Centennial PTO Minutes – March 21, 2019

In attendance:  Tina Rice, Kim Decker, Nicole Benjamin, Diane Jones, Mindy Kefer, Natalie St. Denis, Cori Chavez, Wendy Barinek, Ann Thomasset, Madeleine Pollak, Tina Mueh, Ann Goldwasser, Ross Philip, John McCluskey

Call to order

We met in the redesigned auditorium.  Spring break is just around the corner.  


Because we are in the auditorium we say our favorite musical.  Diane loves Chicago. Nicole says Hamilton. Natalie loves Fiddler on the Roof.  Mindy loves Oklahoma. Ann loves Wicked. Wendy loves Moulin Rouge. Tina loves Les Miserables. Madelyn loves Sister Act and she used to be a professional actress in theater!  Kim loves The Play That Goes Wrong.

Approval of the minutes from last meeting –  1 min

Any additions or corrections to the minutes?  Kim moves to approve the minutes from February.  Tina seconds. All are in favor. None are opposed and none abstain.

President’s report – Kim

We had a tech talk with PEN here at CMS and it went well.  There was good turnout – about 60 parents. We had testing snacks bought by Tina Rica.  A video interview happened about furniture and common spaces with Jon Georgitis. Book club and FET met.  Thanks to all who helped make this happen!

Treasurer’s report – Diane

We have previously approved $80 for containers for feminine products (in the “Other/Requests” budget line item)  but the actual cost came to $110.00, with shipping and tax. The Executive Board approves the whole cost of $110.00.  

Kim was reading the bylaws and it said that at each month we’d go over what other/requests expenses and over-budget expenses have happened, so here goes:

$200 extra health room funds approved
$125.48 partial funding of CMS stickers approved
$540 bike bells approved
$50 brain bowl t-shirts approved
$90 give away spirit wear approved
$45 estimated bank fees over budget

PTO can’t fund staffing.  Staffing requests must go through the school.  Madeleine asks if that rule holds true even if it is for staffing for a club?

Meet Tina Mueh Science Teacher

Tina was a 6th grade science teacher at CMS in 1990.  She has a PhD in Plant Physiology. She returned to CMS in 2018.  She was recently BVSD’s teachers’ association president for 6 years.  

Tina loves 6th grade science.  Technology that she uses in her classroom is just another tool to make things more effective and efficient.  Google classroom is a vehicle through which she can assign things. All kids are enrolled in a class and can go to the site at home and communicate with her and get copies of assignments or links to videos or scans of notes.  There is a stream tab showing assignments, and posts. There is a classwork tab for assessments, copies of notes, etc.

Kids also do projects through google classroom.  Hyperdocs are hot new things in education – some kind of document you put a lot of links in that allows students to get into and explore while they are learning a topic.  She also uses Padlet which lets all students anonymously brainstorm at once. Then, they can talk live about this. We get a lot more realistic brainstorming without judgment.  For example, they completed a Padlet on what they individually wanted to know about atoms. The hyper docs allow for an interactive way to do research. This is more engaging than a worksheet.  It is self paced. They can access this at home. Richer engagement now with chrome books. Some kids didn’t have access to computers at home so when teachers were competing for the chromebook cart, it was a problem when kids didn’t finish.  Now, they each have their own and can work at their own pace.

Every kid through google classroom has access to their assignment.  Ms. Mueh can interact with them live while they are online.

We have Go Guardian at school now.  She pulled up a timeline and can see all of her students’ screens and she can, from her computer, close screens that are inappropriate.  For now, this lets kids know that she can see what they are doing. Ms. Mueh then later has a record of how a student spent her time and what sites she visited.   This is one way we monitor. We also have an eye toward digital citizenship where students should be self-policing.

Diane says that at the tech talk, they talked about Go Guardian.  There are actually some limits on the chrome books themselves when they come home.

Help at School Orientation – Ross Philip

Ross will show us Help at School.  He founded and created the program.  Ross thanks Kim for inviting him. Mission is to help recruit parent volunteers.  He wants to focus on parent/student directory and how you might sign up to help at CMS.  The core idea is to provide a one stop shop where parents can find out all opportunities at school to volunteer.  It also has the parent/student directory. It also provides a system for scheduling conferences. This program is in 39 BVSD schools and this year we’ve filled about 25,000 volunteer slots in the district!  It is likely that incoming parents to CMS will already be familiar with Help at School. Early adopters were Southern Hills and Summit middle schools and they seem to maintain a higher level of volunteer engagement!

