BEN W. MURCH HOME AND SCHOOL ASSOCIATION
Meeting Minutes March 3, 2020
HSA Co-Presidents Ashley Webb and Julie Lobb called the meeting to order at 7:00PM on March 3, 2019 in Room B112 of Murch Elementary School.
Executive Board Members present: Ashley Webb (Co-President), Julie Lobb (Co-President), Amy Turner (Vice President), Heather Williams (Vice President), Maurice Werner (Treasurer), Chris Cebrzynski (Principal), Wendy Cresswell (Teacher Representative), Robin Goracke (Budget/LSAT) Elisa O’Keefe (Past President), Justin O’Connor (Community Engagement),
Other Members in Attendance: Heather Barlow (Communications), Megan Duffy (Assistant Treasurer), Paula Cuevas (Assistant Treasurer)
Parents: Mary Garcia, Steven James, Louis Yacob, Crystal FitzSimons, Kara Barnes, Steve Feinberg, Rachel Ginzburg, Cristina LaRocca, Charles Rich, Jordan Tama, Patrick Ventrell
- Approval of prior minutes – Heather Barlow
Heather noted that the minutes for the February 4 general meeting was posted to BaseCamp for review on February 26, and sought the Board’s approval of the minutes.
Heather made a motion that the Board ratify the previously posted minutes for the February 26 meetings as the official record of those meetings. Ashley seconded the motion, there was no objection, and the motion passed by unanimous voice vote.
- President’s Report – Ashley Webb and Julie Lobb
- Presentations Committee. Ashley reported on upcoming presentations:
Once Upon a Moon is a presentation on Mar 27 for PreK through 1st.
On Mar 23, Sam Drassen is addressing inclusion with all grades. He has same condition as character in Wonder book. Eating lunch with small groups and guidance counselor. Mr. C. will include it in his blog.
Working on a mindfulness professional to present to parents.
Also, movie Screenagers about use of tech and social media, geared to a 10 and up audience, talked about showing every 2-3 years, date sometime in April to May.
Discussion ensued about positive feedback for Black History Month.
- Auction Update. Julie reported that Solicitations team has 125 donated items, excluding class and teacher donations. Working on securing caterer/staffing, will include coronavirus cancellation policy in contract. Dates for bidding to open and ticket sales still TBD.
- Principal’s Report – Mr. Cebrzynski
Mr. C reported on the budget process. Budget increased, at $7.2 million because in part enrollment projectment went up to 650. Two new, district-funded special education programs that are self-contained to cover teacher and aides. EL numbers increased to 4 EL teachers.
There are three levels of positions. 1– required. 2—can petition for funds to be allocated for a different position. 3—flexible dollars to be used at Principal discretion. Thinking of how to relocate some dollars for $855,000 of flexible dollars.
Maintaining current staffing, except going from 4 to 3 K aides and no language teacher. Will go from 4 to 5 special education teachers. Will have math and reading specialists each for K-2 and 3-5. Adding R25 custodian who can open and close building; only one R25 custodian on staff now and cost overtime dollars for other custodians to open or close building. Administrative premium is money spent outside contract dollars. Had $0 and spent $10,000 over the past years. Now tracking and giving $25K. Total of 5 custodians next year; building requires 6. Adding one EL, one inclusion teacher who works in classroom, math in K-2.
For non personnel spending: $111K goes to security. $35K to professional development. $5K goes to excellence through equity is assigned by district for at-risk students.
Mr. C is working on 6 key areas for next year: professional development, class rosters, Comprehensive School Plan (CSP) committee, supervision and master schedule, departmentalizing 2nd grade, and lunchtime clubs and groups.
World language is from flexible fund. Looked at data and need to target gaps in math and reading in K-2. World language is not teaching language; it’s more for exposure. Attention needs to be on academic achievement and success for all students. One idea to fill culture exposure: every month is different culture month in our school. This year, improving International Night to expand to International Day for in-school activities. If budget increases, we’d love to bring back geography/world cultures class. For transition to middle school, consulted with middle school principals who said it doesn’t matter what language is offered in elementary. 6th graders do take geography, and geography class preps them for that.
Paula asked if 5 special ed teachers be enough to address IEPs? Yes.
How does staff plan address data on achievement gaps? Through performance of people who work with kids. Collective teacher advocacy closes gap. Specialized training for specialized instructions, including how to work with African American students.
