1. Executive Board Members present: Maggie Gumbinner (co-President), Martha McIntosh (co-President), Brendan Holland (Secretary), Manolis Priniotakis (VP), Chris Cebrzynski (Principal), Karissa Kovner (past HSA president), Alicia Garfinkel (teacher representative), and Ron Eckstein (VP).
Others HSA members present: Alexis Fuge, Elizabeth Mettler, Shelley Cohen, and Christine LoCascio.
2. Approval of prior minutes – Brendan Holland
Brendan presented the draft minutes for the August 18, 2015 meeting and made a motion that the Board formally approve these minutes as the official record of the August 18, 2015 meeting. Martha seconded the motion. The motion was unanimously approved.
3. President’s Report – Maggie Gumbinner
a. Website. Maggie thanked Elizabeth Mettler for her assistance revamping the HSA website. The speed and design of the website are greatly improved as the result.
b. SOS Preview. Elizabeth is going to spearhead the SOS campaign and gave a preview of this year’s campaign. Elizabeth detailed last year’s campaign and provided a report comparing the SOS campaigns from the last few years and outlining a proposed message, method, and timeline for the 2015-2016 SOS campaign. Last year’s campaign achieved a good level of participation; offered payment plans for the first time, which seemed well received; payments made via the website outnumbered checks by a measure of four to one (payments made via the website are easier and quicker to process and track). Currently working on the messaging for this year’s campaign and considering targeting different messages to various grade levels. Primary goal is to increase participation, and there was much discussion about the messaging and the target amount (or amounts) that should be highlighted in the campaign, as well as whether it should be tied to stated a total revenue goal. The board discussed the pros and cons of various approaches, with a general consensus that the target should be $500 per child, but encourage participation at any level. Elizabeth went through a proposed timeline (refer to handout). Also discussed the need to translate information on the website and also maybe if/when snail mail letters are sent.
c. Murch Gives Back. Martha reported on the “Murch Gives Back” effort with Houston Elementary School, which was reported recently in the Washington Post. Parents were excited with the success and connection with Houston; may be something that can be expanded/duplicated.
d. Fall Fair. Reminder that the Fall Fair is scheduled for October 24th.
e. Translations. Reminder that translation services are available on the website and to make sure families know.
f. Soccer goals. Stoddert soccer originally bought the goals and per the use agreement with the school they are to maintain and/or replace as necessary. Stoddert is currently working to replace the goals. In addition, they will redraw the lines on the field. There was also a brief discussion regarding the pellets on the field. The issue has previously been raised with the SIT team and the new field (after the school renovation) will not use the same product. The new field will use cork or recycled product, which should obviate any potential concern with the current pellets.
4. Principal’s Report – Chris Cebrzynski
a. Paddles Up Spending Update. Mr. C. reported on the “Paddles Up” spending. Mr. C. working with the school’s Science coordinator and coming up with a detailed list of items to purchase that matches up with relevant curriculum. Also coming up with an advisory board to provide guidance and feed back.
b. Student council. The goal this year is for Student Council to be very student centered, have obtainable goals/activities, and be a meaningful experience for the kids. Vanessa Robin (3rd grade math and science) will head up the Council. Still getting organized, so not quite sure when elections will be. (A brief aside about box tops and the answer is that they are collected by Student Council to buy materials for the school.)
c. Beginning of the year assessments of students. Mr. C. reported that there is a bit of a “perception issue” with come parents regarding beginning of the year assessments, particularly a concern that there is too much testing at the beginning of the year. But the assessments are just in math, writing, and reading to get a baseline. Intend to communicate in a Friday bulletin that the assessments are to be used as an intro and baseline, and not onerous testing. Hope to use the assessments to identify and respond to individual student needs from these early assessments. Useful for the teachers to get a grasp of students’ ability, in part to group them appropriately for instruction. Teachers start the year with data for their students from the end of last year, but these beginning assessments are very important. Also allows for fidelity/consistency as the new teacher assesses students at the same time and in the same way.
5. Treasurer’s Report- Maggie Gumbinner
a. Maggie (in JoAnna’s stead) presented the new spreadsheet with current status for cash, liabilities, income, and expenses. Requested that Board members report any issues/questions to JoAnna. Also noted that Xero accounting software is up and running, so Board members can access and review the accounting and revenue information.
