PTA MS67 General Meeting, March 6, 2008
The meeting was called to order at 7:18pm by Marta Agosti with a quorom.
A motion was made to approve the minutes from our January meeting; it was seconded; majority approved; no “no’s” and no “abstentions.”
Mrs. McGrath spoke about the budget cuts that our school experienced. $88,836 was cut from our budget. She explained how she spread out the cuts to have as little negative impact on our children as possible. Our literacy coach wasn’t replaced, as could have been done in the middle of January. The primary reason for this is that the NYS ELA test had been taken by then. The ballroom dance program was cut also. This program would have been an enhancement of the dance cycle that we already had in place. The remaining $3000 came from our supplies budget.
Mrs. McGrath pointed out that next year the budget cuts will be felt harder.
Mrs. McGrath spoke about technology programs in our school. We have 2 computer labs – one is quite modern; the 2nd is functional and gets used. In addition, the library has 12 computers that the children can use. We are equipped for wireless computer access in our building. Currently one classroom is accessing this wireless connection. Despite budget cuts we will be able to purchase 3 Smartboards – we have found a site that we can purchase them at a discounted price of $1900 – we just have to see if this business is a DOE vendor. If so, we have to get 3 bids and we expect that they will be the lowest vendor. The Smartboards will be located on each floor of our building. A parent asked Mrs. McGrath to explain what a Smartboard was – Mrs. McGrath deferred this topic to Mr. Chambers (see Assistant Principals’ report.)
Mrs. McGrath also spoke about the CPS system – on a cart there is a computer that has an instantaneous assessment system. A teacher can put a test on a screen to assess what the children know – the students can respond via a numbered remote, so the names are unknown to the other children. The teacher will also be able to determine which children need more work in a particular subtopic.
Today the POS service was finalized in the lunchroom. (See parent coordinator’s report.)
A parent asked if the vending machines will still be available for juice. Yes.
Question for Mrs. McGrath: What are the Smartboards intended to be used for? Science, social studies and math.
Mrs. McGrath was pleased to announce that Mrs. Choit has been approved by the C-30 committee as our 6th grade assistant principal.
Assistant Principals’ Reports:
Smartboard technology brings touch screen technology to the classroom. A teacher can do any application of mathematics as well as take students on virtual trips.
Question: Are teachers going to get training to use this new technology? The DOE offers training to teachers.
Upcoming 7th grade trips include:
3/18 to Philadelphia and 4/30 Madame Tussaud’s
Students with an “n” or “u” in conduct will not be allowed to attend either trip.
Mr. Chambers also spoke about criteria for the accelerated science program for next year’s 8th graders:
teacher recommendation, NYS ELA & Math scores, 3rd quarter average in 7th grade and 7th grade science tests,
Question: Do the students get 9th grade science credit? No, but they will not need to take this course in high school if they pass the Regents.
7th grade math team – participating in the Bronx Math Invitational Tournament on Sat. 3/15.
8th grade math team – moved onto state competition after placing 2nd in the NYC competition. The team will be going to Troy, NY.
Packets have been put together for the Saturday Math Open House program. 110 students have signed up for the first session, and 171students for the 2nd session. These sessions will be instructed by 7 teachers.
Mr. Chambers handed out a breakdown of the NYS math test.
Upcoming trips for the 6th grade include: 3/18/08 to Museum of Natural History. Money can still be accepted up to tomorrow. The cost is $9.00. Students will return to school for lunch.
Each child has been asked to wear a blue shirt to be more easily identified.
Other trips: 4/30 to the Riverhead Aquarium and Medieval Times in May.
The Greek Olympics will take place the week of April 7th.
4/4 – Final prep for banner, academic & drama competitions
4/7 – Academic Bowl
4/7 – Drama Competition
4/8-9 – Final prep for athletic competition
4/10 – Athletic Competition
4/11 – Closing Ceremonies
There will be a book sale to raise money for the purchase of Greek Olympic t-shirts for the 6th grade classes.
Question about the trips – Why are we going to Riverhead vs. Brooklyn? Aren’t students being charged more money for a coach bus and a longer trip? Marta and other parents confirmed, based on their experience that it is a nicer trip – a more interactive place for the students. Mrs. Choit also explained that the problem with using yellow buses is that you are bound to their time frame – they don’t pick up before 9:30am and you must return to school by 1:30.
