Centennial PTO Minutes – August 23, 2018

In attendance: Chris Jacobs, Wendy Barinek, Jennifer Williams, Tricia Rumph, Vicki Blair, Barclay Eckenroth, Ann Goldwasser, Marla Bachrach, Vivian Curl, Michelle Trudgean, Mindy Kefer, Julie Poyton, Liza Weems, Kristy Westnedge, Laurelyn Baker, Merlyn Holmes, Jodi Glickman, Cyndi Hill Gittes, Jenny Pereira, Christy Vaughan, Ramie Blatt, Malena Salomon, Ginger Barnes, Megan Boyle, Kim Decker, Diane Jones, Cori Chavez, Tina Rice, Nicole Benjamin, John McCluskey, Brooke Darr, Gabriella Schuler, Paula Robinson

Call to order

Kim calls meeting to order. We all chat with the people near us who we don’t know and we share some positive things about our morning.

Welcome and Role of PTO

Kim shares what our mission is and gives a presentation using a slide show. Kim goes over the RISE values.  This is a general PTO meeting. In a few weeks, the smaller executive board meets and strategizes over ideas that come up at the general meetings and then the board reports back at the next general meeting.

Meeting norms are important.  We go through all 10, with volunteers reading them.

Goals for PTO are to support staff, feed teachers and students, organize community events and fundraise for the school and PTO and we offer support for parents and the environment.

We have various volunteering opportunities available:

  • Jon Georgitis the librarian could use help (he will speak later at our meeting)
  • Chaperone field trips
  • Grant Writing group to help get funding for teachers and the school
  • Help teachers
  • Look for signups for opportunities to help with events
  • Fill an open position on PTO
  • You can look to the weekly eblast of the Cyclone Connections (every Monday) for opportunities
  • Donate books to the library!  
  • If you see a need in the school or hear about something from a teacher, bring the idea to PTO!

Introduction of Officers and Coordinators

Officers include:
Kim Decker is President.
Meghan Boyle is volunteering to be Vice President and we will take up her nomination shortly.
Diane Jones is Treasurer.
Nicole Benjamin is Secretary
Fundraising Chair is Marla Bachrach.
Events Chair is Open.
Past President is Amy Carpenter.

Coordinators include:
Welcome Coffees: Tina Rice
Honor Roll: Michelle Christenson, Ginger Barnes, Tina Rice
New Family Welcome: Stasi York, Wendy Barinek, Marina Diaz
Staff appreciation:  Tina Rice
Student Directory: open
Parent Book Club: open
SAC: open
Green Star School: open
Student Council Rep: we will be appointing Vicky Blair shortly
Spirit Wear: Kristy Westnedge.  We need a co-person
Bike/Walk to School:  Natalie St. Denis
Grocery Giveback Cards: open
Family Educators Together (“FET”) Liaison open.  This person must be English/Spanish bilingual
For coordinators, ideally you come to the general meetings and handle your specific tasks.

Signing on to VP means you are willing to be President next year.  Meghan Boyle introduces herself. She has an 8th grade son and 7th grade daughter and a kindergartener.  She has been in different PTO roles since preschool. Next year she will have 3 kids in 3 different schools.  She is happy to fill the role but is a bit scared too. Kim asks if anyone has questions for her. Kim moves to elect Meghan Boyle.  Ginger seconds. All are in favor and none are opposed. None abstain. Meghan is elected VP!

Does anyone else want to jump into an open position?  

Tricia Rumph volunteers to help with spirit wear!

Vicky Blair volunteers to be our SAC (school accountability committee) representative!  Vicky will send the minutes of the SAC meeting to Kim.

Coordinators are appointed, not elected so Kim appoints Vicky as student council representative and Kim will put her in touch with John on timing of those meetings.

John says there was someone who expressed interest in beautifying our outside and inside spaces. John is very interested in this. Laurelyn Baker, an interior designer, volunteers! Does anyone have resources for mulch or rock? Let John know!

