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2008-12 December Minutes

December 9, 2009

Attendees:  Sandra Carter Templeman, Meg Ruby, Irma Hernandez, Haydee Lopez, Lydia Hernandez, Bibiana Avila, Miguel Conrique, Rosacia Avila, Rita Lavadores, Rachel Belcher, Traci Sullivan, Carmen Ramirez, Janet Cowal, Karla Zirbes, Laura Mason, Karla Martin, Trish Vawter, Betse Thielman, Courtney Hayes-Lattin, Amie Weitz, Gabriela Goldfarb, Sheri Campbell

Gabriela Goldfarb, PTA co-president, facilitating
• October meeting minutes are now available for review.  September minutes were previously circulated.  Moved and seconded to approve both sets of meeting minutes tonite.  Meeting minutes approved for September and October.

• Title One Representative.  Title One has parent meetings monthly and are seeking Atkinson participation of a parent leader.  Meetings include dinner for all representatives, and the groups takes leadership communicate to the district about unique needs of Title One schools.  Atkinson has served as a leader in these meetings and they have been valuable to learn more about how to use Title One resources and about outreach, e-mail communications and how other schools address issues facing everyone.  It is important to note that the entire school benefits from our Title One designation, not just those families who are on free and reduced lunch.
• Spanish immersion meeting tomorrow night 6:30-to 7:30.  The meeting is intended to provide an internal perspective of what we are tying to accomplish in the immersion program.  There will probably be another one held in the spring

Chris Gutierrez, Atkinson principal

• Clearly, the entire region is in economic downturn, and there are going to be fiscal repercussions as a result.  While we currently have 536 students, we only get _ “credit” for the kindergarten, so the number from the district’s perspective is 486, below the magic number of 500.  We anticipate that there may be an uptick in numbers due to the economic downturn, and we are seeing parents of children in private school calling to try to get into public school.  We will see if that impacts our numbers.  January is kindergarten roundup. 

• Julie, who has been a long-term sub this fall will co-teach with Ruth at the end of her maternity leave: Julie will do English Ruth will do Spanish.

• Chris is committed to not asking the PTA for additional funding for FTE.  He is structuring the school to staff it with district funds next year and is not planning to  ask for personnel. 

• Budget planning is coming up following winter break.  A planning calendar is being put together around the known dates, which will be used to coordinate parent input. We anticipate that the situation will be different this year.  Last year the reduction was not across the board, which we anticipate it will be next year. We are expecting bad news, so we need to communication broadly to parents and coordinate the message.  Sheri and Gabriela will work with Chris to do this as it comes up. 

Parent Led Initiatives
Jim Laden, Covered Playground Committee

At the end of October, a meeting was held to talk about the covered playground.  8 to 9 people showed up, which is not considered representative enough.  We have made a commitment of $60,000 and are looking to write a grant to allow us to purchase a larger covered playground than we can currently afford, which is 50’X50’, about the size of the bark area outside.  We want community input. 

