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Campbell's Labels for Education



September 15, 2010

In Attendance:  Sign-Up Sheet attached as Exhibit A.

Kimberly Houston called the meeting to order at 7:10 p.m. after a meet and greet period.

1.            What the PTA Does – K. Houston gave a Power Point presentation regarding the role of the PTA at Muddy Brook.  She explained that the PTA has generally paid for all school field trips and in-school enrichment programs and has provided stipends to teachers and staff for classroom supplies.  The amount spent on these activities in the last couple of years has been approximately $17,000 per year and has been paid for through the PTA’s fundraising efforts.  In addition to supporting these enrichment activities, the PTA would like to work on building a greater sense of community at Muddy Brook.   K. Houston then outlined the goals of the PTA for this coming year, which include increasing membership and participation in the PTA, increasing and improving communication to keep PTA members informed, formalizing the distribution of PTA funds to facilitate planning and budgeting, and revising the PTA’s fundraising strategies to move toward more community-based event fundraising and away from direct sales fundraisers.

2.            Mission Statement – K. Houston presented the following mission statement for approval by PTA members:

“The mission of the Muddy Brook PTA is to positively impact the lives of all children and families by developing and enhancing the role of parents and community in the education of our students.  We bring home and school closer together so that parents and teachers may work cooperatively for the welfare and education of our children.”

Motion:  Cara Becker made a motion to adopt the mission statement as presented.  Jenni Roy Hallock seconded the motion.  The motion was unanimously approved.

3.            Adoption of Minutes from the Prior Meeting and Procedural Information – C. Becker noted that the PTA needed to adopt the minutes from the prior meeting on July 14, 2010.  Corey Sprague asked K. Houston to explain the functional differences between PTA and PTO.  K. Houston explained that as a “PTA,” our organization is part of the national PTA organization, and as such, we follow the PTA’s more formal rules on running meetings, etc., which require motions, votes and the like.  K. Houston also offered that only registered members were permitted to vote at meetings and encouraged anyone who was not a member to become one.  J. Hallock also explained that a quorum is needed at each of our meetings in order to take any votes and that our by-laws require nine members to be present for a quorum.  J. Hallock requested that members make every effort to attend meetings, particularly towards the end of the school year, so that we will always have a quorum present.

Motion:  C. Becker made a motion to approve the minutes from the July 14, 2010 meeting.  Susan Higa seconded the motion.  The motion was unanimously approved.

4.            Fundraising – K. Houston outlined the various fundraising activities in which the PTA has engaged in the past, including direct catalog sales, fundraisers with local companies (e.g., Catherine’s Chocolates and The Bookloft), live and on-line auctions, and store and product rewards programs.  K. Houston explained that the PTA would like to start doing less “sales” type fundraisers and more “event” types fundraisers.  K. Houston explained that the PTA would also like to explore grant writing and soliciting local businesses to sponsor specific enrichment programs and that we are soliciting members to volunteer for this project. The PTA has created a tentative list of possible fundraisers, including an on-line auction, the Berkshire Grown fundraiser, a holiday greenery fundraiser, The Bookloft fundraiser and a scrip program.  There was a brief discussion about the scrip program in which the PTA would sell what are essentially gift cards to be used at a participating business and would receive a percentage of the amount of the gift card sold from such business.  The idea behind this type of fundraiser, as well as the current fundraising opportunities through Lands’ End, Kids Konserve and Spirit Wear, is to allow the PTA to make money on products that families are already purchasing rather than requiring families to purchase products from a direct sales catalog that they may not necessarily need or want.  K. Houston stated that the PTA would like to have a separate Fundraising Committee that would meet outside of, and report back to, the regular PTA meetings and that we are soliciting members to volunteer for that committee.

5.            Treasurer’s Report – S. Higa stated that the proposed annual budget for the PTA had been handed out at the beginning of the meeting and it would be submitted for approval at the next meeting so the members would have an opportunity to review it.  S. Higa reported that $2070.00 had been raised so far as part of the direct donation drive that the PTA has been conducting.  Various people commented that the PTA is still accepting direct donations and families should reach out to extended family members and friends to solicit direct donations in lieu of soliciting them to make purchases from direct sales catalogs.  There was a brief discussion about the fact that the PTA receives 100% of every dollar that is donated directly and if $40 was donated on behalf of each student, the entire PTA budget would be funded.  As a separate bookkeeping matter, S. Higa also noted that she would prefer that members submit a Check Request Form if they need to buy something on behalf of the PTA, so that such amounts can be monitored and tracked.

