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					                                        Academy for International Studies

                                          Parent-Teacher Organization

                                                Meeting Minutes

                                           Tuesday, September 7, 2010

                                                AIS Media Center

                                                     7:00 PM

ATTENDANCE: Elaine Lipp, Miguel Barreto, Elayn Montero, Sonia Holmes (Co-VP of Student Enrichment),
     Pam Tassiello, Eric Schmidt (Co-VP of Student Enrichment), Jim Poulos (Co-VP of Community
     Involvement), Tracy Day, Erica Herbert, Kathryn McNamara, Marguerite Mains, Kathy Keefe, Heidi
     Barries, Diane Manani, Michelle Stavros-Keenan, Irene Aspras, Lita Ward, Meredith Thompson, Ann
     Hwang, Lisa Shook, Kenney Shook, Susanne Roewer, Lisa Dugan, Newsi Pereira, Elisabeth Walker,
     Judy Bernard, LaKeema Moore-Alcime, Ellen Lyau, Kathleen Heller, Michele Cazorla, Monika
     Nagarsheth, Kathy Snow, Clare Orloff, Rosana Beaver, Matt Calvanese, Laurena McCarthy, Vicki
     Gottwals, Megan Bisset, Jennifer Lebron, Danielle Caldwell, Meredith Miller, Ilga Parris, Diane Perillo-
     Sahl, Jenn Warren (VP of Volunteers), Robin Stanton, Helena Nitowski (Principal), Carolyn Onorato
     (Co-President), Barb Coleman (Co-President), Cyndi Smalley-Markovitz (Treasurer), Heather Melody,
     Meg McLoone (VP of Community Involvement), Robin Suarez (Secretary)

Call to Order

The meeting began at 7:10 PM.

Approval of Meeting Minutes/Budget

The June meeting minutes and the proposed budget for the 2010-2011 school year were disseminated to the
meeting body for review. Carolyn Onorato made a motion to approve the minutes. Pam Tassiello seconded. All
were in favor. Pam Tassiello made a motion to approve the budget. LaKeema Moore-Alcime seconded.

Barb Coleman and Carolyn Onorato introduced themselves and thanked everyone for attending. Each board
member and each committee chairperson then introduced themselves.

Principal’s Report

Principal Nitowski reported. We are starting our 5th year at AIS. Opening day went well. She spoke about the
following events: Welcome Back Picnic, Sept. 12 from 12-4 at the Ives Center; Open House, Sept. 21 at 7:00 –
There will be a shuttle bus available. Parking is available at the O’Neill Center. A video format will be used.
There is no babysitting available that night.; Professional development day, Sept. 28 - dismissal at 1:25;
International Day of Peace, Sept. 21; Book Fair, aligned with Open House, Sept. 20-24. She asked parents to
please have patience with dismissal. The day officially ends at 3:30. If you pick your child up before 3:30, it
will be considered an early dismissal. Please be mindful of this time. She gave a warm welcome to the PTO
board and expressed her appreciation for all that they do. There is now a salad bar in the lunch room. Parent
volunteers are needed to help with this. The students’ pin numbers are four digits this year. They are no longer
using Styrofoam trays. She asked parents to please be patient with the new system for the lunch program. You
can call Sodexo to get your child’s student id. number in order to go online to set up an account to make
payments online, keep track of what your child is eating, etc. She explained that the children are monitored in the
cafeteria to make sure that they are eating. If they are not, parents are informed. Parent volunteers are needed to
help out in the cafeteria and at recess time. If you are interested, please sign up to volunteer and write the grade
you are interested in helping out.

Officer’s Reports

Meg McLoone (Co-VP of Community Involvement) reported. A food drive will be running in conjunction with
the picnic. Families are asked to bring a non-perishable food item or toiletry item with them to the picnic. Food
items will be spread out among all of the communities involved with our school. A flyer will go home explaining
this. There will be face painting at the picnic and Meg McLoone will be in charge. Past graduates will be there
to do the face painting. Parent volunteers are needed for this activity as well. She is trying to have Jane Goodall
back at the school to help celebrate our 5 year anniversary. Jane Goodall started the Roots and Shoots Program
to get children involved in growing food in order to give back to their community. We are trying to increase our
connection and involvement with WestConn, our partner school. Jane Goodall has ties with WestConn. John
Farrell will be having a concert at Ives Hall at WestConn on November 13. Two grades will participate with this
program. Mrs. Cardillo will coordinate this. He hopes to continue his work on his Bridges of Peace and Hope
program. He wants to begin a pen pal program between the classrooms at AIS and around the world. On
September 13, Meg will be working on a beautification project at the school. Volunteers are welcome to help
clean up by pulling weeds, etc. “Fight for Grace” bracelets are on sale for $2. There will be a TV turn-off event
in September. Meg was thanked by Carolyn Onorato for planting 2 planters at the school.

