PTO Meeting Minutes: October 2014

October 2014 Meeting Minutes

October 2014 Minutes of the HCCS PTO


Elka Francisco (Chair), Mary Edlund (Treasurer), Catie Wells (took minutes), Lara Thomas (Room Parent Coordinator),  Sherri Borer (Fine Arts),  Deb Lentz (Wellness), Jennifer Alexander (SCRIP, left 9:24), Yvette Atkinson (Board Rep), Christine Kelley (Board Rep, left 9:03), Karen Andrews (STEM, Board Rep, left 10:04), Tammy Hall (Teacher Rep, 8:46-9:35), Al Waters (Director, arrived 9:06),  Jessica Carter (administrative intern), Marolyn Valenzuela (Fall Festival, left 9:05),  Adam Druckman (Fine Arts, left 10:05), Julie de Jong (Wellness, left ~8:50)

  1. Call to order 8:30 AM


  • Motion to approve Sept. minutes: Elka Francisco made the motion, Deb Lentz seconded, passed 8:31.


  1. Elka Francisco made a motion to approve the 2014-2015 PTO Budget. Mary Edlund seconded., motion approved at 8:31.
  2. Jessica Carter introduction: Jessica is interning with Al on Tuesdays and Thursdays. She is from UM’s Leadership & Policy program.She reports that the new gym/swim teacher will start next week.