People asked how to sign up for things. Kim mentioned the signup genius link for the Family Picnic: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/409054ea8aa2da6f58-2017

Kim will try to get it into the Eblast this week.

Approval of the minutes from March and May

The minutes were sent out electronically. Does anyone have additions or corrections? Any questions about the minutes from May? They were sent out with the PTO blast in a link. They are also posted on the website. Amy Shoffner clarifies that we have our own website and our own mail list, so please sign in on the sign in sheet!

Kim moves that we approve the minutes from May. Meghan seconds. All are in favor and none are opposed.  None abstain. The minutes are approved.

Treasurer’s report

At the end of the meeting Diane Jones gave a brief treasurer report showing that we have money. She also said to talk to her if anyone is interested in the finances.  She mentioned that we’re working on the budget and it will be presented at the next meeting in September.

Unfinished Business / Goals of the Year

Jon Georgitis introduces himself and welcomes us to the new library space. He is looking for volunteers who are interested in reorganizing. Goal is to look at the shelves and go to a bookstore model (front facing and not cluttered) so that circulation goes way up. Kids are so visual. He is also constantly adding to the collection and we did lose some shelving so we have to think creatively about the space. Also, he wants to organize books by genre (action, scary, sports, etc.). All this involves relabeling and reorganizing books and shelves. Email Jon or contact Kim if interested. Jon is also still working on book fair and if you are interested in that, he could use help for that too. You do need to go through a screening process (there is a link under volunteers on the website) to volunteer. We also have a lot of Maker space stuff that he wants to roll out.

John McCluskey thanks Jon for being so thoughtful on the redesign on this space.

Kim asked if there were any other ideas to bring up.

Cori showed us the PTO logo that she is going to set up on an Amazon site so people can order their own PTO gear. Cori is also working on a short video to highlight what is going on at CMS and how to contribute to the fundraising in October Fuel the Cyclones. If anyone has photos that might show an event at school, please send them to Cori, chavez.cori@gmail.com.

Principals report and Introduction of Brooke Daerr the new Vice Principal

Kim introduces John McCluskey. John says this kind of turnout is so encouraging. An involved parent community is a really good problem to have.   Let’s give a big shoutout to Kim! Kim is great at seeing the big picture and he is very grateful for that.  John doesn’t want to assume what we want to hear about. John also thanks us for our tax dollars – look at the beautiful cyclone in the library!

John wants to tell a story about Brooke Daerr first. John finished last year here during the last week of June. That Tuesday he got a phone call saying the district was moving Geoff Sandfort to an interim principal position at a different school. They told him about several possibilities for an Assistant Principal here at CMS. John asked if he had any say in who they picked. John had been in many meetings with Brooke and threw her name out. 30 minutes later, they called back to say Brooke was our new interim AP. John would be far less settled if it wasn’t for Brooke. She is incredibly organized.

Brooke introduces herself. On the other side of John’ story, Brooke says she was on summer break already, laying on the couch with a cat on her and got a call saying do you want to switch schools?  Brooke lives in the CMS community. She has been in BVSD for 15 years. This is her 5th year as an AP. It is so much fun to be here. Brooke is looking forward to working with all of us and our kids.  If there is anything she can do, please reach out!

John says he and Brooke sat down and delineated responsibilities and if you are interested in how we differentiate things, he’s happy to tell us.  

Ok, John wants to know what questions or topics the parents in attendance would like him to cover in his remarks?

Chris says he is a parent of a 6th grader and wants to know John’s thoughts on how do we set our 6th graders up for success? Transition/organization

John says this is our highest priority at the beginning of the year. 360 leaders offered a personal connection. Ruth Hollinger and Mo Breed organized this program.  We had one full day just with the 6th graders. Then we doubled down this year and did a Calwood day.  It was great! The day was planned around RISE values. John ran a summer camp once and he said Calwood ran really well.  We did a month’s worth of bonding in one day. He is now dreaming of a day of closure for the 8th graders and would like to take the 8th graders up to Calwood for a day at the end of the year.  Through fundraising we were able to pay for almost 20% of the kids to go who otherwise could not afford it. We do not want it to feel like a sink or swim model coming in. Counseling staff is amazing so don’t be afraid to reach out to them.  RISE teachers (40 minutes once a week) can also offer support. Someone asks is their child’s RISE teacher is also their “advisor”? John says yes. As an admin team we have created a RISE group that is planning the curriculum so teachers don’t have to add that to their plate.  

