Thank you to everyone who was able to attend are January 17th PTO meeting. We look forward to seeing the “night owls” on Thursday, February 21st at 6pm for the last evening meeting of the school year. Please help us spread the word to families who would appreciate the evening option!
Below is a recap of the meeting. Full minutes here.
At January’s meeting, we shared some exciting news about the O’Hara Foxes Club. The OFC now has a chair (thank you, Meghann O’Mara Jones) , and has already added a new Spanish after school option that kicks off in February (sorry, all spots full!). If you are interested in leading an after school program, please email Meghann.
The PTO Board would like to thank long-time Chess Club Chair Alice Paviglianiti for dedicating countless hours over the years to inspire and encourage a love of chess in O’Hara students. After many years of championing the Chess Club, Alice is ready to pass the program on to someone else. The chair helps organize the afterschool program. Position responsibilities include overseeing attendance, dismissal, parent communication, and helping set the schedule for future chess sessions. In the past, chess club has offered three sessions throughout the school year. Each session is 6 weeks, and meets from 3:30-5:00 pm in the school library. We would like this to keep this schedule, however we maybe open to other options based on volunteer response. You do NOT need any chess knowledge to fill this roll. However, school clearances are required. Chess master, Bob Willson, will continue as the club’s instructional teacher. Please contact Meghann if you are interested or have any questions about this opportunity. Thank you!
Teacher Stipends and Spending Survey Result
The PTO provided a status of Teacher Stipend funds. $6,000 was approved this year to support our teachers through stipends, and to date we have dispersed almost $1,000. Purchases include lamps for the SMALL Lab, Boogie Board tablets for reading support, a classroom rug for the art department, and a math book for the gifted program. Teachers have a deadline of April 30 to submit requests for funds. The PTO also surveyed teachers to determine what they are spending out of pocket and what their most needed items are. You can view the teacher spending survey results here. The PTO Board is considering ways we can use the results to better guide our support and find ways to keep our teachers stocked with their most needed items.
New Events Coming Soon
Several new events are coming soon – stay tuned for volunteer opportunities and more details:
February 22 – Family Movie Night at O’Hara – more details coming soon for an evening at O’Hara with family and friends!
February 26 – Read Across America Celebration during the Scholastic Book Fair: Many families may remember the Dr. Seuss event at Barnes & Noble led by O’Hara librarian Mrs. Fornari. The Read Across America Celebration will bring that event to O’Hara during the Scholastic Book Fair. Dr. Seuss themed activities will include a tattoo artist, mystery readers, crafts, and other literacy activities. The free event will be held from 6-8 p.m., during which time you can also shop the Scholastic Book Fair!
May 11 – Garden Sale Pick Up: Plants will be available for sale from a local nursery. Families will be able to advance order plants for pick up on the Saturday before Mother’s Day. The PTO intends to use the funds raised for the Courtyard Improvement project. Plans for developing the courtyard may include raised garden beds and outdoor classroom space, but the District needs to address a drainage issue before the project can move forward. Weather has delayed further attempts until the Spring.
At the next meeting of PALS (Parent Advocates for Learning Support), Kerr School Resource Officer Scott Bailey will join part of the meeting to discuss the training FCASD SROs complete to prepare them to work with all students, specifically those with challenges that may cause a barrier in communication. He will also share information about trainings he offers to parents and children with special needs on how to identify and engage with emergency responders The meeting is scheduled for January 30th at 9:15am at the Eat ‘n Park at Waterworks. Visit palsinfo.org for details.
New RAPTOR System
Mrs. Batis provided a brief overview of the changes to volunteer clearances now that the District has adopted the RAPTOR system. Existing clearances are loaded in the RAPTOR system, but the system checks to see if any offenses or issues have occurred since obtaining clearances that might be a cause for concern. The first time entering the building with the new system takes the longest, so plan to add a few extra minutes on your next visit.
OLWEUS Bullying Prevention Program
Mrs. Batis also provided an update on the OLWEUS bullying prevention program. O’Hara received a Safe Schools grant from Highmark, and our new teachers have now received Olweus training, and teachers will continue to receive training throughout the year.
New Student Advisory Committee
Mrs. Batis announced that a New Student Advisory Committee will begin rolling out soon. The program is inline with the PTO’s efforts to getting our students more involved, with the ultimate goal of launching a Student Council next year. The Student Advisory Committee will have two representatives from each homeroom, who will selected randomly from interested kids. The committee will meet with the principals two times a month during the lunch period to provide input on a variety of topics.
Mrs. Batis and the PTO Board thanks everyone for their support of the Make a Wish fundraiser and for the generous collection of funds for our staff for the holidays. Your generosity always amazes!