Author: Katherine Fischer

April 2 Meeting Minutes

Opening Meeting: Nicole Brown, PTA President

Approval of January 2018 Minutes

  • Matt Wynn moves to approve, we have a second. All in favor unanimously approve the minutes.

Year In Review (Nicole Brown)

  • This year has gone fast and slow all at the same time. We’d like to say thank you for all the help and participation that everyone has provided.
    • Stand up if you…
      • are a room parent or served on a committee
      • are a teacher or staff member
      • donated any item or good or money for anything during the year
      • volunteered for an event
      • attended a PTA meeting
    • Also a big thank you to Dr. Haynes and the office staff: we meet every month for over an hour, sometimes over 2 hours, and she graciously gives us her time and her ear.
      • Office staff help us with so much like making copies, etc.
    • Whether you think it’s big or small, we are so appreciative of everyone’s efforts and support of the PTA throughout this year.

Principal’s Report (Dr. Haynes)

  • State testing: this month we kick off testing for grades 3-6. You got a letter with your child’s state testing times. If not, email me or come see me and we’ll get that clarified. Good news: there is only 1 session for each content area this year. If you’d like to come chat about state testing, I’m always happy to talk with parents about questions and concerns.
  • We’ll be halfway through 4th quarter in 9 days, so you’ll be getting progress reports home soon.
  • National walk out day planned in response to school shootings on Friday, April 20th. We as elementary staff don’t plan on having conversations with the students unless it comes up in genuine meaningful conversations. If any of your kids walk out, we’ll notify you, and then after 20 minutes they’ll go back to class. As long as they stay on property and stay safe and respectful, we absolutely respect their right to be heard and to demonstrate their voice.
    • If you have any questions about safety or security here, I sent out an email recently, and I’d also be happy to talk with you.
  • Calendar: April & May are full!
    • Robotics: So proud of all our teams! They have worked so hard and did amazing at the regional tournament. On Apr. 5 our teams will be participating in the national tournament at the MidAmerica Center during the day.
    • Monday, April 9 we have 5th grade dancing classrooms.
    • On April 13, there is no school for a teacher planning day. It’s a districtwide day.
    • Disney: We’re so excited. I got to watch rehearsal this past Thursday, and it’s amazing! Our kids are the most talented in the city. We’re so thankful to Mr. Stuthman, Mrs. Rivedal, Ms. Prieksat, Ms. Goodrich and Mrs. Herzog. Please join us that night even if your student isn’t in the musical! (Dates and times are listed below).
  • Introducing staff in attendance: Mrs. Quackenbush, Mrs. Portis, Ms. Behrens, Ms. Brodkey & Ms. Birkemeier.

Treasurer’s Report (Lex Morrison)

  • Status of Accounts
    • Things are continuing to go along well. We’ve kept expenses low, so thank you to all of you on committees and helping with events who’ve been mindful of our budgets.
    • We do have some big outflows of cash still coming in the year, like Carnival.
    • We had a few parents volunteer to help us talk about the budget for next year. At our last meeting we asked for volunteers to help look at the budget and come up with a plan for next year, and we did have some parents respond and help do that, so thank you! It’s just good to broaden the look at the budget outside the four of us board members; It’s so great to have other input on these things.
  • 2018/2019 Budget Approval
    • We came up with a proposed budget for the next year. It’s slightly less than our budget last year, but because we’re getting better at watching expenses, we were still able to provide funds for some of the things that we feel are important.
    • Nicole: At our last meeting, we discussed whether we needed to do a “Hearts for Harrison” direct campaign. Shortly after that conversation, we ran a concessions stand at our Robotics tournament. Thankfully, because all of the food was donated, we were able to raise a significant amount on that day. Considering that, we decided as a board that it wouldn’t be in the best interest for us to do a direct campaign this year. It’s not necessary for this year, but we are putting it in the plan for next year.
    • Lex: the Robotics tournament was a smashing success. We ran on time, which those of you who attend robotics will know is amazing in and of itself, and we also made money, which was awesome.
    • Angela Smith motions we approve the proposed budget, Matt Wynn & Ruth Farrington both second the motion. All unanimously approve the budget.

