PTO Meeting Minutes – October 26, 2017

1. Call to order—8:15

Amy Carpenter calls meeting to order and tells us that a school board rep was going to talk to us today at the meeting but since our meetings have been going longer, we will do business first and then spend the rest of the meeting hearing from our principal.

2. Welcome & Introductions

In attendance: Ginger Barnes, Amy Chan, Amy Carpenter, Marla Bachrach, Vivian Curl, Jill White, Diane Jones, Kim Decker, Cori Chavez, Nicole Benjamin, Kristen Smith, Tracy White, Madeleine Pollack, Liza Weems, Diane Harpold, Kristy Westnedge, Wendy Barinek, Paul Tullis, Jill Zender, Tina Rice, Sue Gehlert, Erin Vito, Megan Boyle, Abby Church, Hilda Del Rio, Monica Breed, John McCluskey

3. Approval of the minutes from last meeting

Erin moves we approve the minutes. Ginger seconds. All are in favor. Minutes will be up on the website and a link will be included in the blast

4. Wrap Ups: Bike to School Day, Conference Teacher Food, Fall Community Event

Tina says staff appreciation events went well. Thank you for our time, money and food offerings. Will do again in spring for parent-teacher conferences. Sometime around winter break we will have a catered offering of lunch for staff. Nacho bar for conferences was a big hit! Thanks Tina!

Fall Community Event (Kim) got cancelled for weather. We will plan better and earlier next year. Tech talk was well attended. We had cookies and milk. Amy Carpenter says we think our community would rally around a fall event so we will do it next year and maybe tie it into a speaker again.

Natalie couldn’t make the meeting today but bike to school was awesome! Natalie did a great job! It was a beautiful morning. Kids were running around and roaming through the various offerings. She is excited to do it again in the spring with some tweeks. Natalie wonders: What should our participation goal be? 50% of students? It was a cool before school gathering time. We will definitely have more coffee and donut holes for next time. There is also a winter bike to school day – should we do it January 19th? This is about a week and a half after kids come back so it might be difficult to get awareness. Geoff is into it. What about hot pits? School gets back in session on the 9th. We could try to advertise before winter break and after. Amy Chan suggests we could do s’mores and hot chocolate. Amy Carpenter says perhaps we should go for it! Erin says they clear the paths before they clear the roads. So, this might increase awareness that you really can bike to school year round. Ginger, Kim, Erin and a few others raise their hands to indicate willingness to help Natalie plan for this event.

5. Fuel the Cyclones Update—Jill Zender

Jill is our fundraising chairperson. For our Fuel the Cyclones fall campaign, our numbers to date for donations to CMS are at $25,183 (which is donations from 129 families, roughly 39% of our $65,000 goal). The bulk of this has been donated since October 1st. With respect to PTO, we have strangely fared better. The goal for the school did, however, go up significantly this year. For PTO, our goal was $8000 and we are at $4903, representing donations from 63 families. We have had a nice bump in donations since fall campaign push beginning October 1st. We are at just over 61% of goal for PTO. Huge thanks to Amy C and Erin V for her marketing/graphics work!

Amy Carpenter says historically, there wasn’t a huge fundraising push and John came in this year inspired and wanting to raise money because he has great ideas for spending money. Platt raises close to $90,000 so we can do this! We want to see what our participation is. It is really low. We have 400 families. We need to figure out why this is so low. We need to ask more. We are trying to close the fundraising out this month. There will be a group to talk about next steps. If anyone is interested in thinking about this, please reach out to Jill or Amy. Amy Carpenter’s gut says we will move toward a fall campaign. Please ask your friends to donate!

Marla Bacharach asks about matching donations. PTO takes matching donations. Can the school? Amy Chan says both of her donations are matched. Amy Chan suggests we should provide the necessary numbers for matching donations to make it easy! We should have that language more front and center. Vivian says people tend to only read a fraction of what they receive, so bombarding people nicely is just fine (based on her experience with PTO at the elementary school level).

Amy Carpenter wants to see our participation go up!