He does a quick demo.  Parent student directory data is sourced from infinite campus.  Parents simply have to answer yes or no whether they want to be included.  Colleen, our registrar, will send out an email (that comes from Help at School) that has an explanation at the top and then an option to choose whether or not you want to be in the directory.  Even if you select no, you can still create an account and volunteer as you wish. If you select yes, it will take you to their site where you can customize what you want included in the directory.   All the schools where you are a parent will come up. Focus groups are set up. For CMS, these include: PTO events helpers, PTO newsletter mailing list, and PTO parent book club. Our PTO can decide if we want to create more of these focus groups next year!  You can search for a family on the directory. You can add particular families to your contact list and the contact will automatically include the children in that family.

But, the real mission of the program, is to get volunteers.  Volunteer needs are organized by: Up-coming, On-going, Expired.  Future PTOs can go to the Expired tab and see the whole history of institutional knowledge.   You have the option, once you volunteer, to click and have the event populate your calendar. You can manage your sign-ups under “My Sign-ups”.   Behind the scenes, the organizer of the events get notified when people sign-up or cancel their sign-up.

There is also an “about” tab.  Under that, there is a volunteer honor roll list!  You can also access volunteer statistics.

You can read about their privacy information also under the “about” tab.  No data is shared with 3rd parties. Confidential information is only available to verified parents of the school or staff members and you can limit that by your choices.  Under “Your Profile” you can choose “visibility of my name” and decide how and whether or not your name is listed on sign-up sheets.

Cori asks if there has ever been a problem where parents get marketed to by other parents.  Ross says this is possible, although the site says the directory is to be used solely for the purpose of school communications and not for private enterprise or solicitation.  This is a problem with any sort of directory. Data set is pretty limited – no home addresses are listed.

Reminder emails are generated by the program (30 days, 7 days and the night before).  These are all transactional emails. The program does not handle PTO communications/newsletters.  

Help at school has a data privacy agreement with the BVSD.  They also carry cyber liability insurance.

Look for an email from CoLeen!

Program Coordinator reports

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

Have you noticed cones on the west side of the school?  Flow seems better.

April 22-26 is safety to school week.  Natalie has a long list of volunteer needs starting now.  Shift is really to safety. We are working with City of Boulder to try and get markings on the sidewalk.  Kim sourced some bells. On Wednesday the 24th, we will have the CMS band come out and play, will offer food, stickers and the bells.  Sidewalk citizens! BVSD will bring apples and BoBo bites. With out budget we will also see what we can add.

John has met with lots of safety people from the City and BVSD.  Is anyone interested in helping out with safety around the school?  

John says one idea is to paint a strip on the sidewalks around the building that makes it clear about where people should be.  People seemed interested. We need a person or two to help with this.

Book Club – Kim

Book club is pre-watching the movie Eighth Grade.  

PEN/ Parent Education Speakers – Emily/Kim

Thursday, April 25th is a talk from the group “Natural Highs”, which is a group that teaches people about their brain chemistry.  Through that understanding, other things that are less addictive are suggested as alternatives.

PTO roles – Nominations?

PTO meetings are fun but we are all busy and maybe we want to decrease their frequency.  What about one meeting a month? It might be general or executive. There would be at least 2 general meetings in the fall and 2 general meetings in the spring.  Now that we are becoming a little more digital with Help At School, maybe we don’t need as many meetings. Maybe we’d get more interest in people becoming part of the executive group if we had fewer meetings.  

Perhaps we could try it for a year and see how it goes.  

Diane says lunchtime meetings were mentioned at a prior meeting.  

Ross says parents like to be useful.  So, meetings where we decorate the teachers’ lounge, or have evening meetings, or have speakers come in tend to be most successful.  Ross says that at his school, they also try to keep their meetings really short – under 30 minutes, but they do meetings every 2 weeks.  

John worries a bit about not having a regular drum beat and losing the rhythm.  But, if we had fewer meetings, we’d have more space for coffee with John or coffee with the counselors.  

Madeleine asks if we had a PTO meeting at night, could it be at CMS?  John says yes.

FET – Jean/Kim

Questions for John

The projector and sound system in the auditorium are all from the bond!

John wishes us a happy spring break.  Look for an email with some updated information.

Giveaway item

Cori gets a CMS t-shirt.