New Business 

  • Outdoor Classroom maintenance schedule
    • Angela Smith: We have a little cleanup to do from last fall. We’re coordinating a date with our cub scout group for that. We’ll remulch everywhere. It would be great to get some PTA volunteers to help Cub Scouts with that, and maybe to split some perennials to get everything looking nice. Throughout the summer we’ll have week-long “watches” to make sure we keep an eye on things, that everything is in good condition, and water as needed. We’d love your help with that, so be on the lookout for an email to sign up.
    • Nicole: It’s right out the gym doors, so if you’re not a Kindergarten parent and don’t see it regularly, go take a look because it’s really a cool project that we’re proud of.
  • 2018-19 Board Nominations & Elections
    • Molly Colling (current PTA Vice President): The PTA truly is a collective impact, and it’s all of us working together. This year, we’ve asked a lot of people, been working hard to find candidates, but we’re not bringing forward a full slate of candidates. We have individuals who’ve expressed interest, but have no firm commitments. There is an opening for Secretary and Vice President. If you have any interest and want to have coffee or want to ask questions, please ask us. If you know of someone who might be a good fit, please let us know. Our work is for the benefit of all Harrison kids and families, so if you have any interest or leads, please contact us.
      • The board is recommending Lex Morrison for treasurer and myself, Molly Colling, for President.
      • Jennifer Woolf moves to accept, Ruth Farrington seconds. Unanimously approve those nominations.
    • Nicole: As scary as it can sound to not have a nomination, we do want to find the right person/people who can really make the commitment the role needs.
  • Clothing Closet
    • Ms. Boden helps us manage our clothing closet. It’s a place where we can donate new or gently used items for any kids in need. We always update the needs on our website under “stock the closet.”
      • Right now there is a huge need for girls tennis shoes, sizes 13-2.

Upcoming Events (Nicole Brown)

  • Disney Musical
    • All School Matinee Thursday, April 19 2:00 pm
    • Performances Friday, April 20 5:30/7:00 pm
      • We are considering doing pizza in between performances, depending on if we have enough interest. Be watching for communication about that.
    • Need volunteers to work Bake Sale and also for Bake Sale donations. We would so appreciate your support that night if you’re able to help.
  • Carnival
    • One of our big fundraisers of the year, and also a really fun community event
    • Friday, May 11, 2018; 5:30pm-7:30pm. We’ve worked with Dr. Haynes to make sure that we can bring it inside if the weather is ugly. So it will happen rain or shine!
    • Look for Sign Up and Pre-Order Coming Soon!
    • We’re having a mtg tonight so if you’re interested in helping with that, please stay after to chat.
    • Invite your neighbors. We really want to invite our community—this is a really fun event and a great opportunity to get more people involved. A lot of families around here have “pre-Tigers,” and we want to encourage them to come be a part and start the relationship with our school community now. If you’re willing to pass out flyers to your neighbors, please let me know and we’ll get you flyers. It’s a great, easy way to volunteer.
    • 6th Grade Celebration – May 25
      • Small committee in the works, but no one as yet to head up that committee, so I’m looking for someone who’s interested in taking the lead with that.
    • Lex is now going to get the kids, and so we’re going to let the kids get filtered in so they can be a part of the rest of our programming.
  • Harrison Elementary PTA Wiese Citizenship Award Presentation
    • (Molly Colling:) Jennie King, a Harrison alum who received this award “just a few years ago,” is going to present this year’s award to our recipient.
      • Jennie: I was the 2nd recipient of this award, so it’s quite an honor to be here to present it.
      • For many years, the PTA has honored a 6th grade student with a scholarship on behalf of Daniel Wiese, a former Harrison Elementary student who attended Harrison from 1975 through 1982. During Dan’s 6th grade year, he was diagnosed with leukemia. In 1982, Dan underwent a bone marrow transplant, which was first of such procedures involving a child in the State of Nebraska. Dan went on to attend Lewis and Clark Jr High School and graduated with his class at Central High School in 1988. Dan’s desire to help others with leukemia was a driving force in the formation of a support group at Clarkson Hospital for families involved with bone marrow transplants. Sadly, Dan passed away in the spring of 1989 from complications related to his illness. His determination to be successful and his positive attitude toward life are an inspiration to all who knew him. In 2016, the PTA membership voted to discontinue the scholarship and create a new award to honor students who exhibit exemplary citizenship qualities while still honoring the memory and legacy of Daniel Wiese.  6th grade students are nominated by their teachers and scored against a rubric of criteria inclusive of their efforts in the areas of work ethic, behavior, academic achievement, interpersonal skills and the 6 pillars of citizenship: honesty, compassion, respect, responsibility, courage and inclusivity.It is with great pride that this year that we honor Amy Fischer with The Harrison Elementary PTA Wiese Citizenship Award. Amy, will you and your family please join us up here at the front?Amy, on behalf of the Harrison Elementary PTA, we honor you for your dedication to honesty, compassion, respect, responsibility, courage and inclusivity and present you with this award. Please join me in congratulating these students and her family for their achievements. Amy, congratulations.  
  • Science and Art Fair winners (Lex Morrison)
    • Science, K-3:
      • 3rd: Liam Cowherd Richardson
      • 2nd: Claire Wynn
      • 1st: Oliver Sewthaisong
    • Science, 4-6:
      • 3rd: TIE between Ella Shafer & Tessa Priesman and Nell Farrington
      • 2nd: Sophia Acosta
      • 1st: Ruth Gardner
    • Art K-3
      • 3rd: Amos Vignolo
      • 2nd: TIE Violet Little and Karen Vignolo
      • 1st place: Claire Wynn
    • Art 4-6
      • 3rd: TIE: June Little and Hugh Lowe-Weyand
      • 2nd: Paw Eh
      • 1st: Norah Hicks & Claire Shafer
    • Nicole Brown: Big thank you to parents’ efforts. We’ll open up the science and art fair now.


