Centennial PTO Minutes – February 21, 2019

In attendance:  Kim Decker, Liza Weems, Cori Chavez, Michelle Trudgean, Mindy Kefer, Gabriella Schuler, Dan Laman, D. Alanna Irving, Megan Boyle, Tina Rice, Vicki Blair, John McCluskey, Madeline Pollak, Diane Jones, Nicole Benjamin

Call to order

Kim calls meeting to order and goes over our mission as a PTO.  We begin with a R2ise activity to mimic what our kids are doing in their R2ise time.  We decide to share our favorite movie with a partner. Then, we share some of what we talked about.  Bohemian Rhapsody was a popular one!


Alanna asks if there is an activity in spring before the 8th grade celebration. There is talk of potentially doing a dodge ball tournament.  Kim says that spring gets surprisingly busy. Anyone interested in spearheading something?

Liza asks about the DC trip.  Check with Pete Rosato for details.    

Approval of the minutes from last meeting

There are no additions or corrections to the minutes.  Kim moves to approve. Megan seconds the motion. All are in favor.  Mr. Laman abstains. Minutes are approved.

President’s report – Kim

In February, we had teacher appreciation for conferences and fed the teachers for three nights.  Thank you Tina Rica and all who contributed. Tina asks Mr. Laman how it went. Mr. Laman loved the parent-teacher conferences – said it was the most human experience yet!  All the food was eaten. Homecooked stuff and the Subway sandwiches – all was appreciated and eaten.

Book club and FET meeting also happened this past month.

Treasurer’s report – Diane

Kim gives summary because Diane is on her way from the airport.  We have money and we need to spend it. Kim has sent emails out to coordinators to see if they’ve spent their budgets or if they have plans to.

Meet Dan Laman LA Teacher

Dan does 8th grade theater and is a 7th and 8th grade LA teacher and DJ for our parties!!

Dan grew up in Boulder.  Went to Boulder High and CU Boulder.  He received his bachelors degree, teaching license, and 1st masters degree from CU Boulder and is mid-2nd masters right now.  This is his 7th year at CMS and 7th year teaching. He was hired by Cheryl Scott. Started teaching theater the 2nd year. Has taught creative writing, academic support, a class in the style of AVID (pushes students who are in the middle somehow), has taught 6th grade reading when we didn’t have block schedule.  He has supported every after school play but usually handles lights and sound and tech rehearsal, dress rehearsal and night of performance. With auditorium revamp, he salvaged old sound equipment for use at CMS parties. He is working with Dan B. who is an author and he did auditions Tuesday night during conferences for the play, Much Ado About Northing which is really ambitious.  120 page script.

He is part time this year teaching 5 sections (4 seventh grade LA’s and a theater position).  

John sent an interest survey to all the students with every single elective we are allowed to offer at a middle school.  Big picture team looked at the results and they may set the elective schedule based on student interest for the first time!  Master schedule gets discussed after spring break.

Cori asks if the difference in kids’ performance is being tracked since we got rid of advanced LA.  Dan says John was tracking it last year somehow. The way Dan teaches LA is to build as much open space in the classroom as possible.  In a perfect world, there would be 30 minutes of work time every day in class. Idea is that he could teach a lesson about semi colons but in reality only a small percentage of kids are ready to understand semi colons.  Or he could teach a lesson about a broader topic where there is an entry point at various levels of ability. During that time he could float around and visit with 5-10 students depending on the type of work. The belief behind that is an advanced student would continue to thrive just as much as the grade level student and just as much as the emerging student.   

Innovation Space Update – Jon Georgitis – Librarian

Jon is part of the team handling innovation space.  They are tasked with reporting on how spaces are used.  In the library there has been a ramp up of use and different kinds of use.    Spaces are morphing.

We also want to capture parent voices.  Originally, he was going to go during conferences but decided against that.  So, he’s here at PTO to get a video or audio interview with parents. If 2 or 3 parents would be willing to talk addressing the following:

-How does this space differ from when you were in school?

-What is your overall impression of the space?

-How do you think students’ learning benefits from spaces like these?

Anyone willing?  Tina Rice and Megan Boyle volunteer to do it March 7th at 9:30.  

Was anyone playing poker in the 6th grade space during the winter party?  If so, you could speak to that experience. D. Alanna Irving was the dealer and she’d also be willing to be interviewed by Jon on March 7th.

Program Coordinator reports

Bike/Walk/Skateboard/Scooter/Bus Safely to school update – Natalie

Natalie can’t be here today.  Kim summarizes. We have had safety meetings to promote kids getting safely to school.  PTO budgets $800 yearly. In fall, we had burritos. Natalie realized the winter event is really a city event.  So, we decided we will just stick to fall and spring events. We still have $479 in the budget. Safety is number one issue.  We came up with the idea of getting black bicycle bells. 200 of them for $540. Roughly there are 170 bikes that Jason Giguere has counted outside.  If we have extra, we could sell some at the fall check in day. We talked about putting stickers on them. But, will the stickers still be cool in high school?  We want kids to announce themselves to pedestrians, other bikers and cars. CMS will hopefully be bringing in fun assembly speakers to promote safety. Any questions about this?  If kids bike on the get to school safely day, we give them a ribbon and hand them a bell (or put the bell on). The idea is to get the bell on there that day, if possible! We will have a couple parents there to put on the bells.  

