PTA Meeting Minutes
March 18, 2021 / 6pm ET (Virtual Meeting)
There were 42 participants.
Kenny Volandes welcomed all attendees and asked people to sign up using the link provided in the chat.
A Word for P.S. 31 Administration
Principal Scarlato opened the meeting by thanking the PTA for the Virtual Game Show hosted the day before. It was a big success! She also provided updates on the following:
- Student Council: The council is accepting new members from 3rd to 5th grade. Students will partner with younger grades for read aloud. They will also work on posters and cards of gratitude for first responders.
- Debate team: many students are interested in the upcoming debate in May. The School is in the process of selecting participants through a lottery system. Applications went out to eligible students this past week.
- Garden: Ms. Tesoriero shared that the school received a donation from the National Wildlife Federation for the school garden. We will be able to purchase a new shed, hanging planters, tools, and new plants. Each student will be able to receive a planting kit as well.
- Live instruction on remote days: the school does not have budget to accommodate live instruction on remote days at this time. We have a higher percentage of in-person students than other schools in the district and unfortunately do have enough staff to teach in-person, fully remote, and provide live instruction to kids on remote days.
- NY State test: the State will hold the Grade 4 ELA, Math and Science tests. Fully remote students are not expected to take the test. In-person students can opt-out of the test. For that, please write a letter of refusal and send it to us. There are samples of the letter online. For those who will take the test, it will be multiple choice, students will practice at school and there will be a test prep after school program for kids. It is unclear what middle and high school acceptance program will look like in the future, so we don’t know the consequences of not taking the test.
- What September looks like: the Mayor said students will be back in school 5 days per week in September and the new Chancellor is committed to reopening 5 days a week. That’s what the school wants as well, but, so far, there is no guidance on how to accomplish that.
In response to questions from parents, Assistant Principal Gallo explained that the school tracks where remote and in-person students are compared to the curriculum and they are where they are supposed to be. The school is not seeing that one group is ahead of the other. She emphasized that the school teaches to a child not to a curriculum and that we meet students where they are.
Finally, Principal Scarlato explained that we are using all spaces available at the school and that the school keeps the library and gym opened for emergency purposes such as having to combine classes if a teacher is absent (given that we have no subs and some teachers use certain classrooms to teach remote lessons).
Ms. Karantis shared that she is teaching PreK this year in addition to posting Coding lessons to the enrichment portal. She is also working on the 5th grade picture book and is looking for volunteers.
PTA Recap & Committee Updates
The PTA Co-President Kara gave a shout out to Edy’s Grocer for having donated Vitamin Water for our teachers. She also talked about the enrichment classes on the enrichment portal:
- Photography had a low participation rate. It appears that prerecorded lessons are not a good idea for this type of class.
- Chess was very successful. There were 50 students enrolled and the last day will be on March 22. We should discuss whether to host another session.
- The Virtual Game Show was a big success!!
Culturally Responsive Education (CRE): this committee holds a meeting every first Friday of the month. The goal of the committee is to support, empower and educate teachers and parents regarding cultural issues and build a strong foundation among the school community to embrace such discussions. CRE picks a book of the month that is relevant to the topic discussed.
Principal Scarlato shared that the District is holding a workshop by Dr. Danyall Dickey as part of the Parents as Partners Workshop series. She also shared that the school hired Donna Alam to talk about equity and that the school will send a survey to check what parents would like to work on. Finally, Principal Scarlato announced that she will hold a meeting for all parents of 3rd to 5th graders to talk about State tests.
Class Parents: Kara urged Class parents to reach out to their teachers to check whether they need help organizing mystery readers and Spring parties. She also urged everyone to follow the PTA on Instagram.
SLT: the SLT meetings happen on the last Friday of the month. In the last SLT, the SLT participants discussed:
- State test: it is not a performance test, but a test to check how the school is doing
- Social emotional program for K-2: infuse Leader in Me into the program, do activities, such as a mood meter, to gauge where students are emotionally.
100% Remote: the committee held a great meeting with the school administration and is already implementing some changes that have helped 100% remote kids feel more connected with the school and each other, such as the Sharing and Caring Fridays. They also discussed bringing back the school newsletter and having monthly meetings with the teachers to share what’s coming up in the school.
Fundraising Committee: PTA Co-President Tina Culmone shared the following fundraising updates:
- Valentine’s Day Shop was a big success!! We raised $2460.00
- Current Fundraiser is Picture Day. She let the community know that class photos are not available this year, that there will be no sibling portrait, and that we don’t know about a retake day yet. If 5th graders do not take the picture, they will not be on the yearbook
- Raffle Mania: drawing starts on April 5th. It is replacing the Gala Fundraiser this year and we are hoping to raise up to $20k.
- Yankee Day: will be held outdoors and will be socially distanced.
- Mother’s Day: we will have a flowers for Mother’s day event in May
- Flea Market: we will have a flea market mid-May.
We Need You: PTA Secretary Isabela Lubert asked parents to donate their time or money to the PTA via the PayPal or giving.smart links.
Upcoming events: PTA Treasurer Heather Milburn shared the upcoming events.
- Picture Day:
- March 22nd: Cohort B
- March 23rd: Cohort A
- District 14 Parents as Partners Workshop
- Series: March 24th
- Next SLT Meeting: March 26th
- Spring Break: March 29th through April 2nd
- Pre-K Application: Due April 7th
- Next PTA Meeting: April 15th
- State ELA Testing set to occur: April 20th and 21st These dates are TENTATIVE.
February 4, 2021 PTA Meeting / 6pm ET (Virtual Meeting)
There were 35 participants.
Kenny Volandes welcomed all attendees and asked people to sign up using the link provided in the chat.
Principal Scarlato could not join at this time due to technical difficulties. So the meeting started with a presentation from our guest speaker Kola Adeyemi and Bobby from ChessPath.
Bobby and Kola presented the Chess Program and discussed how classes are structured. They responded to a parent’s question stating that children as young as 3 years old can start learning chess. One parent thanked ChessPath and said his child loves the program. Overall, the feedback has been very positive, and Kara Manber indicate that if there is interested from the community, we could add another Chess session once the current one is over (which will happen at the end of March).