  • Science + Art Fair
  • All projects, except 5th grade Science projects, should go home tonight!


13th – No School / Teacher Work Day

19th – Disney Musical Performance / All School Matinee 2:00 pm

20th – Disney Musical Performance / Performance – 5:30 / 7:30


4th – No School

7th – 11th – Teacher Appreciation Week

11th – Carnival – rain or shine, will move inside if needed

25th – 6th Grade Celebration / Last Day of School


Allison Birkemeier

Sherry Brodkey

Scott Gillispie

Seth & Ruth Farrington

Anjenette Justice

Sarah Wynn

Matt Wynn

Joel Fischer

Susan Beeghly

Kelly & Ben Little

Apirat & Seiko Lattison

Angela Smith

Rachel & Tak Yamamoto

Megan Campbell

Rebecca Firestone & Ohng Sewthaisong

Katie Coughran

Leo Acosta

Phillip Caylon

Alice Goodwin

Brian Priesman

T.J Shafer

Richard Young

Marion & Steve Priesman

Emily & Zach Winterwood

James & Kelly MacMillan

Beth Behrens

Jennifer & Vincent Woolf

Trish Mitchell

Deb Heimes

Wynetta & Keith Jones

Theresa Portis

Dan & Annie Johnson

Ben & Katherine Fischer

Anthony & Meredith Gardner

Hassan Bakhit

Jennie King

Bill & Molly Colling

Nicole Brown & Cecil Hicks

Lex Morrison

Andrea Haynes


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


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


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!


  • 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

October 9th Meeting Minutes


Stock the Closet: Ms. Boden

  • Clothing closet needs: halloween costumes, backpacks, winter coats sizes 6-12, gloves and mittens, girls shoes sizes 12, 1, 2, 4, 5, 6 and 7 / boys shoes sizes 1, 2, 5, 6 and 7
    • elastic waist pants, tennis shoes
    • This month we’ll be outfitting over 60 kids for trick or trunk, so we need lots of costumes! We usually send them home with kids to use for trick or treat in the evening, so we don’t get many of them back. That’s why we have a continuing need every year.
    • You can send costumes to school with your child, either to the office or the ESL classroom
    • Easy slip on costumes are best
    • If you find some on sale after this season, we can stock for next year
    • Our needs are always posted at the bottom of the PTA website
  • Classrooms: tissues, hand sanitizer, post it notes, clorox wipes, notebooks

Approval of April 2017 / August 2017 Minutes

  • Jennifer Woolf move to approve April 2017 minutes—passed
  • Angela Smith move to approve August 2017 minutes—passed

