PTA MEETING SEPTEMBER 20, 2010
PTA President Alison Bowers began the meeting by welcoming everybody to the first PTA meeting of the school year.
About 40 parents/guardians attended. Alison made the following announcements regarding certain events and
fundraisers. More information will be distributed as the events get closer. All funds raised provide support for special
arts and culture-related programs such the operas, dance/drama/theatre, architecture classes, and chess. In addition,
teachers are given mini grants to buy supplies for their classes. 1) Lunch Leaders for the kindergarteners are needed,
Monday through Fridays from 10:40 till 11:10. The children need help opening their food packages and containers.
Contact Marissa Murray (email@example.com) and Sasha Hynes (firstname.lastname@example.org) to volunteer. 2)
Marianne Itak and Rachel Aylwood are this year’s Class Parent Liaisons. They coordinate all efforts between the class
parents and PTA. Class parents are responsible for things like organizing the raffle baskets for the Winterfest, collecting
contributions for staff gifts, and developing an art project to be auctioned off for Arts Day. Class 4-1 is in need of a class
parent. Contact Marianne at email@example.com to volunteer. 3) The School-wide sale, a PTA fundraiser,
will begin in October. Keep an eye out for the catalog. 4) The 4th grade takes an annual trip to Philadelphia during the
spring. In order to make the trip affordable for all families, much fundraising is done. The 4th grade chairs of
fundraising are Felicia Eve (firstname.lastname@example.org), Ruthanne Gersten (email@example.com) and Resa
Matthews (firstname.lastname@example.org). 5) Yvette Agas-Bautz (email@example.com) is the chair of 5th grade fundraising
for graduation. 6) Lice Inspection Day: this occurs several times per year, in order to assure our school minimal
infection. The first inspection day is on Thursday, October 14. Gail Kirshenbaum (firstname.lastname@example.org), Vicky
Cernos (email@example.com), and Jennifer Brilliant (Jennifer@jenniferbrilliant.com) are chairing this effort but
volunteers are needed. 7) Book Fair occurs twice per year. It is kicked off with a Friday night celebration which includes
a readings, author signings, and food. Join us on November 5! To volunteer, contact Aviva Shapiro
(firstname.lastname@example.org) and Alison Bowers (Alisonheninbowers@hotmail.com). 8) Show your school pride!
Buy a tee, hoodie or water bottle sporting our new Children’s School apparel. All products are in the Family Center.
Thank you to Paula Beer Levine for designing the logo and chairing the sales. 9) Arts Day will be in the spring. This is
a day in which children can go from station to station trying different medias as they create art and costumes, listen to
performances, and have yummy snacks. There is also an art auction with beautiful pieces from professional artists.
Volunteers and donations will be needed. Contact Joanne Amitrano (email@example.com) for more
information. 10) Staff Appreciation Day occurs in June. It is a chance to honor our teachers, school administrators, and
support staff for all their hard work. Elke Lehrman (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the chair of this event. 11) Pizza Friday:
this is our biggest fundraiser, lasting approximately 28 weeks, and chaired by Peter Itak and Ellen Simpao. We need
LOTS of volunteers to help serve the pizza. Contact Peter at (email@example.com). 11) The Valentine’s Day Dance is
chaired by Sandra Schmitt (firstname.lastname@example.org). 12) Grant Writing is done by Nira Kaplan
(email@example.com). Please contact her if you know of any grants (e.g. arts, special education, etc.). 13) Games
Night was on September 24 and chaired by Resa Matthews. Thank you, Resa, for organizing our first community
building and fundraising effort of the year. It was a very, very fun night.
Principal’s Report: Artie Mattia expressed enthusiasm for the upcoming school year. He was excited to see returning
and new students and their families and felt that the school year has had a good start. He spoke on the following issues:
1) Curriculum meetings should be taking place in every class. This is a chance to meet your child’s teachers and hear
about the courses, class routines, etc. 2) The first Friday of every month offers a chance for families in grades K thru 4th
(5th graders have math at 8:30 and cannot participate in this) to come to the classroom, from drop off until 8:50, and to
either read or play math games with the children. October 1st begins with Families as Reading Partners, while November
hosts Families as Math Partners. 3) The 5th grade New York State Social Studies test that is normally given in November
has been cancelled due to lack of state funding. 4) LUNCH FORMS for school lunch and milk were distributed a few
weeks ago and MUST be completed by every family, whether or not you qualify for school lunch. For families who only
have children in District 15 or District 75, only one form needs to be completed. If you have children in both districts, a
form for each district must be completed. The Department of Education (DOE) requires this form from every family so
that they can determine the school lunch price. Those who do not complete the form will be assumed to be able to pay
the full fee. Ms. Lenora (firstname.lastname@example.org) sends out a bill every week. Starting this year, if families do not pay their
bill, the DOE will charge the school. Last year, we had $2200 in unpaid bills, which were forgiven. This year, the DOE
will go after us for the money, so please pay your bill. 5) Arrivals and Dismissals: for those not yet into the groove, it is
important for every child to be at school by 8:20. Coming late disrupts the class and begins the day with a harried tone.
