Meeting started 8:45 a.m.
Present: Sloane Torres, Matt Baya, Geraldine Shen, Tanya Maramag, Kelly Paul, Jen Bayliss, Jenna Dickinson, Dan Randall, Jessie Mandel, Sara Plante, Jamie Campbell, Liz Miller, Lori Kapiloff, Stacy Pesce, Alicia Maher, Julie Hendersen, Debbie KoaMaya
Notetaker: Geraldine Shen
Sloane explained that Joelle and Elea normally join us, but Elea is sick, and Joelle can’t make it due to Elea’s absence.
- Introductions – everyone gathered introduced themselves and made note of particular areas of interest or past experience with the PTO
- Sloane Torres and Jenna Dickinson are co-presidents, they only got involved with the PTO in the last few years, so it’s possible to assume leadership roles quickly if you’re interested
- Kelly Paul is the Treasurer. It’s her 17th year of being a WES parent, 10th year of serving as PTO Treasurer
- Lori Kapiloff – Lori and Christina Steubner will be co-chairs of the Book Fair
- Welcome to the PTO
- PTO Philosophy: Sloane wants everyone to know that the PTO is very welcoming and inclusive. Everyone who has a child at the school is automatically a member, all are welcome to the meetings, this is not a closed group. We love new ideas
- We are low-key – people can do just a little bit or a lot more if they want. We encourage a model of people doing things in pairs so that no one has everything resting on their shoulders.
- PTO slogan: “an hour of your time can make a difference” – there are many opportunities throughout the year to sign up for single events or positions of leadership (no experience required!)
- Other ways to stay in touch via website, clear link to access agenda and minutes from all the meetings – can see what’s coming up via agendas. Email comments about specific topics if you can’t participate in the meetings in person
- Words are Wonderful
- Kathleen Igoe chairs Words are Wonderful and she wasn’t able to make it to the meeting this morning. Sloane shared an email from Kathleen Igoe:
Words are Wonderful is an annual, community-wide celebration of the power and magic of words. This is our 20th year of the Words are Wonderful celebration. Please help support the Williamstown Elementary School’s love of language and volunteer during the weeklong festival during the week of Monday, October 16th – Friday, October 20th. If you are interested in helping, please email Kathleen Igoe at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Treasurer’s Report
Proposed budget (see packet handed out), is based on last year
What we fund:
- 6th grade graduation – sometimes they need help with food costs
- AIL – scholarship for kids who can’t afford fee
- Classroom Support – at teacher’s discretion for things they might need; this year they all get an additional $100 (beyond the money usually allotted) specifically for school supplies, should cut down some on the amount of things teachers ask parents to bring in
- Coffee Hours – last year we did parent socials instead; we may move these funds to parent socials, TBD (none happened last year)
- 3rd Grade Deerfield trip – usually breaks even bc of pancake breakfast, but this is a placeholder
- Field Day – bounce house etc. (some items are donated)
- Field trip fund – so all kids can go on field trip even if they can’t afford or forget to bring fee
- Library Support – annual support of library
- Music Scholarship – for kids who can’t afford instruments
- Nutrition – healthy snacks for those who don’t have snacks or who haven’t had breakfast, Kelly buys snacks every Sunday and brings in on Mondays, fruit, peanut free granola bars, string cheese
- Parent Socials – events for community members to better get to know each other, get together in a social setting with different people
- Playground equipment chains – not actually in this year’s budget, from last year
- Miscellaneous – various things that come up
- Signs & Promotions – advertising for events
- Special Requests – 0 at moment
- Staff appreciation – dinner for staff on open house, snacks for faculty meetings, staff appreciation week
- Student Author Night – supplies as needed
- Sunshine fund – retirement and memorial gifts
- Theodore Geisel Book Fund – we purchase for our library each year’s Dr. Seuss book award winner
- Volunteer appreciation – didn’t do it last year, parent social has taken its place. Books we’re purchasing for town library to show appreciation for Lauren Gotlieb’s WAW work – could fall here?
- Welcome Back – watermelon welcome
- WESprouts Garden – in case of equipment etc. needs
- WAW – typically for visiting authors, ’62 CTD performance; we support their effort. They also get WESE funds, they have their own treasurer (Katie Madrigal)
Budget gets tweaked throughout year as things come up, as we end up not needing to pay for things.
Overall funding philosophy is that the PTO tries to take pressure off families who may not be able to easily afford things at school, we make sure that teachers don’t have to buy supplies out of pocket, we create community building events, and we fill in when there are budget cuts or needs or wants beyond the school budget.