Treasurer’s Report: Lex Morrison

  • Status of Accounts / Fundraising update
    • As of Aug 24th, our budget is 8,824.08
    • Penny Wars went incredibly well
    • Because of Penny Wars, we have about $581 more in revenue than we had anticipated for the year
    • We’ve also had more donations this year
    • Nicole: we usually would hope to raise $4,000 from golf, so now we’re down to needing an extra $3,500 instead of $4,000

Principal’s Report

  • Great turnout and results from the Bocce Tournament. We raised over $2,000 for Disney. Disney licenses range from $3,000-$10,000. Omaha Performing Arts gives us the money to buy the license this year, but provides no extra money. So we need funds to cover staff sponsors, set, costumes, etc.
  • Today was our rescheduled horses at school event
  • Intramurals are gearing up
  • All clubs are gearing up: Disney, ambassadors, robotics, etc.
  • We are so fortunate at Harrison to have all these extra opportunities for our kids
  • We are focusing as a staff on Gallup strengths this year. Mrs. Herzog did a strength’s tree in the foyer, and will be doing some strengths work with the kids.
  • Oct 23-27: Drug Free Red Ribbon Week
  • Conferences are a little different this year : all conferences will be held on Thursday. We’re trying this out this year, and we’ll get feedback for staff and parents to see how it worked. When you sign up for conferences in the fall, the same conference time is assigned to you in the spring. If you’d like to change that you can contact Mrs. Davies.
  • Introduce staff member present: Mrs. Barber, Mr. Stuthman, Mrs. Warak, Mrs. Barsness, Ms. Owen, Ms. Barnes

Assessments Overview: Dr. Haynes

  • We test a lot, and regardless of how we feel, the district has set expectations for every school across the district, so we take the same amount as every other elementary school in OPS.
  • MAP: new this year, and is our biggest assessment. Every student at Harrison takes it.
    • Adaptive assessment. Not assessing proficiency, it’s telling us where they lie in each skill set. It’s a continuum test from K-12, and allows you to pinpoint where a child is. It actually informs instruction. It’s an Formative assessment, which means it is used to help us know what they know along the way so we can adapt teaching to that. Summative assessments are used to give a summary of what a child knows. Teachers and educators like formative over summative, because we can use these to adapt instruction to fit the needs of the child. All students K-6 take reading & math. Intermediate students take science also.
    • Primary grades: first time they’re taking these assessments on computers
    • One unexpected challenge: Our network is having a hard time dealing with all the online testing, so the kids are getting kicked off while they’re testing. When they get kicked off they have to log out and log back in, which can be frustrating. Mrs. Spurgeon is diligently complaining to TAC to get bandwidth added to our building to rectify this problem. You as parents can also email me and I can pass along your feedback to the district. Reports of this happening is everywhere, and it appears to be a district wide issue.
    • State tests: Grades 3,4,5,6 are tested in reading & math. 5th grade may test in science again. Unlike MAP, this is a high stakes standardized test. The good news is, this year it has been changed slightly and will look similar to other tests kids are used to, so they might feel more comfortable with it.
      • Given in the spring, right after we take the last MAP test. The commissioner might be changing the name this year.
      • Designed to tell us what students know, and specifically to know whether they’ve reached proficiency in grade level.
      • Writing test used to be given in 4th grade, and we’re waiting to hear about writing tests for this year.
      • Last year the state test included some writing, and that pulled down reading scores across the board for every school.
      • Ms. Owen: when we were first given information about the test, we thought what they considered on grade level work was unrealistic. The samples (and then the grading criteria) seemed to be at a 7th grade level, at lowest, so it wasn’t surprising to us that students didn’t do well.
      • Dr. Haynes: scores went down at every elementary school 10-50 points. We don’t lose any funding as a result of this, and Harrison actually won the Gold award last year, so we still did really well.
    • Benchmarking: you may hear your kids’ teachers talk about this. Benchmarking is one on one with your child’s classroom teacher. Teachers observe their reading behaviors, and they are given a reading level. Guided reading (in small groups with other students at their level) then allows our teachers to instruct students more at their reading level.
    • In view: 2nd graders will take this. This most looks like the CAT test, the Terra Nova. Only given at 2nd grade in November. Not an IQ test, but an IQ aptitude. Tells us their ability to learn.  Measures cognitive ability for what they need in the classroom.
    • We also use ELPA 21 and some other assessments for ESL students.
    • You as the parent do have the right to refuse testing for your child. But we take a zero score as a school for each student that doesn’t test. So if a sizeable amount of parents refused testing, our scores would plummet, and we could lose funding. So if you’re considering refusing testing, please come talk with me about it.
    • We believe in keeping tests in their place, and not blowing their importance out of proportion. So we do not have testing boot camp pep rally, we don’t have kids dress up, etc. We believe state tests have a place, but we keep them in their place. We simply ask that you write a letter to your child to boost their confidence and that will help them do their best.
  • Nicole: Please email in all your questions about assessments. We knew that this was a hot topic, so we wanted Dr. Haynes to give us a summary at this meeting, and we also are considering devoting an entire meeting’s programming to testing. We will be sending out a survey to let the membership vote on whether they’d like to have one evening’s programming devoted to testing.

