The following are the minutes for the Stoddert PTO Executive meeting on August 31, 2016…
PTO President’s Welcome and Update
Our PTO President’s overarching goal for this year is to get our PTO and Stoddert parents a seat at the table for all DCPS’s discussions.
PTO President Jen Perry went to the DC government meeting at Roosevelt High School on picking a new DC Schools Chancellor to replace the departing Chancellor Kaya Henderson. The Mayor has set up a search process with an aggressive schedule. The goal is to pick a new chancellor by mid-October. Chancellor Henderson leaves October 1.
DC’s Teachers union wants to slow this process down and not rush picking a new chancellor but that does not look likely.
There were about a 100 people at this first meeting. There will be two more chancellor search meetings and those meetings are already scheduled. The Mayor has hired an executive search company to find the new chancellor. The search company is expected to produce a report on the new chancellor once they select a candidate.
A good contact for us at DCPS is Eli Hoffman who is the Community Action Coordinator for Wards 2 and 3 at DCPS. Jen has already met and talked to him.
We can participate in the chancellor selection process by writing a letter, for example, if there is something that we want to say about the chancellor selection process or the new chancellor.
Ward 3 Education Meeting
There was a Ward 3 Education Meeting recently. These meetings have representatives from all Wilson High School feeder schools including Stoddert. Stoddert’s representatives at the most recent meeting were Jill Sanderson and Melissa Loughlin. Everyone is encouraged to attend these meetings which cover a lot of DCPS issues related to Stoddert.
At the most recent meeting, there was a discussion of the Fillmore Arts Program which Stoddert participates in and is scheduled to end after this year.
Many of the school representatives at the meeting expressed concern about all of the recent unilateral top-down initiatives being imposed on the schools from DCPS headquarters. There have been a lot more of these types of initiatives recently. Many of the Ward 3 schools are concerned about their autonomy and DCPS putting too much change into the schools at one time.
Stoddert has had a smooth start to the school year. So far, Stoddert has 440 students enrolled this year. The class sizes in the 1st grade are comfortable, while they are larger in the 2nd and 4th grades. Stoddert has a lot of 5th graders this year with two full size 5th grade classes. Because Stoddert is over enrolled with in-boundary students this year, Stoddert was not able to take any students from the out-of-boundary waitlist.
This year, Stoddert has so far only had a nurse at Stoddert 3 days a week. Nurse Poindexter is still Stoddert’s nurse, but Stoddert is sharing her with other schools, which means that she can be at Stoddert only 3 days a week. Stoddert has been told that Nurse Poindexter can only be at Stoddert 3 days a week, instead of fulltime like last year, because there is a shortage of nurses for the schools.
Stoddert has gone to a School Wide Enrichment or SWE model for its enrichment program. This is different from the way the program was run last year when Stoddert had a traditional pull-out enrichment model where enrichment students were pulled from their regular classrooms for enrichment classes. The pull-out model from last year was not sanctioned by DCPS and only served 30 to 35 students at Stoddert.
The SWE model will serve over 200 Stoddert students this year. Ms. Hong, who was Stoddert’s enrichment teacher last year, resigned at the end of July. After Ms. Hong’s resignation, Stoddert hired Mr. Scott to take over Stoddert’s new SWE model. In Stoddert’s new SWE program, Mr. Scott works with Ms. Bowlin and Ms. Thompson in the library where the SWE program will be taught. Currently, they are doing assessments and then will implement the SWE program.
Stoddert’s results from last year’s PARRC testing are out. Stoddert improved on its 2015 PARRC results in both English Language Arts (ELA) and Math. Out of the 189 DC schools that reported their PARRC results, Stoddert was 4th overall. The only DC elementary school with better PARRC results was Mann Elementary. If anyone wants to see all the PARRC results, the Office of the State Superintendent for Education (OSSE) website has the PARRC results. On September 12, all of the DC schools are supposed to receive their individual student results. Stoddert will try to send the student PARRC test results to parents as soon as Stoddert receives the results.
In another sign of Stoddert’s success, Stoddert met all 6 of its Chancellor Goals last year.
Stoddert has a new ELA LEAP coach who is Grace Park.