Book Sale not in our budget bc the monies raised are Scholastic dollars (better margin than if we take it in cash). Can be used for subscriptions. We’re experimenting with whether we should take it all in scholastic dollars, or some combination of scholastic dollars and cash. We will discuss how to use the funds in next meeting.
Reminder that we can buy books from teachers’ wishlists at Book Fair
We should make sure teachers know that scholastic dollars can be used for subscriptions.
Board Vote on proposed 2017-2018 PTO budget – unanimously passed
Fundraising is an important aspect of what we do, but we also care a lot about community building.
- Box Tops: Tanya Maramag is in charge of the box tops competition. See the great bulletin board she’s already put up. The deadline to bring in box tops is 10/20 – Tanya has prepared Ziploc bags with labels for people to turn in during back to school night. 11/3 trip to Images is the prize
- Camp Fair: Matt described camp fair, directory, website. It’s a service for the community, and we make money by charging camps to come, and have added renting a table to them
- Pancake Breakfast is concurrent with Camp Fair; 3rd grade fundraiser
- Class Photos: Picture day is on September 28th. Don’t know date of retake day yet. Retakes will be free. PTO makes a percentage from photo day, an important fundraiser for the school that raises 10% of the PTO budget, there was a lot of discussion around which vendor to go with for this year – we’ve been able to accommodate a lot of parent requests based on survey Nick Pesce put together
- Clothing Sale – our biggest fundraiser, we are in the midst of planning for it. Jen Bayliss put together signup genius, will send around. Jenna, Jen, and Hailey Rinaldi are captains of sale.
- Clothing Sale is on October 14th, with a smaller one in May
- Sorting Times (information can be found via signup genius)
- Sorting times: Wednesdays 12:30-3:00 (Jenna)
- Tuesdays 2:00-4:00 (Hailey) 4:00-6:00 (Jen)
- Sorts either up in PTO room PTO has a new room – 2nd floor copy room (Room 238?), or outside at pod. PTO room is unlocked so anyone can go anytime. Kids can tag along for sorts, there are 5th & 6th graders who help babysit for some of them – we’ve offered stipend or credit toward sale in past
- There’s a triage for things that we can sell, a guide regarding how to price
- You get to shop ahead if you help out with sorting
- Voted Best Children’s Clothing Sale in the Berkshires
- Walk for WES – spring event with a field day. Whole school event.
Kelly explained that not all the expenses are funded directly by funds brought in via fundraisers. We’ve had surplus in past years, there is already money in savings account for teacher support. We usually make more than we spend, so we are able to help out with emergency needs at the school.
We’ve tried to keep our fundraisers to events that serve the community, that are community builders for the kids, not a lot of other extra things like magazine subscriptions, bake sales, etc. Wanted to be greener, not all draw from the same pot..
Sarah: What is Art to Remember? WES had a new art teacher last year so we didn’t do it. Kathy Hughes looking to pass that on, if Sarah is interested, that’d be great
How we work and what are teams are
Ideally everything is done in teams, teams that have experienced people helping newer folks
There are openings on every team, except Advocacy Team – the board helps to nominate folks who will be a good fit to attend school committee meetings, PAC meetings, etc.
Berkshire Eagle article does a good job summing up latest proposal
Newest plan addresses administrative streamlining needs, while allowing specific schools to retain localized control
There will be a town meeting November 14, vote required by town
We will have a forum to let people learn more about proposal
School choice families can attend meetings, ask questions, but not vote
Started last year an opportunity to get together and hang out, two at local establishments, one on the playground. Free babysitting for these events. Fall Social currently in the works, we need to choose a date. Proposed October 13th, which is the night before the clothing sale – clothing sale usually set up by then
September 27th, 5:30-6:30. PTO will have signups, tell people about WAW, Clothing Sale info
Sloane made a packet: “everything you need to know about WES” will also give out during Open House
Let Geraldine know if there are projects with which Williams students can help out.
In years past, we’ve discussed whether or not we can create a list of babysitters, something to share with WES families. Can Geraldine help with advertising about the list via Williams listservers?
Lindsay Neathawk, Mackenzie Tatro have put together a list in the past.
PTO Meeting Times/Locations/Communication
We usually meet first Tuesday of the month, conference room next to main office unless we have more people
We’re working on making the website a bit more user-friendly for navigating
Like us on facebook, clothing sale page
Read our newsletter!
Meeting ended 9:46 a.m.
Addendum from evening meeting:
Minutes for WES PTO: 9/13/17
Comments from Steve: consider having donations at parent socials, consider having once a month a parents’ date night, emphasize roughly 10% of PTO budget comes from photo revenue.
Steven Miller, PTO Secretary
There was also some discussion of exploring a STEM week similar to Words Are Wonderful. That discussion was tabled for a future meeting.