Old Business

  • Penny War Report: Nicole
    • Kids loved it, and we raised $1,097.15. It was a huge success! We will definitely repeat this for next year.
    • Huge thank you to teachers and staff for putting up with our interruptions! Feel free to give feedback on what we could do differently next year.
  • District Volunteer Applications: Nicole
    • If you haven’t done it, please do it as soon as possible. It only takes 10 minutes to fill out, but the process is very long after you enter in your information. Sometimes it takes 4-6 weeks to get background requests, and even longer to get your approval.
    • Dr. Haynes: I have a spreadsheet of everyone who’s put your info into the system, regardless of whether you have received your approval or not, and you’ll all be allowed and welcome to come to Halloween parties.

New Business 

  • Star Grant Recipients: Nicole
    • 12 grant applications were submitted
    • We had designated $2,000 in our budget, and we are able to fund 8 of those grants.
    • Here are the 2017/2018 Star Grant recipients:
      • Trout Aquarium: Mrs. Copenharve & Ms. Goodrich
      • Mindfulness Curriculum: Mrs. Portis & Mrs. Lenz
      • Dancing Classrooms: Ms. Owen
      • Brain Pop / Brain Pop Jr.: Miss Prieksat
      • Campfire Rug: Mrs. Herzog
      • RAZ Kids: Mrs. Behrens (**Dr. Haynes: RAZ kids is a literacy program, shown to be really effective with ESL students.)
      • Growth Mindset Materials: Mrs. Quackenbush
      • Math Materials: Mrs. Barsness
    • Thank you to all scoring members for volunteering to help score the submissions
  • BASH – Ruth Farrington
    • Fun family night, our biggest fundraiser of the year
    • Nov 17
    • Games, food, DJ, craft, face painting and balloon artist, etc.
    • Silent Auction comprised of donated items from local businesses, along with things like “lunch with Dr. Haynes,” or time with your teacher, etc.
    • We will meet directly after this meeting to begin planning
  • Room Parents – Charlotte Shafer is our room coordinator, and was unable to make it, but Nicole relayed information:
    • We have 2 classrooms that still need room parents: Mrs. Lenz and Mr. Cruz. We just need a warm body and we’re happy to give you lots of ideas and help with what to do.
  • Teacher / Staff Appreciation – Jennifer Woolf
    • Last year was the first year for this committee. We have a slightly bigger budget this year so we’re excited about that.
    • We provide meals for conferences, and one meal during teacher/staff appreciation week. We’ll combine the appreciation meal into one so we’ll coordinate with Dr. Haynes about that.
    • Some ideas we have for the year:
      • Purchasing some large umbrellas for teachers for pickup time on rainy days
      • Mugs
      • Some type of holiday gift
    • We’ll send out an email about the fall conference meal, which will be a luncheon this year. Everything must be purchased from a grocery store or restaurant/vendor and cannot be made at home.
  • Robotics – Frank Luceri
    • Robotics is a wonderful program and I really enjoy doing it
    • 24 children applied this year, and unfortunately we have to whiddle it down to 20, which will be 5 teams of 4 children each
    • last year all 5 teams won
    • Because all our adult chaperones/sponsors are parents, and we don’t have to pay a staff member, we get funding from OPS to pay for tournament fees ($800-$900)
    • Many other schools are paying a staff sponsor so they don’t get funding for the tournaments.
    • Fri, Feb 17 we’ll be hosting a tournament at Harrison-This is great because we can use concessions as a fundraiser for PTA, and because students can come watch their friends and cheer them on.
    • After we select the kids, we’ll have a parent’s info meeting.
    • The program is for grades 4,5, & 6
    • Dr. Haynes just put in some new shelves out front for all the trophies. We have won more tournaments than any other school, so our students should be proud!

