The meeting began at 9:00 AM.
Bridget Tomasicchio introduced herself and welcomed all those attending the meeting. Bridget gave a brief update on the Golden Apple Grant program. So far, the grants have given over $1700 including many great innovative programs like an Apple TV. Since the budget allows for more money to be granted and given the busy holiday season, she has opened up the program again in January for additional applications.
Issues & Affairs
Elizabeth Castleman spoke briefly about the $6 million budget deficit currently facing our school district. She encourages all parents to get involved by writing the school board, attending meetings and visiting her new website which will offer a synopsis of the issues. A link to the website will be posted shortly in the VFMS PTO email blast. She is always available for questions. On a similar note, the next PTO meeting may have a format change to a brown bag lunch on the topic of the school budget. Guest speaker could include Karen Cruickshank, currently President of the TE School Board.
Stephanie Anstine spoke about the upcoming Parent Social, scheduled for April 21, 2012 from 7-10 pm at McKenzie’s in Frazer. Stephanie introduced Jean Kintisch who is the chair for the Parent Social. Jean reported the format will be same as last year, with light dinner, cash bar and silent auction. Anyone interested in working on the committee, working the night of the event or donating an auction item should see Jean or sign up on the hand out sheet. The PTO Board members will be asked to provide small desserts. The printed invitations will be sent home via backpack with a follow up email blast and a link to pay via Pay Pal.
Stephanie mentioned that volunteers are still need(ed) for the upcoming book fair. April O’Donnell will chair the fair again this year. A kick-off meeting will be held 1/18/12 at 7:00 pm at Barnes and Noble. If you can’t make the meeting, you can still sign up to work a time slot. The sign-up sheet was posted at the meeting and will be available online on the PTO website.
Deb Riener was currently at the VFE School with a commitment so Bridget spoke on her behalf. They are happy to announce that a chair has been found for the 8th Grade Graduation Reception. The 8th Grade Coffee will be held on February 1, 2012 at 8 am location TBD but most likely the cafeteria. Conestoga counselors will be at the coffee to speak to parents.
Kelly Neary (8th and part of 5th)
- -8th Grade coffee important to attend.
- -Their jobs are to coordinate and facilitate between the administration and parents.
- -Student Referral Forms are a way to identify students with academic or social concerns.
- -The(y) meet weekly to strategize.
- -Timeline for 8th graders.
- -January 26 is Conestoga Course Selection Night.
- -Teachers at VFMS will make recommendations on classes and levels.
- -Conestoga counselors will come visit the 8th graders to review the selection process.
- -8th grade has many community partnerships (Friends & Fun Day, Phila Cares Day, CYF, Flight and T&E Cares).
Brett Hargest (6th and part of 5th)
- -Each year they give 5-6 guidance lessons for each grade level.
- -Popular topic this year is organizational and study skills for 6th grade and possibly 5th.
- -Golden Eagle program: students can apply, 15 from each grade are selected based on teacher and counselor approval; their biggest role is to help orient new students to our school. Applications for next year will be available in the next couple of weeks.
Bob Sola (7th and 5th)
- -10 years experience at TE Middle, new to VFMS this year.
- -Williamsburg trip payments should be handed in January 17 – 20.
- -Kids should not worry too much about roommates until April.
- -CARE team has different support groups (Changing Families, Grief & Loss, Peer Groups, Social Skills and Mental Health)
- -The counselors help facilitate academic support through Homework Club and Study Hall (during lunch activity).
- -They prepare 504 Plans for those with learning disabilities.
- -Peer Mediation coordination, Functional Behavior Assessments and Truancy Elimination is part of their role as counselors.
How does the school handle cyber bullying? Answer given by Matt Gibson: They talk with the victim and the victim’s parents first and investigate the problem. They will follow up with a call to the parents of the “bully”. A meeting between both parties and the counselors to resolve the issue takes place. 99.8% of problems are alleviated via this method. If the bullying is serious, families can contact the local police. Tredyffrin police are very helpful.
Matt Gibson spoke of the successful year so far. He mentioned what a great job the counselors have done.
He spoke of the upcoming events:
Math & Reading for all grades March 12-23
Writing for 5th & 8th grade April 16-20
Science for 8th grade April 23 & 27
Musical: Disney’s Beauty and the Beast
March 6 – 10 with a final 10 am show on Saturday
Michele Simmoneau needs help with the after show party and costumes
Class level Recommendations for next year should be out in late March/early April
Thank you for coming. The next meeting date, time and location TBD.