April 12th 2019 PTA Meeting Minutes 8:30 am – 9:30 am

Kenny opens the meeting at 8:33am and introduces our Special Fifth Grade speaker, Carolina Nowak. When she leaves PS 31, she will miss all the friendly teachers, who always teach in unique, fun ways. She comments on how every teacher not only has engaging lessons, but also cares about the whole child.  Her advice to incoming students: “Listen to the 7 habits and refer to them when making important choices; they will help you make better decisions.”

Our Teacher of the Month Speaker is First Grade teacher, Ms. Samantha Caggiano. Ms. Caggiano attends all our PTA events and loves seeing her students in and out of school. She is from Queens and attended Queens College. It is her second year teaching First grade at PS 31 and she is not going anywhere. She is grateful for her mentor, Ms. Puma, and for the supportive staff and parents. In her spare time, she enjoys knitting to help relieve stress. Her favorite part of the day is Mix and Mingle, when she can interact with students in a more casual way.

Mrs. Gallo addresses parents. She is extremely happy and proud of the turnout of our 2nd Annual Leadership Day, which was themed “Career Day” this year, and of the many inclusive activities during Start with Hello Week, such as the school’s “Compliment Catcher.” Please take the Leader in Me Survey: even though Pre-K is not an option on the survey, these students still participate in the program, and parents can choose Kindergarten in order to complete the survey. Ms. Gallo also encourages parents to stay up-to-date on PS 31 events by downloading the PS 31 Samuel F. DuPont App and by following us on Instagram @ PS31PTA, on the PS 31 PTA Facebook group, and on Twitter @ps31ptabrooklyn.

Mrs. Gallo is also excited about our upcoming Parent Workshops for Pre-K to 5th grade parents with Anna Soto, to create a school-wide tapestry mural inspired by the concept of “building leaders of change.” The workshops will begin in May on Tuesdays and Saturdays to involve both children and their parents. Regarding the new Garden of Happiness build, the Thursday, April 18th Garden Installation must be postponed; the new day is set for May 15th. We are also awaiting our mural approval.

This year Math exemplars are in full effect from K-5th grades, helping students to solve word problems, to create a mental toolbox of strategies, and to self-assess and peer assess, as well as to familiarize themselves with the use of rubrics. Pre-K teachers have implemented a program called Building Blocks, in preparation for Kindergarten, though students may be introduced to the Math Exemplars program, if they are ready. A Parent suggested the possibility of a Reading Workshop for parents, in addition to the math workshops that have already happened for Kindergarten and First Grade parents.

 Fundraising Recap was given by Elodie Cros and Jennie Ward:

  • World’s Finest Chocolate Sale raised $7,000.
  • Neon Party: we raised $48,000.
  • 1-209 won the Ice Cream Party with 151 Gala Points. There was also a discussion of a possibility for a post-Gala recap.
  • Class Baskets Alone Raised $3,300; Thank you Class Parents!
  • Square 1 Art: a little less than $2,000 split between school and PTA.

Committee Updates:

  • Nominating Committee. Introduction of 5th Board Member. The election will be held during our final PTA meeting on June 8th. Melissa Wiedemann was nominated by Denisse Alvarado to be our 5th board member and she accepted!
  • The sun is shining and our kids need Recess!
  • Volunteer: www.bit.ly/PS31Volunteer

Dates to Remember:

  • Recap Meeting with Pizza: Tuesday, April 16th: 6:00 pm – 7:00pm.
  • School Tour Thursday April 18th: 8:30 am.
  • SLT Meeting: Tuesday, April 30th: 11:45am.
  • SPRING RECESS Starts Friday April 19th –School RESUMES Monday, April 29th.
  • Every Kid Healthy Day! Saturday May 4th 12:00 – 3:00.
  • Parent Engagement Class with April from Hosh Yoga begins May 8th Wednesday 8:15am – 9:00am for 5 weeks.
  • May 9th and 10 is the Quality Review.
  • Wednesday May 15th Parent Teacher Conferences.
  • Next PTA Meeting, Friday May 17th at 8:30am.
  • Story Pirates are coming to PS 31 on June 1st from 11:00 am – 12:00 pm. ALL AGES are allowed to attend, but you should RSVP ahead of time.
  • Sunday PS 31 Yankees Game Day at 1:00 pm (SOLD OUT). Pre-order is possible for next year.
  • Kindergarten Rockness Music Concert! Thursday, April 18th, times vary.
  • Middle School Talk by Maurice Frumpkin Wednesday May 8th 6:00pm.
  • Math Night by Williamsburg Mathnasium will be May 17th.


February 8th, 2019 PTA Meeting Minutes

Meeting begins at 8:35 am. Members sign in and take a moment to write what they love about PS 31 on a post-it, then add it to our large heart. Comments include:

“It feels like home.”

“I love everything about PS 31; from the staff, students, PTA, events, community and academics. PS 31 is a school of excellence!”

“The community of PS 31. It really is an extended family

“PTA leaders are so engaged.”

“Our daughter loves it.”

“An administration that will always listen.”

And more. Look for the completed heart in our front hallway.

Our first speaker is Katherine from Franklin Street Community Garden. Greenpoint Citizens Club is an environmental program, which is held twice a month, beginning March 6th, for children ages 6 – 9. Students are immersed in nature and begin contemplating the big question of “What can we, as citizens, do to help our environment?” The program is grant-funded and free, but registration is required. Visit: http://61franklinstreetgarden.com/about-greenpoint-citizens-club/ to apply.

Next we hear from teacher of the month speaker, 2nd grade instructor and PS 31 graduate, Ms. Daniella D’Agate. She speaks of the school-run fundraiser, the Someone Special Dance, 6:00pm to 8:00pm on Friday March 1st for Grades 3 to 5, and 11:00am – 1:00pm, Saturday, March 2nd for grades Pre-K – 2. Students must be accompanied by an adult, and students may bring more than one special person.

Ms. D’Agate is followed by special guest student speaker, fifth grader, Brandon Ovalles. He recalls beginning Kindergarten shy and nervous, but with the support of good friends and great teachers, he gained confidence throughout his PS 31 years. If he could give a piece of advice to an incoming student, he would say “Be on your best behavior and above all, help others; be a friend to all.”

