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. 

Add to Your Calendar

Thank you, PTO Supporters!

Friday the 18th marked our last PTO meeting of the school year and the last fundraiser of the year with the conclusion of Spring Basket raffle ticket sales.  Thank you all for the making the basket sales (and the entire year!) a success.  The Spring Basket Fundraiser brought in a total of $8,100. Here’s your handy recap from the 5/18 meeting:

  • Mrs. Batis shared rankings from the Pittsburgh Business Times showing Fox Chapel as 4th overall (1st in 3rd grade!).  ohara.PNG
  • The PTO officers for the 2018-2019 School year were confirmed as follows. Thank you to Dana Rofey for a great two-year term!
    • Sarah Shaffer – President
    • Nadine Carl – Vice President
    • Kristina Adams – Treasurer
    • Lauren Mohn – Secretary
    • Faith Moser – Fundraising Officer
    • Dana Rofey – Advisor
    • Carrie Work – Advisor
  • Committee Chairs for 2018-2019 are still being confirmed. Recent planning meetings and survey results identified several new committee opportunities – stay tuned for another open call for nominations.
  • The PTO currently has a budget of just over $13,000 set aside for courtyard renovations. The courtyard committee held a preliminary meeting with several teachers and Mrs. Batis to discuss potential uses. Next steps include meeting with
    Dan Breitkreutz, Director of Ancillary Services, to explore options. Parent and teacher input will be sought throughout the planning phase (additional information to follow).
  • Outdoor recess was also a hot topic at the meeting. There is consensus among parents, lunch and recess monitors, teachers and administration that outdoor recess is preferable to indoor recess, but poor weather and some limitations due to construction frequently kept students inside this year. The PTO will continue to work with administration to explore options to provide physical activity during the school day when outdoor recess is not possible. Potential policy changes will also be investigated.
  • An interim budget for projected spending between June 30 (the end of the PTO year) and September 20 (the next PTO meeting) was presented and approved by members present.

Thank you again for your support this year!  The Board will be working over the summer, so expect to hear more from us throughout the coming months.

Join the PTO for breakfast at our last meeting of the year!

Calling all PTO supporters and volunteers!  Please join us for our last meeting of the year on Friday, May 18th at 9:15am in the O’Hara Courtyard*. We’ll have breakfast and coffee as a small token of appreciation for all of your support this year. Breakfast will be followed by a brief meeting, including an administrative update from Principal Batis and the election of our 2018-2019 PTO officers.  We look forward to seeing you there!

Full Agenda available here. 

*Rain location: Auditorium

 

 

March Meeting Recap

Thank you to everyone who could join us at the March 16th meeting. There were several great discussions at the meeting. Here’s a recap for those who could not make it:

School Safety

We know school safety is top of mind of late and appreciate Mrs. Batis and Mr. Edwards providing an overview of some of the security measures in place to keep our students safe. Keep on the lookout for future events addressing this topic.  (Note: for the safety our students, security measures will not be posted here. We hope you understand!). 

Courtyard Improvement Project

A new committee is being formed to tackle additional improvements to the courtyard.  Earlier this year the PTO purchased tables with umbrellas for the courtyard.  A district match doubled the number of tables to 12, providing ample room for teachers and students to take advantage of outside space.  Future improvements will focus on incorporating flower beds or raised gardens, with input from teachers on how the space can be best used. PTO members wishing to serve on the planning committee should contact Kristina Adams.

Teacher Stipends

Earlier in the year the PTO approved $7,000 allocated to teacher stipends.  These stipends have now been communicated to all teachers, who have until the end of the school year to use the funds.  Stipends were allotted by teaching units (e.g., 5th grade) and can be used collectively or individually as decided upon by the group.  We’re excited to see how the teachers put their funds to use and thank you all for your support of the PTO – this wouldn’t be possible without your donations!

Parent Concerns

This month’s meeting included time set aside to address parent concerns.

  • Beth Ruff presented information on the proposed changes to the DMS schedule.  Nearly 800 people have signed a petition requesting administration delay the implementation of these changes and seek additional input from teachers and parents. Update:  Per a March 19th email from District Superintendent Gene Freeman, the DMS schedule will remain the same for the next school year: “The district and the DMS administration will continue studying the schedule. As a first step, we are re-engaging in conversations with the Fox Chapel Educators Association (teachers). Next school year, while the FCEA and administration study the possibilities of a new DMS schedule, we will involve a small representative group of parents/guardians which will include the site-based representatives and an equitable representation from the community. Details and opportunities for involvement will be shared at a future time.”
  • Dana Rofey also shared concerns about the lunch “extra” policy.  Efforts are underway to restrict K-2 purchases of extras to one time/week. Already new restrictions have been placed to encourage students to finish their lunch before being able to purchase extras, as well as to limit purchases to one item.
  • Bonnie DeMotte raised concerns over student engagement and questioned whether there might be more opportunities for students to participate in activities during school that get them excited to attend.  Several parents echoed their support, and Carrie Work referenced Student Council programs in place at other district elementary schools.  An ad hoc committee is in the works to further explore options and work with the school administration.  If interested in participating, contact Bonnie DeMotte.

Notice of May 18 Election

The newly formed Nominating Committee includes Carly Warren, Kate Davison and Jessica Simms.  The Nominating Committee announced candidates for the May 18, 2018 election as follows:

  • President – Sarah Shaffer
  • Vice President – Nadine Carl
  • Secretary – Open at time of announcement.

Nominations will also be taken from the floor at the election, to be held May 18 at 9:15am.  Officers will be elected by a majority vote from members present.

Planning

Stay tuned for a survey asking for your input on PTO activities and communications.  We look forward to your feedback!

Save the Dates – Only 2 More PTO Meetings!

Thursday, April 19 from 6:30pm – 7:30pm –  Join the PTO for an open discussion.  Grab a beverage or food and join us in the Market District Café (Atrium).

Friday, May 18 from 9:15am – 10:15am – Calling all volunteers and PTO members! Join us for a special breakfast spread before our final meeting of the school year. Members present will vote on open Board positions and an interim budget. Committee chairs will also be announced.