Your Look at the Week Ahead – Filled with Spirit!

We hope to see you at tomorrow’s PTO meeting from 9:15-am – 10:15am in the Auditorium. Bring your ID and sign in at the front office. Coffee will be provided! 

Next week will be spirit-filled as we celebrate Fox Chapel’s Homecoming. We’ve also got several open volunteer opportunities and a new class added to the O’Hara Foxes Club (details below).

DATES TO NOTE – WEEK OF 9/24

Spirit Week (9/24 – 9/28)

Students are encouraged to dress up and show their #OHaraSpirit! Email photos to communications@oharapto.org to be featured on our Facebook page!

SPIRIT WEEK

Please note: no spaghetti strap or strapless tank tops.  Students must wear shoes to school (no slippers or slipper socks). 

Reminder: Online Spirit Store Closes 9/23

You can still grab some great O’Hara Spirit Gear in time for the pep rally and Homecoming at https://www.fmgweb.com/ohara/. The store will remain open until 9/23. Items purchased will be distributed by 9/26.

Mobile Fingerprinting (9/26 from 10am – 6pm) – Foxwall EMS – Registration Required

In partnership with the Kerr PTO, a Mobile Fingerprinting event for the Act 114 FBI Criminal Reporting requirement will be held on September 26th at Foxwall EMS. The event will run from 10am – 6pm. To register and reserve a spot to be fingerprinted, please follow these instructions: http://bit.ly/mobilefingerprint2018  (Note: we are aware of some issues registering and are working to resolve). 

Community Homecoming Carnival Friday, September 28, 2018 (4-7pm).

In honor of Homecoming Weekend, the Fox Chapel Area High School invites community members to its annual Homecoming Carnival, with lots of fun activities, games, and rides for kids. Head out to the Front Lawn at Fox Chapel Area High School and look for the O’Hara PTO! We’ll be hosting a game and selling our remaining spirit inventory.  The football game follows at 7pm.

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED

Volunteers are needed in each classroom to help with class parties, field trips, Box Tops, and Spring and Thanksgiving Basket collections. Sign up today and let your homeroom representative know how you’d like to help:  https://goo.gl/forms/l7uaXmfYqBUfQps12

TAG is an art enrichment program in which volunteers become amateur docents–bringing art history, criticism, aesthetics, and art-making experiences to our students.(Don’t worry, no art degree required!). More information and sign up available here: https://oharapto.org/tag/

Volunteers are needed to help represent O’Hara Elementary School at the Fox Chapel Foxes Homecoming Carnival on 9/28. Sign up here:  https://www.signupgenius.com/go/70a0d4daba623a1f49-homecoming

Looking for something else? Volunteer opportunities are posted when available at oharapto.org/volunteer. 

O’HARA FOXES CLUB CONTINUES WITH LAB RATZ SCIENCE CLUB

The OFC continues with Lab Ratz Science Club. Lab Ratz presents basic science principles in an engaging, hands-on manner- encouraging students to be inventive and creative, to question the world around them, and to make discoveries through firsthand experimentation. The Fall session is open to students in grades 3 – 5. Classes begin on Monday, October 8th and will run for 5 weeks from 4:00-5:00 pm. The cost is $70. For additional details and to register, visit oharapto.org/ofc or view the flyer attached.

Ohara 18 fall-2

Back to School Social & O’Hara Spirit Sale

The Back to School Social and O’Hara Spirit Sale will be held Wednesday, September 5th from 5:30pm – 8pm on the playground.  This annual O’Hara PTO event is a favorite among students and provides an opportunity for families to connect. Bring the whole family for dinner, dessert & fun (rain or shine)!  You can also stock up on O’Hara gear to show your O’Hara Spirit on Fridays!  Interested in helping out?  You can volunteer for a shift and still have time to enjoy the festivities!

Food Trucks

Food will be available for purchase from several food trucks and local restaurants, including:

A portion of food sales will be donated back to O’Hara PTO.

Raffles

Raffle tickets will be available for purchase to win a variety of prizes.  All raffle ticket proceeds benefit the O’Hara PTO and have been donated by our generous PTO Directory advertisers. Tickets start at $1/each (cash and checks accepted) Raffle prizes include:

  • Seven Springs (4 Highland Ski Tickets /4 Tubing Tickets)
  • Hidden Valley (4 Tickets to Golf at Hidden Valley)
  • Laurel Mountain (4 Ski/Board Tickets)
  • Cornerstone ($50 gift certificate)
  • Tavern in the Wall ($25 gift certificate)
  • Rosebud’s (Backpack, lunchbox, Desk pad)
  • Kristi Boutique ($50 gift certificate)
  • Soothe the Soul ($25 gift certificate)
  • Aspinwall Beans N Cream ($20 gift certificate)
  • Lauri Ann West Community Center (6 month membership and 2 tickets to Celebrate the Center)
  • O’Hara Elementary (event parking space!)
  • Borough of Aspinwall (T-shirts)
  • At the Wall Pilates (Free private lesson)
  • Pure Barre (one month unlimited classes)
  • One Brilliant ($100 gift certificate)
  • Dovecote ($50 gift certificate)
  • Lynott Miniatures (Penguin Stuffed Animal)

