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


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