payments will continue to be accepted. Two executive board members will have the login, for additional oversight.
  6. All wire transfers and online payment will be shut down. To use such conveniences will require actual physical presence and authorization in the bank. 
  7. All files and records will be kept, and a quarterly financial audit performed by someone outside the Hardy executive board. PayPal accounts will be part of the quarterly financial audit.
  8. We are seeking a volunteer who is not on the executive board to receive a mailed copy of the PTO bank statement as an additional safeguard.
  9. The debit/ATM card can be used at the ATM, but it will no longer be used to make payments. Event coordinators must request checks two weeks before they are needed, to allow time for them to be mailed to vendors. If this deadline is not met and the treasurer is unable to issue a check in time, the event coordinator will need to use a personal credit card and submit an expense request. Reimbursement will be expedited and issued promptly. 
  10. Cash-handling procedures will be tightened. After an event, volunteers count the cash as a group and record the amount on a cash form, and everyone initials the amount. The treasurer deposits money from events right away. Another board member should verify that the deposit was made by asking for the deposit slip or by viewing transactions online. 
  11. We are bringing on a new treasurer team to fill this role. This role will from here forward require two volunteers. Our bylaws give us guidance on replacing eboard members, and reads as such:

    6.8 A vacancy occurring during the term of an Officer shall be filled for the un-expired term by the person who received the next highest number of votes for the position being filled. If there was no other person running for the position, then the position shall be opened up to any Member of the PTO in good standing. A majority vote by the Executive Board would then determine the person to fill the position.

In light of the changes in the PTO protocols, Hemant Verma indicated that he will resign from the treasurer’s post, as his work hours do not permit the flexibility or attention that this role requires. He is willing to provide the support needed for a smooth transition to the next treasurer. We are grateful for the time that Hemant has volunteered and thank him for his service. 

Kate Leary and her husband, Andrew Malone, have offered to fill the role of Treasurer/s. The PTO will consider all nominations and decide in an e-board meeting before the January PTO meeting. 

Questions and suggestions in response to the incident:

  1. A parent made the comment that even though they understand the decision to move to an all-paper system with two signatures, is there an electronic account we can use instead that requires two e-signatures? The executive board has considered this, but for legacy purposes, we want something very simple to implement and follow. Additionally, other PTOs around the country have been targeted in similar scams and the response we have been advised is to make it a paper system.
  2. The executive board will consider all nominations and vote before the January meeting. Kate explained that she feels she has a very good understanding of the process (having researched extensively the ways to modify and safeguard our banking procedures). If elected, she will step down as co-VP of fundraising.
  3. A parent asked if there are any concerns about having a husband/wife team managing the two-signature checks? E-board responded that if voted in, Andrew would act as co-treasurer but wouldn’t be allowed as a signatory on checks. It would require treasurer and president signatures. 
  4. Daniel Jalkut offered to be the volunteer who receives a mailed copy of the PTO bank statement (as described in point 8 above). 
  5. As of time of writing, no other nominees have stepped forward to fill the treasurer role. 

VP’s Fundraising Update – Patsy O’Brien

The shopping night at Helena’s raised $300; thanks to those who attended.

Silent Auction – is scheduled for March 3rd at Town Hall. All funds will be going towards the Hardy playground (Chandler side renovation). Since our outdoor space affects not just Hardy but the entire community, Patsy asked that people think about reaching out to any contacts in the community who might be interested in being part of this event, especially in regards to getting donations. Patsy and Annie Clark-Lauer have found that almost all businesses they’ve reached out to have been willing to donate because they appreciate the publicity and chance to be involved in this extensive community. 

A parent asked the question: why is the PTO contributing funds towards the playground when this should be the Town’s responsibility? It’s true that although we’re not responsible for funding, we’d like to show the town that we are invested in the playground renovation. With a 70% increase in enrollment since the playground was last renovated combined with a decrease in usable land due to the building addition, it’s more important than ever before that we get this right for future students. As described in prior notes, we should know by February if funding has been approved for a land-use feasibility study (approx $50 000 cost). 

Another parent asked a question about the timing of the playground renovations: If the Chandler playground renovation (as recommended by the feasibility study) isn’t expected to be completed until 2022, what is going to happen with the playground between now and then? One of the school council members stated that there will still be a smaller, functional playground on the Chandler side that can be used in conjunction with the plan to use the Lake Street side to build another structure for K & 1st grade.

Old Business – Terry Holt

Teacher Reimbursement 

There was a misunderstanding about the deadline for reimbursement being December 1st, when the teachers thought it was December 15th. Terry reiterated that teachers will, of course, be reimbursed even if they miss the deadline. The deadline is simply an incentive for teachers to submit their forms early in the year to help with PTO budgeting and avoiding a rush of activity at the end of the school year. 