PTO helped contribute to the boulders out at the front of the school. It is a nice community space. The tree in the middle is in honor of Karen Ortega, a Spanish teacher who passed away a few years ago and the boulders are in celebration of Leslie Tengwall’s life and accomplishments!

Amy Carpenter asks what did people think about the robo phone call? John tells a funny story about how he did a robocall some years ago on a day when it was snowing and people were hoping it was a snow day call!! John says robo calls will be for fundraising and emergencies only moving forward. John didn’t know other robo calls were going out. We will try and limit these so you actually listen to them! Robo emails will be a bit more prolific. But, we are really wanting people to read the Cyclone Connections for most of their info!

Marla says we tried text blasts to parents at Crest View for donations and they seemed successful. Amy Carpenter asks Marla to keep us posted on how that works. Marla says Crest View met its goal. Jill White says they were effective. There was a spike in donations after those text blasts went out. It would be nice to be able to eliminate folks who have already donated from these continuous requests. Kristin says the visual aid helps a lot. Thanks to Erin.

Amy Chan asks if there is a way to incentivize the kids.

Community Education Committee—Megan Boyle

Jason and Leah have drummed up a lot of thoughts for speakers and events at the school including some coffee meetings with John and/or the counselors. If anyone has ideas for hot topics for families and kids (high school culture, drugs, peer pressure, tech issues, etc.), let Megan know! We will find speakers. Amy Carpenter says this committee will talk and come up with a plan for the semester and then Erin will do a cool flyer so it is on everyone’s radar and then we will know how to disburse money.

John says it is nice to have a committee to look at the calendar across the year so we are pacing events out throughout the year. John gets weekly requests from people in Boulder to give a speech. Having a committee help us calibrate what our community really wants to see and hear about will be helpful. John needs help with that to create a thoughtful set of speakers.

Kim asks if our community is up for doing a bigger PEN event opened up to parents of other schools. “Angst” is a big film on anxiety that PEN is promoting.

Diane says Boulder High is having a PEN program on opiod awareness on November 6th. Megan loves the idea of coordinating with other schools.

Amy Chan asks if we can do these as webinars? John says there is a product called Zoom that we have. With the right camera setup you can broadcast the presentation and people can watch it at home live. Jill Z. says that Boulder High offers all presentations for viewing later.

Amy Carpenter says there will be translators and child care (game night) at all these events.

SAC Role and Update—Kim Decker

SAC is “School Accountability Council” – a state mandated board made up of parents, community members, principal and teachers. We hear about the district level action items. There is a DAC (District Accountability Committee) as well. Amy Carpenter is our DAC rep. SAC gets news from Amy about district level action items. We hear about how John wants to implement them. As a group we get curious about how communication is happening within the school. We are putting together a way to assess school climate. Current efforts are around closing the achievement gap and building stronger community. DPC (district parent council – Dana James is our rep)- meets with superintendent and gives updates to SAC. Amy Carpenter asks what issues get raised to SAC. DAC asks SAC for a budget survey – what are school priorities in terms of funding? These are good ways to communicate with other schools and the district. SAC meets on the 4th Tuesday of each month from 4-5:15.

Upcoming Events: Nutcracker Ticket Sales—Lisa Camm, Chasing Coral showing—Julie Frieder

Lisa Camm is leading the Nutcracker sales this year – a give back to the school. If interested in going, please get tickets through the office or through links on the eblast.

Julie Frieder (who is not here) is bringing the film Chasing Coral to CMS. Julie is working with the science staff. Film is amazing. We do not have a new date yet. Director will give us some dates as director wants to come to a Q&A.

Kathleen our school nurse has to check every incoming 6th grader and every new 7th and 8th graders for vision and hearing at end of November. Kathleen needs a slew of volunteers to help out in the mornings!

Principal’s Report: Update on HH breakfasts, Student Council group, Winter Party, Open Enrollment Tours

Good morning. John thanks Mo Breed for being here at the meeting. It is a big deal. As a faculty, we are so grateful for the support of this group. We know you are behind us. If you are really great at organizing stuff, Sheena the art teacher, could use a person or two to help organize her room. Contact her directly to help with the art room!

