Williamstown Elementary School PTO
Tuesday February 14, 2017
Attending/Introductions: Chris McAlister (Co-President), Laura Staneff (Acting Secretary and Clothing Sale Co-ordinator), Kelly Paul (Treasurer), Kathy Hughes (Fundraising Coordinator), Hailey Rinaldi (Clothing Sale Coordinator), Jenna Dickinson (Clothing Sale Coordinator), Christina Stuebner, Dan Randall (Advocacy Coordinator), Nick Pesce, Lindsay Neathawk (Social Networking Coordinator), Sloane Torres (Co-President)
Meeting began at approximately 8:40am.
Box Tops Contest: A huge thank you was extended to Tanya R Maramag for all her work on the recent very successful boxtop collection contest, including checking expiration dates and organizing the donated boxtops for submission to General Mills, as well as for all the organization that went into creating the contest bulletin board display. The group discussed how to find boxtops on products and confirmed that the collection container would be out all year for quarterly submissions. Tanya is starting to plan for the next contest in the Fall (next school year) and will share details at one of our next meetings.
Further discussion of another fundraising possibility: a member alerted some of the Board that the Stop & Shop grocery chain has an option to register frequent-shopper cards for donations to be made to the school; Amazon apparently also has a donation program. Information on both programs has been publicized in the past, but it was agreed that getting the information out again would be advantageous.
School picture options: Tanya Maramag has also been working on evaluating different options for school pictures both from a fundraising perspective as well as for additional picture/choice options for parents. She has reached out to Judy (the current photographer) Diaz and will also contact other providers for options.
Update on school Signage: (Background – following the Book Fair it was suggested that we could use additional signage in the school for those visiting – especially from the back entrance). Dan Randall is spearheading this effort along with Lindsay Neathawk. Dan passed out a paper survey to gain more information as to what the PTO would like to prioritize regarding school signage. He also attended the WES staff meeting last week and distributed the survey to the teachers in attendance. Laura asked if he wanted it to be distributed more widely but he said he should have enough information with what he has done so far, and it seems like enough of a representative sample. Dan and Lindsay plan to meet with school administration and then will contact vendors to discuss options.
WES Parent gathering: Our next Parent Social is scheduled for Friday, March 10th from 6-9pm at the Water Street Grill. Lindsay presented a draft flyer for the upcoming event and reported that the room is booked at WSG, as is the WCP for babysitting space and sitters. A sign-up link will be posted so that parents can sign up for babysitting ahead of time. This pre-registration will be mandatory so that we can plan for the right number of babysitters. One of the babysitters may bring a projector so that they can show a movie after eating (pizza). The group discussed the cost of the pizza and whether or not it was necessary (snacks might be better—water, fruit, pretzels) and it was suggested that the “tip” jar be re-branded to a “donation” jar. Consensus decision was that healthy snacks should be offered instead of pizza. Kathy suggested that the jar should be labeled WES rather than just “donations” so that it is not misleading as to where the money goes. Lindsay also mentioned that she could use help from other parents who have expressed interest in our social networking committee. Lindsay will print signs to be posted around the school and everyone agreed that information should be distributed electronically rather than sending a paper announcement home with every child.
WES Lost & Found: The Lost & Found (collection, arrangement, and disposition) is an on-going issue. Normally the Clothing Sale acquires the items at the end of the year and donates anything that is not saleable to a charity. This year there is an additional problem that no one has been picking up items left outside. It appears as though the custodians may have done this in the past. Laura said she has approached Joelle about it but was told it is not a responsibility of the custodial staff. The group discussed several ways of engaging the students, parents and teachers to help with this issue – asking the teachers/paraprofessionals to have the students patrol the area at the end of recess, asking the Spirit Committee (6th grade) to help out and possibly increasing the frequency of donations to the Clothing Sale. Another suggestion was made to display L&F during the Camp Fair/3rd grade breakfast and letting parents know that all would be donated following that event. Utilizing the Facebook page and social media may be of help as well. Sloane suggests setting a date/deadline, such as March 10, for checking the Lost and Found prior to those items being donated and making a push to let people know of this deadline. Chris and Sloane will work on an email to room parents about checking the Lost and Found and an email to Joelle with suggestions about involving school staff. Laura is planning to pull the items into the cafeteria this week for kids to view at lunch time.
SEPAC update/School committee update:
SEPAC meeting has been cancelled twice due to weather. Chris asked for explanation of the current standing of the PAC. Dan reported that a meeting in October ended in postponed elections. In November, the current WESPAC board membership resigned with the intention of joining a new regional SEPAC, but that was cancelled and there will only be local PACs. There is no current leadership for the PAC at WES.
School committee: The next meeting is March 1, then another on March 21st. Both are at 7pm. Dan will not be able to go to the one on 3/1, but Chris said that she can attend and represent the PTO. There will also be a public hearing for the budget on 3/21 at 6pm.
Parent surveys: The possibility of using parent surveys was discussed as an additional method to reach out to parents, solicit feedback and gather input. This would allow parents to participate even if they are not able to attend meetings. Several topics were discussed – programming, events, fundraising. Nick Pesce has been looking at platforms—SurveyMonkey is the only free option. Jenna said that in her experience it is difficult to make an open-ended question: for collating purposes you need to have multiple choice answers. Throughout the meeting several topics were discussed that would be great to share with parents. Nick agreed to continue his work with SurveyMonkey.
Camp Fair: Matt Baya will be coordinating the registration, directory and setup of this event. Chris has reached out to a parent who helped last year to assist with communication. The Fair will take place on Saturday, April 8th in the WES gym. There is also the 3rd grade pancake breakfast fundraiser that occurs at the same time and is coordinated by the 3rd grade room parents. Chris will check in with Joelle about the planning for that event; Laura reported that she is a 3rd grade room parent and there has been no communication about it so far.
WES Garden: Linda Wagner will be retiring next year; the funding this year was provided from PTO funds and the Community Chest. Laura pointed out that, from what she understands, the funding for past years also covered other curricular contributions that Linda made to the Science program and that the Garden itself may not be as costly as what has been discussed in the past. She also volunteered to reach out to Joelle for more information on what the school is planning. General agreement that the garden would have wide support among the parents and that many parents may not be aware of the garden and its role in grade curriculum.
Budget Review: Chris presented the Budget report as Kelly had to step out.
Current Checking Balance: $18,571
Expected Income Remaining: $ 8,723
Subtotal: $ 27,294
Commitments Remaining (-): $ 17,255
Projected Year-End Balance: $ 10,039
Overall, the budget is looking better than projected due to more Boxtop income than anticipated. It was suggested that perhaps we could find a tangible item(s) to be purchased using the boxtop dollars so the students can really see the result of their efforts. Kathy pointed out that while boxtops purchased the tire swings for the playground, the installation was actually very expensive and that we may want to consider garnering support from the community like was done for the Gaga pit (Jeremy Broadwell and RK Miles both donated work/materials) to help make our dollars go further.
New Business: Chris announced that the WESE auction was postponed and encouraged everyone to attend once a new date is announced. Also announced was that the PTO could use more help with the Secretary position. Anyone interested could take on either all or just part of the position (minutes taking and/or tech aspects such as maintaining the website and Facebook page.)
Meeting ended at approximately 9:45am.
Next meeting scheduled for Tuesday, March 7th. Parent Social will be Friday, March 10