Dismissal is at 3:10. Children who are not picked up will line up in the cafeteria to wait. 6) If there is a change in the
dismissal routine (e.g. for a play date), a note MUST be sent in writing to the teachers. Please make sure the note is in
your child’s folder, is easily seen, and entitled “Dismissal Plans”. You can try to email teachers, but be aware that they
often do not check e-mail because they are busy teaching. If you need to fax a note, the fax number is 718-522-1879,
attn: Roxanna Velandria, Maura O’Grady, Artie, or Cathy Sarno. They will get the fax to the teacher. If there is a
question about dismissal, staff will try to contact the parent/guardian, but if they can’t, they will err on the side of caution
and keep the child at school, unless they are an “everyday bus” child. In that case we will place the child on the bus if we
have no letter or correspondence. 7) Artie introduced staff including Cathy Sarno, Assistant Principal (Rosa Amato is
the other Assistant Principal and is mostly at the Autism Spectrum Disorder site at MS 113) and teachers Gina Vasquez
(K-3), Karen Ranney (1-2 and 1st grade Science and Math AIS), Beth DiMarco (1-3), Steve Quester (2-2), Rose
Murphy and Lauren Rudic (2-3). To contact any staff at the school, use the first initial and last name @ps372.org (e.g.
for Artie, it would be email@example.com). 8) The weekly Spanish class for the 5th grade has been discontinued because
Ms. Claudia, the Spanish teacher, has left the school. Second language classes are not mandatory, as per the DOE. Ms
Claudia was part of the collaborative teaching team (CTT) that taught art and was fluent in Spanish, which is why our
students benefitted. Even if another CTT with a fluency in Spanish could be found, Artie would be unable to hire the
teacher because our budget couldn’t support that line. For now, he will try to offer Spanish in either studios (for the 4th
and 5th grade, to begin in October), as a lunch club (4th and 5th grade), or as an after school Add-On. 9) The scaffolding
is coming down soon! After one and a half years, the work on the building is complete. The DOE only has to clear the
windows and air conditioners and send inspectors. As soon as this is done, the scaffolding will come down. 10) Our
school is receiving a grant for a playground, thanks to Marty Markowitz, the Brooklyn Borough President! We will
have a planning committee (first meeting is on Thursday, October 14) which will include Artie, Mr. C (gym teacher), Mr.
Randazzo (school custodian), parents, and student reps to decide on the equipment and design.
Parent Coordinator: Roxanna Velandria discussed the following: 1) She reiterated the need to have lunch forms
completed. 2) The school publishes a directory with the contact information of all students and their families. If your
information is the same as last year’s, there is no need to send in a form. If you have new information or if you do not
want your information published, you must send in a form. 3) Picture Day is on Wednesday, November 3rd. Volunteers
will be needed for that and for Picture Retake day (date tba), which is when those who do not like their pictures or want
a picture with siblings
United Federation of Teachers Report: Steve Quester (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the United Federation of Teachers
(UFT) Chapter Leader and a 2nd grade teacher. He has been the union rep for the teachers, paras and related service
providers of PS 372 since November 2001. The UFT and PS372 administration enjoy a good relationship. In fact,
Steve and Artie were given a Partnership Award by the union. Steve thanked the PTA for the support they have always
given the teachers and staff. The following issues were discussed: 1) In general, the outlook for New York City public
schools has not been great because of impending budget cuts and policy changes. The UFT has been working on four
big projects: a) Dial A Teacher, 212-777-3380, which provides homework assistance for children K to high school,
from 4-7 pm Monday to Thursday when school is in session. The service is staffed by teachers who speak 8 languages
and have every text book used by the students. Children are encouraged to call if they have homework questions. b)
The UFT is working with parent and disability rights organizations to stop New York State’s cuts to special education.
Please go to UFT.org for information. c) The UFT joined with state and city officials and various parent organizations
to form a Save Our Schools coalition to address the 2010 testing score crisis. See nyccej.org for details. d) The UFT
is endorsing Eric Schneiderman for Attorney General. They have not endorsed Andrew Cuomo for governor at this
time, because of strong policy differences between the Cuomo campaign and the labor movement. 2) The “One Nation
Working Together” march will be on Saturday, October 2 in Washington, DC. This is a movement in which lots of
organizations, such as the National Education Association, American Federation of Teachers, Moveon.org, Brooklyn
for Peace, etc. will be present. The purpose of this march is to preserve public education, access to healthcare, and
national unity. See onenationworkingtogether.org for details. 3) The UFT contract expired on October 31, 2009 and a
new contract has yet to be negotiated. New York City teachers last saw a salary increase on May 19, 2008–before the
economic collapse. Teachers are not allowed to strike because they are part of a public union. The relationship between
the city and the UFT has not been amicable. The Public Employees Relations Board will be going forward with a Fact-
Finding Panel and Report on the contract impasse between the City and the UFT.
Alison concluded the meeting by announcing the new Inclusions website, created by Kelly Anderson and Dawn
McEvoy (thank you!!!). In the past, Inclusions was printed there times per year, but now the magazine is on line at
Inclusions.org, where it will be updated regularly with articles and announcements of current events. We need writers
to submit articles and someone who is willing to curate the art work for the site. Our website, PS372.org is still live so
check out both sites!
Please note: NO ONE is allowed to park or stop on 1st Street in front of the recreation building to drop off or pick up their kids, even if it is only for a minute. That area is for our buses only. Buses run on a tight schedule and leaving kids in their path presents a big safety risk.
Submitted by Ellen Simpao, Co-Recording Secretary