Spirit Sale

This year’s Social will also feature an on-site O’Hara Spirit Sale! Items for sale include:

  • T-shirts in adult and youth sizes ($15 each)
  • Youth Hoodies ($25)
  • Umbrellas ($20+tax)
  • Water Bottles ($14+tax)
  • Window Clings ($3+tax)

Credit cards will be accepted for Spirit Sale purchases.  Special “Back to School” pricing will be available at the Social, including:

  • 2 shirts for $25 (mix and match youth and adult sizes)
  • Water bottle + Youth Shirt for $25
  • 2 Window Clings for $5
  • Free Window Cling with $25 purchase

#OHaraSpirit (1)

Any remaining inventory will be sold through our online spirit sale after the social.

Volunteer

Volunteers are needed to help with beverage sales, raffle ticket sales, and the Spirit Sale.  View available opportunities and sign up here! 

We look forward to seeing you at the Back to School Social and Spirit Sale!

PTO 2018 Back to School Social (1)

Meeting Recap: PTO Budget Approved, Renovations to Begin in June

recap

2016-2017 Budget Approved

At Friday’s PTO meeting, Treasurer Tonja Condron reviewed the 2016-2017 Budget.  The budget, which was unanimously approved by those present, includes allocation of over $100,000 to the renovation of the school playground and greenhouse, as well as $16,000 for the purchase of two Chromebook carts to be shared among grades.  These expenses will largely spend down the “reserve funds” carried over from prior years.  Tonja also shared allocation of funds to several new programs, including: a mini-grant fund for teachers, a scholarship fund for extra-curricular activities, and the creation of a teacher supply closet that will be stocked with Kleenex, hand sanitizer, paper towels, and other consumable items.

The beginning bank account balance at the start of the school year was $128,808.  The anticipated ending balance will be $17,539.  The remaining balance will include reserve funds held for the library and Shawn Neville Character Award, as well as $5,000 in operating expenses to start out the 2017-2018 school year.

Additional Lunch Monitors Added

Mrs. Batis shared that two additional lunch monitors have been added to the staff, with two more anticipated.  She also noted that concerns raised at the January PTO meeting have been addressed, and the lunchroom is notably less chaotic (a sentiment echoed by several other attendees).

Schedule Changes Implemented

Changes to the master schedule that were announced in January have been implemented. The changes have resulted in an additional 10 minutes of valuable instruction time as well as an uninterrupted 60 minute block for math.

Renovations Slated to Begin in June

Construction is tentatively set to begin the day after school ends and will follow a phased approach culminating the following summer. Phase 1 will include the Commons Area, Library, Art Rooms, Administrative Office Area and some soundproofing for the cafeteria to reduce noise in the computer lab. The current plan for the Commons Area is to create a flexible learning area to better utilize space available.  The Art rooms will be moving to the lower level so that all homerooms (where students spend the most time) will have classrooms with windows. The classrooms will be receiving less visible but much needed improvements, including updates to the mechanical/HVAC systems and lighting.  While this will result in the need for  “swing spaces” as classes are temporarily relocated, every effort will be made to minimize the disruption to student learning environments during the renovations.

The playground and parking lot will be included in the renovations. Facilities representatives will be providing additional details at the March Principal Coffee Hours (dates/times to be announced).

Online Spirit Sale Begins February 13th

A two-week, online Spirit Sale kicks off Monday, February 13th. Sales will be open through February 27th and items ordered will be delivered before the end of March.

Volunteers Needed

The Hospitality Committee is seeking new members.  The committee is responsible for organizing refreshments for Open House and planning the Teacher Luncheon. Contact Faith Moser or Tonja Condron  for additional information or to express interest.

Library Volunteers are always appreciated (clearances required)!  Find open time slots at signupgenius.com (search by the email “TheRehakFamily@gmail.com”).

Upcoming Events

PALS – The next PALS meeting will be held February 22nd at 9:30am at the Market District Café.  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

Click here for a full list of upcoming events and the district calendar. 

Meeting Recap: Recess, Lunch and Bench Marking

recapFriday’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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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!
  3. 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).

Board Updates

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.

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Events

  • 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

Incoming Kindergarten Class:

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

October 21 Meeting Recap – What you need to know

Thank you to everyone who was able to make it to Friday’s meeting.  We were very lucky to have our two new teacher representatives, Mrs. Buckley (3rd grade) and Mrs. Sherwin (Reading) in attendance. Mrs. Fornari (Librarian) also stopped by to thank the PTO for our support at the Scholastic Book Fair and for providing new ink/toner for the large format printer.