Background - District has said they prefer to go with a prefabricated playground.  In October a parent who is an architect suggested that we look into installing an eco-roof, and that grant funds from the city may be available to support that.  The other is 50X75’.  Cost difference is $20,000 dollars. 
 Issues include:
• Siting: do we get a 50’X50’ and just cover the play structure, or put it in the back over the kickball area.  Architect said we should move it off the back fence.  Basketball courts are owned by Portland public parks, so that has been ruled out because it would delay the approval.
• Size:  Do we want to make sure we have a bigger structure and try for a grant, or go with the 50X50?  Some want the bigger size, but do we want to wait?  There seemed to be consensus that we should try to get a grant for the bigger, and if not then get the smaller. 
• Move away from calling it a covered playground to a covered structure.  There was confusion that we were purchasing another play structure, which we are not. It is simply a covering for the playground.
• Four classes are out on the playground at a time, the teachers take turns and use that time for their breaks.  Some parents do not want their children out in the rain.  Teachers can’t monitor who is allowed to be in the rain and who is not. 
• Lower grades are more invested in the shelter, while the upper grades are more invested in their kickball area.  We want something that will work for everyone no matter how old your child is. 
1. If the covered structure is over the kickball court one post would be in the general area, but not the running area. 
• Grant we would be going into a competing circle with all child services.  Amount of money available is smaller.  This is a number one thing that PTA’s are looking at because parents want it.  Benefit is we have already raised money for ourselves.  Common request in difficult times.
• Design
1. Eco roof option.  We don’t know for sure if the eco roof is possible with the prefabricated companies.  Concern about eco roof with maintenance and liability. 
2. Basketball court should be looked at. Talk to someone in parks and rec to see if they embrace the idea or not. 
3. We have 3 acres and have covered most of it with gardens.  (No conclusions, just idea’s.)  Maybe cover the kickball area, and part of the play structure. 
4. The teacher’s felt like 50x50 is not enough to cover all the classes and will lead to scheduling issues.  You can have more kids on the play structure than on the flat ground, so they were advocating for the playstructure for the location.  More research needed on covered playground. 
5. There were some concerns that the covered playground increased vandalism from teenagers hanging out.  Would be nice to know how big of a problem is.  We need to look into security on the back fence area. 
6. Last covered structure built was at  Buckman, which cost $110,000 dollars.  Buckman parent said they use it intermittently via scheduling, and used it for other events such as garage sale. 
7. Does the playground seem dark on a sunny day? 
8. There are raincoats available in the outdoor learning garden. 
• Poll – who cares if their kids go out in the rain? – Parents are complaining that they don’t want their kids in the rain.  Wondering about the gym or if the teachers can use it…no priority goes to special needs and PE classes. 
• Explore grant resources.
• Has anyone asked the Blazers, or any other options like Nike?
• Do we have contacts? 
• Basketball court is damaged will parks and rec fix it? 
• If the class rep did a survey and not too many parents care can we take the kids out.

Gabriela Goldfarb, PTA co-president and Chris Gutierrez, Atkinson principal
    All classes get an equal share of PTA funding for field trips; then some classes turn to parents for more funds.

• Fieldtrips
1. PTA funds are the sole source for field trips.  We approved $7,500 for field trips, which is shared equally with all classes.  4th &5th, and sometimes 3rd, grades want to do enriching overnight field trips.  They are doing separate fundraising.  Is this fair? 
• They have requested $22,000 from the PTA for extra field trips while they are raising their own money.  Is it double dipping?  How do you make sure that all the kids have the same opportunity, especially for kids who parents can’t afford to write a check?  Money was taken out of the principal’s discretionary fund last year for a field trip.  Some of the fundraisers took place and took from the funds that would have traditionally funded the PTA.  Some classes get to go some don’t.  PTA is trying to be a central point for fundraising.  Overnight camp is a powerful and great experience.  When they hit 6th grade they have a week of outdoor school right way.  Kids need the overnight camp to prepare for the upper grades.  Can we ask teacher’s to coordinate fundraising with the PTA.?  They say that it’s not fair to ask the parents for $5 and then pool the money.  We have a need for a policy.  Can money raised above what is needed above the field trip cost be pooled.
• Should some classes get to do field trips that other classes don’t get to do?  Should classes be able to use our school as a fundraising source, since it impacts the PTA as a fundraising source.  A proposal was made that the source of individual class fundraising needs to come from outside the Atkinson community.  It can be a problem if teachers feel pressure to do additional fundraising, but not all teachers are able or willing to take that on. Should the fundraising be a school wide commitment for the kids when they hit 5th grade.

Sandra Carter Templeman
    Parent Survey, Posada celebration

Outreach Committee
• Parent involvement Survey is still going.  Please fill out the parent survey if you have not.
• Posada celebration – is coming up soon.  Last day of school December 19th at 6:30.  Will have entertainment, the children will dance have live guitar.  Piñata, reenactment of asking for shelter. Tamales and desert.  Piñata’s need donations.

Gabriela Goldfarb, PTA co-president
    The outreach committee has expressed a strong interest in starting a Homework Club at Atkinson, which needs to be weekly and has to be parent lead.  Need a committee of parents to make sure that all languages are represented and work with administration to to find a place.  There may be interest at Franklin by two teachers to provide students  Warner Pacific College is another source.  Courtney and Lydia are interested in coordinating.  They will work with Anna and Laura to identify additional volunteers.

Gabriela Goldfarb, PTA co-president

Ideas for future parent workshops
• Parent education night how to keep your kids safe on the intranet.
• Communication strategies on talking to your kids and how to talk to your child when they are interring adolescence.
• Children’s education development
• Nutrition
• Cultural integration
• How to manage children’s behavior (discipline) – Weekly session the district does