A Word from P.S. 31 Administration
School Closure – Assistant Principal Gallo addressed the recent 24h school closure and said that the administration shares school or classroom closure decisions as soon as they learn. She sympathizes with parents that have to make alternative plans at the last minute, but they really do share information as soon as they learn.
Vacation – If you leave the state, you have to quarantine for 10 days upon return. Alternatively, you can quarantine for 4 days and test. If the test is negative, you can return to the school.
Cold season – Ms. Gallo also mentioned that there have been more kids with cold symptom. She encouraged kids to stay home if they have any symptoms as symptoms are all very similar to COVID symptoms. Kids will not be penalized for attendance and the school can arrange for kids who are home to join live instruction with the equivalent remote class.
COVID Testing – the Situation Room is overwhelmed and is taking longer for the school to get information from them. The school’s COVID report card will change and now it will only include cases when there is a risk to the community.
DOE Survey – Ms. Gallo encouraged everyone to fill it out. Less than 50% of the parents have filled the survey out yet and it is due tomorrow, Feb. 5th.
Communications – Ms. Gallo encouraged the community to constantly check all platforms and social media daily for updates from the school.
Finally, on behalf of Principal Scarlatto, Ms. Gallo expressed her thanks to the community to get through this together.
PTA – Last Month Recap and Committee Updates
Community Updates – Kara Manber provided a couple of community updates. She thanked everyone for the donations of water and snacks for the school’s Snack Shack and reminded anyone who needs a tax receipt to fill out the form on the PTA’s website. She also mentioned that this past week was the second time that the school held a Black Lives Matter in School Week. She worked very closely with administration and the CRE committee to choose books and activities that were appropriate for the kids. Kara reminded the community that next week is Respect for All Week, when we will focus on how we can connect as a community. Finally, Kara mentioned that on Feb 10th and 11th, students are encouraged to wear something that represents themselves.
School Leadership Team (SLT) – Stephanie Samperi-Gonzalez shared that the SLT met last week and talked about fundraising: how to raise money and do community building activities that involve remote and blended families. She also indicated that there will be no G&T program this year. Stephanie shared that the school discussed how remote students can interact more. The school had already started a community building program on Fridays, and now started Sharing and Caring program every day. Parents are encouraged to email their teachers and use teachers’ office hours (from 2:00 to 2:20pm every day). Finally, Stephanie indicated the school started a Read Aloud on Wednesdays.
100% Remote Parents Committee – Rachel Herman talked about the newly formed committee as a place where parents of 100% remote students can connect. The committee’s priority is to improve communications between kids, so they can feel more connect with each other and with their teachers. The goal of the committee is to brainstorm ways to facilitate relationships and social emotional wellbeing.
Green Wellness Committee – call out for volunteers. Our garden has been neglected to over a year now.
Budget and Fundraising
Heather Milburn, the PTA Treasurer, is finalizing the interim PTA report for this year and she will share it when its done. She indicated that last year we raised $77k and a huge loss this year was the lack of the Fall Fest (last year we raised $9k in the Fall Fest alone). On the other hand, she talked about the Winter Holiday Shop and how 70% of our sales last year went to the third-party vendor we used to procure merchandise. This year we made more with half of the students. Heather also briefly discussed envelope fundraisers and merch sales (last year we made $8k and this year items are on back order). Finally, Heather said we have been very frugal this year and we are really trying to save.
Raffle Calendar – Kara is proposing we hold a Raffle Calendar this year and we have been getting donations from local businesses. We plan on selling tickets for $25 each.
Yearbook – we typically have done a yearbook for all classes, but last year we did for fifth grade only. We would need a strong committee to put it together for the whole school this year.
Finally, Isabela Lubert reminded the community that we raised a good amount of money last year and didn’t spend much this year, but that does not mean we don’t need to keep raising funds. The money raised in one year is used to fund activities for the next and we need to think ahead. If we would like to offer art as part of the curriculum, we need to have about $40k for an art teacher and supplies every year, for example. All other enrichments are paid by the PTA, including a recess program that has been mentioned in the past.
Ms. Gallo stated that PreK and K classes go out on daily basis and Mr. Reynold rotates classes from 1 – 5 to go outside. It is not the same as before, but the kids have a lot of fun.
- Respect for All Week: February 5th – February 11th
- Valentine’s Day Shop: February 9th and 10th
- NO SCHOOL on Friday, February 12th
- Winter Break: February 15th – February 19th
- Next Virtual School Tour: February 24th
- PTA Meeting: March 11th
- PS 31 Adult Weekly Running Club: Friday and Mondays at 6:30 PM; Saturday at 9:30AM (Contact email@example.com for more information)
- PS 31 5:30 AM Club: 20 minutes movement, 20 minutes journaling, 20 minutes writing on zoom (Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information)
- At the moment, no other classes are going to the 5 days a week model because of capacity of each classroom;
- We have a Debate Team for 3 -5 grades and a Student Council for 4 – 5 grades. The school will start getting 3rd graders involved;
- Middle School applications close on February 9th. Only 59% of families applied;
- PreK applications open on Feb. 24th;
- Administration is aware that some remote classes are slightly ahead of their in-person equivalent classes and the school is prepared to address these differences and continue differentiating next year, when we are all hopefully in person. Teachers undergo professional development training to meet students where they are in order to match the learning differences between students.
Kara Manber closed the meeting by asking for volunteers to help writing grant applications and by telling the community that anyone is welcomed to sit in at SLT meetings.
January 14, 2021 PTA Meeting / 6pm ET (Virtual Meeting)
There were 59 participants.
Opening remarks from Kenny Volandes – first PTA meeting of 2021 and we made it!
A Word from P.S. 31 Administration
Principal Scarlato: Wished all a Happy New Year. She addressed the two challenges the school already faced in 2021:
- Virtual Tour Zoom Bombing: She addressed the Zoom bombing that happened in our virtual school tour on January 12, 2021. She indicated the school filed all appropriate reports, including with Eventbrite, Zoom, NYPD and DOE. Apparently, our school was not the only one bombed across the country;
- School closure: Principal Scarlato apologized for conveying school closure so late in the day last Sunday. She indicated the school needed to wait for instructions and final determination from the Situation Room before officially communicating with the community.