One of the new initiatives this year is the new Eureka Math program. The DC schools that tried the Eureka Math program last year saw big increases in their Math PARRC scores. Hyde Elementary was one of those schools that saw a big improvement in its Math PARRC score. After that success, DCPS wants DC schools including Stoddert to use Eureka Math this year. Stoddert has the new Eureka Math books already. DCPS intends for the Eureka Math program to be used for years to come.
DCPS has also mandated a new way to evaluate teachers this year. There will be no outside teacher evaluators as in years past. All teacher evaluations will be done by Stoddert’s in-school staff.
Principal Bryant asks parents to show some patience this year as there will be a lot of change this year at Stoddert.
DCPS pushed Eureka Math onto the DC schools very late this year. The new Eureka Math initiative was a surprise for Stoddert and its teachers.
Each Stoddert teacher is either in Stoddert’s Math or ELA LEAP program. As a part of the Math LEAP program, there are big teacher meetings where the new Eureka Math program is discussed.
Ms. Bowlin is looking for volunteers to help with shelving books in the library.
Ms. Smith has a project for making sandwiches and delivering them to the homeless. This is a #StoddertCares project. Ms. Smith wants to talk to the parents in charge of #StoddertCares.
Ms. Villarraga needs parent volunteers for the Hispanic Heritage event at Stoddert on October 6.
The draft PTO Budget is in. The PTO revenue comes mainly from PTO dues and the annual auction. Other PTO events may make money, but they are not intended to be fundraisers.
PTO Dues that are required for those families in the Extended Day Program gives the PTO a stable revenue stream which gives stability and predictability to the PTO’s budget.
Last year, we budgeted $75,000 for PTO dues, but failed to get that much money in dues. This year’s budget only has $70,000 for dues. The ”Big Chili” line item in the budget is the money we are expecting to make from the annual auction. We are trying to gross $35,000 on the auction. The budget has PTO dues and the money from the auction adding up to $110,000 for this year.
Last year, there was an effort to make the budget more specific on detailing expenses. The expenses in this year’s budget are based on last year’s expenses. The PTO’s largest expense is teacher/staff stipends.
Last year, we tried using teacher initiatives to take the place of part of the stipends that the PTO has paid to teachers in the past. Despite setting aside money for teacher initiatives, the PTO did not receive that many teacher requests for money through the initiative process. Additionally, Stoddert’s staff had to review the teacher initiative requests that did come in, which increased the workload on the staff.
Based on last year’s experience with the teacher initiatives, the PTO is dropping the teacher initiatives and going back to the usual teacher/staff stipend amounts of years past. This year, there will be an initial stipend at the beginning of the year. If the PTO has the money, the PTO will do another stipend mid-year in January. The budget has $35,000 for stipends. The PTO will send out stipends after the PTO budget gets approved at Back-to-School night next week.
The PTO tries to support things that have an impact on the whole school, not just one classroom. Stipends do that as they go to all Stoddert teachers and staff.
Mr. Scott is Stoddert’s new school enrichment teacher. He thinks that he will have funding requests in the future, but he wants to wait and see how things go before making any requests.
Stoddert received another $10,000 grant for this year. This is the same grant that Stoddert got last year and used to pay for transportation for cornerstone activities like the 2nd grade bike ride field trip. The transportation costs for the bike trip last year were $3,000. Stoddert can use this grant to cover the costs of dancing classrooms for the 5th graders, the expenses of Stoddert’s growing cross country and track and field teams. Unfortunately, this may be our last year to get this grant.
Stoddert is no longer eligible for the OSSE garden grant and did not get it this year. Even though we are not getting this grant, the PTO is still paying a $15,000 salary supplement to our garden teacher Hannah Schiff.
The PTO budget contains a small amount of money for the #StoddertCares organization, but this organization should become self-sustaining financially, like the Chorus, which pays its own expenses with the money from the fees that it charges. The PTO will give money to help a school club or organization get started, but these activities should become self-sustaining financially.
We want to be conservative with our spending in the PTO budget this year and not spend beyond our means as we may need to fund art and music class start-up costs if Fillmore ends this year.
