Centennial PTO Minutes – February 22, 2018

1. Call to order- 8:15

2. Welcome & Introductions
In attendance:  Quinn Daly, Kristin Smith, Erin Vito, Sue Gehlert, Tina Rice, Amy Carpenter, Michelle Christenson, Ginger Barnes, Diane Harpold, Kim Decker, Cori Chavez, Amy Carpenter, Diane Harpold, Jill Zender, Madeleine Pollack, Stasi York, John McCluskey, Diane Jones, Wendy Barinek

3. Approval of the minutes from last meeting
Kim moves to approve the January meeting minutes. Sue seconds the motion.  All are in favor. None are opposed.

4. Quinn Daly — Teacher perspective on testing
Leah Taylor has the teacher communication piece on the Cyclone Citizens website for 6th grade. Now, parents can see what’s coming up.  It is under Quick Links, left hand side, student homework resource!  PARCC testing – we have no measurement anymore. We need it for:  1. is school doing its job – are kids growing here? 2. as a LA department, 3 of those tests are LA and reading.  We can see where did our kids do the poorest, where are we not attacking with our curriculum enough. It would tell us where kids were weakest and where we were doing well.  3. it breaks the individual student down – where does your child rank across every child in the state in terms of strengths and weaknesses. Then, in August, as a department we would sit down with the scores and readjust to meet needs. We are missing hard data with all the opt outs.  From a teacher perspective, we need assessments. Also, if we don’t have anyone taking the test, our school doesn’t score well. 70% opted out last year.  And, many of those kids still come to school those days and are just sitting around.

5. Board Work Update — Bylaws & Mission Statement, Status of financials, Spring Event
We break up into small groups to brainstorm how to spend funds and think about next year.

6. Bylaws vote
Amy C. asks if anyone has any questions about the bylaws.  Kim moves to pass the bylaws.  Sue seconds.  All are in favor.  None are opposed.  Bylaws are approved.

7. New Family Welcome Committee Update
We had to table this for our March meeting.

8. Principal’s report
John says our faculty see the utility of the data from testing but work to not teach to it. They are sophisticated enough to look at data, disaggregate it and use it in a balanced way. We do find the balance here.  We still look at the whole child.  How to know your own kid’s potential is what we all want. How are they doing compared to other kids across the state. That’s a good awareness for how to support your kids. You deserve that data point as parents. Helps to be objective.

Most principals sent out a letter and John will be sending one. The general tenor of the letter is we really would like parents to consider having their kids take the test even though we know this will be a hard shift for kids who have not taken it in the past.

There is a lot of momentum and kids are talking about not taking it. We are trying to shift the culture back. The movement to raise awareness about this was spot on. When we had two windows of PARCC testing, that was too much. Something needed to happen to get state’s attention. Shift has happened. We have one testing window now. Actual testing time is about 9 hours. Testing window is about 12 hours total for math, LA and science.  It is better than it was.  The movement has made its impact and now it is time to renormalize. There are so many ways to see if schools are working in addition to testing. For example, performance based assessments where parents come in and really see if students are learning. However, testing is just a reality we are dealing with that looks to not be going anywhere.

Our school performance framework goes onto the state’s website.  We have dropped a rung into the “improvement” category primarily due to non-participation. We want to avoid dropping any further on this state document. Our achievement gap persists for kids with special needs and under resourced kids. We need to close that gap and the test is helpful to track what is needed in this regard. By not having sufficient data, it makes it more difficult to know how to comply with state’s requirement around how to improve. If we had even 20% more kids to take the test, this would have a very positive impact on the the overall school rating.

The SAT and ACT are coming for your kids. Life includes a lot of formalized testing. Right now, when the stakes are where they are, this is a great time to practice what sitting for a standardized test is all about.  It is a good time to get that experience.

If you are going to opt your kids out, the district is asking that you keep your child home if at all possible.

Someone asks if we’ve ever talked to the kids during school about the importance of taking the test. John says he doesn’t think that has happened at CMS.  But, he will be at grade level assemblies encouraging students to take it and why. John says he doesn’t know of any circumstance where anyone would be looking at CMAS as a way to place children.  We do have to keep testing records for 7 years. But, it is not something you’d ever send off to a college.

