Background – The HSA has funding designated each year for grants to purchase classroom supplies and materials. Commonly known as the “Teacher Grant Program,” it is technically the Teacher-Directed Classroom Enhancement Grant Program. The HSA returned to using the longer name in the spring of 2016 to make clear that the items purchased by the HSA were property of the classroom, not the individual teacher.
In school year 2015-2016, the HSA did two rounds of grants, one at the start of the school year and one in the winter. The staff made clear that they preferred having two-rounds and the HSA was also able to spend a larger portion of the designated funds than in the past.
Note: In the past, the program was only available to classroom teachers. In 2015-2016, it was expanded to make all resource teachers, specialists, and other educational staff eligible.
Typically, a Vice President is assigned to coordinate the grant process. In 2015-2016, an email address for the grant program was created to allow for online submissions. The email address is MurchTeacherGrants@gmail.com. The President has been provided with the password to that account.
Timeline – The basic process and timeline for the grants should be:
- August – Distribute grant information and applications to all staff during the week when staff report back to school.
- Early September – Send a reminder to all staff of the upcoming deadline for applications. (This was put in staff mailboxes in the past.)
- September 15 – Deadline for applications for first round of grants
- Mid to late September – Grant Committee meets, finalizes decisions, and sends letters to staff about decisions
- Late September to mid October – HSA makes grant purchases and coordinates delivery to staff
- Early January – Information about the second round of grants distributed
- February 1 – Deadline for second round of applications
- Early to mid February – Grant Committee meets, finalizes decisions, and sends letters to staff about decisions
- Mid to late February – HSA makes grant purchases and coordinates delivery to staff
Grant Committee – The makeup of the grant committee was determined by the HSA when the program began. The committee is to include:
- the HSA President (or one Co-President)
- one Vice President
- the Principal
- an Instructional Coach
- up to three Murch parents who are not currently serving on the HSA Executive Board (to be appointed by the President in coordination with the Board Member in charge of the process
- the HSA Teacher Representative serves in an advisory (non-voting) role
Note: It was very helpful to get the Staff Representative to help with the ordering and delivery of the purchases!
The full grant guidelines and application package from Winter 2016 are available here (in Word). A sample award letter can be found here.
For more information, Manolis Priniotakis, Martha McIntosh, and Alicia Garfinkel were all involved in the grant process in 2015-2016.
In recent years, the HSA has tried to host Coffee on the Playground for parents once a month (weather permitting), starting with the first day of school.During the school year, the events have typically been held on Fridays. In the winter, Principal C has held one event inside with time for a Q&A with parents.(This was less consistent in 2015-2016 than in prior years.) Coffee on the Playground should be set up just prior to drop off and then continues until about 9 or 9:15.
In the summer of 2016, coffee supplies were stored in the HSA storage space, just to the left of entry. These supplies include:
- a 100 cup coffee urn
- a large, insulated coffee carafe
- a small insulated pitcher for milk or cream
- cups, lids and cardboard sleeves
- napkins and plastic silverware
- trash bags
- packets of sugar and artificial sweetener (these may need to be refreshed)
- a folding table
Past volunteers who may be able to provide more information include Aliza Gerstein (email@example.com), Kathryn Harllee (firstname.lastname@example.org), and Susan Zentay (email@example.com).
First – what is 5th Grade Promotion?
In case you are new to Murch – there is a promotion ceremony every year to celebrate our fifth graders. They also get a class picnic, a clap-out, a party… The ceremony is usually held at the auditorium at Wilson High School – though while we are at UDC it will be in the UDC Theater of Arts. It is generally on a Monday night the second week in June around 6 or 6:30 pm.
What it is:
- The reception provides light refreshment after the graduation ceremony.
- The ceremony starts at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, June 12th.
- It is at Wilson High School in the lobby area outside the auditorium (entrance on Chesapeake).
- The ceremony is supposed to be one hour so you need to be ready for a crush of people by 7:30.
- Because this is the first year at UDC, you will need to speak to Rebecca McGraw in the Murch main office prior to planning (there are restrictions from UDC).
What You Need to Coordinate
- Again, touch base with Rebecca McGraw to find out what restrictions there are from UDC, and other logistics (where to hold the reception, getting 4 to 6 long tables and trash cans to set-up, etc.).
- You will need to enlist four or five adult helpers to procure refreshments and paper goods, set-up the reception and cleanup/takedown afterwards.
- It is a tradition for a handful of 4th graders to help. The kids are only marginal helpful as it is such a crush of people they have trouble maneuvering – so probably just 3-5 kids in total.
- If you want a more exact count – we could send out an email with a link to a simple form to count.
What to Expect
- A huge horde of folks will pour out when the ceremony is over and you will swear they haven’t eaten or drunk anything in days. Keep in mind the ceremony is over dinner time and most folks were too busy getting ready and getting there to eat!
- This is just a snack – not a meal. Most people will be heading out to dinner after.
- Have lots of cups pre-filled with lemonade and water and everything ready to be grabbed!
- Check with the 5th grade teachers or a member of the HSA to find out the budget amount. Make sure you find this out first!!!