Principal Scarlato welcomes families. She raves about “The Jungle Book Kids” production: it is “nothing short of Broadway,” she states. She announces that PS 31 will be on the participatory budget ballot this year, please vote! Fund will be used towards a multimedia upgrade in the library as well as SmartBoards in classrooms. She shares the exciting news that our Chess Team is preparing for Nationals!

Ms. Tesioriero and Green Leaders of Change Farm Stand is also set up at the PTA Meeting today. Their hydroponic produce includes: Swiss chard, tomatoes, basil and parsley.

Elodie Cros gives a fundraising recap of our latest fundraiser, Orangetheory. We made $820 for our PTA in an hour! She also announces upcoming and current events. The final “Jungle Book Kids” performance is tonight 6:00 pm. Small snacks and drinks for purchase, as well as lights and PS 31 Merch! Use the hashtag #PS31JungleBookKids.

There will be a Love Day Envelope Fundraiser, February 14th. Please show your love for PS 31 by wearing your PS 31 merchandise and/or heart-filled red, pink, or white attire. Please be sure to sell at least ONE box of chocolate for our World’s Finest Chocolate Sale. Lastly, Kara Manber announces that the PTA is in search of Loft Space or Gallery space for our Spring Art Show.

Up next, committee updates! The Gala Planning Committee is already hard at work.  Parent, Erica Fama encourages others to check out Buy Nothing Sites! This year’s Gala will be at the Greenpoint Loft, Thursday April 4th.  Parents can help by soliciting donations, giving to their Class Basket, by buying tickets, and by bidding on items when the auction begins March 20th.  Parents can donate wish list items and purchase tickets using the links below: (bit.ly links are case sensitive):

Discount tickets are available, if you need financial assistance reach out to your PTA or Ms. Vita.

Sound Dampening Committee, Brookfield is still on board and will likely also provide a technician.

Title 1 Parent Advisory Committee, results from the survey are in and $1,000 of our Title 1 Parent Engagement Funding will be used towards the PS 31 App.  The rest will be used for a Wellness Day for families on a weekend.

Student Teacher ratio committee is happy to announce a Student Teacher has begun helping first graders.

The Green Wellness Committee has spoken to Teracycle and GoGoSqueez about our competition victory! The Garden of Happiness design layout has been created by Fred from Nature Based. Fruit trees and bushes will be donated by Green Greenpoint and the build is tentatively set for April 18th, with a Stewardship planting day after that. Alternative Menu Survey #3 results are in. Only 104 families responded, and of those families, 65% would like to adopt the Alternative Menu. For parents who feel passionately about this please join the next Green Wellness Meeting, February 27th at 8:30 am.

Garden to Café visited our school and was a great success. Chef Edward and Chef George made samples of their locally-grown produce for children to try. Students were able to sample apples, salad and roasted carrots. Alison is also planning a PD on healthy foods with Edible Schoolyard: stay tuned!

The AUDIT Committee needs volunteers to audit the PTA account and books within a few weeks. The process should be up to 2 hours. The committee includes: Sumi DeBenedittis, Olivia Tharp, Kay Bounthisanh, Lanassa Favorite, and Alejandro Montalvo.

At 9:15 am, there is time for questions. Despina asks if there is a place for parents to wait during dismissal when it is very cold or rainy outside and they have two children to pick up. Mrs. Gallo explains staggered dismissal is 100% for the safety of the children, and a gap in between children should never be more than 10-15 minutes. That being said, she will think about an alternative option or safe waiting area on days weather is terribly inclement.

  • Dates to Remember:
    • PTA Recap with Pizza! Tuesday, February 12th 6:00 pm. CANCELED
    • Pre-K Non-Attendance Day, Wednesday February 13th
    • School Tour, Thursday, February 14th at 8:30am.
    • Next SLT Meeting Friday, February 15th, 11:45 am.
    • Mid-Winter Break, February 18th through February 22nd
    • Green Wellness Meeting, Wednesday, February 27th 8:30 am.
    • Register for Pre-K!
    • Next PTA Meeting: March 15th, 2019.
    • Thank you to Michael Kawochka for the coffee today! Michael@warrenlewis.com
    • As always follow @PS31PTA on Instagram and Facebook.
    • E-mail us with any concerns: 31ParentTeacher@gmail.com

Meeting concludes at 9:25 am.


January 2019 PS 31 PTA Minutes

The meeting begins at 8:36am with a greeting from Principal Scarlato. She shares many exciting PS 31 updates. The school is hosting GoMath Workshops for 1st Grade (January 25th) and Kindergarten (January 29th).

The Cookshop program has also begun, parents have been notified if they were accepted into the program. The program will start off with fruit recipes on Wednesday, January 30th for Kindergarten and 1st grade families. Principal Scarlato expresses the desire and drive to start a Student Council for fourth and fifth graders, with two elected representatives from each class. She would also like to develop a PS 31 Debate Team and upgrade our school library in the near future.

The 5th grade Urban Ballroom Performance is January 24th at 9:00 am, directed by Stephanie of WMAAC. Lastly, Principal Scarlato implores parents to help our Green Leaders of Change by donating canned goods to their food drive. The deadline for donations is February 7th.

After some concern regarding cockroaches seen in the Pre-K bathroom and PTA room, we had a Pest Control update from Giovanni, our Custodial Engineer.  The school is following protocol and is on top of the problem: any type of poison cannot be placed in areas shared by children. Glue traps are placed in potential entry points. It is also valid that we share Brooklyn with a number of critters, and it may be inevitable to encounter one.

Next we hear from two very special speakers. 5th grader, Nyla Santana, speaks of her fond PS 31 memories and advises incoming students not to stress too much! They are entering an exciting and welcoming school community.

Mrs. Puma, our school librarian, is doing great things! In the past month two authors visited our school. Dr. Parino read her books about identifying and coping with different emotions, while Schmitty the Weather Dog and his author owner shared the excitement of meteorology. She is now focused on our production of “The Jungle Book Kids.” Performances are scheduled for February 7th and 8th at 6:00 pm in the school auditorium. Volunteers are still needed for makeup, sound, lighting, and item donations. Tickets for the shows are sold ahead of time by visiting showtix4u (search “PS 31 PTA” or “Jungle Book Kids”). There is also an Amazon Wish list for the event.

