Board Members in attendance: Chris Cebrzynski, Jennifer Landry-Jackson, Lisa Stone, Maggie Gumbinner, Martha McIntosh, Melissa Hawkins McInerney, Sam Hoben, Shelley Cohen, Alicia Garfinkel, Frances Wu, Garrett Fletcher, Gretchen Zucker, Jill Shalett, Joanna Graham, Karissa Kovner
Additional Attendees: Jamila Bey, Christine LoCascio, Megan Levin, Marjan Inak, Libby Anker, Yulia Solsun, Debbie Soon, Manel Mendr, Amy Turner, Terri Fuller, Mark Greenhouse, Dylan Fugar, Emily Kallaur, Mattie Scmoelzer, Elizabeth Miranda,Ron Eckstein
- Welcome –Maggie Gumbinner and Martha McIntosh
- Approval of the June Minutes –Shelley Cohen
- Presidents’ Report – Maggie Gumbinner and Martha McIntosh
- Approval of Board Chairs and LSAT Rep (Maggie); Approve Lisa Stone for budget and planning and LSAT, Melissa Hawkins McInerney for personnel, Frances Wu for Communications, and Jennifer Landry-Jackson for Ways and Means.
- SIT Update(Martha): The school improvement team is charged with helping shepherd the renovation process. DGS is responsible for buildings and they have elected to pay for a feasibility to be performed for Murch. The feasibility study is a lmost done. Major concerns that the study will address is the amount of space we need per child and achieving that on a very small site with restrictions.Restrictions include the historic nature of the building and National Park Service ownership of about 1/3 of the Murch property. The feasibility study will also highlight what is possible on the site and try to get people in a dialogue. End product will be 2-3 loose designs, and some cost estimates. There is $10million in funding in 2015 (starts in October), and with those funds an architect will be hired to implement a full plan. In the past,schools have taken a phased approach and get a lot done over the summer. Less disruptive, but also takes more time. Is it possible to do this with Murch? Lafayette will move everyone into swing space and do the construction over an entire year. Could we do this… do we want to?
- Update on Parking for Staff(Maggie): The city has given teachers green tags so they can park along surrounding streets. Seems to be running smoothly with drop off. Lining up safety patrols, and that should help. Maggie asked if there has been any issues? Meeting attendees seemed to agree that drop off and pick up has been very smooth. The lot used to hold 38 cars, and now can accommodate 15 parking spaces. Staff is requesting more permits. The district has been cooperative
- Principal’s Report–Chris Cybrzynski
- General Update: Lots of changes at Murch — 17 new staff members and new learning spaces. Plus, there are new district initiatives that have been adopted by Murch. First, Murch will be more math focused school this year. One reason for this is that was that a strategic plan from many years ago focused on a math initiative to improve scores. Bring back the math focus to continue the work started years ago. DCPS has been supportive and is providing training supplies, coaching and other support. Also a great focused on student enrichment was created and an enrichment coordinator was hired. This will enable the school to provide enrichment opportunities to be provided for all students. Murch is also getting a great deal of resources from DCPS for enrichment efforts. For example, teachers received training at UCONN. Jackie Presnik has additional info on her webpage: https://mrspresnicksem.shutterfly.com/. Check regularly to see updates. Teachers are also keeping websites. Working on communication.
- After School Activities: Have a new after school activities roll out program. Focus is access for all students free of cost. Because we received the student PCP grant, $68,000 will be spent toward improving afterschool programs. There are three sessions, and some activities are only offered for one session, while others, such as the guitar club, run all year. There are some clubs that do charge that were grandfathered in, however these clubs have to be self-sustaining and had a tax ID. Ultimately hope to have all programs free. Part of PWP grant is to provide transportation for students living out of bounds so they can participate in activities. Maggie:HSA fills the gaps when the school runs out and does not have enough money to pay the teachers for the afterschool programs.
- Nurse: On the first day of school, informed that they do not have a nurse. In process of hiring a full time nurse at the school. There are 5 trained professionals on the Murch staff that can provide any services a nurse can provide. Currently only have a nurse three days a week (Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday). Nurses are contracted from children’s. Gretchen: potential volunteer position? Martha: lots of restriction because of insurance and privacy.
- Enrollment: under projections of 680, currently have about 630. Benefit is that class sizes are smaller. Principle C is being very careful about efforts to fill gaps because wants to maintain quality. Working with DC to maintain quality of instruction. Big piece LSAT is the budget and how funds are allocated. Will DCPS fill those slots? Being cautious with the dealings with the district, want to maintain quality. Martha: capacity, enrollment and budget are not always viewed together.
- Treasurer’s Report –JoAnna Graham: treasury team switches over as of Sept 1. Budget approved in the spring. Add 2014-2015 on the sheet. The attached budget closes out last year’s budget and starts anew. October meeting, as required, Lisa Stone will be giving a presentation on the budget. SO far we have received 3teacher grant applications. This is a budget line item that allows the HSA to support teach requests: equipment, materials, carpet. If there is something they need, they can apply for a grant. Maggie said that they came in before school started and talked to the teachers. The grant will not cover consumables. DCPS provides funds in the spring, and then the HSA fills in the gaps on durable materials.
