PTA Meeting Minutes April 15, 2019

Welcome

  • Molly Colling: Thanks to all for coming. This is the last meeting of the year, and we have a lot to go through, but we’ll get through it in a timely fashion.

It takes a village to support all of our PTA events throughout the school year, and we’re so grateful for everyone’s help and support. Committee members, teachers, parents, volunteers – we couldn’t do all of this without everyone’s support.

Treasurer’s Report

  • Lex Morrison: We have the proposed budget and our actual funds. Hearts for Harrison raised $975 but doesn’t appear on the budget. We were grateful for all who contributed. We had contributions from Harrison families but also from relatives and people living out of town. You can still donate at any time, and we will revisit this fundraiser next year.

The end of the year is when our expenses are the highest because of the 6th grade celebration, Carnival, etc. This is also when we pay for field trip buses. It has been a very successful year, and we are happy with how things went.

Penny Wars raised $634 which was down from last year, but last year was the first year, and this year we were running the fundraiser the week after a flood relief fundraiser. We will continue to do Penny Wars. The timing might not have been perfect. We tried this year to not “stack up” fundraisers with other Harrison efforts like Pennies for Patients.

Principal’s Report

  • Dr. Haynes is under the weather and can’t be here tonight, but we will read a message on her behalf:

Thank you to all of our parents and judges that assisted with the Science/Art Fair today. It was another successful event – highlighting our students’ talent, innovation, and curiosity!

We are currently right in the middle of state testing at Harrison. We have completed week 1 – and have about 2 weeks left. This is for Grades 3-6 only. State testing classroom schedules were sent home two weeks ago. Please let the office know if you have questions about your child’s testing schedule. It is always important to get a good night’s sleep and breakfast – but during these three testing weeks, it is even more important.


Two robo emails (from myself) are scheduled to go out this week to all Harrison families:

  1. The first email is in regards to the district’s Attendance Boundary Changes that were highlighted in the World Herald last week. I’ll provide some additional info for Harrison families in the robo email. Families can contact me directly, if you have questions following the email.

  2. The second email is about Attendance. We have been keeping a careful eye on attendance this year and unfortunately, we are on track to have more students with chronic absences this year – compared with the last three years. Any student missing more than 7 days in a school year (not medically related due to hospitalization) is said to be “chronically absent”. I cannot reiterate enough the importance of good school attendance. Yes, we want students to stay home when they are sick – but on average that is typically only 2-3 days per year for most students. We have over 50 students at Harrison that have missed over 10-12 days of school this year. In my mind, as a mother and as a principal that is very disheartening.  Many times, our parents do not even realize their child has missed so many days because they are not keeping track. I had a conversation with a family, just today, and asked the mother how many days she thought her daughter had missed – She said “around 5” – I corrected her and said “12”. She was surprised and very embarrassed.


Next year, we will be implementing a system that will give parents better data about their child’s attendance – so better decisions can be made about how and when a child stays home.

Please plan to join us on May 3rd for our Disney Musical – Aladdin! It is going to be the most amazing show yet! There are flyers all over the school and we’ll be sending another flyer home as the date gets closer.

Field Day will be held Tuesday, May 21st!


Reminder that the last day of school is on a Wednesday this year – May 22nd.

  • We’ll be holding Kindergarten Graduation at 2:00pm in the outdoor amphitheater – as is tradition – and the 6th grade party, which you’ll discuss this evening– will be that afternoon as well.
  •  I’m sure you’ll be discussing all of the other May activities as well tonight – i.e. Staff appreciation week, the Carnival, etc.


I deeply apologize for my absence. I haven’t missed a meeting in a couple years and I am sorry it had to be the last one of this year!

My final words are just a “thank you” to our current PTA Board – Molly, Scott, Lex and Annie have done a fantastic job this year. It is a grueling job – with very little thanks and zero compensation – but our children and staff benefit greatly from the work of the PTA. My heartfelt thanks to this year’s Board and everyone who has helped on any committee or with any event this year. I am proud to be a part of such a collaborative community.