6.            Membership Report – S. Higa also reported that are currently over 70 members of the PTA, which is higher level of participation than the PTA has had in recent years.  K. Houston noted that the PTA has set of goal of enrolling at least 100 members this year.  K. Houston said that the PTA would also like to solicit local business to offer special deals to card carrying PTA members and we are soliciting volunteers to implement such a program.

7.            Distribution of PTA Funds – K. Houston explained that the PTA is now going to ask teachers to submit a one page Grant Request Form to request that the PTA pay for a specific field trip or in class enrichment program.  This formalization of the distribution of PTA funds will greatly assist in the PTA’s own planning and budgeting process.  K. Houston stated that the PTA would like to have a separate Grant Review Committee that would meet four times a year to review the Grant Request Forms and we are soliciting members to volunteer for that committee.

8.            Proposed Events and Volunteer Opportunities – K. Houston reviewed the list that the PTA has compiled of possible community events to be held throughout the school year, including an Art and Talent Showcase, Mud Day, community suppers/pancake breakfasts, movie nights, game nights, reading nights, father/daughter and mother/son dances, holiday craft workshops and June family barbeque.  All of these events require volunteers to get off the ground, so K. Houston encouraged anyone who is particularly interested in any of the events to get involved and volunteer. All of these volunteer opportunities, in addition to those already discussed, are listed on the volunteer form and on the PTA website.  K. Houston explained that there is a whole spectrum of volunteer opportunities from some that take very little time to some that have a bigger time commitment.  The volunteer opportunities will be updated frequently on the PTA website and will also note the expected time commitment, so members can plan accordingly.

9.            Class Parents – K. Houston reported that Selina Lamb was serving as the class parent coordinator and is working to organize volunteers to serve as class parents.  Anyone interested in serving as the class parent for their child’s class should contact Selina at .

10.            After School Programs – K. Houston reported that Chris Shelton is organizing the after school programs this year.  K. Houston stated that she is still looking for people to run after school programs so if any parent or teacher has a special talent that they would like to teach the children as part of an after school program, they should contact Chris at . There was also a discussion regarding a proposal by IS183 to host eight-week after school art programs at Muddy Brook.  In order to host such programs, IS183 is requiring dedicated teaching and storage space, a parent volunteer for each class and bus transportation for one class to be held at the IS183 school.  It is unlikely that the PTA would have the funds to pay for the buses and it is unclear whether the necessary volunteers would be available.  IS183 would also like to have 20 children per class/grade and there was a question as to whether grades could be combined.  Anyone interested in having their child attend an after school art class taught by IS183 and/or volunteer to assist with these classes should contact Rebecca Barth at .

11.            Presentations/Roundtable Discussions – K. Houston noted that a number of parents responded in the PTA parent survey that they would be interested in having presentations and/or roundtable discussions offered at 3 or 4 PTA meetings a year.  Any members who would like to volunteer to set up these presentations/roundtable discussion and book the necessary speakers should contact Kim Houston at .

12.            Current Fundraising Recap – K. Houston reiterated the various fundraising opportunities that are currently in process – the direct donation drive, Lands’ End, Kids Konserve, Spirit Wear and the PTA Concession Stand at the Berkshire Hills Soccer League’s Saturday morning games.  C. Becker explained that every Friday will be “Spirit Day” at Muddy Brook and teachers, staff and students will be encouraged to wear blue clothing.  The PTA will be offering shirts, sweatshirts and sweatpants with the Muddy Brook logo on it, which may be purchased by children and parents (details to follow).

13.            Miscellaneous – Principal Dingman made some brief remarks about his desire to really foster a sense of community at Muddy Brook and have the greater southern Berkshire community get more involved at the school.  K. Houston thanked SoCo Creamery and Rebecca Barth for making the Ice Cream Social such a huge success.  K. Houston also thanked Amy Fredsall for coordinating the Student Directory, which should be going to press in the next week.  There was a brief question and answer period.

K. Houston adjourned the meeting at 8:10 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Michaela Dohoney