Categories
PTA Meeting Minutes

2019-2020 School Year

June 12, 2020 (Virtual Meeting)

Welcome from Kenny Volandes.
Welcome from Principal Scarlato and Assistant Principal Gallo.
Liana Douillet-Guzman, Nominating Committee Head, asks for any objections to today’s election or last-minute nominees: there are none. She then runs the election. We hear from all PTA Board and SLT nominees, each running uncontested.

How were the PTA Board and SLT Elections conducted?
We have worked with administration and Ms. Vita Echevarria, our Parent Coordinator, to ensure the entire P.S. 31 community was given more than 10 days’ notice regarding this meeting and election through the P.S. 31 App, Google Classrooms, our Mailing List through MailChimp, the PTA Facebook page, Instagram account, and Twitter account. The Election notice was posted on our PS 31 PTA website and through our monthly PTA newsletter to ensure this meeting is inclusive and fair. 

We have worked with Principal Scarlato, Assistant Principal Gallo, and Ms. Vita Echevarria to verify voters by making the Google Meets link available to Google Classrooms and to the e-mail addresses of all families currently enrolled in P.S. 31. The ballot only allows only one submission per participant. The ballot link is posted in this meeting’s Chat and attendees are able to vote.
We have met quorum for this meeting and election, with all Board members present and over 6 parents in attendance.

With at least 68 votes each, the 2020/2021 PTA Executive Board is announced:
Tina Culmone, Co-President
Kara Manber, Co-President
Heather Milburn, Treasurer
Chris Kupski, Secretary
Kenny Volandes, 5th Board Member
Stephanie Samperi-Gonzalez and Andrea Martinez are joining the P.S. 31 SLT as parent representatives, along with co-Presidents, Kara Manber and Tina Culmone, all joining current Parent Representative, Anathea Simpkins.

There was a round of applause of Jennie Ward for her 3 years as PTA Co-President.
Jennie Ward reviews what the PTA was able to fund this thanks to our community:

  • Mr. Caprino, the P.S. 31 Art Teacher, and all Art supplies, 3 days a week.
  • Rockness Music (choral for Pre-K to 1, Keyboarding 2-3, Ukulele 4-5).
  • The Winter Musical (Disney Frozen Kids).
  • Dance K-5th grade (WMAAC and International Ballet Institute).
  • Kodable Coding Program used by Kindergarten through 5th grades.
  • Chess in class enrichment for First through 4th grades, and after school club for select students from Grades 2-5.
  • Garden Improvements and Upgrades, including the Little Free Library and the Sensory Bin Lid.
  • Winter Nutcracker Assembly for the entire school.
  • Holiday Teacher Breakfast!
  • DJ for 5th grade Virtual Graduation Party and trophies.

 In addition to these enrichment programs, P.S. 31 had many accomplishments including: Fall Fest with our Pumpkin Carving Contest, Happy Hour Comedy Show, Game Day Potluck, Sneaker and Reusable Bag Drive, Virtual 80’s Auction, field trips that aligned with our curriculum, thanks to parent, Joanna Wolfe, a water fountain and bottle filing station, thanks to Ms. Sankner and crowdfunding, our grand opening of Café Dupont, and so much more!

Please take note of these end of year celebration dates:

  • Pre-K Graduation is on Tuesday, June 23nd.
  • Kindergarten Graduation is on Monday, June 22nd.
    • Pre-K & K Virtual Graduations by Class and T-Shirts Ordered.
  • 5th Grade Graduation is on Wednesday, June 24th.
    • Virtual Graduation and Dance Party, Diplomas, Trophies, Yearbook & T-Shirts.
  • Celebratory Parade on Thursday, June 25th!
  • The Last Day of School is Friday, June 26th.
  • No Calendar has been Released for 2020/2021.

Heather Milburn, Kara Manber, and Tina Culmone discuss summer opportunities and upcoming events. The 2020 Summer PTA Book Club book is Angie Thomas’ The Hate U Give.

Please join us for P.S. 31 virtual events! The Science Fair is TODAY and Book Critic Spirit Day is on June 19th. The P.S. 31 Support Group, held by our school guidance counselor, will be on Wednesday, June 24th from 1 to 2pm.

You can support P.S. 31 PTA by ordering your school supplies on SchoolToolBox.com. Items are sent directly to your home. You may edit your cart to fit your needs! The P.S. 31 PTA receives 15% of your order, and every box ordered provides a meal to Feed My Starving Children.

Reminders

Stay Connected:

Have a wonderful Summer!

May 8, 2020 (Virtual Meeting)

Our very first Virtual PTA Meeting opened with 93 in attendance and a word from Principal Scarlato. “We are family and we are P.S. 31 strong “she said.

Jennie Ward began the meeting with PTA fundraising recaps and general information. The 80’s Party Went Digital and YOU showed up! Thank you, Jennie, for delivering items and thank YOU for sharing and bidding and buying! We raised $23,000!

Square 1 Art is ongoing; please e-mail 31ParentTeacher@gmail.com if you would like your child’s code. Prior orders will be sent to Co-President, Jennie Ward; new deliveries will be sent to your home.