Treasurer, Elodie Cros gives Fundraising Event Recaps: Festive Fashion Disaster Results ($675), Santa Picture Fundraiser at Burson & Reynolds ($140) and our Free Community Event, Potluck and Game Night, was a huge success. The PTA is planning a similar event tentatively for Saturday, March 9th with the possibility of a Book Swap theme.

 In addition to Upcoming Events, Jennie Ward gives details on our largest fundraiser of the year! Our Annual Spring Gala will be April 4th with online auction starting March 20th! The theme is Neon, so get ready to GLOW Crazy! Donation forms will be backpacked; please begin soliciting donations. Friday, January 25th will be the Class Parent Gala Basket Meeting at 8:30 am. You can also enter auction items at https://ps31pta.schoolauction.net/gala2019/donate_items/new.

The Orangetheory Fundraiser Sunday, January 27th at 2pm, Orange Theory will match each splat point! World’s Finest Chocolate Fundraiser will occur February 4th – March 4th. Be sure to turn in your permission slip, as this will be your ticket to get your first box of chocolate. If every child in the school sells 1 box, we will make $18,500.

 Mrs. Gallo gives parents an update on Recess progress. Students will engage in 20 minutes of “Mix & Mingle” on days they do not have recess. During this time, students can socialize, walk around, and take a break. We have also been implementing indoor recess on days students are unable to go outside. Parent volunteers are still vital to making recess possible. Sign up at:  http://signup.com/go/guDbzhr

Brief Committee Updates. Merchandise is here and has been distributed to families that preordered! Up next is our sustainability coach, Ali Schuettinger, giving updates for the Green Wellness Committee. The Green Wellness Meeting will be held Wednesday, January 23rd 8:30am. Topics on the agenda include a conference call with Terra Cycle regarding the lumber we won for our Garden of Happiness; Yoga Foster; Electric School Buses, and more. We have also met with mural artist, Natalia! A third and final Menu Survey was backpacked, however it printed barely legible. Kara Manber and Ali highlight the differences. The Alternative Menu offers balanced meal selections with more vegetarian options, more food made from scratch and less processed and fried foods, Pizza Fridays, cheese sandwiches, peanut butter and jelly and chocolate milk will remain. The Regular Menu still offers balanced meal selections that meet precise USDA nutrition standards. While it is our job to educate students on healthy meal options, the point is made that 70% of our students rely on school lunch and it is vital they eat and do not go home hungry. The question was brought to the PTA meeting attendees and the desire to switch to the Alternative Menu is unanimous by show of hands. Please show where you stand on the issue by returning the survey.

Due to time constraints, the Gym Soundproofing Committee and SLT update are passed over for the time being.

Parents take a survey determining Title 1 Parent Engagement Funds. Parents decide they do want to keep the PS 31 School App and would prefer a family event on a weekend opposed to a weekday.

We revisit the discussion regarding By-Laws in writing. We will discuss further at the next meeting.

Article III, Section 2 states “Each member shall be requested to make a voluntary donation of $200.00. Donations are not a requirement for membership, voting or running for office.”

Our suggested wording options:

A- Suggested annual dues are $200; however, this is only a suggested amount and parents may pay whatever they can afford. Donations are not a requirement for membership, voting, or running for office.

B-It takes approximately $200 per student to fund enrichment programs for the year, so this is the suggested amount that each parent is requested to donate to the PTA. Donations are not a requirement for membership, voting, or running for office.”

Lastly, we have a representative from North Brooklyn Neighbors speaking about the “Cleaner Air with Electric School Bus” postcard petition. Volkswagen cheated federal emissions and polluted our air. As a result, they have agreed to pay a settlement of $127 million and $52.4 million has been allocated to fund electric school buses and they are urging the Governor to use the money to fund electric school buses in communities most impacted, such as North Brooklyn. Please send back your postcards!

  • PTA RECAP MEETING Tuesday, January 22nd 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm with Pizza from Michael Kawochka!
  • First COOKSHOP for grades K & 1 on Wednesday, January 30th 2:30 pm. You have been notified if you have been selected.
  • Thank you to Michael Kawochka for pizza donations (michael@warrenlewis.com).


December 14th, 8:30 am PTA Meeting Minutes

 *Agendas include PTA by-law changes up for vote. November Meeting Minutes are on tables for approval. PTA Treasurer, Elodie Cros, is absent.

Kenny Volandes briefly welcomes attendants and asks parents to sign in. The meeting begins with a very special student guest speaker from class 5-307, Janka Wilczynski, presenting “What I Will Miss about PS 31 upon Graduation.” Janka enjoys playing cello and exploring the world through books. If she could give any advice to a first grader in PS 31 she would tell them to “be prepared for the journey ahead of you; it is hard and amazing.”

Next we hear from Teacher of the Month Speaker, Ms. Tesoriero. She talks about the PS 31 Green Team Leaders of Change and the community service they are doing, helping community businesses and the 94th police precinct decorate for the holidays using up-cycled ornaments, made from old CDs. A parent thanks Mrs. Tesoriero for instilling of love and sense of responsibility for the world around her daughter. The Green Team Leaders of Change are growing fruits and vegetables in the hydroponic garden and giving away the produce every first Friday of the month, after school in the schoolyard; donations are always encouraged.  The Green Team will also have a canned food drive in January and use mathematical skills by creating a graph to record donations. Ms. Tesoriero informs parents that she and Mrs. Sankner are the pilot teachers implementing Yoga Foster to students in hopes of bringing the program to the school.

Welcome from Principal Scarlato who announces that 5th grade ballroom dancing has begun, along with 3rd grade ballet. Third and Fourth graders have mini-performances on Thursday, December 20th. Music will begin after break for the half of students that did not receive it in this cycle through Rockness Music. The school is adopting a robotics program for Pre-K and Kindergarten. Ms. Gallo has issued her first official Leader in Me Newsletter, allowing parents and students to practice the life skills they are learning in school and adapting those lessons to their lives at home, creating consistency in expectations for children at school and at home, Ms. Gallo also speaks to a universal school logo, along the same lines of the tree hand. If anyone is interested in helping with this design, please reach out to her. Principal Scarlato is happy to announce she has secured a Student Teacher for first grade and will continue applying for others as a way to give students in upper grades more one-on-one attention.  Lastly, she thanks all parents and wishes them a very happy holiday and Winter break.

