Claypit Hill PTO Board Meeting
November 2nd , 2018
• President Melissa Spilman called the PTO Board meeting to order at 9:05 am 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; Jess Arees, Teacher Representative; Heather Grimmett, Lani Camacho, Shirra Baston, Stacey Robinson, Cathrine Kiernan, Heather Yates, Chukwuma Anyanwie
• A quorum was reached.
Today’s meeting provided status updates and review of PTO events, fundraising, and new initiatives.
Introductions and Approval of Minutes
After introductions were complete, the October 2018 PTO Meeting minutes were unanimously approved.
Melissa Spilman reported that the CPH Spirit Wear Sale had concluded, with approximately 180 orders. Orders are expected to arrive within 2 weeks. Moving forward, the PTO will remove this from the President’s responsibility by creating an official PTO Committee position for apparel sales throughout the year. The Committee Chair will be responsible for evaluating other apparel companies due to the current company’s limitations. Chair will consider other apparel needs, such as field day t-shirts, annual patches for backpacks, etc. Discussion at the meeting included a comment cautioning our need to create too much disposable apparel (year or event specific), as well as questions about the cost of apparel. Many felt that since the spirit wear sale is not a fundraiser, the prices of the clothing were higher than “cost”. Melissa indicated that our cost is also helping to absorb all of the company’s overhead, since we are not responsible for any administrative activities except placing flyers in mailboxes and communication about the sale. Further discussion may occur at a future meeting.
Melissa was pleased with the outcome of the Harvest Fest, although she heard from some parents that timing was an issue. Attendees agreed that the event was a success and liked the casual drop-in feel of the event and that it was tied to the book fair. Agreement was made that the same event in the future should be held 5-8pm. Melissa reported that a Harvest Fest Committee will be needed for next year with a budget. She reported spending ~$250 for food and crafts, but had scaled back on crafts due to low craft volunteer participation. Discussion noted that evening events are harder to get volunteers because they are supervising their children at the event. Suggestions to split the volunteer shift or advertise for volunteers earlier may help. It was also noted that some people didn’t know about the event, despite the eblast notifications, and more social media communication may be needed to advertise the event. A few people mentioned that a public “RSVP” could also help create excitement for new events when others see that their friends are going.
Peace Nguyen reported that 13,600 books were sold at the Fall Book Fair. The PTO receives 25% of the profit. The PTO donated $150 worth of books to the Claypit Hill library. She also informed attendees that approximately $120 of “loose change” was donated on behalf of Claypit Hill students to an elementary school in Lawrence that lost its library in the gas explosions. The elementary school is where Ms. Martinez’s (our art teacher) husband works.
Peace Nguyen reported on behalf of Lani Camacho that school photos should be in within 2 weeks.
Gift Your Child Update:
Heather Yates presented that, to date, Gift Your Child (GYC) donations had surpassed last year by ~$500. GYC campaign will end on November 16th. New this year, donation receipts will be sent electronically. Ms. Yates reported that she and Co-Chair Amanda Moran were considering the following changes for the 2019-2020 campaign:
• Moving GYC to a totally electronic process- the PTO spends $600-$800 printing the GYC envelopes, and most donations are received via the online link. Envelopes aren’t being returned.
• Collecting the percentage of participation by grade or families.
• Consistent messaging among all three elementary schools- having all schools use the same messaging and marketing
Comments included agreement to work on the messaging for GYC, since the message became “stale” and possibly glossed over in the e-blast. Messaging should vary week to week to keep people noticing the announcement. It was also suggested that there be class or grade based rewards for GYC donations to encourage participation, which is something that is done in other districts.