As always, please email me or call me with any questions or concerns.

Old Business

  • Approval of January’s PTA meeting minutes. Meeting minutes were approved.


New Business

  • Lex: Approval of 2019-2020 budget: Unfortunately the second page of the budget didn’t print. The new budget will look basically the same as last year. We bumped up the expected revenue from BASH since that has been more successful in recent years. One thing to note is that – if you are a 5th grade parent you know that they we didn’t do dancing classrooms this year – we left $500 in the budget just in case there are additional funds that arise for this. We made some extra money this year from  family night at Raising Canes ($125), the eCreamery fundraiser, and the I Love Public Schools t-shirts. TAGG and other supplemental funds are under “other fundraisers.” We won’t vote to approve the budget until we have a complete copy of it. We will need to look in the bylaws to figure out how to do this.
  • Question about Dancing Classrooms. What is Dancing Classrooms? This is a program where 5th grade students learn ballroom dancing. It is a very beneficial program but also very expensive. It was funded by a grant in the past, and PTA supplemented some of the funds as well. If people are interested we could do a special fundraiser. At one time we thought about offering an option at BASH to sponsor a student. It seems like there is a lot of interest, so maybe we could bring this up with Dr. Haynes again.
  • Molly: We still have open board positions for the 2019-2020 school year. There are two monthly meetings plus the member meetings that occur quarterly. If anyone is interested, please let us know. We are all available and willing to talk if you want to know more. We do have some candidates who are mulling it over and we should know more soon. Annie has graciously offered to step into the Vice President position, leaving openings for secretary and treasurer. We hope candidates commit for two years because of the continuity required by the position.
  • Motion is seconded and passed for Annie Johnson to become Vice President and Scott Gillespie to become president for the 2019-2020 school year.

 
Upcoming Events

  • Disney Musical
    • All School Matinee Thursday, May 2, 2:00
    • Performances Friday, May 3, 5:30, 7:00
    • Need volunteers for Bake Sale to sell concessions / donations
  • Teacher and Support Staff Appreciation May 6-10th
    • Food signup
    • Gift cards
  • Carnival
    • Friday, May 17th from 5:30pm-7:30pm
    • Look for Sign Up and Pre-Order Coming Soon!
    • Invite your neighbors
  • 6th Grade Celebration, May 22
    • Stay tuned for more information on this as the committee figures out the outing that the 6th graders will do. The kids are so excited!


Program

  • Presentation of Wiese Citizenship Award

Scott: Jennie King will present the award and will tell more about the award. It goes to a Harrison student who has exemplified honesty, compassion, respect, courage, responsibility, and inclusivity both in the classroom and beyond. 6th graders are nominated by 5 Harrison teachers/staff and evaluated by those individuals. They score the students based on a rubric. What Jennie won’t say is that she not only knew the family but was also a recipient of the award.

Jennie: 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 Ellie Yamamoto with The Harrison Elementary PTA Wiese Citizenship Award. Ellie, will you and your family please join us up here at the front?

Ellie, 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. Ellie, congratulations.  

  • Science + Art Fair Recognition

Annie: As we’ve tried to communicate leading up to the Science + Art Fair this year, the committee made a decision to switch from a prize-based judging structure to a feedback-based judging structure. We’ve learned a lot about Harrison and the district’s focus on growth mindset this year, and we wanted to honor that focus in our approach to this event. Previously, kids who won a prize didn’t get any feedback other than “I won,” and kids who didn’t get a prize got no feedback other than “I didn’t win.” This way, they are focused on the process. We had a wonderful group of judges who worked through the projects today and who gave one constructive comment and one praise comment to each student. Every judge today commented on how much fun they had and how impressed they were with the kids. I was lucky enough to be in the gym this afternoon and to see the kids presenting their work. They did a wonderful job, and they will get to celebrate with an ice cream party on Monday, April 29th. They will get a certificate tonight, and they will receive their feedback from the judges at the party. Let’s recognize them with a round of applause.

Trish Mitchell