Centennial PTO Minutes—November 29, 2018

In attendance:  Nicole Benjamin, Kim Decker, Marla Bachrach, Megan Boyle, Mindy Kefer, Dr. Alanna Irving, Erin Vito, Cyndi Gittes, Vivian Curl, Michelle Trudgeon, Jean Anthony, Tina Rice, Vicky Blair, Ann Goldwasser, Ann Thomasset, Amy Chan, Diane Jones, Leah Taylor, Maryerin Muller

Call to order

Kim calls meeting to order.  Megan is passing around a drawing for some spirit wear!  Kim reminds everyone of our PTO mission.


We start with a RISE activity this morning.  Just like our kids do on Wednesdays occasionally.  What topic should we choose? Family traditions, family activity, food?  We chose family activity so everyone says their name and favorite family activity.  Answers include going to hot springs, vacations, hiking to the Boulder star, skiing, staying home, decorating Christmas trees, board games, travel, game night, roasting marshmallows, hiking, Papa Murphy’s pizza on Friday, movie night, cooking together, going to the library together, popcorn and snacks for dinner, family bike rides, national park road trips, and the beach!

Leah, one of the counselors at CMS says she grew up in Boulder so she values the tradition of family dinners.  Maryerin Muller, behavior health advocate for the district, likes to be outside and hang out with her cats.

Approval of the minutes from last meeting

Kim sent out minutes from last meeting and moves to approve them.  Megan seconds the motion. All are in favor. None are opposed and none abstain.  Minutes are approved.

President’s report – Kim

This November wasn’t as busy as some other months.  We did have a grant received from Impact on Education.  With some of that money, some math tables will be made into white boards!  City of Boulder awarded youth opportunities grant for an after school soccer program for Latino boys that come to an academic support group and are motivated by doing homework and playing soccer.    

FET meeting happened.  Jean talks about this. FET Meets on a Thursday evening.  December’s meeting is not scheduled yet. Translators are available.  Childcare is also available. John and Leah and some teachers and support staff attend.  So far, it has been Latino parents and numbers are growing. Have covered social emotional issues, how to set limits on technology, how to foster communication between parents and teachers, and how to improve conference experience.  All are welcome!

Impact on Education currently gets a $200 donation from our PTO.  

Treasurer’s report – Diane

There were only a few transactions in November.  Donations are still trickling in. October brought in another $725 in donations and corporate matches.  Lucky’s check also comes every month which is nice. Anyone can contact Diane if they are interested in a detailed report.

Meet Leah Taylor

Leah introduces herself and takes on a tour of the Zen Den in the counseling office.  Leah Taylor is here for the 2nd year as counselor. This year we are trying something new in the counseling office.  We were able to modify the space into the Zen Den with help from PTO. There are couches, coloring things, chrome books.  Intent is to create a space for kids who need a break from class or anything else going on. A place to practice some self management tools.  Jason and Leah check in with kids and help facilitate. It has made a huge difference to the tenor and tone of the office. Nice to have a quiet space that is relaxed for kids.  A huge improvement. We are trying to get data on emotional regulation from kids as they come in and as they leave. There is a counseling website that is ready to go live any minute.  

Zen Den Virtual Tour

Jason says they may paint a wall of the space.  The Zen Den is a space for kids to relax. Timers are available. We have suggested activities.  This is not a place for kids who are in trouble. That place is called the Brooke nook. Students can choose to come down here. We try to keep duration to 5-10 minutes.

Erin asks if Zen Den open lunch hours can be posted so kids know when they can come. Also, maybe students can paint the walls as an art project.  

The Zen Den also is home to a parent library which works on the honor system.  You can also donate parenting books.

The website has a bio section about the two counselors.  There are downloadable PDFs on stress and anxiety, infinite campus, missing assignments and other topics to come.   There is also a blog. We will try to update this monthly. There is also a google calendar that we can subscribe to.

Anna Marie is another resource to kids at CMS.  She is a mental health interventionist who sees kids for 20-40 minutes and partners with the counselors.   She works particularly with kids who might not have access to outside therapy.

Leah Taylor and Mary Erin Muller presents on EFFEKT

Maryerin Muller, Behavioral Health Advocate, works for BVSD.  EFFEKT is a program out of Sweden. Developer came from Sweden to Boulder and trained people in BVSD.  Quick and simple program for parents designed to help them come up with strategies to talk with kids about substance use.  We are first in the US to put this into place! It is an evidence-based program to prevent substance use in middle school. Parents are important!  You have the power to influence your child’s decisions. 7.3 percent of middle school kids in BVSD report they had their first drink before age 11. First drink is defined as more than just a few sips.  Drinking is twice as common among boys than girls. By 8th grade, 17.5 percent of BVSD kids report having tried alcohol and 1 out of these 5 kids is drinking regularly. By 9th grade, 39.3 percent report trying alcohol.  2 of each of those 12 kids are drinking regularly and one has engaged in binge drinking. Healthy kids survey shows that it matters what parents’ views are. If parents don’t approve of their middle schoolers drinking then those  youth are 3 times less likely to binge drink! Youth whose parents offer them even small sips of alcohol, drink and get drunk more than youth whose parents don’t. Young people who drink, put themselves at risk for drug abuse, violence, unprotected sex, negative effects on school and free time.  