School Toolbox is up for supplies for the upcoming year. New Merchandise has been delivered. We have some shirts available, so please e-mail 31ParentTeacher@gmail.com if you would like a limited edition t-shirt.

Heather Milburn, Treasurer encourages parents and teachers to stay connected by:

  • Following us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter @ps31pta, by visiting the PTA website (ps31pta.org) and School website (ps31brooklyn.com), by checking your e-mail for virtual newsletters, and by downloading the School App at your App store.

Upcoming Events Include:

  • Friday, May 15th Virtual Spirit Day Dress like a SUPERHERO
  • PTA Election TBA
  • Please Take the NYC Survey! It has been extended to June 26th

Next, PTA Secretary, Kara Manber, addresses questions and concerns through a PowerPoint Slideshow, that was sent to teachers and parents following the meeting. Parents that have questions during the presentation typed in comments, while Jennie Ward responded and recorded the questions.

Kara began:We all have concerns and questions. I will go through them one by one, with the most current answers that I have discussed with administration, the executive board, fellow teachers and parents, along with compiled information from the Chancellor and Mayor. We are all learning together and receiving information at the same time–often is it later, rather than sooner, and it is ever-changing, but we will do our best to alleviate unnecessary academic stresses at this time and stick to facts.

What can parents do to support teachers? Please communicate with your teachers so they can help you and you can help them. Please keep in mind teachers cannot help you if they are unaware of your situation. Teachers are working diligently to figure this all out. Weekly common planning meetings for each grade, to ensure mastery of content, are still in place. We were paper-based, yes, not because we didn’t care about the environment or didn’t want to change, but because teachers knew what worked best for their students, they knew students were going to homes without internet, without computers or sharing a computer with siblings, all problems that did not disappear because of a pandemic. But we are learning, we are growing, and we will be stronger when this is done.

How are we supporting students socio-emotionally? Your teachers and administration, PTA, and our school psychologist, Ms. Sanchez are available, just like during the regular school year. Please check the P.S. 31 App, the Comfort Corner, and the PTA website for additional resources.

How will students be graded? A general outline has been posted for elementary school students; grades will be assessed on a MS “meets standards” or NI “needs improvement” basis. There are likely more details to follow. Contact your student’s teacher if you are concerned about their progress and need additional support. Direct Quote from NYC DOE website: “The DOE is continuing to develop plans for programming and supports over the summer months. More information about summer school will be made available by your school and shared in the upcoming weeks.”

Workload: 10% of students were waiting on devices as of last Friday (Miss Vita, Principal Scarlato and Assistant Principal Gallo are working non stop to get these devices). Ms. Dawn, Ms. Michelle, Ms. Feliciano, Ms. Kohler, Ms. Carol and others are spending their days locating children, working with parents, guardians, and grandparents to have children accounted for. They are offering to relay messages and send work in to the teacher themselves and additionally making sure these students are safe. THANK YOU. This is not a one-size-fits-all solution. We are a diverse school, and each family is unique in its needs and struggles. We have homes with two working parents (this includes our teachers), new babies, essential workers working overtime, families struggling because they have been laid off, families dealing with relatives recovering from sicknesses. The one universal sentiment is that we want our children and students to succeed. If you are having difficulty completing work or meeting assignment due dates, PLEASE be transparent with your teachers, so they can modify work and support you. If you are feeling your child would like additional enrichment work please make sure you are utilizing Clusters. For some that are feeling overwhelmed with work please note that Science, Social Studies, Physical Education and Art are part of the curriculum and students will be graded on these subjects. Teachers are willing to work with you, but you need to check in and reach out if you are having difficulty completing work. *Please see Class code list.

District-Wide initiative: Catch-Up Fridays; Virtual Field Trips, no new work assigned; you can factor this in to your week.

Can teachers do more Live lessons? We have officially gone LIVE, and most teachers are offering two LIVE lessons a week. We have received a lot of positive feedback. They are going above and beyond their DOE and UFT contract, which does not mandate them to do this.

What will Pre-K/Kindergarten/ Middle School Registration look like? Pre-K will be announced at the end of May. Please accept the offer by June 2020 to secure your seat. Kindergarten Waitlist number on: myschools.nyc. In-District with siblings students have been notified by our secretary, Miss Dawn, and she is working internally to do her very best to keep siblings together. We will learn more about registration as time passes.

Will there be a 5th Grade Graduation? Teachers and administration are working on something virtually, as well as a Fifth grade yearbook and t-shirts. Pre-K/K will have virtual graduations by Class, along with T-shirts to purchase “I Virtually Graduated.” Thank you, Mrs. Gallo.

How can I retrieve personal items from the school? We have reached out to custodial staff; at the moment school buildings are closed. We will continue to keep you updated.

Will remote learning continue through the summer?/ Will summer programs be open? To clarify, schools will NOT reopen for remainder of the year. Summer school is up in the air. Direct Quote from NYC DOE website: “The DOE is continuing to develop plans for programming and supports over the summer months. More information about summer school will be made available by your school and shared in the upcoming weeks.” This will likely be determined by the promotion policy.

