In attendance: Tessie Thomas, Brian Fleischer, Courtney Redfern, A Gideon, Susan Gardner
Deborah Villarreal-Hadley, kathryn fogliano, Patty Gamcsik, Christine Banks Calderón, Linda Kow, Selma Avdicevic, Veronica Harris, Amy Uhlfelder, Jaime Bedrin, Natalie Sullivan, Obdulia (Obie) Miranda-Woodley, Holly Lehr-Hahn, Diane Tehranian, Sarah Spagnola Young, Adeola Whitney, Mary Sue Youn, Marco Pedersen, Jada Roman, Maelle Fonteneau, Kristin Werner, Irene Rosenthal, Reggie Valentine, Marci Clark, Anna Kondic, JUNE RAEGNER, Beth Calamia Scheckel, Phoebe Williams, Dave Schottland, Brad Haggerty, Kevin Quinn, Norrinda Hayat
- Minutes of February 8 meeting approved.
- Nominating Committee Election held– Selma Avdicevic, Veronica Harris, June Raegner, Jada Roman, Natalie Sullivan, and Adeola Whitney were unanimously elected. Nominations will be made at the APril meeting and elections held at the May meeting.
- PTAC President’s Report
- Dr. Ponds will be meeting with PTAs re the GoGuardian issue, and the application will not be used in the meantime. Members commented that he should have given advance notice and explained his reasoning for GG.
- March 9th court date. Dr. Ponds is confident the district is prepared to open on April 12th after spring break if the decision is in the district’s favor. Says he will provide proof of facility fixes to the court and that an outside group will be filing documentation that special needs students in particular are being harmed by 100% remote.
- Dr. Ponds will be sending an RFP to various local organizations to run summer programs. Programs can be remedial or perhaps even enrichment down the line
- Essex County PTA Councils will be meeting in preparation for LegCon – more collaboration to come. Debbie will report back after the meeting. There is a lot of state and federal $$ up for grabs.
- Importance of completing Free and Reduced Lunch Forms to support grant applications. PTAC communications committee will help with flyer highlighting benefits and PTAs will distribute. A member commented that completion of the firm should be a requirement next year like all other forms
- We are in a holding pattern on the high school PTA formation. Several parent initiatives are in the works, and Jeff Freeman has a lot on his plate.
- Debbie attended the last NAACP Education Committee meeting. Diane Anglin is now the chair. Discussions about opening a second facility similar to Wally Choice.
- 2 new committees were formed. Mr. Sedita is helping English Language Learners by finding bilingual volunteers to help identify and meet their needs. PTA and committee volunteers collected supplies for Wally Choice students. Thanks to Obie, Amy, Sarah, Mary Sue and all other volunteers
- Congratulations to Brian, Tessie, Colleen, and Andrew on the MPS Budget 101 event.
- Reviewed schedule for upcoming district budget meetings so that people can get involved. PTAC leadership will be attending.
- PTAC Committee Updates
– Communication – MPS 101 was launched– much positive feedback. Sent out through PTAs and also sent to houses of worship, non profits etc.
– Finance – Budget 101 event was held. Taped so people can watch later. There will be a follow up event.70 people attended and it was also recorded. There will be a follow up event on March 25th to address detailed questions raised in the first event.
– EAROG – Received some data from the district but not all. Not distributing further yet. Will report back with next steps. In the future–will partner with NAACP education committee.
– Policy – Anti Racism Policy and Regulations. They asked us to comment on a draft/get involved. Jada asked– do they have a draft or is it so dated that they don;t want to share (yet).
– Curriculum and Special Education. Curriculum work has been difficult to get off the ground. Discussion of weekly updates on curriculum being “light.”Perhaps curriculum should really be under EAR because of equity issues.
– Community Building
– SEPAC Very hard for parents to support children with IEPS when there are no lesson plans or syllabi to follow along with. Not best practices! Principals are supposed to get lesson plans from teachers, so how can teachers not have lesson plans to share with parents?!
- PTAC Schools/PTA Presidents’ Updates
VP of Schools: Tomorrow it will have been one year since kids were in school before lockdown. PTAs have really stepped up– have been very adaptable in doing “PTA business,” supporting families in various ways. The ASE committee has just heard/confirmed that outdoor grounds will be available for enrichment activities and presumably outdoor instruction as well. Outdoor event held for 9th graders at the high school was very well-attended.
– Bradford. Bedtime and Books event. Misty Copeland event. Organizing events for 5th graders to hear from 6th and 7th graders. Principal search: distinct didn’t choose anyone and had to restart the process. Very discouraging.
– Hillside. Collaborated with Nishuane on Black History month and Lunar New Year events. Peer socialization continues to be a concern. Home room teachers are surveying students by interest to form clubs which could take place virtually or in person. Parents and Key Club volunteers would be club advisors
– Edgemont. New principal hired– Montclair resident Brione Carr Clemente. Edgemont parent with lots of teaching and administration experience. She can’t start for 60 days. Edgemont is “trying to rebrand itself”– created a video to recruit families to choose Edgemont, Planning large number of outdoor ASE classes in April-June. Planning a book fair and asked teacher for book lists.
– Nishuane. Sponsored virtual field trip to Harriet Tubman museum. Held Black history trTrivia night and also Lunar New Year. Planning Bingo night end of March. PTA p[urchaesd sport equipment to support families in remote PE class (jump ropes etc)
– Bullock. Sent out MPSD101 to all families. Held two talent nights to build/maintain togetherness, connections between students. Held Valentines Day crafting event. Family Fun Dance with glowsticks. Principal participating in bedtime story events for K-2 and 3-5 populations. Held a parent event with a psychotherapist, links to resources. Planning more bingo/trivia nights.
– Northeast. Very active for Black History Month and also Women’s History month.. Virtual field trip, suggested readings. Conducted a parent engagement survey. Trivia night. Planning school dance at the end of April and hoiping to hold an end of year event in June. 5th grade held a very active car wash event.
– Watchung. Spring ASE will be held starting May with a workshop or two. Zwill be holding a book exchange. Bingo night. DEAR event with 200m children participating. PTA funding virtual field trip to the Liberty Science Center.
- New Business
A member expressed frustration that there is still no approval for outdoor instruction/certainty about reopening. Two members have withdrawn their children from the district.
Budget. Current budget suggests that 50+ positions will have to be cut. Government funda rw coming but not clear if it can (or should) be used to save staff.
Woodman Field– can be used for grad ceremonies for middle school and high school graduation?