January PTO Meeting Agenda

The O’Hara PTO invites you to join us for our monthly meeting this Thursday, January 17th at 9:15am in the O’Hara Auditorium. All are welcome and encouraged to attend.  This month’s agenda is as follows:

  • PTO Board Report
    • Treasurer’s Report (Kristina Adams)
    • Teacher Stipend Status (Sarah Shaffer)
      • Teacher Survey – most wanted items
    • Vice President’s Report
      • Read Across America Celebration – February 26
      • O’Hara Foxes Club Registrations (Math Pentathlon, Spanish Globetrotters, Lab Ratz)
  • Committee Updates and Volunteer Opportunities
    • Family Movie Night – February 22
    • Garden Sale – April kick off (May 11 Pick Up)
    • Scholastic Book Fair – February 25 to March 1
  • PALS Report (Stacy London)
  • Principal’s Update (Mrs. Batis and Mr. Edwards)
    • Changes to Volunteer Clearances – RAPTOR
    • OLWEUS Update
    • New Student Advisory Committee Roll out
  • District Update (Dr. Constantine)
    • New Pre-K Program

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November Meeting Recap

The O’Hara PTO welcomed about 40 people to our second morning meeting of the year on November 15th. For those who were unable to attend, a recap is below. The full meeting minutes are located here.

Ms. Frick and her 3rd grade class were also kind enough to give tours of the SMALLLab (Student Multimedia Accelerated Learning Lab) both before and after the meeting. Participants observed students playing a memory matching game with fossils and spinner game using math facts.

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Upcoming Barnes and Noble Fundraiser

O’Hara PTO will be holding its first Barnes and Noble fundraiser at the Waterworks location on 12/1.  A portion of all purchases will be donated to the PTO, including Starbucks purchases (just make sure to tell your customer service representative that you are there to support O’Hara!). The PTO will also be manning a complimentary gift wrap table from 11am-5pm at this event, staffed by volunteers (you can sign up to participate here), who will also be collecting donations.  Can’t make it to this event? Online purchases made between 12/1 and 12/5 will also benefit the PTO. Just use the Code 12454575 when you check out.

Volunteers are Needed for the Library

O’Hara’s new library is now ready for volunteers!  There are two different volunteer opportunities available at this time: 1) shelving books and 2) preparing instructional materials and bulletin boards. Ms. Fornari may also offer an opportunity for volunteers during instructional periods in the future.

Principal’s Update

Mrs. Batis discussed O’Hara Elementary’s student growth and achievement by highlighting our most recent PSSA results.  Our PSSA ELA average show a 3.79 point increase since 2016.  Our PSSA Math average increased 8 points since 2016, and approximately 10 points for both the 4th and 5th grades. 4th grade PSSA in science went up 1.5 points since 2016.

Mrs. Batis also discussed instructional response plans–emphasizing that teachers/administration regularly review several data inputs for each child, including PSSA data, STAR assessments, teacher observations, and teacher feedback. When specific needs are identified, a rigorous and collaborative RTII process is initiated that includes familial involvement. If families have any concerns regarding their child’s school performance–either high or low performance–they are always welcome to reach out for a meeting. Also, parents are always welcome to look through their child’s quarterly STAR assessment results. Just email the teacher for a copy of the parent report.

District Update

FCASD’s new School Safety and Security Coordinator, Officer Joe Kozarian, introduced himself at the meeting. Officer Kozarian lives in the South Hills and is the father of five grown children. He has been with school districts for almost 17 years and is very passionate about school safety.  He notes that the Fox Chapel School District is far ahead of many other districts in terms of school safety. 

Officer Kozarian informed us that there is now a School Resource Officer in each school in the district. He sees these officers as serving several roles: 1) being a law enforcement officer to protect kids and staff against threats, 2) being a guest speaker, who can talk to kids about bus safety, being home alone, bullying, calling 911, internet safety, etc, and 3) being a mentor for kids that need them. These officers are not involved in routine discipline of kids.  Officer Kozarian noted that each officer wears a “dress-down” police uniform (khaki pants and a polo shirt) and wears a belt with a sidearm, handcuffs, flashlight, and an extra magazine. Each school resource officer is a certified police officer, who also undergoes an additional 40-hour training to work in schools.  If you have questions or concerns for Officer Joe Kozarian, his email is joseph_kozarian@fcasd.edu.

Finally, Officer Dennis Lynch introduced himself as O’Hara’s School Resource Officer. For the past four years, he has been a school police officer at the Freeport School District. Before that, he worked for the Penn Hills Police Department. He began volunteering in the Penn Hills School District the day after the Columbine shooting and has been involved in school safety initiatives since then.  He introduced himself to the kids at the beginning of the school year and is now affectionately known as Officer “Fist Bump.”

He described his typical day, noting that he’s regularly walking throughout the building and grounds, checking security cameras, and closely monitoring times when kids are outside, such as pickup, dropoff, and recess. He also spends a fair amount of time building a positive rapport with the kids, especially at lunchtime when he appreciates leftover cookie donations :).  Want to get in touch with Officer Fist Bump? His email is dennis_lynch@fcasd.edu.

