• PTO Meeting Highlights 

    food

     

     

     

    • Principal Hodges greeted the community speaking about his background, mission and vision work, scheduling challenges, and personalized learning.
    • Families and teachers did group brainstorming: How can we build an amazing school community this year?
      • Sign up for the new grade level representative program to help build grade-level community and improve communication here.
      • What ideas are you passionate about and willing to put in the time to help make happen? Let's see what the appetite for pushing new initiatives is this year! Sign up here!
    • PTO Budget Review
    • Q&A for Principal Hodges on issues ranging from how he motivates staff, his background in Gifted and Talented (G&T), how he is getting up to speed, the middle school model, equity in G&T, filling out free and reduced lunch forms
    • Reminders to donate to direct drive, sign up/update family info in directory, and sign up for Art Adventure.

    More details below!


  • PTO Meeting MinutesFirst PTO Meeting
    September 16, 2019
    Red Cafeteria
    Attendance (60+) 

    5:30 - 6:15 pm - Boca Chica & Pizza meal provided by PTO
    6:15 - 7:30 pm - PTO Business and Children’s Activities

     

    • Meet your new PTO Board for the 2019-2020 school year
      • Leslie Aktan, PTO Co-Chair (2018-2019 & 2019-2020)
      • Christi Krautbauer, PTO Co-Chair
      • Alex Kotze, Treasurer
      • Rochelle Pereira, Secretary
    • Principal Hodges Greeting -
      • Background in education in Denver,  Chicago (school was elementary & middle), Boston (school which was elementary & middle), Memphis. Moved to MN, in part, to be closer to wife's family.
      • Evaluating with staff our current mission and vision. We need to understand what is our model for education. There is a lot we don’t know what we are preparing kids for, and we want kids to be able to adapt to the future. 
      • Working on scheduling. This includes figuring out the math block to meet students’ needs - close to having this figured out. In middle school, we are currently working on more foreign language options - Spanish, French, or another language. We want kids to get an enthusiasm for language so it carries on to high school. We are actively working on this even though there is no solution right now. This includes working with 360 (the district) and how other middle schools approach this. When students took interest surveys last year, foreign language was a big interest. 
      • We want to provide enriching and personalized environment for students. CH has a rich tradition of working with kids at the pace that works for them. How to prepare best for middle and high schools? What tools do we need as teachers so we are best able to provide those environments? We want a service model that is envy of all of Minnesota and gifted programming. Check out Ken Robinson’s TEDTalk which addresses education as being an organic process, being creative, and involving personalized education.
    • Group Brainstorming: How can we build an amazing school community this year? (We broke into groups. Here are some of the ideas we generated.)
      • Streamlined communications
      • Linking spps app to Apple devices
      • Focus on events that are free to attend
      • Appreciated voting on higher spend items -  transparency on $ from last year
      • Like brainstorming
      • Microphones at PTO meetings
      • Visuals for budget
      • Headsets at meetings to increase accessibility
      • More grade level social events
      • Community volunteer opportunities in broader community
      • Clubs - possibly in the morning
      • Suggestion box for kids
      • More community building events - including what else is going on in community
      • Different ways of communicating
      • Maybe a Saturday or Sunday opportunity for parents to get together
      • Resources on social-emotional learning
      • School as a learning center for parents
      • A student advisory committee
      • Sustainability - zero waste initiative
      • Diversity of voices in actual decision making
      • Boost school pride
      • Responsive administration
      • Help with volunteer training so volunteers can help teachers more efficiently
      • Facilitate leadership experiences for kids
      • Family mentoring groups in which groups of families connect with each other
      • Organized lobbying in the district
      • Greater participation in the direct drive
      • Organize volunteers who provide transportation/translation
      • Parents’ Night Out (while providing fun activity for kids)
      • Music Centered Event
      • Robust directory (sign up for the directory, everyone!)
      • Class level liaison
      • Improve ambience of building (indoor garden or terrarium - healthy nature)
      • Cafeteria - ways we can turn the white walls into something more calming. Mess with the lights a little bit.
      • Clusters of grade events
