Jamestown PTO Meeting Minutes

September 10, 2008


In attendance: Lisa Tuttle, Sue Fay, Christine Moffet, Lisa Kerr, Kelly Easton, Michael Ruben, Jill Ball, Sheryl Atwood, Susan Parris, Carol Velivlis, Karen Rafanelli, Wendy Rafferty, Katie Lowell, Carrie Melucci, Lizzie Congdon, Robin Tregenza

Principal's Report:

Carrie reports that at the end of June, 8 reps from our school system attended a Model Schools Conference and were trained in an educational framework called “Rigor, Relevance, and Relationships.” The principals have conducted trainings on this with the faculty and are rolling it out to organizations that work with the school, such as the PTO, the SITs, and SELAC. There is a one-hour DVD that Carrie would like the PTO to view.

Carrie is looking for a PTO member to volunteer to be a liaison to the School Improvement Team at Melrose . The liaison would attend the monthly Melrose SIT meetings, the first of which is on 9/18 at 3:30pm.

Radio station 98.1 CAT Country will be at Melrose on 9/11 to conduct recordings in each grade, to be played on the radio station next week.

A speaker from the PTO is needed at the two Open Houses (9/17-Lawn; 9/24-Melrose). Karen will speak at the Melrose Open House. Speaker at Lawn TBD.

Help is needed on school picture day, 9/19 . Contact Carrie to volunteer.

Carrie has arranged for a police officer to attend lunch at Melrose once each week for the purpose of interacting with the students.

Carrie and Kathy Almanzor have written up a condensed crisis/emergency plan for both schools and have distributed it to the faculty. They are working on improving communication within the building so that any necessary emergency protocols will be conducted with utmost safety and efficiency. Lockdown drills will be conducted this year. Classroom teachers and Carrie will discuss these drills with the students beforehand.

Carrie plans to use the new Connect-Ed communication system weekly to send parents the link to the online version of the Warrior. She will also use the system for other important event reminders throughout the year.

Robin reported on a couple of issues that Kathy raised: 1) we will create a year-long PTO event calendar near the beginning of the school year, in order to minimize classroom disruptions by making sure that everyone is aware of when events are scheduled, and that not too many events occur in too short of a time span; and 2) the business office requires teachers to use district funds before tapping into their PTO allotments to allow for easier accounting at the end of the year and to be sure that all district funds are being spent.


Treasurer's Report:

Christine reports $12,500 in checking and $8400 in savings, for a total of $20,900.

Christine's goals for this school year include: insuring the PTO through a program offered by PTO magazine; claiming 501(c)(3) status, which is required by many grant agencies; and clarifying the PTO's tax-exempt status, as there is uncertainty re: how it was set up and whom we are listed under.


Teen Center Coordinator:

We will extend an invitation to Debbie Tungett, new Teen Center Coordinator, to attend PTO meetings. She has replaced Melissa Minto, who left to pursue graduate school.

The Teen Center is organizing monthly evening talks. The first will feature a speaker from the RI Crime Lab and will be held on 9/25 at 5pm. Per Lisa Casey, the October presentation will be on the children of Uganda (“Invisible Children”).


Volunteer Coordinator:

Lisa K. reports that this year's Volunteer Fair will be held on 9/22 at 9am in the Melrose Multipurpose Room. All Board members are strongly encouraged to attend. About 20 people attended last year's fair, and we are hoping for a larger turnout this time. Lisa K. will list the event in the Warrior to publicize it to parents. The fair will include a light breakfast and raffles. If you can help with set-up, bring breakfast items, or donate prizes for the raffles, please contact Lisa K.

Lisa K. is collecting room parent volunteer forms. She encourages anyone who would like to become involved to complete and return their form ASAP.


Cultural Arts & Enrichment:

Lizzie reports that the following programs are already scheduled:

* 9/23 Boston Museum of Science (grades 1 & 2 at 10am; grades 5 & 6 at 1pm)

* 9/25 Boston Museum of Science (grades 3 & 4 at 10am; grades 7 & 8 at 1pm)

* 9/25 Lawrence Washington from Sulgrave Manor, time TBD (5 th grade, possibly 4 th ). He wears period dress and does a short presentation on the life and times of the Tudors.

* 10/29 Shakespeare-ience (grades 5-8)

She proposes these programs as possibilities:

* Skip Gorman: songs and stories from the West and prairie (for Melrose , all grades)

* RI Philharmonic: several programs available, including Intro to Jazz

* Len Cabral: African-American/Carribean/African storyteller, can do 4 shows for $1350. We decided to book him for January/February to tie into MLK day/Black History month.

* Internships from Trinity Rep: e.g. a capella singing, mask making. Agreed to check availability for Thursday, 2/12 and tie into Scholastic Book Fair as an evening family event during the fair.

