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PTA Meeting Minutes – November 5, 2008

Minutes of the Jamestown PTA Meeting
Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Call to Order – Herman Narcho

• The meeting was called to order at 7:35. In addition to the PTA Executive Board, there were approximately twelve parents present.

• The minutes of the October 7, 2008 PTA meeting were approved.

• Ed Fendley, Chairman of the Arlington County School Board, spoke to the PTA about the capacity and enrollment issues facing Arlington Public Schools. Enrollment has risen at the elementary school level over the past few years and both Tuckahoe and Nottingham are currently over capacity. Only the south end of the county has additional capacity. On November 13, 2008, Superintendent Robert Smith will present a recommendation to the School Board concerning how to address APS’s capacity issues. On November 20, 2008, the School Board will hold a hearing on his recommendation.

• Mr. Fendley also told the PTA that APS gets approximately 80 percent of its budget from Arlington County. APS is currently facing significant revenue reductions and has reduced budgeted spending this year. Next year there will also need to be “stark” reductions in spending and the School Board must make difficult choices. The budget process will begin in February 2009 with the presentation of the Superintendent’s proposed budget and the process culminates in the spring when the School Board ultimately determines the budget for next year. Mr. Fendley indicated that, during the School Board’s upcoming discussions, cuts in all programs will be “on the table.”

• Mr. Fendley also announced that the School Board is considering a Teacher Excellence Initiative which would include a differentiated compensation system in order to recognize teachers’ various skills.

Principal’s Report – Laura Annan Glascoe

• On February 22-25, 2009, an accreditation team from the State of Virginia will meet with Superintendent Smith and make spot visits to all 34 schools in Arlington. To assist in the process, each school must create a School Improvement Plan for three years. The first year will be governed by our School Management Plan. Ms. Annan-Glascoe will have our School Improvement Plan and School Management Plan posted on the website. Please let her know if you have thoughts or suggestions on these plans.

• Crosswalk Update – We are waiting to receive the results of the County’s traffic survey to determine whether the County will put a four-way stop at the intersection of Delaware and 36th Street, and move the crossing guard to the school crosswalk.

• Ms. Annan-Glascoe reported that, during our recent lock down drill, a police officer reported that we were the only school in Arlington without a locked front door. We discussed possibly locking the front door of the school during school hours for protection of the children and various options for allowing entry to parents such as key cards or having office staff “buzz” parents into the school. The front door camera and equipment currently in use are not consistently reliable which makes it very difficult for office staff. Parents are required to sign-in at the office each time they visit the school. Please comply with this requirement for the safety of the children.

Treasurer’s Report –Miriam Discenza

• The PTA voted to approve the current financial report as presented.

• Ms. Discenza filed our taxes for last fiscal year.

• Two years ago, we set aside $1000 for a climbing wall in the gym. We later learned that the County planned to purchase the wall, so we reserved the $1000 for a cover for the wall for safety purposes. The climbing wall has not arrived from the County and it is unlikely to arrive given the serious budget constraints facing APS. Ms. Trudi Kahler has suggested that we spend $300 of the $1000 for bikes for the MIPA class (approx $100/bike). The PTA passed a motion to spend $300 on the bikes and put the remaining $700 in the Instructional Support fund. A question was raised about spending additional funds on special education materials. Mr. Narcho suggested that a “wish list” be presented on which the PTA may vote.

Fundraising – Katherine Price

• Despite a relatively slow start, we were ultimately very successful in registering grocery cards and even registered more cards than last year. Thanks to Laura Jensen for her hard work and to everyone who is participating.

• The Sally Foster Fundraiser ended on a very successful note. The PTA raised $10,000 which was $2,000 more than expected. Thanks to Brenna Isman and Kara O’Conner for their creative marketing and hard work and to all those who participated.

• The book fair will be held November 6 and 7 in the library.

Community Relations – Karen Apsel

• Plans for a school play are underway. It will be an in-house production as many parents have volunteered to help. If you are interested in helping, please contact Laura Ayres.

• The Reflections Coordinator and Committee will review all Reflections submissions in the coming weeks.

Internal Relations – Julie Esanu

• Monica Gerlach was recognized for pursuing and receiving a $4,000 grant from an anonymous family foundation to help fund Jamestown’s outdoor classroom. The grant will be used to create an outdoor reading area. Parents should be sure to visit the outdoor classroom and see the progress that is being made. Kevin Reese, an artist-in-residence, worked with the fifth graders to create a standing structure for the outdoor classroom. Another artist-in-residence will work with the third graders in the spring.

• The fifth grade promotion will be held on Tuesday, June 16, 2009, from 1:00-3:15 p.m.

Website Update – Laura Cressey

• We are trying to improve our ability to communicate with the school community and to make our website easier to navigate. Please complete the survey on the website indicating the ways in which you use the Jamestown website and information you would like maintained on the website.

• Each family was provided with one school directory. Additional directories may be purchased for $5

The meeting adjourned at 8:45 p.m.