Centennial PTO Minutes – March 22, 2018

Call to order

Welcome & Introductions 

In attendance: Nicole Benjamin, Ginger Barnes, Sue Gehlert, Diane Jones, Amy Carpenter, Amy Chan, Meredith Nguyen, Tina Rice, Tracy White, Michelle Christenson, Erin Vito, Amy Shoffner, Jill Zender, Diane Harpold, Cori Chavez, John McCluskey

Approval of the minutes from last meeting
Erin moves to approve the minutes from the February meeting.  Jill seconds. All are in favor. The minutes are approved.

Board work update: testing snacks, mobile and online payments, next year’s PTO (positions and programming)
We have some additional funds this year so we’ve been thinking about ways to spend the money.  Something that came up to create a more positive culture around testing was snacks!  Some teachers had previously been purchasing snacks from their own money.  Jill Zender went to Costco and loaded up.  We filled huge bags to last 3 days for 6th grade.  They were fairly expensive so we are hoping there are some leftovers for the older grades.  Applesauce, granola bars, oranges and mints were among the snacks.  It was $600 for 6th graders.  We did have a $2400 cushion this year.

John says he will ask for feedback on the snacks and report back.

Currently we use Revtrak which is kind of cumbersome.  It also has high fees. We’d like to get a mobile payment system. Hopefully, we will have that implemented for incoming 6th grader night so we can sell spiritwear.

Kim Decker will be President next year! Hooray Kim!

We talked about the spring event since we have funds and we want to build community. However, there is a lot going on for staff and administration this Spring and adding on construction means a spring event may be hard to support. There is so much going on and construction is starting. He didn’t think it would be the best use of staff and administrative time right now.  So, are there other ways to build community for the students this spring that wouldn’t be as taxing? Let’s also hone into our fall picnic.

Tina says we could do a pizza and movie night for the whole community. Or we could do individual grade movie nights. Do we want a dance? We need a way to hear from students.

The Board also talked about Friday fun days in order to build our school student community. Maybe from 3-3:30. Kids would go out and play games and maybe PTO supplies food (popsicles)?

John says the winter party went really well. There were zero behavioral issues. The success was that there was plenty to do. There were no long lines. This is the problem at lunch.  There is not enough for them to do out there. Gaga ball is very popular. The 8th graders think they need another gaga pit. Amy S. says what about Friday fun during lunches. Amy Carpenter says they were thinking about grade level fun programs. John says it might be nice during lunch though.

Recap of small group discussion from last month/update on Spring Event and calendar for the remaining part of the year
Some ideas that the small groups came up with were:  movie nights, family-oriented activities, parent education events, vaping talk, dodge ball, battle of the bands, outdoor games, after school v. evenings, time to chat with teachers, meet other parents, winter party, talent show, a spring event for the kids, gardening, outdoor amphitheater classroom, co-ed kickball, track races, music, school grounds clean-up, conversation around high school courses for 8th graders.  John says having some student panels would be great.  Let’s bring in some 9th graders to come back and talk to the 8th graders.

Amy Carpenter asks what should we/could we do for a student focus before the end of the year. Erin says a field day is a good idea but that does involve teachers and takes up a fair amount of time.

Amy Chan says the bulk of our money and effort should go into the fall events to get people to gel early.

Amy Carp says PTO could help with making lunch more dynamic. John says we struggle with not having a sound system in the lunchroom. Getting kids’ attention is a challenge. Maybe PTO could think of spending money on that if John can’t get it through the bond.  That could set us up for the opportunity to do bingo at lunch.

Diane thinks that providing an opportunity for parents to meet and mingle is also important.

John says skateboard racks are on the horizon too.

So, Amy asks again, are we doing anything this year?  John says what about a gathering at Rayback just for parents to mingle and have a jar at the door to collect donations.

John says he wished there was a playground on the property.  Maybe we could raise money for playgrounds.

Tina says honor roll events are happening in April.

Diane says 4/22 is earth day.  That’s a fun thing to celebrate.  The Monday after Earth Day we could do a PTO sponsored cleanup.   How could we tie the fun day thing for kids into Earth Day possibly.

Chess club has asked for other strategy-type games.

What about a game shelf in the cafeteria?

John says there are 3 books he wants faculty to read over the summer.  “Culturally responsive teaching and the brain” is one of them.  Maybe PTO could buy books for teachers.  We must be mindful of the two buckets of fundraising money.

Can we get some information out to the kids about vaping!?  John says they are talking about it with kids. EFFEKT program is a guy from Sweden who did a ton of research in his work with parents and talking about substance abuse and being specific and consistent with kids.  John is pretty compelled by this.  Let’s have 2-3 parent evenings every year for a few years to help parents understand this common language.  Set the expectations early and often.  Don’t drink alcohol, don’t use drugs, don’t vape, don’t have sex.  There need not be any negotiation around this.  John says they are taking the language from the EFFEKT program and will try and give it to our parent community.  We should share statistics.  How can we use the e-blast to share this information for parents who can’t come to some of these presentations.  Amy Chan mentions that Tech-talk Tuesdays from Screenagers is another great resource.  Maybe counselors could put in weekly discussion topics in the e-blast.  Amy S. asks if we could coordinate with our high schools to create a consistent message and educate parents throughout.

John says Zoom Video Conference has the capacity to broadcast these talks!  We could live stream them.  John will see if there was a power point from Monday’s vaping talk to get out to parents.

Amy Carpenter concludes we will focus on lunch time instead of Fun Fridays if we decide to do something for the students.

New Family Welcome Committee Update
This committee is rocking it!  Kim sent a report since she is sick and couldn’t be at the meeting.  Thanks to Erin for all the great graphics.  Staci is trying to get a graphic of our school and all the different components and trying to be clear about our language.  They are sending out a communication between CMS and its feeder schools and will try to catch kids not in those feeder schools too about our May 15th school transition night from 5-6 pm.  Amy Chan started this a couple years ago.  We will need volunteers to support that evening.  They are talking to Jason and Leah about capturing families who come in new to our school midway through the year.  Who’s Who at Centennial – the Centennial Family Tree.  We need input from the teachers.  The Big Picture Team would be a good place to start – they meet every Thursday.

April 25th is our next bike to school event
Natalie can use some help.  Let Natalie or Amy Carpenter know.

Principal’s report
John shows us pictures of the new furniture that will be installed. We ended up having $150,000 left over from our $400,000 after revamping the library.  So, we decided to update furniture in the cafeteria for about $70,000.  It will turn the cafeteria into more of a cafe kind of feeling.  We are going to three lunches next year.  So, there will be fewer kids in each lunch.  One of the computer labs is not being utilized so we will gut that room, level the floor, take the walls out and recreate the walls with a cool product of glass panels.  So, that whole area becomes a place for small groups.  We will put groovy furniture in there.  The rest of the money will go there.  Also, everyone gets new carpet and paint.  Construction letter went out so here we go!  Trucks will arrive tomorrow afternoon.  We will lose the fitness room and the small gym for the rest of the year due to where construction folks will be staging.  Construction meetings start next week.

Over 80% of the 6th grade class is participating in testing. We get the FTE tomorrow. Hopefully we will keep staffing stable. John would like to see an increase of PARA help in the lunchroom.

Amy Carpenter asks if John needs parent volunteers to help teachers pack up their classrooms.