General Membership Meeting Minutes — November 8, 2022

Call to Order #

The virtual meeting was called to order at 7:04 pm. 19 participants were present. Executive Committee members in attendance:

  • Sharon Burd, President
  • Ken Venable, VP for Educational Programs
  • Clare Rosenberger, VP for Fundraising
  • Meredith Greene, VP for Events
  • Christian Lindstrom, Treasurer
  • Dan Burd, Secretary

Principal’s Report #

Anne Oliveira, Assistant Principal
Michele Michael, Assistant Principal

Mr. Michael and Ms. Oliveira gave the Principal’s Report as Mr. Horak was absent.

  • New staff members who joined Abingdon recently. There is a new instructional assistant, Elsie, who is working with special needs students. Darcia also joined Abingdon — she is a math interventionist and she will be “pushing in” with small groups of students and working with math coaches.
  • Abingdon has a new 4th grade teacher. Abingdon lost Ms. Ortiz, and Amanda Smiley will take her place. She came to school last week to meet her students, and yesterday was her first day. The staff is welcoming and supporting her.
  • The staff is now doing grade level assemblies on a quarterly basis. At these assemblies, students are recognized for their efforts, including with wristbands and certificates. This may include being safe, kind, or responsible. The goal is that they understand schoolwide expectations, including how they work with other kids and staff. Mr. Michael stated they are a huge success.
  • Abingdon is in the middle of the COGAT test, which is a universal screener, primarily happening in 2nd grade. (If students are new to the school and the system and they’re in 3rd, 4th or 5th grade they would do it as well.) It takes awhile as 2nd is a big grade. The test doesn’t inform the report card and is not knowledge-based, but rather ability-based. It is used to identify gifted students.
  • Trunk or treat was a huge success. Mr. Michael and Ms. Oliveira did the “road show” so they didn’t have the sense of being there but they were able to view everyone setting up at the school and they stated it looked amazing. They enjoyed this year’s additions of pumpkin decorating and wristband decoration from one of Abingdon’s art teachers. They stated that the road show was fun, and that they got to dress up and pass out some candy.
  • Movie Night took place in the gym last weekend with a screening of Coco. Mr. Michael said it was a “huge hit” and that it was nice to bring families into the building after the pandemic. He said there must have been 200 people, including parents, and grandparents, with some bringing sleeping bags. He concluded that it was great to see the huge turnout.
  • Mr. Michael also spoke about the mentoring program: any staff member within the building can mentor a student, no matter the grade level. There will be a breakfast tomorrow with the mentors and mentees. Throughout the school year, staff can check in on their mentees so that the mentees know they have a trusted adult with whom they can communicate. Kids have varying needs so having someone outside the classroom teacher to work on the whole child is positive.

Questions and Answers #

Q: Who serves as mentors?
A: Staff in the building. They are available throughout the day to drop in and check in, and to engage in meaningful and trusting conversations. And the school communicates with the parents to discuss how it’s going. The program requires parental approval to participate.

Q: Is the drip in the ceiling repaired?
A: Yes. Custodians replaced the ceiling tile. Thank you to everyone for walking around it and thank you to those who fixed it.

PTA Updates #

Approval of Meeting Minutes #

Membership voted to approve the October 11, 2022 meeting minutes.

Treasurer’s Report #

Christian Lindstrom, Treasurer

Christian provided the Treasurer’s report. The financial statements are here and here.

Election Day Bake Sale #

Maureen Harlow

Maureen stated that today’s Election Day Bake Sale raised almost $1,400.

Events #

Meredith Greene, VP for Events

Meredith thanked Mr. Michael and Ms. Oliveira for visiting other neighborhoods to distribute candy, and thanked the volunteers for ensuring that Trunk or Treat was a success.

She said that Winter Wonderland is scheduled for January. She’s more inclined to have more things inside this year but she will see how things go. She is hoping for weather like last year.

Meredith also provided staff appreciation updates. The PTA provided lunches for staff during the October parent-teacher conference day from Jersey Mike’s, who gave the PTA a nice discount. Meredith thanked all of the volunteers who made it possible.

After School Enrichment #

Ken Venable, VP for Educational Programs

Ken stated that the PTA had some challenges with enrichment programs, but that it will be smoother this time. Registration will open in December and will close on January 6 for classes to start the following week. There will be no lottery, and registration will be first-come, first-served. Some Abingdon teachers will lead enrichment classes.

