December 6, 2017 General Meeting Minutes

Dr. Michael Conti PS5 PTA General Meeting Minutes

December 6, 2017

The meeting was called to order on December 6, 2017 at 8:49 am in the auditorium by President Cory Seminowicz. Quorum was reached. Principal Rivero is offsite at a meeting today, but Assistant Principal Dr. LaMonica attended.

December Update: The majority of our fundraising and community activities happen in the New Year and spring. In the fall, we focus on After School Programs and supporting our staff.

Special Presentations

Kindness Team - Mr. DeCarlo and Divya Dodhia (parent and LCSW) are our Kindness Team and they’ve been doing a lot. The Pre-K through Kindergarten students read Only One You and students painted kindness rocks in the school garden as a permanent display. 1st-3rd Grade classrooms got pumpkins, read Each Kindness, and tracked acts of kindness on the pumpkins from Halloween through Thanksgiving. 5th graders are going to make a kindness diary with a donation from HarperCollins Kids. 6th and 8th graders are finalizing ideas for service projects through their Language Arts/Social Studies classes. 7th graders are working on a project with the help of parent Jim Dickinson to create a Kindness App website - for which we are first round State winners from Samsung Solve for Tomorrow contest. We have a wishlist for books at the book fair, and after that there will be an Amazon wish list for the kindness team. The purpose for the kindness books is a virtual library for teacher access - books scanned for the Promethean board (digital blackboard in each classroom). Each teacher will have access to books on morality, kindness, empathy, loyalty, friendship, acceptance, diversity as well as a list of activities they can do alone or with a parent volunteer. Kindergartners will read Have you filled my bucket  and make a clear bucket that gets filled with pom poms when kids do kind things for each other. There’s a core group of parents who have volunteered to read, and Divya is here some weekday mornings if anyone wants to meet with her. The Kindness App is going to be a game with locations of acts of kindness, with leaderboards- and the kids are the ones who are involved in the community.

We also have a PS5 Rocks Facebook Group: Join! Find Rocks! Take Pictures! Hide them again over town!

Literacy with Ms. Alvarez (PS5’s new Reading Specialist!) We will have 2 additional parent symposiums on literacy for anyone who wasn’t able to attend the first one on literacy strategies for K-2 parents to encourage reading and literacy at home. Also planning symposiums in January for grades 3-5 and 6-8. Ms. Alvarez believes a strong home and school connection will help our kids be lifelong readers and is excited to collaborate with us all. Good news- PS 5 requested and fully funded a $450 DonorsChoose grant for 50 culturally diverse books and the project was funded by many supporters and also an anonymous JC donor to whom we are very grateful. Ms. Alvarez showed us one new book, Little Leaders - Bold Women in Black History. Also going to get book help from HarperCollins. Ms. Alvarez is planning a resource room next year to house professional development books for parents and teachers, as well as any books that children could have access to, such as these culturally responsive grant books. Information from the parent symposium will be included with the minutes. Over the break, Ms. Alvarez is hoping to create a literacy web page with resources to use at home.

She is also forming a Parent and Reading Specialist Book Club to help us look at reading from a whole other level, developing strategies to get kids to love reading. The first book will be Disrupting Thinking: Why How We Read Matters. If anyone wants to join or wants to see the PowerPoint from the literacy presentation, just email Ms. Alvarez (

Other Updates

Safe Streets- PTA VP Evelyn is working on safe street initiatives with Jersey City Together. All are reminded to pay attention to small children around, and please don’t park in the crosswalk. This year we have more buses bringing kids at the side of 3rd St, so please pay attention to the cones Dr. LaMonica puts out every morning to make space for them when you look to park your vehicle.

If anyone has ideas of how to improve walking and driving safety at drop off please let Dr. LaMonica know. PTA will also put out a call soon requesting parents to email asking for more crossing guards.

An idea was introduced to eliminate the curbside parking in front of the school, preventing bottlenecks by the park. It could help with drop off a lot, but a solution would need to be found for our teacher parking -with no lot, teachers compete for street parking every day. PTA will bring up curbside drop issues at SLC Meeting.

Disaster Relief Fundraiser- THANK YOU! -  50 or so huge boxes put together thoughtfully by teachers, students, and administration went to Puerto Rico and to Dominica. Thank you everyone for donations. It’s not the end of our support, so stay tuned.

2nd Grade Jewelry Beads - As part of their community work this year, second graders have been making and selling jewelry to raise money to buy UNICEF supply kits to send to Puerto Rico. They’re currently sold out but they’re making more jewelry soon.

Teacher Holiday Gifts and Wish Lists - If you are planning on getting your teacher a gift for the holidays but don’t know what they like, we have a helpful binder for you! We asked the teachers about their favorite things and gathered it in a binder - thanks to parent Catherine! It’s also posted by Kristin in the PS 5 Facebook group. The binder is in the Main Office on the counter.

After School Programs- After School Programs are currently operating. Looking forward, the PTA is looking into some potential tax and management challenges we are working through. For now, the planning of the after school programs for spring is on hold until we get through this - current classes go through the end of January. We’ll keep everyone posted. If you have any questions or issues with your after school classes - email - Paola and Myrna (parent volunteers) and our coordinator Evelyn will help you.

Nimbus Dance Program - Our school has a partnership with Nimbus Dance Works, a professional dance school and performing ensemble in Jersey City. Thanks to grant money from the Dodge Foundation, Nimbus began working with Principal Rivero to incorporate dance into the curriculum - it’s currently expanded to cover dance for all 2nd to 5th graders. It’s a 10 week program. It’s a great part of our curriculum but we can’t take it for granted- the PTA did its own fundraiser last year, raising $2,500, and we’re trying to come up with a fun way to raise money this year too. We’re very lucky that our school leadership values the arts, and we can help by continuing to raise funds to make sure we can keep these programs.

Donations - The PTA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit association, so we can accept tax deductible donations and employer matching donations. There is a Paypal link on the PTA website or just ask. We also have an AmazonSmile ( page - it donates when you shop at Amazon and we are called “Ps 5 PTA Lu No 2696047.”

The Book Fair is coming up Dec 12-15. Teachers will let you know when they’re going with classes, or you can find out in the main office. There are special family night hours for parents and kids on Thursday 5-7pm.

More to come… we’re planning our annual movie night at school, and the Valentine chocolate pops fundraiser….

The meeting ended at 9:38am.