Marta offered that the PTA Presidents’ Council is trying to arrange something so that we can arrange trips into Nassau and Suffolk counties.
Upcoming trips for our 8th graders include
Ms. Ardito’s classes will be going on 4/9 and 4/11 to the Brooklyn Museum. Focus will be on modern issues – immigration, industrialization, and women’s issue – that can work art into the ss theme.
Students will see a production of “The Diary of Anne Frank on 3/27 & 3/31 – Students will walk to the Marathon Jewish Center. The group presenting the play is Plaza theatrical productions. The theme students are studying is the tolerance of man against man. There will be a Q&A after production, and students will be reading the book prior to attending show.
The Washington trip is scheduled for 5/21-23. Parents received a notice requesting the 2nd payment. Students receiving an “n’ or “u” for conduct on their report cards/progress reports, will not be permitted on this trip.
The main round for high school admissions is forthcoming. Students have already received their results for the Specialized high schools: 207 students sat for the test and 168 were matched to high schools (79.8%).
During the week of 3/31 main round matches will be received by those students who weren’t matched with a specialized high school or didn’t take the Specialized high school test.
In an art competition, our school placed 2nd in NYC.
On 3/18 the 8th graders will participate in Career Day. Speakers from different walks of life will speak to and interact with our students.
The date of graduation will be June 25th, 1pm @ Cardozo H.S.
The foreign language proficiency will take place on June 23rd.
The Earth Science regents will take place on June 20th.
The last day of school is June 28th.
What does it mean that MS 67 has accelerated status? –It means that our students can receive Regents credit for the courses that they take and enter high school at an accelerated level. We cannot have a non- Regents SP math class if we are an accelerated math school. Although students in SP classes, several years ago, did not take a Regents math class, we were cited by NYS for this and needed to correct our program to remain an accelerated school.
Question: Regarding choice of dates for school events it was noted by a parent that even though Parent/ Teacher conferences are set by the chancellor, some events at school are held on Wednesday night, a popular night for religious instruction (CCD). Back to School Night and the Fairy Tale Dance were also on Wednesdays. The school tries to accommodate as many people as it can and the next dance is on Tuesday, March 11.
The seventh grade math program is the same for all students until March after the state test. Then the SP students have a more accelerated program to prepare them for the 8th grade Regents class.
An article that was meant to be published in the UFT paper, the NY Teacher, did not get published. Mr. Camera expressed his opinion that out of something bad has come something good and that the staff of MS 67 has moved on.
Marta welcomed Mrs. Choit as our 6th grade Assistant Principal.
The PTA website is up and running. A notice is going home informing parents about the website.
Question – Will there be info about the school on the PTA website?
Mr. Chambers is taking a training session to get the school’s website up and running. Mrs. McGrath said that the school website will absolutely be available this year.
Marta mentioned that we are not going to duplicate information, so only PTA information will be on the PTA website. Both web sites will eventually have links to each other.
Thanks to Ralph Iskaros who has set up the PTA website. If there is any information that you want to put up on the site it will be approved by the Executive Board.
When Mrs. Bogaty finishes the parent handbook it will be posted on the PTA website.
Q – Is there a place on the site for questions by parents? Any questions you ask will be redirected to the proper person to answer the question, but currently it is not a forum. The difficulty comes in how to set limits so that we can create a forum for useful information and not create a place for gossip.
Amendment of November General Meeting Minutes
A motion was made to approve amendment of minutes to delete the portion which states that school information will be posted on the PTA website. This motion was passed by a majority.
Virginia Du has agreed to chair the nominating committee. If a parent is interested in being on the PTA executive board they should see Virginia or Jenny Cho.
A training session for the for nominations and elections of executive board members will take place on 3/19 at 6:30pm at PS 172 in Floral Park.
Question: What does the nominating committee do? The nominating committee canvasses the membership to see who might be interested in filling positions on the Executive Board.
A member mentioned that the 3 mandatory positions that need to be filled include President, Treasurer, and Recording Secretary.
Career day volunteers are needed to assist at the breakfast that morning and at the luncheon.
In response to the budget cuts the PTA is sponsoring a school supply drive. We are asking for 3 items from our parents:
8-1/2 x 11 copy paper
Acetate transparency paper
A member suggested that we have teachers or the school ask for these supplies at the beginning of school year on their supply lists.
