Cumberland Parent Council Meeting Minutes
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
The meeting called to order by Kris Kirchner at 7:05 p.m. There were 17 people in attendance.
Kris thanked everyone for attending and asked for introductions.
The officers for the 2007-2008 school year are:
President- Kris Kirchner
Secretary- Tamara Dunford
Treasurer- Andrea Kane
Volunteer Chair- Diane Beaudoin
The minutes from the May 8, 2007 Parent Council meeting were approved.
Andrea distributed copies and reviewed the final budget for the Aug 2006-July 2007 school
year. She explained that $1000 was paid to the capital improvement fund and that remaining
teacher grants were paid in May. There were no questions or concerns about the end of the
A monetary gift was given to Cumberland in honor of new teachers. Mrs. Bowers has
purchased a Wii (there are educational uses for Wii technology) and is in the process of
purchasing two more and the software to go with them. One will be placed in the computer
room and another in the LGI room. One class is currently trying it out and there will be
training for teachers explaining how to use a Wii in an educational setting.
Walk About: The Walk About seemed to work better this year. The feedback Mrs. Bowers
received indicated that it seemed more relaxed (more time was allotted) and more parents
attended than last year.
Mrs. Bowers reported that there is still work that needs to be done to fine tune entry and exit
procedures. Currently we are getting a B- to a B+. Parents need to work on minimizing gaps
between cars in the pick up area after school and parents and students need to be sure to use
crosswalks. The Benton Street area is much improved from last year. The Benton St.
neighbors have been very appreciative of the changes to pick up and drop off procedures.
Mrs. Bowers plans to go to the Traffic Commission to ask for speed bumps in front of the
school. She also noted that from the time the bell rings to when the buses depart is about 10
minutes, which is much better than last year. A parent asked if the driveway in front of the
school could be used for pick up and Mrs. Bowers responded that she has considered that but
has not yet decided.
The “Welcome to Cumberland” mat in the front hallway was given to Cumberland by an
anonymous donor. Mrs. Bowers researched and found that a comparable mat would be
around $650 to $800. If we were interested in similar mats for the other entrances perhaps
Parent Council could be involved?
Mrs. Bowers read a note from Mrs. Deutsch, who was not able to attend the meeting. Mrs.
Deutsch is requesting four parent volunteers to help with Sunshine Awards this year. Parents
are usually involved in helping make the buttons, certificates, taking photos, etc. This year,
Mrs. Deutsch is hoping to expand the Sunshine Awards to more of a school wide activity and
less of a memorial. The parents who volunteer for the “Sunshine Squad” could help with
projects around the school (i.e. Red Ribbon week, holiday care packages, organizing the lost
and found). These projects could correspond with many of the life skills that students are
learning at Cumberland. Mrs. Bowers will pass the information on to Kris.
The Nature Center has been thriving, thanks to Marcy Towns, Mrs. Smith, and other
volunteers. There is still much more work to be done to keep up with the growth. There are
lots of thistles growing, which need to be removed, and plants to be thinned and separated.
There are only 2 grounds workers available for all schools in the district, so they can only do
so much to help. More parent volunteers are needed. There were a lot of volunteers last fall,
but not many in the spring. Mrs. Bowers would like to see the Nature Center remain a place
that features plants native to Indiana, that is a great place to learn, and is kid friendly. She
suggested improving it by planting some trees for additional shade, planting grass in the
educational area so children have a comfortable place to sit, and soliciting donations for a
few stone benches. Hopefully we could aim for a lower maintenance area and increase the
comfort zone for the children. Karen Plite suggested a “Teaching Tree” (planting one larger
tree that would provide great shade and a place for kids to gather with the teacher).
Mrs. Borden reported that a Ron Woods memorial is in process. Ron Woods, who passed
away this summer, was a former Cumberland principal that loved the Nature Center. One
idea is to put a bench in the Nature Center with a plaque dedicated to Ron. Parents or
teachers with other ideas should contact Mrs. Borden.
