In attendance: Tessie Thomas, Patty Gamcsik, Brian Fleischer, Andrew Gideon, Colleen Dougherty, Deborah Villarreal-Hadley, Courtney Redfern, June Raegner, Kathryn Fogliano, Najla Nazeemudeen, Reggie Valentine, Veronica Harris, Marco Pederson, Linda Kow, Kristin Wood-Werner, Marci Clark, Maelle Fontaneau, Mary Ann Vanco, Selma Avdicevic, Susan Gardner, Marco Pederson, Norrinda Hayat, Amy Uhlfelder, Sarah Spagnola Young, Holly Lehr-Hahn, Betty Shvetz, Ana Cristina dos Santos, Adeola Whitney, Mary Sue Youn, Jaime Bedrin, Diane Tehranian, Melissa Shrager, Patti Marin, Daniel Garcia-Pedro, Amira Williams, Anna Kondic
- Minutes of the January meeting were unanimously approved.
- Guest: Mr. Sergio Gonzalez
He is not speaking for the BOE. Mr. Gonzales briefly discussed the fact that the hybrid option has not gone forward because of opposition by the MEA. Approximately 75% of state schools have returned to in person instruction on a part time basis at least. Since litigation has been filed, it will be up to the courts to decide. He believes they will accelerate any decision. Mr. Gonzales expressed his personal frustration about the situation as a parent of young children, because he has concerns about the education and social-emotional learning of his children.
- PTAC President’s Report
Update on Mayor’s COVID Recovery Task Force – they are conducting a nonprofit committee survey. PTAs should complete the survey so that parents and caregiver needs are considered.
PTAC has communicated next steps for the establishment of a PTSA at the high school to Mr. Freeman. Awaiting a response.
It is time for all PTAs (and PTAC)to be appointing their nominating committees for elections in the spring
PTAC President discussed the ongoing conflict between the BOE and MEA.
Discussed PTAC Executive Board’s support for the Superintendent and reopening plan. Acknowledged that individuals may disagree but it is important for leaders to represent everyone if possible. Discussed the ”revolving door” of superintendents over the last eight years and how that has impacted any attempt to address the opportunity gap or achievement gap. Or make any other improvements in a lasting way.
- VP/Schools Summary
Emotions are running high for all our PTAs. PTA volunteers are juggling commitments to their parents and their own families. At the last PTA Presidents meeting, there was a robust discussion of school reopening and there was no agreed-upon single position. A week later the lawsuit was filed.
PTA Presidents’ Reports
Bullock. The PTA is “staying calm and carrying on.” A recent FaceTime with the principal was very positively received. Family engagement events taking place like a Family Fundance via Zoom and a Valentine’s Day craft with an art teacher. The school equity committee recently suggested that RJ be used to address the disagreement between the district and MEA about school reopening.
Hillside. PTA has been asking parents “what do you need?” in this remote environment. Trying to support families in finding ways to promote socialization. Class parents are arranging liaisons through Whatsapp and arranging hangouts on playgrounds. Want to create social opportunities that are interest based.
Nishuane. Focused on community support and how they can help families. Offering weekly tech support. Holding regular online trivia nights– parent engagement and fundraising. ASE Explorer classes: 109 children already enrolled for Spring. Combination of teachers and outside vendors.
Bradford. Recent PTA events: storyteller and a virtual Bingo night. ASE enrollment is way up. Marco Vargas is interim principal, still recruiting new principal.
Edgemont. Principal search ongoing. Narrowed down to 3 candidates and parents are participating in the process. Planning IN PERSON ASE for April-June. Getting lots of inspiration from other PTAs. Other events planned: a STEAM fair, a quilting project.
Glenfield. Online trivia nights. Popcorn night raised $. Flower workshop planned for the spring. Glenfield is a Title I school– had a meeting with Dr. Morgan to discuss.
Buzz Aldrin. Online trivia nights. Monthly restaurant nights.
Renaissance. PTA working with administration to create a better hybrid schedule.
- Committee Reports
Communications Committee. MPSD101 in the final stages and will be launched shortly.
Community Building and Finance Committees. School Budget event will be happening in March. Collaborating with the district and there have been several delays but will happen.
Technology. A PTA president expressed concerns about possible hacking or phishing.
EAROG. Have not yet received requested information but expect to soon. Have been meeting regularly with Dr. Morgan and happy with that access. EAROG commenting on regulations in equity and anti-racism policies.
A member raised a possible equity issue– disparate treatment of children by the YMCA in the afterschool program at one school. Should YMCA receive equity and anti-racism training?
- New Business
A member expressed concern about the “inflammatory rhetoric” of the MEA and how they are using social media. MEA has a PR machine which is very aggressive. It is hard to separate MEA positions from teachers. Very concerned about K-2 and the special education population of children. MEA unwilling to compromise, taking extreme positions. MEA is displaying no respect for parents or children.
A member expressed concern about lack of outdoor socal events for children at the elementary level. Some principals not supporting parents and PTAs in organizing. We should be pressuring the principals. Publishing the process of getting approval for events.