What if I do not feel comfortable sending my send my child back to school when it reopens? Safety is the NUMBER 1 priority. The Chancellor has said he is waiting for immunization, not treatment, and that “schools will not reopen a day before public health experts say it is safe.” Options are being explored, but nothing is set in stone. Of course you will need to decide what is right for you and your family. This is a personal decision. At the moment COVID-related absences are marked, but are excused. We do not know if this will carry through the 2020-2021 school year.

What do we KNOW about the framework for school when it reopens? We know very little besides that there will be massive budget cuts. We don’t know how this will directly affect our school or indirectly affect our PTA-funded enrichments.

CLASS PARENTS: Please stay involved, reach out, schedule “Virtual Play dates or “Book Clubs,” support your teacher. Sponsor a Fabulous Friday! If you would like your Class List, please email PS31PTASecretaryBK@gmail.com.

Staying connected: Please do not feel alone during this time, as we are physically apart, but emotionally together. Kara shows local businesses and supporters some love. Thank you to Joe’s Pizza for offering to help our school. Check out North Brooklyn Neighbors: Essentially Open Map and Submissions.

Finally: We miss you! Happy Teacher Appreciation Week! Thank you Kitchen Staff, Security and Custodial Staff. Happy Mother’s Day! We hear from Principal Scarlato that ALL of our students have finally received devices! We speak with Mr. Duggan, Mrs. Puma and Mrs. Karantais.

Meeting ends at 9:30 a.m.

The next virtual PTA Meeting is scheduled for Friday, June 12th at 8:30 a.m.

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No April PTA Meeting

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March 13, 2020

No meeting took place, at the recommendation of the Chancellor. COVID-19 global pandemic is shuttering meetings, large gatherings, and changing suggestions by the minute.

  • Welcome from Administration.
  • Coronavirus/COVID-19:
    • To get regular updates on the latest developments in NYC, text COVID to 692-69.
    • Download the App, Follow us on Instagram and Facebook, Check Backpacks.
  • The 80’s IN PERSON Party is CANCELED but the online auction is set to go live on Monday, March 16th.
    • Help us make this the best Virtual Party Ever!
    • Please Share with your class, friends and family and visit:ps31gala2020.givesmart.com. Kids & Adult Raffles, 50-50, Donations, and online auction!
    • Teacher Raffle Menu will be backpacked.
    • Let’s Get Out the Week of March 23rd and get our greater community involved.
    • Additional Ideas.
  • Additional Events:
    • Square 1 Art Fundraiser: place orders by April 22nd, preferably online. If you send in paper orders, please try to use a check made out to PS 31 PTA.
    • Participatory Budget Voting March 28th through April 5th.
    • State Tests: March 24th and March 25th. Wear your P.S. 31 T-Shirts to show support!

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February 7, 2020

We received a welcome from Principal Scarlato, and parents are asked to join a tour of our newly opened, Café DuPont, P.S. 31’s Culinary Arts Room! Parents return at 8:45 a.m. and hear from our Guest Speaker, Gladys of Mathnasium of Williamsburg. Mathnasium offers Math tutoring for Kindergarten through 12th grades and encourages parents not to wait if they see their child struggling. They offer free first-time assessments, so go check them out.

After a welcome from Kenny Volandes, meeting attendees vote on PTA by-law wording changes for Article III, Section 2, Donations. Reword FROM: “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.” Reword TO: “In order to fully fund enrichment programs, the PTA needs to raise approximately $200 per student. Member donations are voluntary and can be given in any amount. Donations are in no way a requirement for PTA membership, voting, or running for office.” Attendees agreed unanimously, and the motion was carried.

Respect for All Week is next week, and this year’s theme is “All Unique, Together Complete.” Harlem Magic Masters will visit on Monday to kick off the week. Student projects on something that makes them unique are due on Monday as well. The School Wide leadership culminating event will be on Wednesday, February 12th from 9-10am. Class Parents, please reach out to your teacher to ask how you can help!

The P.S. 31 80’s Party is scheduled for Thursday, March 26th. Visit: www.PS31Gala2020.GiveSmart.com.  Our Amazon Wish List is on: www.amzn.to/36Z3cT3. Volunteer to help at our Signup page on www.bit.ly/PS31Volunteer. Class Basket Ideas are due on February 9th to Kara Manber at PS31PTASecretaryBK@gmail.com. Baskets are physically due on March 2nd. Hear more, brainstorm, and make signs at the 80’s Party Planning Meeting Friday, February 28th at 8:30 am in Room 113.

We then had a special word from our Green Team and what they have been harvesting in the hydroponic lab.

Following that, it was time to elect a Nominating Committee. Lanassa Favorite, Martha Rodriguez, Liana Douillet Guzman, and Alex Montalvo volunteered.

Fundraising Recap from PTA Treasurer, Heather Milburn:
Frozen Musical: Cost $9,000 Made: $10, 500.
Crazy Hat/Mismatch Day: $388.
World’s Finest Chocolate Sale NOW! Our Goal is to sell 250 boxes! Jeremiah in 4th grade is currently in first place with having 7 boxes sold!
Showing Love for Coding Spirit Day & Envelope Fundraiser February 14th
We want your input! Look out for enrichment survey, asking where you want to see PTA funding allocated.

