Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Meeting Minutes March 23, 2006

Arbor Heights PTSA
General Meeting Minutes
March 23, 2006


Opening:
The regular meeting of the Arbor Heights PTSA was called to order at 7:04 p.m. on March 23, 2006 in the school cafeteria by President Joe Sharp.

PTSA President Welcome – Joe Sharp:
Joe thanked Ben Ibale for being here to talk about Flight program.

There are two more general PTSA meetings before elections.

The minutes for the February meeting are approved as amended. The minutes are on the PTSA blog (http://ahptsa.blogspot.com/2006/04/meeting-minutes-february-16-2006.html).

Arbor Heights Principal Report - Dr. Coram (5 min):
WASL - It is WASL time. The tests will be administrated the week after spring break. If kids are absent, there will be “make up” days. If the child doesn’t complete the test or the makeup, they will count against the final count.

Learning for Life – anti bullying program. The PTA typically donates $500 towards this program.

March 30, there is a fund raising breakfast. Dr. Coram will attend.

Tullys Coffee House - April 18 will be the next Tully’s coffee house. There will be one more in May. Hopefully the kindergarteners will be able to participate at this time.

Raj Manhas at West Seattle Tullys - The school superintendent, Raj Manhas, will be talking at Tullys on April 21st. Instrumental music will play there.

On April 25 at 3:45 our staff will go to the Roxhill lunchroom to meet Karla regarding Chief Academic. Dr. Coram will check if parents can attend.

Bilinqual dinner - On May 4th, 6-7:30 there will be a bilingual dinner - Mr Gandalphi (bi-lingual).

Popcorn count – Mr Wilkie’s class wins the popcorn party for the class.

PTSA Treasurer Report – Curt Knox (5 min):
We hit all our numbers. We are getting additional cash donations and matching. We are doing fine. Target money is going directly to the Self Help fund.

We still collect receipts from Thriftway or Metropolitan Market (1%).

Bingo Night (under community outreach), just under $600 was raised and around $300 was spent. This was a successful event.

Upcoming Events / Fundraising / Art Auction – Cori Roed (5 min):
Barnes and Noble – book sales
Escript (1% back) - $130 came in. Reminder to register your Safeway club card either online (http://www.escrip.com/), by phone or on the form (Cori has the form).
Art auction (April 20th). They can use additional volunteers.
Plant sale – April 7th. Compost being donated (already bagged). The 5th graders can help distribute to purchasers.

Elected and Volunteer positions (5 min):
The PTSA President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer are all the elected positions. If you want to run, start thinking about it now. Cori will be stepping down from the Fundraising Chair position, so we will need a new Fundraising Chair. The current board members are willing to run another year, but if others are interested, prepare to run.

Play Court Bird Abatement (5 min):
The pigeons were trapped. The finches are still a problem and two new pigeons have moved in. Joe will contact Richard Staut at the school district to find out what else is being done.

Addition: Joe followed up and learned that the school district has hired “Bird Busters” to handle the bird problem.

Street Improvement Project (5 min):
The Seattle Transportation Department has a two phase proposal for installing a curb along SW 104th street, from the school up to the stop sign and from the school down to 35th. The PTSA will consider donating $2,000 towards the effort (will need to be voted on). The neighbors are in favor of this improvement. Signatures were collected at the meeting.

Addition: Seattle Transportation's Pedestrian Program works to improve pedestrian safety and to encourage more walking by providing the facilities needed to walk comfortably. http://www.ci.seattle.wa.us/transportation/
2005majorconstructionlist.htm


New Business (5 min):
High school tutors – Could something be set up for after school? Dr. Coram will check with high schools and Kristin Moe will find out how large the need is. Kristin will put a notice in the bulletin (call Kristin Moe if interested).

Who would like to pilot a “fee based” after school chess program?

New Math Series - Sometime in May, a meeting will be held at Arbor Heights to talk about the new math series being proposed. Child care will be available (paid by PTSA).

Spanish languages – We have someone interested to start teaching Spanish in the spring. More to come.

Flight Program – Ben Ibale (15 min)
New Horizons for Learning – Research from this project being used to create the Flight program. Schools with family involvement outshine schools with non-family involvement. An Involved community fosters a healthy school.

The flight program will apply to Sealth, Denny and all the associated elementary schools.

1. Parent engagement – Home visits; open ended conversations asking questions like aspirations for children. Teacher training Aug 21 & 22; Aug 23 – Sept 30 home visits; most will occur before school starts.

2. Curriculum – Academic freedom to develop programs. Working with other teachers to share best practices.

3. Professional Learning Communities – Respecting community in the building. Dialogs with teaching peers.

Rainier Beach has started this program already (Flight 1). It has been beneficial to both the parents and the teachers. There are different cultures. It helps to learn about kids by understanding their families.

The home visit will be with one School staff person, not necessarily the child’s teacher. Each staff person will have 8 – 10 home visits assigned. The home visit will hopefully develop a relationship between the family and the school. Also, hopefully the home visit will encourage increased involvement with the school community.

This isn’t a WASL driven program. It came from the teacher’s union and the school district. It provides some RIF protection.

Questions and Answers:
Q. Teachers need to spend ¼ of their summer doing this. Is this fair?

Q. Mandated at this school – does this school really need it?

Q. Why spend money on a program like this (that may not be needed) when the school district is looking at closing schools?

Q. Can’t we put the money into something more important like a full time librarian?

Q. We have a very strong community. Why do we need this?
A. Each school is different. Perhaps use an “opening event” in lieu of the home visits.

Q. What do teachers think of this program?
A. David Wilkie – likes many of the ideas, but not all. He doesn’t like how the teachers are being told they have to do this program. Teachers will want to do more, in order to touch base with their students.

Q. Why will teachers have to leave if they don’t want to participate?
A. When starting this program, the schools were selected based on a set of criteria. There was a meeting where the School board, the teacher’s union and teachers discussed the challenges the schools face. More money will be going to the schools (mostly from grants). The “CERT”s survey did not include any info on flight. A draft was sent out to all teachers and then passed at a ratification meeting (representatives attending from each school).

Q. Two of the three pieces make sense. So the mandate for teachers visiting parents is the primary issue with us.

Q. Is there someone in the district who we can call or email to get these questions answered?
A. There are two people – Pat Sander (psander@seattleschools.org) and Ben Ibale (bibale@washingtonea.org).

Q. How will parents be informed? Will the school district communicate with all parents via a mailing?

Q. We, the parents, would like to have an opportunity to talk. Can that happen?

Q. If the teachers make up a plan, what is the chance that it will be turned down? Can we focus on the new parents?

Q. Are the home visits required?

A. There is a March 28 meeting where they are talking about how this program will work.

There are two committees – the BLT (building leadership team) which has “a parent” and the Flight committee which is led by Ms Van Dyke.

Closing:
The regular meeting of the Arbor Heights PTSA wrapped up at 8:30 p.m.

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