School Parent Council Meeting, Mar 16, 2012

posted Apr 11, 2012, 6:57 AM by Sandy Larson   [ updated Apr 11, 2012, 6:57 AM by JQS Webmonkeys ]
25 people signed in; estimated 30+ in attendance.
Principal Ho was unavailable to speak to the group.
In the absence of both SPC co-secretaries, Angela Marcelo took notes by hand. (Thank you!)
These notes were transcribed and lightly edited by Sandy Larson, SPC treasurer


Ray Cheng, parent tri-chair of the SSC, reported to the group on what issues the SSC has been discussing:

· Food policy -- has been passed. The policy will be effective next school year and will be distributed with the final report card this year.
· Parent concerns with physical activity (not all K2 classes have gym).
· Budget decisions – Principal Ho has reconsidered decision to cut one class from grade 2. All classes will remain, and class size will continue to be low.
· Concerns about a letter circulating, that some parents have signed. It was not clear who wrote the letter, and no one at the group said they had a copy of it. No SPC officers had seen the letter.
· ELL program – Focus shift from too much testing to more learning.
· Report for case study – JQS achievements – included in a binder available to everyone. The case study is titled “’A Community School and Language Development Center’: A Consistently High Performing School for English Language Learners” and was prepared by the Center for Collaborative Education and the Gaston Institute. A copy is available in the SSC binder, which is in the School Secretary's office.
· Principal Ho is a recipient of the Pirandello Lyceum’s prestigious I Migliori in Mens et Gesta award, to recognize outstanding Americans of Italian descent who have made important contributions to their profession, to society and to the Italian-American community. Mr. Ho studied in Italy before moving to the U.S., and he got his first principal job, in East Boston, because of his Italian language skills.

Reactions & discussion:
One parent expressed concern about the 2nd grade class decision reversal. Who is at risk? If the teachers actually did benefit from cutting a teacher and adding a support person, then are some children not getting the help they need?

Some clarification was given on the Mandarin cuts. One teacher will be lost, but Mandarin instruction will still be done at all grade levels. (The letter that was signed by some parents was in support of Ms. Liu, the Mandarin teacher with the least seniority who will be let go.)

Some parents felt that letters/petitions should be shown to parent council, and should also go to Principal Ho. Others argued that for true democracy, parents have to be able to protest a policy or sign a form without “approval” from any other parents or school staff.


MCAS snacks
Relatively healthy snacks (fruit roll-ups and Sun Chips along with bottles of water) will be provided by volunteer parents (with money donated by grades 3, 4, 5 parents) as a treat for kids after taking the March MCAS.

(Note: enough generous donations came in to pay for both the March and May MCAS days!)

Movie night
Movie nights will no longer be handled by Carolyn Forbes, and may not happen at all. Is anyone else willing to take this on and lead the effort to have regular movie nights? Money raised on movie nights goes toward maintenance of the school auditorium seats.

School Dance
For the past few years, families have enjoyed an evening dance party in the school gym. Sample dates for this spring were discussed – March 30 is too soon! May 4 or 5 & May 11 or 12 are possibilities.
[Note: As of April 2, the date has been set at May 11.]
Carol Carlson reminded the current SPC officers that they do not HAVE to do every event that was done last year. Even though planning for the dance is starting a bit late, a show-of-hands vote was taken and the majority was for having it. So it shall happen!
Several people volunteered to help with the dance, and Sandy Larson gathered their names and contact info with the intent of setting up a dance planning meeting.

2012-13 school officer elections
SPC co-chair Douglas Duboulay expressed a desire to start the planning for next year’s officer elections early, to ensure an orderly election process and a diverse officer slate. Others mentioned that there are election rules and instructions in place, and it’s possible to have a BPS person assist. [Not clear whether that means having someone from BPS advise in advance, or be present at the elections.]

Teacher Appreciation Day
The National Teacher Appreciation Day is May 8, 2012. Parents usually plan a brunch/breakfast before school for the teachers and purchase gifts or gift cards with money donated by parents.

This was discussed as an event to be held on Fri, May 11. [Note: after this meeting it was decided that the Teacher Appreciation brunch will be Tuesday, May 8, since the dance is May 11.]

The teacher appreciation effort will involve sending flyers to parents to solicit donations of money and food items, organizing food for the brunch, organizing volunteers for that day, buying gifts or gift cards. Last year the teachers were given Target gift cards, but we could do something different this year. Someone mentioned that Panera Bread has been willing in the past to donate food. Carol Carlson said she has been involved in past years and can help this year.

JQSA fundraiser – “Splash!”
Tickets to the May 18 fundraiser – which raises money to support the JQS swimming program and field trips for lower grades – are $100. Teachers may not be able to afford this, so an idea was suggested to do some kind of drive to get parents to donate money to buy their child’s teacher a ticket to the event. [It’s not clear whether anyone volunteered to lead this effort. If you want to volunteer, please contact an SPC officer or send a note to the JQS parent Google group.]