Professor Siciliano with Purdue’s landscape architecture department is working on a master
landscaping plan for Cumberland and Happy Hollow. When it is complete, Mrs. Bowers will
get additional feedback and then determine what Cumberland can realistically afford to do.
Mrs. Moriarty wanted parents to be aware of a Menards’ backpack rebate. Through
September 16, Menards is offering a quality backpack for $5.99, with a $5.00 rebate. This
would be a good service opportunity for parents; purchase an inexpensive backpack and then
donate it to Cumberland to be used for children whose families might not have the means to
buy school supplies. Donated backpacks can be dropped off at the office.
So far there are 595 children enrolled at Cumberland. Mrs. Bowers anticipates that the
number will increase throughout the semester. Last year there were 535 children in August
and 560 by January 2007. A parent asked how many students were transfer students from the
county. District wide there are 113 transfer students; Mrs. Bowers thinks there are about 8 at
We are still working on solving some problems with the lunch routine!
Andrea Kane distributed the budget for the 2007-2008 school year. Some changes from last
year’s budget include a decreased projected income for Innisbrook, an increase in the amount
budgeted for the Costume Carnival, a decrease in the amount going to the capital
improvement fund, and a $100 increase in teacher grant funds (this money will come from
Box Tops that do not have a teacher designation). $2500 is budgeted for the Art in Education
program. $2500 was also budgeted for this program last year, but not spent, so those funds
are still available for use. Maria Genaris is the chair for the Art in Education committee and
she will be meeting with Mrs. Bowers to discuss the mosaic project that was in the planning
stages last year.
The 2007-2008 budget was approved.
Vice President Vacancy- Fernanda Martell moved, so the position of vice president is open.
Responsibilities include being a support to the president, filling in for the president if she is
unavailable, and serving as head of the fundraising committee. Interested parents should
contact Kris Kirchner. Nominations will also be taken from the floor at the October meeting,
and elections will be held at the October meeting as well.
Teacher Grants- Ellen Dennehy revised and greatly improved the teacher grant application
forms this year, and Tamara Dunford distributed information and applications to all the
teachers on August 17. The Teacher Grant Review Committee will be contacted after the
grants come in (the deadline for teachers to return grants is September 21). Ellen and Kris
will chair the committee. The grants will be voted on by the Parent Council at the October
Community Grants- Ellen Dennehy has compiled a list of local businesses that fund
community grants. Businesses are most likely to fund projects outside of the realm of
projects that should typically be funded by the school. These might include the Nature
Center, special reading or literacy projects, or other “pet projects.” Ellen is also available to
advise teachers if they need help obtaining grants for classroom projects. Committee
chairpersons with ideas for grants should contact Ellen.
1. Innisbrook- Debbie Siciliano reported that Innisbrook packets were sent home on
August 24th. This is the Parent Council’s main fundraiser and will run until September
13th. Hopefully profits will increase this year, as they have been down in previous years.
Online sales are also available at www.innisbrook.com. Families that are not interested in
selling or purchasing Innisbrook products can make a donation to the school instead.
These checks should be made out to Parent Council, with a reference to donation in the
memo line. There was a discussion about increasing profits by notifying Happy Hollow
families about the sale. Debbie will prepare a flier to be distributed. Wrapping paper
will hopefully arrive before Halloween.
2. Art to Remember- Rachel Shook reported that Art to Remember packets will be sent
home around October 8 and are due back on October 15. Just as last year, the art work
will be completed at home rather than in the classroom so parents can have more say in
what their child is doing and so that teachers will not have to use classroom time.
Artwork must be done on paper provided in the packet. Additional pieces of paper for
artwork will be available in the office. Products will be delivered to the students at the
end of November, in time for Christmas.
3. Box Tops- Linda Gutwein presented the Box Tops for Education program. There are 2
ways to earn money for Cumberland through the Box Tops program (the Box Tops VISA
is no longer available):
Box Tops Coupons: Families are encouraged to save Box Tops coupons found on
participating products. Parents should cut out the coupons, taking care not to cut off
the expiration date. Place coupons in an envelope and make sure to include the
teacher name on the envelope, as the money earned goes directly to the teacher.