Important Reminders from our 5th Board Member, Tine Culmone:

  • Someone Special Dance: *3rd – 5th grade Tonight! Pre-K – 2nd
  • TONIGHT D14 Black Lives Matter at School Culminating Showcase: MS 50 John D. Wells, 183 South 3rd Street, 5:30-7pm.
  • New Merchandise Pre-Orders due on February 13th with money.
  • Midwinter Break February 17th – February 21st.
  • Green Wellness Meeting and Work Day Wednesday, March 4th 8:30 am – Come help paint, build our Free Little Library, and more.
  • Parent Teacher Conferences and HALF DAY Thursday, March 5th.
  • Sign Up for Recess! bit.ly/PS31Volunteer
  • Please bring in money for the Puerto Rico rehabilitation fund.

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January 17, 2020

Welcome and exciting news from Principal Scarlato. Our production of Disney’s “Frozen Kids” sold out tonight! Principal Scarlato is so proud of all the 4th and 5th graders involved and grateful to all who make our Winter Musical possible. Test Prep afterschool program for grades 2-4 will begin soon for Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday concentrating on Reading and Math. Additionally, Principal Scarlato has submitted a proposal for a PS 31 Library upgrade for $36,000 in which we would open up the back room of the library.

Finally, the big announcement from Principal Scarlato we have been waiting for: On January 31st please join us for the ribbon cutting and Grand Opening of our P.S. 31 state-of-the-art culinary room at 1:00 pm. Café DuPont is finally open after 6 years of planning and hard work!  “You’ve never seen anything like this!” Principal Scarlato exclaims. Starting in February 2020, every class will get culinary instruction once a month. Students will practice safety in the kitchen and follow a cooking curriculum. Right now, the program is for K-5th grades, and next year, it will be for the entire school, with hopes of expanding to an after school program, possibly focusing on baking skills.

Fifth Grade Student Speaker of the Month, Victoria Sul, current Frozen Kids performer, staring as little Anna. Born in Ridgewood Queens, Victoria likes gymnastics, and her favorite subject is reading. Victoria feels sad about leaving P.S. 31 next year and says “I will really miss being at P.S. 31. It is my second home. Everything I learned, I learned here. Everyone is so kind. “ The most important lesson she says she has learned here is: “we are all a team.” Victoria’s advice for incoming students: “Don’t be afraid. Our teachers are amazing—they will teach you all you need to know for the future. Students will always be kind to you.”

Teacher Speaker of the Month: Melissa Gelman is out sick with the flu. Feel better!

January’s Guest Speaker: Gina Gerhart from Scouts of America. One of the local troops meets in Greenpoint, Fridays at 7:00 pm. This pack is a family-focused program with kid adventures (camping, hiking on a smaller scale). This pack is a Family Unit (Boys and Girls). There is no commitment. The Scouts Age ranges are from Kindergarten to 5th grades, or 6th – 12th grades. There are many optional outings. The membership Fee is $90 for a year. Learn more at: www.cubscouts.nyc E-mail: Gina.Gerhart@scouting.org

It is that time of year where we looking for an Audit Committee: need 3-5 people to review the PTA records by mid-February. Three people volunteered: Alejandro Montalvo, Lanassa Favorite, and Carmin Basta. We ideally still need two additional volunteers.

Next, we discuss two possible By-Law Change Suggestions.

  • Article III, Section 2, Donations. Reword FROM: “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;”
  • Reword TO: “In order to fully fund our enrichment programs, the PTA needs to raise approximately $200 per student. Member donations are voluntary and if given, can be any amount.”
  • It is suggested to reword, while keeping the final statement in the original section, in addition to new wording: “Donations are NOT a requirement for membership, voting, or running for office.”
    • Article IV, Section 1, Titles. Reword FROM: “…The Association must elect the mandatory core officers (Co-Presidents, Secretary, Treasurer, and Board Member) in order to be a functioning PTA.”
    • Reword TO: “…The Association must elect the mandatory core officers (Co-Presidents, Secretary, and Treasurer) to be a functioning PTA. The Executive Board will also include three positions entitled ‘Board Member.’”
  • Jennie Ward and Kara Manber further explain the reason for the possible addition of Board Members. Though ideally, PS 31 PTA could get committee chairs rather than more board members, what we really need is more people being held accountable for fundraisers. Both by-law changes will be revisited and voted on at the next meeting.
  • A brief Gym Sound Dampening Update from Kenny Volandes followed. The project is moving forward. Brookfield allocated $20,000 to sound dampen windows and doors. DSF is involved and there will be a meeting to discuss labor costs.
  • Upcoming Events:
    • TONIGHT Final Disney’s “Frozen Kids” 6:00pm in the Auditorium. Check out our raffle!
    • World’s Finest Chocolate Sale distribution begins January 31st. $60 a box. Feel free to donate rather than get a box!
    • January Reusable Bag Drive Drop Box, located in the front Vestibule.
    • Bridge, K and 1st Rockness Music Recitals:
      • 1st Grade on Friday, January 24th.
      • Bridge and K, Friday February 7th.
    • Black Lives Matter in School Action Week the week of February 3rd.
    • Respect for All/Start with Hello Week February 10th to 14th.
  • Spring Gala 2020: The 80’s Party!
    • Donation Letter and Script. We need your Connections, Skills, and Energy! Leveled tickets ($25, $45 and $55, as well as free tickets). All of our community members should be at this event. Thursday, March 26th Kids Party and Adult Gala are taking place, and we need tons of help.
    • More Specifics at Gala Planning Meeting on Friday, January 31st 8:30 am.
  • Dates to Remember
    • NO SCHOOL Monday, January 20th for MLK Day.
    • Green Wellness Meeting Wednesday, January 22nd 8:30 am. Please come to learn about eco efforts and help us develop our Craft Corner!
    • Crazy Hat/Mismatched Pattern Envelope Fundraiser Friday, January 24th.
    • Please note the SLT Meeting date has changed from Friday, January 31st 11:45 am. To Friday, January 24th at 11:45 am.
    • Someone Special Dance February 7th and 8th: Tropical Theme.
    • Pre-K and K Use Your Cool Culture Pass!
      • Recommendation: Check Out Children’s Museum of Manhattan’s NEW Exhibit opening tomorrow; Inside Art. Assemble, create, crawl under and walk through beautiful art installations. Tag us and use the hashtag #CoolCulture31.