Ken added that he’s a 5th grade basketball coach for girls, on a team called the Flying Squirrels. He would love additional participation there as well.

Fundraising #

Clare Rosenberger, VP for Fundraising

Clare said that Spirit Night at Chipotle was great and that it brought in $580. She opined that it was wonderful to see people and that Chipotle provided a very generous share of profits. The PTA is interested in doing more Spirit Nights, and Clare said that if anyone has any connections or suggestions to let her know. She would like to have Spirit Nights Five Guys and District Taco, and wants to make sure that there are options for takeout as well as sit in.

Instructions for a fundraising campaign for Mabel’s Labels — labels for jackets or sweatshirts — will go out via email and Tuesday folders.

The PTA is also interested in having a small business meet-and-greet in January. There are many small businesses in Abingdon’s attendance zone who want to help. (And there are funding needs here, for example Ms. Upshur has an amazing outdoor classroom idea.) So there are a lot of possibilities for donations, in-kind or otherwise. Clare said that if Abingdon families or their neighbors have a small business and wants to connect with the school by giving either time or money, please let her know.

Secretary’s Report #

Dan Burd, Secretary

Dan said that Abingdon’s first Reflections contest in many years was a big success. There were 32 entries in total. All will be exhibited at a Reflections Art Show on Thursday. He thanked Mary Savig, Abingdon PTA’s Reflections Chair, for leading the effort.

The PTA is also working on the first student directory in many years. The window for completing the Annual Online Verification process (AOVP) closed at the end of October, and the PTA has requested directory information from the school for those families who have opted in. The information will be uploaded into our vendor’s system and then shared with those familise who have opted in. Dan thanked Kathryn Vesey White, Abingdon PTA’s Directory Coordinator, for leading the effort.

Finally, the PTA awarded three grants as part of the PTA’s new Grant Program. The PTA provided funds for Unifix Cubes, dry-erase math multiplication manipulatives, and a set of 25 hand-made ukuleles. There was a fourth proposal for a field trip which will be met with donor funds. Dan thanked staff for coming forward with creative ideas.

President’s Report #

Sharon Burd, President

Sharon provided Community Relations updates as Megan Miller, VP for Community Relations, was out of town:

  • Amazon snack pantry going well. Huge thank you to our volunteers so far.
  • Thanksgiving food drive is coming up. We have 40 donated turkeys and will be asking our community for donations for side dishes. The sign up link is here:
  • We will be asking our community for Target gift cards to provide to some of our Abingdon families this holiday season ($25 but will accept any donations for Target gift cards). Our school social worker, Ms. Margarita Zwisler, will help with distribution.
  • Winter coat drive is on-going - please continue to spread the word to donate coats and accessories for our students, including gloves, mittens and hats, in excellent condition.

Sharon provided updates of her own:

  • Field trips this year are not funded by APS, with the exception of certain trips such as the Planetarium, the Nature Center, and the Outdoor Lab. The PTA is Working with donors to support educational field trips. Sharon has been talking with Ms. Kooiman, the lead 4th grade teacher, about getting 4th graders to Jamestown, as the PTA wants to make sure that happens.
  • The PTA always needs help with translation. While we have several volunteers for Spanish translation, we also need assistance with other languages, particularly Amharic, Arabic and Mongolian. APS’s “Language Line” service only supports so-called “pertinent” documents like IEP’s. Sharon has reached out to APS’s FACE coordinator to determine our options.
  • Abingdon’s science teacher, Ms. Upshur, is working with 5th grade students to design an outdoor classroom in the space where the amphitheater had been. She is coordinating with the “Think Big Space” (A STEM-focused tech lab) at Wakefield. Sharon connected her with staff at Clark Construction who have experience with these types of projects.
  • Sharon thanked everyone who is supporting the school garden. She was grateful for Ms. Andrea Nesbitt who share her cultural heritage at a garden event on Sunday. The students appreciated viewing an eagle feather up close, and learning about the jingle dress dance.
  • Registration for the Coding Club is coming up. The PTA will share registration information on social media.

Adjournment #

  • The meeting was adjourned at 7:38 PM.
  • The next meeting will be Tuesday, December 13 at 7 PM.

/s/ Dan Burd, Secretary