PTA Secretary, Kara Manber highlight PS 31’s new art teacher, Frank Caprino, and showcases his curriculum with the students. Kindergarten made scarecrows using tracing, patterns, cutting and pasting. They also created rainbow fish and looked at Kandinsky, attempting to replicate his abstract work. Currently they are embarking on self-portraits/x-rays. First grade created Pop Art inspired by Andy Warhol with fall leaves. They are mixing colors, painting abstract numbers and working on a “memory quilt” like the book Tar Beach. Second graders expand upon the lines and patterns to make crazy hair characters and are now studying Van Gogh. Third grade is practicing patterns with bubble letters and discovering African culture through their art. Fourth graders used watercolors to make hand designs. They are also creating mandalas while discussing symmetry. Art has not been returned in preparation for a Spring Art Show.

Stephanie Samperi-Gonzalez speaks about recess. With the help of parent volunteers, students are getting outside three days a week for un-instructed free play. This is a great improvement, but we are aiming for more. It is important for parents to show how important recess is for our children. If you are able, please volunteer for recess. A volunteer should first enter through the main school entrance to sign in and receive a visitor’s pass, and then come around to the playground. Once you are there, help take out recess equipment (chalk, sensory bed tools) and have fun! Engage with students, play games and help them stay safe. Please do not spend the time on your phone and if you absolutely must cancel, please find a reliable replacement. We are exploring ways to have more recess and are discussing possibilities of indoor recess time. Volunteer at: http://signup.com/go/goDbzhr.

Jennie Ward, PTA Co-President, reviews the changes in by-laws and asks for a show of hands to approve. Majority agrees with approval. After vote is passed parents and Principal Scarlato express concerns about changing the recommended dues amount to $200, a large amount of money that is necessary to continue to give students the enrichment programs we are offering now, but is also an unrealistic donation amount for many families in our community. The change in by laws is now reflecting what the PTA has suggested parents pay, not changing the amount. The PTA decides to bring this one issue for a future re-vote and will look for ways to solicit donations while acknowledging our Title 1 school population. Though $200 is the asking donation, enrichments do rely heavily on fundraisers. Any amount families can give, whether it be $5 in an envelope fundraiser, a baked good, or volunteering their time, is greatly appreciated.

The PTA then reports on Fundraisers and Fundraising Events: Pajama Day raised $1,200, the most we have ever raised in an envelope fundraiser! Thank you! Kids’ Kastle was also an incredibly successful event, raising $3,100. Huge appreciation is shown to Kay and Lanassa, the heads of Kids’ Kastle. They graciously worked from start to finish of this fundraiser. Thank you volunteers and participants! If you donate in any way and would like a tax receipt for the donation, please keep receipts and e-mail us the amount.

Committee updates are next. Kristin Dougherty from the Merchandising Committee announces that the 2018-2019 merchandise is out for Pre-Order! In the future the committee would like to discuss the possibility of a school mascot.

Jenny Gania from Gym Sound Dampening Committee shares the news that Brookfield has offered the PTA $20,000 for this project. A meeting on Monday with DSF will decide next steps.

Our Sustainability Coach, Ali Schuettinger from Green Wellness Committee gives a recap of the Eco-Family Event that occurred Wednesday after school. Free daffodils were given to families, the Green Team painted a leaf border around the chalkboard wall and Ali planted daffodils with children. PS 31 has received the Grow to Learn Mini-Grant $2,000; thank you Jennie Ward for applying! We also won the Terra Cycle Recycled Garden Contest, which will give us $7,500 of materials for our garden.  A third and final survey regarding the Alternative Menu will circulate and if there is a large response in favor, we will pursue next steps to implementing the new menu. Ali is also going to approach Edible Schoolyard to visit our school. Edible Schoolyard aims to cultivate healthy students and communities through hands-on cooking and gardening education.

Finally, Focus MMA enthusiastically speaks about their program. They are trialing a pick-up afterschool program with our school, giving interested families free pickup in January. If you are interested in signing your child up, please call (347) 559-0912.

Coffee was provided by Michael Kawochka, from Sotheby’s Real Estate. Contact him at Michael@WarrenLewis.com if you are interested in discussing your real estate options for the neighborhood.

Dates to Remember:

– Tuesday, December 18th PTA Recap Meeting 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm with pizza!

– Thursday, December 20th  Festive Fashion Disaster Envelope Fundraiser.

– Saturday December 22nd Santa Picture Day Fundraiser at Burson & Reynolds.

– Friday, January 11th Dr. Angela Parino, author promoting health, wellness, and positive self-esteem visits PS 31. Thank you Mrs. Puma for organizing!

– Saturday, January 12th 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm Family Potluck and Board Game Day.

– Wednesday, January 16th 8:30 am Title 1 Parent Engagement Funds Meeting.

– Sunday, January 27th 2:00 pm. Orange Theory Fundraiser.

– Donors Choose: search PS 31 on Donors Choose for school projects.

– Book Nook Every Wednesday and Thursday 7:35 am – 8:05 am. $3 Books!

– Winter Break December 24th to January 2nd.

– Happy Holidays! Conclusion 9:35 am.


November 16th 8:30 am PTA Meeting Minutes

Location: PS 31 Cafeteria

The meeting begins with football-loving fifth grader, Tristan Boston, reminiscing about his time at PS 31 and what he will miss most when he goes to middle school. He speaks of the great guidance and advice his teachers have given him and the constant support from his friends around him. When asked what advice he would give to a PS 31 first grader, he replies “Try your hardest and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.”

Next, Ms. Scarlato welcomes attendees. She speaks of our Saturday CookShop class for families and the in-class cooking instruction all students receive. PS 31 has also adopted a supplement to GoMath, called Exemplars. The program teaches students a variety of strategies to solve math problems and encourages them to think outside the box. If you would like more information, please contact her.

With the help of the PTA and Carmine, our DSF representative, Ms. Scarlato is investigating the auditorium sound system. Hopefully the solution will be as simple as adding additional speakers to the rear of the auditorium. She is also consistently following up on the Soundproofing of the Gym project and hopes to have DCF’s proposed budget soon.

Auditions for The Jungle Book will be held November 28th. Ballroom dancing for 5th graders will begin November 29th.  Our 3-day per week Art Teacher is having a lasting impact on our students and Ms. Scarlato, faculty, children, and parents are impressed! Additionally, if you are looking for new, fun, effective ways to engage your child, try Achieve 3000 (grades 3-5) and Smarty Ants (Grades K-2). Ask your teacher for more details.  The Leader in Me Survey has been extended, so please fill it out if you have not already done so. Also, please send in your lunch forms, as we receive Title 1 funding based on these.  In conclusion, Ms. Scarlato expresses her gratitude for all the parents and wishes all a very Happy Thanksgiving.