A recap of what you need to know follows (full minutes available here):

Hot Topic Alert: PTO Financials

Treasurer Tonja Condron shared some exciting new:  the PTO has over $130,000 in the bank!

Tonja reviewed the 2015-2016 income and expenses, which showed $24,000 in net income. For the past several years, the PTO has accumulated a substantial amount of money, some of which is earmarked for specific departments (e.g. Scholastic Book Fair revenue for the past 4 years is being held for the school library). The bulk of the reserve funds were originally being saved for upgrades to the auditorium lighting and potential playground improvements. O’Hara received new auditorium lighting last year in conjunction with the high school renovation, leaving PTO members (that’s you!) with the opportunity to determine how the reserve funds should be spent.

If the news that the PTO has such a large amount of money in bank is new to you, you’re not alone. This information raised several questions from attendees, including how we determine where money should be allocated, how much (if any) should be saved for future projects, and how we communicate and share information with our whole membership.  These are all issues the PTO Board plans to tackle in the coming months with the input of parents, teachers and administration. We will also be developing a budget outlining planned spending for the 2016-2017 school year, and will keep parents apprised of planned v. actual spending throughout the year.

The board welcomes your comments and questions regarding the reserve funds and PTO budget.  You’ll be hearing a lot more from us on these topics throughout the year.  We would also welcome accounting-savvy volunteers (any CPAs out there?) to help us get our books in order. Email Tonja if interested!

Great News

  • Lunch/Recess – Many of you know that lunch and recess is frequently a topic of discussion at PTO meetings.  Thanks in large part to the efforts of our interim principals, progress is being made on the playground! The two principals have truly provided hands on support: Mr. Winkler was seen painting new football field lines and leading groups out to play, and Dr. McNamara was spotted providing jump rope lessons. We also learned that lunch monitors have completed their second training session, which corresponds with a new training manual introduced at the beginning of the year.  Expect to hear more on lunch and recess throughout the year as our new principals take over and we continue to advocate for improvements that get our students outside and playing in the space available.
  • Fundraiser Success! – The PTO Directory raised nearly $5,000 in ad sales, and revenue from the Scholastic Book Fair was around $3,000.  Thank you to everyone who volunteered their time!
  • New Principals – Our new Principal, Mrs. Batis starts 10/31! Vice Principal Edwards will begin working in the District on October 24th, but he won’t be full-time at O’Hara immediately.  You can expect some “guest appearances” from Mr. Edwards in the coming weeks. While we look forward to welcoming Mrs. Batis and Mr. Edwards, we’re very appreciative of all Dr. McNamara and Mr. Winkler have done in their short time with us.  Please join us in thanking them for taking a break from their retirement to help O’Hara – we wish them both the very best!

Help Needed

  • Student/Parent Lunchesvolunteers are needed to quickly check parents in as they arrive.  Sign up for a shift before or after the time slot scheduled for your child’s lunch.
  • Library Assistance – there are several time slots available in November and December and throughout next year (search by “therehakfamily@gmail.com” to find available volunteer spots by month on Sign Up Genius).
  • Make Art Happen at O’Hara – the art department is seeking material donations.
  • Scholastic Book Fair – New committee chair needed for 2017-2018 school year.  Email Maggie Mulhern if interested.
  • SMART Flu Study – Stay tuned for information on signing up for a family SMART Flu study. Participants will be eligible to receive up to four $20 Giant Eagle gift cards, and will be entered in a weekly drawing to win a $300 gift card!
  • Calling all Writers! – Want to help share school and PTO news with parents? If you’d like to contribute a blog post, email Sarah Shaffer.  No clearances required and you can do it whenever is convenient to you!

Dates to Note

  • October 26, PALS meeting, 6:30pm, Sharpsburg Library
  • October 28, Halloween Parade, 2pm
  • November 1 – 11, Thanksgiving Basket Collection Period
  • November 11 – 18, Parent / Student Lunches
  • November 15, District Forum Meeting, 9am

november

The next PTO meeting will be held on Friday, November 18.  Comment below with topics you’d like to see addressed!

 

See you at the Back to School Social!

ohara-welcome-back-social

 

The Back to School Social will be held Wednesday, September 7th from 5:30pm – 8pm on the playground.  This annual O’Hara PTO fundraiser is a favorite among students and provides an opportunity for parents to connect. Bring the family for dinner, dessert & fun (rain or shine)!

Food will be available for purchase from The Steer & Wheel, Franktuary, Casa del Sole Pizza and Good Humor Ice Cream.

Raffle tickets will also be available for purchase, including the coveted VIP Parking Space for the Open House in October (not that parking at O’Hara is ever a problem!).  All raffle and ice cream ticket proceeds benefit the O’Hara PTO.   Ice cream tickets are $2/each and raffle tickets start at $1/each (cash or check payable to OEPTO).

Raffle prizes include:

Representatives from the local Cub Scouts and Square 1 Art will also be in attendance.

We look forward to seeing you!