* Newport Film Festival: JEF would like to partner with the PTO on taking Lawn students to see film(s) during the festival. This might work as an after-school trip, depending on the film schedule, and this way would not interrupt the school day.

Lizzie reports that the total for all of these programs would be about $12,000, with about $3000 available in grant money, including the RI Foundation grant through JEF.



The golf tournament, held in June, was a success. Specific figures will be presented at the October meeting.

Meadowbrook Farms: this fundraiser begins on 9/22 and ends on 10/13. There will be a kick-off pep talk at both schools during lunch on 9/23 & 9/24. After this fundraiser is completed, we will better be able to better determine the budget for teacher allotments and cultural arts programming. Robin is chairing this, but she is looking for help. Please contact her to volunteer .

Membership Drive: Sue reports that we have received 63 membership forms to date, with $1300 collected so far. Nineteen blankets have been purchased. Robin and Sue are finalizing a vendor for the blankets. Sue will put a Membership Drive reminder in the Warrior each week in September.

2 nd Annual Harvest Celebration at Escobar's Farm: This event will be held on 10/24 from 3:30pm until dusk. Sheryl has made informational posters for display at the schools and around town, and announcements will be going home in backpacks this week. Tickets are $5 each, and children under 5 are free. Half of the ticket proceeds go to Escobar's and half to the PTO. Last year, the event netted $400. The primary goal is to hold a fun family outing. There will be food and drink, an arts and crafts table, games, and possibly facepainting. We will inform Debbie from the Teen Center so that teens can attend and/or volunteer to help. Volunteers are needed for this event; contact Sheryl .

The March events featuring Jack Hanna (daytime program with students followed by nighttime adult event) are still uncertain. If he comes, we will defer the 2009 golf tournament to September. If he does not come, we will hold the tournament in June. Robin should receive confirmation one way or another by the October meeting.

Molasses Square Dancing night: Robin is envisioning this as a town event at the Community Center. She spoke with a member of JEF, and they may be interested in partnering. This would involve a workshop at one or both schools during the day and the Community Center event that night. This is a possibility for the end of February/early March.


New Business:

School directory forms are being distributed in backpacks today/tomorrow and are due this Friday, 9/12. There will once again be a cover art contest.

Open House will be held on 9/17 at Lawn and on 9/24 at Melrose . Karen will staff the PTO table at the Melrose event; Wendy will do so at Lawn.

Teacher allotments will not be distributed until November 1 st or later, to allow time after the Meadowbrook fundraiser to determine the allotment budget. The teachers are aware of this.

Movie nights will continue this year. We will try to have one in October. Robin is looking for volunteers to help with movie nights .

Possible Health & Wellness event at RI Rock Gym: This after-school outing for grades 5-8 would combine climbing and bouldering with team-building/problem-solving games. Approximately 40 children could attend. Robin is looking to schedule this in November. The cost would be $18-20 per student. If the outing is successful, a trip could be planned for the younger grades. Lisa K. suggested contacting the Middletown YMCA to inquire about programs related to their new outdoor climbing structure. Robin will look into this; Middletown would be preferable to Lincoln .

Scholastic Book Fairs: Lisa T. reports that the book fair has been scheduled for 2/9-2/13 and will run for the full school week. The theme is “Lights, Camera: Reading Makes You a Star,” which will tie into a performance from Trinity rep that we will try to hold as an evening event on the Thursday (2/12) of the fair. The book fair will be the same week as Spirit Week, so we can also tie those two events together. Lisa T. is running the fair at Melrose , and Bev Rudman is doing so at Lawn. There will also be a Buy One Get One Scholastic Book Fair in early May.

PTO Café: It was decided not to continue this December event, as it is a lot of work and nets very little income.

SCRIP sale: Bev Rudman will run this gift card sale again this year. The PTO gets a portion of the proceeds from each card sold.

Young Shoppers' Club: Karen will organize this event, which will take place during school hours on 12/4 and 12/5. Students will have the opportunity to purchase low-cost holiday gifts for family and friends. Depending on which room we use, we may have a holiday Movie Night in conjunction with this.

PTO web site: Lisa K. is working with Samira to update the web site. This is not an easy task, and she would like to consolidate updates as much as possible. She will be adding a tab on the web site for teacher fund request forms, so that teachers can print them as needed. Send any web site additions or edits to Lisa K. by e-mail.

Ice Cream Social: Julie Bailey reported by e-mail that the ice cream social was a big success. Over 160 people attended, including approximately 20 military/War College families as well as reps from the school administration and the town council.

Chris Poulos, a motivational speaker and BMX biking champion, does a one hour presentation on bullying, self-esteem, self-respect, etc. Robin requested that we approve one presentation at each school, both on 11/14, at a cost of $1400. The request was approved.


The next meeting will be on Weds, October 8 th , at 6:30pm at Lawn Ave.

Meeting adjourned at 4:30pm.

Lisa Tuttle, PTO Secretary