Parent Council Meeting Nov 4, 2011

posted Apr 11, 2012, 6:37 AM by Duane Bronson   [ updated Apr 11, 2012, 6:42 AM by JQS Webmonkeys ]
November 4, 2011
Officers Present:
Lola and Sandy, Co-Treasurers
Samuel and Douglas, Co-Chairs
Joanne and Tammy, Co- Secretaries
Thirty-six parents attended representing students K1 through 5th grade.

The meeting started with introductions of officers and parents. Samuel reviewed the agenda.

Principal Ho thanked the Parent Council for inviting him to speak, asked that all parents who did not receive the robocall (recorded phone message) to make sure the school office has your correct phone number.

Mr. Ho reviewed the Quincy School's Committees and invited all interested parents to participate in them.
Technology Committee - to support the increased use of technology in education and in communication.
Music Committee - in addition to increasing access to music for all students, this committee is also working with the art committee on making sure students have access to all sorts of artistic activities.

Literacy Night moved to November 17, 6:00 - 7:30 pm.

In response to a question from a parent about a morning program perhaps using the gym Mr. Ho explained that it is something worth exploring but the challenge is staffing, liability to the school if anyone should get hurt, and space.
Jonas Cox offered to coordinate a group of parents interested in exploring the idea further. He will put a message out on the JQS email group.

Committee Reports

Visual Arts Committee: Elizabeth McGarry and Samantha Demetri
Working to bring new resources to school so all children will have access to art classes. Last year the Student Visual Art exhibit was a big hit, and parents saw all the many different types of creative work being done by Quincy students. Since we do not have an Art Teacher this year JQS will need to rely on volunteers more than ever.
Day of Art, March 3, 2012 -- the goal is to have every class engaged in a hands on art project.
How parents can be involved: volunteer to teach, help with planning the event, help find volunteers, help get art supplies donated.
There was consensus that School Council and Parent Council should communicate better, and an agreement in principle that we will work to develop a mechanism for improved and regular communication between the two committees. Brief discussion about the Health issues/healthy food policy - what does this mean?
Policies vary from school to school. It can mean no candy sales, no birthday cakes in classroooms, no bake sales. It can also mean a greater awareness of healthy choices for kids -- such as choosing not to have fundraisers that are not healthy - no candy sales, no bake sales.
Special Education Advisory Rep needed -- Title One City-wide group advises SBPS on funding issues for Title One money. Parent volunteered to talk with Samuel about it.
BPS BTU Teacher contract negotiating about to get underway, parent involvement and monitoring of these discussions is very important. BCNC wants to help parents get involved, meeting at 11/14 at the Freedom House for parent input.
Stand for Children -- McCall Shapiro talked about the parent organizing work by SFC, their goal is to have all parents engaged in policy development for BPS. She is in the listening/learning phase wants to get to know JQS parents and get them engaged.

Box Tops Committee: Pam Knight-Detemple
Since the Spring of 2010 the Quincy School has raised more than $1000 from Box Tops, and recently sent 2000 more in for credit.
In addition to families, Community Partners (local businesses etc.) can also collect Box Tops on behalf of the school.
How parents can help: help the committee count box tops, when you send them in taking these steps is a big help: count and label bag with the number/your child's name and classroom; trim them neatly- that is a big help -- but you don't need too!

There will be another Box Top Contest in late November, the committee is always looking for volunteers to help count.

Health Committee: Ginger DeShaney
Ginger announced that she has six volunteers to do six months worth of food tastings. She will also be sending home a Health Newsletter for families. Fruit tastings have been very popular with the students.

Technology Committee: Pam Knight - Detemple
Work is going well, getting good input from teachers about technology needs in the classroom. Working hard on a school website that will link to teacher blogs, serve as bulletin board for school-wide announcements. This committee has a good mix of teachers and parents, and is proving to be eye opening about technology needs in the school. Teachers don't all have access to printers, and all the teachers pay for their own ink.

Tech Committee hopes to launch the JQS website January 6, 2012

Treasurer's Report: Sandy Larson
Balance: Approximately $9700 but much of that is restricted
$2,700 Food Tastings/Health
$2,000 for expenses related to increasing/improving parent involvement, such as translation equipment/other capital investments
$5,000 unrestricted
Discussion abut how to use the money:
Box Top Committee likes to use the money for things students suggest since it is really a child driven activity - i.e. hairdryers for locker room. The popcorn machine used on movie nights and other events was purchased with Box Top funds.

There are other ways parents can raise money for JQS --like the Target and Stop n Shop shopping programs - we will work to publicize these options better.

School Site Council Report: Carol Carlson
Meetings have traditionally been at 7:30 am -- 7 teachers, 6 parents and the principal. These are the voting members. All parents are welcome, but must request to be on the agenda to speak.
At the last meeting the Council discussed the possibility of developing as healthy school policy, looked at a sample policy.
There was a discussion here about how to make sure parents know in advance what subjects will be discussed at School Site Council.

Parent request: an agenda for all School Site Council meetings be distributed in advance so everyone will know if they should plan to attend.
Minutes of School Site Council meetings have not been distributed in the past; there is an interest in doing so this year.

Next School Site Council Meeting -- Nov 18, 7:30 am.

Allergy Notifications -- teachers can send home a notice at the beginning of the school year about any allergies in the classroom so that parents know what is safe to send to school.

Improving Communication
Paper notices are expensive, time consuming to copy and distribute (800 students).
A key goal of the technology committee is to streamline this process - to have as many notices go out electronically as possible, and paper notices only going home to those families that do not have email/access to internet. Tech committee is making a concerted effort to get as many email addresses as possible. Short notices can go out via text messages - meeting reminders etc.

For now, until technology is in place communication will continue to go out on paper to everyone.
Parent Council meeting minutes: Parent Council will email them, every effort will be made to have them translated into Chinese. They will not go home in paper form.

JQSA Report - Ginger DeShaney
New officers elected at their committee's last meeting. Agreed that there can/should be more coordination between goals of fundraising work and the work of all the committees.
Raising money for family engagement is the job of the parent council - but JQSA can be a fiscal agent for parent council fundraising efforts. We don't want to cannibalize our fundraising efforts - we need to be strategic about who we approach for what funding.

Other issues:

Meeting Length - announcement always says 9-10, meeting always goes to 11. Need to acknowledge 2 hours and try and manage agenda time better. Parents can come for as long as they can.

Minutes Submitted by: Joanne McKenna, co-Secretary