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December 13, 2019

*Ms. Tesoriero is present with hydroponic Swiss chard, basil, cilantro, and small aloe and jade plants.

Principal Scarlato opens the meeting and informs parents of all the wonderful happenings at P.S. 31. She raves about the beautiful dance performances this week and expresses her gratitude that our students are exposed to such a large variety of activities and educational opportunities, from college and career readiness to modern dance. Our students have also been extremely involved in community service this month: today the Seedlings of Change are visiting a local Stationery store to help decorate for the holidays; on Monday, the Leaders of Change will visit the 94th precinct to decorate with up-cycled decorations and ornaments; on Tuesday, students will sing carols with the seniors of the Slavic Center and visit senior citizens at St. Anthony’s to share some cheer and crafts! We are wrapping up our K-5th Grade Week of Code, and please continue using Kodable at home by using your child’s personal account information that will be backpacked soon. Principal Scarlato concludes by thanking our community.

Please note that Kindergarten registration is open!

Ms. Puma, our library teacher, is our teacher of the month! She has been in P.S. 31 for twenty four years. Mrs. Puma is leading the stage crew for sets, design, and costumes for our “Frozen Kids” production. She is a library teacher, as well as filling in with social studies for some classes.

Jennie Ward gives a recap of past events. Kids’ Kastle Holiday Shoppe took in over $12,000; we raised 20% of this total, at almost $3,000. Our Giving Tuesday Facebook Event and Givesmart Page raised about $1700: thank you for participating! If you still want to donate, our Givesmart Donation Page is open all year at ps31giving.givesmart.com. Donations are tax deductible and you will receive a receipt upon payment. Additionally, our #SeedMoney Garden campaign will end on December 15th. It is also tax deductible and donations put us in the running for Challenge Grants. Visit https://donate.seedmoney.org/4008/seeds-for-the-garden-of-happiness.

Kara Manber gives a description of upcoming volunteer opportunities, like our Disney’s Frozen Kids on Thursday and Friday, January 16th and 17th at 6pm in the auditorium. We need: VOLUNTEERS (http://signup.com/go/guDbzhr) or (www.bit.ly/PS31Volunteer), WISHLIST DONATIONS (www.bit.ly/frozenwishlist), and a Sound Engineer and Lighting Technician. Entry will be $10 for each person age 2 and up. Tickets can be bought online at (www.showtix4u.com) or via your child’s folder. Be on the lookout!Our Spring Gala, The 80’s Party, our largest fundraiser, will be on Thursday, March 26th at the Greenpoint Loft. The Kids’ Dance Party will be 2:30-5pm; the Adults-only Auction and party will be from 7pm-11pm. Item donations should be sent to ps31gala2020.givesmart.com and scroll down to “donate an item.”

We also heard an update on the Gym soundproofing project from Jenny Gania, in which she stated that we are having meetings with Carmine from DSF and are readying ourselves to come back to our donors with the final total. It’s moving slowly, but it is moving forward!

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November 15, 2019

Administration Welcome from Principal Scarlato: Principal Scarlato shares many exciting updates and P.S. 31 news. Frozen Kids auditions are underway and everyone is excited! Yesterday was the Book Nook’s successful Grand Opening! Principal Scarlato plans to meet with Assemblyman Joe Lentol to discuss the parameters of the grant he generously presented to P.S. 31; then the SLT will discuss how to use it. Our Debate Team, which is open to fourth and fifth graders, has their very first debate at MS 50! A quick update on the Green Team: Ms. Sankner wrote a grant to provide reusable Swell Bottles for all P.S. 31 students. The Green Team received 150 applications, so it has been broken into three cycles. For the holidays, our Leaders of Change will decorate the outside of the 94th precinct using up-cycled ornaments; this has become a festive, fun community tradition! Lastly, P.S. 31 will hold a Toy Drive to support St. Anthony’s larger Greenpoint toy drive. Our Green Team will deliver the toys. More information and details to follow.

