Month: February 2018

January 29th Meeting Minutes

Opening & Welcome: Nicole Brown

Reading of Thank You Notes: Katherine Fischer

Approval of October 2017  Minutes

  • Angela Smith moved to approve , Sarah Wynn second, all in favor unanimously.

Principal’s Report (Dr. Haynes) 

  • We’re busy at Harrison, which is a great thing! We are so fortunate to have so much going on for our kids to be involved in. Ross Cotton is coaching boys basketball as a volunteer, we have Disney going on. We have robotics, and we won the honor award at the St. Margaret Mary tournament just recently.
  • New 6th grade ambassadors will be announced tomorrow
  • Midwest Tai Kwan Do is a great partnership we recently began. Master Todd is donating all $800 back to the school that he raised through registration costs.
  • Waypoint Reading Club: We have a partnership with Waypoint Church, for which we’re very grateful. Offering tutoring/mentoring every Tuesday over the lunch hour. There are about 20 individuals who come over the lunch hour and volunteer to read to and mentor our refugee kids. This is a great school initiative in partnership with Waypoint Church. If you know of anyone who would like to volunteer and do this, that would be awesome. We have two volunteers who need to step down for unforeseen reasons, so we’ll be in need of someone to fill those spots. The time is somewhere between 11:30-12:30 every Tuesday.
  • Progress Reports going home Friday.
  • Successful Kindergarten roundup. Had about 22 families which was a good turnout.
  • Next Week is School Counseling Week. I encourage you to reach out and thank Mrs. Herzog for a great first year!
  • Tomorrow newsletter goes out
  • Cecil Hicks: question: have you seen a spike in flu cases?
    • Dr. Haynes: we haven’t had a high enough amount to send out a CDC. Had a few cases of A & B. Snow days helped keep it from spreading (we deep cleaned during those days). Still working hard at having good sanitary practices. We have all the kids use hand sanitizer before they eat.
    • Mrs. Lenz: We’ve been using Lysol on everything, spraying tables every day.
    • Dr. Haynes: Clorox wipes are great! Teachers always really appreciate receiving more of those!
  • Staff in attendance: Mrs. Lenz, Mrs. Y (BSP room), Ms. Johnson (resource special ed), Mrs. Anding (Speech and language pathologist), Ms. Goodrich (4th Grade), Mrs. Herzog (new guidance counselor)

Old Business

  • BASH recap – $6864.13 net profit
    • Nicole: Big thank you for coming out and supporting BASH, and for being patient as we figured out accurate numbers. Last 2 years: we netted ~$4500, and ~$5000, respectively. So this year was a significant increase. Thank you so much to everyone who helped that effort!
    • This year we tried an online auction, with success. Huge thanks to Matt Wynn who helped navigate that! It was designed to reach a different audience so we’re not all recycling our own money.
  • Ladies’ Day Out – Ruth Farrington
    • Jan 13 Saturday at Pranam Yoga Shala, we spent an afternoon in a yoga class and eating and mingling afterward. They donated their space and an instructor. We collected 27 new or gently used coats for the coat closet (bringing a coat was the entrance fee for the afternoon). It was a success and I think we’ll try to do it again next year.
  • Robotics Update – Frank Luceri
    • We’re in the middle of our season, doing really well. We’ve had 2 tournaments. At both, one of our teams won the honor award.
    • Our own tournament at Harrison is coming up on Saturday, Feb 17 and we’re looking for volunteers. These are really fun. They’re like a swim meet: a lot of waiting around and then lots of excitement, and then more waiting around. We’re looking forward to it and we could use all the volunteer help we can get.
    • Nicole: We’re really lucky that at Harrison we have parent volunteers because we’re not using our sponsor money, so that can be reinvested in the program.
    • Dr. Haynes: only started this 5 years ago and we’re a force to be contended with!
  • Teacher / Staff Appreciation – Jennifer Woolf
    • Bought umbrellas for all classrooms and in the office for dismissal. 5’ wide golf umbrellas that hopefully helps teachers at dismissal on those rainy days.
    • Holiday gift: microwave popcorn and a movie code
    • So far we’ve spent about half our budget with fall conferences, umbrellas, holiday gifts.
    • Spring Conference lunch: March 8. We’ll send out an email with an online sign up for donated food.
    • Teacher/Staff Appreciation Lunch on Friday, May 11. Hopefully Flagship Commons will be our food; Nicole has a connection there. If that doesn’t work we’ll find something really awesome.
    • Leaves a little extra money so I emailed Dr. Haynes for some ideas. We’ll do something around state testing time. Goodies in the lounge or something.
    • Nicole: Thank you so much, Jennifer!
    • Birthdays: We gift a little drink and snack for each teacher/staff member on their birthday
    • Nicole: If you’re looking for an easy fun way to volunteer that’s a great way. You can do it on your own time, it’s already organized and it’s an easy fun way to get involved.
  • Yearbook (Nicole Brown)
    • Annie Johnson, who is running with our yearbook, couldn’t be here
    • Any teachers / staff, please send us your photos.
    • Dr. Haynes: I sent about 50 to Annie.
    • Annie won’t be able to be here on Valentine’s Day, so if you’re a room parent or are just planning to be here on that day, please take photos and send them to her.
    • Our deadline for submitting is beginning of March, so please send any photos off to her right away.
    • We don’t have any candid photos so far of sports or activities, so if you have those we’d really appreciate them.
    • And tell Annie thank you! It’s a big job and she’s done it cheerfully.
    • Her email is in the printed newsletter. The first info you’ll see about yearbook will be in the newsletter.

