Tuesday, September 15, 2015

PTA Meeting Minutes ~ August Meeting

See below for meeting minutes from the meeting held on August 18th.

Esther Jackson Elementary PTA Board
Meeting Minutes (Pre Back to School Executive Board/Council Meeting)

August 18, 2015


Dan MacLagan, Jodi Kaplan, Jennifer Cassidy, Tara Barooah, Paige Janco, Helen Loiacono, Leslie Greindl, Lisa Newara, Nancy Sanabria,


Esther Jackson Cafeteria
Next meeting:
September 15th, 6:30, EJ Cafeteria

Meeting called to order by Dan MacLagan at 6:35pm

Old Business
·         Open House - Really good turn out.  Ms. Cassidy mentioned that it helped with families having paperwork filled out prior to the open house.  
·         Parent Breakfast - Very good turn out.  Jodi heard that many parents were happy because they could watch their kids get on the bus and then they (parents) could go back to bed.    

Principal Update – Jennifer Cassidy
·         Students are doing well.  By day three, it seemed that everyone was adjusting to being new bus riders. 
·         Construction team is doing a good job.  Really only landscaping left.  Everything inside was done prior to the first day of school. 
·         Still waiting on technology issues to be resolved.  We about 60% set up (monitors, computers, etc).  Expecting remaining items to be done by next week. 
·         Enrollment  is in pretty good condition except 2 under in 4th grade, and 6 under in 2nd grade.  She did plan ahead and has funds to "buy" a teacher back if enrollment numbers go down. 
·         She wanted to explain Title 1 status, and why EJE is currently a Title 1 school currently.  She explained benefits, like additional funding.  65% of students get free or reduced meals.  We get lots of extra resources and staffing.  EJE was made a Title 1 Focus school in 2012, based on 2011 data.  At that time, you had to be on the "focus" list for 3 years, which this year that has been removed (not 3 years mandatory any more).  We got on that list because our special needs/disabilities scores are lower than the average.  We are improving, and have each year.  Over the summer, the state had to reapply and changed the criteria on how to rank a school.  Ms. Cassidy provided a document with a lot of information, all that she stressed was factual.  She talked about what was in the media about EJE.  She called her Title 1 representative at Georgia Schools and asked if we are really in the bottom 10% schools, and we are not.  The media didn't give all the facts and it sounded worse than it really is.  She says our standing isn't that bad, and agrees that we do need to improve, which she says we are.  She offered if anyone has any questions, to please contact her.  She'd rather help people understand than risk rumors going around.  A member of the community said what she heard the concern was within the community, and Ms. Cassidy said she was pleased with the communications she saw and appreciative about the positive response.  She is working with the Student Governance council to help strength volunteer-ism from the community with the school.  The data that was reported was from two years ago, because last year's numbers haven't been released yet.  We may be able to exit from the list if this year’s scores are positive.  Ms. Cassidy talked about the change in the annual test (was CRPT now Milestones). 
·         She said that parents can follow the school at @EJjaguars.  And the "Tweet Master" (Ms. Knight) is really on top of it and updates a lot.  Many of the teachers' tweets are retweeted under @EJjaguars.  The school does not have a Facebook page, but the PTA does have a Facebook page, and parents can follow that.  

New Business    
·         Back to School bash - sponsored every year by the PTA.  We do need volunteers, which Tara, our volunteer "master" will speak to later.  The event will be held during lunch/recess.  Ms. Cassidy will get the schedule together and forward to Tara so she can update PT Avenue.
·         SkyZone/Spirit Nights/Business Partners - last year we had a Spirit night once a month.  Dan spoke with them and they are pushing to reduce the number of times a school has Spirit nights, to have a better turn out.  We will continue to have the one this month, and may cut back to every other month for this school year. 
o    SkyZone has some new programs and "prizes".  August 26th 4-8pm.  Special pricing for admission ($9/hour) and special deal on food (pizza meal).  Part of money from Spirit nights goes to the PTA to help support the school. 
o    Spirit nights are not restricted to EJE students only.  Anyone can attend, just say you're with EJE.  
o    Helen made some recommendations about having a way to identify EJE families, like spirit wear or bracelets or something.
o    ML representative said she would be happy to help promote EJE PTA business partners on the ML Facebook page.
o    **  Need to get a list of business partners.  Also need to compile a list of "requirements" to be a business partner with EJE PTA.  Like what  the levels are, what is included within each level, etc.  Dan will have something documented and available for the next PTA meeting.
o    Question was brought up about which night for SkyZone - Dan said it will switch nights of the week.
·         Fun Time Live - Question about FunTime Live - will they be coming back?  Ms. Cassidy said they won't be back this year, due to restrictions to the school alarm and staff she has.  We will revisit it next year to see if they will still do it with us and we can have someone to set the school's alarm.  Dan explained what FunTime Live was, and that they came and approached us (EJE) to host  their events.  We heard a lot of good response from families about the events, so we are hopeful things can work out next year.  We averaged about $200-300 per month.
·         Donuts for Dads - 9/4 at 7:15am.  Need volunteers.  Leslie and another parent said they could help with picking up of donuts and set up.  Dan explained what it was and that dads get an opportunity to go to the classrooms before school starts to have a donut with their student.  Muffins for Moms is in the Spring.  
·         Picnic/Movie night is on the calendar for Sept 25th.  We are still working on details still.  Ms. Cassidy mentioned that we could use the back yard for the picnic outside and maybe do the movie in the cafeteria.
·         Open PTA board positions - 1 VP (of Parent Relations) had to move their family due to a job change.  VP of Fundraising also open.  Job descriptions for VP positions, along with some chairs will be compiled and put on Facebook and Ms. Cassidy offered to email out.  Dan mentioned that PTA Board roles sound scary but from his experience, "our PTA helps each out as much as we can, wherever we can".  We always need volunteers and our PTA members are here to help you.