She finished on a positive note, indicating that Empire after school program in school is available for in person and remote students and that the Virtual Cookshop class is also available for in person and remote students. She reminded parents that it is time for Middle School applications, and many are offering tours, including special tours for PS 31 students. She also reminded parents that applications for the Debate team are also due soon. Ms. Scarlato let parents know that, once school reopens, Pre-K and K classes will go back to five days a week of in person instruction. Finally, she let the community know that our school applied for the Participatory Budget grant of 10k for the upgrade of the art classroom into an art studio.
Assistant Principal Gallo: Ms. Gallo shared parent support resources the school offers via Goggle Classroom: Comfort Corner Class code is ***** and Ms. Fennell’s Social Emotional Class code is ******. She reminded parents that the school also has a psychologist available.
***** To ensure the safety and privacy of our GoogleClassrooms and meetings links and codes are not shared publicly. Please ask your teacher or e-mail us directly to get access to these social emotional resources.
Ms. Gallo also addressed community building activities: teachers and students will use the last period of every Friday to get to know each other – it will be what teachers and students make of it (e.g.: share stories, show and tell, etc.)
She also provided an update on movement in the building: there are movement breaks during the day. Pre-K and K classes go out for daily walks and First through Fifth grades go out with Mr. Reynolds on a rotational basis.
Finally, Ms. Gallo reminded the community that the last day to opt in to blended learning has passed and remote students will remain remote for the remainder to the school year. The goal now is to get the in-person kids to have five days of learning in the school.
PTA – Last Month Recap
Tina Culmone provided an update of the events that happened last month:
- Toy and Candy Cane Drive – The teachers and the community donated toys and candy canes to 90 P.S. 31 families;
- Food drive – we donated cans of food to St. Anthony’s church;
- P.S. 31 Winter Wonderland Shop – this year, we moved away from Kids Kastle and made more money with better quality products. We made $3,000. The school was very careful with safety: everyone wore masks, there was social distance and plenty of hand sanitizer;
- Holiday Room Service – We delivered in-room breakfast to teachers and staff in our school building and delivered Starbucks gift cards via e-mail to our remote teachers.
Isabela Lubert gave a shout-out to Kara Manber and Tina Culmone for their work in the Holiday Room Service.
- Class parents meeting – Kara Manber let the community know that Class Parents met in December and there was a need to specifically discuss the needs of remote class parents. The PTA Board met with some of remote class parents and decided to create the 100% Remote Committee.
Kara Manber provided an update on the Committees:
- 100% Remote – Rachel Herman volunteered to be co-chair and shared her email on the chat for those interested in becoming part of it. Some ideas that came up in the conversations were to host virtual playdates and share emotional resources.
- Kara shared the Child Mind Institute resources.
- Culturally Responsive Education (CRE) – first year that parents have been invited to join the meeting. If anyone is interested in joining, please email the PTA (we don’t share links).
- Kara apologized to the community and to those who found out about the virtual tour Zoom bombing through social media – apparently someone shared what had happened immediately.
- Kara reminded the community of upcoming District wide initiatives:
- Black Lives Matter Week will occur in the first week of February
- Respect for All Week will occur on the second week of February. We typically do team building activities every day that week. We will share activities in the calendar.
- Title 1 Committee – we will use $1,000 to update the P.S. 31 school app. We discussed having virtual yoga classes, but we think parents might be “zoomed out”. Let us know if that’s something you are interested in.
- Snack Shack – This is the first year we implemented the Snack shack, which are snacks available at the school for all children that need one. We need more snacks and water for when school re opens. You can donate here: www.bit.ly/PS31Volunteer OR drop off with Mrs. Holliday.
- School Leadership Team (SLT) – will meet on Friday Jan 29 at 11am. All are welcomed to sit in. We will share the link with you if you ask.
- Green Wellness – Kara indicated the need for volunteers for this committee, including a chairperson. The goal of the committee includes making sure our school is involved in environmentally conscious initiatives, promotes green education to our students and takes care of the Garden. The chair person can also make the Green Wellness Meeting Schedule. Ms. Tesoriero, Ms. Sankner, Assistant Principal Gallo, Principal Scarlato and the PTA Board will assist.
We Need You!
Isabela Lubert shared the resources for donating time or money to the school and also reminded parents and guardians to sign up to the PTA Newsletter. Finally, she shared a new feature in the PTA’s website: a form to be filled out in case donors need a donation receipt for tax purposes.
Heather Milburn shared the upcoming school events:
- No School on Monday, January 18th
- Pajama Day and Envelope Fundraiser on January 21st and 22nd
- Black Lives Matter Week from February 1st to 5th
- Respect for All Week from February 5th to 11th
- Next PTA Meeting on February 4th – focused on Budget and Fundraising
- Valentine’s Day Shop on February 9th and 10th
- Can we have school sent out all work print out?
The school wants all materials to be on Google Classroom in case kids need to quarantine or school closes with short notice.
- Can we send a petition somewhere to request more testing?
The school does not choose the days on which testing will occur but has noticed it has typically been on Cohort A days. Principal Scarlato has brought the issue during a principals meeting and the superintendent will escalated it.
- Can we ask students to get tested every Saturday?
The school cannot mandate this.
- What will school look like in September?
Things are changing all the time and the school is not sure what it will look like for the remainder of the school year or next year. What the school knows is that we will switch over from Common Core to Next Generation and teachers are getting prepared for that.
- Teachers were providing packets for the days kids are not in school – why phased out?
The problem was that kids would not have materials if they were quarantined, they only had work if they came to school. The school encouraged teachers to post to Goggle Classroom. The school reminded the community of the quarantining rules: quarantining for 10 days after exposure and only a direct contact of the positive needs to quarantine.
- Have teachers been vaccinated?
School cannot answer that due to HIPAA Privacy Law.
