The following are the minutes for the Stoddert PTO General Meeting on January 14, 2016 …
PTO Presidents‘ Welcome and Update
PTO President Nitchet Quarles welcomed parents of incoming kindergarteners who were at this meeting to hear about aftercare options for the next school year.
Nitchet announced that PTO dues receipts and thank you letters went out before the holiday break to everyone who had paid PTO dues before December, so if you have not received your receipt or thank you note, let the PTO know. The PTO is a 501(c)(3) organization so dues are tax deductible.
The Stoddert Chorus is starting its second winter session next week. The Chorus is open to 1st through 5th graders and takes place Wednesday and Thursday mornings before school. Look for flyers and letters announcing the startup with the details for signing up and when it starts.
StoddertCares, Stoddert’s new student community service organization, is up and running. StoddertCares delivered over 50 shoe boxes of toys before the holidays. The StoddertCares group would like to send a thank you for all your support.
DCPS Winter Weather Policies
Principal Bryant gave the Principal’s Update. Principal Bryant emphasized to parents that they should be familiar with DCPS’s winter weather policies because snowy/inclement winter weather is likely in January and February, and even into March. Principal Bryant passed out copies of DCPS’s winter weather policies at the meeting.
School Year 2016-2017 Budget
DCPS’s Initial budget allocation will be to Stoddert on Feb. 12. Principal Bryant must submit Stoddert’s 2016-2017 Budget to DCPS by March 3. This gives Stoddert less than a month to talk about next year’s budget.
The Local School Advisory Team or LSAT is an advisory group made up of parents and teachers. The LSAT meets with and makes suggestions to Principal Bryant on a wide variety of issues related to Stoddert including next year’s budget. Principal Bryant welcomes parents’ suggestions on budget priorities or allocations for Stoddert’s budget for next year. Principal Bryant would like to get everyone’s input on next year’s budget as soon as possible because once DCPS sends its initial budget allocation to Stoddert on Feb. 12, we have less than a month to submit Stoddert’s proposed budget on March 3. Principal Bryant encouraged parents to discuss their budget ideas with the parents on the LSAT who can in turn discuss them with Principal Bryant at the LSAT meetings. The parents volunteering on the LSAT are Caitlin Oppenheimer, Melissa Loughlin, Emily Russell and David Clark. Any parent is welcome to attend the LSAT’s meetings.
One of Stoddert’s bigger budget challenges for next year is how to fund a fourth 1st grade classroom for next year. With the number of kindergarteners that Stoddert has this year, it will be a struggle to have only three 1st grade classrooms that are manageable in size next year. Principal Bryant would really like to find a way to have four 1st grade classrooms next year.
School Year 2016-2017 Classroom Assignments
Principal Bryant also stated that another issue for next school year is to figure out which classes will be in the trailer classrooms next year. This year, the 4th grade classes fit into the trailer classrooms with some of the other specialty classes, such as, the World Languages class.
Principal Bryant is open to parents’ thoughts and suggestions about which classes should go into the trailer classrooms next year. Some of the considerations to keep in mind related to the trailer classrooms are that the trailer classrooms are a bit smaller so grades with large class sizes cannot fit into the trailer classrooms. Also, Principal Bryant wants to keep entire grades together, so if a grade is going into the trailer classrooms, the entire grade has to fit into them. Finally, Principal Bryant does not want to put the younger students into the trailer classrooms.
Principal Bryant is hoping to put the 4th grade classes into the trailer classrooms again next year. But he may have to put the 3rd grade classes into the trailer classrooms because those classes will fit better in the trailer classrooms. This will just depend on how the class sizes in the 3rd and 4th grades shape up next year. Again, Principal Bryant welcomes parent input on this issue.
Principal Bryant said that Stoddert underwent a security review recently.
During the review it was discovered that some of the classrooms cannot be locked from the inside of the classroom. This will be fixed so all classrooms can be locked from the inside.
Also, Principal Bryant is looking into putting a fence around the Stoddert parking lot and the trailer classrooms located in the Stoddert parking lot.
Stoddert currently has two security officers.
Stoddert performs a number of different types of drills.
DCPS is developing a parent emergency guide which will be available in April.