Committee reports    
·         Membership update - Lisa stated that we had 115 members sign up at Open house, now at 132 members.  Lisa wasn't sure of our goal, and Dan said he thought last year we had about 280 members.  Dan mentioned that the turnout at the Open House was higher than previous years. 
·         Ms. Cassidy said that we had a lot more after school activities available, thanks to Roswell Rec and Fulton Schools.  She said it was helpful that families had their paperwork filled out ahead of time.  Question was brought up as to how the community could help.  Dan said that the PTA board members are working on a document on ways that the community can help.  If they sign up as a member, it will skew our membership requirement numbers for future years, and we could have problems at a state level.  There is a "friends of PTA" option online through PT Avenue.  
·         Volunteers - Tara reported where we needed volunteers in the immediate times/events.  She said she hadn't received forms that were left in the teachers' classrooms at open house.  Ms. Cassidy said she would follow up with them.  Tara mentioned she uses those forms to update PT Avenue and send emails to recruit volunteers.  Ms. Cassidy is going to follow up with the office staff to see where the volunteer forms might be.
o    Ms. Cassidy asked if having a volunteer and membership table at Curriculum night was valuable.  Tara, Lisa and Dan said it was. 
o    Ms. Cassidy explained Curriculum night briefly and that will be Sept. 1st and 2nd.  Tara asked about when a good time to send items to Ms. Cassidy would be to have it included in the monthly school-wide emails. 
o    Ms. Cassidy said she needs things a couple days before the end of the month, so she can send it at the beginning of the month.  She did say that she has a limited number of characters for Spanish, but Dan added that last year she was extremely helpful and willing to send mass emails to the EJE families for the PTA.  Tara asked if the events on the calendar were going to change because she wanted to get volunteer events entered into PT Avenue.  Dan said if it is an event at the school, they will not change on the calendar.  The only things that might change on the calendar would be spirit nights. 
o    It was mentioned that all volunteers, EJE families or ML community, would need to complete the state/county school mandatory volunteer training, which can be done online, prior to volunteering, as you will be around children and there are laws.

Dan asked if there were any questions about the PTA or any events coming up in the year:
·         Spirit Wear - Leslie asked about Spirit Wear.  Dan mentioned that Cafe Press is where we currently have items.  The previous company that supplied us required us to order in bulk, which we then ended up with sizes that were not wanted, and when we needed more, we had to order in bulk again.  Leslie liked the fact of having Spirit Wear available for sale at events.  Dan mentioned he is going to talk to another company that offers Spirit Wear to see if they can help out with a better deal.  We would keep Cafe Press for people that wanted to order online and possibly the other company to offer Spirit Wear for purchase at events, like Open House.    General consensus was that people wanted to see the items and purchase them right then.  Maybe be able to see the item and fill out an order form would help, but ideally would want to buy and walk away with it right then.  Dan suggested that possibly sending out a form to see what people think they would want (sizes, colors, etc) and then ordering from that.
·         STEM Events - Paige mentioned that she needs help with Science Expo and STEM that she needs help and chairs for those events.  If anyone knows someone who likes science and can help her, she would appreciate it.  Paige explained Science Expo and STEM.  She said that there is basically a document outlining everything that needs to be done.
·         Helen mentioned she went to SkyZone last year for a spirit night but had a problem knowing who were EJE families.  She suggested that we sell face tattoos, wrist bands/friendship bracelets, etc.  Also may want to have balloons at tables where EJE parents are sitting to help show we are together and a school-family.  She also asked if the PTA meetings are always on the same day and time.  Jodi mentioned that we do have some meetings scheduled for a mornings.  Dan said that the calendar is set this year, but we could try to switch days of the week (Tuesday one month, Wednesday the next).  
·         Nancy asked about Family Relations and the Hispanic community.  She said the Student Governance Council that it has been talked about.  She noticed that we didn't have a representation of  Hispanic families at PTA meetings.  Dan mentioned that our VP of Family Relations would be an ideal candidate to help bring the Hispanic families into making them feel more involved.  Dan asked if anyone knows someone who could help bring the Hispanic families more involved, please ask them to reach out to any PTA member.  Paige mentioned how we always have a big turnout of Hispanic volunteers for Holiday shop, but it would be great to have them involved in more things.  Ms. Cassidy said she might have someone in mind.  She was going to talk to them.  Dan said that if we could get a small group of Hispanic volunteers to help represent the PTA at events, it would help, because the Hispanic community is a big part of EJE.  Paige mentioned that Mount Pisagh (church) has an arrangement with one of the other elementary schools to pick up Hispanic families from a location and take them to school events.  She said we may want to look into that because we are in a location that is farther away from the apartments, that a taxi can be expensive.  Ms. Cassidy agreed.  

Meeting adjourned by Dan MacLagan at 8:10pm

Note: Secretary Becky Anderson was unable to attend this meeting, so meeting notes were captured by Dan MacLagan.  Thanks, Dan!

No comments:

Post a Comment