- Is there an agency name or number that we should be aware of for contact tracing?
Contact tracing comes up as New York COVID Test and Trace (Department of Health).
- Can we drop off snacks for the Snack Shack?
School is completely closed due to the COVID shutdown. One option for parents is to make an online order and mail it to the school.
Will there be hot lunch?
Yes, but unsure when. Lunches will still be delivered to the classroom.
Five is the official number of COVID cases so far.
School has 97% attendance for both in person and remote. Ms. Scarlato thanked parents for their commitment.
School is closed for lunch during this time of COVID shutdown.
Every classroom now has an air purifier.
Closing remarks by Kenny.
December 3, 2020 / 6pm ET (Virtual Meeting)
There were 48 participants
Welcome from Kenny Volandes dressed as a cheerful Santa and in full Holiday Spirit!
A Word from P.S. 31 Administration
Principal Scarlato: She welcomed the parents and answered pre-submitted questions regarding school reopening plans. She started by saying that the Administration is very transparent regarding reopening plans. While the school wants to offer 5 days/week classes for students, it will depend on the number of students that will give consent for COVID Testing. That is because students returning to school in person must sign a COVID Testing
consent form in order to be allowed in the school. Once the school knows the numbers of students that will ultimately attend classes in person, they will be able to make a determination regarding going back to 5 days/week. The school may take a phased approach, e.g. by opening 12:1:1 classes first, and might have to collapse classes.
Principal Scarlato then gave details regarding the COVID Testing procedure itself and described the process.
Principal Scarlato addressed other questions such as the donation the school received from Joe Lentol last year. She indicated she has been in contact with his office and that the funds will be used to install air conditioners in the cafeteria. Finally, she indicated that HEPA filters are being installed in every classroom as part of the reopening plan.
Assistant Principal Gallo: Ms. Gallo reminded parents of 4th and 5th graders of Middle School Tours and District 14 informational webinar. She also informed about the Virtual P.S. 31 tour that will take place on December 16, 2020 at 9am, and that free tickets are available at Eventbrite. Ms. Gallo also reminded parents that opted in to Blended to bring basic supplies on their first day back to school. Finally, she discussed the need for community building with remote students. She suggested that class parents start Fabulous Fridays or Mystery Readers for remote students.
Kara Manber answered additional questions that were posed to the PTA by parents via survey. She gave further details to the parents who recently opted in to Blended by describing that each student has their own desk, that they should have their own pencil case with pencils and a water bottle. In addition to submitting the COVID Testing consent form, students need to fill out the Health Survey daily prior to entering the building.
Principal Scarlato and Assistant Principal Gallo reiterated that they are awaiting more guidance regarding reopening 5 days/week, but they are committed to doing so safely. They affirmed the school has been disinfected and HEPA filters have been installed prior to reopening.
Tina Culmone described the main events happening in December:
Class parents should begin collecting a Holiday gift for teachers;
Food Drive is ongoing until December 18th ;
Toy and Candy Cane Drive is ongoing until December 22nd ;
PS 31 Student Winter Wonderland Shoppe will occur from December 14th through December 18th.
Committee and Fundraising Updates:
SLT – Stephanie Samperi-Gonzalez updated the PTA regarding the latest SLT meeting, which was held on November 20. Stephanie relayed that the school is focused on communication and that if parents have any questions, to please contact their teacher. She further indicated that the school’s goal is to increase each child reading level by two levels, and that attendance was 97% in November. She also mentioned the Gratitude Tree that the
school put together in November and finally, she talked about the Parent University
Fundraising – Heather Milburn gave the following updates:
• Boon Fundraiser: $1,143
- Giving Tuesday: $3,561
• Pies $1,275 to P.S. 31
• TONIGHT! Joe’s Pizza: 10% to P.S. 31 PTA
• Pokemon Sale Still on!!
• Festive Fashion Disaster Envelope Fundraiser – December 22nd and 23rd
Isabela Lubert reminded the parents about the suggested PTA Annual Donation and also called for volunteers interested in being part of the Participatory Budget Committee. The school would like to work with parents in order to prepare an expense project and submit it to the Participatory Budgeting. If the project is approved, the school could receive a grant.
Finally, parents were reminded about the Student Enrichment Portals and their access codes.
Kenny Volandes closed the meeting by thanking those who attended.
November 2, 2020 / 6pm ET (Virtual Meeting)
Welcome from Kenny Volandes.
Principal Scarlato and Assistant Principal Gallo were unable to attend today’s meeting.
There were 36 participants.
Vote on proposed budget:
Kenny Volandes presented the PTA Proposed Budget for school year 2020/2021 and asked whether there were any questions. There were none. Kenny Volandes motioned to accept the proposed budget and the motion was carried.
Kara Manber answered questions that were posed to the PTA by parents via survey.
- Is there a plan to have live instruction on remote days from blended learners?
Though this is ideal, is it a P.S. 31 staffing issue. There are not enough teachers to accommodate remote learners and remote blended learners. Administration is brainstorming and would love to make it a reality but do not see how it is possible. The situation MAY change depending on how many students opt into the blended learning model. This number will determine the amount of teachers, if any, will be taken out of remote and placed into blended remote. This still would not ensure every class would receive live instruction on blended remote days.
- Is there another time to opt in to Blended?
The time to opt into blended learning is NOW. November 2 TODAY – November 15th. There is not another time. Originally it was announced that children would be able to opt in quarterly BUT this has suddenly changed by the New York City Department of Education. Administration again, was informed through the same DOE Town Hall as we were. Opt in Here.
- If you have a large influx of children, will you decrease the cohort days?
This is not ideal, BUT if there is a large influx of students opting in and classrooms cannot safely accommodate social distancing, there would be a change to add an additional Cohort, resulting in less in person days. *The average P.S. 31 classroom can safely hold 12 students.
- How will the remote kids integrate? Will they have to repeat projects?
Teachers have daily grade level meetings every morning and are aware of what each class within their grade is doing. There will not be repeated projects, all teachers are working closely together and are prepared to differentiate lessons for any learners that may be ahead or behind.