Mrs. McGrath responded by saying that since we don’t send out a uniform supply list to our 7th and 8th graders it is difficult to ask students to bring in supplies. However, the notice for the 6th grade supply list can include items for the school or it can be included on the summer reading list.
A parent asked if the administration could consider redoing the summer reading list. The opinion was expressed that it is a horrible list. Mrs. McGrath took this under consideration. Mrs. Choit will review the list.
A suggestion was made by a parent regarding giving extra credit on a test to those students who bring in supplies. Marta stated that she felt this would be wrong. Mrs. McGrath expressed that when you hear something as atrocious as this, it is not enough as a parent to make a blanket statement. She needs us to identify a teacher so that she can rectify this situation.
Another parent suggested that for less than $40 several families can have a case of paper delivered to the school.
Rob Caloras, our CDEC representative, spoke. He mentioned that on 3/19 there will be a rally at City Hall on the part of the CSA & UFT. Buses from PS/IS 266 will be going to the city. It is important to show our support for our school and our displeasure with the announced cuts. Mr. Caloras stated that the chancellor said he has tried to limit the cuts to the classroom, and is looking to cut money from the central bureaucracy. The chancellor is looking to cut $80 million. When people asked for an itemized list of cuts the chancellor agreed, and Kathleen Grimm provided this list to the CDEC. Rob has this list and his analysis shows that there are only $2 million in cuts and other “cuts” come in the form of savings through taking away “hold harmless” money. According to Mrs. McGrath, if that money is taken away this would be devastating for our school, since it represents nearly $330,000 from our budget. “Hold harmless” was created under the new budget system. It supports schools that don’t get special funding for ESL and special ed students.
People from the Campaign for Fiscal Equity are going around asking people to sign petitions to take away hold harmless since it takes money away from schools that really need the money.
Mr. Caloras is asking that if we can’t go to the rally we need to write the chancellor, and our elected representatives, to let them know that the cuts are unacceptable.
Ingrid & Cindy reported that from applications to BJ’s we have only received $20. Another letter was sent home to our parents requesting a pledge/donation.
At the winter concert we sold refreshments and earned $242.50.
Marta offered thank-you’s to Ingrid & Cindy for selling that night along with Bonnie, Sallianne and Rhonda.
Question: Can we sell refreshments at the dance or is the Student Organization doing this? The S.O. is doing this.
Maria presented the financial statement. The balance in the account is currently: $15,860.48
Cards were sent to Mr. Surrett on the loss of his dad; Mrs. Rosenbluth on the loss of her mom; Mrs. Neufeld on the loss of her dad; and another teacher on the birth of a child.
We discussed the surveys, the uniform policy, and in school suspension
Mrs. Bogaty spoke about the POS system. Letters will go home with each child identifying a pin number. In the cafeteria children will enter their pin # and their picture will come up. Everything they purchase will be debited. If money runs out, they will get an emergency meal. The next day if they have not reimbursed the account they will get lunch but not a snack or ice cream.
Question: Will parents be notified by e-mail when the account is low? Yes, this is similar to the EZ pass system.
Will balances be carried over from grade to grade? Possibly, but it cannot be carried over after the student leaves this school.
There will be a workshop for parents about this system. That same evening the workshop will also include the parent survey from the DOE. An incentive to return the surveys are still under discussion – parents suggested a homework pass for their children.
Interim progress reports will be distributed on 3/19.
The SO dance will take place on 3/11. SO members are free; non SO members are $10. The dance will take place from 4-6:30pm.
Spring photos will take place on 3/13-14.
Quarterlies will take place the week of 3/24.
The Community Service Club will take part in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life on May 31st.– info will be sent home shortly. Thanks to those parents who sold T-Shirts to support this event.
On 3/27 there will be a CDEC forum to discuss school governance since the current structure expires in June 2009.
Mrs. McGrath mentioned that Mrs. Alarcon will be leaving MS 67 to become an interim acting Assistant Principal in District 27. She is being replaced by a new teacher, and we are hopeful that it will work out well.
Mrs. McGrath stated that we support Mrs. Alarcon and wish her well.
A motion to adjourn was made, seconded and agreed by the majority.
Doris Iskaros & Karen Dinegar