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2009-06 June Minutes (Draft)


The meeting came to order at 6:40pm.


Gabriela Goldfarb, Sheri Campbell, Ellen Godula, Rebecca Davisson, LaRee Eby, Jocelyn Pratt, Alessandra Ruegger, Renee Carter, Laura Mason, Karla Zirbes, Anne Myrthue, Courtney Hayes-Lattin, Angie Janson, Jasmine Deschaine, Gretchen Dursch, Lydia Hernandez, Sandy Carter Templeman, Barb Frank, Jill Fuglister, Rachel Belcher, Sharon Kirkeby, Linda Macpherson, Jim Laden, Carrie Boatwright.


Approval of Meeting Minutes.  Renee moved and Laura seconded approval of the December 2009 through May 2009 meeting minutes.

PTA Leadership Nominations. Sheri announced that Karla Zirbes agreed to serve as PTA president and Laura Mason as Treasurer for 2009-2010. Gretchen moved and another participant seconded the nomination; the two candidates were approved unanimously. Sheri explained that Karla Zirbes had agreed to act as  a “shell” president; she is willing to do what is needed to maintain the organization’s skeleton functions through the start of the upcoming school year, but needs someone willing to partner with her as co-president before she will commit to carrying out the complete functions of PTA president. The positions of Vice President and Secretary are unfilled. Sheri explained that if people don’t step forward, it simply won’t be possible for Karla and Laura to do it all; a team effort is essential.

Other volunteer openings. A handout (see below) listed filled and unfilled activity coordinator roles. Angie Janson agreed to serve as volunteer coordinator for next year. Anne noted that the Chinook Book coordinator position is also filled. Jill Fuglister agreed to investigate what coordinating the Safer Routes to School activities might entail. Jim explained that the auction committee is fully staffed except for the auction chair role, which requires someone who is interested in and good at coordinating all the seasoned volunteers – the chair does not have to have auction experience, all the technical roles are filled. Gabriela noted that Julie Montagne is willing to coordinate the carnival again next year, but would like to recruit a co-leader who can learn the ropes.


Arts Committee – Jane Elliot
Basketball – Claudia Adams & Mike Johnson
Book Fair – Amy Mooney
Book Room – Amy Mooney
Carnival – Julie Montagne
Chinook Book
Field Day – Chris Weber
5th Grade Parent Coordinator(s) – Angie Beer & Barb Frank
Gift Wrap – Julie Montagne
Grandparents/Special Friends Day – Gayle Meier
Ice Cream Social – Rachel Belcher
K-2 Talent Show – Amy Mooney & Laura Neck & Renee Carter
Library Helpers/Readers – Amy Mooney
Lunar New Year – Janet Cowal & Angie Janson
Outdoor Learning Gardens – Meg Ruby & Annie Tucker
RIF (Reading is Fundamental) – Julie Hastings & Amity Bell & Rachel Belcher
Run for the Arts –  Traci Sullivan
Running Club – Rachel Belcher
Staff Appreciation Week – 1st & 2nd Grade Classroom Representatives
Stand for Children – Elliot Young & Karla Zirbes
Walk and Bike to School (Fridays) – Laura Neck
Winter Sing-Along –  Anne Myrthue
Year Book – Paige Battle & Angie Beer      

Auction Chair to organize meetings, coordinate (other auction roles filled)
Carnival co-leader
Greeting Cards
Homework Club
3 – 5 Talent Show
Outreach Committee
PTA Clothes Closet
Safer Routes to School


New roof.  Activities start this week, the construction company will use Kim Heron’s (music) room for the construction office and will use the upper playground for the staging area for its heavy equipment. The staging area will be fenced off, but leave the play structure accessible to the community. Also trying to ensure that irrigation of school gardens will not be affected (both the irrigation systems and access for watering.)The scheduled completion date is August 24. Teachers have had a stressful increase in end-of-year preparations because they have to pull everything from the perimeter to the center of their rooms to be shrink wrapped for protection. Roof will be pulled off to the rafters. Replacement roof will be covered with solar panels that will supply 48% of the school’s electricity needs.

Report cards. Teachers have the option to send report cards home with kids on the last day of school, or to have them mailed; if mailed, will go out Friday June 12th. They will be accompanied by generic grade-level supply lists (teacher’s individual supply lists will be mailed in September).

Class assignments.  Will be mailed September 3rd, along with the teacher’s detailed supply lists.

Budget and staffing.  There is still a lot of uncertainty about the District’s budget; awaiting the results of negotiations with the unions. The reorganization announced by Superintendent Smith eliminates the six area directors that provided support to principals and schools and replaces them with four Assistant Superintendents; Atkinson’s will be Toni Hunter, former Grant High principal.

Neighborhood teaching assignments.

•    Kindergarten classes remain the same, taught by Mrs. Holman and Ms. Pappas.
•    The K/1 blend position is open and will be filled over the summer. 
•    First grade classes will continue to be taught by Mrs. Tims and Mrs. Parr.
•    There will be two second grade classes taught by Mrs. Stride and Mrs. Kirkman.
•    The 2/3 blend position is now open, will start conducting interviews for that position.
•    One third grade class will be taught by Mrs. O’Donnell.
•    There will be four 4/5 blends. In addition to Cindy Dulcich and Tessa Luk, Amy Nunn will move from the immersion program to teach a 4/5 blend, and Rob Stuart is currently slated to teach another 4/5 blend. Rob is interviewing for vice principal positions, however, so if he is hired away, we will have that position to fill.

