Claypit Hill PTO Board Meeting
October 2nd , 2018
• President Melissa Spilman called the PTO Board meeting to order at 9:07am at Claypit Hill School (CHS).
• Members in attendance: Melissa Spilman, President; Mina Dietzius, Vice- President; Dana Cooper, Secretary; Peace Nguyen, Treasurer; Christie Harvey, CPH Principal; Meridith Palmer, Teacher Representative; Eliza Mosurick, Heather Grimmett, Shannon Scott, Lani Camacho, Tera Kemp, Heather Yates, Jeremy Spilman, Chukwuma Anyanwie, Betsy Cullen
• A quorum was reached.
Today’s meeting opened with introductions and focused on the open needs of PTO volunteers and ideas for new initiatives and events.
Introductions and Approval of Minutes:
Ms. Meridith Palmer was introduced as one of the three Teacher Representatives who will be attending each PTO meetings. These representatives will be present to bring a teacher perspective, as well as be the PTO liaison to the teachers. Ms. Jessica Arees and Ms. Bernadette Vanaria are the additional representatives.
The September 2018 PTO Meeting minutes were unanimously approved.
Melissa Spilman reported that the CPH Spiritwear Sale would run for 2 weeks, from October 2nd- October 16th. The apparel will feature the new CREATE logo. Order forms were expected to go home today and a link will also be available for online orders. Selection includes: white long-sleeve with orange logo, white short-sleeve with orange logo, orange tie-dye with black logo, gray zip hoodie with orange logo, black hoodie with orange logo. Ms. Spilman noted that these are all sold at cost, this is not a school fundraiser.
Lani Camacho reported that this year’s school photos were held inside due to the weather. The day was deemed a success, despite the weather. Ms. Camacho noted that it would be helpful to have 6 volunteers to assist on school picture day in the future.
Back to School Bash:
Ms. Spilman informed the attendees that this year’s Back to School Bash, held on Sept. 7th went very well for being a new event added at the last minute. She reported that 160 ice cream cones were sold. Families were excited about the event and it will be an annual event with a committee next year.
Dr Harvey noted that both Curriculum Nights were well attended. One member at the meeting indicated that one negative was that the start time was earlier than in previous years, making it difficult to get home from work and settle children before needing to leave. It was also noted that the Grade 3-5 was held on the same evening as the first day of Kindergarten. It created a problem for families who had an older sibling and wanted to be home at night to hear about their Kindergartner’s first day.
There was also a suggestion that the teachers make the slide show available online for parents who couldn’t be there, such as Boston families, and also for parents who needed to split their time between two classrooms, etc.
Social Events/Family Engagement:
Ms. Spilman updated the group that she has received communications suggesting that the PTO provide more events per class or per grade. Specifically, the Kindergarten families want more classroom events. Ms. Spilman indicated that one of her goals this year is more community building. She is hearing that we don’t do enough for the grades between Kindergarten and 5th grade. The PTO will be looking at what we’re currently offering and evaluate how to involve more families. Some ideas include:
• Social Chair by Grade: developing a PTO position of Social Chair that would work with and help Room Parents develop ideas for classroom or grade level activities.
• Grade Level Service Project: Discussion was enthusiastic regarding this idea from parents.
o It was debated whether to have the same project every year, or let the kids vote on a project each year? Some attendees liked the idea of creating a tradition for each year to have the same service project.
o How much of the service project would be in school versus outside of school hours? Dr. Harvey and Ms. Palmer noted that Claypit currently has a program called “Claypit Cares” which is a committee that coordinates school wide initiatives, such as the “Souperbowl”. They feel that community projects are easier when targeted at one thing and done school wide. It was suggested to Dr Harvey that perhaps the service project could be done by grade level as service to the school, rather than external services. For example, picking up litter around the school for Kindergarten and tending the vegetable garden for older students.
o Care Day/Community Building Day: could there be a day where 2 hours are set aside for grades to do their service project, like the 5th graders have community hours?