- How soon would parents going from fully remote to blended find out the group their child will be joining?
We are currently unsure and awaiting guidance. Administration still does not know if they will learn on a daily basis how many children plan on returning or all at the end and be forced to scramble. The tentative time children will begin blended is between: November 30th and December 7th.
Please be advised of this quote from Chancellor Carranza: “Schools will make every effort to accommodate these requests based on programming and space capacity.” Do not be surprised if dates change.
- How will my blended child be affected by the opting in period?
Students in the blended classroom will keep their same teacher and classroom.
- If schools were to shut down again, who would provide the remote instruction?
Their current teacher. GoogleClassrooms are in place. Blended learners have had remote instruction.
- How will standardized state tests be done for 3rd and 4th graders this year?
We do not have specific information on standardized testing other than the calendar dates: As follows:
- Grades 3-8 ELA Paper Based: Tuesday, April 20 – Thursday, April 22
- Computer Based: Monday, April 19 – Monday, April 26th
- Math Grades 3-8 Paper Based: Tuesday May 4th – Thursday May 6th
- Computer Based: May 3rd – May 10th Grade 4 Science (Performance Based) Tuesday, May 25th – Friday, June 4th
- Grade 4 Science (Written) Monday, June 7th
- What precautions will be taken when going back to school after the holiday? Thanksgiving and December break?
Administration will write a letter requesting parents to share traveling plans to ensure the safety of everyone at PS 31 and will follow the protocol enforced by Governor Cuomo announced. See Here.
Additionally, parents are mandated to complete and present the COVID questionnaire either on their phone or paper version. Although not mandated, ALL PS 31 students will have their temperature taken by staff members prior to entering the building when returning after the breaks. In addition, ALL staff must abide by the same protocols.
10. Will there be random COVID Testing at P.S. 31?
Yes, we had our first random COVID test last Friday. Random testing is supposed to be done monthly in all schools not in a “hot zone.”
Last Friday, We had 98 staff and students tested on a B day which has less students than A. (124 students were in the building) All were negative. Children will only be tested if their parent consents. Read more about random COVID testing and the consent form here.
11. Empire will return on November 16th! How will Empire handle social distancing?
Social distancing for all programs is determined by square footage of each room utilized. Empire will not be scheduled in any of our official classrooms so participants will not be occupying an assigned classroom seat; no cross contamination. They will use the basement. Can accommodate 110 children.
Empire State After School:
Jennessa Schoman was a guest speaker who talked about Empire State After school program. The program is a free after school program that will start on November 16, 2020. Those who are interested should obtain a paper form application from the PS 31 main office. Jennessa explained the COVID precautions taken by Empire, such as mask wearing, testing, and limited capacity.
A Word from Class Parent Coordinators:
Class Parent Coordinator Despina Saukin briefly explained the role of a Class Parent and informed that there are still several classes with no Class Parents. She called for volunteers. Additionally, she reminded those on the call that we are almost in December and Class Parents should start thinking about Holiday Gifts for the teachers.
Committee Updates & Recaps:
PTA Co-Presidents Kara Manber and Tina Culmone called for volunteers, including chairpersons, for the Green Wellness Committee, Merch Committee and the Fundraiser Committee. They also provided a brief description of each committee’s goals and informed about the Merch Clearance sale to be held on Wednesday, November 4, 2020 from 1:30pm to 2:30pm in the school yard, and the Pokemon Pop-Up store.
Sumi DeBenedittis, parent member to the CRE Team, provided an update on the work that has been done so far to ensure PS 31 provides a culturally responsive education to its students. Sumi reported that the CRE Team met for the first time in the end of October. Goals for the CRE Team include: communicated with different stakeholders regarding content of education materials, be more culturally responsive, educate parents on how to talk about the content, and engage a parent of every grade to join the CRE Team. Sumi provided the example of studying Columbus Day from the indigenous community perspective. Sumi also shared that all PS 31 staff has taken implicit bias training.
Stephanie Samperi-Gonzalez, parent member of the School Leadership Team (SLT) relayed that the SLT is comprised of the school leadership, the co-presidents of the PTA and two parent-members, and holds monthly virtual meetings. The last meeting was held on October 28, 2020. In that meeting, the SLT discussed the opt-in to blended logistics and window of time to opt (November 2 through November 15), grading policy (this year, 1 and 2 will be graded as “N”), and discussed a comprehensive education plan focused on attendance, critical thinking activities, and have students increase two reading levels.
Updates about recent events:
Heather Milburn shared how we celebrated National Principal Appreciation by giving flowers to Principal Scarlato and Assistant Principal Gallo along with Flipgrid videos from students. She also shared the results of the Great Pumpkin Contest and shared information about the Community Snack Shack. She asked for donations to fill the shack with store bought individually wrapped snacks for children in need. Finally, we discussed the idea of holding PTA Office Hours if there is enough interest.
Student Enrichment Portal:
Heather Milburn presented “Terminal E”, the student enrichment portal in Google Classroom. Through this portal, students will be able to access enrichments such as photography classes, music, art and Mystery Readers. Codes are:
- Pre-K through 1st: fbmvgf5
- 2nd and 3rd: p3w2qrm
- 4th and 5th: ta6odlt
Isabela Lubert reminded those in attendance of the following:
- The only opportunity to opt into Blended is from November 2, 2020 through November 15, 2020;
- November 3, 2020 is Election Day. There will be no classes at the school. It is a remote day for all students;
- November 5, 2020 is a half day due to virtual parent teacher conferences. Dismissal is: Pre-K at 11:10am and K-5th at 11:15am
July 29, 2020 Virtual Town Hall Presentation
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.
- Take Your School Survey!
- NYCSCHOOLSURVEY.org (June 26th Deadline)
- Fill Out Your Census
- Head to DonorsChoose.org to support P.S. 31 Teachers.
- Happy Father’s Day!
- E-mail Us: 31ParentTeacher@gmail.com.
- Follow Us: On Instagram, Facebook @PS31PTA.
- Twitter @ps31ptabrooklyn.
- All information available at: www.ps31pta.org.