Upcoming Events

  • Oct 9th – PTA Meeting  /  6 p.m.  /  Harrison Elementary Library
  • Oct 31st – Halloween Trick or Trunk – 2:15 p.m.  / Room Parties- 3:00 p.m.
  • Nov 9th / 10th – No School / Parent Teacher Conferences
  • Nov 17th – BASH Family Fundraiser / 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
  • Nov 22nd / 23rd / 24th – No School / Teacher Inservice & Thanksgiving Break
  • Dec 14th – Winter Program / 9:30 a.m. (Band, Strings, Chorus) & 2:00 p.m. (Chorus only)
  • Dec 20th – Harrison Holiday Give Night  /  7 p.m. / The Nifty
    • Opportunity to help kiddos who don’t have enough at home
  • Dec 25th – No School / Winter Break
  • Jan 9th – School Resumes

Program – Positive Parenting  / Theresa Cryer, Community Education Specialist at Heartland Family

Next Meeting  |  Monday, January 29th

Board Members Present: 

Nicole Brown, President

Molly Colling, Vice President

Lex Morrison, Treasurer

Katherine Fischer, Secretary


Sarah Wynn

Emily Winterwood

Alysen Casaccio

Kristin Rasmussen

Annie Johnson

Rebecca Firestone

Kalene Pink Ferguson

Ben Fischer

Debbie Barber

Carrie Warak

Ruth Farrington

Seth Farrington

Abby Barnes

Trey Stuthman

Robin Owen

Jennie King

Angela Smith

Esther Fischer

Ashley Hessenthaler

Lindsey Kreber

Trish Mitchell

Frank Luceri

Alexis Sawyer

Jennifer Woolf

Cecil Hicks

Bill Colling

Wynetta Jones

Andrea Haynes

Pam Barsness

August Meeting Minutes

Harrison Elementary School PTA Meeting Minutes
Monday, August 28th, 2017, 6:00 P.M.

Topics Covered in this month’s meeting:

  • Introduction of Board
  • 4 Important To Do’s
  • Treasurer’s Report
  • Principal’s Report
  • Outdoor Classroom Status Report
  • Yearbook Pictures
  • New Online Volunteer Application Process
  • Fundraising Approach for this year
  • Star Grant/Teacher Reimbursement Process
  • Upcoming Events
  • Stock the Closet
  • Program: Elementary U

Meeting is called to order at 6:05pm by Nicole Brown, President.

Introduction of Board: Nicole Brown

Nicole Brown, President; Molly Colling, Vice President; Lex Morrison, Treasurer; Katherine Fischer, Secretary.

Important To-Do’s: Nicole Brown

1 – Complete forms (PTA membership/directory info, PTA volunteer, apparel order) by September 8

2 – Volunteer to help!
We have plenty of opportunities, and especially need some more hands for BASH, Carnival, the Sponsorship Committee (details later in the notes), & room parents!

3 – Subscribe to the PTA calendar:
Make it easy to see all the Harrison events at a glance! Go to and under “Updates,” click on Harrison PTA Calendar. There are instructions at the bottom of the page for adding it to your own google calendar. Or just click here to go straight to the calendar page.

4 – Meet someone new!
We have new faces at Harrison this year, and we want to get to know one another. Connecting with other parents is one way we build the community that makes Harrison a great school!

Treasurer’s Report: Lex Morrison

Click here to view the full report.

As of August 1, we had a total of $7506.10 in the bank. We’re down a little because of the weather we had last year on the golf tournament day. Here is an infographic that shows how our money is used throughout the year. We desire total transparency, so if you have any questions at all regarding the budgets or finances, please ask!

Principal’s Report: Mrs. Spurgeon

Dr. Haynes really wanted to be at the meeting, but unfortunately it was scheduled by the board months before we knew about her previous commitment, so she was sad not to be able to attend this one. Mrs. Spurgeon gave the principal’s report.

