The meeting began at 12:00pm. In attendance were Matt Gibson, Sarah Culbert, Julie Borrelli, Silvia Manoukian, Frani Aufiero, Kathy Wynn, Elizabeth Castleman, Michelle Rossi, Natalie Sudall, Joanne Howarth, Surekha Baht.
1. Update from Matt Gibson, Principal
Student schedule changes were all made within three days of the school year. Fifth graders seem to be adjusting well and have met with the Asst Principals to go over new school rules. New staffing includes two new counselors, Kathryn and Katie, and Pat Gately as the new Assistant Principal.
Matt would like a Blast sent out to parents reminding them of the pickup/dropoff policies and to have parents communicate specific pickup instructions with their children to make this time more seamless. The buses have all been on time and without backups/jams. A survey will be sent to evaluate dropoff/pickup routines to see if any improvements can be made regarding safety and flow.
Students and teachers have been making many requests for new clubs- Odyssey of the Mind, Lego, Robotics, Future Minds, Four Square, Mindcraft- to name a few. Sponsors and sign-ups necessary.
ERB’s (standardized testing for high achieving schools) will be administered on Oct 1-3. This is a strong and useful measuring tool for performance in our schools and others across the country. In addition, a Youth Survey via ARCH will be administered, however, clearer instructions to students and parents may be necessary as to the 6th graders default is to opt out, and the 8th graders default is to opt in.
Upcoming school events include Curriculum Nights on Sept 17th and 24th, and Picture Day on Sept 17; Field Trips include Cherry Crest Farms for the 5th graders on Oct 3rd and USTC for the 6th graders on Sept 25-26.
2. Update from Treasurer
Sarah and Natalie have begun working on a rough draft of the budget via Quickbooks. 1099’s need to be mailed out due to the new rules, and sales tax issues have arisen from the Locker Shelves sales. Things to consider are reconsidering the current Treasury Procedures to accommodate guidelines and duty separations between the Treasurer and Asst Treasurer. Suggestions for possible cost savings for our current web hosting/domain registration can be beneficial and will begin exploration of possibly switching over to “DreamHost.”
3. Update from VP Volunteers and Communication
Improvements for PTO website are being considered with the aim to provide more useful information on it, track users and what they are searching for, change the look and content of it, and provide a school store through the website itself.
We have been using iVolunteer and have discovered many advantages and disadvantages to it. Information is still being gathered to find a better way to (1) fill volunteer positions for various events, and (2) gather volunteers needed for “man-power” of different events.
4. Update from VP of Fundraising
Spirit Wear has been improved upon by using Anchors Aweigh, a new vendor in the Rosemont Area, and the quality is excellent and inventory is now sold out. Customers can order directly from their website and VF PTO will obtain 10% of those sales, or the school can place an order and VF PTO can obtain 25% of the sales. We will have a Spirit Wear table at Curriculum Night to gather orders. Also, orders for the Directory are due by Sept 24 and they will be ready to be distributed by Oct 3. We will have a table at the Curriculum Nights for Spirit Wear and for the Directories, and volunteers will be needed to staff those tables.
Locker Shelves were a hit, however, 12 are unaccounted for possibly due to a minor paperwork issue. We needed to charge tax on these items, and will work on solving these issues.
After evaluating past Book Fairs, PTO is considering looking into using different vendors. Also, we may have a Barnes & Nobles fundraising opportunity in November and would like to see if we can generate a list of books that students will need for their upcoming classes.
Also, other fundraising opportunities are being considered including having an Amazon.com button on the PTO webpage so that parents can shop through that portal, marketing the use of Target Cards linked to VFMS, and a Kiwi Fundraiser.
5. Update on VP Socials
The New Family Breakfast was successful- 50 additional people arrived outside of the RSVP’s. Donations for breakfast items were very easy to gather and feedback from parents was that attending a breakfast was easier than attending a dinner. All hosts are in place for the Principal Meet and Greets and donation sign-ups will soon follow.
6. Update from VP Issues and Affairs
The Keystone Exam discussions are being watched and more information will be gathered and shared. Putting this information on a Blast is suggested and will be looked into.
7. Update from Cultural Arts
Two Delta Shows are set-up at this time: a magician will be performing for the students on Oct 31 and for the families on the evening of Nov 1. An evening Spring Show will be hosted at Radnor Middle School in March, a 5th/6th Grade “Bach to Rock” will be given, there are possibilities for the 7th Graders to watch “Thomas Jefferson”, and, lastly, there may be the possibility of having a performance given by the Pennsylvania Ballet. Also looking into signing up Katie Koestler to talk to the 7th and 8th graders about cyber danger and bullying.
8. Update from President
Middle School for Dummies presentation will be held in the Audion on Oct 2 at 12:30pm. Jacquie Hickey will be there to talk about attendance, athletics, etc. We will need to set-up an iVolunteer for RSVP’s and snacks/refreshments. It would be a good idea to gather questions from parents ahead of time, as well.
We will arrange to have a group photo of the PTO Board taken for the website so that parents can more easily identify us.
Meeting was adjourned at 2pm. Next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday October 9th at 12 noon.