Friday’s PTO meeting initially focused on the lunch/recess process, specifically some interesting questions about when and how students can use the restroom during lunch and recess. Mrs. Batis provided clarification on current bathroom policies that will hopefully put your (and your student’s) mind at ease:
- When you’ve got to go, you’ve got to go. Students are able to go to the bathroom when out at recess or while at lunch. The policy change is that students must sign in and out on a clipboard. This is so monitors and staff always know where every single student is at any given moment.
- Bathroom Emergency?? Skip the clipboard and get to the bathroom if it’s a true emergency. The monitors will see your frantic scramble (and very much appreciate your effort to make it to a toilet in time). This is true for medical emergencies as well – if you need help, get to the nurse!
- You don’t need to declare your intended action. Seriously, no talk of “number one” or “number two” or rating the urgency of either. Refer to item 1 above.
Bathroom talk aside, the changes outlined in the January 6 email from Mrs. Batis are being made to increase the safety of students and create a more enjoyable lunchroom environment. The changes are a work in progress and will continue to be adjusted as needed (a brief attempt at limiting the number of students who could go to the bathroom at the same time ended quickly).
Here’s what else was shared at the meeting:
Dismissal Process Will Remain the Same (for now)
Previously discussed changes to the dismissal process are being tabled for now. The renovations to O’Hara will include changes to the parking lot, and the dismissal process will be revisited when those plans are finalized.
Star Assessments Focus on Growth
Mrs. Batis provided an overview of the type of data collected during the Star Assessments, which are administered four times per year (September, November, February and May) and used as a bench marking tool. The assessments are 30 minutes in length for both reading and math (with the exception of Kindergarten, which is a single assessment). Star is based on state standards and national norms, and is skills driven. The results help drive instruction and meet individual needs to focus on growth (not achievement). Teachers are able to use the results to identify weaknesses and then have the freedom to determine how to work on weak areas.
Parents expressed interest in seeing their student’s results and learning more about how they can use the data at home to work with their students. Mrs. Batis shared that Star is relatively new to O’Hara and that sharing the information with parents/guardians will be incorporated at some point. Students will also be given access to their own results in a way that helps them chart their individual progress and outline their personal goals. Mrs. Batis shared that on average, students who track their own progress see a 32% increase in scores, more than their counterparts who do not.
If you’d like to hear more about the Star Assessments and how they are used, RSVP by 1/23 for one of the upcoming Principal Coffee Hours on January 26th (4:30 – 5:30 in the library) or January 27th (9am – 10am in the commons).
The Board is in the process of finalizing the 2016-2017 budget (including allocation of reserve funds) and will present it for vote at the February 10 PTO meeting.
Committee & Project Updates
- Spirit Gear Sale: An online spirit sale is slated to kick off in mid-February. Samples of items for sale will be out at various times throughout the two-week sale. Stay tuned for more information!
- Fifth Grade Day: Collection jars were sent home in December. Students will be turning in the money in a few weeks, and again in April. This year’s gift will be to spruce up the courtyard, including a new table with plaque.
- Giant Eagle Apple Students: The program has 947 supporters and O’Hara has earned $1,817 this year. Make sure your Advantage Card is registered!
- Square 1 Art: Orders can still be placed. The PTO will earn 15% of profits throughout the year on any purchase.
- January 20 – NO SCHOOL
- February 10 – PTO Meeting, 9:15am
- February 17 – NO SCHOOL
- February 20 – NO SCHOOL
PALS – The next PALS meeting will be held January 25th at 6:30pm at the Sharpsburg Library (1212 Main St). Speaker Cindy Duch from The Peal Center will be discussing 504 Plans. More info at palsinfo.org
District Forum – The next District Forum will be held Tuesday, February 14th at 9am in the LGI room at the Fox Chapel Area High School. The topic will be technology. More info at foxchapeldistricforum.com
Pre-Kindergarten Story Time
Last Names A-K: February 9, March 9, and April 20 @ 2 p.m.
Last Names L-Z: February 10, March 10, and April 21 @ 2 p.m.
New Kindergarten Parent Orientation Meeting
February 21 – 6pm
District Wide New Kindergarten Registration
February 27 – 4pm – 6pm @ Sharpsburg Community Library
March 1 – 4pm – 6pm @ O’Hara Elementary
March 4 – 9am – 2pm @ Dorseyville Middle School