PTSO board meeting minutes: January 22, 2019


Minutes of Board Meeting

January 22, 2019


Sally Brickell, Co-President

Valerie Pontiff, Co-President

Agi Sardi, Co-President

Millicent Lawton, VP Communications

Elizabeth Reilly, VP Programming

Linda Hanusaik, VP Programming

Patty McCabe, VP Fundraising

Joel Bloom,Grants and Projects Co-Chair

Judith Sydney, Nominating/Volunteers Coordinator Co-Chair

Lexi Turner, Recording Co-Secretary

Henry Turner, Principal

  1. Financial/budget

The budget – anticipated fundraising and expenses – is on track (see Ed Ex and Grants and Projects for more detail).

The city-wide PTO (city wide) Council has developed new equity policies regarding PTO fundraising and eligible uses for schools. These guidelines will affect the two high schools next school year as well.   Some concerns were raised about whether these guidelines may limit Newton North (and South) in terms of using funds for classroom support and/or receiving matching donations, as well as create additional reporting burden.  The Co-Presidents and Principal Turner are going to look into this further.

  1. Educational Excellence (Ed Ex)

Since last reported, the campaign has raised an additional $13,000, just $2,000 short of the goal of $15,000, which would trigger the matching grant.  Fundraising outreach will continue through 2/15 so there is confidence that the goal will be reached.  The campaign has already achieved a 10% participation rate, which is consistent with past years.   Promoting the success of the campaign this year – and the exciting impact of the funding - will lay the groundwork for next year.

  1. Grants and Projects 

The committee has disbursed $5,000 of the $18,000 allocated for projects this year. Historically about 20% of projects do not end up being implemented. 

  1. Teacher Appreciation

There are two more planned teacher appreciation breakfasts in March and April.

  1. Programming/Calendar

Just Think Expo was a success.  There was a good turnout and participation during the day and evening.  The raffle is a big draw (this year for Beats headphones).  Teachers are helpful in encouraging their students to participate.   

The next PTSO-sponsored meeting is planned for February 12th- Making the Most of Your High School Years.  Hoping for a good turnout.  Families with sophomores and freshman can particularly benefit from this information so they can plan a balanced schedule before class registration decisions.  Making use of the sophomore and freshman class liaisons to do some outreach and recruitment for the event will be helpful.  It was mentioned that in past years it has been helpful/important to have Beth Swederskas there since her office is an important resource to students and families.  Also, the idea was suggested of recruiting some senior students to provide a student perspective about choosing classes, taking advantage of electives, and striking the right balance.   

An information and recruitment meeting for Celebration is planned for right before this event (6:30-7) on February 12th.  

It was noted that a PTSO representative, presumably one of the Co-Presidents, should be invited to speak briefly at the Grade Parent nights.

Planning is just starting for the 5thPTSO meeting.  Current thinking is to focus this meeting on planning summer activities/internships and schedule it for early March.  The Center for Civic Engagement could be a useful resource partner.  Also, Newton South has experience with a similar event (“summer expo”).  

There will still need to be an annual meeting in May or June at which any changes to the bylaws, the PTSO board nominations, and next year’s budget would be approved.

  1. Class Liaisons 

The Co-Presidents are working with the class liaisons to clarify roles and responsibilities and lines of communication, especially with class houses and class advisors.

  1. Nominating/bylaws

The ad-hoc committee (Co-presidents, VP fundraising, co-secretaries) presented proposed changes to the bylaws, including changes to the structure, roles, and terms of the board officers and members.  A draft of the changes, and a visual representation of the new board structure, was disseminated at the meeting and through Google docs to allow time for the board to consider the proposed changes.  These will be further discussed and finalized at the next board meeting on March 5th.

  1. Principal Update

Chromebook rollout for 10thgrade has gone well so far with 97% of students participating.  Principal Turner was able to observe students engaging with the technology in new and interesting ways, which was encouraging and exciting.    

There are three proposed schedule change scenarios for the high schools.  The intention is to get feedback from students and teachers and then the school committee will make a decision with the goal of implementing the change in 2020.  The question regarding start-time is separate but any change to start-times would likely be implemented in 2020 as well.