PTO General Meeting Minutes

Tuesday February 11, 2020

1. Principal/Teacher Updates:

  • Science fair went well – so grateful for how well organized it is/no fuss.
  • Right now is a quiet time in the building but it will pick up in the spring with PSSAs, etc.
  • Life skills program is going to be moving to Richboro Elementary School – a message will be sent out to whole school community soon. Effective in September.
  • Question – How will this be explained to the other school kids?
  • These kids are really an important part of this community. Parents will be informed first. Teachers will help explain. A lot of the information will be driven by Mrs. Cook, driven by information given by the teachers, because the message will be different at different age groups.
  • Comment – Mr. King, we have to thank you for welcoming such an incredible group of kids and how welcoming you have made this school for them. Any negative stuff that comes with it is you have done such an amazing job you’ve done with them. It’s such a loss for us.
  • This was an administrative decision from district – we are all getting the same information as all of you - PDE requirement/this class was never meant to be long term – it was a bubble class due to overflow/ It is a big loss because we learn so much from those kids.
  • Mallory Barch and that group of people are great group of people and they are looking forward to the life skills kids joining them. I am extremely confident that those personal relationships and trust will be built. We know it’s tough.
  • The outpouring of support from friends/peers/staff again is just a testament to what these kids have brought into our lives.
  • We have to now decide what’s the best approach to honor and celebrate those kids before they move.
  • Question – How many students will be effected by this move?
  • 7-8 students
  • Question - tariq khamisa foundation - What impact is this program having on the students in the school. Do you notice any changes in the school culture/behaviors?
  • I can tell you based on a survey completed by the kids, what the teachers and staff believe and what the kids believe. It’s important to understand that it’s rooted in restorative practices. Have It’s about forgiveness and restorative justice. We’ve been trained in restorative practices. Feedback from the kids is that the lessons were too long, and it was boring. At the same time, the kids learned some conceptual. For example, we all have a backpack, the heavier it is the more you have going on. The kids learned to own, restore and forgive. We’ve revamped the lessons for the 2nd year, so it won’t be as boring. Another example is your holding a rock and the longer you hold it the heavier it gets. This is equivalent to having a problem you have if you don’t seek help and support; the problem weighs on you more.
  • Comment - The Kids may find it boring, but it’s an important life lesson.
  • We went back to the TK foundation and gave them feedback about the lessons and they are creating a new program that will go down to the 4th grade with our help/support/feedback. The kids will enjoy it a lot more this year.
  • Teachers update – the science fair was great! I like how the boards went home before the holidays so the kids had a lot of time to research and think about their projects. There was a lot of conversation opportunities. It was great! The medals were beautiful! 2nd year in a row donated by the O’Keefes!

2. Play update

  • The initial fees covered the rights to the play and the t-shirts.
  • Tickets – we were thinking the beginning of March to begin selling tickets.
  • The concern was raised last time about making sure all parents were well informed about when tickets will be on sale. We will make sure that happens, but we feel it will not be a problem with 4 shows. We will send out an email and a flyer and we’ll make sure there is handicap seating. Last year magnets were used on the chairs – we will ask Mrs. Antonelli about that.
  • Make sure the word gets out well in advance so that no one can say they didn’t know about it. Also, think about how you will manage the people once inside the building. Even though it’s assigned seating, people still show up in masses and some will not have tickets with them.
  • We have the CR high school baseball team to help for Lincs hours.
  • Question – are you okay with selling concessions.
  • We are selling sweatshirts, bracelets and key chains at the play.
  • Mr. King, will you be willing to do a cameo in the play when performed at the school? As long as speaking part is very small. J
  • Weekend costs – PTO foots the bill and can give send over a copy.
  • Everything has been going well. If you have a student with a lead role, please remind them to practice their lines at home.
  • We’d like to get the dates on Mr. King’s list that goes out to the school.

3. Inclusive Playground Project

  • We have a meeting scheduled for 8am tomorrow to discuss our plans moving forward.
  • We now have pictures of what will be added to the existing playground.
  • Doug Taylor will print out big poster to advertise around the school and at Spring Fling, so people can see what we’re fundraising for.
  • We talked about as a board to add a dropdown menu to every formsite that is sent out for other events giving families an opportunity to donate.
  • Question – I am new to the school and I am unaware of what you’re talking about.
  • This is a new project. We are planning on expanding the playground to make it inclusive to all the kids in our school community, including the MDS students who will be remaining at the school. We also lost a student last year and we are hoping to honor his memory with this playground.
  • We have only had 2 meetings and we now have a piece of equipment picked out and we now have a picture of what it will look like and where it’s going to go, and then we’ll start talking about marketing and fundraising.
  • We will put things out there, on the PTO website and the school website so that everyone will be aware of the project and know what we’re fundraising for.
  • We have a great committee. The initial phase is $42,000 –so it’s a big undertaking. We have to think about a timeline and if we can raise that kind of money and when we can install it.
  • The last time we needed to raise money we had a schematic, we had a thermometer. The key to it is setting a target and also the parents who are giving know their kids are using it.
  • We are hoping the PTO will contribute/help in some way. We will do it as a staff, too.
  • The PTO will try to incorporate the visuals of the playground into our activities to get the word out there and get the passion behind it.
  • Question – will the funds obtained from the spring fundraising events go into the playground?
  • That is something the PTO is trying to figure out. This year we needed to build up our funds. Our treasurer is working on how we can contribute this year.
  • It’s a great idea and it’s bringing in diversity but we need to be careful of the wording. Perhaps using the terms “differently-abled” rather than handicap.
  • Another idea - what about having a table at Welcome Day June 14th and Market Day in Newtown, it would be great to get the businesses involved.

4. Bingo

  • We are moving forward. Jen is chairing the event for us. She’s done an amazing job getting local businesses to contribute and other prizes. We are still waiting to hear back from some.
  • The teachers responded amazingly to our signup genius for calling the bingo games. Thank you!
  • We are putting out a signup for additional volunteers to help with running the evening.
  • We capped it at 160.

5. Spirit Nights

  • Chick-fil A brought in $144 which was great. Our next spirit night is at Vince’s Pizzeria on Feb 24th. We will try for a Wendy’s Spirit Night in March. The owner is really nice and super helpful. Wendy’s will also give us all the sales toward our school if we bring in a lot of business for the evening and we do well.
  • Iron Hill Brewery reached out to us and they are interested in a Spirit Night after they open.

6. Science Fair Recap

  • It went great! We were brainstorming some ways to bring in the older grades – maybe displaying 6th grade science projects. We talked about shortening the time to an hour.
  • Another suggestion was to give the boards out earlier in the year.

7. Other

  • PAC Meeting Update – it was interesting to hear what they do with the teachers and technology at the elementary level. They talked a lot about Canvas – more for middle school and high school. Some parents wondered if 6th graders should be introduced to prepare them for using this for middle school.
  • There was discussions about the school start times. They would not make elementary go first because we don’t want young kids outside in the dark waiting for buses. Middle school would likely be moved to the earlier time. We want to make sure that if we do change the start times that is will be beneficial.
  • A unit lunch was also discussed – one hour lunch for the entire high school. Teachers could have tutoring session or clubs could have meeting times instead of waiting for after school. Other districts do it and they say it’s fantastic.