Diane says we do have the funds to put into this bell initiative without taking away from the amount that was already budgeted to be used for the event.  

Kim moves to pay for 200 bells with extra money that we have in the budget.  Diane seconds. All are in favor. None are opposed and none abstain. The motion is approved.

Book Club – Kim

“Staying connected to your teenager” is the book!

There are books to borrow in the Zen Den for parents on the honor system.  

PEN/ Parent Education Speakers – Emily/Kim

Raising of America:  Documentary Screening on 2/27 at Louisville Elementary School from 6:30-8.  We are hosting on March 7 a presentation on Internet and technology and our kids at 6:30-8:30 at CMS!  Childcare is available. Tickets are available. Also, check out the PTO email that went out. Can also go to PEN.org.

Jon says we have a person helping to produce a video of the presentation at CMS on March 7th.  However, we need someone who can actually hold the camera, turn it on and stand there that night!  Cori will do it!

PTO roles – Megan

Kim is looking forward to being past president but will still be here.  Megan has realized she will be at three different schools and can’t do President but will be PEN rep.  President and Vice President are open! Diane is staying as Treasurer. Nicole is graduating so Secretary position is open.  Events chair is open. Fundraising chair? Michelle Trudgean is willing to stay on and Marla is thinking about it. Marketing/Communications chair is still open but Kim would be willing to do it if no-one else is interested.  

The following coordinator positions are also open:

7th grade Honor Roll RISE ceremony coordinator

Student Directory Coordinator

Student Accountability Committee Rep (SAC)

Spirit wear Coordinator

Grocery giveback cards Coordinator

Tina asks how other schools recruit for these positions?  John says at his last school he stood at the front of the school!  

Kim emailed Leah and Jason and John asking if they knew of parents who they think would be great.  

John says this is a fun PTO and really appreciates us.  Kim mentions that meetings are up for debate. We can decide how many meetings and where they are.  Cori says maybe we need to have a recruiting party. Have we thought of doing evening meetings? Mindy says at the elementary school, they had evening meetings and they totally tanked.  They moved to lunch meetings and those are really successful. Maybe we should try lunch meetings?

HelpAtSchool – directory and volunteer sign up – notice and vote?

CMS has always had a conference software package.  PTO purchased a directory software package to support a student directory (at $400 per year).  We are looking at HelpAt School (which is at a lot of elementary schools and is at BHS) which combines both things and can handle volunteer sign-ups too.  CMS has decided to go with it. Mindy says it is amazing and super easy. We need to decide are we willing to switch from our directory to Help At School (which for all its services is $500).  Covering some or all of the cost would be consistent with our mission. How much would we want to fund? If we have the money, the consensus is we should pay all of it.

Kim moves that we pay $500 per year for the HelpAt School cost and to add it as a line-item in our budget.  John says that would be hugely helpful. Cori seconds the motion. All are in favor. Diane asks when does this get paid?  Probably April. The current student directory budget has $400 in it and this money will be transferred to the new Budget item “Help At School Service”.

Questions for John

Next year we will have a focussed fundraising effort around this new furniture and the new spaces.  Another purpose of Jon Georgitis’ interviews will be to help with fundraising.

D. Alanna Irving planned a science club field trip with NIST.  John says there is approval to go. Marco C. has done all the paperwork.  Alanna will coordinate with Marco to get parent drivers.

John says there is a real interest in safety.  We want City to be thoughtful about the school as it considers the 19th street rebuild.  There is a meeting at 1:00 on the 28th. All are welcome.

We went from 46% testing participation the year prior to 79% participation rate last year.  Data from testing is not very useful if only half your school is taking the tests. The more kids that we get to take the tests, the more the data becomes useful for the school instructionally.   Brooke has been so great in creating a three day schedule for Language arts and math testing. We will have 650 chrome books available in the building. Apparently the wireless has been improved to allow for all this testing to be consolidated.  

Now, the SAT even impacts your graduation as they implement mandatory minimum scores.  So, sitting down for testing in middle school where the stakes are so low may be a good exercise.  

If your kids are not taking the testing, then please keep them home.  Gabriella asks about testing snacks. Kim says PTO does provide snacks.  

Cori asks if CMS’ rating went up as a result of increased test participation?  John says yes, it went up by 5 points. There are four levels on the state performance framework.  We bumped out of the red and into the green!

Yesterday’s RISE lesson was to talk about what you know to be stressors in your life.  They all practiced a nonviolent dialogue model using a talking piece.

New business*

Giveaway item – Megan

Megan gives out numbers.  Michelle gets a t-shirt!

Announcements- limit them to one minute.

John asks if anyone went to the TAG talk on stress last night.  D. Alanna Irving went. She says there was a lot of data presented but not a lot of practical tools or suggestions.  There were probably 25 people there.

*General members of the PTO are encouraged to raise an issue for discussion.  This is a right of every member. The president will actively solicit topics or questions for future meetings.  The executive committee will plan PTO meetings based on information gleaned.