- Donate: ps31giving.givesmart.com or paypal.me/ps31pta.
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!
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.
No April PTA Meeting
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.
- 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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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: email@example.com
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!
June 7, 2019
Welcome from Principal Scarlato. Next year the school would like to create an attendance incentive. We are also reminded that safety is the number one priority of PS 31, and this is true at drop off. PLEASE enter in designated door and exit through the main entrance. She also expresses her excitement for our third grade PS 31 scholars to attend the Brooklyn Historical Society to celebrate the publication of their book on immigrants in Greenpoint. Also, thanks to Joanna Wolfe for making plans for more cultural and educational field trips for all grades. Principal Scarlato thanks everyone for all their hard work and a wonderful year!
Teacher of the Month Speaker: Lilian Casaceli. She is from Ridgewood and her favorite food is lasagna. She has been a teacher at PS 31 since 1996. Mrs. Casaceli is a cluster teacher working with Ms. Sankner and Ms. Tesoriero, helping children learn about coding, fossils, and matter.
Guest Student: Fifth Grader, Valentina Tavares. Valentina loves dance and PS 31. She says, “You always feel welcomed and included here. You feel that you are encouraged to be yourself and learn ways to help yourself and your classmates to be proactive.” Her favorite subject is math because it is challenging. Her advice for an incoming student is: “Work with the 7 habits, help others, and be selfless.”
Next, the PTA Election for all positions (co-Presidents, Treasurer, Secretary, and Fifth Board Member) & SLT Election for one vacant position and someone to take over a current position are held.
While Nominating Committee distributes ballots, Secretary, Kara Manber, says thank you to the incredible community members and reflects on some of the achievements of the 2018/2019 school year, including (but not limited to) building the raised bed for the Garden of Happiness, many grants (Action for Healthy Kids for this year, mats and next year, recess equipment; Whole Kids Foundation grant, Grow NYC Grant, Chicago Foundation Kodable grant, Be Time Grant, Teracycle contest winner, Aldi Every Kid Healthy Event Grant), the library makeover and teacher Eco-Resources, Chess Team going to Nationals, Sound Test/Movement on the Gym Soundproofing Project, Mural completion, implementation of unstructured time through “Mix and Mingle,” The “Jungle Book Kids” Production and auditorium sound improvements, Ms. Sankner’s water filling station being funded, our first full year of Art instruction by an in-house teacher, the introduction of Potluck Game Day, Every Kid Healthy Day, Career Day & Start with Hello Week, Math Night, Coin Wars, the Neon Party earning more than any event ever has, Fall Fest, Guest Speakers at PTA meetings, being a participatory budget winner for new smart boards, the costume drive, many donors’ choose projects being funded, exceeding predicted budget income, and more efficient communication with parents!
Next, Cassandra Smith shares some great news about our gym. Cerami performed a gratis sound test of our gym, which will give us concrete next steps to perform for our gym to be in working order as soon as possible. The money is available once the sound test results come in, so we are anxiously awaiting news of these results and look forward to making a solid plan from them.
Review of Upcoming & Current Events:
- Coin Wars: Raising funds for recess enhancement.
- CHIPOTLE Spirit Night Fundraiser Tuesday, June 11th 4 – 8 pm at N 4th
- Parent Dance Class with Stephanie from WMAAC 8:15 am on Wednesday, June 12th and Wednesday, June 19th.
- Tuesday, June 18th 2:30 pm End of Year Family Sing along with Rockness Music!
- August 24th 11:00 am – 1:00 pm Family Back to School Play Date in our PS 31 playground! Incoming and returning families welcome!
- Martial Arts Fundraiser: send a check to PS 31 PTA or cash for $147 and receive 5 weeks of 2x per week instruction and uniform; you may pay now and sign up as late as September 15th.
- Join the 2019 Fall Fest Committee and start brainstorming! Fall Fest will be held indoors on October 19th, 12-3pm.
2018/2019 PTA Reflection & Discussion
- What did the PTA fund?
- Our art teacher, Mr. Caprino and art supplies for the entire year: about $35,000.
- Rockness Music residency for all grades: 8 weeks of enrichment for Pre-K & K; 10 weeks of keyboard instruction for 1st through 5th grades: $20,000.
- “Jungle Book Kids” Musical production: $10,000.
- 8-10 weeks of Dance through the International Institute of Ballet and WMAAC residencies for grades 1st-5th grades: $15,000.
- Chess instruction, afterschool chess club & tournaments for 1st-5th grades: $10,000.
- 5th grade end of year field trip and graduation trophies: $3,175.
- Teacher appreciation luncheon and gifts for staff; holiday gifts for students and teachers: $2,500.
- Mats for the downstairs gym: $1,000.
- Upgrades to the Garden of Happiness: $5,000.
- Leaders of Change outdoor mural: $3,500.
- Kodable coding program and two robots for the robotics lab: $1,000.
- Community Events: Fall Fest, the Neon Party, and Every Kid Healthy Day & MORE.
*Grand Total: $105,000 in PTA Funded Enrichments & Activities.
Discussion of possible goals for the 2019/2020 school year. Ideas include: translations of newsletters and getting more feedback from parents. Continue monthly calendar and provide a list of Spirit Days and Fundraisers at the beginning of the year so parents can plan accordingly. Use links that are easy to follow and consistent beginning at the start of the year.
Election Votes are tallied and announced! Your 2019/2020 PTA Board is: Kennth Volandes and Jennifer Ward (Co-Presidents), Kara Manber (Secretary), Heather Milburn (Treasurer), Tina Culmone (5th Board Member). SLT results: Anathea Simpkins returns, Lisa Schumann-Klein takes over for Karin Block. Congratulations!
May 18, 2019
The meeting begins at 8:35 am. Two Board Members, Elodie and Kenny, are not present. Jennie Ward welcomes the community and informs attendees that Kenny is attending a Gym Sound Proofing Meeting in hopes of a soundproofing test, so a better assessment can be made and the process can begin.