Thank you to all those who attended this month’s meeting! Our next meeting is scheduled for December 20th at 6pm. Because we know December evenings can be busy during the holiday season, we are asking that you please RSVP by 12/10 if you plan to attend. If expected attendance is low, we may reschedule or cancel. 

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October Meeting Recap and Square 1 Art

Thank you to everyone who came out for our first evening meeting of the year on October 18.  Future evening meetings are scheduled for December 20th and February 21st from 6 – 7pm.  All other meetings will be held in the morning.  For those who couldn’t attend, here’s your handy recap:

Help Needed

The PTO is still in need of someone to chair the O’Hara Foxes Club.  All of the logistics for the after school enrichment program are already in place.  Now we need an organized individual who would like to help us expand the offerings and grow this program! For the most part this is a “behind the scenes” opportunity.  If you are interested in learning more or signing up, please email nadine@oharapto.org.

Looking for something else? Check out our open volunteer opportunities here.

District Presentation on Curriculum

The October meeting included an overview of Elementary Curriculum from Dr. Ashley Constantine, Executive Director of Elementary Education and Instruction.  Sari Brecosky, Director of Literacy, provided information on Journeys and Fundations and Megan Collett,Director of Instructional and Innovative Leadership, shared information on the district’s STEAM curriculum. School Board Vice President Nancy Foster also joined the group.  We appreciate the District directors sharing their passion and insight into the elementary curriculum with us.  A copy of the presentation from the evening is available here: Overview of FCASD Elementary Curriculum

Principal’s Update

Mrs. Batis shared that there will be some safety changes to the Halloween parade.  Details were shared via PowerSchool after the meeting. The District’s new Safety and Security Coordinator, Officer Joe Kozarian, and O’Hara’s new School Resource Officer, Dennis Lynch will join us at the November 15 PTO Meeting.

For additional details from the October 18 meeting, you can read the full minutes here: 10-18-2018 Meeting Minutes

Square 1 Art Fundraiser

Each student received a personalized catalog featuring their own unique artwork from Square 1 Art. Square 1 is an annual PTO fundraiser that provides the opportunity to purchase your student’s unique artwork on a variety of items. From aprons to journals and coffee mugs, Square 1 has something for everyone, and the items make great gifts for family members or keepsakes for your child.  The PTO receives at least 33% of all purchases (we earn more the more families who participate, so even small purchases can have a big impact!).  Orders are due by Friday, November 2.  Use the unique access code on your student’s Square 1 Art catalog to order online at https://shop.square1art.com/shop

November 15 PTO

Mark your calendars for our next PTO Meeting! On Thursday, November 15th, we will be joined by the District’s new Safety and Security Coordinator, Officer Joe Kozarian, and O’Hara’s new School Resource Officer, Dennis Lynch. We will also be hosting tours of the SMALLab before and after the meeting (pre-registration and clearances required, details and sign up to follow).

10/18 Evening Meeting Agenda

Last month we welcomed over 50 members of the O’Hara Elementary community to our first morning meeting of the year.  Our next meeting will be the first evening meeting of the year, and we’re looking forward to seeing everyone who can attend. We will meet in the O’Hara auditorium from 6pm – 7pm this Thursday, October 18th.  Children are welcome to attend if needed.

10/18 PTO Meeting Agenda

  • PTO Committee and Activity Updates  – learn about upcoming projects and opportunities to help out.  We’ll also provide a status on some ongoing and completed projects.
  • Discussion on Elementary Curriculum with Dr. Ashley Nestor
  • Principal Update – School Safety and Parent Teacher Conferences

Reminders

  • Box Tops are due to homeroom classes by 10/19.  Each Box Top earn $.10 for O’Hara. Those dimes add up quickly – last year we raised $1,400!  If every student at O’Hara turned in just 25 Box Tops, we’d quickly surpass that goal.  At 50 Box Tops/student we’d more than double our earnings from last year, providing an opportunity to invest even more in our school. There will be another collection in Spring, so we encourage you to keep on clipping (and get your neighbors and family to clip with you!)
  • We need volunteers!  There are several open and ongoing volunteer opportunities, including:

evening meeting

Dates to Note

  • 10/19 Last day to turn in Box Tops for Fall Collection
  • 10/24 PALS Meeting Roots of Faith 800 Main St. Sharpsburg 9:15 am
  • 10/26 Early Dismissal
  • 10/31 Halloween Parade (2:10) and Classroom Parties (2:45)
  • 11/5 Early Dismissal – Parent/Teacher Conferences
  • 11/6 No School – Parent/Teacher Conferences
  • 11/13 District Forum Meeting, High School LGI Room, 7pm – 8pm
  • 11/15 Next PTO Meeting 9:15 am O’Hara Auditorium

September Meeting Recap and Open Committee Spots

Thank you to the over 50 people who came out for our first meeting of the year! We are incredibly excited by your eagerness to participate and become involved in the PTO, and we know this is going to be a fantastic year.