9. Latino night – Kim said it happened last night. Parents came and lots of kids. It was very successful. There were about 12 kids and 20 adults. We need to have things in Spanish, be welcoming, listen and ask questions.  She is proud of our school for starting it and continuing it. We will do another one in April. We did a world cafe – what’s your current experience?  what other resources should we be considering? We did a little activity where people rotated from table to table. So we have good data to make an agenda for next time.  We want to really hear from our Latino community what you think and what experience your kids are having at school?

10. Walk-out discussion
John is meeting with group of students on Monday. We are trying to find balance. 8th graders are really ready to dive in and talk about this and our 6th graders have just watched Frozen.  He will meet with the kids.  How do we support something like a walk-out and really keep kids safe. Student movement on March 14th that students would leave for 17 minutes, one minute for each child killed.  John wants to find out what other schools are doing and what district position is.

Amy C. says it would be great to get some communication from the school that it is thinking of this.  Erin says it should be student led.  The time is 10:00.  Parents could come to support the kids.  Counselors have talked about how secondary trauma is a real thing. How do we take care of all 650 of our kids?  John will put out a school wide communication.  Would it be appropriate to have a parent night about this.

Tina says there is a rumor that cameras will be installed.  John says that as part of our bond, we will get external cameras installed as part of neighborhood security.  Amy S. says rumor is that cameras are going in the hallways to monitor behavior in the hallways.  John says the cameras are only for the exterior at this point, although school board is discussing internal cameras.  John says it is all about culture, not about cameras in terms of keeping kids safe.

Cori wants to know about what happens when someone is expelled for a safety reason.  John says rarely does a kid get expelled.  Those kids have alternative schooling options.  Expulsion is a big deal.  Students have been suspended but not expelled.  If there is a student in that situation, we do a threat assessment.  There will be a safety plan to prevent reoffense.

11. Discussion on District Testing this Spring
People are generally supportive of PTO providing testing snacks.

12. New business*

Amy C. says we are talking about moving to mobile payments and a different online payment because Revtrak is cumbersome. Diane H. and Kristy W. will meet next week to discuss this.

It has been really hard to get a master calendar of all the goings on at the school. Amy C. is trying to work with John and Laurie on this.

The Board really dug through the financials last month as a halfway point of the year and we realized we have about $2400 extra to spend beyond what we had budgeted for. We have been fortunate with our community!  We want to be thoughtful about how we spend the funds.  We must be responsible about spending the money we raise.

Sue has been working with administration on last day of school plans. Wendy and Stasi have been talking about incoming 6th graders transition night in May.

We are talking about a spring event. We have a parent interested in helping to plan it.  We are trying to find a date that works (having also to consider start of construction).

St. Baldricks — We typically host this at CMS. It has been a tradition for many years. Jessica is helping with her mom’s recovery and is unable to help with this this year.  We had someone step up but we had no idea where it was at in terms of planning.  Turns out, no planning has happened thus far.  We are reluctant to throw a new parent in.  Plan B would be for CMS to take a team to either Celestial Seasonings or BHS’s event for St. Baldricks.  We reached out to the parent (Alma) to see if she wants to be a team leader.   The larger question may be are we doing this because it is tradition or because our student community really wants it.  We should still check in on whether it makes sense for our community.  How are we getting student input on what they want us to do?  If there is substantial interest, then we should really rally PTO around it and make it one of our official programs.

Quinn says this is an exciting time at CMS. John is open to new ideas.

Sue says there was a really good turn out for dodge ball. Some of those kids come in and observe the shaving part. Quinn said there may have been 30-45 people who shaved and not all of those people were from CMS. There were some walk-ins.  It was a community event, bigger than just CMS.

Consensus is it would be great to send our kids over to BHS. So, then is Dodge ball still happening?

Quinn suggests we could put dodgeball as a last day of school event. Amy C. says we could do it as part of spring event.