There is interest in a construction update: If you ever have to higher a commercial contractor, he’d recommend the one used here!  John is amazed at what was pulled off here. New food lab is a must see. 6th grade hallway had an old computer lab that was fully walled.  We took the walls off and it has now become an open space where all of those classrooms in that area can use it as a breakout space. Flexible spaces and seating really make a difference in learning.  The halls feel cleaner with the new flooring. Whole building has been rekeyed. Everything is in place safety-wise. There is a push button system on the classrooms. Doors are to remain locked at all times.  Alarm system is now getting sensors on every exterior door. Exterior video cameras have been installed on the outside of the building. Middle schools are not doing interior cameras. John wants the people and relationships in the building to keep us safe inside.  

A parent raises the question of school policy on religious holidays: John says that just this morning we talked about the holidays and reminded teachers to keep them in mind in planning activities. Missing school for holidays is an excused absence. Let teachers know. We do have a prearranged absence form that makes kids take responsibility for tending to an absence they know about.

Another parent asks for guidance on how autonomous to allow our kids to be: We will table this for another meeting.

Parents want to know about honor roll and RISE ceremony policy: John learned from us last year.  He knows he can’t just flip a switch and change things without input. He says we want to do thoughtful ceremonies for kids to honor their academic achievement.  How do we get it to be meaningful and thoughtful? We want young people to internalize what does quality work look like? John’s concern with traditional structures on that is that kids habituate and don’t internalize their learning.  But, there is a real role for “seeing” kids and honoring that they tried their hardest and learned.

There are 2 ceremonies now—January (6th,7th,8th) and April (6th and 7th). We are moving to semesters in terms of grading periods. Quarters are antiquated.  Actual grading period will be by semester. This helps teachers a lot. He does encourage parents to keep teachers accountable and stay in touch about your child’s progress.  Elective courses though are still by quarter. Vivian asks how will we do the April ceremony if grades are not in til May? John says good question. More to come.

We will do a movie night for kids who made honor roll and for those kids who demonstrated RISE values.

There is interest in how can we bridge Spanish and English speaking communities? We will table this discussion for another meeting.  However, Kim will remember to bring Spanish English bridging ideas to our next meeting.  

Parents are curious also about snack policy: John cautions that not all kids come to school with a backpack full of snacks. Please ask kids to use discretion and clean up. A parent says that some teachers are saying no snack. John says all teachers are to support snack. Kim says PTO has given money to the health room to have snacks available. Please let us know as a PTO if there is a need for snacks because we’d love to support that.

A parent mentions that Boulder is welcoming back the Arapahoe Nation to Boulder. Will our school be involved with Right Relationship Boulder? (indigenous peoples day is in October). We must table this also for next month’s meeting but Kim will bring ideas on toward right relationship with native americans to the next meeting!

Parents are curious about Chrome books? 1 to Web program. We will talk about this at back to school night.  There will be several all parent meetings for our 6th grade parents on this.  Every 6th grader will get a chrome book so instructional practices will shift a bit.  We are the last middle school in Boulder to get on board with this. Jon Georgitis has done research and understands the issue with technology as both a librarian and a parent.  The District will provide the chromebook. Parents should not go buy them. Students will get these in January. They will keep it through 8th grade and then it will roll back into 5th grade.  By the time they hit high school, kids will get another one. Kids will be able to take these home. Families will be responsible for repairs on these.

New business*

When can the most people make this General Meeting?

We vote:
8:15-9:30?  8 people raise their hands
8:30-9:45?  22 people raise their hands
8:45-10?  3 people raise their hands

We will change start times for all meetings to 8:30 moving forward!