Student directory update – Pete Gast

Pete Gast and others in the team are working to distribute the student directory as soon as possible, hopefully before Christmas break. He noted that it may contain fewer families’ information than in previous years because the new date collection system was problematic for some parents to use. It is unclear at this point if it’s just a new learning glitch, or something that needs to be redeveloped? Many existing Hardy parents were unaware that they needed to re-enter their information, even if they had submitted it in previous years. 

A discussion was conducted, questioning the necessity of a school directory, in light of many people reaching each other through social media. For example, how many people do we think are intentionally withholding their information? Pete stated that most of the people he talked to had no problems with submitting their information, but forgot or didn’t realize they had to. Terry talked about trying to make it more useful for families rather than just including basic contact information. For example, parent Rachel Krebs is trying to put together a resource book for new parents that would contain school and community information and be distributed at the beginning of the year. Someone also asked whether the directory could be accessed electronically rather than just a paper copy? Pete stated that in the past they’ve been reluctant to have personal information on the internet for security reasons, but that this might be revisited as an option in the near future if secure enough.

New Business – Terry Holt

Holiday appreciation for Hardy custodial staff 

It was decided that the PTO will distribute cash gifts this holiday season for custodial, cafeteria and office staff to thank them for their ongoing service. Suggested amount was $50 per person.

Committee updates

International Festival – Aimee Miller

The first planning meeting was held on 11/28. Town Hall was reviewed as a possible location but we will ultimately use Hardy gym and kitchen because it allows more flexibility regarding serving food. DATE CHANGED TO SATURDAY FEBRUARY 3rd from 2-5pm

  • We are actively planning and organizing Country Tables (Doris-Team Lead), Fashion Show (Hetal-Team Lead), Performers (TBA) and International Cafe (Aimee)
  • We are looking for someone to manage or be the “team lead” for the Performers.
  • Folks who are still interested in helping please email Aimee or fill out form on the website:
  • Budget request of $1500 from PTO funds.  We came up with this amount as this is similar to the amount Thompson school requests.

So far, we have these countries represented: 
Ethiopia (Evans-McIndoe)
Namibia (Brett)
India (Chhabra, Hetal, Viwanathan)
Philippines (Lim-Millers & Palmteer)
Korea (Diana Lowe)
Japan (Yoko, Saiko )
China/Taiwan (Chia-Pei Chen, Li)
Sweden (Patrizia Vannini)
Germany (Doris)
Israel (Guy Fishman)
Lithuania (Sarah Carnes)
Spain (Laura Smart/Fitch)
France (Cedrine Bell)
Portugal (Sue Shoesmith)
Argentina (Solange)
Brazil (Mariana Benvenuti)
Australia (Roslyn Fitzgerald)

A motion was put forth to grant up to $2,000 to fund the international festival. Motion was seconded and approved unanimously. It is the PTO’s intention to keep the cost as low or no-cost as possible. It’s a community builder, not a fundraiser. 

Gate lighting – Terry Holt and Cedrine Bell. 

Scheduled for December 11th at 6pm. No rain date. The things that need to be taken care of by volunteers are: ornament supplies (yarn, scissors, crayons, hole punches, laminator). Check that we have enough hot cups. In advance, plug in coffee urns and laminator outside. Check closet for extension cord, lights.

Movie Night – Arts and Books Committee

January 19th in the gym. It will be a low-key event, although we still need to find out if we need a license to show a movie. 

Enrichment – Cedrine Bell/Stewart Ikeda

The enrichment committee continues to plan a number of events within the $6,000 yearly budget. Stewart noted that for many events, the committee could use more procedural guidance about how to reach out to school staff/admin, help with scheduling, and how to work it into the existing curriculum. 

Upcoming events include: Kidstock theatre program (K-2), Beantown jumpers, a local author event, STEM (5th grade) and Spy Pond Service Learning unit. 

Laura Ribeiro asked that we avoid scheduling any event within 2 weeks of MCAS as teachers are very focused on preparing students during that time.
Community Outreach

November Thanksgiving collection – Anne Coleman 

Thank you to all who contributed; the event was a great success and we received many donations.

Holiday Hardy STARS program – Sarah Evans

The program is going well and there have been many donations.

Winter Weather Wear Drive – Michele Phelan

People have until December 14th to continue to bring donations of all gently used winter weather clothing for adults and children.

NEXT PTO meeting will be January 9th 2017 at 6:30pm in the school library.