Holiday Gift Drive:
Shirra Baston informed attendees that she and Co-Chair Amanda Glynn had requested and received a list of 75 children from the DCF in Framingham. This has been very successful in the past, and they will ask DCF for additional items, rather than children, if we have more interested families than children. Room parents will send out communications and a Google sheet link will be provided for families to select their child, rather than be assigned one. Ms. Baston reported that they are seeking storage space for all of the items as they are being dropped off. They typically go through the donations to ensure that there is equitable distribution of items, especially among DCF family members, before dropping it off at DCF by 12/4. Ms. Baston indicated that DCF wraps all of the gifts, so gift wrap donations are also encouraged and accepted.
Grade Level Positions:
Based on discussions at previous PTO meetings, Melissa Spilman noted that the PTO will be reorganizing the Committee positions and creating a Social Chair and Family Engagement Chair for each grade level. The Social Chair will work on organizing family and adult events for the grade. The Family Engagement Chair will work with the Claypit CARES team to offer support.
Melissa Spilman provided an update regarding how the PTO communicates to our audience. She reported that there will be a survey sent to parents asking how they like to be communicated with—paper, E-blasts, FB, websites, etc. The PTO will use the results to develop a communication plan.
Melissa also updated the group that she is considering creating a monthly newsletter from the PTO- possibly titled the “Claypit Connector” to keep people informed of PTO activities and events.
The PTO Board also commits to publishing the PTO meeting agenda and unapproved minutes the Friday before each PTO meeting.
Melissa also indicated that the PTO is continuing to work on bringing the PTO meeting online in some capacity. She is researching platforms, where to post, timing, etc. Melissa stated that she is still trying to understand what the community needs and will use the survey results in her research.
Ms. Spilman noted that the PTO is still trying to fill a critical spot for a Metco Liaison this year. The Metco Liaison would work with the Metco Coordinator to understand Boston family needs and work on planning PTO sponsored events for Wayland and Boston families in Boston.
Art Show Committee and Art Room Parents:
Melissa Spilman reported that the PTO would like to fill an Art Show Chair position to work with Ms. Martinez on the very successful spring art show. This year’s show will be held on April 24th to allow sufficient time for the 5th grade projects to be complete. Stacey Robinson volunteered at the meeting to step into the role.
The PTO is also seeking two Art Room parents who will help Ms. Martinez mount and hang the children’s artwork around the school.
It was reported that Claypit would have a Cultural Enrichment event on Nov. 19th. Keith Munslow would provide a fun morning of music, cartooning and storytelling. A parent asked if they could come to the event. Dr. Harvey replied that parents are invited and always welcome at these events, as well as All School Meetings and Assemblies. Dr. Harvey noted that Claypit has a wonderful Giving Thanks Assembly at 10am on Wed, 11/21.
Melissa Spilman suggested that the PTO consider a Holiday event in November or December. Attendees liked the idea of a school wide event, but thought that Nov and Dec are already too busy. People were agreeable to having an event in Jan or Feb when the holidays have died down and people are cooped up in their houses. A sledding day was suggested, but it was noted that there are not many sledding hills in Wayland. Melissa suggested a Snowman Building Day—when it is determined that there is enough snow to build snowmen, a date will be provided which invites all Claypit Hill families to come together to build snowmen on the school grounds. The PTO will consider providing hot chocolate and coffee, as well as the carrot noses, scarves, etc. for the snowmen. That idea was met with enthusiastic approval by the attendees.
School Start Time Discussion: Attendees asked about the status and people’s reactions to the proposed school start times. Melissa Spilman reminded the attendees that the PTO is here to support and inform parents and staff, it cannot make political statements. However, Dr. Harvey was able to inform the attendees that a vote will be taken by the School Committee on Nov 19th. She and Mr. Anyanwie reported that they had attended a heated Boston school committee meeting the previous night, and many Boston parents urged the School Committee to reconsider. Attendees agreed that there were still concerns about BASE as well as concerns about how Claypit staff with children of their own will be impacted. Parents also noted that they felt they had no “recent” say about the proposed start times for elementary schools once the survey results showed a 9am start as unfavorable.
The meeting adjourned at 10:01 am.
Respectfully Submitted by:
Dana Cooper, Secretary, Claypit Hill School