This year’s budget has a new line item for the ongoing costs for software licensing. The PTO pays for the licenses to certain software that DCPS won’t pay for. We need to make sure we are coordinated on the software licenses so there is no duplication of software.
The PTO pays for “Stem Scopes” which is the curriculum that Stoddert is using for its science classes. Stem Scopes is in a “science costs” line item in the PTO budget.
Stoddert’s AfterCare or Extended Day Program (EDP) is financially self-sufficient. PTO funds are separate from EDP funds. PTO dues are not used for EDP and EDP money does not go to the PTO. We want Stoddert families who are not in the EDP to pay PTO dues because PTO dues are for making all of Stoddert better and are not used for EDP at all.
After this discussion of the PTO budget for this year, a motion was made to submit the proposed PTO budget to the PTO membership for a vote. The motion was seconded. The motion passed by a unanimous voice vote.
Finally, the PTO should seek out parents with grant writing experience so Stoddert can continue to get some of the many grants that are available to Stoddert.
EDP Update from Coach V
The EDP had a huge waitlist coming into this school year. The waitlist was around 60 students. EDP was able to move 45 students from the waitlist into the program. EDP secured 3 Stoddert classrooms to accommodate the increased number of students in the EDP. Once the weather turns cold and it will not be possible to let the students go outside, the EDP will use these classrooms for the larger number of students in the EDP this year. Eventually, EDP should be able to take in everyone currently on the EDP waitlist.
Coach V is working hard to make everything digital with Stoddert’s EDP. The goal is to try to avoid using paper for anything.
EDP costs may go up this year. Stoddert’s EDP rents space at Stoddert from DCPS. The rent is $3,000 per month. DCPS unexpectedly added a $20,000 fee for security guards. DCPS appears to be requiring everyone who rents space from DCPS to get and pay for extra security guards. This security fee is a significant expense that the EDP was not able to budget for because DCPS just insisted on this very recently. EDP is trying to get this new security requirement and fee waived by DCPS. If that does not happen, then an extra charge of $10 per student in the EDP per month would cover this new expense. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to raise EDP fees this year.
Stoddert’s EDP is a bargain. The EDP is thinking of gradually increasing the fees that parents will have to pay for EDP in the coming years. The current thinking is that the EDP would raise the fee it charges a small amount each year for the next few years.
The problem is that EDP is on a very tight budget in that every bit of the money raised through the EDP fees that parents pay is spent each year with no extra money at all for unexpected expenses. Raising EDP fees would give the EDP extra money for surprise expenses like the new DCPS security fee. Also, Coach V needs to hire more staff for Stoddert’s expanding EDP. The EDP has a cash cushion now, but EDP expenses equal the fees paid in. Without the current cash cushion, EDP would not be able to cover emergencies because EDP is just breaking even on expenses vs. fees.
Currently, there are roughly 150 students showing up each day for the EDP. The EDP has accepted 195 students into the program. Coach V is waiting to see if the extra 45 students accepted into the EDP start showing up. If they don’t, then Coach V will let in all the students who are currently on the EDP waitlist. So far, EDP is using only one room because not all of the 195 students accepted into the EDP are actually showing up. EDP went ahead and got the 3 extra classrooms in case there is a need for them and there probably will be once the weather prevents the EDP from having the students go outside.
There are more 5th graders in the EDP this year. The mix of older and younger kids in the EDP this year is going well. The EDP is segregating by age when the students are on the playground.
In September, the EDP will send to parents a survey about the classes offered during EDP. Many parents want to meet the vendors for the EDP classes. EDP will set up a meeting where parents can meet the vendors.
Many parents hold a space in the EDP as a convenience or as an insurance policy for when they occasionally need to send their children to aftercare. That’s why the EDP has less kids showing up to the EDP each day than have been accepted into the EDP. Once Coach V figures out how many students are consistently not showing up for the EDP, he will let extra students in off the EDP waitlist. The EDP can have enough staff for all the students that have already been accepted into the EDP, even though less students are actually showing up.
Coach V is always hiring for the EDP. Coach V is hiring full time staff instead of part time staff as was done in the past. Coach V would rather have fulltime staff that are at the EDP all week.