She then introduces 5th grade speaker of the month, Laila Naiyer. Laila tells parents that PS 31 has made her love school. She is a Green Leader of Change, Student Council Member, star of PS 31’s musical “The Jungle Book Kids” and the Book Nook Manager. She loves getting involved in extracurricular and community activities. Her advice for incoming students is “Don’t dismiss Math. The skills you learn are essential to life: measuring ingredients, shopping at a grocery store, deciding how much detergent you need for your laundry. If you want to pursue theatre, get on stage as much as possible!”
May’s Teacher Guest Speaker is Mr. Duggan. Mr. Duggan has been the physical education teacher at PS 31 for grades K-fifth for two years and he is well-loved. He pursued Social Work for his BA and then received his Master’s in Physical Education from Adelphi. He loves helping children become healthy and learn to enjoy exercising. For grades Kindergarten to second, he focuses on introducing them to a variety of sports and on improving their social skills and sportsmanship. After second grade, they are able to fine-tune their athletic skills. He uses technology in his class to reinforce his lesson; after he demonstrates a proper throwing stance or a yoga pose, he is able to loop it on a large screen while he circulates to help children. He is also the coach for “Champs,” our after-school program that meets twice a week for third, fourth, and fifth grades. It is a FREE program for interested students. Additionally, Mr. Duggan was very excited to talk about PS 31 becoming a “Move to Improve” School! He was able to train teachers in all grades, Pre-K through fifth, on how the teachers can incorporate movement into their daily lessons. For example: if a statement is true, children can do jumping jacks; if it is false, they can do squats. It also includes general movement games that can be used throughout the day. Mr. Duggan is grateful for all the support parents have showed in funding his Donors Choose projects; he is currently hoping to receive funding for a Hockey unit! With the help of the PTA, we have also applied for the Every Kid Healthy grant to provide additional recess supplies.
Geek Forest Guest Speaker, Karma Dolkar, advertises their summer program, focusing on coding and robotics, with a wide variety of unique themes: Dungeon and Dragons, Minecraft, Stop Motion Animation and more. There is really something for every interest! Geek Forest also offers adult workshops like “Sip and Draw,” as well as Family Workshops on the weekend. Be sure to check them out online; spots are filling up quickly.
JEI Learning Center/FasTracKids Speaker, David Green, is also present to speak about their Summer Camp and tutoring services. He opens by stating how impressed he is with PS 31. “You can always spot a PS 31 child,” he says. “Children and parents are serious about their studies. PS 31’s positive academic reputation is well-deserved.” We are equally impressed with JEI’s program. STEM based tutoring services are considered enrichments and are consistent with the child’s school teachings; they also build confidence. The summer camp has children assume careers and use math, language arts, science and more to help them succeed in their occupation. Jobs include: paleontologist, artist, astronaut, doctor and more. Check them out online! If you are interested in receiving services here, an initial assessment is free.
Mr. Jasper, “Assistant Principal for the day” raffle winner, accompanies Ms. Gallo to the PTA Meeting. Together, they remind parents, particularly Pre-K parents, to arrive on time and to enter and exit through the corner door. This helps set healthy, consistent routines that help children thrive and is also a safety precaution.
Principal Scarlato addresses parents next. She is relieved the Quality Review is over, has heard some wonderful things from the reviewer and looks forward to the official report in roughly 8 weeks. Our Chess Team competed in the National Chess Tournament in Nashville, TN. Students had an unforgettable experience. Our library is looking beautiful thanks to National Wildlife Federation. As an eco-school we now have a resource center for teachers to use to help them teach sustainability in the classroom and to be sure their legacy continues. We have also found a matching grant from City at Works to get additional table and chair upgrades for our library. She also discusses exciting PS 31 events: King Henry visited this week, promoting PS 31 School Spirit Night with the Brooklyn Cyclones on Friday, June 14th! Order forms went home yesterday. Additionally, today is the annual Adventure Bound Game Show, a truly exciting and fun community event. PTA attendees are welcome to enjoy the show at 9:30 am.
Jennie Ward, Co-President continues with some exciting recaps. Every Kid Healthy Day included a book swap, planting activity, yoga, martial arts demonstrations, healthy snacks, a DJ and bench painting. Teacher Appreciation Week and Lunch were the last two weeks. We love you, PS 31 Teachers! Mathnasium Math Night & Parent-Teacher Moving-up workshops were a success!
Kara Manber discusses ongoing and upcoming events. Friday, June 7th will be the PTA Elections: please consider running! We are currently in need of a PTA Treasurer and an SLT member. You must be present at the morning meeting to vote. Please come so we have quorum. There is currently a Recess Volunteer Ice Cream Social Contest. Help your class win by volunteering for recess at: www.bit.ly/PS31Volunteer. PS 31 Coin Wars is coming next month: stay tuned for more information and save your loose change!
The meeting comes to a close with Committee Updates. Kara Manber, Title 1 Representative, gives a recap of how Title 1 Parent Engagement Funding was spent this year and thanks all the parents for their input. The PS 31 Samuel F. DuPont School App is renewed, Parent Intensati Classes are held on Wednesdays at 8:15 am for the next three weeks; bring a yoga mat if you have one. Additionally, there will be a Story Pirates Workshop on Saturday, June 1st from 11am-12pm at PS 31 for parents and students, as well as a family Rockness Music Concert, date TBD.
Lastly, there are Green Wellness Committee updates from sustainability coach, Ali Schuettinger. The Garden of Happiness Installation Day was a wonderful success! Our garden is now full of edible plants, including a blueberry bush. There has been a concern with including the Instagram handle or website of the mural artist. The issue will be discussed among PTA board and administration.
Conclusion at 9:40 am.
Important Dates to Remember:
PTA Recap Meeting: Tuesday, May 21st 6:00-7:00 pm with Pizza.
Story Pirates Workshop: Saturday, June 1st 11:00am-12pm.
NO SCHOOL: Monday, May 27th, Tuesday, June 4th, Thursday, June 6th, & Tuesday, June 11th.
Chipotle Spirit Night: Tuesday, June 11th from 4-8pm at North 4th Street Chipotle location.
Brooklyn Cyclones Spirit Night: Friday, June 14th, for all PS 31 families from 6pm-game over.