Treasurer’s Report (Lex Morrison)

  • We wanted to have a conversation about where we are in the budget
  • Checking balance – $13,226
  • Year to date outlook
    • Additional revenue – $2,283.00
      • Soliciting corporate donations
      • Bump in TAGG: we’ve made ~$300 this year through that.
        • Nicole: this is not our own money, the store donates their money, so it’s a great way to get others’ money
    • Expense savings  – $786.13
      • BASH committee did an amazing job of keeping their expenses very low and were very mindful and it helped a ton.
    • Budgeted revenue –  $5,085.00
    • Budgeted expenses – $12,823.00
      • The way it works is we tend to raise all the money throughout the year and then spend it all at the end
    • Year to year difference in starting balance – [-$1,917.00]
    • No giant cause for alarm. We’re not going to not pay for anything we budgeted for this year.
    • Kristin Rasmussen: question: Any Amazon Smile revenue?
      • Nicole: very small percentage, we made half percent. We plug TAGG more because of the much higher percentage donated to us.
    • We have copies of the budget if anyone would like them.
    • Nicole: What we can do is either look to create a smaller budget for next year, do the hard look at where we’re going to cut back, or work really hard to raise that money (almost $2,000). Last year when we decided to cancel golf, we came up with a plan…Solicited about 20-30 businesses for corporate sponsorships, and it’s gotten us about $850. I’m a little disappointed in that, honestly. But I can’t spend more time analyzing why that is, we need to focus our efforts somewhere else that will generate the money we need.
      • TAGG idea: what if each classroom or grade level had a competition to have the parents submit receipts. I see it in the newsletter, but I wonder how many parents actually download the app. Even for non-PTA members, they might be convinced by the kids when they have an incentive.
        • Nicole: TAGG has a classroom challenge. What you suggested is a different twist on it, and I like it.
        • Lisa Vignolo: we could include a flyer with most common/popular businesses.
        • Nicole: great idea. I think it won’t make up $2,000, but I think the more we increase that participation and effort is awesome.
        • Sarah Wynn: isn’t there a way to ask businesses that don’t participate to join TAGG?
        • Nicole: Yes, absolutely. One of the largest TAGGS was from someone’s dry cleaning bill. The more places the better. Please try to get them on board if there are places you frequent that aren’t participating yet.
      • Mrs. Lenz: What happened to family dinner nights?
        • Deb Heimes: they kind of fizzled out. Don & Millie’s were easy to work with, and also Peffer’s, etc. We made about $75 per night.
      • Scavenger Hunt idea: do a picnic with it also.
      • Lex: Trivia Night. Adults only.
      • Game Night with $5 cover. Spielbound does that.
      • Deb Heimes: Carnival. Not usually a fundraiser, but is there something we could add onto that as fundraiser? Annie take a photo of each kid and then try to sell them to parents? Or some kind of auction?
        • Nicole: We are looking at upping food truck prices and collecting the margin, talked about doing a raffle, and also eliminating Fun Services (they do all setup, games, prizes, etc.). It makes it easy for us, but it costs us profit. It’s hard to get volunteers during the day, though, because it starts at 5:30. So having Fun Services is helpful.
        • Deb: Yes, canceling Fun Services would make it really labor intensive
      • Angela Smith: Question about Budgeted Revenue: Does expected revenue include what we expect from the Robotics Tournament?
        • Lex: does include what we expect from team fees, but not what we might expect from concession profits.
        • Deb Heimes: when we ran the snack bar a year ago, we made around $450-$500.
        • Nicole: awesome! that’s my hope! This year a parent is underwriting the kitchen fee so we can use the kitchen. Lori will come and supervise. Approved list of people who can go in the kitchen. The kitchen fee pays Lori and Joe (custodian) to be here. Baked goods is on the list for parents to donate.
        • Dr. Haynes: things served out of the kitchen has to be under Lori, but bake sale items have to be at a separate table since kitchen won’t “claim” those items.
      • Angela Smith: What about a direct campaign?
        • Nicole: We have looked at doing a direct campaign, that’s would be a really good option.
      • Nicole: We need to leave here tonight with a plan, and we need people who would be willing to help with whatever plan we feel good about.
      • Angela: I would vote for direct campaign. All these ideas have been great, and I don’t want to shoot any of them down, but planning and executing is difficult in this amount of time. As someone with a lot of experience in the non-profit world and with these fundraisers, I think a direct campaign seems the best option. And it could be even if families could give $5, so that it doesn’t exclude anyone.
        • Nicole: Open to any minimum amount. Very cognizant that we are a very diverse population of families, and we’d love for as many families to be involved at whatever level they feel good about.
      • Mimi: Are we a registered nonprofit? Have you thought about Omaha Gives?
        • Nicole: Yes, we are a 501(c)3. We explored it, but it’s at the end of our year. It happens in May which is an almost impossible month for us, and it can’t help us for this current year.
        • Angela: historically PTAs don’t raise a lot of money from it, but we could definitely try it.
      • Nicole: We really need support on this direct campaign to share on social networks, make connections, find alumni, etc.
      • Opinion Poll: Overwhelming majority (unanimous) for direct campaign. Nicole: that’s the course of action we’ll take.

