PTA Meeting Minutes
September 17, 2021 / 9am ET (Virtual Meeting)
There were 61 participants.
Kenny Volandes welcomed all attendees and asked people to sign up using the link provided in the chat.
A Word from P.S. 31 Administration
Principal Scarlato started the meeting by providing updates on the first week of school:
Arrival and Dismissal: Administration recognized there were some hiccups with arrivals on the first day, but it improved by the second day of school. Administration is still working on the dismissal procedures given that streets are still very crowded in the afternoon.
Class Size: Mid to high 20s in grades 1st – 5th. The maximum number of kids allowed per class came from the Space Capacity team. We follow the 3ft social distance rule.
The school is still registering and discharging children daily (discharges have been typically to out of state), so we don’t yet have the final number of students in each class.
School Size: we might have the final number in the next meeting when registration is closed.
Lunch: there are two lunch periods:
10:45 to 11:35 – PreK, 1st, 4th and 5th grades
11:45 to 12:35 – K, 2nd and 3rd grades
State Test Results: We don’t know if the State will send us test scores or just the number of students that took the test. We did receive the number of questions the children got correct or incorrect, so we are putting the score together using our own formula. Therefore, you will get scores from the State or from the school.
Attendance: daily average between 95% and 96%
School collaboration and socialization during COVID: There are social emotional activities in each class daily.
Issue with lunch on the first and second day of school: Administration is aware that certain food options for lunch ran out on Monday and Tuesday. They met with the School Cook and the Dietician, who assured that what is on the menu will be available to the children. Hopefully this meeting will prevent this issue going forward.
Ms. Gallo then addressed PreK parents on the following topics:
Stationary seating: this happened last year due to COVID and the 6ft social distancing rule. This year should be different, and the centers will be opened. Kids will be able to move around more freely
Class size: There are 5 PreK classes with a maximum of 18 children per class. Right now, most classes have 15 to 17 students, but the number is changing due to ongoing registrations and discharges.
Daily Schedule: This week children came in for 90min. The focus was on learning school routines. Next Monday will be their full day of school.
- Children eat breakfast in their seats upon arrival (20 – 25 min)
- Meeting time – welcome, set up for the day (theme of the month, discuss centers)
- Centers – bulk of the morning
- Walk and Recess – gross motor skills
- Building Blocks
- Snack Time
Recess: We are not using the playground equipment due to COVID
Art: thanks to the PTA, students will have art once a week.
Ms. Gallo then addressed some of the concerns expressed on the chat, such as acknowledging that transitions have been a little bit more difficult this year, that guidance related to COVID changes frequently, that parents have different levels of comfort with regards to kids being in person in the school, use of masks.
Mask use: children have been amazing in terms of mask use. However, in case of complete refusal to wear a mask after reminders from the teacher, school counselor and Administration, the school would call the parents to pick up the child.
Testing: any consented 1st to 5th grader can be subjected to COVID test. 10% of the school is tested randomly.
Vaccination: starting on September 14th, any adult entering the school building will have to show proof of at least on vaccination. School staff has until September 27 to receive their first vaccination. If they don’t, they are not allowed on school premises. So, after September 27th, 100% of staff members in the building will be vaccinated, and any adults entering the building need to show proof of vaccination.
Lunch in the Cafeteria: we now have desks in the cafeteria, and they are all facing forward, 3ft apart. Students are really encouraged to focus on eating so then they can go out to recess. Other reason chatting is not encouraged is to avoid the spread of Covid (naturally, masks are down lunch). Children typically have 20 to 25 min to eat. She understands that it might not be enough for all kid. The school will rotate who gets to grab their lunch first. It does get better once everyone is used to the routines. Let the administration know if you feel your child needs more time and administration will work it out.
Learning Gaps: each grade team come up with their own benchmarks, so we can find out where the children are academically. We will benchmark in the beginning of October and address learning gaps. Once we have the results, we will provide the differentiation and groupings. Handwriting was one area that took a major slide.
Curriculum Morning: next week we will have Curriculum Morning, all classes in one grade will meet with their teachers to learn the curriculum. This is not individualized, it’s for the entire grade.
Lentol Money: Ms. Scarlato will escalate the matter;
Spring Refund: was used by the end of the 2020-2021 school year towards paying for substitute teachers, new reading and math curriculum;
Student Funding: 20% goes to the arts (the administration will cover anything that is permissible with the funds – maybe ballroom dance); a portion will go to after school or Saturday programs initially focused on children with special needs
We will have Green Wellness Team, Student Council and Debate teams. Hopefully we can have chess and the Spring Musical this year. The Book Nook will not be opened this year due to COVID.
A Word from the PTA
The PTA Executive Board was quickly introduced. PTA Co-president Kara Manber went over the PTA’s mission and reiterated the need to fundraise. We are able to pay for the art teacher this year because of prior year’s fundraisers. If we want to keep an art program in the future, we need to fundraise this year. The PTA not only funds the enrichment programs but also run the school supply drive, which provides school supplies for some of the school kids, in additional to other community efforts.
PTA Co-President Tina Culmone called for parent engagement and will oversee the Fundraising Committee.
PTA Secretary Isabela Lubert will run the Green Wellness Committee this year.
PTA Co-president Kara Manber will run the Class Parent Committee this year. The first meeting will be held on September 22.
Kara briefly explained what the CRSE team is and that there is a book recommendation of the month. In the past years, the team has gone into class libraries to ensure books are diverse and represent all different characters. This year, the team will continue with the work.
Kara then gave a few words about SLT, the school leadership team. This is for elected parent participants and staff. However, as a member of the community, parents are able to sit in on the meetings, in listen only mode. The meetings will continue to be held virtually for the next few months. If anyone would like to attend, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org
Book club: We will start a PTA Book Club this year with the book “This is how it always is” by Lauri Frankel. Book club will meet on October 22.