5th Grade Culminating Activities: June 14th: Trip to Adventureland; June 21st: Awards Ceremony & Dance in evening.
5th Grade Graduation: Monday, June 24th.
Pre-K & K Graduation. Tuesday, June 25th.
Last day of school: Wednesday, June 26th.
April 12, 2019
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.
- 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.
March 15, 2019
Meeting opens with special Student Speaker, Axel Stahl. Axel will miss the things he learned here at PS 31: he enjoyed meeting new people and learning new things. Additionally, he started playing chess in Kindergarten, as our youngest member. His advice to new students is to “follow instructions and get ready to learn many new things.”
The Teacher Guest Speaker is Mrs. Franco, who is a Brooklyn native, born and raised in Williamsburg. She is one of PS 31’s special education team teachers, who works with students who need additional support. She is also the UFT contractual leader and a member of the SLT.
Next, we hear from Benjamin Solotaire of Steven Levin’s office, of city council district 33, about the logistics of the participatory budget. This year, PS 31 is on the ballot for all-new Smart Boards for the entire school. PS 31 has asked for $225,000, and we need community votes to win. Voting begins on March 30th and continues through to April 7th. There are two requirements needed to vote. One: voters must be at least in the 6th grade or 11 years old. Two: voters must live in the district. Votes can be cast online or in-person at polling sites. PS 31 will be a morning polling location, so teachers and parent volunteers can encourage parents to vote at drop-off! In addition, Benjamin will attend our adult Gala to help inform our community on the participatory budget and make sure everyone votes.
Our proactive Green Leaders of Change make an appearance at our meeting, advertising their farm stand and giving attendees free produce from the hydroponic garden in our STEAM lab. They discuss the time and attention needed to grow the plants. Angel speaks about how growing romaine lettuce encouraged him to try and like it!
Fundraiser recaps: Love Day Envelope fundraiser raised $450. Thank you to all who participated and showed your love for PS 31. World’s Finest Chocolate sale is still happening: there are more boxes of chocolate to sell if anyone would like to pick up an additional box. Last year we sold 250 boxes and this year we currently have sold 225. We still have about 50 more boxes left to sell. Thank you to Kenny for heading this Fundraiser.
In addition, Mrs. Karantais has a Donor Choose project, asking for rounded desks at a cost of $2500, before the project expires on April 11th. If you are able, please check out www.donorschoose.org and search “PS 31 Samuel F. DuPont.” Teachers are constantly posting special projects and would greatly appreciate your help in donating or simply sharing on social media.
We are all excited about Start with Hello Week, which begins on Monday! Mrs. Gallo speaks about the event. This is the second year we have participated and are culminating the week with a Career Day. It is also the first year as a district-wide event. Start With Hello teaches children to be positive leaders of change, with the simple notion that if you see someone who seems alone, reach out to them; you can start with “hello.” Even the smallest act of kindness can change their day.
The outline for next week is as follows:
- March 18th – Anathea will visit Pre-K through 2nd grade and show a video of a kid without a snack and how all his classmates surprised him with bits of their own snacks in his lunchbox when he had left the classroom. It was a small act that brought him so much joy when he opened his now-full lunchbox. Third through fifth grade will attend a school-wide assembly with a PowerPoint slide discussing Start with Hello.
- March 19th – no one eats alone day.
- March 20th – class and grade-wide synergy project. Fifth graders will visit and work with third graders. Fourth graders will visit other classes in their grade.
- March 21st – Name tag day. Everyone in school will be wearing a name tag and are encouraged to say hello to school mates by name.
- March 22nd – Career Day: begins at 8:45 am in the cafeteria for a quick meet and greet, coffee and art display. From 9am-10:30am, parents will go upstairs to classrooms to share a description of their profession, and students will present their dream career for when they grow up. We work with the end in mind.
Mrs. Gallo would also like to announce there is new merchandise that the school is selling. It is an all-black (with the school logo) pullover sweater and sweatpants. The set is sold for $35 but individually it is $20 for the sweatshirt and $20 for sweatpants; please pre-order.
YMCA Beacon/St. Nick’s Alliance speaker, Nateria Cannon, spoke about the many free family classes and events that they host at M.S. 126. They offer afterschool and summer camp, which begins July 8th. They have open slots for afterschool for elementary school kids.
Jennie Ward, head of the Spring Gala, discusses the event. The early bird discount is finished by March 20th. Tickets will go up by $5 afterwards. Our Amazon Wish list is doing really well but still more items that need to be bought. Thank you to everyone that has contributed. There is still a need for volunteers for the night Gala. So far there are only 4 people who have volunteered for all-nighters. Spread the word!
Kristin Dougherty speaks on behalf of Ali, who could not attend the meeting and gives an update of the Green Wellness Committee. Alison will soon be moving on from PS 31 and she wanted to remind us about a few projects that still need to get done:
- There is a need for a large-scale garden.
- We still need volunteers for soil moving day on April 18th from 9am until 1pm.
- May 4th is family plant day. Families can come out to plant and get healthy!
- Mural painting project: Need to raise $3500 for the school for this project.
Nominating Committee is beginning to advertise the PTA Board Election! We need a 5th board member, a secretary, a treasurer, and two co-Presidents.
Mrs. Scarlato addresses parents and makes a few announcements: 2nd & 3Rd graders from the Green Wellness Team will be visiting St. Anthony’s food bank today to drop off can drive donations. P.S. 31 was nominated by the superintendent as a “Respect for All School’ citywide.
The meeting concludes at 9:35am.
February 8, 2019
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 18, 2019
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
December 14, 2018
*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 16, 2018
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.
- You can volunteer at: http://signup.com/go/goDbzhr.
- 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 email@example.com
The meeting concludes at 9:30 am.
October 19, 2018
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.
Duration: 54 minutes (Audio Recording by Stephanie Brown)
September 21, 2018
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.
June 8, 2018
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
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 tomorrow, May 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 firstname.lastname@example.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 continues. Be sure to try this amazing farmers’ market style online ordering company and enter the code PS31 at checkout. www.ourharvest.com.
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