Spanish Immersion Program Staffing. Three teachers have accepted our offers for grade K, 1, and 5; we are just waiting on the personnel office to finalize their hires. Ms. Kline, Carmen Ramirez’ former student teacher, will be teaching kindergarten. Jessica Firestone, who taught in the Woodburn school district and at Arleta Elementary will teach 1st grade, and a new teacher, Alma Velazquez will teach 5th grade. There is an offer out to another teacher who for the remaining the 3rd grade position. She is currently teaching immersion in a Beaverton school, and is waiting to hear if she is going to be laid off as a result of budget cuts in that district; she has been asked to decide by Friday. The lineup for the rest of the classes is Lucy Gilson 2nd grade, Martha Macarthur 4th, and Lillian Sarlos 5th.

New English Language Learners teaching model. Due to a new state requirement the District is now required to pull English language learners out of class 30 minutes a day for intensive English language development instruction. Chris Weber, who has an English as a Second Language endorsement, will be delivering that instruction full time next year; he was teaching physical education this year.

Plan for teaching phys ed next year. The teachers decided that they wanted Chris Weber to provide the intensive English language instruction, and that they would provide P.E. instruction to their students using something called the “SPARK” curriculum.

Spanish Immersion Parent Meetings and Task Forces for Next Year. Principal Gutierrez will set up task forces of teachers, parents, and administration on various topics, such as exploring whether to move to a blended 4/5 classroom, and will convene regular immersion meetings to keep the broader immersion parent community informed.

Update on educational assistants. The EAs who lost their positions at Atkinson have been assigned to new posts. Yvonne will go to Marshall High, while Lilety will go to Grout Elementary; Ms. Pham is retiring.

Music/Kim Heron. While allocation of staff time will not be finalized till the start of the school year, the plan for now is for Ms. Heron to teach one Literacy block per day, which will reduce some music instruction; all children will continue to have music at least once a week.

Master calendar of events in preparation. The principal asked incoming PTA president Karla Zirbes to meet next week with school secretary Dawn Gray to make sure as many events as possible are reflected in the school’s master calendar. That calendar will reflect the 2-hour late start that will occur the 3rd Wednesday of every month (except November) to allow for teacher professional development. When/whether 5 furlough days will be reflected depends on the outcome of negotiations with the teacher’s union.

Mrs. Bartell’s husband.  Mr. Bartell suffered an attack of pancreatitis, and passed away on Sunday. The funeral will be private for the family; Atkinson staff will be taking food and going to pay their respects to the family on Thursday. Mr. Bartell had been a reading partner, and was there on Friday morning, the day he took ill. Jenelle Winters had counseling support available to the children in Mrs. Bartell’s class. Her students will receive valid report cards. The PTA will send flowers.


Jim Laden presented the results (see below) of the May PTA meeting’s “visioning” exercise that reflected the interest of the 19 parents present in investing in staff or programming rather than the playground; that is consistent with what the staff survey expressed. Jim communicated the principal’s message that PTA is not being asked to fund staff in 2009-2010. A parent asked about using funds to keep Kim Heron teaching music, rather than literacy, and Jim communicated the principal’s sense that bigger cuts may come in the 2010-2011 school year, so the PTA may want to reserve a healthy amount to cover a significant staff cut (such as loss of the music teacher or librarian). Jim encouraged parents to form groups to develop proposals for some of the ideas for enrichment activities (e.g., establishing an after school foreign language program for 4th and 5th graders, or an art program) and to bring those proposals to the PTA at its September meeting, and also in September consult with teachers to get their input (particularly for activities that affect in-class time), perhaps via online survey. Proposals requiring funding would be voted on at the October PTA meeting when the budget is approved. Jim cited the example of the Outdoor Learning Garden as one to follow; the parent-led initiative started small and built up over the years to the array of gardens we have today, and to the point that they are now seeking an Americorps position to coordinate activities.

Ideas for Supporting Atkinson in 2009-2010 with PTA Funds (Results of May PTA meeting.)

These ideas were generated by the parents who attended the PTA meeting on May 12, 2009.  After the brainstorm, we asked attendees to indicate their top choices.  Each person was allowed four votes.  The ideas are ranked in order of preference.

•    Hire an education assistant for push-in literacy groups in order to preserve a full-time music program and teacher (15 votes)
•    Enhance math instruction using push-in model with small groups of students working at the same level (14 votes)
•    Develop a classroom-based art program with a paid coordinator and adequate materials (13 votes)
•    Improve second language instruction for non-immersion students through increase in staffing, teacher training, smaller instructional groups, and adequate teaching materials (11 votes)
•    Increase time devoted to physical education (6 votes)
•    Preserve current library program (6 votes)
•    Invest in better technology to support classrooms – laptops, projectors, internet access, electronic chalkboards, dedicated IT staff (4 votes)
•    Increase amount PTA gives for field trips each year (3 votes)
•    Purchase books for low-income children to have at home (1 vote)
•    Install extra sinks for washing hands prior to meals (1 vote)
•    Pay for a grant writer to obtain grants which support other ideas (1 vote)
•    Preserve push-in literacy program (it was clear that the majority of parents at the meeting want to preserve this program, but there was an stated assumption that it will definitely be preserved by the school administration, so people were discouraged from using their votes for this suggestion)


Anyone who needs to be reimbursed by the PTA for money they spent for a school support activity must get their forms to Jim by June 19.

The meeting adjourned at 8pm.