Finally, Stoddert is working on developing email groups for mass email notifications by the Stoddert administration when needed, such as school closures due to inclement weather.
Please provide the front office with your updated contact information as soon as possible.
Discussion of AfterCare Options for School Year 2016-2017
Next year, there most likely will be more Stoddert students who will need aftercare than Stoddert’s AfterCare Program can accommodate. Mia Perna, Ricky Davenport and Patrick Leonard were at this PTO meeting to discuss the aftercare options available through Stoddert’s Extended Day program, DC’s Department of Parks and Recreation or DPR programs, and the aftercare program at Jelleff operated by the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington.
Mia Perna – Stoddert AfterCare Program
Mia Perna is the director of Stoddert’s AfterCare Program. This program is for Stoddert students and is run out of Stoddert’s cafeteria. Currently, Stoddert’s AfterCare Program has 180 children enrolled in the program and has a daily capacity of 150 children. The program has more children enrolled than its capacity because some of the children are part-time, that is, they don’t come to the program every day. Stoddert also offers morning care which has 80 children enrolled.
Stoddert’s AfterCare Program cannot expand beyond its current 150-child capacity because of a lack of space. The program is currently run out of the cafeteria, which cannot handle more than 150 children. The DPR program run by Ricky Davenport uses the gym after school so Stoddert’s AfterCare Program cannot expand into that space. There is no additional space beyond Stoddert’s cafeteria for Stoddert’s AfterCare Program to expand into.
Parents can get information about Stoddert’s AfterCare and Morning Care programs on Stoddert’s website.
Last year, enrollment in Stoddert’s AfterCare Program took place in June at the end of the school year. Children who were already in the program were given a week to re-enroll in the program for this school year. After that week, enrollment was opened up to everyone. It’s likely that enrollment for Stoddert’s AfterCare Program for next year will be in June and handled the same way as it was last year. Once the program decides how to handle enrollment for next year, this information will be sent to parents, but parents interested in enrolling in next year’s Stoddert AfterCare Program should be on the lookout for that information.
Mia is looking to expand the number of special classes/programs, such as karate, MadScience, etc., offered to the children in the Stoddert AfterCare Program. Again, finding available space is part of the problem in trying to expand the number of special classes/programs offered in aftercare. Also, it is difficult to find programs and keep them. For example, there was a music class offered in aftercare until the music teacher moved away. Mia has not been able to find a replacement music teacher. Mia is open to parents’ suggestions for special classes/programs for aftercare, so please send any ideas for programs to Mia. Mia is always looking for special classes/programs for Stoddert’s AfterCare Program.
Some parents have suggested that Stoddert’s AfterCare Program help the children do i-Ready math on computers during aftercare. Mia said that years ago, the Stoddert AfterCare Program tried letting the children use computers for educational purposes. But it was difficult to monitor the children’s use of the computers and the children started using them for games and other non-academic uses so they stopped using the computers in aftercare. Mia is open to using computers in aftercare, but there needs to be a way to limit computers to academic uses. Another problem with using computers in aftercare is getting them into the space used by the aftercare program.
Ricky Davenport – DPR Program
Ricky Davenport is the site director for Stoddert’s DPR program which is run out an office in Stoddert’s lobby and Stoddert’s computer lab and gym.
Stoddert’s DPR program is for children ages 6 through 13. The children enrolled in the Stoddert DPR Program do not have to be Stoddert students. The DPR program runs from 3:15 to 6:30 after school each day. There is no fee for the DPR program, but the basketball and gymnastics activities have a small fee for them. The DPR Program offers different indoor activities during the winter.
The activities offered through the DPR program are generally sports like basketball, indoor soccer, gymnastics, etc., but DPR sometimes offers other types of activities like computer activities. Children in the Stoddert DPR Program can also participate in the classes offered through the Stoddert AfterCare Program, such as Mad Science, Adventure Theater, etc.
The Stoddert DPR Program is limited by its staff. Right now, the program has 2 staff members including Ricky, which limits the program to 30 children. Ricky has asked for more staff, but so far he has had no luck in getting a third staff member.