We’ve had a very smooth beginning of the year! Thank you so much for being here! At Harrison, we have a uniquely strong parent participation, and it contributes so much to the strength of our school. We were recently notified that Harrison won the Gold Award this year. After NeSa testing, only 12 out of 95 received the Gold Award. Although state testing is merely a snapshot, our scores do display a measure of academic success for our students, and this is a truly remarkable achievement for our school.

New staff to introduce:

6th Grade teacher: Mr. Trey Stuthman
Guidance Counselor: Mrs. Danielle Herzog
Art Teacher: Mrs. Cindy Rickard
Head Custodian: Mr. Tim Brown

Staff members in attendance:

Ms. Preiksat
Mrs. Rivedal
Mrs. Wilcox
Mrs. Copenharve

This year, we’ll be sending home newsletters on the last Friday of every month for the upcoming month. Since the first Friday of the month often fell almost a week later than the first day of the month, newsletters were often getting to parents after a week of the month had already transpired. Moving it to the last Friday of the month will get the info to parents out in advance. Next Monday is Labor Day, so remember there is no school. September 15th-18th is teacher inservice, so students have no school those days. This Thursday, Mrs. Herzog arranged for a local theater group to do a presentation on anti-bullying and relationships. K-2nd grade will go see the presentation separately from the 3rd-6th graders.

Some important dates:

Open House Curriculum Night // September 14th, from 6-7:15pm
Progress Reports go home September 22nd
Picture Day (individuals, not classes) // September 26th *more info will be sent home.

Testing changes:

This year, the MAP testing will replace the acuity tests that 3rd-6th graders took last year. Every grade, K-6 will be tested in the fall, winter, & spring. Grades 1-6 will take the first test in early September, and the Kindergarten classes will take the first test in October. MAP is an adaptive test that the students take on a computer.

We will be partnering with Waypoint Church to provide a Book Club this year. More info to come on that.

Many parents have had questions about the Disney musical. Mrs. Rivedal gave some info on that:

We don’t have a schedule yet, but we think it’ll look a little different this year. Hoping to start rehearsals 2nd semester and have a spring program. We have a meeting coming up this month where we’ll select the musical. It will be for grades 3-6. Nicole Brown relayed the parent feedback that after school gets very busy, and many parents have asked if before school rehearsals would be an option.

Outdoor Classroom Status Report: Angela Smith

The outdoor classroom is on the north side of the Kindergarten exit. It’s a space for the whole school to utilize, and to memorialize Mrs. Beers. During her 2nd year at Harrison, Mrs. Beers was diagnosed with lung cancer. She passed away a year ago in June, and since she made such a big impact on the staff & kids, Dr. Haynes wanted to memorialize her in a special way. Thank you so much to the 12 or so families who helped maintain that space over the hot summer. We’ll have a fall cleanup, which is a great activity to do with your family. We are partnering with the cub scout pack to clean up around the rest of the school. Cub scouts will also help as we seal benches and do mulch. Dr. Haynes set up a sign up so teachers can reserve the space.

Yearbook Pictures: Annie Johnson, Chair of the Yearbook Committee

We are in need of pictures of kids from both parents and teachers. They don’t have to be fancy camera pictures, phone pictures are great. We usually get more pictures of the big events, so we especially appreciate pictures of the day-to-day, or just on the playground or lunchtime. If you’re interested in yearbook or have questions please email Annie.

New School Volunteer Application Process: Nicole Brown

The district requires ALL volunteers during school hours (including field trip chaperones) to fill out a volunteer application. The form must be complete BEFORE the individual is allowed to volunteer, and it must be filled out every year. Once it’s filled out, it takes time for the district to process it, so it’s best to fill out the form as soon as possible if you ever plan on volunteering at school. This year, the district moved the volunteer application process to online, making it much quicker. You can find a link to the form on the PTA website under forms, or by clicking here. If you don’t have a computer there is a laptop in the school office you can use.