Elodie Cros, PTA Treasurer, gives an update on PS 31 fundraisers: $738 raised from School Toolbox; $584 raised from Movie Night. Charleston Wrap raised $5,000 for PS 31 PTA and parents can expect orders by December 7th. Picture Day brought in $5,667 for our PS 31 PTA. Fall Fest raised over $8,000 and any unclaimed costumes from the Drive were donated to a Children’s Hospital. Our Marathon Bake Sale Fundraiser raised $950 and was truly a great community event; unsold goods were taken to the Box Street Homeless Shelter and distributed to our PS 31 Teachers. Thank you to ALL our volunteers, donators, bakers and lifters for helping make these events successful!

Jennie Ward, PTA Co-President, mentions the fundraisers that are currently in place. The Martial Arts Fundraiser: pay $147 directly to PTA and receive 5 weeks and a uniform at NYMAA. Please be sure to include your child’s name and class to receive class voucher. This fundraiser is extended to January 15th. #DimeGivesBack is another easy way to earn money for our PTA. Simply take a picture, write what you’re thankful for, and post on social media! Say you’re supporting the Parent-Teacher Association of PS 31. Use #dimegivesback and our PTA receives $10 per photo, $15 for a video. OurHarvest is donating a percentage of all sales to our PTA when you use the coupon code: PS31. Update: Canned Good Drive has been postponed to January, when pantry is in greater need.

Kenny Volandes, PTA Co-President, gives a review on the PTA Dues. The goal is $35,000 in Parent Dues alone. We have raised $11,000 and are $24,000 away from our goal. We have already surpassed the amount of dues paid last year. Let’s keep it up. Giving your time is also a great way to help our school. We do consistently need recess volunteers to maximize children’s outdoor physical play. To sign up go to: http://signup.com/go/goDbzhr.

Kara Manber, PTA Secretary, reminds parents the total budget to cover our children’s enrichments: dance, music, art, chess and the school musical is about $105,000, which is why dues and fundraisers are so vital and necessary to be able to continue offering these amazing programs to our children. She continues with some brief committee updates.

Student-Teacher Ratio: Brooklyn College has been approached and with the help of administration we are looking for other colleges to be a site to receive their student teachers. This is a free way to get our children more one on one attention. If you know more about this process, please let the PTA know.

Green Wellness Committee– Our Chalkboard Wall is painted and in use! For a chance to get our school $7,500 in recycled garden materials, please visit the contest site to vote for PS 31! You can vote once a day until November 30th. We are currently in first place! Next, Kara quickly speaks on the Alternative Menu PS 31 is exploring. The menu offers less meat options, less processed foods, more plant based food made from scratch. There is still pizza Fridays and chocolate milk can still be offered. The results of the Menu Survey are as follows: 212 Responses (35% participation) 87% Voted in favor of adopting the Alternative Menu. With that, she introduces District 14 School Food Manager, Pamela Okoli, presenting about school menu options. Pamela assures parents that the food children are eating off the Regular Menu is not processed and is free of antibiotics, BHA, MSG, Artificial Colors and more. Students still receive a variety of healthy options such as hummus, carrots, pretzels, apples and a fully stocked fresh salad bar. Pamela does not see a need to switch to the Alternative Menu. In fact, she is worried less children will eat if we do. Allison, our Wellness Coach gives us another perspective. If we are in a position to educate our children about healthy food, shouldn’t we? The menus are not so drastically different, besides some healthier additions, and for the few days of the month a child may nor be interested in sampling the entrée of the day, they will always have alternative options (PB & J, cheese sandwich, fruit, the salad bar). Many parents express a desire for some middle ground, which unfortunately is not an option. The PS 31 administration, Wellness Committee, PTA and community will continue discussing the menu. If you have more questions, e-mail Pamela at: PamelaO@schools.nyc.gov

You may also learn more by visiting: www.schoolfoodnyc.org

Jennie highlights some dates to remember:

  • Pajama Day Envelope Fundraiser TODAY!
  • Kid’s Kastle Fundraiser, Holiday Market, December 4th to 7th; please check your child’s folder for more info. 20% of sales go to PS 31.
  • Book Nook is now open! Come Visit Wednesdays and Thursdays 7:35 am – 8:05 am. $3 Books! $1 Smencils!
  • Title 1 Parent Engagement Mtg: Wednesday, November 28th, 8:30am.
  • Picture Re-Take Tuesday, November 20th.
      • If you would like a re-take, keep class photo and student ID cards, but return everything else in the Class Act envelope.
      • Even if you do not want individual photos of your child, but would like them in the school yearbook, please sign the yearbook permission slip, so your child can appear in our school’s first school-wide yearbook.
  • PTA Recap Meeting Tuesday, November 20th, 6-7pm; Pizza will be served.
  • Brooklyn Public Library Visiting November 26th – 29th.
  • December 16th PTA Meeting: vote on change in PTA by-laws.
  • Donors Choose: search PS 31, 11222, on donorschoose.org to fund projects.

Special guest, Acacia speaks about her really incredible Greenpoint Oral History and Community Scanning Project with the Brooklyn Public Library. If you have a memory or document from Greenpoint’s past and would like to share please call (917) 226-8712 or email athompson@bklynlibrary.org

The meeting concludes at 9:30 am.


Friday October 19, 2018 PTA Meeting Minutes

Location: PS 31 Library
Start: 8:30 am

Attendants sign in and receive Meeting agenda, including September’s PTA Meeting Minutes, a November calendar outlining school events, two graphs detailing the PTA’s budget and explaining what programs parent dues fund. Kara Manber, Secretary, is not in attendance.

Welcome comments from Assistant Principal Gallo regarding our Title 1 Engagement funds, which total $2,500. Lunch forms decide our Title 1 Status. 1% of our Title 1 funding must be used for meaningful involvement of parents; to engage parents through workshops, activities, or better communication. Ms. Gallo clarifies there will be a vote on whether there will be a committee existing under the current PTA board, as a subcommittee, or a separate Parent Advisory Counsel (PAC) with its own by-laws, meetings and agenda. The committee will meet to decide on what the Title 1 funding will provide. Programs need to be through a DOE vendor. Mrs. Gallo leads the discussion and holds a vote by show of hands. Majority rules for subcommittee and parents are asked to join the committee with signups on each table.

