PTA meeting minutes - 1/14/13

Minutes from the last PTA meeting, 1/14:

Membership Update:

We currently have 75 PTA members and one potential future PS5 parent joined Monday evening.

PTA Board and Website:

We are proud to present our new PTA information board across the hall from the principal’s office. Here and on our website: you’ll find all PTA related information (afterschool programs, international food night, fundraisers etc.). Please check in regularly for updates.

Afterschool Activities:

We are working on offering more afterschool activities for our kids/students. In an executive PTA meeting last month we decided not to offer any classes that exceed $5/student/class, in order to accommodate the demographic makeup of our student population. Therefore we reached out to our teachers to see if they were interested in teaching afterschool classes. By working with them we can accomplish two things at the same time: Safety for our kids and keeping costs under control (pay cap of $40 for teacher/hour by the District). The following teachers offered their help:

·         Mrs. Faisal and Mrs. Jusino: Cultural dance combined with arts and crafts (they’d design and make their own outfits)

·         Mrs. Flores: Spanish

·         Mrs. Rivas: Yoga

We are currently working out age groups and schedules. Since all of these teachers are involved in teaching the extended day program, they can only be available Monday and Friday afternoon.

Since we already offer the Department of Recreation sports program Monday and Thursday, we’ll have to switch days to Tuesday and Thursday. We’ll give you an update asap via PTA board and website.

Fundraising Committee:

·         Our year end fundraising activities brought in about $2.500! Just by linking to our PTA website , we generated $150. Please remind your family members and friends to make their Amazon purchases through our website.  Amazon pays us a certain percentage of each purchase. No extra work or costs involved for shoppers. Please pass this on to everybody you know.

·         As a Valentine’s Day fundraiser we’ll sell heart-shaped lollipops from the local candy store Lee Sims for $1. We keep 50cents of each delicious lollipop sold. If you like more than two, please contact Ellen Simon at

·         Please save the date for our PTA flea market, May 18th. Details to follow.

·         Also, start collecting Box Tops! One of our parents, Doria Ceraso is organizing the Box Tops fundraiser. Check this website for more information:  We’ll give you an update and instructions soon.

·         Further fundraising activities planned: car wash (by older students), as well as a fundraising party at Madame Claude Café on 4th St.

School Business:

Enhanced Building Security:

At our monthly School Leadership Meeting the issue of school building security was discussed. Since none of the PTA meeting attendees were able to participate in the Leadership meeting, we can only pass on what was communicated to us:

·         From now on only the main entrance on Merseles Street is to be used by parents, teachers etc.  No more “sneaking” in through other entrances.

·         Different emergency procedures were discussed. We’ll ask the school administration for an update and clarification

·         We discussed the potential benefits of security cameras; potentially a camera at the main entrance? Please give us feedback! This is something we’ll bring up at our next meeting with the administration.

Lunch and Recess for K and 1st Grade:

Due to the PTA’s initiative, now K- and 1st grade students take turns with lunch time and recess. With only half the number of kids in the cafeteria, it’s less chaotic and stressful for the kids and caretakers. Thanks to the school administration for acting on this immediately! 

Even though the teachers are instructed to take the kids outside for recess, it looks like often enough this is not the case. Please speak to your child’s teacher and ask for your kids to be taken outside!

Lobbying for a longer School Day:

We briefly touched upon potentially lobbying for a longer school day at district level: As of now, the students only have 45min. for lunch and recess, which includes going down to the cafeteria and back to their class rooms. This is not enough time to eat and get some much needed exercise. A longer school day could resolve this problem.  We are considering a proposed extension of about 30min.

Through our PTA member Ellen Simon we are in close contact with the Parents for Progress initiative: Close to 80% of our student population qualifies for free or reduced lunch and breakfast. Unfortunately,  most of these kids doesn’t make it on time to the breakfast offered at school (8-8.30am) and come to school hungry, Other school districts (e.g. Newark) have already successfully introduced a later breakfast to fight hunger.  As a result, the number of hungry students declined significantly. If you'd like to help lobby for late breakfast, email Ellen at

Mary Benson Park Update:

Good news: The soil testing for Mary Benson Park is finished and they only found slightly elevated lead levels in 2 surface areas. This being said, the city will have to redo the park/playground completely. Felicia has been in touch with the Department of Public Works. They are already working on a plan to redo and expand the park. Unfortunately they were not able to give us a timeline yet. Please contact your council person and the Mayor’s Office to put pressure on the city to fix the park asap.

Air Conditioning Fundraising:

Please talk to your child’s teacher to reach out to all parents in your child’s class to organize a fundraiser, ask for donations etc. in order to purchase air conditioners for the class rooms. We were offered a special deal by Lowes for $400/unit. Deadline March 31st!!!

Meeting was adjourned at 7:15 p.m.