PTA Meeting Minutes of 9/20/12

Meeting called to order at 6:20 PM by Lucia Burns and Denise Gottwald (co-PTA Presidents for the school year 2012-2013).

Lucia and Denise introduced themselves to the parents in attendance. Lucia told the parents that she has two sons in the school (one in K and one in 3rd grade). Denise told the parents that she has two children in the school (a son in K and a daughter in 3rd grade).

Lucia and Denise informed everyone that they were going to try to have some PTA meetings in the morning right after drop-off and some in the evenings to accommodate everyone’s schedules. Pizza and childcare would be provided at all evening meetings. An informal vote was taken to see what the preference was: morning versus evening meetings. The result indicated that it was pretty much 50/50.

Lucia and Denise went on to introduce other members of the PTA Executive Board. In attendance were: Nicole Krieger, Treasurer and webmaster; Alison Bowers, President for the past 3 years and will now hold the position of Vice President; Dawn McAvoy, Member at Large and Co-Chair of the Pizza Friday committee; Peter Itak, Co-Chair of the Pizza Friday committee; Marianne Macias-Itak, Co-Class Parent Liaison.

Lucia and Denise then introduced Abby Gomez and July Taylor, Co-Chairs of the Equal Exchange fundraiser. Lucia and Denise briefly described this fundraiser by stating that various items would be sold to raise funds for the school (i.e., Fair trade coffee, mugs, chocolate, jewelry, wrapping paper, cheeses just to name a few).

Lucia and Denise then introduced Roxanna Velandria, Parent Coordinator. Roxanna spoke and stated that she was always available to answer any questions or address any concerns that parents might have. Roxanna’s email address is Roxanna said that if there are problems, parents should try to speak to their child’s teacher to get the issue resolved. If the issue isn’t resolved in a satisfactory manner, then by all means, she would intervene as necessary.

Lucia and Denise stated that the new UFT representative, Mr. Michael O’Neill, was not in attendance as he was ill.

Lucia and Denise then introduced Mr. Artie, Principal.

Mr. Artie welcomed all new and returning families to the meeting and to the new school year. He expressed that he was excited for the coming year. He informed everyone that the new schoolyard had been completed over the summer and new windows were installed in the gym as well. He said that a new lease for The Children’s School had also been signed for a 20-year term.

He told everyone that there was a very strong community in our school: teachers, parents, staff and children.

Mr. Artie reminded everyone that if there was a particular issue or concern with their child, they should contact the teachers first to discuss and if the problem wasn’t resolved, then speak to Roxanna as necessary. Mr. Artie stated that if necessary, he could also be contacted.

Mr. Artie told everyone that the Assistant Principals of the school were Cathy Sarno and Rosa Amato. Both were not in attendance.

Mr. Artie told everyone that if there were any problems with bus transportation, they could contact Ms. Maura O’Grady. Mr. Artie told everyone that she had a cubicle in the cafeteria for her office. Ms. Maura was not in attendance.

Mr. Artie told everyone that if their child was going to be late or absent from school, they should contact Ms. Dhalma De Jesus. Mr. Artie told parents that they should send in a note to Ms. Dhalma explaining their child’s absence with a gentle reminder that parents should keep a copy of these notes for their own records. Mr. Artie told everyone that she had a cubicle in the cafeteria for her office. Ms. Dhalma was not in attendance.

Mr. Artie told everyone that they were in the process of continuing interviews to fill the position of General Ed Counselor. He told everyone that 7 or 8 people were interviewed and there are 2 people still being considered as finalists.

Mr. Artie told everyone that there was also an open position in the OT department. They are in the process of interviewing for this position but have to follow the strict guidelines of the DOE for filling this position.

Mr. Artie introduced the new IEP Coordinator Lisa Quinones. He said that her office was located in Room 101. Lisa was not in attendance.

Mr. Artie introduced Ann Dolan, School Psychologist. He said that her office was located on the ground floor in the Rec Building. Ms. Dolan was not in attendance.

Mr. Artie told everyone that Holly Bowers was the Literacy Coach and her office was located in Room 101.

Mr. Artie told everyone that ToniAnn was his new secretary.