Mrs. Gallo shows her appreciation for all of our Class Parent volunteers. She urges Class Parents to reach out to their teachers, to get other parents to sign up for Mystery Readers and Fabulous Fridays, and to attend the Class Parent Meeting on Friday, November 9th at 8:30am.

Thursday, October 25th at 8:30 am will be our first school tour! Parents are invited to attend.

Ms. Gallo continues to speak about the Leader in Me Program. Please take the online survey, you can access the survey on the school App. She urges parents to please download the school app, by searching: PS 31 Samuel F DuPont Elem. in the App Store. It is a great way to receive the latest PS 31 information. Pre-K students do participate in the Leader in Me program, although the survey does not include a Pre-K option. The goals of this program include: increasing positive school culture, student self-regulation,  and encouraging children to develop the skills they need to problem solve on their own without adult intervention.  Look for a specific Leader in Me Newsletter.

Ms. Gallo informs parents that enrichment programs in the classroom have begun. Thanks to the PTA funding, we now have a DOE-certified Art Teacher in the school three days a week for the entire year. All grades will receive art once a week. First grade has ballet (8 weeks); Third and Fourth grades have Rockness Music Keyboard (10-week residency); the first half of the year, Chess instruction will be in third and half of fourth grade, and the second half of the year, Chess instruction will be in first, second and the remainder of fourth grade. All classes also get STEAM. Third Grade will receive ballet with the Institute of Ballet as their movement. (This list is not exhaustive).

Ms. Puma, our librarian, speaks about the Library BookMobile! Every class will visit for 20 minutes. Fill out your Library Card Applications by November 2nd; your library card can now grant you access to many museums, through Culture Pass. The Brooklyn Public Library BookMobile is visiting November 26th-29th. Students will also visit the school library at least once a week.

Elodie Cros, PTA Treasurer, asks for approval of the minutes of the last PTA meeting. They are approved. Latest PTA budget is reviewed. Lisa Aelion suggests creating a committee dedicated solely to writing grants.

You can pay dues monthly. Checks are better than PayPal. Every bit helps! You can pay by visiting www.ps31pta.org and clicking donate or by writing a check made out to “PS 31 PTA”.

Kenny Volandes urges all parents to reach out to members of the PTA Board with any questions, concerns or ideas. Meetings are only an hour, a small snip-it of what we do.

Gym Soundproofing Project Update from Jenny Gania. Measurements have been taken and drawings have been created. The project of dampening the sound is moving forward. We are focused on finding a sound engineer. Currently children are using the two basement gyms.

Jennie Ward speaks on current fundraisers. There will be a Marathon Bake Sale at One Bedford Sunday, November 4th (Near Dunkin Donuts). Please volunteer, and bake or buy! You can sign up through the SignUp link or there will be a sign up note backpacked and sent home. Please have goods individually wrapped and labeled if they contains nuts. Drop off: prepackaged good, waters can be donated Thursday or Friday or bring freshly baked goods day of at 10:00am.

Martial Arts Academy Fundraiser on North 8th between Bedford and Driggs $147 for 5-week class & uniform: Please write checks to “PS 31 PTA”. All the proceeds go to the PS 31 PTA for enrichment programs! Tell your friends! Expect fliers next week.

Kenny Volandes addresses the attendees on the topic of dues and community involvement. He stresses the need to support PS 31 PTA by not only your money but with your time.

Fall Festival is Saturday October 27th 11-3, the street fair is on Lorimer St. & our PS 31 schoolyard. Please volunteer your time by going to: http://signup.com/go/goDbzhr. Older siblings are welcome to volunteer as well! You can also begin bidding on the online auction today at: ps31pta.schoolauction.net/fallfest2018.

We are holding a Halloween Costume Drive. Take what you need, leave what you can.

Daffodil Planting will occur today at 1:30 pm. All are welcome.

There is a brief Committee update:

  • Green Wellness: Next meeting November 7th at 8:30 am.
  • Kristin speaks about Merchandising Committee. The committee is looking for designers and any connections to clothing manufacturers.
  • Sign up for recess!
  • Reducing Student: Teacher Ratio. The committee is looking into hosting student teachers and further steps.

Q & A

Parents express concerns surrounding dues. The term “dues” seems vague and unclear to many new parents. The PTA will continue to work on ways to efficiently communicate with parents.

Night Re-Cap Meeting is Tuesday October 23rd at 6:00 pm. Pizza will be provided.

Conclusion 9:30

Duration: 54 minutes (Audio Recording by Stephanie Brown)


Friday September 21, 2018 PTA Meeting Minutes

Location: Cafeteria

8:30 People Sign in.

PTA Board Members make a quick introduction, refer to the packet provided to attendants, including: meeting agenda, 2018-2019 PTA budget plan, the upcoming PTA meeting schedule and the June 2018 PTA minutes to review. Kenny, PTA Co-President, thanks Sotheby’s & Michael Kawaska for supplying Coffee and OurHarvest for providing food.

8:35-8:45: Principal Scarlato (Opening Remarks): Principal welcomes the community. Mentions our District 14 Superintendent is impressed with what we have accomplished thus far, as well as our new website www.PS31PTA.org and would like to join a PTA meeting in the near future. Principal Scarlato thanks Joanna Wolfe for getting 550 daffodil bulbs for our garden. She speaks about her meeting with Alexis, our new chess coach. Grades 1-4 will receive in-class chess instruction and exposure. She also announces the school musical, which will be The Jungle Book. Parents should stay tuned for more details; in the meantime, parents were encouraged to let her know if they want to help with the musical.

8:45-8:51: Elodie, PTA Treasurer, asks members to refer to their 2018-2019 PTA Budget Sheet as she highlights the value the PTA brings to PS 31. This year, there is $105K planned to be spent on enrichment programs for our students. 1: Music Enrichment, Preschool of Rock & Rockness Music and/or keyboard instruction for all grades. 2: Spring School Musical, The Jungle Book, open to all 4th and 5th graders. 3: Dance Residency. Depending on the grade, students are exposed to ballet, square dance, and ballroom dancing. 4: Art teacher –weekly art class for K-5. An additional $10K is for our nationally-recognized Chess Program funding and pays the chess teacher’s salary. The afterschool chess club attends local and national tournaments.

