Hillside PTA/SATp Meeting Minutes
September 23, 2022
Meeting began at 9:34 AM
- Welcome to all; brief introductions by new PTA exec board
- Justin provided brief overview of minutes from June meeting, reminder that only current PTA members can vote
- Minutes were approved unanimously
- Dr. Anglin introduced framing of her report as opportunity to highlight trending topics, questions/concerns from community:
- Aesthetics rescheduling – not easy scheduling classes trying to maintain 15:1 ratio, some classes lend themselves to larger class sizes. If we couldn’t hit 15 that was a class the district was looking for us to close. Only closed 1 class for A days and 1 class for B days, which affected kids getting their top choices. Want this to be clear across communication channels with parents.
- Spanish – Have received a lot of emails from parents with disappointment. We do not have a Spanish teacher at this time. We are not getting candidates applying. Not the only Spanish position in district that isn’t filled. Districts across the state are experiencing world language shortages. Have to hire someone who is certificated in teaching Spanish. Search began in June. We have been looking since last school year and will continue to.
- Mr. Adamo’s departure – was important to highlight in detail at BTSN – slides will also be on school website and in 9/23 eblast to school community
- School materials and basketball hoops – they’re coming! lots on back order e.g. air conditioners going into classrooms, sorting materials. Awaiting two hoops to be delivered, thanks to parent volunteers.
- Sex education curriculum – Follow state standards by district that are board approved and each school required to implement. Hillside can always be a safe place to share perspectives on varied opinions. We ask questions and send them up chain of command to Dept of Equity, Curriculum & Instruction. No power to change or omit at the building level.
- Outdoor lunch – During COVID, we had outdoor lunch because we wanted to increase air ventilation and flow and limit number of children in given space (no more than 80). This year, with 150 kids at each eating session, do not have space to accommodate outdoor lunch every day. Also since we’re at the mercy of temperature and weather and person power it takes for setup, didn’t feel sustainable or most efficient. We can’t run 6 eating moments and maximize recess time, which is what we’re prioritizing while COVID numbers are at baseline low. When there are new variables, we are quick to adjust and assess at needed.
- Building conditions on ground floor – There was a lot of water damage from Ida last September. Hillside is largest elementary school. Also house several district depts: Child Study Team, IT, Printing services, Buildings and Grounds as well as classrooms. All these offices and core instructional classes, two gymnasiums, auditorium all water damaged. Pushing district to make repairs happen, were put on a shelf all last year. Following dance studio repairs at Glenfield, repairs will begin at Hillside (Week of 9/26). Need confirmation on whether it will happen during school day or after hours. There is no complete timeline for how long work will take. Expectation is that gymnasium will be compromised for less than a month.
- Nish/Hillside pick up/drop off – Age old gripe. Have always expressed to district that Hillside is willing to make an adjustment of 10-15 minutes if that’s helpful. Can’t make this change on the building level. Central office, board meetings is the platform for that.
- 2022-23 School Year – Every year is a great year. At the curriculum Thursday PD meeting with staff, there was a different feeling in the air. Staff is happier, building is up and running full throttle, Things are going really well, nothing but optimism. Here to answer any questions that you have.
Q: What is level of confidence that renovations will be completed by end of October for Boogie Bash?
A (Dr. Anglin): We’re going to stay the course and when we have tangible, real evidence that we need to get creative, we will. Shouldn’t hang our hat on the maybes.
PTA Treasurer’s Report
- Justin: Year of learning and adjustment, things we didn’t account for. Will come back frequently to make adjustments and determinations on what the true spend is and revenue that we generate.
- Michael provided following overview:
- Budget for total income: $124k, 64% increase from budget last year due in part to new events we did in response to COVID (car wash, popcorn fundraiser) and drastically increased our revenue for spirit wear
- Opening balance: ~$53k including $20k from Fireball revenue. Add income, reduce expenses – ending balance would be ~$30k
- For purposes of presenting budget to PTA community, want to move to metrics that are more digestible – e.g. cost per student
- Expenses: $128k
- 50% margins for spirit wear sales
- Cost of hospitality has gone up with inflation – includes: PTA events like BTSN, food for volunteers, teachers. Start of year gathering for teachers – When teachers get together we fund food.
- Beautification – volunteers – increased budget for this area
- To be discussed
- Brain Pop on the budget but not funded. Is it needed for all kids to access outside of school?
- Raised $20k last year from Fireball – 4 projects we want to use that against
Comment (Dr. Anglin): Fireball funds earmarked for bulletin boards throughout halls to create moments of “feel good” to display student work, mounted projectors for classrooms that need them to ensure that every classroom has capital resources. Always thinking about how funds will impact ALL children and not just a niche.
- Budget approved unanimously
PTA Calendar Review/Event Planning
- Focus on Boogie Bash – scheduled for October 28
- Caitlyn provided following overview/asks:
- 300-400 participants at last BB. Recruiting a lot of volunteers
- Some supplies left from previous years, have rough idea of what we want to do.
- Elements: haunted hallway with set design, half the gym with dance set up, crowd comes out other side, small games to keep kids occupied. Photo booth near cafeteria, cider donut games.
