PTA Meeting Minutes of January 16th, 2013

PTA Welcome and Announcements

Denise Gottwald: Announces the new signs that have been posted for the Valentine’s Day Dance. It will be held on Saturday, Feb 9 from 5:30 to 9 pm. The theme is wigs and hats.

First round of Pizza Friday will be through Feb 1. It was extended one week secondary to Hurricane Sandy. Second round will be from Feb 8 through May 17.

Budgetary documents will be discussed next PTA meeting.

Roxanna Velandria announces picture retake day is tomorrow, Thurs. Jan 17. There is an opportunity for sibling photos. The picture retake is free if you were unsatisfied with the first set.

Science Day was a success.

Joanne Amitrano reports Arts Day will be held on Saturday, March 16. More info coming soon! A talent show will be the new event added to the day. Children’s School T-shirts will be awarded to the winners.

5th graders will be selling food, wine and beer.


UFT Chapter Leader, Michael O’Neil reports the UFT is working on a contract. They have been without a contract for 3 years. They are still working on criteria for teacher evaluations. There is no definitive answer. The NYC public schools can lose $250 Million in state school aide if no agreement is made by the January 17th deadline. He encourages parents to call 311 to ask Mayor Bloomberg to commit to an evaluation system that supports quality teaching. UPDATE: An agreement could not be reached !

Mr. Artie: New water fountains installed in the cafeteria.

Mr. Artie is disappointed to inform the parent body that the middle school expansion is stalled and will not be moving forward. Despite being approved, we have been told the NYC DOE no longer supports the expansion because it would be a combination of District 15 and District 75 as Children’s School is now. We are the only school with this type of make-up. The DOE wants us to be under one DBN (district, borough, number) only ie: D 15 in order to expand.

The expansion process began in April of 2011. They secured a building but the DOE stopped it from moving forward. Mr. Artie reports the DOE feels if the middle school remains a combination of D15 and D75 the students would be moving from a less restrictive to a more restrictive environment. He has been emailing and calling but has not received a response. The DOE has not been fair. If there are further questions, parents can contact the Expansion Committee: Angela Ferrante, Janine DiLorenzo and Nicole Krieger –

Safety protocol:

In light of the tragedy in Newton, Conn, Mr. Artie reports there are safety policies and procedures that were already in effect. One of the major safety hazards that puts OUR CHILDREN AND THE SCHOOL STAFF AT RISK IS USING THE INCORRECT DOORS TO ENTER AND LEAVE THE BUILDING. The side doors on Denton Street should not be used until 3 PM. All parents must use the front entrance to enter and leave the building. These are the doors by Artie’s office where there is a security guard present.

Mr. Artie would like to preserve our school’s culture where parents are welcome for celebrations and volunteering. We don’t want to lose the open community that exists at Children’s School, however, this may have to change if rules cannot be followed. In other schools, parents cannot even walk their children to the classroom.

WE MAY NOT USE THE DOORS BY THE PTA OFFICE TO ENTER OR EXIT THE BUILDING. Mr.Artie and others have been seeing parents stepping over and ignoring the newly placed stop signs to exit. The children and staff are of utmost importance therefore these rules must be followed. If you see someone using the side doors on Denton St. or Whitwell, please say something and direct them to the front door of the school.

The school safety committee meets every month. There is a Building Response Team (BRT) comprised of teachers and staff. Pre-K through 1st grade and grades 2-5 are doing a string of lessons on school safety. They are teaching these procedures in a child friendly manner to bring awareness to the school. Safety issues are being addressed on an ongoing basis. If children do need to evacuate, they will go to our sister schools, PS 32 on Hoyt and Union and PS 321 on 7th Ave.

The BRT (Building Response Team) will meet on January 25th. They will do a walk through and address concerns. We asked them to visit because PS 372 has 2 buildings. Some members of our school safety team are Barbara, Maura, Toni Ann, Annette, Holly, Artie and Cathy. The protocols are available for parents to see.