8:51-9:00: Kara, PTA secretary speaks about some Capital Improvement Projects—large projects with long-term results, benefiting current students and all those in the future. Together, the PTA, the administration, and the Green Wellness Committee are working on the creation of a school Sensory Garden and “Garden of Happiness”: PS 31 believes each child is unique and complex, and the school wants to offer PS 31 students a variety of learning experiences, in hopes they will grow academically, as well as in areas of gross motor development and creative expression; additionally, to appreciate nature and become environmentally aware.

The Garden of Happiness will expand and sustain the existing garden. It will be familiar and free to explore—a garden for those who may not have one at home, where students will experience hands-on learning that is different than in the classroom. The vision is a landscaped green roof on the ground where children can walk through nature. It will have raised beds, stairs, entrances and pathways to immerse themselves in nature. There will be pollinator plants, along with the critters they bring, and a place for planting produce. Growing their own fruit, vegetables and herbs introduces students to science, agriculture, healthy eating, and business, as students will sell their produce at a mini school Farmer’s Market.

The second part of this project is the Outdoor Classroom; this will be on the opposite side of the Garden, exiting school to your right. A place for student-led, play-based learning. This area is extremely beneficial to recess, allowing students to create a balance of less physical play and more active play. The Sensory Garden will consist of: steel tank containers, sand, dirt, rocks, shovels, open play where kids can initiate their own learning experience and pursue their curiosities, a chalkboard wall, seating, and tree stumps. To showcase our creative talent, a collaborative school mural will be created. The goal is to be completed in May, and hold a Celebratory Garden Party! The estimated cost for this project is: $15,000. Jennie is writing grants for the Lowes Grant (up to $5,000) and Whole Foods Kids Foundation Garden Grant ($2,000), but the PTA still needs a lot of parent involvement with art skills, ideas, and funds. Parents should come to the Green Wellness Meeting to learn more: Tuesday, September 25th at 8:30 am in the PTA Room.

The Gym Soundproofing project will increase recess time and improve the PE program. Estimated cost of this project is $13,000. Gym class is currently held in the basement, as PS 31 students are unable to use the 3rd floor gym because it is not properly soundproofed, and disruptive to studying students: this is a definite disservice to our children. The PTA and administration has been working with a/d/o and amazing parents to design a handwritten floor plan of the gym soundproofing plan, but there is a need for an architect to draw up and digitize exact plans on AutoCAD to submit to the Department of School Facilities to be approved, so work can begin as soon as possible. There is a need for donors and people familiar with writing grants. Jennie Ward has already sent out two grant proposals. A Pre-K parent, Jenny, who is an architect, offers to help.

Through the Action for Healthy Kids Grant, we received 7 Mats for the downstairs gym and will receive 3 more with the second installment check. The PTA is also improving the water quality of the school with three sink attachments with filters for the three sinks that were previously unused because high lead levels were detected.

Special Guest appearance from Helen, our crossing guard. She expresses her happiness and gratitude for staying at her post on our corner!

9:00-9:13: Jennie, PTA Co-President speaks on how parents can contribute their time to improve PS 31. Parents should join committees. Even if parents cannot contribute financially, time is even more valuable! Sign up sheets for the following committees are passed around: Green Wellness, Fall Festival, Spring Gala and PTA Merchandising.

Alison Schuettinger, PS 31 sustainability coach, briefly speaks about the Green Wellness committee. Last year the committee began the process of taking toxic chemicals out of the classroom. She informs parents about the Greenpoint Citizens Club. The club meets twice a month on Saturdays in the Franklin Street Garden. Children will be introduced to environmental justice, the impact of pollution on water and soil and learn what kid citizens can do to help. The club is free, but you must register by going to http://franklinstreetgarden.com/about-greenpoint-citizens-club/.

The PTA needs volunteers and parents to attend events. To be sure children are outside 4-5 times a week, there is a need for Recess volunteers; stay informed by checking your child’s folder daily, come to PTA Meetings, and show support by attending or volunteering on Friday, September 28th for Movie Night, which is showing Brooklyn Castle, and by selling pizza and snacks for the PTA to raise funds for the PTA. Sign up Link is included on agenda! (http://signup.com/go/guDbzhr).

Jennie Ward asks Olivia Tharp, Picture Day Chair, to speak. Olivia urges parents to get their child’s picture taken, as a part of the proceeds benefit our school. Please, bring exact change in envelope by Thursday, Sept 27th. If you would like to use a money order, please make it out to PS 31 PTA.

9:13-9:20 – Kenny, PTA Co-President Answers the question: How do parents contribute financially? Answer: by supporting fundraising initiatives! PS 31 PTA now has 501(c)(3) Status, meaning donations and dues are tax deductible. Expect Charleston Wrap forms to come home next week. This fundraiser raised $6,000 last year; let’s make this an even larger success this year! Collect Box Tops for snacks and send them into school *Each Box Top collected is 10 cents. Use Amazon Smile link .5% of eligible purchase items go to PS 31 PTA. (http://smile.amazon.com/ch/82-1263077).

Please, pay your PTA Dues to cover extra Art and Science programs. It costs the PTA $200 to fund each student for one year, but please give what you can. Most programs need their payments by the end of December, so please keep this in mind. Kenny also encourages parents to follow their passion and vision for the school: please join or create your dream committees!

9:20-9:25: Our Harvest. Jenna speaks about Our Harvest, an online farmer’s market with delicious, fresh items! Use Code: PS 31 for an automatic 25% off your first box and free delivery, as well as a 3% donation for all following orders.

9:25: Kenny thanks everyone for coming. He opens the floor for questions.

Q & A

Q: Does the AutoCAD conversion need to be created by an architect?

A: No, any one familiar with the program and willing to help is appreciated!

Q: Liza Aelion expresses her absolute love for PS 31 but a concern about class size, specifically the jump from Kindergarten (25 kids) to First Grade (31 Kids).

Principal Scarlato again assures her that teachers are equipped to successfully and adequately handle this amount of students. She is also legally unable to create a new class, unless there are an additional 17 zoned students for the grade. She has reached out to local colleges asking for student teachers; the PTA will continue to inquire about this possibility of student teachers, to get another educator in the room.