Counselors and John are dreaming up ideas for lunch time. We are looking at the concept of learning lunches. People who have lived lives of meaning come and talk about their lives. We know that you can tap into a deep root with middle schoolers even in 20 minutes because they are so open to the possibilities. We want to bring in really inspiring people living really cool lives. For example, the man who owns Sherpas came and talked to the kids and showed videos of how he takes what he makes in Boulder back to Nepal. We are looking for people who are engaging. John is friends with the drummer of Big Head Todd and the Monsters and he came and talked about his start in middle school band. Career awareness could be one focus. We would say to the kids that they can come to the auditorium if they want to but don’t have to. Kids would self select. Another option at lunch would be clubs. For example, every Tuesday, someone might come in and teach kids how to do origami cranes. If you have any ideas, please let John know. Amy Carpenter suggests this go in the blast in the volunteer section!

As for Honor roll, big thanks to Kim and Tina and Amy. We had a one off meeting and met with big picture team. Where is faculty at with honor roll? People want to do something but there is a desire to update what it looks like to honor kids. Let’s put a survey out to our community next week. So John says there will probably not be an honor roll breakfast this first quarter. We want to recreate the ceremony. How many times a year? Is it just honor roll? Other things? There is some caution around equity. How do we get kids to internalize the desire to do well. Learning and excellence should be about what they value internally. How do we value how kids behave in the community? Rise values? Many of the parents give feedback that the kids have the expectation so we should do something for this quarter. There is lots of feedback that people like to be recognized. Then we can hit reset and figure out something different moving forward. Sue suggests we survey the kids too. John says some of the certificates get left in the auditorium and it is a lot of paper. Jill Z. says we could email the certificates and then it is up to parents to print them out or not. Mo says they are working out how to know if you are eligible for the breakfast. Tina says we will just do bagels and coffee at the breakfasts. No more donuts. There are about 100 kids per grade in honor roll. Three events, three times a year. The honor roll breakfast coordinators are Ginger for 6th, Michelle Christenson for 7th and Tina for 8th.

From the 360 leaders, some kids self selected into the principal’s advisory committee. They are meeting once a month with these kids. It has been great. If you have a child interested in that, send them!

We are working on open enrollment events now. 360 leaders will help. John will meet with teachers to see how involved teachers are in the event. We will probably need about 10 parents to give tours. Once there is a plan we will let parents know: The dates are: 12/7 in the evening and 12/15 in the morning.

Big picture team is working on looking at next year’s schedule. Will we shift things in daily schedule? What are parameters, priorities? If things are going to change, we would have a parent night and host a world cafe to put up some of the options and get parent input. One priority we are looking at is moving to 3 lunches instead of 2. As soon as you change something like that it changes everything in the day. This morning, we put forward all scheduling considerations. What are brilliant ideas out there in terms of daily schedule? What should our day look like here?

Thank you on the fundraising front. We do have a family considering a $5000 anonymous donation if it would be matched by the community. Jill and Marla have worked on this exact issue at Crest View and are willing to help John.

Thank you Kim for writing impact grants! Kim says this is the first time we’ve tried this parent grant committee. We are trying to support teachers!

John says the more we are on the radar of Impact on Education the better! Accessibility to books is one area we are focusing on. Another is on supporting the Adelante program in the afternoons and another area is sustainability and carbon footprint.

John has been going with Hillary Culbertson on 17 home visits across Boulder. This has been great! We are hoping to insure that our Spanish speaking families know how much we want them to feel at home at CMS. What are your dreams for your child? What else can we be doing as a school for your student? Poverty does not equal a lack of love. Stories are tear jerking and emboldening for us that we are doing this together as a community. All kids belong and fit and can thrive and grow. Dream is to look at additional grant money to do home visits with all 6th graders.

We just got through conferences. Thank you for your patience. We stuck a hot link that was blue and said don’t use it. That was our mistake.

Someone asks if parents could be involved in home visits. John says there may be privacy concerns but lets think about it. Wendy and Stacy are our new family coordinators and they can be point people on this.

New Business*

Erin has new business. She took over bulletin board in the office but feels someone else could do a better job. She needs someone to update the bulletin board and keep it current and looking pretty. Let her know if you are interested!

*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.