Hardy PTO September  Minutes 2017

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September 12, 2017 in the school library

President: Terry Holt
Treasurers:  Hemant Verma and Aletta Tibbetts
Secretaries: Rebecca Saff and Roslyn Fitzgerald
VPs of Fundraising:  Kate Leary and Patsy O’Brien
VP of Committees: Volunteer! – Open Position

Welcome and Introduction of PTO Executive Board – Terry Holt (new PTO president):
There was a restructuring of the PTO over summer with the intention of creating more opportunities for volunteers to be involved in many capacities which should translate to less stress for fewer people if more people can share the work.
Principal’s report – Kristin DeFrancisco:
The transition to the new school year is going well. There was an assembly on Friday to review this years’ theme of “Think like a leader”. THINK acronym – only using words that are: True, Helpful, Inspiring, Necessary, Kind.

Arrivals have also gone smoothly, especially with large signs that are being used.
There continues to be the ongoing traffic issue on Lake Street (but there is a larger town plan to change lights, synchronization etc). This is an area of opportunity for students to use “think like a leader” to make good choices around walking in this busy area.

Next assembly will be about planning the annual character celebration, (which coincides with Halloween). Each student dresses up as their favorite character.  

A new, higher fence was added on Lake St for security (temporarily) and will be renovated again upon completion of the new playground that is being planned. New playground toys/structures are being used for kids to play with and the wood chips are installed on the Lake St side.

Update about the building/renovation plan to add 6 permanent classrooms – start date delayed due to some trouble with permits. Every other Tuesday night Kristin attends the town building committee and will keep us updated about progress. Anticipated start date is December.

Kristin’s “Out and About” within the school – she will be communicating on Instagram instead of newsletters. #Hardyoutandabout. She will continue to reach out to parent community via email as well.

Talked with staff about helping to integrate a diverse learning community and making sure kids don’t fall through the cracks, especially with SPED.
Teacher’s report – Meet new teacher liaison; Julie Harrington, 4th grade:
A huge thank you for sprucing up the teacher’s break room over the summer.
Treasurers’ report – Hemant Verma and Aletta Tibbetts:
(Hemant was present for report)

  • Change of banks from Cambridge Savings Bank to Bank of America due to certain added features offered.
  • Collection of checks/invoices will be on Monday morning and Thursday afternoons from PTO mailbox. 24-48 hour expected turnaround.
  • Reimbursement forms will be placed online and PTO office.
  • Cash inflow (year to date) – Approx total 27 000
  • Cash outflow – Approx 2800

Co-secretaries’ report – Rebecca Saff and Roslyn Fitzgerald:
No updates except to note that parents can access notes from Hardy PTO website as usual.
Old Business – Cedrine Bell (former PTO president):
Update on projectors, closing out 2016-2017 – Projectors were delivered but slow installation due to complicated process. However, they are definitely going in. Teachers’ had requested ceiling mounted projectors instead of bulky cart projectors. Patsy O’Brien led a silent auction to raise approximately $8000 to fund these.
New Business – Terry Holt:
Communications – newsletter – Holly Rossi –
Endevouring to reach every parent at Hardy via different mediums. Been looking into what other elementary classes in Arlington have done successfully. Some ideas include:

  1. Electronic newsletter once per month including link to volunteer sign ups.
  2. Backpack mail once per month, including monthly calendar.

One challenge is how to collect everyones’ email address – hoping to use room parents as helpers to collect email addresses that they already have for their classrooms and this will compile a database. We will be using the mailchimp email distribution system, for which anyone can opt out if they don’t wish to receive these emails.

Anyone interested should give input about information which would be helpful to add/remove from the newsletter to holly_rossi@hotmail.com.

Upcoming Events – Ice Cream Social – Aimee Miller –
Annual event held this year on September Thursday 14th.
Not getting icecream from Chilly Cow this year due to communication problems with them. Will be using Richardson’s. Have enough for 1000 people.
Volunteers coming to set up at 5pm. Can parents please help 5th graders with scooping to help things move along faster and more icecream scoops have been ordered.
This year to facilitate a smoother process, Aimee has made a numbered map to make it easier to navigate the tables/ flavors.

Vote – Executive board positions –
VP of Fundraising:
Kate Leary and Patsy O’Brien were unanimously voted in as co-vp’s of fundraising.
VP of Committees:
We are actively requesting nominations for this position. Please speak with Terry Holt for more information about the position.

Announce vote – request to add an annual expenditure to the August budget for decorating/sprucing up Teachers’ Lounge –
 Voting will occur during October PTO meeting. Please be thinking about appropriate amounts.