Registration for the Stoddert DPR Program must be done in-person at the DPR office in Stoddert’s lobby. Registration opens at 3 PM on the first day of the school year. Registration for the Stoddert DPR Program usually fills up fast on the first day of registration. In other words, if you do not register at the DPR office in the Stoddert lobby at 3 PM on the first day of school, you most likely will not be able to get into the DPR Program. The start date varies from year to year but typically starts within the 2nd week of school. There is a separate sign-up for DPR’s winter activities later in the school year.
If anyone has questions about the Stoddert DPR Program, they can email Ricky at Ricky.Davenport@dc.gov.
There was some thought about having an aftercare program at the recreational center at Guy Mason Park, but there was no way to get the children to the rec center at Guy Mason in bad weather.
Patrick Leonard – Jelleff Boys & Girls Club
Patrick Leonard is the program director at the Jelleff Boys & Girls Club. Jelleff Boys and Girls Club or Jelleff has an after-school program as well as a spring break camp and summer camp. These are all run out of the Jelleff Recreational Center at 3265 S Street, which is next to and a bit behind the Safeway Grocery Store on Wisconsin Avenue.
The Jelleff after-school program runs from 3 PM to 8 PM each day and is free. The Jelleff after-school program is for children from ages 6 to 18 and has 4 staff members. The program’s capacity is 65 children and it is currently full.
The Jelleff after-school program does not focus on just one area or subject. The children do a variety of things in a relatively structured program. The programs include sports such as soccer, dodgeball, flag football, and golf. There are also music programs that include guitar, piano, violin and drums as well as tap dancing. There are also character building programs, cooking programs and healthy lifestyles programs. Jelleff has a partnership with Dumbarton Oaks so that the children can go hiking through the Dumbarton Oaks grounds. There is also a “Power Hour” which is an hour in which the children are given different incentives to do their homework. There is some unstructured time for the children at Jelleff, especially on Friday, but the Jelleff after-school program has the children go through different classes or programs each day to keep them engaged until they leave the program.
There is transportation from Stoddert after school to Jelleff every day. There is a bus that takes children from Stoddert to Jelleff each day. The bus to Jelleff gets to Stoddert at around 3:45 each day, so there is 30 minutes, between 3:15 to 3:45, that the children going to Jelleff need supervision at Stoddert before getting on the Jelleff bus. This year, Ms. Terri Thompson supervises the Jelleff children at Stoddert for this 30-minute period. The children get a snack and do i-Ready math on the computers at Stoddert while they wait for the Jelleff bus. There is a $25 monthly fee per child to pay Terri for supervising the Jelleff children for this half hour each day. Parents pick their children up at Jelleff.
The size of the bus limits the number of Stoddert children who can attend Jelleff unless a parent can arrange to get their child to Jelleff each day in some other way. Not only is the Jelleff after-school program currently full, but the Stoddert bus is also full, so a Stoddert child could not join the Jelleff program now unless there is a spot that opens up in the program and on the bus.
Registration for the Jelleff after-school program starts August 1. The first week of registration is only open for returning children. After the first week, registration is open to all. There are two simple forms that need to be filled out to register for the Jelleff after-school program. The program fills up fast, so if you want to get your child into the Jelleff program, you should register at the first available opportunity.
The registration for the Jelleff Spring Break Camp is on the DPR website and starts at noon on February 19. Registration for the Jelleff Summer Camp is also on the DPR website and starts at noon on February 22. The Jelleff summer camp has 2-week sessions through the summer. The Jelleff Spring Break and Summer Camps always fill up fast, typically within a few hours after registration opens.
Dental Care at Stoddert in February
Gordon Dental Associates is coming to Stoddert to provide students dental care. The dental care will be free for those students who do not have insurance. Gordon Dental Associates will take insurance for the students who have it but the dental care will be free for those students without insurance. Gordon Dental Associates will be at Stoddert on February 9 and 10. Students are not required to participate in this dental care but if you want your child to participate in this dental care, a parent needs to complete a consent form by February 5. Nurse Poindexter will also need parent volunteers to help take students to and from their classrooms and supervision during the event. Please contact the Nurse if you are able to provide assistance.
DCPS Immunizations Policy Change
DCPS is going back to its earlier policy of “no shots, no school.” In other words, if students do not have all of their immunizations, they will not be allowed to attend school.
