Hillside PTA/SATp Meeting Minutes
February 12, 2023 @ 6:30p (Virtual only)
Reviewed & approved by PTA membership vote in 3/10/2023 PTA/SATp Meeting
- Minutes approved unanimously from January 12, 2023 meeting
- PTA Treasurer’s Report
- General Budget & Finance Overview
- Have $20k in bank from Fireball earmarked for 3 things: Projectors, Bulletin board and rehab of DOT room
- Mike working with district to get items paid for (just under $10k for projectors, training and installation)
- Sitting on some cash, but don’t have many more fundraisers planned for rest of year. Have big spend items coming up: 5th grad picnic, EOY picnic for teachers
- Requested budget changes– with Membership approval:
- Increase Field Trip budget by $1,000.00– from $3k to $4k in total – this will support an end-of-the-year field trip for all 3rd grade students
- Increase Science Day budget by $600.00 – this will allow for the PTA to underwrite the Science Day Assembly which costs $1,435.00. ($900.00 is already in the budget)
- Both items put to vote, seconded. Approved unanimously
- For future discussion:
- Increase in beautification budget
- Purchase folding tables for the school – these will replace existing folding tables that are in extremely poor condition
- This has been a year of learning: How much do we spend? How much do we save? What bandwidth do we have from fundraising perspective? What is the true cost of stuff given inflation? What is expectation around continuing events that happened pre Covid?
Q: Did District put any money toward projects Fireball funding was earmarked for? E.g. Capital projects. Would hope we’re pressing upon Dr. A to push district to put money toward things that are important to the parents and school and that PTA shouldn’t necessarily have to fundraise for.
A: Don’t believe District put money toward bulletin boards or DOT room. Only thing that’s happened is the projectors. These questions best addressed with Dr. Anglin.
Q: Another item we’re fundraising for is beautification – landscaping, plants, etc. This is another area where the District is falling short, we have been asked to keep our “gem in the center of town” shining brightly. Similarly, school has asked for new tables. Shouldn’t be an item we pay for, but that’s where we find ourselves.
- Nominating Committee Update
- Report from Tawaina and Kim to consider new exec board members – 5 roles that need to be filled
- Seeking support from existing leadership (shadowing, pre-planning for next year). Coming out of pandemic want to encourage participation from parents and families. Reach out if you’re interested or have questions. More details during March meeting.
- Focusing on Exec board roles and considering committee roles as “extra credit.” Hoping that if people don’t sign up for leadership, they will sign up for committee chairs
- Vivian Hadis joining as third member of Nominating Committee
- Principal’s Report – presented by Mrs. JoAnne Carroll, Interim Principal
- BHM: Students are doing wonderful job with BHM announcements – they’re proud, happy and it’s going really well.
- HIB assessment: Follow up, additional detail after meeting with Mr. Acevedo and Ms. Scott:
- Will have a meeting with whole school community
- HIB self assessment scores largely impacted by COVID protocol. Most of 2020-21 we weren’t in the building. ‘21-22 parents and community not allowed in building. Area where we scored low is required documentation of parents and community being in building and attending meetings. – Ms. Scott will gather more information on how other schools scored themselves in this area since families were not allowed in building.
- Children were not in school together and families were navigating stress, fear, etc. Many students were entering building for the first time. Focus was always to meet needs of students with regard to SEL
- Highest scores we received was for HIB investigations, procedures and partnering with families to ensure safety of children
- Will hold follow up community meeting to provide more information to parents. Told Mr. Acevedo that the March 10 PTA meeting might be too late but hope to have information to parents early next week about when community meeting can happen.
- Mr Acevedo was in charge of this area at his former school, so there are two people including Ms. Scott who have deep knowledge on this
- Would like to make a nice PPT to share with community and confirm when is the best time to present information. Important for all three of us to be involved (Acevedo, Carroll, Scott)
- No determination yet made about whether a communication will go out preemptively to acknowledge report and offer plan for when further communication will happen
- Carroll feels like the article presented information without explaining it, created more questions than answers
Q (from Carroll): Were parents presented the self assessment?