New Business

  • Hearts for Harrison Direct Campaign
    • We had one taker on the online auction for BASH, but that may have been because there were so many great options for goodies to purchase. We will create an online campaign: bigger push with a wider audience. We’ve checked with John Mitchell and he says we can do that. We have a Paypal account. We’d do it toward the end of February. We need to get it done then so we have that number in mind before we approve the budget for next year. We need to know how much to count on so we can create the right plan for next year.
    • Sarah Wynn: what if there were some sort of incentive, like kids of Harrison sending out a thank you, something cute that draws donations?
      • Nicole: the kids tonight are actually coloring thank you posters for our corporate sponsors. But because this is a social media campaign, it will have to be electronic.
      • Dr. Haynes: Because other schools do this, we don’t have to reinvent the wheel. We can research and learn from their successes and failures to get the most benefit.
      • Mrs. Anding: Student Council (3rd -6th grade) could help out with that or do thank you’s.
  • New thoughts & ideas for next year / Budget committee (Nicole Brown)
    • we’ll continue to brainstorm for next year.
      • Lex: I like the spielbound thing, attracts different group.
    • We really need to hear from you with ideas; how to engage new parents. We do sometimes get stuck in a rut.
    • We also really need people to sit on a budget committee (non board members). We as a board usually craft the budget, and we’d love to have more individuals involved, more eyes looking at everything. Possibly coming up with one or two plans. Please let us know if you’d be willing to be a part of that.
  • Science + Art Fair – need volunteers (Nicole Brown)
    • It will be held in conjunction with April 2nd PTA meeting.
    • Great success last year.
    • Info going out maybe as soon as this Friday. If that happens, it gives 5.5 weeks to do a science project, 5 weeks to do an art project. Spring Break is in the midst of that.
    • We have a committee, but need new volunteers. It’s super fun to be a part of and interact with kids.
  • Board member recruitment / VP and Secretary positions open (Nicole Brown)
    • If you’re interested, we do need you. We’ve talked to Dr. Haynes and we’d love to have a staff member, so please consider that. It would be wonderful to have your perspective.

Upcoming Events

February

14th – Valentine’s Day Class Parties / 2nd grade – 1:30 / Kindergarten – 3:00 / All others – 2:45

Email for room parents went out today. Double check times if you’re planning on attending.

17th – Harrison Elementary Robotics Tournament

19th – No School / Presidents’ Day

March

8th – Spring Parent Teacher Conference Meal / No School / Parent Teacher Conferences

9th – 16th – No School / Spring Break

26th – 30th – Support Staff Appreciation Week

Stock the Closet

  • Girls elastic waist pants size 4/5/6
  • Classrooms: tissues, hand sanitizer, post it notes, clorox wipes, notebooks
  • Nicole: There’s a recycle bin in the hallway, or you can just send items in backpacks.

Program – Guidance / Danielle Herzog, Harrison Elementary

Next Meeting  |  Monday, April 2 in conjunction with Science + Art Fair

The PTA schedules but does NOT pay our teen chaperones. Thanks for compensating them!

Attendees:

  • Lisa Vignolo
  • Annie Anding
  • Angela Smith
  • Megan Johnson
  • Sarah Wynn
  • Axis Sawyer
  • Mimi Boswell
  • Scott Gillispie
  • Alice Goodwin
  • Ruth Farrington
  • Danielle Herzog
  • Jennifer Woolf
  • Kristin Rasmussen
  • Emily Winterwood
  • Callen Goodrich
  • Minden Yuskevich
  • Lisa Lenz
  • Andrea Haynes
  • Nicole Brown
  • Lex Morrison
  • Katherine Fischer

Robotics tournament – Tiger style

    

HARRISON ROBOTICS TOURNAMENT  |   February 17

Harrison Elementary has a strong presence in the ‘elementary school robotics circuit’ and this year we are hosting our very own tournament. Come join us and cheer on our robotics teams that day! The event will be held at Harrison and the bulk of the activity can be enjoyed between 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. that day with concessions available for breakfast and lunch.

If you’ve never been to a tournament, now might be the time to check it out, especially if you have a kiddo you think might be interested in participating next year (4-6 graders are eligible to apply). The energy and enthusiasm of this collaborative environment is amazing to see.

Willing to help us out? Sign up to volunteer that day or donate food for concessions ahead of time. Proceeds go towards funding things like Star Grants, Teacher Funds, field trips, class parties, dancing classrooms. . .and the list goes on and on!

Please join the board in congratulating our hard working students and thanking our dedicated group of parents who coach our 5 teams. They have been practicing each week since late fall and spend many hours preparing for these tournaments.