This new policy could be a problem for Stoddert because Stoddert’s immunization rate is not great. Currently, Stoddert’s immunization rate is 86%. Janney Elementary School, which has close to twice as many students as Stoddert, has a 100% immunization rate. Parents need to get prepared for this policy change or some Stoddert students could be excluded from school until they get all of their immunizations.
This year, DCPS changed its lice policy. Previously, students with lice had to be sent home. For a number of reasons, DCPS changed this policy to allow students with lice to stay in school. Lice are a problem at all schools.
Now, Stoddert’s school nurse, Nurse Poindexter, will notify a student’s parents if a student has lice. The next day, Nurse Poindexter will check that student for lice as well as that student’s siblings. Nurse Poindexter will no longer check a whole classroom unless there is an outbreak of lice in a classroom. The fact that a student has lice is considered a student’s confidential medical information and is treated as confidential medical information by Stoddert.
The way to get rid of lice is just treatment, re-treatment and constant checking of students’ heads for lice. Parents should check for lice particularly at times when students get together, such as sleepovers or when they share things like bike helmets. Nurse Poindexter encouraged parents to be diligent and constantly check their children’s hair. The lice shampoos that are available only kill the live bugs; they do not kill the lice eggs in a student’s hair. You have to comb out a student’s hair to get rid of the lice eggs. Wash any clothes or bedding that might have lice in hot water to kill the lice. You can also use a flat iron to kill lice through heat. For anything that you cannot wash or heat, like a stuffed animal, just store it in a plastic bag for two weeks and that should kill any lice.
The teachers really appreciated their winter gifts and wanted to say “thank you” for them. Related to the Stoddert annual fundraising auction, the teachers wanted to remind everyone that the teachers are not responsible for each classroom’s auction project. Typically, the room parents get these projects going with other parent volunteers. The teachers just wanted to remind everyone that the room parents should get these auction projects going because the annual auction on March 12 will be here soon.
The PTO currently has $98,178 in cash on hand. The PTO received two DCPS grants which added up to $10,000, so the PTO has $10,000 more than it had last month.
PTO dues continue to come in slowly. To date, the PTO has received roughly $72,000 in dues. A total of 195 Stoddert families have paid PTO dues so far this year, and that includes 62 Stoddert families who are not in Stoddert’s AfterCare Program. With the current PTO dues paid, if the current rate of new PTO dues payments each month continues, the PTO should be able to meet its budget goal for PTO dues.
The main PTO expenses last month were the staff holiday gifts, landscaping expenses and the startup money given to StoddertCares.
On the revenue side, Stoddert gear sales brought in $3,000 to the PTO last month.
We were anticipating more teacher funding requests, but these have not materialized this year as much as we thought they would. There may be more teacher funding requests coming this year, but if not, the PTO will need to decide how to use the money that was set aside for teacher funding requests but not spent. Teachers may make a funding request to purchase the computer learning program Raz-Kids. A parent also suggested considering funding an experiential teaching position with this money. Jill Sanderson was interested in this position and has 20 years of museum education experience.
Jason Orlando, the PTO’s treasurer, will check to make sure that Stoddert is getting its Amazon Smile funds. Parents are encouraged to use the Amazon Smile program to buy things on Amazon so that Stoddert receives a percentage of those sales through Amazon. It is a bit tricky to use the Amazon Smile program so it takes a little care to make sure you are using that program to make your purchases on Amazon.
Annual Auction Update
There is no more Big Chili. Stoddert’s annual fundraising auction is now the “Annual Auction.” The Annual Auction will be in Stoddert’s gym. The folks organizing the Annual Auction are looking for lots of volunteers to help with the auction.
On January 20, there was an informal get together at the Orlando home to discuss Hardy Middle School for Stoddert students.
The Hardy Feeder School Pizza Mixer which was scheduled for Saturday, January 23, was postponed to a later date because of the huge snowstorm that hit Washington on Friday, January 22. The mixer will be in the Hardy gym.
Stoddert’s annual Family Fun Night is scheduled for Saturday, February 27 at the Stoddert gym.
Finally, Stoddert earned $140 from collecting box tops. Thanks and keep collecting those box tops.