Hillside PTA Meeting Minutes
April 16, 2021
- Brian welcomed everyone
- Approved Hillside PTA March 2021 meeting minutes
- Feedback on return to school from our students and families has been 100% positive. Great energy throughout the building, kids are so happy to be back. Parents are asking if we can go 5 days, but we don’t see that happening – it’s not a unilateral decision.
- Had some transportation issues because bus drivers didn’t have updated routes and dry runs didn’t happen.
- We’re fixing problems as they come up. Ran into issues with teachers being released earlier than lunch times, so we’ve assessed and adjusted.
- During lunch discharge we revamped the plan for kids grabbing lunch since we can’t just leave it up to the kids to take it if needed.
- We’ve been identifying shortfalls and coming up with solutions the very next day.
- Across the district, the self contained kids are receiving instruction from the same teacher for 4 basic subjects. Self contained kids are coming 5 days/week. 100% of 4/5th graders are showing up.
- For students getting pulled outs, they are switching classrooms and the plan is working.
- Related Services – it is not clear why Child Study members aren’t not physically in the building at this point. We are drowning without the CS team because they are case managers for kids. We’ve been very vocal about needing them here.
- Q: Is any pool testing happening? A: No update as of now
- Q: Can students bring paper/pencil in classroom A: Yes, we are not distributing supplies
- Q: What’s the plan for teacher absences? A: We have not received any substitutes. I am covering to make sure an adult is in the room. However, our help is not delivering instruction and it’s an asynchronous learning experience. We think a lot of current absences are from teachers getting their 2nd vaccine shots.
- Not too much progress, but we’ve had spring break and hybrid which may have slowed progress.
- 2 people have stepped forward, but still have the Secretary and President open. Hoping have more volunteers soon
- We might get more volunteers from Nishuane and by offering an option for co-leads
- Presented treasurer report. We are break-even, still have some trivia money coming in that might put us ahead. We are in good shape considering we bought a tent.
- Questions about 1st Day Supplies. Site is up with correct links; people are ordering already. We will check on where donated supplies are being sent [update: cannot be sent to school].
- Peer Socialization Groups – very excited about a good turn out!
- Mindfulness event – highly recommend this session
- May 1st – Trivia Night, move it to 7/7:30, Marvel / Star Wars
- Bingo Night – still planning, asked if anyone knows how to run a virtual bingo?
- Book Fair – working on the plan for May
- Explorers – decided not to run this Spring because we have book clubs and peer socialization
5th grade Prep:
- We want to jump on opportunity while waiting for the state to allow us to gather, but NJ is not yet at that number we need. Trying to do multiple ceremonies will be hard. We are arranging for space, just in case. Decision will be all or nothing with 7 elementary schools.
- Picture Day – have a vendor for the end of May and we have Mountie and Bulldog dates. We just need to plan for fully remote kids as we want 100% of kids included.
- Yearbook class is still going on. Don’t have the specifics yet for ordering yet. Still in the works, moving in a positive direction.
- Virtual science day is still going on, Gina is still helping.
- Need volunteers for SATp, everyone is looking for replacements. Hillside Cares is looking for someone to take over.
- Social Justice Committee: book club is filling up with 23 out of 30 slots full. We will diversify in the fall. Sending separate emails to parents and volunteers with information on free books, etc.
- Making a plan for May AAPI Month. We have 2 parents volunteers and between 2-5 activities that will be after school.
- Will have Juneteenth acknowledgement and celebration
- Will still participate next year but will be looking for more volunteers for Cultural Infusion b/c it’s a lot of event planning.
- Mayor Spillar announced 3 new Board appointees. As of May, the majority of members will have been appointed by Spiller.
- Board of School Estimates unanimously approved budget for 21/22, budget included estimated 33 positions to be cut from budget, now it’s 28 positions with 17 vacant positions making up a significant chunk. No clear indication of where those other cuts will come from. Our guess for Hillside is that we will be 7, 7, 7 across the grades which puts us at 21 vs 22 teachers.
- On budget approval cycle – no specific request for facilities, but a strong indication that they are prepared to provide significant funding for long-term solutions for AC and ventilation systems. Finance and Facilities committee – a broader 5 year facilities plan has been developed for the district and being reviewed by CO right now.
- Significant resignation/retirements since last meeting (business administrator, director of nursing, district wide supervisor of mental health/bullying, district registrar). PTAC scheduled time next week to meet with Dr. Ponds to share thoughts about critical positions/vacancies.
- PTAC – announced slate, current president is stepping down. VP is nominated to take over as president. Richie Valentine nominated to VP, Diane will be Treasurer.
- Building community put panel discussion about the budget process on YouTube.
- Let’s give a lot of credit to AAPI Montclair as they quickly organized and spoke out about not just national incidents but also local micro aggression and bullying. Critical that we acknowledge and figure out how we are addressing. EROG is taking it very seriously. Linda Kow spoke with gratitude about the response from Dr. Ponds and the ongoing partnership. Have grown a FB group and working groups: educational programming, advocacy at township level, events planning, and a few more. Dr. Anglin believes this is the real work, it’s uncomfortable but that is the work. Plan A is how we will make sure we will incorporate this thread into the everyday.
- MFEE – Encourage folks to look into programming as MFEE has really stepped up their game and helped the community in this challenging year. Amazing Fundraiser is important because teacher grants really fell off because of Covid. Other programming includes America To Me Learning Circles, community health workers to help with vaccine coordination, in person cohorts for kids in need, equity grants, Little Free Libraries (generous grant to bring 2 little libraries to Hillside)
- Pain continues in Black community and the work continues addressing anti-racism in a heightened way. Recently a local Jewish synagogue was vandalized.
- Brian Fleischer
- Colleen Dougherty
- Jennifer Hand
- Linda Kow
- Amber Reed
- Ashley Emala
- Betty Shvetz
- Christina Robinson
- Dee Thompson
- Erica Clark-Mitchell
- Tinu Joseph
- Jennifer Di Lullo
- Jennifer Herman
- Leslie Houseworth-Fields
- LJ Jules
- Obie Miranda Woodley
- Samanthaa Anglin
- Varsha Hathi
- Yvette Frazier