Meany PTSA Board Meeting: 9/10/2019
Location: Meany Middle School Library
Time: 6:30- 8:00 pm
Jen Emrich (Co-president), Lara Kreyenhagen (Co-president), Andy Jensen (Legislative Rep), Joseph Wyman Co-secretary), Molly Wyman (Co-secretary), Linda Mullen (7th Grade BLT Rep), Meghan Dort Lackey (Events Planning Chair), Linda Moy (Community Building Chair), Karen Axtell (Treasurer), Vivian Van Gelder (Equity & Outreach Co-Chair and 6th Grade BLT Rep ), Meher Antia (Equity & Outreach Co-Chair), Eric Pederson, Joy Rothrock, Tara Clark, Gilia Angell, Byron Conover (8th Grade Math Teacher), Lisa St. George (French/Spanish Teacher).
Absent: all filled board positions were represented.
Welcome – Introductions (Lara Kreyenhagen)
Everyone went around the room introducing themselves, stating their position and the names and ages of their children attending Meany.
Board Business (Jen Emrich, Lara Kreyenhagen, Karen Axtell)
Minutes from the June and August board meetings needed approval.
Megan moved to approve the minutes, Andy seconded and the minutes were unanimously approved.
Open board positions were discussed, with a need to vote on new additions to the board.
Eric Pedersen accepts the Vice President position, as a shadow to the current presidents, with the hope of having him potentially come on board as a co-president next school year. Vivian would like to be 6th Grade BLT Rep. Joy is willing to take the Co-Treasurer position. Anna Finkenzeller would like to be the 8th Grade BLT Rep- we will need someone to take over Staff/Teacher Appreciation. Gilia Angell is willing to take on the Special Education Parent Liaison position after Jen and Lara explain that the role is customizable and based around organizing a parent group that will encourage parents to talk to one another to help de-stigmatize learning disabilities. This group can advocate for students in the school. Jen suggests that Gilia reach out to the Special Education Department to find out more about what they may need and how to reach families.
Positions Still Open: Communication Chair, Volunteer Coordinator, Membership Chair
Andy suggests that we vote in all new board members (5) as a slate:
Eric Pedersen as Vice President
Joy Rothrock as Co-Treasurer
Vivian van Gelder as 6th Grade BLT Rep
Anna Finkenzeller as 8th Grade BLT Rep
Gilia Angell as Special Education Parent Liaison
Andy moved to approve the slate, Linda seconded and the motion was unanimously approved.
A recap was given of the lunch for staff on August 28th. Teachers very much appreciated this! Both Mr. Conover and Ms. St. George enthusiastically said thank you.
Karen addressed accepting donations in the form of shares of stock. She found Stock Donator (which is free to set up and takes a small fee - possibly 1.9%) and turns the stock donation to cash, which is easier for us. We can set up a widget on our website. We will make this option known during the annual fund drive.
Filing Tax Form 990-EZ: Tim Carlson started the process, but no longer has a student at Meany, so we will need someone to take over. The form is due Nov. 15th. Lara will inquire with her husband to see if he might be open to taking this on.
Annual Officer Training Requirements: Washington State PTA requires that officers have some official training each year. It must be done within the school year. There is a training this Saturday for Region 6, but short notice was given. Eric is interested in possibly taking the training, and Jen will provide him with additional details. Free registration online, A PTSA member # may be required to sign up. Jen and Lara will keep an eye out for additional upcoming trainings or webinars and will let the rest of the PTSA know. The President, Vice President, Treasurer & Secretary must each attend a WSPTA-approved training during the year and at least one executive board member needs to attend a PTA and the Law training.
Jen keeps office hours Wednesdays from 10:30- 12:30 in the PTSA office, and is available to answer questions about classroom grants, as well as anything PTSA related.
There will be a PTSA General Meeting – Tuesday, September 24th at 6:30pm in the library. There will be a new staff member coming to talk about the new health center on campus.
At this point, Lara broke briefly from the agenda to ask the teachers who were present how the school year is starting off.
Mr. Conover said that he is enjoying getting to know the kids and being at a new school.
Ms. St. George talked about how it is her 3rd year at Meany, and she feels that things are going well compared to other years. She is happy that so many staff members have stayed on at the school. She feels there is a better overall atmosphere and that the teachers feel supported. The students seem happier than previous years.
Events/Community Building (Meghan Dort Lackey, Linda Moy)
Recap: Summer Picnic for New Families on Aug. 27
Elizabeth Kennedy helped to organize the picnic with Linda Moy. There were 40-50 sign-ups for the event. Otter Pops and Meany swag was handed out. Jen said she was very pleased with the turn out. Lara said that one of the challenges of being a new PTSA is creating new traditions. Linda thinks that this would be a good tradition to continue going forward. New families had tons of questions and appreciated talking to current parents and students. Linda is up for organizing this event again next year. Gilia suggested that maybe more of a meet and greet would be good vs. the picnic in case people were stressed out about the picnic element.
