November 2010

Attended by: Sandy Flemer & Lara Gentchos (co-chairs); Ann Kiley, Warren Cornwall, Carol Livingston, Gabrielle Sealy, Carolyn Hanson, Major Jackson, Laura Fetters, Lisa Brighenti, Jahaira Labonte, Paul Schreiber, Mary Ross

  1. Introductions
  2. Announcements: Kathy Neil is looking for volunteers to help with the Book Fair on 11/18 from 2:00 to 4:00. Jahaira Labonte volunteered and will contact Kathy Neil.
  3. Fall Teacher Appreciation – during the 2 days of parent conferences, parents have provided lunch for teachers. It was decided to do lunch one day – Monday. Sandy will e-mail people who signed up to help on the volunteer survey.
  4. NPA’s – Neil Groberg, Mary Esther Treat and Sam Osborne – 6th Ward NPA Steering Committee members met with us.
    7 wards in Burlington and city charter requires Neighborhood Planning Assembly in each ward; monthly meetings to discuss issues of concern. NPA’s have impact on the community, and meetings are recorded and broadcast on Channel 17. City councilors, DPW officials, and district superintendent Jeanne Collins often attend. The meetings are held at the Greek church – unfortunately without child care provided.NPA’s pride themselves on integrating with the neighborhood – city officials, UVM, Champlain College, and neighborhood residents. What is needed is more information about what programs exist in the schools so ward residents are more informed about how school budget money is used. Many people who attend the NPA’s do not have children in the schools so more participation is needed from parents to discuss their perspectives with NPA attendees. Upcoming meeting agendas will include: the new Parks and Rec. director is surveying residents about the use of parks and input to expand use; Burlington school commissioners will hold discussion forum about the state education policy Challenges for Change. It was also suggested that to help NPA attendees understand more about the schools that students play an instrument and discuss the music program; students in the play come and act out a play segment. The Ward 6 NPA is interested in publicizing information about agendas for upcoming NPA meetings in the EES Monday Memo. Other NPA’s from wards whose kids attend Edmund’s will be informed of this option as well.
  5. No Frills Fundraiser: In the past letters have been sent out after Thanksgiving to parents offering this different option for contributing to the PTO. Last year a raffle on January 15 concluded the fundraiser. Last year, postage and the cost of the color and printing cost about $300. At tonight’s meeting, it was decided that the PTO would do the following this year for the No-Frills Fundraiser: letters will go home the same time (around Thanksgiving); the letter will be 2-sided with more focused text, with pictures of students participating in PTO activities and specific language about a specific goal for fund-raising ($2500); the letter will go home with the Monday Memo; e-mails will remind parents periodically about the progress of the fund-raiser. Sandy will contact Jen Adrian about this project. Laura Fetters, Ann Kiley, and Major Jackson also volunteered to help. Sandy will send e-mails to the teachers, requesting pictures of student activities. The goal is to have the printed letters and envelopes ready for the December PTO meeting to collate.
  6. Class Wish Lists – Some parents have asked Sandy about how to give materials and supplies to classroom teachers. There are various ways that this can happen and Mr. Schreiber and Mrs. Ross will discuss possibilities with the staff.
  7. PTO Council meeting – Lara Gentchos attended last week; this committee is made up of representatives from each PTO. This meeting discussed the concept of creating a School/Family Partnership Program led by parents and teachers of each school. This year each school has $6,000 as part of a grant, to use to develop this program to increase parent involvement in the school. (There is no guarantee that the $6,000 will be renewed next year.) Each school would create a team of teachers and parents who would meet monthly to increase parent involvement in their children’s education. The goal of this program is to enhance the family/school relationship. Research emphasizes that student success is closely linked to the relationship between parents and their student’s teacher. At this point, Paul Schreiber will develop this team with interested parents and teachers. The next step is that Paul will present this information to a staff meeting. PTO suggested the Paul offer parent-information meetings about this program.
  8. Four Winds fund-raiser – clothing. The plan is to have merchandise flyers go home on a Monday to kids with some of the same items as last year, as well as a few new items. The form will also be available on the PTO website.
  9. Concern: a city/after-school special bus with both elementary students and middle school kids aboard. There have been problems with behavior of the students on the bus. The school board has recently set aside funds for a second bus. Paul will write a letter in the Monday Memo to inform parents about this problem. Sandy will discuss the problem with school board member Keith Pillsbury and determine how the board plans to resolve the problem. If it is not resolved, members of the PTO will help organize parents to create pressure so that this will be resolved quickly. Circulating petitions and encouraging parents to attend the next school board meeting were discussed.

Submitted by Carol Livingston

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