Ms. Spilman noted that the PTO has a critical spot open for a Metco Liaison this year. The PTO wants to connect more by planning different ways to engage families. She reported that last year, the Claypit PTO started a program to connect a Boston students with Wayland families that would have them stay at their house when there were evening events at the school (concerts, movie nights, talent show) until a parent could come from Boston. There was also some preliminary planning to have some activities in Boston for families to connect. Dana Cooper informed the attendees that there are also Boston Parent Council representatives in each of the elementary schools that could work with the Metco Liaison to brainstorm these events and keep each other informed.
It was noted that Boston families and working parents are unable to attend the morning PTO meetings; is there an opportunity to offer the PTO meetings online and allow live type-in questions? Both Dr Harvey and Ms. Spilman indicated that they had been researching options for online events, but due to privacy concerns, Wayland Public Schools does not allow recordings. One attendee offered that we could offer a dial-in telephone conference option that wouldn’t record the proceedings, but would offer remote access to the meeting. It was agreed that this could be an option to consider for future meetings.
Based on the discussion of privacy, Ms. Spilman stated that all of the PTOs at the Townwide level are discussing the difficulty in supporting privacy and protections that then hinder community communication. Past venues of communication are no longer readily available for the PTO, so exploration of other options is occurring. Suggestions to get better participation and input from families were to offer the meeting agendas the Friday before the meeting to allow for additional input via email; communicate the PTO meetings via eblast, the PTO website, and by the room parents; offer a steady stream of communication from the room parents.
New this year, will be a Fall Festival held on Wednesday, Oct. 24th as a Kick-off event for the Book Fair. The event is planned to be held from 6-8pm in the cafeteria. Dr Harvey noted that the gym may offer more space, if needed. Ms. Spilman reported that there will be stations of fall activities, such as pumpkin decorating, corn husk dolls, coffee filter leaves, fall book marks. To make this event a success, the PTO is looking for committee members and volunteers to plan the event, for set-up, clean-up, and leading a station. More information to come.
Ms. Spilman also informed the attendees that the PTOs were notified by Dr. Unobskey that all food provided at PTO events will need to be ordered in advance through Food Services. Donations of food are no longer accepted, except in instances where approval has been granted. This will be an additional expense to the PTOs not previously budgeted.
It was noted that since it was a Wednesday, could the Fall Festival be closer to the end of the school day. Sometimes PTO offerings can seem disconnected from the school day because they are held later. Ms. Spilman noted that a lot of children are in BASE until evening hours and it would be difficult to ensure they were included in the activities.
Peace Nguyen updated the attendees that the Book Fair would be held from 10/24-10/30. It is a fundraising opportunity for the school, as Scholastic offers Scholastic dollars to be used to purchase new books for classrooms and the library. This year’s fair will be run in similar fashion to previous years. Volunteers will be solicited to help with re-stocking and cashier throughout the day, as well as before and after school volunteers. Sign-ups will be sent out shortly.
The success of last year’s Art Show has prompted the school and PTO to make this an annual event. The PTO is seeking committee members for this year’s show.
New PTO Structure:
With all of the new events and initiative ideas, Ms. Spilman reported that the PTO will be looking into restructuring how committees are formed. She anticipates being able to submit a new structure proposal for PTO committees at next month’s meeting.
It was noted that the Claypit Hill gym’s speaker system needs improvement. Dr. Harvey reported that she has had the company, AdTech, in to look at the system and they have no improvements to offer. The PTO continues to fund improvements in the system, and it’s not working well. Dr. Harvey invited the parent to come with her to the gym and help research other avenues that the school can explore to improve the system.
The meeting concluded with the President, Melissa Spilman, thanking everyone for coming and a reminder to reach out to the PTO, or her individually, in person or via email with any questions, concerns, or suggestions.
The meeting adjourned at 10:04 am.
Respectfully Submitted by:
Dana Cooper, Secretary, Claypit Hill School