Jenn Warren (VP of Volunteers) reported. She explained that sign-up sheets are available tonight in the back of
the room to volunteer for upcoming events, such as the Book Fair, Spirit Wear, Afterschool Program. It is a great
way to get involved. She explained that volunteers for events/committees work together as a group and that you
will not be alone.

Eric Schmidt (Co-VP of Student Enrichment) reported. We will continue to have the sneaker recycling and cell
phone/ink cartridge recycling programs. The Trout in the Classroom program will begin this year. The 4th grade
will be involved with this project and the tanks will be housed in Mrs. Woodruff’s classroom. We will
participate in the Sunny D program. Schools will receive 20 books for every 20 UPC labels that are collected.
Cyndi Smalley-Markovitz mentioned that we are open to new ideas. Feel free to give us ideas to help us help
your children.

Carolyn reported for Heather Rivers (VP of Fundraising). The AIS Dinner is November 5 at Anthony’s Lake
House. We need volunteers for this adult’s only night out.

Cyndi Smalley-Markovitz (Treasurer) did not have any new information to report. She completed the budget that
was just approved at this meeting.

Programs/Committee Reports

Jenn Lebron reported. The Book Fair will be the week of September 20. It will be open prior to Open House for
parents to shop. The preview day will be September 17. The Book Fair will be open before and after school
during the week of September 20. There will be a “classroom wish list” board for parents to look at. Parents can
purchase books for their child’s classroom and this is a great way to strengthen classroom libraries. Jenn is
looking for someone to take over as coordinator of the Book Fair. Cyndi Smalley-Markovitz explained that we
will have the Absent Tea Party program again. It is a way to donate money to the school without participating in
any fundraiser.

LaKeema Moore-Alcime reported about the Newsletter. She wants to give a fresh look to the newsletter. She
wants to cover events at AIS and in the community. Information will be sent out about this. She will edit as
needed. She wants to have a student spotlight section which will highlight students who participate or are
involved in noteworthy community events and activities. She would like to include pictures of events as well.
Carolyn Onorato and Barb Coleman (Co-Presidents) reported about the Welcome Back Picnic. It will be from
12-4. You need to bring your own picnic lunch. Mr. Cardillo will have a mixed martial arts demonstration. John
Farrell will provide musical entertainment. Set up will begin at 10:00. Set up and clean up volunteers are
needed. An instant alert will go out if the picnic will be cancelled due to rain. Each grade will wear a different
color shirt. Volunteers are needed for the bouncy house. Children must wear socks to play in there. Sign-up
sheets are in the back of the room to volunteer to help out at the Spirit Wear table with Robin Stanton, raffle
table, set up, and clean up. There will be a vendor fair, featuring Pampered Chef, Lia Sophia, Tupperware and
Mary Kay. Each vendor will supply a raffle.

New Business

Carolyn Onorato reported about babysitting during the PTO meetings. We need a person to coordinate the
babysitting room during the meetings. We are looking for a group of responsible children who are 12 or older,
such as a Girl Scout troop, to volunteer their time.

There were many wonderful ideas and suggestions about possible future PTO activities. Mrs. Paris will research
the Kohl’s program that gives money to schools and provides babysitting for school events. Irene Aspras will
research and coordinate the Goodsearch.com program. If you make a purchase on goodshop.com, AIS will get a
percentage of money from the purchase. Another suggestion was from Miguel Barreto. He works for Creative
Connections and is in charge of operations from Latin America. He wants to include 4th and 5th graders to
connect with international schools. He wants to have a follow-up meeting to further discuss his ideas in detail.
Other ideas that were mentioned were the Applebee’s fundraising program, the Script (gift card purchases)
program, a talent show, and a clothing drive (all donations are weighed and the school receives a certain amount
of money per pound collected).

Barb Coleman explained that one paper listing all of the PTO meetings will be sent home. In addition to this, an
instant alert phone reminder will go out the day of each monthly meeting and information will be placed on the
Yahoo group link as well.

Carolyn Onorato reminded everyone to volunteer to help run the great programs at AIS. Missy Cole will be the
chairperson for the Box Tops program. Kathryn Hodgdon will be the chairperson for the Campbell Soup Labels
program.

The next PTO meeting will be on October 5. The November meeting will take place on November 16.

Carolyn Onorato made the motion to adjourn the meeting. Eric Schmidt seconded. All were in favor. The
meeting adjourned at 8:30 PM.

Respectfully submitted by:

Robin A. Suarez, PTO Secretary

				
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