Student of the Month Speaker was Ava Hendricks from class 5-301. Ava’s favorite subject is math because it gives you different possibilities and strategies. She is a hardworking, skateboarder from Ms. Dougherty’s fifth grade and has come prepared with flashcards. Ava joined P.S. 31 in January of her 3rd grade year. She gives us a glimpse of what students learn in 5th grade: writing short and extended evidence based responses, Math Exemplars, working as an ad executive for the Book Nook, being a member of the Green Team, and using her voice to speak up in Student council. She is most proud that she can write in script—a skill all P.S. 31 students learn. What advice would Ava give to an incoming P.S. 31 student?  “Go green! Raise your hand when you have a question, listen to others and try your best.”

Teacher of the Month Speakers, 2 for 1: Ms. Caggiano and Ms. Reformato Co-Teach in a wonderful partnership, as they sing songs to help students learn, play educational games and use Go Noodle to refocus children. “Raise your hand, don’t call out.” Their love for the students and each other is evident and we hope they will be working together forever.

Recess Committee’s Comedy Night TONIGHT: volunteer at www.bit.ly/PS31Volunteer. Buy tickets for you AND your child at ps31comedy.givesmart.com. This is the first fundraising event of many, in hopes to enhance outdoor recess.

Kara Manber gives some Fundraising Recaps and thanks the P.S. 31 Community: our Fall Fest Event & Auction Raised Net $7, 377.43! Charleston Wrap raised $2,842.94. We’re using Boon next year, to focus in on a more sustainable company that is more in line with our philosophy at PS 31. Day of the Dead raised around $400 and was a festive night for all; thanks to Brooklyn Label for hosting. School Picture Day Retakes are Tuesday, November 26th. If you want a retake, please be sure to return all photos in original packaging (except the class picture and personal safety ID). PJ Day for Green Wellness Projects raised $978.95. A group of second grade parents organized themselves and raised $341 for the PTA on Marathon Day, selling cowbells and coffee. PJ Day and Marathon Day proceeds will be used for a sensory bin lid, a cedar shed for garden supplies and a Free Little Library! Backwards Day for Chess Club raised $400, going to the team funds to get to Nationals this May. Please be on the lookout for our Giving Tuesday Donor Drive! Give and/or SHARE! Ps31giving.givesmart.com.

Jennie Ward and Kenny Volandes discuss Upcoming Events and Events that need Volunteers. The Kindergarten Parent Coffee Talk will be held on November 22nd at 8:30 a.m. Kids’ Kastle Holiday Shoppe is scheduled for December 2nd through 5th, with the 2nd being setup. Twenty percent of sales benefit the P.S. 31 PTA. Children learn to work with money and get a chance to think of others. Please volunteer for half or full day! P.S. 31 PTA has purchased a Ballet Story Hour for all students to enjoy as a holiday gift. The show is scheduled tentatively for Tuesday, December 17th, the same week as our Festive Fashion Disaster Day Envelope Fundraiser which will support our dance programs. Frozen Kids Show is tentatively scheduled for January 31st and February 1st.

Q & A: A parent wonders is there could be a sign up for Parent Teacher Conferences. Principal Scarlato recalls trying this and having issues, but suggests to continue working together to revamp and make Parent Teacher Conferences run as smoothly as possible. Another option is having additional events occurring those days. There is interest among the community in organizing clothing swaps and a clothing recycling program, as well as a STEAM Night on the last Parent-Teacher Conference this year.

Thank you to Michael Kawochka for providing coffee for our PTA Meetings! Reach out to Michael to help you with your real estate needs. Michael.Kawochka@SothebysRealty.com. Phone: (646) 425-0505.Meeting concluded at 9:33 a.m.

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October 18, 2019

Principal Scarlato and Assistant Principal Gallo are honored with flowers for Principal Appreciation Month.

Guest Teacher Speaker, Mr. Duggan, Physical Education Teacher of Kindergarten-5th grade students, speaks about his approach to physical education as both community collaboration and healthy competition. Children are encouraged to write down goals and participate in school-wide physical challenges. He has trained every teacher on how to incorporate movement throughout the day. Guest Student Speaker, Marcel Burzynski of 5-301 speaks next. Marcel’s favorite subjects are gym and art, and outside of school, he practices Judo and while in school, he encourages students to listen to their teacher and follow directions.

Another special guest, Sam Wils, CEO of Wingadoos and Greenpoint resident, speaks next. He started Wingadoos because financial habits are largely formed by 7 years old. Through Wingadoos, children can learn about and practice their financial literacy skills through interactive lessons, animated adventures and financial choices.