Students who can talk to their parents are less likely to try substances, including marijuana, vaping, pain medication, alcohol.  Informed parents are defined as parents who have been through the EFFEKT program in Europe. Youth of parents who went through the program drank less over time.  Over time, the parents who had been through EFFEKT maintained their clear expectations with the kids. Be clear!! Model positive behavior. What are your expectations around substance use?  Give a clear message. Prevention is all about being ahead of time. Don’t wait until your child starts getting curious. Don’t offer your child alcohol. Don’t even offer a sip from your glass and explain why.  Talk to your child about alcohol use and that it isn’t ok to drink below the age of 21. Continue to show your child that you are interested in having these conversations. Work on strategies for how to say no and how to stay safe.  

Ask your child what she and her friends think about alcohol, ask if she knows why there is an age limit, what do you do if you are offered a drink?

One of the parent points out that at high school football games there are a lot of inebriated and stoned kids so talk to your kids NOW!

Having clear expectations makes a big difference.  Have consensus amongst people your child interacts with.  Let’s have clear expectations in our parent groups. For example: No drinking at my house, if your kids shows up at my house and appears intoxicated, I will call you right away….

Leah will post this information on the website.  

Program Coordinator reports – 10 min

Fundraising Update – Fuel the Cyclones – Marla

The fundraising campaign is officially over from a promotions standpoint.  No more emails. Nonetheless, anybody can donate at any time throughout the year.  We are less than half way for the school’s fundraising goal and PTO hit its goal!

Diane went to SAC meeting and she wants to let us know that John was there and happy with what was brought in through fundraising.  We had a lofty goal. We raised nearly $40,000 for the school.

Book Club – Kim

On 12/13, there are open houses for incoming parents and students looking at CMS.  We need parents to walk around with 360 leaders on the tours. There is a sign up on the blast and online.  Volunteer needs are from 10-11:30 and from 6-8 that night.

For book club, we are reading “You’re Wearing That?”  

Spiritwear – Kim

Consider purchasing spirit wear for holiday gifts!

Winter Party – Tina and Vicky

Winter party is coming up.  Sign up genius is available for volunteer signups!  Tina says it is a great opportunity to see your kids’ friends.  

There will be more pizza this year.

Questions for Principal John McCluskey

John drops in briefly on the meeting as he is touring a superintendent around today.  He introduces Dr. Cresco who is our superintendent for secondary schools .

John mentions that teachers were really excited about what we’ll be able to get them through our fundraising efforts.  He intends to create a survey that says here are all the requests for money, how do people feel we should prioritize them.  He wants it to be collaberative. Last year our school raised about $45,000 but never before that at the school had we raised anything above around $22,000.  He is glad we set the goal because we learned a lot. We will be able to get some really cool stuff including Learning Pathways which is a way for us to have access to over 80,000 audio textbooks so kids who are struggling at any level with accessing texts, we can get them to them.  We will be able to purchase some music storage devices and some tubas too!

New business*

Ann Thomasset tells us that BVSD gifted and talented has three events coming up:


Seth Perler, M.Ed. Gifted Education, Executive Function & 2e Coach Workshop for Middle and High School Parents and their Children

Tuesday, January 15, 2019, 7 p.m. Southern Hills Middle School 1500 Knox Dr, Boulder, CO 80305

Learn how to deal with resistance (to non-preferred things related directly or indirectly to Executive Function: homework, asking for help, planners, organization, etc.) and to improve relationships to help with those things (emotional regulation, self regulation, holding space, boundaries, etc.)

BVGT Annual Trivia Night

Sunday, January 27, 2019, 4-7 p.m. Tilt Pinball Arcade 640 Main St., Louisville, CO 80027

An adults-only FUNdraiser for BVGT! Food, drinks, trivia, and prizes! More details coming soon.

Nancy Lee, MA, LPCC, Psychotherapist To Stress or Not to Stress? Parenting Gifted and Twice Exceptional Children

Wednesday, February 20, 2019, 7 p.m. Location TBD

Join us as Nancy Lee presents information, skills, and strategies that parents can use to enhance their children’s wellbeing. The emphasis will be on stress and distress from a transdiagnostic perspective

*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.