- Treasurer’s Report – Maurice Werner
- Review of Monthly Statements. Maurice provided a summary of the monthly financials. He noted that book fair did well. Concessions income is increasing. Expenses haven’t changed much since last time. School supplies is within $9K of budget. Currently running a deficit of what we’ve spent versus what we’ve raised.
For the Income Statement, Maurice reported that the HSA has brought in $198K to date.
Will discuss next year’s budget at April HSA meeting.
Robin asked about musical fees. Maurice reported it’s counted in performance arts revenue line item and received $3600 as of now from participation fees. Robin reports that’s a little low because it’s $100 per kid times 50 kids. She will go back to Musical committee to see if that can be increased. Maurice noted that scholarships are available if needed.
- Fundraising/Community Engagement Update – Justin Connor
Justin reported on Amazon Smile opportunity to raise money. School gets .5% of all purchases. Doesn’t work on app only on website. Maurice said recently got quarterly check for $180.
Justin also reported that Mar 12 is scheduled for Guapos restaurant night.
April 1 is scheduled with Silver restaurant
April 22 is Potomac Pizza in Chevy Chase.
Murch Day @ Nationals date will be in spring. Possible dates for 1:35 PM home game are May 3 (limited seating without shade cover), May 24, and June 7. Consensus was for June 7. Tickets will be $42. $39 goes to Nats, HSA gets $3. Aiming for 150 tickets sold in 150 seat block. Can return unused tickets before game date. Ticket price includes $10 concession credit.
DC United games are at 8 pm and may not work for elementary families.
Washington Spirit games—Justin will check in with Courtney.
- Communications – Heather Barlow
Update on Email Delivery Issues: Heather reported that last week school emails started going to junk and spam folders. After research, Mailchimp (email delivery platform) recommended authenticating domain server. Had problems logging into the domain server but gained access. May need to change domain servers, which will lower the cost.
If not fixed by Friday, will send link to newsletter to Listserv. Decided not to print out newsletter for Friday folders.
Murch HSA account will take over listserv if there is no volunteer
Hope to get emails fixed by Mar 10 for Murch Plus signups
- LSAT Update – Robin Goracke
Robin reported that the school budget is in and Mr. C has a new proposal for LSAT. Robin will set up committee meeting for March and will include anybody additional who wants to join. Goal is to have draft of budget for April meeting. But because of date of auction, won’t be able to finalize numbers until May meeting. In late May will have public meeting to approve HSA budget, when it becomes final.
LSAT is overseeing inclusion forum. One thing required by Comprehensive School Plan is inclusivity. Robin thinks it will continue to next year. Affects presentation and babysitting line items in budget. Robin says they’ll pre-plan events to include into budgeting. Will bring proposal to committee and then to HSA for approval.
Discussion ensued about LSAT Inclusion Forum.
Group of parents with children in Capitol Language Services (CLS) at St. Paul’s presented request to Mr. C. for CLS to move into Murch building because it affects Murch community. CLS space in church is no longer adequate because of growth and safety issues crossing Ellicott St. Full time afterschool programs are important to some families. Not representing X-day, but issues are likely the same. Murch Plus provides 1 hour per week. CLS provides 15 hours of afterschool care a week. CLS provides scholarships. CLS operates inside many DCPS buildings, including Lafayette. Parents request that CLS in the Murch building be a priority and co-exist with Murch Plus. CLS would pay rent to Murch.
Mr. C responded that Mary Eckstein can give a detailed answer as why this isn’t a possibility at the moment. Not my intent. Would love to see all programs in our school. This program has possibilities. Mr. C promised that Mary would respond to any inquiries within 48. Says it not a DCPS issues; it is with DGS.
Megan asked if this a request for HSA support? It’s an effort to raise awareness within the Murch community. We thought this was an additional forum for communication.
Robin said that aftercare is a line item in the budget. HSA meeting can be a forum to discuss aftercare issues. At other schools, like Janney, parents pay HSA for aftercare fees.
Not requesting resources from the HSA.
Should we add it to next month’s agenda? Ashley says that HSA has no decision here. Past HSA meeting discussed 3rd grade teachers, Musicals, etc. So HSA can be a place for a discussion, and HSA can consider helping.
Parents to request a meeting with Mary and then report back to HSA.
Ashley adjourned the meeting at 8:15 PM.