Regarding the Title 1 Parent Advisory Committee (PAC) Chairperson and Alternate, the election was rescheduled from today and will be held Wednesday, October 30th at 8:30 am. Please submit nominations to the ballot box in the main office. Members of the Title 1 PAC will determine how to use Parent Engagement Funding, as well as create by-laws and agendas for Title 1 Meetings, separate from PTA meetings. Jennifer Ward speaks about Title 1 Parent Engagement Funding, the 1% of our Title 1 funds that are allocated strictly to engage parents. A possibility for the funding would be the Cool Culture Program, which includes passes given to Pre-K and K families and educators, and administration, as well as providing four workshops throughout year for a school representative to attend. For more information check out www.coolculture.org and please come to the October 30th meeting for the election, followed by further discussion. Kara Manber nominated herself as Title 1 Representative. We determine Title 1 status by the percentage of students who qualify for free lunch by December 31, which we determine through the lunch forms. Parents who received lunch forms are urged to return them in their child’s folder or digitally; students will receive a homework pass upon completion.

Our Fall Fest is tomorrow, Rain or Shine! Kara Manber speaks about the Fall Fest fundraiser. She thanks all those who have baked, bought wishlist items and offered to volunteer. There is still a need for volunteers, visit: www.bit.ly/PS31Volunteer to help. The costume Drive will continue until October 31st: please take what you need and leave what you have.  The Online Fall Fest Auction on GiveSmart will go live tomorrow, October 19th! Please your bids on Jimmy Fallon tickets, classes, coffee and more. Auction concludes on November 1st and all money raised benefits PS 31 PTA student enrichments.

Heather Milburn speaks on fundraising recaps, first thanking Tina Culmone and all of the wonderful Picture Day Volunteers; expect pictures tentatively by November 8th. Jersey Day raised $900 towards art supplies! Perfect Attendance Winner: B-204; Runner-up was PK-107. The Fall Fest Participation Smencil Competition Winner is Pre-K 110. Finally, Charleston Wrap is over but you can order anytime online to support PS 31 PTA with the code 11598.

In terms of Green Wellness Committee goals, Kristin Dougherty, Green Wellness Chair, invites parents to join the Action Team on Monday, October 28th 2:30-3:50pm. and come to the next Green Wellness Meeting on Wednesday, November 6th at 8:30 am. In other Green Wellness news, there is currently a Sneaker Drive through December 1st. Please bring ATHLETIC SNEAKERS in a bag. There are many appropriate garden grants if any parent would like to help write one. Additionally, Mix and Mingle Bins have been assembled and serve as indoor recess on days students do not have outdoor recess. Jenny Gania gives an update on Sound Dampening the PS 31 Gym.

Kenneth Volandes speaks about reaching a larger amount of parents.

  • Upcoming Events:
    • PTA Recap Meeting and Middle School Presentation (P.S. 31 graduates will speak about their Middle Schools) on Tuesday, October 22nd from 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm (Children Welcome).
    • Backwards Day Envelope Fundraiser on Friday, October 25th to support our P.S. 31 Chess Team, The Brooklyn Kings, heading to Nationals this year.
    • Merchandise Orders will be backpacked by Friday, November 1st. Thank you for your patience.
    • Halloween is on Thursday, October 31st. Students are encouraged to dress up, but please NO masks or weapons.
    • Pajama Spirit Day Envelope Fundraiser on Friday, November 8th for our Garden! (Free Little Library and Shed)
    • NO SCHOOL Tuesday, November 5th and Monday, November 11th.
    • Day of the Dead Restaurant evening at Brooklyn Label on Friday, November 1st!
    • All Class Parents should have received their Class List, and should be in the process of helping their teacher plan a Halloween Party if you have not please e-mail PS31PTASecretaryBK@gmail.com
    • Thank you Michael Kawochka of Sotheby’s Real Estate for generously providing coffee for our morning meeting and pizza for our recap PTA Meeting. Contact Michael at (718) 747-8209 or email: michael@warrenlewis.com

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September 20, 2019

8:45 am: The PTA Meeting commences with a welcome from Assemblyman, Joe Lentol. He sings PS 31’s praises and comes offering a gift of $125,000 in capital funds for our school and re-instates the New York Hall of Science program for all PS 31 students! Principal Scarlato and PTA members in attendance erupt with excitement.

 Principal Scarlato highlights exciting academic projects for the year. Currently we have the most STEAM labs in the district. This year, children will engage in the Pre-K/Kindergarten STEAM lab, as well as the Virtual Reality Lab for 4th and 5th graders. There will be an official ribbon cutting ceremony in November. Her goals for the school year include: increasing attendance, starting a grammar program, and increasing reading by at least two levels per child; and then, she leaves us hanging with hints of a few more surprises.

 Ms. Karantais is the teacher speaker of the month. This year she is teaching Pre-K/Kindergarten STEAM, as well as 4th and 5th Grade STEAM; Ms. Sankner is with 1st-3rd grades. Pre-K and Kindergarten concentrate on coding, STEAM experiments, and unplugged activities, such as working with their own robots: Bee-Bot and Bot-ly. Fourth graders will construct bridges and digitally print them in 3D, while 5th graders take on the role of biomedical engineers, building a fully functional knee brace. Ms. Karantais is also the P.S. 31 Yearbook coordinator and will introduce a picture-uploading program to the whole school to ensure greater community representation.

