First Evening Meeting Trial A Success – Here’s What You Missed

The PTO held the first of two trial evening meetings on October 24th with over 50 in attendance.  The second evening meeting will be held on Tuesday, December 19th (November’s meeting will be at its regularly scheduled time of 9:15am on 11/17).  After the December meeting, the Board will decide whether to continue alternating morning and evening meetings for the remainder of the school year.  Whether you’re an early bird or a night owl – we look forward to seeing you at an upcoming meeting!  Here’s what you missed last Tuesday:

Indoor Recess Update

Lunch and recess volunteer coordinator Missy Troutman shared that students are loving the new indoor recess bins!  The cost of the initial set of 10 bins was offset by a generous sponsorship by Smiles by Smith. The bins are currently rotating between the three recess periods for K and 1st grade, 2nd and 3rd grade, and 4th and 5th grade.  Moving the bins to the different classrooms has required a TREMENDOUS effort from lunch monitors and PTO volunteers (thank you to everyone who has helped!!). The PTO is currently accepting donations to fund the purchase of additional bins so that there will be one bin for each classroom to use at recess.  Because the black top is currently off limits due to construction, parents should anticipate that students will be kept indoors for recess much more frequently this winter than in previous years. The indoor recess bins include options for physically active play in addition to games and craft options.  Student favorites include magnetic dart bards, indoor bowling and hallway yoga. If you would like to make a donation specifically for indoor recess, you may include it in the online donation or check memo field.  The cost of each bin is approximately $120. Excess funds will be allocated to the PTO general operating fund and/or used to replenish bin supplies throughout the year. Once each classroom has a bin, they will be rotated on a bi-weekly or monthly basis.

Fundraising Updates

Box Tops – The Fall Box Top collection recently concluded, but parents are reminded that there will be a second collection in the Spring, so please don’t stop clipping!  You can also earn extra cash for O’Hara by downloading the Box Top Bonus App. Current promotions in the app include 100 bonus points ($10!) with the purchase of 4 Lysol products.  Simply scan your receipt after you make your purchase.

Square 1 Art – Students have finished their artwork for the annual Square 1 fundraiser!  Students will be coming home with their free sticker sheet and personal order form in early November.  All items ordered will be delivered by December 13th, just in time for the holiday season.  The fundraiser earns on average $4,500/year. O’Hara receives 33% of sales, but with over 45% participation, that amount increases to 38%.  Happy shopping!

Scholastic Book Fair – Thank you to everyone who helped with the book fair! The sale earned $2,900 that will go directly to the library fund, which now totals over $10,000. These funds will surely be put to great use after renovations to the library are completed next summer!

Special Guests from “Start School Later”

Representatives from the Start School Later, Western PA Chapter joined the PTO to provide information and get elementary parent feedback on the possibility of later high school start times. Due to the high cost of busing students, later high school start times often mean swapping elementary and high school start times. Currently, there is no formal proposal to change start times in Fox Chapel District, but several area high schools are considering and/or implementing the change.  These schools include North Allegheny, Pine Richland and Hampton. Multiple research studies have shown that early start times are detrimental for adolescents due to their natural circadian rhythms. Nationally, 400 – 500 schools have changed high school start times over the past 10 – 20 years.  To follow this issue, stay tuned for a District Forum meeting on the topic.

Administration & Teacher Rep Update

Mrs. Batis provided a quick update on renovations.  The first round of updated classroom spaces should be complete by November 3rd, which means 5th graders will soon be moving into their regular classrooms. If your child will be moving from their current classroom, you will receive a email notifying you of the change. The Commons Area should be significantly complete by Thanksgiving.

Mrs. Batis also shared that students are enjoying the changes to ELA and science curriculum, which includes Journeys for ELA and National Geographic (“Nat Geo”) for science. Mrs. Batis commended the level of rigor Journeys is bringing to students and noted that it is exciting to see students respond to the materials.  The Nat Geo science curriculum provides hands on learning kits.  Students also continue to enjoy their time in the Small Lab.

Teachers Representatives Mrs. Sherwin and Mrs. Buckley were also on hand for the meeting.  They thanked the PTO for their continued support. They also shared that Mrs. Johnson will be sending home flyers for Kids of Steel. Parents interested in helping with the training efforts can email Mrs. Johnson directly.

Volunteer Form to Close Nov. 1st

Last call to fill out the online volunteer form!  The form will close Nov. 1st so that we can provide all committee and activity chairs with a list of volunteers.  Please complete the volunteer form now if you haven’t already done so.

Get Ready to Vote!

PTO members will be receiving an email with a link to vote on proposed changes to the PTO by laws. A majority vote of ALL members is required to pass the changes, so we ask that you please participate in the vote. Thank you in advance!


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