PTA Meeting Minutes

October 15, 2021

PTA Meeting Minutes

October 15, 2021 / 9am ET (Virtual Meeting) 

There were 72 participants.

Kenny Volandes welcomed all attendees and introduced our guest speakers:

Guest Speakers:

Liliana – 5th grader

What advice would you give to a 1st grader entering PS31: Keep trying your best and be yourself. Be unique.

She shared her experiences at PS3, her hobbies, and also gave advice on how to be a Leader of Change – be proactive!

Ms. McManus – art teacher

She shared her background (Greenpoint resident and Fordham graduate) and shared what each grade is focused on:

  • K – working on lines
  • 1st – color theory
  • 2nd – shapes
  • 3rd – drawing from observation (leaves)
  • 4th – positive and negative spaces
  • 5th – perspective

Her teaching approach is process based. She plans to use multiple mediums and materials.  She wants to foster creativity and typically uses books to start lessons.

A parent suggested we have an Art Gallery to showcase the work of our students.

A Word from P.S. 31 Administration:

Principal Scarlato commented on Ms. McManus’ work – she streamlined the curriculum to add art, history, literacy and reading.  Then she updated us on the following:

  • Baseline assessment:  every student will take it, mandated by DOE. The school will access the students’ reading level and share it with parents. 
  • ELA and Math state test: scores out in November
  • Fire Drill:  we have been conducting the mandatory fire drills and lock down drills
  • Cookshop will begin in January to all grades.
  • Student Council: 68 applications from 4th and 5th graders.  We will have committees and have the children work in committees (community service, coat drive, can collection, newspaper, reading to younger children). Will start in November.
  • Debate Team: District wide debate will be held on December 4th
  • Middle school tours: she emailed every school in the district, once she knows the dates, she will share
  • Math Facts Contest:  this year students will compete with each other within their class.  The winner will receive a 5ft teddy bear. 
  • No early drop off this year – no capacity due to social distancing rules. 
  • Musical – we’d love to do it, but need to check if we can due to social distancing rules.

Assistant Principal Gallo then provided the following updates:

  • Green team – the school would like to bring back the Seedling of Change and Leaders of Change, but we don’t know yet how to safely bring it back (due to social distancing rules). We already started with Waste warriors and plan to work on upcycling, and reducing waste and energy.  We would also like to add another water filling station to reduce the plastic use.  We are also looking for parents to join the Parent Green Wellness team.
  • COVID – zero cases so far. We know that what we are doing is working.  We are following 3ft social distancing rules and facing forward while eating. We are testing 10% of our elegible students (grade 1 through 5 with consent) weekly.  It amounts to roughly 45 students.
    • The daily COVID screening is a good guide to when kids need to test for COVID.  It can be a rapid test.
  • Communication for PreK – every teacher should have their platform to communicate with parents (typically Remind or Dojo).   They should send weekly photos. We also have monthly newsletter. Parents can always reach out to the teachers.  
  • Parent teacher conferences will be held on the first week of November. 

Administration Q&A:

  • We don’t know when middle school applications are due yet.
  • Playground equipment is not going to be open for now because of social distancing rules.
  • It is not a problem If a child needs more time to eat.  It’s longer than 10min, every child is given the opportunity to eat. They are not being rushed.  They use a whistle to indicate when children should begin dumping their trays.
  • If a child is home because she/he is sick, it is considered an absence, but will be coded in the system.
  • Average attendance is 94% – 96%.
  • Sometimes the food being offered is different than what is on the menu because of supply issues.
  • Scholastic books – teachers are the ones who enroll in that.
  • Covid test – we work with Medrite and right now it is a short swab test.
  • Children are watching TV during lunch – Prek and K are watching videos during lunch so they can face forward. Brain pop – supplemental educational videos.
  • Play street – we have the Precint and Post Office so they will not let us close the street.  
  • Bussing – not managed by the school

PTA Board Updates:

Kenny Volandes presented a draft budget and indicated that a copy will be sent home with a Newsletter. The community will have one month to review and we need to vote it during the next PTA meeting in November.

Kara Manber called for volunteers for Title 1 chairperson and alternate.  The election for these seats will be held on Friday, October 29th at 11:15am.

Kara gave a quick update regarding ongoing Fundraisers (Believe Catalog, Non-Fundraiser) and Class Parents (we have all classes with class parents for the first time!!).

Isabela Lubert called for volunteers for the Green Wellness Committee.

Upcoming Events:

Great PS31 Pumpkin Contest

Parent Book Club

Class Halloween Parties

Election Day – November 2nd – asynchronous instructions.  Attendance will be taken

Call for Annual Title 1 Parent Meeting to happen on Oct 29th.