Planning a Multi-cultural Potluck Dinner
Meghan and Linda are planning this event, and it will be an early afternoon into the evening on a Thursday in late October. It will be modeled after a similar event at Leschi Elementary. It will be set up in the cafeteria as a giant buffet. People can bring a dish that is culturally significant or just something that is special to your family. Ms. St. George suggested avoiding the last week of October since it is both Halloween and Spirit Week and a very busy time at Meany.
Other ideas for community building/events:
Lara spoke about the International Market that Brenda Carr-Nelson organized last year. It would be impossible to pull off that event without Brenda since she is currently on a leave doing her student teaching.
There will be a Talent Show in November, a Musical in the spring and the Art Festival towards the end of the year. Megan suggested doing the art festival exactly as it we did it last year, as it was pretty successful. The PTSA also support the band concerts, etc. with volunteers and possibly concessions.
Curriculum Night - Tuesday, Oct. 1, 7:00 pm
PTSA providing pizza/refreshments for parents & staff in the Meany Café beforehand.
Lara and Jen explained that we provided pizza last year without budgeting for it. (The first year there was a parent who had donated pizza, and the curriculum night flyer went out in welcome packets last year saying there would be pizza again.) There is a budget for the pizza this year. Zeeks offered a small discount last year. Eric suggested checking with Palermo's. We may provide bottled water and La Croix as well.
Picture Day – Thursday, Oct. 24 - Need 2 parents at a time for 2-hour shifts throughout the day to help move the kids through the lines.
Multi-cultural Potluck - Meghan is looking for a better name for the event and welcomes suggestions. Maybe "Meany Around the World." The question was raised about whether on not we will need additional custodial staff for this event? Maybe not since it is on a weeknight? Once a date is picked we will check with Ms. Marshall.
Courtyard Garden Work Party - Anna Davidson is working with the district on clean-up and securing a dumpster. This is tentatively scheduled for Sunday, 9/22 for volunteers to help clean the inner courtyard. 9 am - noon. We will announce this once the dumpster is secured.
Equity & Outreach (Vivian van Gelder & Meher Antia)
Vivian and Meher met with John Benner over the summer to talk about the work the Race and Equity team did last year. The question was raised as to whether there a staff person who will oversee the student lead Race and Equity Team. There has been some positive feedback from teachers regarding the Ethnic Studies training for staff that the PTSA supported over the summer. Andy spoke to the fact that it is really important training and constantly changing. He thinks we should have an annual line item for this type of training.
Legislative Report (Andy Jensen)
Seattle Council PTA’s TakeBackPTA Resolution
Any funding that PTSAs raise should not be used to cover things that should be funded as parts of basic education: ie; funding full teacher salaries.
Some schools have a self help fund that is at the principals discretion to fund salaries, etc. The incoming school board will be monitoring how this fund will be used much more closely.
This resolution is asking PTSAs to self monitor to make sure we are not enabling and paying for things that should be covered as basic education. Andy read from the resolution, hitting the highlights: The PTA is supposed to be an advocacy group primarily.
Historically our PTSA has not been funding staffing. Jen posed the question of whether or not providing a stipend for, as an example, an after school drama teacher pushes against this resolution. Andy said that those sorts of stipends are okay.
Vivian has a background studying inequity in education, and she also believes this is an important resolution. Meany is already doing some of this work filling in gaps by partnering with community organizations like Atlantic Street who is providing counseling services to Meany students this year.
Andy suggested that we vote and approve this resolution. Linda asked if we could have a little more time to review the information. Andy suggested that we take some time and vote over email as a board and then have the membership vote at the General Meeting on September 24th.
Other Topics/Open Discussion
Large Class Sizes
Jen spoke about potential over enrollment and large class sizes. Right before school started, Ms. Oatis said that it looked like Meany might be over the predicted enrollment numbers by almost 100 students, but now that school has started and we can see which students have actually shown up, that may not be the case. She thinks that we don't have that many students, but wants to wait until 9/18 when there is a district deadline to lock down official enrollment count. She will make an announcement via email/robocall letting families know that there will be some schedule changes after 9/18 to address the issue of large numbers in some of the classes.
7th grade science has over 40 students per Linda. Ms. St. George said that gym classes have 40-45 students (it is typical for certain electives like PE to have more students). Linda said that middle school classrooms are allowed to have up to 32 students. Karen mentioned that Garfield has 25% more students than expected and Andy said that there is a projection issue district-wide.
Yearbook Club Photo Submissions
Ms. St. George is the yearbook club advisor this year along with Ms. Marshall. Ms. St. George has found a better way to process photos, and she would like to have photos emailed directly to her. They want to get a head start this year and have more photos from the beginning of the school year this year. She and Ms. Marshall will verify if students pictured in any of the submitted photos have photo release forms.