A: Justin/Lani provided clarity about the Local article and self assessment that was completed later than it normally would have been. Typically would get reports at end of school year – Mr. Vargas has some personal matter that prevented him from completing it when he normally would have. District has also hired an anti-bullying coordinator – Maggie Dock, who started in September 2022 and was not in place when assessment was done. Report was made public at 1/12/23 BOE meeting and Local put out article on Monday, 2/6
Q: After seeing article, should I be alarmed as a parent? Communication to families should address what the self assessment looked like and what will be done to address the challenges it raised.
A: Scott and Acevedo have taken numerous phone calls, emails about this so we’re not running from it, just need to strategize around how to address it
Q: My child experienced bullying for 3 months on the bus and the matter had to be elevated to Dr. Ponds. I advocated for an anti-bullying coordinator for the district. Asked an attorney who is knowledgeable about HIB laws.There is a recording that I’m happy to share. Do you know how many HIB reports there were last year and how many there are this year so far? Can # of HIB reports be included in presentation to the community, that would be very informative?
A: Don’t have that data in front of me. Great that you advocated for anti-bullying coordinator. Happy to have separate conversation about your child. Once I have an understanding of whether I’m allowed to provide that information I will do so unless i’m not allowed to and if that’s a case, will tell you why.
- President’s Report
- Hillside School Tours a success. Thank you to all of our volunteers and our Tour
leaders, Karen Andes and Jillian Reich.
- Student tour guides were enthusiastic and had pride in showing off their school. Good flow of people
- Karen & Jill have grandfathered themselves in to this role. Can they do a write up of what they do so that we can share it with future parent chairs
- Next year, encourage 3rd graders to do Nish tours.
- Explorers Winter Session registration & enrollment was successful
- Off to good start. Spy Kids sold out quickly. Plan to run most popular classes again next cycle.
- Awarded 13 scholarships and 5 students are using para to participate – paid for by PTA
- Mounted interactive projectors (qty 4) paid for with Fireball proceeds are on order
- PTA Calendar Review/Event Planning
- Review volunteer needs for upcoming events – Family Coding Night doesn’t need volunteers
- Asking for those of us engaged to reach out to networks to ask for folks to sign up for various events/needs
- Skate Date – Stacie has 3 vols who will be leads for wristbands, cupcakes and cleanup/setup, looking for more (wristbands may be sent home with kids in advance). Also doing spirit wear table again – sweatshirts and long sleeves (child and adult sizes) were popular
- Have a chair for 5th grade ceremony – need to check in with her. Working to secure Nishuane park for 6/20 for 5th grade picnic
- Someone volunteered to chair talent show – April 14
- Related docs:
- Events underway– volunteers in place and planning/supporting
- Science Day (3/31)
- International Night (4/27)
- 5th Grade Picnic (6/16)
- 5th Grade Yearbook – Papasikos has offered to sponsor 5th grade yearbook again this year. Will be done by Susan Gardner Zartman
- Suggestion for April meeting – have a night out, in person only
Q: Did we ask parents of families in the gymnastics show, play production, etc to volunteer? Teachers usually ask parents whose kids are involved to volunteer.
A: We will check and follow up on that. Mr. Poff is always looking for parent volunteers. Ms. Lever to my knowledge hasn’t asked, but I don’t recall parents volunteering for gymnastics show, it was other teachers
Q: When soliciting volunteers, could we structure language as: “Are you going to this event, can you offer 30 minutes beforehand or after?” Challenge has been finding people to lead it.
C: Nishuane planning caregivers night out on 2/17. Also held volunteer recruitment event which we called a volunteer party (held at Montclair Women’s Club). SATp led scavenger hunt where people had to identify committee chairs and what their roles were–was a fun way to find out about volunteerism. Sedita spoke to drum up enthusiasm and participation. Spent $1k (provided food) which was well spent because we gained 3 possible board members and committee chairs.
