PTO General Meeting Minutes

March 10, 2020

NES Library 7pm

1. Principal/Teacher Updates

  • What you need to know is that all the regulations from the Board of Health and CDC are being followed.
  • Our staff is well informed. We had a meeting about how to take precautions and to discuss any concerns.
  • I met with life skills and MDS this morning and we are trying to remain diligent about the simple things.
  • I told the staff you need to be prepared to stay home. That message could come at any time. Everyone is looking at potentially what could happen. We are not saying if, but when.
  • Question: Is there any plan in place for distance learning if schools are shut down?
  • That has not been part of the discussion. We have been asking "what if" but no details or plans have come down our way. More people are concerned about the daily running of the school and keeping kids safe. We have a lot of questions circulating and we have to be prepared for anything. We're doing the best we can.
  • Today the community trips for life skills and MDS classes were canceled.
  • Question: Was there any mention in your meeting about staggering grades coming to school? Some grades stay home and others go into school.
  • No, not at this time. Staff came up with some great ideas today that have been passed along.

2. Playground Update

  • We have a visual for phase one with a thermometer and our goal of $40,000.
  • We will be making posters of the same visual so that people will be able to see it at our school events.
  • The PTO had two big spending years with the new sound system, so will begin rebuilding funds that can then be directed toward the playground.
  • We might want to consider adding a fundraiser that we didn't have planned. Perhaps a direct drive like we did with the chrome books.
  • Question: Do you think external to the PTO there will be other groups fundraising for the playground? We have a whole group of people involved, but I wouldn't call it a committee.
  • We were thinking a special fundraising committee.
  • Bernadette Headen - a former board member who is very connected in the community. This is what she does, fighting for schools to be more inclusive. We have her and a whole list of people.
  • We think it's the strongest way to raise this money - to have a set group of people focused on raising money - separate from the PTO. PTO can be part of it.
  • It's a lot a different fundraisers. A neighboring district raised money for two playgrounds and they had a committee that was successful over a couple years.
  • We are talking about all those things. We will bring that idea to the other at the next meeting.
  • Online fundraising might be a good idea given that we may be homebound. Online auctions, etc.
  • We are working with a website called Unlimited Play. It's almost like a GoFundMe. You can put the visual and description there, people can go there and see if they want to donate money.
  • We can post this website on our websites and on Facebook.
  • Melissa H's PTO board term will be up after this year. She is currently a board member and a parent to a student in life skills. For next year we will assign another PTO board liaison to the committee and Mr. King will find parent representative for the committee.
  • The group involved with this project is growing. There are so many moving pieces as we move forward.

3. PTO Lion King Play Update

  • We are pretty even financially.
  • We have sold a lot of tickets already, but we may sell more.
  • We are hoping to raise some money with Kiss the Cast - Hershey Kisses with an attached messages of encouragement - can we sell at lunch time? To get the kids to support one another. Yes, that can be done.
  • Is it safe to assume, if we cancel the musical will we be able to reschedule for a later date? Yes.

4.Treasurer Report

  • Mostly coming in we have Sweetheart registrations, Bingo income, Pretzel Sales and Lion King merchandise sales.
  • Going out Sweetheart expenses, 6th grade DJ for the party, Bingo expenses and Teacher grants ongoing.
  • Status of the different accounts: 6th grade is under for the year, we are a little behind on the pretzel sales. Parties have been on track with budget. Socials have done well, with one more social upcoming - Altitude. The fundraisers have been slow, but with future fundraisers planned, it should be covered. After all that, 6th grade should be on track.
  • If 6th grade needs it, funds from the Donut Break and Muffins in the Morning can be diverted.
  • Other accounts - We had recent charges for administrative operations, formsite renewal (we depend on formsite, we use on eveything). Events we are predicting an end of the year surplus. We are coming in lower on fundraiser - while secret shop over-performed, BoxTops is way down. Logo wear we had a big inventory restock with winter wear.
  • Can logo wear be sold at Kindergarten Registration tomorrow night. Yes, we can do that.
  • We have been conservative with Spring Fling and other future events so that we keep on track.

5. Sweetheart Dance

  • On target and under budget in terms of expenses.
  • Currently 412 signed up.
  • People have been generous with donations - drop off will be Thurs/Fri in the lobby at drop off.
  • Concern over hygiene and germs - we will have gloved volunteers serving food and the kids will not be grabbing or touching food at all, also with the waffle bar.