The PTO meeting kicked off with an introduction of our fantastic Executive Board. We’ve got a strong team working behind the scenes to make sure our communications, programs, fundraisers and events are all well-executed.  Each member of the Board is available to answer your questions, so please don’t hesitate to reach out any time.

Open Committee Spots

Just as our Board functions as a team, we need your to help support (and in some cases lead!) a committee.  At the 9/20 meeting we highlighted several open committee spots, which are listed below.  The sign up is now open to join or lead a committee.

  • The O’Hara Foxes Club – (Chair and Members Needed) – We’ve set the OFC up and now we need someone to take over as Chair! The Chair will oversee the logistics of running the after school program and help identify new activities to include.
  • Family Movie Night – (Chair and Members Needed) Help Plan O’Hara’s first Family Movie Night!
  • Library Volunteer Coordinator  (Assistant Chair) Chair Stacy London will be moving on to DMS next year. Work with Stacy and Mrs. Fornari this year to coordinate library helpers and be ready when the Chair position opens up next year!
  • Assemblies  (Chair Position)  Work with teachers and principals to identify and coordinate school assemblies (1 – 2/year). This chair role does not require clearances (unless you want to attend the assemblies yourself!), and can be done behind the scenes.
  • Lunch/Recess Volunteers (Co-Chair and Members) Join Chair Melissa Troutman as the PTO works with the school to implement a new outdoor recess volunteer program. The co-chair will also assist with indoor recess bins and promoting lunch time helpers.
  • Communications Committee  (Writers) Tackle a topic of interest to be shared on our blog! You can generate your own or pick from topics identified by the Chair. Work behind the scenes on your own time schedule, or take a more interactive role by interviewing teachers/staff.
  • Yearbook  (Photographers) Calling all photographers! Help the Yearbook Committee capture the year at O’Hara! Photographers must have clearances and a camera capable of taking high quality photos for print.

Additional volunteer opportunities are detailed at oharapto.org/volunteer (click the Sign Up Genius button to see all open sign ups!) and will be shared throughout the year.  Lunchroom helpers with clearances are also welcome daily.  If you missed the form to sign up for Classroom Volunteer Opportunities, contact your Homeroom Representative or Sarah Blask.

Traveling Art Gallery (TAG) volunteers are also needed. Read more and sign up here: www.oharapto.org/TAG

VOLUNTEER

Budget Approved

September’s meeting included a review and vote on our 2018-2019 Budget.  Members unanimously approved the budget, which will be used as a guideline for PTO spending and fundraising goals throughout the year.  We are currently projecting over $5,000 in unallocated funds, after setting aside reserve funds for next year. If our fundraisers perform as anticipated, we’ll be making plans for those funds in the Spring.

PTO Representatives

At September’s meeting, we also met several of our representatives from the teacher staff, District Forum and PALS.  We’re looking forward to working with the teachers and these organizations to keep you in the know and create an open dialogue with our teachers and staff so that we know how to best support them throughout the year.

Principal’s Update

Mrs. Batis provided an introduction to classroom Themed Learning Centers, which kick off this week with 4th Grade, 5th Grade and Kindergarten.  The Learning Centers offer an opportunity for family volunteers with clearances to get a special glimpse at what their students are learning while helping to staff interactive centers based on a specific theme. The 4th grade class is learning about place values, Kindergarten is exploring lima beans, and the 5th graders will focus on preparing for Camp Allegheny. Each grade will host two learning centers per year, so look for information from your student’s homeroom teacher and volunteer if you can.

Mrs. Batis also shared that O’Hara will host a Showcase Night in April.  This evening will encompass the Art Show (and offer evening Spring Basket Raffle Ticket sales!), as well as other displays of student work.

District Update

The PTO is excited to share that each meeting will include attendance by a member of District Administration.  At this meeting, Dana Simile joined us.  An overview of information she shared is available here.  Dr. Ashley Nestor will join us in October to discuss Curriculum.

Next Meeting: October 18

We packed that all into one hour! We’re looking forward to seeing everyone at our October 18 meeting, which will be held in the evening from 6 – 7.  Detailed agenda to follow – stay tuned!

 

 

Join us 9/20 for Our First Meeting of the Year

Hello O’Hara Families,  We hope to see you this coming Thursday, September 20th at 9:15am in the auditorium for our first meeting of the year!  We will provide an overview of new programs and activities and the many ways you can get involved throughout the year.  We’ll also be reviewing and approving our budget for the year. All are welcome to attend (just sign in at the front office and head to the auditorium – don’t forget your ID!).

Our Principal’s update will introduce you to a new opportunity to volunteer in your student’s classroom (Themed Learning Centers, kicking off in October), and share plans for the O’Hara Elementary Showcase in April (those of you missing Open House are going to love this!).  Additionally, Dan DiDesiderio, Director of Student Achievement and Instructional Verification, and Dana Simile, Coordinator of English Language Arts, will share brief updates from the School District.  View the detailed agenda here. 

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