Next, we hear from Assistant Principal Gallo about A Day in the Life of a PS 31 Student. She begins addressing a large misconception that if children do not have outdoor recess that day, they are sitting at their desk “reading round robin.” “Those days are over,” she continues, stating that “every unit is thematic, offering students opportunities to collaborate, create, problem solve, and explore concepts in social studies and science.” Please note that the Day of a Life of a PS 31 Student does not include Pre-K, which is a school within a school. Please refer to Assistant Principal Gallo’s sample schedule. It is important to note that grades 1 through 4 receive in-class chess instruction; indoor recess occurs as well, and when recess does not happen, students have Mix & Mingle in their classrooms. There is also a misconception that we do not have a gym. While the intended gymnasium cannot be used due to sound pollution, we do have two functioning gyms and a full-time PE teacher, Mr. Duggan.  Lastly, each class will go on at least two educational field trips that supplement their curriculum thanks to the guide created by parent, Joanna Wolfe.

Stephanie Samperi-Gonzalez, Recess Coordinator, follows Ms. Gallo’s explanation with a description of the evolution of recess over the past few years. Stephanie has been a parent in the school for five years. When she came to P.S. 31, recess was nonexistent. She met with administration and learned that student safety was their number one priority. Together, they instated recess once a week. Parents were happy with the improvement but knew students needed more unstructured time outdoors. In her second year, she collaborated with admin and enlisted the parents to volunteer for recess: with two parent volunteers per day, more children are able to safely play outside.  In the fourth year, it became clear that students could have recess 3 days a week. That year, Mix and Mingle, Move to Improve, and indoor recess were also instated. We are still evolving and progressing. Additionally, thanks to another wonderful parent, there is an extra incentive to volunteer for recess. The class with the highest percentage of parent volunteers wins an ice cream party! The first Ice Cream Contest Deadline is November 1st! Check out our signup at www.bit.ly/PS31Volunteer. There will be a recess committee to discuss further constructive, realistic plans of action to increase recess and unstructured time. Asphalt Green is an option for next year only: this year, there is a long wait list. The other option is a program, estimated at $16,000 a month, which is not a possibility.

Kara Manber gives a brief grant update. Through the Parents for Healthy Kids grant (through AFHK), we received $1,000 for new recess supplies, including a basketball hoop, balls, chalk, bean bags, hula-hoops, knock hockey and more. We also received a $5,000 grant from GoGo Squeez and Action for Healthy Kids to promote BeTime/Mix and Mingle at PS 31! As recipients of this grant, each class in grades K-5th will receive their own Mix and Mingle bin to encourage children to independently or collaboratively engage in unstructured play.

Jennie Ward recaps the PS 31 2018/2019 Highlights. Together, we brought our school musical back with “The Jungle Book Kids;”  we received 8 grants to enrich the school life of PS 31 students; we made our Garden of Happiness dreams a reality, along with our first outdoor school mural; our library got a makeover; our annual gala raised more money than ever before at $48,000; we won the participatory budget, bringing new smartboards to every classroom; our chess team, The Brooklyn Kings, traveled to nationals; for the first year, we had an in-house art teacher, Mr. Caprino; we began a Student Council, and so much more. Coin Wars raised $2,950. Treasurer, Heather Milburn refers to the handout “2019/2020 Budget Review.”

Green Wellness Chair, Kristin Dougherty, and STEAM Teacher, Ms. Tesoriero, speak. Students are enjoying the Garden of Happiness, which is open for exploration during recess. A few goals this year are to work on our schoolyard gardens and introduce a free Little Library. The first meeting is Wednesday, September 25th. This year Seedlings of Change and Leaders of Change (aka the Green Team) are open to all students and will be split into two semesters; however, there are only 60 spots. Children will be chosen at random after they submit their applications.

This year we are introducing a NEW Technology and Design Committee! If you are interested in web design and/or electronic newsletters, please reach out to us!

School Picture Day is scheduled for Tuesday, October 8th.  Please send in Class Act envelopes by Wednesday, October 2nd. We are also in need of volunteers if you are able to commit that day. Please tell friends about the P.S. 31 Charleston Wrap Fundraiser, deadline October 16th. Exciting Chess news: this year there will be two after school sessions. Monday is for advanced competitors and Tuesday is for beginners who want to learn more and enjoy playing with classmates.

Fall Fest & Class Parent Meeting will be held on Friday, October 4th 8:30 am. Fall Fest is set for Saturday, October 19th 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm. Parents are asked to refer to their Year in Review handout and add: P.S. 31 School Spirit Yankees Game on April 5th 1:00 pm and School Spirit Cyclones game in June; date TBA.

Upcoming events include:

Middle School Talk with Maurice Frumkin 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm Monday, September 23rd. Jersey/Sports Envelope Fundraiser for Art Supplies! Friday, September 27th.

NO SCHOOL Monday September 29th and Tuesday, October 1st.

Today’s coffee was provided by the gracious, Michael Kawochka (Michael.Kawochka@SothebysRealty.com) of Sotheby’s Realty and bagels were provided by our new neighbors at Bagel Point!