1. Principal Artie

* 250 people attended the school’s open house for prospective Children’s School families last week. There will be a second open house on Tuesday, March 1.

* On Wednesday, March 2, insideschools.org is scheduled to visit to update their assessment of the school. They say we are one of the most sought-after District 15 schools.

* Report cards will be sent home on Monday, March 14; parent-teacher conferences will be held on Tuesday, March 15.

* Artie has submitted a capital spending request to the DoE for such improvements as electrical work, bleachers in the gym and a retractable door in the gym so that we can divide the room as necessary.

* The idea of our expanding into a middle school is still under discussion.

* No news yet about how the new round of budget cuts will affect us.

2. PTA president Alison Bowers

* We’ve decided not to do a grown-ups-only event in March, as had been discussed. There seems to be “appeal fatigue” among our families, as well as organizer fatigue among our volunteers.

* We do expect to meet our financial goals for the year.

* We need articles/student artwork/classroom updates for the Inclusions website. Please send anything you have to Kelly Anderson at kellyjmanderson@gmail.com. She hopes to be able to update the website daily.

* Arts Day is coming up on Saturday, March 26. We need art donations! Artists, please contribute your own pieces. Everyone, please ask any arty people you know to do the same.

* The new PTA mission statement is now up on the website. It clarifies the function and goals of the PTA.

* The spring book fair (coming in May) will have a different format from the last one. There will be no opening Friday night party, but the fair will run during the week for three days instead of two, with extended hours — hopefully till 6pm each night.

3. Rita Lindsey, autism coach at the ASD site

* Teachers at the ASD site are working to teach kids how to play, thereby fostering relationships with both peers and adults.

* They are doing what’s called natural environmental teaching, using “eclectic” methods — many different complementary strategies, each with its own advantages and shortcomings.

* There are different rooms for different activities, and kids have to learn to express what they want to do and request the rooms they want.

4. Joann Amitrano, Arts Day chair

* We are open to ideas of how to improve Arts Day and to suggestions for activity stations.

* We need volunteers to man (or woman) activity stations during the event. Contact Joann at amitranojewelry@gmail.com.

5. Guest speakers Gayle Kirshenbaum and Donna Schneiderman

(The speakers gave a brief overview but will save their full presentation until the next PTA meeting, as this one was very sparsely attended.)

* They and others are working to get a domestic workers’ bill of rights signed into state law. This would benefit such workers as nannies, home health aides and house cleaners, who now lack legal protections.

* Domestic and farm workers are explicitly excluded from the national labor laws passed under President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

* Other states are considering similar legislation, and the adoption of national protections is also possible down the road.

* Gayle and Donna would love suggestions of how to spread the word about this issue. You may contact them at gkirshenbaum@yahoo.com or donna.schneiderman@verizon.net.

6. Mary Beth Carroll, UFT representative, Reading Specialist

* Mayor Bloomberg is taking an antiunion stance and trying to pit unions (teachers, firefighters, police, etc.) against each other.

* The UFT will fight to prevent any layoffs, citing, among other things, the fact that class size in NYC public schools is as big as it’s been since the 1970s.

* The mayor is pushing for more charter schools, but such schools cannot meet all needs.

* The UFT does not expect to be able to negotiate a new contract until there is a new mayor in office.

Note: The next PTA meeting will be held Friday, March 25, at 8:30am in the cafeteria. Please come!

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