  1. School Board Report: Christine Kelley, Karen Andrews, & Yvette Atkinson
  • The board is expanding to 9 members, with an emphasis on a fundraising/marketing/financial skillset.
  • It received a clean audit. Shellee sent a 990 to the Board to be reviewed before sending it on to the IRS.
  • The Board is reviewing its bylaws.
  • It is continuing to work on supporting the HCCS Foundation. There is a question of hiring a dedicated Foundation director. Al is working with the “Catch a Fire” organization (professionals who donate time to help with projects).
  • The Board would like to work on developing synergy between the PTO, Board, teachers, and other groups. There will be a communication focus.
  • Please ask if there are questions about what Board does, what’s needed, and how to get involved.
  1. Upcoming Events
  • Potluck: Donations are needed for the Morgan & York teacher potluck. There is concern about emails not going through (classroom lists & hccs-all issues). Christine will talk to Jessica and Al; Lara will follow up with room parents). Community members can contribute cash or checks for the Morgan & York event to an envelope with Karen Giltrow or with Jennifer Alexander. Karen Andrews asked about setting up a PayPal account, and there was discussion of sending paper flyer home on Monday (Yvette will check with Shellee about kids taking home a flier on Monday), Catie will check about putting a notice on the website.
  • Fall Festival: Marolyn: The early sign-up sheet has gone out, and the general sign-up is going out on Monday. We are short on help for during-day Haunted Stage set-up. The Harvest Dinner will have $12.50 and $7.50 plates. It will run from 5:00-7:00. The trebuchet is 5:30-6:30, the Haunted Stage is 5:30-7:30, the gym will be open 6:00-8:00, and the book sale in the library is from 6:00-8:00. (Tammy will check in with Marion). Flyers are going up on Monday.
  • WNRAT no updates
  • STEM Fair 12/05, no updates
  • Craft Sale: Marta England and Jeannie Crayne are on it.
  1. Teacher Liaison – Tammy
  • Tammy asks teachers before meeting if there are any needs. This month there were none. She will send her notes from the meeting to the teachers. She notes that the PTO will receive better teacher feedback when we ask the teachers direct questions.
  • The teachers are excited about the potlucks.
  • Jody Klein, Tammy Hall, and Sue Kirkup have a HCCS cookbook idea – Is it something that could become a Life Skills class?
  • Karen Andrews asked how to make events more available to teachers. Tammy responded that teachers are often tired after school and that it is helpful to remind the community that teachers should not be expected to supervise students during after-hours events.
  • Lara Thomas asked if room parents can help communicate that.
  • Elka Francisco mentioned safety during after-hours events. She will talk to Al about communicating with the Beauty School and to find out how fast beauty school students turnover, issue reminders about what part of the school is on- or off-limits at after-school events, have parents who are setting limits in halls and outside (acting as teachers), let teachers know that someone else is on it, and give middle schoolers more responsibility and ownership in events (activities, boundaries, and safety).
  • There was a request to ask middle school teachers for middle school activities to keep Middle School students engaged and out of trouble during events.
  • There was a request to ask teachers what is needed to make after-school events more appealing and welcoming.
  1. Al
  • New P.E. Teacher: Kristine will be starting next week. She lives close to the school, is looking for something long-term, and has a page of swimming accomplishments on the UM website.
  • Honey Creek has been audited by State Police for way we handle fingerprints. Al is working on a new policy with 29 sets of criteria (we were only in compliance for 6 of the criteria). We had not heard about the criteria in the past; there is a statewide compliance effort. Honey Creek needs interagency agreements because we operate in  a shared building
  • All staff positions are filled. The student count is 246/250. We receive 90% of funding based on the first Count Day, so we are not actively working to fill remaining spots. We still have extensive waiting list, so there are no worries for next year.
  • Finances: There is a lawsuit in NY, in which parents are suing about school equity (because public charter schools are funded at a lower rate than traditional public schools). Legislation is being worked on in Lansing and at a federal level, tied to civil rights. (It was initiated because of schools in Detroit and Lansing, where low-income schools are not receiving money for facilities). Honey Creek pays $150,000 per year to rent the building space.
  1. New Business
  • Talent Show Stage Storage needs to be off grounds. There is no more storage space in this building. The state Is currently in the gym storage area, which has led to problems with access to the roof and to gym equipment. It was cited as a hazard by the insurance company. Al has talked with Andy, the facilities director, about putting a storage shed on the grounds. That would be difficult, so he is looking into other options. The insurance company has not given a deadline for the relocation.
  1. PTO Reports
  • Mary: budget. Miscellaneous funds were spent for PTO supply closet and the 1st day of school bagels. She suggests ways to increase community rewards signup/rewewal (HBoN), publicize profits, explain more what it is, and have room parents communicate with people 1:1 (paper copies if needed) with resources that Mary puts together.
  • Al will look into when main directory will be available.
  • Wellness – Deb – Harvest Dinner email will go out on Monday. Staff can get a free meal. Mani Osteria will be helping. Farm-to-School featured a caprese salad and pumpkin dip. Next possibilities are  a root veggie pancake or popcorn or garlic or dried beans (chickpea roasted) or honey (Nancy Hieber), with grade-level speakers. The  next meeting is on 10/17.
  • Fine Arts: Adam & Sherri: The next meeting is on Friday Nov (7th?). Bill used to do audio production. Adam may now be only person who knows how to do that. Al suggests training middle schoolers every year. Also, Bill was go-to photographer. Al suggests ask Mr. Selassie and/or look into a Life Skills photo club. Adam suggests putting together a reserve team of on-call photography parents. He also asked about making a video of Talent Night. This was crowd-sourced last year, and it’s a gray area with permissions. Elka suggests revisiting it. Al suggests having a release in with the permission/participation form for Talent Night. Adam reports that other reserve sets of parents are needed: graphic design, stage assembly crew. It’s requested to add the reserve team idea to next month’s agenda. This year’s Talent Night middle school component will be judged auditions, based on interviews and conversations with middle schoolers– the Second Act, first part will be these performances.
  • STEM, Karen no update
  • Room Parents, Lara: Lara is sending one big email to class room parents asa trial this month. It is covering all opportunities this month for parents to get involved. She is feeling some confusion on full-year and event-specific signups
  • Al – The state is telling us that online tests will be available this spring. He is concerned about computer performance and has received waiver for paper-and-pencil assessments for this year. He is asking for WNRAT funds to go towards Chromebooks (Chromebook cart will cost $7-8000). That is the next step to implement laptop upgrades/replacements.
  1. 10:08 Elka motion to adjourn, Mary seconded, all in favor

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