- Blocked off areas that won’t be in use: auditorium, need security details to support areas that shouldn’t be accessed
- List of committees that need chairs:
- Haunted Hallway set decoration
- Volunteer management – distribution of labor, communication, day of check in and managing volunteers
- Small games – corn hole, supplies set up, day of management
- Bake sale
- Photo booth – logistics, supplies
- Costume contest – planning and execution, communication & prizes
- Caitlyn will respond to all emails expressing volunteer interest
Dr. Anglin/Mr. Adamo: MC for the costume contest is a make or break. In past, costume contest has been held in auditorium. Kids gathered in hallway to prepare and paraded on stage, judges were parents.
Mr. Adamo: There will be a custodian on site who is good and attentive. If kids want to go somewhere else they hit the stairwells. Parents standing in front of stairs, blocked of with caution tape is good deterrent.
Tawaina Turner-Dones: Super excited that Boogie Bash is coming back, happy to help.
- Justin provided following overview of successful early year events:
- Beautification Committee’s revitalization of Hillside grounds. Special thank you to Megan Reilly and YardBird Montclair for their help! Working on plan for what’s needed in terms of people and costs.
- New Family Tours
- Staff Welcome Back Lunch
- New Family Ice Cream Social
- First Day of School Welcome Back Breakfast – done with Stacie/SATp
- Hillside Welcome Back Picnic (150-200 ppl)
- Hillside Bike/Walk to School Day – 10/12 – info coming in Dr. A’s email and on FB
- Hillside/Nishuane Movie Night will be postponed until Spring (April) since original date is same weekend as Nish’s pancake breakfast
- Hillside Carwash– 10/22, 10am-2pm
- Boogie Bash– 10/28, 7:00 pm
- Election Day PTA Bake Sale– 11/8
- Book Fair– 11/14 – 11/18
- A call was made for Class Partner/Liaison
- The PTA is looking for a volunteer to help serve as the Class Liaison Coordinator to disseminate important PTA communications to all the class liaisons (who then send to class families)
- Christina Robinon serving in that role currently in absence of coordinator. Information forthcoming.
- Explorers registration opened on 9/22 info on Hillside PTA website. Any questions email explorers email.
- Stacie provided an overview of SATp and focus on school goals (Development of Skills; Equitable, Safe Community; Effective Communication)
- All of the SATp Committees need volunteers:
- Skills Development
- Cultivating Equity
- Community Engagement
- Upcoming events:
- National Hispanic Heritage – Fri. October 7 on Hillside Playground (5:30 – 7p)
Music, dancing, food vendors, asked teachers for samples of student work. Booklist from Watchung Booksellers and Read Aloud
- Hillside Cares Coat Drive launches October 17, Collect gently used coats at Door K and Door on St James. Partnering with Montclair Police Station.
- First SATp meeting – Wednesday October 12th, 7:30p (virtual)
- Goals – Partner each year with Dr. Anglin and teacher liaison for school year goal; this years goal is “Individualized instruction and equity for all”:
- SOAR high – each student not on grade level is provided oppty to meet with MHS tutor with oversight of teacher/guidance counselor – will likely start in January
- Equity for All – Popup workshops – Working with teachers, local businesses and parents in coalitions to foster heritage months. Doing 7 popups. Starting in October for Bullying Prevention Month.
- Deck will be posted on Hillside website including link for SATp meeting
- Lani provided following overview of 9/19 BOE meeting:
- Mr. Cooper gave presentation – sharing updates on personnel efforts – most schools are almost entirely staff. District making improvements to make hires that reflect ethnic diversity of schools/students.
- SEPAC – working on family caregiver handbook, which will serve as a guide to help families navigate school system and needed resources
- Bond Referendum – coming up for vote on November 8. Money earmarked for improvements for Hillside will make a huge difference.
- Two town halls coming up in person, unknown whether they will be livestreamed or live comments allowed:
- 9/29, 8p @ MHS
- 10/13 @ Glenfield
- District website re: Bond referendum: https://www.montclair.k12.nj.us/cms/one.aspx?portalId=889560&pageId=57526133
- Sex ed curriculum – Curriculum committee reviewing some of curriculum and looking for feedback from parents – email Allison Silverstein or BOE. Policy guide link (pages 9-16):https://www.montclair.k12.nj.us/common/pages/DisplayFile.aspx?itemId=71210420
- Comment (Dr. Anglin): Children are going to grow up and curriculum does not always reflect that. Reviewed about every 5 years. Now is a great oppty to ask questions, express concerns.
- Justin gave brief overview of PTAC
- Lani: PTAC is largely focused on Bond Referendum. At BOE, Tessie Thomas, PTAC President gave overview of initiatives going on at each school
Q: Will communications around bond referendum be happening at district level, or what should we do at school level?
A: PTAC sent out a survey to gauge interest and recruit volunteers, get in touch with PTAC.
Q: Can a link to vote on Bond referendum go in the E-blast?
A: If not in todays, it will go in the next one.
- Justin gave parting remarks, encouraged folks to continue to join PTA, upcoming meetings.
Meeting adjourned at 10:48 AM.
Ana Cristina dos Santos
Suresh N Varsha Hathiramani
Anita Fee Willis
Meeting minutes approved at 10/20/2022 PTA/SATp Meeting