PTAC General Meeting Minutes– January 11, 2021
In attendance: Tessie Thomas, Patty Gamcsik, Brian Fleischer, Andrew Gideon, Colleen Dougherty, Deborah Villarreal-Hadley, Courtney Redfern, June Raegner, Kathryn Fogliano, Amy Uhlfelder, Kayla Crawley, Najla Nazeemudeen, Irene Rosenthal, Karina Lynch, Reggie Valentine, Veronica Harris, Marco Peterson, Linda Kow, Adeola Whitney, Kevin Quinn, Jessica Schachter, Kristin Wood-Werner, Marci Clark, Maelle Fontaneau, Ana Cristina Dos Santos, Kimberly Latortue, Mary Ann Vanco, Selma Avdicevic, Meredith Pressler, Jayda Roman, Norrinda Hayat, Susan Gardner, Kayla Crawley
1. Minutes of the 12/14/20 meeting
Approved with one abstention by Laura Hertzog, who had not attended the meeting.
2. President’s Report
There seemed to be a “change in tone at the BOE Meeting on January 6th. Cautious optimism about opening on January 25th. Teacher remarks did not seem as ”threatening” and one Board member acknowledged that kids and families are being hurt by not being able to attend school in person.
There was a lot of interest in a HS parent group being formed. Next step following up with Jeff Freeman.
Upcoming meeting with Ponds with PTA presidents. Things we want him to talk about:
1. assessment, learning loss and how the we will catch-up
2. teacher/facilities preparedness for hybrid
3. concerns about teachers not showing up
4. What else?
comment at BOE meeting about learning loss for students and there being no “catch up” needed/planned
Finance 101. Is Ponds thinking his meeting with PTA presidents is enough? PTAC has an obligation to communicate with the larger community about the budget process. To be discussed at Friday’s meeting.
Other concerns raised during the discussion:
Will there be qualified subs for teachers who do not teach in person?
Will there be enough travel time for students to change classes?
Will there be tours for students who are new to the buildings?
Will assessments take place, especially for K-1 students?
Can cleaning supplies be used that are safe for asthmatic students?
One member expressed frustration with superintendent statements about various things being “decided at the school level.” He is responsible for what is happening at the school level and should be able to communicate about it.
3. Committee Reports
Community Building. Held an event about dyslexia. 130 registered and 75 attended. A recording will be made available.
EAROG. Still waiting on data requested in summer 2020. High level of frustration about this because a lot of work was done by committees and they are stuck now. Someone may file an OPRA request to get the information.
There are going to be regulations coming out to support the district’s equity and anti-racism statements, and the EAROG committee will have a chance to comment on them.
Q: What is the plan for an equity audit? Because schools and PTAs are applying for MFEE grants and some may be planning to do work the district might be doing. If so, they might have other uses for the grants.
Special Ed audit. SEPAC will be working with the district to put together parent focus groups to collect feedback.
Communications. Much progress has been made in drafting MPS 101 and they expect it will be finalized in February.
Finance. Planning to hold a Budgeting and Finance Zoom event in January, working with business office.
Technology. All PTAs have G Suite for email– PTA Executive Boards need to decide if they are going to use gmail addresses for officers.
Wellness. Need volunteers!
Curriculum. No substantive updates. Has been thinking about how instruction works when some students are in person and other virtual. Can/should it be done with the same teacher. Brad will volunteer to work with Ponds on multimodal instruction.
4. VP/Schools Summary
PTAs now are pivoting toward hybrid learning
PTAs continue making connections
PTAs are working together and collaborating
PTA Presidents Discussion of MLK Day
Bullock. Collecting food. Students making videos reading quotes from MLK speeches. Focus on service. Creating artwork, donating to seniors.
Watchung. Students create flip grids on various MLK_related topics. 4th and 5th grade having virtual assembly. Writing thank you notes to seniors and first responders.
Hillside. Hillside Cares Week of Service. Food drive, blessing bags. There may be a virtual assembly– not sure yet.
Nishuane. Will be collaborating with Hillside food drive.
Edgemont. Will eb screening performances from the Smithsonian African American history museum. Family friendly discussion moderated by SACs. collecting for AToni’s Kitchen,
Glenfield. Still under discussion.
Buzz Aldrin. Virtual experiences.
PTA Presidents’ General Discussion
Nishuane. Holding 10 ASE classes using a mix of teachers and outside vendors. We have tents now– could we hold ASE outdoors on school grounds?
Edgemont. Focused on principal search. 12 candidates. Submitted MFEEv grant application.
Bullock. Holding ASE classes remotely using outside vendors. 64 students served. Family engagement– small fundraising events, talent shows. Equity committee applied for an MFEE grant.
Watchung. Sent letter of interest for aMFEE grant.
Bradford. Focused on finding a new principal.
Glenfield. Focused on new fundraiser
6. New Business
Discussion about school tours– should we hold Zoom tours for MS or elem schools? Tabled pending reopening of schools 1/25 and 2/8.