Mr. Artie gave an update regarding the expansion of The Children’s School. For those parents unaware of the expansion, he told everyone that DOE had approved the expansion of The Children’s School to Grade 8. To date, no additional space had been found to accommodate the expansion. He informed everyone that he was having a meeting next week (week of September 23rd) with the Portfolio Committee. The Portfolio team is in charge of finding space for the expansion of the school. We’re all keeping our fingers crossed for some good news regarding the expansion.

Lucia and Denise thanked Artie for his time and the meeting continued.

Lucia and Denise briefly talked about the various fundraisers in the school. Lucia said that the first one would be the Lice Check. She said that each child is checked 3 times per year and the cost if $15 total per child. She said that if a family wasn’t able to pay for their child, arrangements could be made to fund that child/children. Lucia stated that Sophie Staub and Vicky Cernos were in charge of this team and would be making an announcement soon with regards to the exact dates that the Lice check would take place. They are hoping to set up something for the first week in October.

Lucia told everyone that she would be chairing the Fall Book Fair fundraiser. Lucia stated that she is looking for volunteers to help out. Monday, 11/5, would be the setup day for the fair, probably in the afternoon. The book fair would be open to students in the school on Wednesday, 11/7, and Thursday, 11/8. Lucia explained that interested students usually bring $5 or $10 to school to purchase books that they are interested in. Friday, 11/9, is the last day of the Book Fair and volunteers are needed to help with the clean up. Friday is also an opportunity for children to pick up books and pay for them in case books were put on the side on 11/7 or 11/8. Parents are also invited to attend the book fair either during their child’s class time or on Friday morning.

Lucia told everyone that Nicole was working on something new for the school this year. There would be an on-line calendar for volunteers. Details would be provided as to when this is set up and ready to go.

Denise told everyone that the PTA meeting to be held on 11/9 would have a guest speaker. The speaker would be Rachel Malinowitzer, M.Ed and she will address anxiety and anger issues for children and parents.

Denise then introduced the co-Chairs of the Pizza Friday Committee, Dawn McAvoy and Peter Itak. Peter spoke to the parents and told them that this was the biggest fundraiser for the school, netting over $30,000 last year. He explained how the fundraiser works and that they are looking for volunteers to help out. There are two sessions: the first one starts 10/12 and runs to the end of January and the second one will start at the end of January and run to the week before Memorial Day. There are two shifts that parents can volunteer for (grades K-2 lunch periods from 10:30 AM to 12:00 PM and grades 3-5 lunch periods from 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM). He explained that the cost per session is $65 if your child wants one slice of pizza and $115 if you child wants two slices of pizza. Forms would be coming soon in the childrens’ backpacks and there would also be a signup available on In closing, Peter said that it really is a good time and fun for the parents that volunteer. It’s also a great way to get involved in the school. The kids love it too! And the parents are happy – no lunch to prepare on Friday! He also said that if there are families who cannot afford the cost, there are funds available to help out those families.

Marianne Macias-Itak, Co-Class Parent Liaison, then spoke. She introduced herself and also told everyone that he co-chair, Rachel Aylward was unable to attend tonight’s meeting. Marianne briefly informed the parents that there are class parents in each class in each grade and urged parents to sign up if they haven’t already. It’s a great way to be involved with your child’s class and the school. Marianne said that there are 2 really big events that the Class Parents are involved with. The first is the Winter Festival and the second is the Arts Day project, as well as collecting money from the families in each class for the holiday gifts for the teachers, therapists, and administration of the school as well as the end-of-year gifts for all. Marianne said that the first meeting of all class parents would be held Tuesday, 10/2, at 8:30AM, after drop off, in the senior room in the Rec building.

Next, Lucia and Denise stated that if any parents are interested in seeing a copy of the PTA budget, they could obtain a copy in the PTA office. They also said that Nicole would be putting together a pie chart explaining the funds collected from the school community and how those funds are allocated.

Nicole said that there were Facebook and Twitter pages and would be sending out an email with information on signing up on them. She also reminded parents to check for regular updates.

In closing, Lucia and Denise again welcomed and thanked all who were in attendance and said that if anyone has an ideas for the school, to please email them to them at

Denise announced that the next PTA meetings are scheduled as follows: Thursday, 10/18 at 8:30 AM, Friday, 11/9 at 8:30 AM, and Wednesday, 12/19 at 8:30 AM (in conjunction with the Winter Festival).

Lucia and Denise said that PTA dues appeal letter would be discussed at the next PTA meeting.

Meeting adjourned at 7:15PM.