Fundraising Approach This Year: Nicole Brown

  • Sponsorships (Lex Morrison): We’re going to try something new in an effort to reach into untapped resources in our community. The plan is to reach out to area businesses (more service-related industries: pediatrician, roofers, dry cleaners, etc.) who might be willing to sponsor things at Harrison in exchange for exposure. We will do tiered donation system, with different exposure for each tier. Some examples might be sponsoring the dunk tank at Carnival, ads in the PTA newsletter, etc. If you know of businesses who might donate, please share them with us! If your corporation does a matching program, please email us and let us know. Try and keep it to businesses in the Harrison area. If you have any fundraising experience, we’d love for you to be a part of the effort. Email us if you have interest in being a part of the sponsorship committee!
  • Penny War Week: Week of Sept 25-29. It’s quick & easy, and fun for the kids. Kids bring in change to put in their class tub. Pennies add points to your own tub, and you can put silver coins in other classrooms’ tubs and it deducts their points. We don’t have a specific threshold, we’re just seeing how much we can raise.
  • We cancelled the Golf Outing for this year, due to very little success with it last year. There was great difficulty in finding golfers, so the hope is that other sources of revenue will be able to cover the revenue that would normally come in from that event.
  • Sock Hop: Instead of providing an evening event, we decided an event during school hours would benefit more kids, and there would be more widespread participation. Last year, we funded a DJ for one of the citizenship assemblies and the kids really enjoyed having their sock hop at that time. We plan to do the same this year.
  • Carnival: through sponsorships and food truck revenue, we plan to make Carnival a fundraiser this year.
  • TAGG: download the TAGG app on your smartphone, and TAGG your purchases! After you’ve downloaded the app, simply click “TAGG purchase” and then enter the amount, take a picture of your receipt, and choose Harrison Elementary PTA as your organization. It’s the easiest way to get free money for our school! We did a TAGG challenge over the summer, and our results showed that only 13 people regularly tagged, and we got over a hundred dollars in only 2 and a half months. Imagine the impact if we all were Tagging! If there’s somewhere you spend a lot of money, go online and request them to be TAGG vendors. The TAGG businesses will donate 5% of our purchases to us, and every nickel helps!
  • HyVee receipts: This money goes directly to the school, not the PTA, but we want to collect as many as possible! Save your HyVee receipts from September 1-December 31, and send them to school. HyVee will donate $1 for every $200 in receipts.

Star Grants/Teacher Reimbursement

Star Grant Process: Teachers all received star grant forms in the welcome packet. We set aside money in our budget ($2000 this year) and we ask teachers to apply for a grant to fulfill a need in their classroom. A committee votes on it, and awards money accordingly.

Teacher Reimbursement: We set aside $150 per classroom for teacher reimbursement on supplies. We know teachers spend out of their own pocket to provide for their classrooms, and we want to support our awesome teachers and help cover some of that. The teacher reimbursement forms can be found on the PTA website under “forms.”

Upcoming Events:

  • September 4th // No School
  • September 14th // Curriculum Night
  • September 15 – 18th // No School
  • September 25-29 // Penny War Week
  • September 26th // School Picture Day

Stock the Closet

The Clothing Closet is a supply of new and gently used clothing, shoes, backpacks, Halloween costumes, and winter gear. It is run by our ESL teachers, and is available to any student in need. The current needs are backpacks, winter coats, and hats/gloves. There is a blue recycling bin in the hallway where you can drop off donations. The list is always changing but you can look on the website under “get involved, stock the closet”.

The current needs for classroom supplies: tissues, hand sanitizer, post it notes, clorox wipes, notebooks. We’d rather our teachers not have to buy these out of their own pockets. Teachers, let us know if you have needs. Don’t be shy!


Lisa Vignolo
Kristin Rasmussen
Wynetta Jones
Jennifer Woolf
Alice Goodwin
Barb Lightner
Trish Mitchell
Lexi Sawyer
Bill Colling
Frank Luceri
Angela Smith
Debbie Goebel
Leo Acosta
Charlotte Shafer
Ruth Farrington
Alysen Casaccio
Zach & Emily Winterwood
Sarah Wynn
Annie Johnson
Rebecca Firestone
Cecil Hicks
Carrie Copenharve
Esther Fischer
Deb Heimes
Meredith Gardner
Catalina Munoz
Belinda Daniels
Cristián Doña
Nicole Brown
Lex Morrison
Molly Colling
Katherine Fischer
Mrs. Preiksat
Mrs. Rivedal
Mrs. Wilcox
Mrs. Copenharve
Mrs. Spurgeon