There are new bins in the cafeteria. These bins hold red class folders which travel from place to place with each class. The red folders contain each child’s blue information cards, which include medical alerts ie: asthma, allergies. There are also cards in each folder, which are displayed during fire drills. Each card has a green side, a red side and a medical alert side with white crosses.

The green side of the card indicates all the children are present in a group; the red side indicates there is a child absent from a group ie: if they are out receiving services, using the bathroom. The service providers (speech therapy, occupational therapy) have to sign each child in and out in the red book. If the child is out with a service provider, the child will remain with that service provider throughout the fire drill. If a child is in the bathroom, they will go to the nearest classroom and remain with that class for the duration of the drill.

The medical alert side of the card indicates there is a child with immediate medical needs (ie:asthma) in the group.

The red folders remain with the class throughout the day. It does not get taken on class trips. The folder remains in the cafeteria at lunch so if there is a drill, the cafeteria staff can take the red folders with them. There is also a bin in each classroom that holds the red folders. They are located in the same areas in each classroom for the most part. There is also a key to the classroom stored in the bin, which does not leave the classroom.

The dance, music room and gym have bins as well. Related services do not have a bin.

Fire Drills are a way to practice using an exit in case of a fire inside our school. They want to evacuate safely. There will be strobe lights flashing if there is an emergency. There will be announcements over the PA system with directions. The drills must be performed despite the activities that are taking place within the classroom.

During an evacuation: Stop talking, line up and listen for directions from a teacher or BRT. The classes and staff have assigned locations outside the building. The BRT have radios to communicate with one another. They wear bright orange vests and hold up stop signs for traffic. Traffic is not to move until the drill is over.


Shelter In
Directive that tells us there is a problem outside the building and we need to stay inside ie: stray dog or dangerous weather. There will be an announcement over the PA. “Attention, there is a Shelter In. Secure exit doors.” During this time, children can travel from room to room and class remains in session. There is however, no traveling from building to building. During this time, no one is allowed to enter or exit the building until the Shelter In directive has been announced that it has ended.

There is a problem inside the building and there is a need to go to a safe place.

Hard Lockdown:
-go to the corner of a locked classroom
-go inside a locked bathroom
-go inside a locked office
The classroom key will be used to lock the door.

The BRT is NOT allowed to roam the building during a Hard Lockdown. Everyone locks their doors and 911 is alerted.

The BRT has been practicing drills with the children. The BRT keeps the drill child friendly and makes it a game so as not to frighten them. The game is ‘4 corners’.” Who can move to the corners fastest without touching each other’s bodies?”

If a parent or family member is volunteering in the school or cafeteria they should follow prompts from the staff to a safe area. ie: kitchen in cafeteria.

There will be a letter from the BOE on policies and procedures going home to parents regarding these drills. It will also be posted on the inclusions website.

Soft Lockdown
There will be an announcement that there is an intruder in the building. The classroom doors will be locked. The BRT will sweep the building and do a walk through.

The school is working on a PA system to extend to every classroom. This is funded by the DOE. Currently there is a PA system in both buildings and the cafeteria only. There are however, phones in every classroom.

Parent question: Are school safety guards armed? Answer: No, they only have handcuffs.

Artie has been meeting with school safety guards regularly to reinforce the protocol. When a visitor or parent enters the building during the school day, they need a visitor pass.

Our school safety guards are our first line of defense. They are not allowed to use their cell phones or headphones when on duty.

Parent suggestion: To have a volunteer stay by the side doors in the beginning and intermittently throughout the school year to inform parents they cannot exit or enter through the side doors. Another suggestion is to create a new family welcome packet, which discusses the safety rules.

Parent suggestion: To have class parents reach out to classrooms as we all need to be on board regarding the appropriate exits.

Marina, our art teacher will be creating signs to help guide the parents out to the front door.

Joanne Amitrano announced there will be major infrastructure changes occurring in the neighborhood. There has been a flooding issue that needs to be addressed. Beginning in July 2013, there will be limited parking on Carroll St, Denton and 3rd Ave secondary to construction.

The PTA meeting was adjourned at 8:15 PM.