- Personnel Report–Melissa McInerney: Melissa gave an update on the 7 full time (4 new) instructional aides that were hired by the HSA. This is a large part of where the HSA’s budget is allocated. This year, they are not employing recess aides. Recess is now being covered by the teachers and staff. Instructional aides are full time. Wanted to make sure that there are aides in each grade. Pre-K and K has aides in every class. There are 2 aids for grades 1&2. And in grades 3, 4, and 5 there is one aide per grade. The aides are helpful in allowing teachers to have extended plan time by covering their classrooms.
- New Business
- iPad Cart for lower grades–A request was submitted from Principle C. for the funds to purchase a lap top cart and 30 new ipads to support K and 1st learning. Ipads are easier for the kids as opposed to lap tops, and are needed for STMath. Students in grades 3-5 need key boards to learn typing skills, which are needed for taking the standardized tests. The school currently has one cart of ipads that they purchased, but there is a need for more ipads. The benefit of the cart is that it allows kids to have access at all times to the ipads. The cost for 30 Ipads at the education rate is 11,730, and the Apple cart is $2800(although the cart has been seen from other sources for$600-1000 from other sources). The cart allows the ipads to charge, and can be moved from class room to class room or the media center. The first cart was purchased three years ago for K and 1st grade, supports 25 ipads, and has been very successful. Principle C can purchase after Oct. 1 in the new budget year, but this would consume most of the DCPS budget that needs to go for things like toilet paper. If we were to approve, according to Martha, this would be off budget. What about the technology set aside? Karissa.Couldspend out of the $40,000 (use for new and replacement). Gretchen: remiss in not trying to get DCPS to get this. PC: $56K in line item for purchases, which covers everything.. TP, etc… it would take from other needs. Martha: IPads are not one of the things that will be provided by DCPS once there is a renovation. Does PCP grant have a software component, yes but it is for software for helping kids needing help with math. Martha, authorize $13,500 and try to get things cheaper. Can we get tablets… as long it supports STMAth and other DCPA supported programs? Possibly, but want to maintain consistency. Nice for the kids to have the same devices. Make a motion, but with a time limit for research. Ask Regina to see if it worth it for maintenance. Motion from Martha: move to authorize up to $14500 from the technology fund to purchase 30 ipads and a cart to be used by the lower grades. Second: from Joanna. Unanimously approved.
- Elmos for new staff –Martha; all class rooms have a document camera. A new type of projector that allows teachers to put objects under and then everything is projected on the screen. Most class rooms have these, but we have added 4 classrooms and two resource classrooms, and there may be a broken elmo. This is a piece of technology that will not be replaced in the renovation. They will put in smart board, and that is it. In process of surveying classrooms to ensure they are being used and they are wanted. Proposing to purchase 7 new elmos. Elmos come fully packaged, projector, cart, base. $1350 per unit. Total of $9450. Need training on the device. What about screens? They can also project against the whiteboard. Another technology fund. Would eat up the entire teacher grant. What about the technology set aside fund? Intended for costs like this. Teacher grants is next Monday Sept 14. If this is going through teacher grant, Ms Garfinkle needs to alert everyone. Motion: Gretchen moves to authorize up to $9500 for new elmos specifically geared toward new teachers, and other replacements such that there are units in every class room, with the caveat that they will first do the inventory to ensure that elmos are needed. Will spend the balance of the teacher grant on the elmos and use the tech fund for the rest of the need funds. Unanimously approved.
- Formation of new committees –Martha:We are currently not using some committees that are noted in the bylaws. There are two committees, in particular that she would like to revisit…
- Service: Get students and parents active in providing service in the community. Possibly partnering with other schools or civic group. Maggie coordinated service projects last year that were very successful. Explore the possibilities further.
- Grants: Reach out for grants for staff and the school as a whole, and even for the HSA. We have done this in the past. Some have been used for the garden, curricular development. However, there is a lack of knowledge and time to go after more grants. Find people in our much community to help with this, and have a base of knowledge. Gretchen: how would committees work with the board? Need to flesh this out. Interested in getting feedback. If people who are interested, and have comments, interested in helping,reach out HSAMurch@murch.org.
- Film Screening–Gretchen; great to have so many participants and hope people keep coming. Murch parent, Gene Snyder, has produced a film on the music culture of DC. He is offering to do a Screening fundraiser for the HSA with the film. Not sure if it would include children. Our responsibility would be to promote. Probably charge $5-10 for the tickets. He is not intending to make money himself. Is this ways and means? Jennifer. Any concerns?
Calendar Preview (Not for discussion)
- Murch Movie Night -September 19
- Fall Fair -October 25
- 5K race – October 19
- Book Fair – December 24
- 2015 Auction – March 21
Updates (Not for discussion)
- Our enrollment is currently at 626
- Our Support Our Schools Chairs are Ari Zentner and Charles Franklin. The campaign will begin at the end of the month.
- Movie Night–Any board members that are going to movie night, please stop by the popcorn table at some point to see if you can help.
- Maggie Adjourn at 8:30