WATCHUNG PTO MEETING MINUTES
February 8, 2011 at Bayberry in the APR
Meeting was called to order at 9:45 am by Edie Belcastro
President – Edie Belcastro
Edie thanked Doris Fine both for overseeing the successful Kids Stuff book fundraiser
and for co-chairing, with Liz Bahna, the Soup Supper (a great time was had by all!)
Edie also thanked the Board of Education for its $5,000 matching grant for our cultural
arts programs at BB and VV
Sue Korb, 1st Vice President
Sue reported that the directories have been distributed at BB via backpacks. At VV, they
were sent home in 5th graders’ backpacks but were delivered by PTO members to 6 th-8th
grade homes. She asked for corrections and updates and will be sending out an
Michelle Hwang, 2nd Vice President
Michelle reported that she’d sent notes to class parents regarding St. Valentine’s Day
Judy Curiale, Treasurer
The treasurer’s report was presented; notable items were the receipt of a $5,000 match for
Cultural Arts from the Board of Education and continued income from food sales.
Regina McKenna Nadbielny Recording Secretary – absent, no report
Susan Obe r, Corresponding Secretary
Susan sent out recent eblasts regarding the WEF Dining for Dollars event and the PTO
Mardi Gras spring social. Several people complimented the upkeep of the website.
Kid Stuff Books - Doris Fine reported that 110 Kid Stuff books were sold and that 7
teachers had earned free books for their class’s 100% return. 3 parents earned free books
by selling more than 3 books. This fundraiser netted $1,300.
Cultural Arts - Robin Wiedman reported the next assembly would be on March 1 at
Valley View, the history of teenage music from 1900 – present.
Soup & Chili Suppe r – Doris Fine reported that over 200 people attended and that we
had over 25 soups and 12 chilies. Trevor Hoeckele won for best chili, Grace Belcastro
won for best soup and Kim Didonato won for best chicken soup. Doris thanked all the
volunteers, in particular Tiffany Brigante who designed the winners’ certificates. Doris
mentioned that the idea of providing crafts for the kids had mixed results and that we’d
try something different next year, possibly showing a movie. The event earned $1,308.
The 8th graders held a bake sale at the event as a fundraiser. A suggestion was made to
have the bread donated next year.
Spring Social – Sue Ober reported that the spring social for adults would be held on
Friday March 4th : Mardi Gras Comes to Watchung. It will be a dinner dance held at
Twin Brooks Country Club. Tickets are $50. Christine Ead and Tiffany Brigante are
overseeing raffle baskets, Georgia Glasser-Nehls is in charge of decorating and Wendy
Ruta is handling the 50/50 raffle. Some prizes will be available via silent auction. She
urged everyone to attend and Dr. Malyska purchased 2 tickets on the spot!
Book Fair- the book fair will be held 3/16-17
WEF- Allyson Crystal reported that they held a successful dining for dollars at the
Muscle Maker Grill in Warren.
School Superintendent – Dr. Malyska
Dr. Malyska began her report by purchasing two tickets for the PTO spring social! She
also thanked the PTO for its donation to the Disable American Veterans in honor of her
mother- in- law.
Gov. Christie is reorganizing the school systems and is consolidating some County
Superintendents; they have eliminated the Somerset County Superintendent so we now
fall under the Morris County Superintendent.
We are redoing our QSAC (Quality Single Accountability Continuum) certification
(which must be done every three years). The first step is a self-evaluation. The review
team visiting our schools was pleased with what we had done and preliminarily think we
have received more points than any other district in the county.
Next week our school statistics will be published. We fall into the “I District” factor
group (comparing us with districts of similar socio-economic status). Dr. Malyska will
send out a notice online.
The Watchung BOE lost a member – Karen Cassidy, who left to join the Watchung Town
Council. Her position will be filled with someone to carry her term through the election
on 4/27, where her spot and two additional spots will be filled.
We have had 5 snow days so far, and because we only planned for 4 we are considering
having school 3/21, currently an “in-service” day. We considered making it up on Easter
Monday or during Spring Break but are leaning toward 3/21.
The Science fair is 4/27; the school calendar lists it (incorrectly) as 4/19 and 4/27. It is
the same date as the election. There is no truth to the rumor that there will be school on
The BOE is interested in receiving input on the development of the 2011-12 budget. A
forum scheduled for January was cancelled because of snow and will be rescheduled. Dr.
Malyska said they are re-evaluating busses for next year, primarily because of how late
people get home from VV. Her preference is to run our own busses.
Bayberry Principal – Mrs. Nunn – absent, no report
Valley View Principal – Dr. Resko - Lauryn MacLeod reported for Dr. Resko
School re-opened Monday 1/3/11. A general orientation session for 8 th grade parents and
student was held on 1/4/ at WHRHS. 7 VV students auditioned for the Central Jersey
Regional Choir in Avenel, NJ on 1/8; 2 were selected. A moment of silence was held on
1/10 in observance of the Arizona tragedy. Fire drills and a security drill were completed
in the w/o 1/25.
School was closed on 1/17 for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Many teachers developed
integrated curriculum activities throughout the week in recognition of Dr. King’s
Lauryn MacLeod met with all 8th graders to discuss the high school scheduling process
that will occur throughout February. 7 th and 8th grade peer leaders attended all 5th grade
guidance classes in January when bullying/verbal harassment and rumors was discussed.
The peer leaders shared personal stories to help younger students relate better to the topic
and to give them the tools to cope with these issues.
On January 19th , select math students attended the “Before Pythagoras: The Culture of
Old Babylonian Mathematics – Numbers on Clay” exhibit at the Institute for the Study of
the Ancient World at New York University. These students had the unique opportunity
to learn about the tablets, cuneiform writing and numerals, and the 3 rd millennium BC
From early September, 10 teams of 6th , 7th and 8th grade SOAR students worked on
Future City, a national engineering competition. Students had to research and wr ite a
1000 word essay on a healthcare issue, build a viable virtual city using SimCity and write
a narrative describing it, as well as design and build a physical scale model of their city.
On January 15th 7 teams went to Rutgers University to participate in the NJ regional
competition, where our Team Asclepious won Best Integrated Healthcare System.
Student models will be displayed at our Science Fair.
Mrs. Chesebro was recently selected as NJ Gifted & Talented Teacher of the Year by the
NJ Association for Gifted Children. The recognition ceremony will be March 11 at the
Association’s annual conference.
An all-school assembly program, “Slam Dunk” was held on the afternoon of 1/20. A
former Harlem Globetrotter wowed the students with his athletic prowess while
reinforcing the challenges young teens face in making positive choices in home, school
and in the community.
Mrs. Amy Cohen’s 6th grade Spanish classes performed their “Presentacion de Moda”
fashion show in early January. The groups came to life when given a bright light,
microphone and some creative room to take center stage – especially in another
The Student Council sponsored a Carnation Sale from 1/24-28 to raise money for
“Pennies for Patients” which is affiliated with the Leuke mia and Lymphoma Society.
Carnations were from Gray’s Florist.
The Winter Warmth Drive, sponsored by the Community Outreach Club, runs from 1/24-
2/25. Gently worn hats, gloves and scarves are being collected and donated to needy
families in Somerset County.
The middle school Science Fair was cancelled twice due to inclement weather; plans are
being finalized to reschedule it ASAP.
Meeting adjourned at 11:05am.
Susan Ober for Regina McKenna Nadbielny