- SATp Updates
- Past Month’s Activities/ Events
- Hillside Cares MLK Day of Service- Blessing Bags and Peace Note Drive (1/16)- Huge thanks to Christina Joseph Robinson, Kendra Johnson and Ms Harris for organizing a successful event_with collaboration of Nishuane we had our best year ever 950 blessing bags and $240 donated
- Current initiatives
- Black History Month – Celebrating Black Excellence: Uncovering Hidden Histories in STEAM:
- The Father of Video Gaming (2/7) – Karen Lawson – Recorded event and will post some footage. Trying to do something where she goes into the schools. May do Youtube channel where we post it and take it down.
- STEAM U (2/21 @ 3:50p, MLC)
- Everyday STEAM Superstars (2/21, 7p)
- Read In Literacy Contest (2/1 – 2/28) – class in each grade with most books read will win a pizza party
- Lights, Camera, Action! w/ BrainPop (2/21+ 2/24) – many teachers have signed up. Karina Lynch and staff will lead movie making workshop with classes
- Hillside Cares Food Drive (2/13 – 2/17) – collection will happen in each classroom to support Toni’s Kitchen & local organizations
- 3rd grade- cereal bars, pop tarts, oatmeal
- 4th grade- dry pasta, rice, beans
- 5th grade – canned soups + vegetables, snack packs
- Black History Month – Celebrating Black Excellence: Uncovering Hidden Histories in STEAM:
- Upcoming initiatives
- Annual Skate Date (3/3, 6:30 – 8:30p) proceeds support AAPI, Women’s History Month, Juneteenth
- Women’s History Month (March)
- League of Women Voters of Montclair: History on Voting – March 8 at 7pm
- Christina Wallace will head up Hillside Social Justice – met with Dr. Anglin, she will need more help
Q: Thinking about what happened at Nair Tamid. I’m Jewish and kids are also. Kids asked me why this happened. Wondered if there’s anything happening for Jewish History Month in May? A: May is AAPI. Let’s partner and do something
Q: Does SATp need help?
A: Yes. Have been putting together promotional videos to drum up interest. Before Dr. A went out she did a video. I also did one as did Christina Wallace and Ms. Morrisroe who is the SATp teacher coordinator. Will be posting them on Facebook.
- BOE/PTAC Updates
- HIB report
- Updates on bond referendum – bonds were sold at 3.5% which brought in $5 mil for tax payers, moved on it quickly before interest rates dropped. Also reviewing construction companies that responded to bids, may have hired one. Things are moving
- Things are pretty quiet with PTAC
Q: Went to recent PTAC meeting where Dr. Morgan reviewed standardized test scores. I left that meeting and PTA meeting where Dr. A reviewed results dissatisfied. We need a school wide meeting led by Anglin to address findings and present an action plan. Should be taken up by PTAC and then should have a building-wide committee
A: PTAC will take on this matter as hard as they did the bond referendum. Ponds said it’s his #1 priority to address this issue and close the gap. If you watch most recent meeting, Jennifer Goforth presented another set of data on internal assessment.
A: Let’s brainstorm best way to advocate for transparency. Principal doesn’t need permission to hold a school-wide town hall–happened at Glenfield with a month’s notice. Think the administration should be doing the same thing at Hillside. Don’t expect Ms. Carroll to present, but maybe she can get someone from district to present. There should be a better attempt to bring prominence to NJSLA results. Needs to be translation/context provided for things like HIB, NJSLA. At Glenfield, Dr. Rollins, Mr Pelli along with 6 teachers gave a robust presentation around NJSLA report – virtual meeting, separate from PTA meeting.
A: How NJSLA results were presented at Hillside: Anglin said last minute, I’d like to present NJSLA data. We need to take an active role in helping admin schedule more town hall meetings.
Meeting adjourned at 8:09p. Next PTA Meeting Friday, March 10th @ 9:30am
Anita Fee Willis