6. Budget Report – Maggie Gumbinner
a. Maggie emphasized that the October HSA board meeting is an important one, as it focuses on the budget. Thus, it is essential to have a quorum of 30 people. The meeting is a great opportunity to go over budget, discuss the spending, etc. Replenishing the Technology Set-Aside Fund will also be discussed.
7. Old Business. None.
8. New Business.
a. Yard Sale Fundraiser – Alexis Fuge. Murch parent Alexis Fuge presented on a possible yard sale fundraiser to be held in the spring. Key Elementary did mega yard sale last year and Janney has also done one in the past. Alexis talked to the parents who lead the Key yard sale to learn from their experience. The proposal is to host a community yard sale in the spring of 2016 around Earth day, when people are potentially doing spring cleaning and thinking of recycling, etc. April 23 is the proposed date, which is a few weeks after spring break. Goal would be to advertise widely and involve the neighborhood community as well as Murch families. Maybe four hours long and during the earlier part of the day (such as 9 AM – 1 PM). Discussed logistical issues, such as building use permit, drop off and storage of donated items (such as renting a POD), the need for volunteers, and tax donation receipts. Building fee, staging place, and janitorial/security are the biggest issues. Would need to focus on those issues early in the planning, as well as developing a communications plan and soliciting volunteers. The members discussed Murch’s previous efforts at a community yard sale, with Karissa Kovner mentioning that in the past St. Paul’s had allowed the school to store donations in its space in advance of the sale. Karrisa also noted that baby items were always popular, as well as books, which have continued to be a part of the Fall Fest. Discussed the donation of unsold items to an appropriate charity after the event. The proposal is still in the formative stages, and the HSA can continue to work with Alexis to figure out how to drive forward.
b. Emergency Kits for Teachers – Martha McIntosh. Years ago DCPS suggested emergency kits and the HSA had a committee that put the kits together. The time has come to inventory, update, and/or replace the kits. Would first need to inventory the existing kits, determine what needs to be replaced, and how many kits total. Goal would also be to systemize what might need to be budgeted and/or replaced annually. Preliminary research indicates it could cost up to $3,000, and DC has list of requirements for the kits. The board discussed the pros and cons of the proposal, including whether to assemble the kits or buy premade kits, how to inventory and track, etc. The general consensus was that number and contents of the existing kits are deficient and that they need to be replaced/updated. Karissa Kovner made a motion that the HSA spend up to $3,000 to provide each classroom with an appropriate emergency kit. Manolis seconded the motion and the motion passed unanimously.
c. Additional spending for magazines – Maggie Gumbinner. The HSA previously purchased magazines for pre-K, second, and fifth, and teachers have requested that the HSA also purchase magazines for the first and third grades. The fourth grade and kindergarten have not requested. The cost to add magazines for first and third grades would be $1,800. Karissa noted that the revenue from the Paddles Up campaign from last year may cover this full amount and could faithfully be used for this expenditure. Maggie made a motion that the HSA authorize the expenditure of up to $1,800 for the first and third grades, taking into account the potential to use existing funds from the Paddles Up campaign. Alicia seconded the motion and the motion passed unanimously.
d. Agreement on process for agenda development and distribution of agenda and meeting minutes – Brendan Holland. Brendan briefly summarized the process for development of the monthly agenda, and the circulation, revision, and adoption of the official minutes of the meetings.
e. Discussion of use of electronic voting by Executive Board – Martha McIntosh and Maggie Gumbinner. Martha and Maggie introduced the notion of the board possibly using electronic voting in certain circumstances. The co-Presidents suggested that nothing in the by-laws explicitly permits or precludes voting electronically. The co-Presidents suggested that electronic voting could be useful on occasion and increase the board’s productivity. For example, it could allow the board to act over the summer or when there are long pauses between full meetings.
Further consideration is necessary to determine whether explicit authorization needs to be included in the by-laws to permit voting electronically, or whether anything in the District laws governing non-profits speak to the issue. Karissa noted that true electronic voting may require an amendment to the by-laws, but that it might be possible to finalize the details of an item or issue electronically following its discussion live at a meeting. The goal tonight was to introduce the idea and begin the conversation.
9. Misc. Update on the laptops for the teachers, the HSA purchased the computers approved last month for teachers who were missing them. The total price was $5,600.
The co-Presidents adjourned the meeting at 9:03 PM.