PTA Meeting Minutes August 26, 2019

Welcome

  • Four Important to-do’s:
    • Meet someone new
    • Complete membership forms by Sept. 6th
    • Volunteer to help
    • Subscribe to the online calendar

Treasurer’s Report

  • Rebecca discussed sources of revenue:
    • Bash – this is our biggest fundraiser
    • Carnival – last year was our biggest year. We raised $2500; after expenses, we made a profit of around $800.
    • Hearts for Harrison – This is a direct giving campaign through the Omaha Schools Foundation. Last year, we raised $1500 without even campaigning. We would like to raise more this year. People can donate online (and earmark donations for specific projects/classrooms). We hope that Harrison families will encourage other family members to donate as well.
    • TAGG
    • Penny Wars – this is a competition between classrooms that takes place closer to the middle of the school year
  • Rebecca shared some of the ways PTA money is spent.
    • Events
    • Citizenship Student Awards
    • Assemblies
    • Disney Musical
    • 6th Grade Celebration
    • Star Grants
    • Teacher reimbursement
    • Field trips
    • Outdoor classroom

Important Dates

Sept. 2ndNo School in recognition of Labor Day

Sept 16th – Open House (5:30-6:30). This is different from the district-scheduled time of 6:00-8:00. Children are welcome. There will be pizza and bottled water available for purchase.

Sept. 20thNo School. Teachers will be attending Curriculum Day

Sept. 21st – Bocce Ball event at Turner Park

Sept 23rdNo School. This is a Teacher Plan/Prep Day

Sept 24th – School Picture Day. This could possible change as Scholastic double-booked us. Look for more information about picture day as the end of the month approaches.

Principal’s Report

  • Dr. Haynes shared that the Harrison newsletter will be shared via Smore this year. This allows the school to save paper and provides easier access to digital documents. The school does have a Plan B for those families who don’t have access to online content, but most families do have at least Smartphone access.
  • There will be no soccer this year due to lack of a coach. Basketball will begin in late fall.
  • Attendance will be a major focus this year. Dr. Logan wants schools to drill down on attendance. Harrison is monitoring attendance closely, and Dr. Haynes will be sending out emails to families whenever there is concern regarding attendance. Poor attendance causes children to miss important instruction or assessment.
  • August 30th is early dismissal. Kids club is open.
  • Sept. 20th and 23rd are set aside for professional development for teachers.
  • Harrison’s Bocce Ball event at Turner Park will be on Sept. 21st. This event raises money for the school’s Disney musical. This is the first year that we’ve had to pay for a musical license (it was funded by a grant for the past four years), and we still need to raise a few thousand dollars. The Bocce Ball competition typically raises about $1500.

New Business

  • New T-shirts are available. The order form was sent home in the membership packet. We are also offering online ordering this year. All orders are due by Sept. 6th. Nicole Brown designed the shirts and is in charge of sales. If you have already ordered and need to change your order for any reason (different size, color, etc), send an email to the PTA and the information will be forwarded to Nicole.
  • PTA doesn’t compensate the teenagers who babysit our children during member meetings. We will have an envelope available at each meeting for those who would like to make a voluntary donation to our babysitters. We are also looking for materials (puzzles, games, art supplies) that our babysitters can use. Please email the PTA if you have supplies you would like to donate.

Four Ways You Can Engage

  1. PTA Committees
  2. Star Grant: PTA allots $2400 to spend on Star Grants. These applications are due at the end of September. The committee refers to a rubric during the decision-making process. Committee members can work on scoring from home. Ideally, both parents and teachers (who did not submit a grant) would be on the committee. Last year’s grants were all funded. Some previous examples of grants that were funded are Brain Pop and Secret Kindness Agents.
  3. Room Parents: This committee is co-chaired by Charlotte Shafer and Molly Colling. Molly will be taking over for Charlotte after this year.  Room parents coordinate the classroom Halloween party, Valentine’s Day party, and create/facilitate donations for the classroom baskets for Bash. Charlotte hopes to get at least two parents for each classroom, although more than two are certainly welcome! Each volunteer must submit a volunteer application (found on the OPS website). This should be done soon as it can take a few weeks to clear.
  • Bash: Our biggest fundraiser is scheduled for Nov. 22nd. Ruth Farrington and Nicole Brown have headed this committee for several years, but are ready to begin the transition to new leadership. There are many components to planning the Bash: choosing a theme,  hiring a DJ, organizing a big dance party, games in the hallway, and craft activities, and soliciting donations for the silent auction. Silent auction Items can include experiences such as a yoga night, house parties, a Happy Hour event, or a movie night.
  • Outdoor Classroom: Angela Smith heads this committee. This committee is responsible for helping maintain the outdoor classroom. The Cub Scouts landscape it twice a year, but it needs more regular maintenance.
  • Staff Appreciation: Jennifer Woolf chairs this committee. Projects are ongoing throughout the year. This committee provides a meal for staff at fall and spring P/T conferences, and a staff appreciation luncheon in the spring. It also provides holiday gifts and birthday gifts for staff once a month.
  • Science and Art Fair: Rebecca is chairing this committee. The fair is scheduled for April to coincide with the final PTA meeting. The art component was introduced three years ago, and has been a big success! The science project is a 5th-grade requirement and will be graded. Students are allowed to work with a partner. Last year, the format was changed from an awarded competition to an event with feedback. Community members were recruited to be judges and provided constructive feedback to the participants.
  • Carnival: This event takes place in May. Responsibilities included: choosing and organizing games (including the famous dunk tank!), securing food trucks, and securing/assigning volunteers.
  • 6th Grade Celebration: This committee is typically headed by a 6th grade parent. The parents and teachers plan this event together. The bus picks up students from Harrison on the final day of school and takes them to the event.
  • Classroom Support: Dr. Haynes answered some questions about ways to provide classroom support.
  • What do I do if I want to have lunch with my child?
    • Don’t come on Quiet Friday! On this day, students win prizes for good manners and quietness at lunch
    • Check the lunch schedule on the Harrison website to make sure you come at the right time
    • Do not bring in outside food. This is a district policy because we serve government subsidized lunches
    • Fill out an online volunteer form. The link is in the newsletter and on the district website. You must fill out a new volunteer form every calendar year.
  • What do I do if I want to volunteer in the classroom?
    • Fill out a volunteer form. There are different levels of clearance depending on the type of volunteering you wish to do. For example, helping laminate items for a teacher is level one, but reading to kids is level three.
    • Touch base with your child’s teacher at an appropriate time (not during dismissal or arrival, please) to discuss ways in which you can help them. An email is often best as if gives teachers time to think before responding.
    • Be aware that teachers may want you on a schedule. Consistency is what creates support for our students.
  • How can I support my child’s teacher other than volunteering?
    • Keep an eye out for DonorsChoose grants or other crowdfunding sources that teachers may be using, and spread the news to family members.
    • Donate to the Omaha Schools Foundation and earmark your donation for a specific classroom/teacher.
  • Financial Support for the School: Reference the “5 Easy Ways to Help Harrison” handout which includes things like Hearts for Harrison, Bash, HyVee receipts, and BoxTops (these can now be scanned online)
  • Time and Talent: Consider your talents (design, fundraising, organizing, etc) and how those talents could contribute to the Harrison community. Could you create/facilitate a club? Currently, Robotics is the only after school club available at Harrison.