- The budget for the reception the year of 2016-2017 is $500. This is it, so plan accordingly. You have the option of setting up a Sign-Up Genius to request donations of paper plates, napkins, beverages, chips, etc. as a large portion of the budget will be taken up by the cupcakes.
- Request for reimbursement must be submitted to the HSA through the form on the Murch website (https://murchschool.org/hsa-reimbursement-form/). Select “5th Grade Promotion” as the budget category and save receipts for items being reimbursed!!
What You Need to Provide
Here’s what has been provided the last few years. Note: there are generally about 110-125 fifth graders – multiply that by about 4 or 5 guests to get an idea of the count!
- Salty Snacks like potato chips, pretzels and other fun but not too healthy
- Cupcakes (see below for more info)
- Veggies if you feel motivated though they are not visited much
- Table clothes to cover tables (Murch colored is a plus)
- Plates, napkins and small cups (5 ounce Dixie-type cups)
- Bins/coolers for ice/drinks
A note about cupcakes
For the last three years we have used Lynnette’s Cakes and Catering for this. Not sure who found her first but her cupcakes are cute and delicious. Her current (2017) pricing is $1/mini-cupcake (this is a break from the regular price of $1.50) and she will deliver them. Cupcakes should be ordered at least two weeks in advance. Last year we ordered 450 cupcakes. She is very easy to work with and prompt. Here’s her information if you choose to use her.
Lynnettes’ Cakes and Catering
PO Box 1622
Annandale, VA 22003
Here’s a note from last year – 2017
UDC does not allow any foods with frosting on them. We decided to go with mini brownies that are offered by Lynette’s catering (.90 cents/piece). The refreshment tables should be set up for us by UDC – Rebecca is waiting to receive confirmation.
During school year 2015-2016, each classroom unit was provided by the HSA with a new emergency backpack kit. These kits are to be stored in the classroom, near the door, and taken outside with staff during all drills. Each kit should be returned to the front office and checked in at the end of the school year.
Over the summer, any gear from the backpack that needs to be periodically replaced will be replaced. The backpacks will be redistributed when staff returns at the start of the next school year. An explanation of what to do with the backpacks that can be distributed to staff at the start of the year can be found here.
At the end of school year 2015-2016, the backpacks were checked, relabelled based on the next year’s school roster (in coordination with the Director of Strategy and Logistics), and packed for delivery to UDC. Backpacks for Ms. Heist and Ms. Grindrod were not turned in and were packed with their classroom materials.
Before storing, each staff member should add to the backpack:
- current class roster
- emergency contact information
- DCPS & Murch-specific emergency procedure materials
The outside pocket of each kit contains:
- battery powered flashlight (with 2 D-Cell batteries installed)
- moist towelettes
- hand sanitizer packets
The main compartment of the backpack contains:
- AM/FM Radio with 4 AA batteries
- first aid kit (see below for contents)
- 6’x8′ tarp
- duct tape
- breathing mask
- rain poncho
- water container
- 4 water rations
- 2400 calorie food bar
- hygiene kit (toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, lotion, soap, deodorant, washcloth, comb, and mesh shower bag)
- toilet paper
- trash bags
- ballpoint pens and markers
The first aid kit (listed above) contains:
- a variety of adhesive bandages
- rolled gauze
- BZK towelettes
- roll of first aid tape
- CPR barrier
- gauze pads
- pen light
- ball point pen
- emergency blanket
- first aid guide
For school year 2016-2017 backpacks were distributed as follows:
- 3 PreK classrooms
- PreK Resource classroom
- 4 Kindergarten classrooms
- 4 First Grade classrooms
- 4 Second Grade classrooms
- 4 Third Grade classrooms
- 4 Fourth Grade classrooms
- 4 Fifth grade classrooms
- 1 SLS Classroom
- Art classroom
- Music classroom
- PE classroom (UDC Gym)
- ELL Office
- 2 for Special Education Teachers (Rooms C-100 and D-102)
- Room A-106 to be shared by OT/PT/Psychologist, etc.
- Room A-109 to be shared by Instructional Coaches and Specialists
- 2 Front Office
Note: World Language was not assigned a backpack because there is not a designated classroom.
Recommended replacement schedule for emergency backpacks
Each summer (beginning in 2017):
- 2 D-Cell batteries in flashlight
- 4 AA batteries for AM/FM radio
Start of each school year:
- current class roster
- emergency contact information
- DCPS & Murch emergency procedures information
Even number years beginning in summer 2018:
- moist towelettes (outer pocket)
- hand sanitizer (outer pocket)
- ballpoint pens and markers
- food and water rations (if deemed necessary)
- First aid kit
- Consider purchasing decks of cards, UNO cards, crayons or other activities for kids to add to kits.
- Consider requiring backpacks to be stored in common location in each space (for example, providing hooks by the door or on back of doors)
The current backpacks are Red Cross Basic Emergency Preparedness Kits purchased from the online store and supplemented with additional items as outlined above.
If additional backpacks needed:
- There is a collection of old backpacks that have been cleaned and saved in the storage space, expecting that the staff will grow in the future.
- Also in storage with the extra backpacks are:
- some basic first aid kits that need only antiseptic and bandaids replaced
- flashlights (need batteries)