Q: Can parents donate items specifically to their class? For example, a new play kitchen?

A: The school very much appreciates your generosity! Please be sure to speak to your class teacher and administration for approval before purchasing an item.

PTA Board and administration stay behind for additional questions and concerns.


PTA Minutes for June 8, 2018 PTA Meeting

Location: Library

PTA Board Elections are held. Each candidate spoke and nominations were seconded by attending members of the PTA.

2018/2019 PTA Board:
President/Co President: Jennie Ward & Kenneth Volandes
Treasurer: Elodie Cross
Secretary: Kara Manber

SLT Elections: Ballots are distributed and counted by Kay Bounthisanh and Olivia Tharp. Winners were Andrea Martinez-Donohue and Karin Block.

End of Summer Play date to welcome new families. Set for August 25th, Saturday in the PS 31 play yard from 11-1. Light refreshments, kid activities. Sarah offered to lend her bubble machine for the event. Flyers have been composed and will be distributed soon.

School Supply Tool Box Fundraiser: 10% of order proceeds benefit our school. Parents are able to uncheck what they do not need. Supplies are delivered to your house. When searching use: “Public School 31”.

Chipotle Fundraiser is this Monday, June 10th, 4-8pm. Parents must show the flyer electronically or have the hard copy to participate in fundraiser.  We need maximum participation as our community must bring in $300 to get $150 of funds.

Jennie Ward spoke on having committees for upcoming events and asked for volunteers to head up the projects.

Fall Festival Chair: Elizabeth

Kara and Elodie would like to also be on committee.

Fall Festival will be held October 27th. Pony ride person has been contacted by Jennie and arrangements have been made for pumpkins to decorate. PTA still needs a bouncy house for the event as well as DIY games and food donations! Jennie will start up an online auction for the event.

Wrapping Paper Chair: Marissa Garcia

Picture Day Chair: Olivia Tharp

WMACC sent chocolate covered strawberries as a thank you for a great year.

Our school now has an official PS 31 domain! Ps31pta.org

The site will be up and running ASAP. A place to pay dues, buy merchandise, get more information on committees, read PTA meeting minutes, etc.

Wastewater Treatment Plant field trip on Wednesday June 13th, those planning on participating must RSVP. Permission slips will be sent home next week. All attending must wear closed toe shoes!

Zumba: fun for the whole family, lead by Zumba instructor Danielle. Two more classes, running until June 21st. Class is on Thursdays at 8:15 am.

Monday June 18th: Garden Stewardship Day

– Volunteers are needed to help paint and clean up garden.

Bring your stuffed animal to school raised $800 that will go towards our sensory beds in the garden. Combined with Alison’s $2,000 we have $2,800 towards this project with a total projected cost of $15,000.

– Mrs. Scarlato mentioned garden beds were promised to her after scaffolding was complete. We need to follow up on this and provide photographs of our vision.

Additional Parent Concerns:

  • Class Size
    • Gallo and Mrs. Scarlato reassured parents that teachers are equipped to successfully and effectively manage the number of students they have
  • Question: How can our school be more inclusive for working parents that want to be to be involved?
    • Possible night meetings to update working parents
  • Concern: Distributing Information
    • Possible Quarterly School Newsletter headed by Liza
    • Concern: Too many sources of information
    • Can we limit paper consumption?
    • What is the best way to reach the maximum number of families?

Meeting Duration 8:30-9:45


May 18, 2018 – 8:30 am – PS 31 PTA Meeting Minutes

Thanks to all of you who were able to participate and join the students for Start With Hello/Spirit Week! It was a great success.

Thanks to our class’ Anathea Simpkins for bringing Start With Hello program to PS 31.  The first NYC school to hold the program which is founded by Sandy Hook Promise.

Congrats to our PS 31 Chess team!!! They came in 3rd place out of 100+ competing teams!!  If you know a student on the team congratulate them…they continue to help put PS 31 on the map.

At the Friday PTA meeting on May 18th, some of the highlights were discussed.

Start With Hello

Anathea Simpkins, the head of PS31’s Start With Hello initiative introduced New York State Assemblyman Joseph R. Lentol, who visited our school to be part of all the festivities.  He took a moment to discuss the importance of the program and how much he has fought against gun violence and improvement with gun policies on the Senate floor.

PTA/SLT Elections-June 8th

PTA and SLT elections will be held on June 8th 8:30 a.m. at the PTA meeting.  This will also be the last PTA meeting for the 2017-2018 school term.  Last day for entering a nomination is tomorrowMay 24, 2018.  If interested or know someone who would be an amazing asset, nominate them as a candidate and contact me with the nominee information. The PTA is the source that helps bring in funding for all the creative assets and programs to PS 31.

Chipotle Fundraiser, June 11th 4:00pm to 8:00pm

The next PS 31 restaurant fundraiser will be at Chipotle Mexican Grill, located at 130 North 4th Street.  If you mention PS 31 when ordering, 50% of the proceeds will go to PS 31 programs!  Go get your Guacamole fix on June 11th.

Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant Field Trip, June 13th 3:00pm

An eco-field trip has been scheduled to visit the plant.  There are spots for 60 kids/60 parents.  It’s an RSVP event and first come first serve.  If you would like to know more about this field trip please contact Alison Schuettinger schuettingera@nwf.org.

Brooklyn Cyclones Game at MCU Park, June 26th, 7:00 pm

What a way to end the school year with the family by watching a Brooklyn Cyclones game at MCU Park in Coney Island!  Come and join your PS 31 community on June 26, 2018, 7:00 p.m.  Gates at 5:30 p.m.  There will be a kids parade, games, events, and school spirit.  Order forms were sent home this week.

Recess Volunteers Needed

We are heading to close this year with a bang.  Let’s fill-up the rest of the open slots for recess.  The kids are going out more often now and the need of extra volunteers is vital.  Please encourage your parent body to volunteer at least once.


OurHarvest Fundraiser

OurHarvest Fundraiser continues. Be sure to try this amazing farmers’ market style online ordering company and enter the code PS31 at checkout. www.ourharvest.com.

Follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook

Don’t forget to follow PS31’s PTA on Instagram (ps31pta), Twitter @ps31ptabrooklyn or Facebook (@ps31pta) for all of your up-to-the minute news!!

PTA Meeting Schedule

June 8, 2018