      • How to connect parents to other parents and parents to other kids not their own
      • Streamlining connection of parents to volunteer opportunities
    • PTO Budget Review: PTO Budget
      • Balance is $52K from last year, but this $52K is one-time money which might be used for the new intiatives discussed above. It doesn’t sustain what we usually do. We need people to contribute to direct drive.
      • Money spent so far is on spirit wear and  teacher requests. We are projecting $85K. This is a break even budget. 
      • Parent asked about developing a primer to help digest the budget. Alex will provide alongside the budget.
      • Parent asked about zeros on forecasted items. Previous PTO Co-Chair explained that in the past the money allocated to these items was not spent. Or the previous PTO was told the money would not be spent in the future.
      • Apex number showing is net, that is, how much we make from APEX.
    • Open Q&A
      • Parent: How do you motivate staff? Principal Hodges: We have over 70 staff (50 teachers, clerical, part-time staff). We create a vision - this work is meant to be slow and deliberate - so that it is motivating, something we can live, is achievable.  Bridge the grades (e.g., 1st grade, 8th grade, phy ed) so staff can come together to achieve the mission of the school. Make sure we know each other. So - building the vision and building the community.
      • Parent: What is your background with G&T? Principal Hodges: Has had G&T programs in his previous school. 15-20% identified as G&T at Denver school.  Boston school had a separate G&T program within the school (so for example, 1 of the 4 classes in a grade would be G&T). Another experience is working with enrichment clusters. Has a long background in special education service planning. For both G&T and special education there are similarities as the planning is at the margins. That is,  planning at a level of detail that can eventually meet all students. Not just shooting for the middle. Reaching out to G&T resources to see how different schools are creating the model. Next up is visiting a G&T school in district 191. Using resources from NAGC and Renzulli concepts.
      • Parent: How does the middle school model the district is rolling out work here? Principal Hodges: Currently in Phase 1 of using the “middle school” model as opposed to the “junior high model”. Middle school model is where teachers in a couple of subjects share the same kids. This is contrasted with junior high model in which teachers are grouped by content (e.g., all the history teachers get together). The middle school model focuses on serving kids as teachers meet on a weekly basis and discuss their shared kids and can provide services for those kids. Hodges has had positive experiences with this model. Goal for now is to get a teaching team that share 80% of kids.
      • Parent: School population for a couple of years increasingly mirrored the district in terms of diversity. The last two years, the trend is reversing which is worrisome since we are one of the only places with gifted services. What is your response to this? Principal Hodges: We need to understand why families don’t come and why they leave. Has anything else changed in the latest time period as well? The district does not want to see the trend reversing. Principal Hodges referenced "Radiolab Presents: G" in which one episode addresses equity in G&T.
      • Parent: How do you learn? Principal Hodges: By inviting people to talk to him like the superintendent, head of G&T of district, head of research evaluation and assessment, head of literacy department. Keeps the communication going. For example, first meeting with head of G&T was 30 minutes. Next, 60 minutes. Next 90 minutes.
      • Parent: Where are we on filling out the free and reduced lunch forms? Principal Hodges: If everybody fills this out, we get accurate data. Right now in the 30s. (To qualify for Title 1 funding, the % of community eligible for free and reduced lunch needs to be in the 40s.) Will have a better sense of where we are at in October. 
    • Volunteer announcements
      • Sign up for Art Adventure. Great volunteer opportunity which helps students develop critical thinking skills. capitolhillartadventure@gmail.com
      • Please contribute to direct drive. Drop check off at front office or https://www.givemn.org/organization/Capitol-Hill-Fund-Raising
      • Sign up for directory/Update information from last year including teacher info. Info at middle of page at  FAQ about PTO
      • Check out/fill out current volunteer form.
      • Sign up to help school nurse organize lost and found and possibly take items to goodwill. (We have a bunch of signups - thank you!)
      • From brainstorming, sign up for grade level representative program to help build community and improve communication in each grade here.
      • What ideas are you passionate about and willing to put in the time to help make happen? Sign up here.


    Principal Hodges PTO  post it