Announce vote – request from Cedrine Bell to increase funding for library from $1500 to $3000 –
Researching options and will have more discussion during October PTO meeting.

​Announce vote – Teachers’ Enrichment Vote-  
Request for approval to continue amount for teachers enrichment grants – $250 submitted before December 15 and $200 after that (if not applied for by December). PTO provides money to teachers who need extra supplies for things that the district doesn’t cover. Propose that we continue program. Unanimously approved.

School council update – Kristin DeFrancisco –
So far, 7 people have stepped forward for school council, which helps to work on school improvements (which are directly related to district goals). Each person will write a blurb about why they would like to be on the council and these will be presented at school open night.
Fundraising update – Kate Leary:
Focusing on PTO annual appeal (asking parents to donate money for PTO funds). Educating people about what money is spent on, and how much is spent. Last year the appeal went out in October and raised around $16 000. The advantage of the appeal is that people don’t have to fundraise or sell anything. Some ideas to improve/change the amount that is raised:

  1. Make a clear goal of the number of families that we’d like to participate, regardless of amount donated. Eg. Increase by 5%.
  2. More of a drive in October to make sure we get the bulk of our donations by then to get a better sense of the PTO financials and knowing where to focus efforts after that.
  3. Letter will go out in backpack mail on October 2nd and an update will be sent out letting people know where we’re at.
  4. Send a friends and families letter for grandparents etc who may wish to contribute.
  5. Matching funds from employers. Following up with parents to ask them to check with employers. Other schools have raised a few thousand dollars more using this strategy.

Fundraising programs – look for information and updates in the newsletter and further discussion at October PTO meeting –

Amazon Affiliates program – December
: PTO researching this option as commission rates are dramatically higher (3-8%) than Amazon Smile program. 
Box Tops – $800 was raised last year. The mailbox to drop off boxtops is to the left of front door in lobby near the nurses’ office.

Spirit wear
– every child gets a T-shirt in the school, categorized by grade level. Each grade wears a different color. The cost covers the cost of the shirt and also something towards those who can’t pay. Can donate shirts that kids have grown through.  We need to get a bin for donations for when kids forget their shirt on field trips.
October Enrichment – Cedrine Bell:
National theatre is bringing a program for 3-5th grade called the “energized guys”.  It’s all about energy conservation. Impromptu theatre style. About 40 minutes and completely free. October 2nd.  Past events have included multicultural dancing, speed painting and being your best self, and a laser show. The goal is to bring positive messages to the kids in a way they will remember. Always looking for input and ideas about possible events.
Playground Update –Kate Leary:
The anticipated completion date for the new playground on Lake street is after the new building addition is completed. 

The main playground will undergo changes during the renovation. The swings are hugely important and they will stay but they may be reconfigured.

Concerns were raised that if we increase the size of the school, we are decreasing the size of the playspace. How are we going to accommodate this? School council could come to PTO to hear concerns to relay the message back to those making plans/decisions. The first meeting for school council is in October – their first meeting could involve coming to PTO and dedicating a significant amount of time to discussing playground concerns with parents.
Committee reports:
Green team – Ann Chhabra –
Some recent initiatives/updates are:

  1. Textile recovery challenge (Hardy came 2nd place and 1400 pounds of textiles were collected to be recycled).
  2. The garden in front of Hardy has deteriorated due to there being no point person to maintain it. A team over the summer replanted and we need a team to keep maintaining and beautifying it. A budget is available for anyone interested in helping with this.
  3. Colorcycle program collecting old markers continues to be a success.
  4. Other green initiatives include a Fall cleanup, composting, eliminating Clorox and bleach and using less toxic alternatives, climate change scorecards for kids to learn about green alternatives. Hardy will also host a green team booth at Town Day.

Overall, there are 8 committees (Enrichment, Green team, Teacher support, Action, Newcomers, STEM, Spirit, and Books and arts. Please sign up if interested in a particular one that suits your strengths or interests.
Picture Day – Thursday September 28
Back to school nightThursday  September 28
Preparations are taking place Tuesday evening 9/26 at 6:30pm in the library. The PTO wants to raise awareness of activities and recruiting of volunteers during back-to-school night. The cafeteria will be set up as a place for parents to find out more information.
Walk to School Day (Alex Bilsky) – October 4th
Please look for update in newsletter and discussion at October PTO meeting.
Harvest Fest – October 14th
Activities/attractions include cider donuts, plants for sale, and paint your own pumpkins.
The OCTOBER PTO meeting will be Tuesday October 3, 6:30pm in the library.