Box Tops Marketplace: Box Tops Marketplace is a program that allows parents,
relatives, or friends to earn cash back for a school simply by purchasing products
from a list of participating companies (including Pottery Barn, Land’s End, etc.). Sign
up at www.boxtopsforeducation.com. Parents need to enter basic information to
enroll and then participating companies will donate a percentage of a purchase (varies
by company) to the Box Tops program to go directly to Cumberland. Participating
companies must be accessed through the Box Tops website, which will then provide a
link to the individual store; going directly to the store website instead will not earn
cash back for Cumberland.
Linda will prepare a flier explaining the different Box Tops options and send it home
with the students. Unlike cutting out Box Tops coupons, the Box Tops marketplace
earnings can’t be designated to go to a specific teacher. This money will go to the teacher
4. Target- Kris reported that Cumberland earned approximately $840 last year through the
Target VISA program. With the Target VISA, Cumberland receives 1% of Target
purchases or .5% of purchases made elsewhere. Kris noted that it is an easy program
because the children don’t have to sell anything.
1. Walk to School Day- October 3. Jane Lareau is the chair. Parents are encouraged to
walk to school that day with their child. If children live too far away to walk, parents can
park in the lot on Cumberland and Salisbury (by the Farmer’s Market) and walk to school
2. Scholastic Book Fair- Kris announced that the fall Book Fair will be held from October
22-26th. Parents interested in volunteering should contact Kris, Krista Truitt, or Cindy
Issues and Concerns
Mrs. Borden asked if the Parent Council meeting agendas were going to be copied and
distributed to parents before meetings. Kris noted that the agendas will be available on the
Parent Council website by the weekend prior to the meeting.
Marcy Towns asked Mrs. Bowers if she could obtain a request on school letterhead for use in
soliciting donations for the Nature Center. Marcy will prepare a letter and Mrs. Bowers will
review and authorize it.
A parent asked how school parking would be affected if Cumberland Avenue traffic patterns
were to change. Mrs. Bowers responded that she is on the planning committee for the
redesign of Cumberland Ave and that a final plan has not yet been determined.
Several parents raised concerns about the current “special class” situation for the morning
kindergarten students. Currently, morning kindergarten classes are not going to Mrs.
Blessing or Mr. Leazenby for music and one morning kindergarten class is not going to Mrs.
Linn for art. Full day kindergarten classes are receiving all special classes, including 2
periods of music per week. Mrs. Bowers responded that she is working with the
superintendent to come up with a solution to this problem but that currently there are no
morning slots available for the morning kindergarteners to go to certain special classes. As a
current remedy, Dr. Jean tapes are being used for music each week. Mrs. Bowers explained
the complexity of scheduling special classes for the school. For example, even if a slot is
open for music at 9:00 a.m., it might not be best practice to send kindergarteners to music
first thing in the morning when they are most attentive and could be focusing instead on
literacy activities. Concerns raised by parents included the inequality between course
offerings for morning and full day students and a discussion about the importance of music
education. A parent also expressed disappointment that these changes were not explicitly
made known to parents by the school, but only came to light as parents started asking their
children and talking to other parents. Mrs. Bowers indicated that she understands parents’
concerns and hopes to have this issue resolved after Labor Day.
A parent asked if there were adults that would be able to help walk participating students to
the Kidz Art program after school.
In light of increasing enrollment, a parent asked Mrs. Bowers if the superintendent had a plan
in place for the number of transfer students that would be allowed to enter the district.
Would there be a cap placed on enrollment, especially if numbers were such that portable
classrooms would be needed? Mrs. Bowers indicated that increased enrollment is good for
the school district, especially since the district has faced a budget deficit, but keeping a low
class size is definitely her priority. She also indicated that there is still physical space for one
additional classroom at Cumberland.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:40 p.m. Our next meeting will be Tuesday, October 23 at 7:00