6. Fundraising Updates:

  • Donut Break - we will push it back to May or even June due to the virus. We will contact those who already signed up to let them know of postponement.
  • Vince’s Spirit Night - This was great, but only 23 families showed up - less than projected, but it was the week of Ash Wednesday and it was a Monday. We are welcome back in the future.
  • Box Tops - way down for the year, we think it's due to the switch over to scanning rather than clipping. We are still below last year's target, but we are hoping the scanning will get us closer to our goal by the end of the year. We didn't get all the classroom boxes. Next time let's use the 6th grade again to collect them from all the classrooms in a quick 10-min pass through the school. The clipped Box Tops that may still be floating around in the school, those will be added to next Fall's collection.
  • Bingo Recap - this was another fun night, a good family vibe and the teachers did an awesome job! Everyone really enjoyed it. Perhaps do the teacher sign-up for 15 min intervals rather than per game (some games are quick).
  • Amazon Smile - this has really started to take off, which is great and easy and people are shopping anyway.

7. School District Contingency Planning

  • Question - Can lunch and recess be switched to allow kids to wash hands before lunch?
  • Administrators have talked a lot about hand washing - problem with that is it's a schedule change, and so many schools share staff. A schedule change would mean changing the schedule for multiple schools. We can look into it.
  • Idea - portable hand washing stations for after recess - email the proposal to Mr. King and he will pass it along.
  • Today we talked today about having kids start and end the day with a washing of their hands. Mid day we would use hand sanitizer. Any kids that ask can wash their hands. We are giving hand washing lessons, but we cannot police all that.
  • Comment - I know an expert who says that people don't wash their hands properly, so hand sanitizer might actually be more effective for the kids.
  • What's important to know is that we are looking at all this stuff. We really mean it.
  • Problem, the faucets shut off before the 20 seconds and they touch the tap again. If we extend the timer on the facets we are concerned it might be too hot for the kids, so we are working on that. We even had the custodian check the water temp.
  • We are installing more hand sanitizer dispensers in the Cafeteria, but what's sad is that our hand sanitizer containers are disappearing.
  • We are working on ways to make it more efficient.
  • Kids are washing before snack now, which is great!
  • Another topic that came up is water fountains. There are a lot of things to think about.
  • We have signs posted by the sinks about hand washing.
  • The gentle reminders about not touching their faces, is great!
  • How are the teachers with tissues.
  • The most important thing is we are continuing to look into different ways to tighten things up - we're on it constantly.

8. Diversity Committee

  • We are hoping on Friday, May 15th to do a "Celebrate Diversity Event" 8am-9am before school.
  • It will include a scavenger hunt and breakfast (will depend on how things go)
  • We will get a flyer out.
  • We can create a form for it so you can get a head count.

9. Teacher Grants

  • We have dispersed about half of the funds we have set aside for teacher grants.
  • New - Budding Birders in 3rd grade, Mrs. Dubuski is wanting to buy books by the visiting authors. Mrs. Hughes is asking to replace the weird yellow thing with a basketball hoop.
  • What will it take to get a new basketball hoop installed?
  • We will email Doug Taylor and ask him about installation.
  • We will add the link to the Teacher Grant to the PTO home website page and then let the teachers know where to find it so we can get more teachers putting in requests.

10. Outsourcing Fundraising Booster Findings

  • We were looking at different ways to fundraise for the playground project.
  • We met with a a Booster company - average take away $30,000.
  • They start with a pep rally - they say a lot of their themes bring in great messages - stuff that really connects with the kids.
  • The fundraising is basically asking everyone for money.
  • This will be a pass. Administrators at the elementary level had this discussion about 4-5 years ago - the take away was there is very little to their message, they require a lot of time in the school, and a lot of money in their own pocket. It's a lot of hype and not much more than that.

11. PTO Assembly Update

  • The PTO was thinking to cancel this event not knowing where a traveling assembly is coming from or where they've been.
  • The advice would be not to add anything at this point.
  • We can divert those funds toward phase 1 of the the Playground project instead.

12. Other

  • Question - Is there a reason we don't have a flashing 15 mile an hour sign out in front of our school. A lot of cars fly by the school.
  • It might have something to do with the distance from the road to the school.
  • Mr. King will ask.
  • Question - Will the PTO be doing some kind of survey following the play to see if there were things that people liked or if there are any suggestions as to what can be done differently in the future.
  • Question - will the teachers be doing a play next year? That is unknown at this time.
  • Question - Does the school do Odyssey of Mind? It's a competition where a team or teams from the school work together to solve a problem together as a group. No, some parents ran it before but that program just never picked up steam in our district.