February 1, 2011

Parent Council Meeting Minutes
February 1, 2011
6:30 pm Media Center

Board members present: Julia Janousek (chair), Donna Sanders (vice chair), Amy Orris (treasurer), Lisa Hondros (secretary)
Admin/staff present: Sidney Orchard (parent liaison); Donna Andrews (principal); Amy Johnson (MS French teacher).


1. Entertainment Book proposal (Mary McCabe)

Cost: $30 when purchased through school ($35 at the store); national and local vendors
Published in August; students sell, finish in December
Can register online for additional coupons, added throughout the year
Mobile app allows redeeming coupons w/o the book, repeat savings key chain card
Risk free fundraiser – send out the books, Marcy not responsible for those that don’t come back (she expects to lose 10%); incentives for students to sell – partner with Timberwolves, Nickelodeon Universe, Stars on Ice tickets, movie tickets, etc

Return for Marcy? 40% (about $12 per book)
Other schools in MPS? Working with 5thG at Waite (raised $2000+) and 3rdG at Dowling, also a school in St. Paul. Has worked successfully with 80% FRL schools.

2. French Intern (Amy Johnson)
For past two years, Amy has had French language assistants through a program administered by Amity. She would like to build a sustainable program at Marcy.
Parent Council decided not to fund last year – concern that intern would not serve the entire school.
How does intern benefit the whole school? Exposure in early grades.
Is it feasible to work with K-6? Amy has been collecting feedback.
Activities beyond the MS? Beginning this semester, French assistant visit a few classrooms every other week with cultural presentations; traveling French show – a mini-lesson taught by middle schoolers to younger grades – intern could help facilitate these lessons; after school French club.

Budget – Amy has been talking to other MPS schools with Amity interns, Windom and Whittier. She projects needing $4000/year (monthly stipend, transportation, lunch, two personal study classes, $1500 admin fee to Amity)
Amy proposes fundraisers outside of school – to avoid being a funding “drain” on Marcy fundraisers, e.g. with Alliance Francaise.
Time line? Requests to Amity due at the end of February

DISCUSSION: Parent Council can house the money in its account. Larger issue is school wide fundraising guidelines. Donna currently putting together a task force to look at this issue.

3. Treasurer’s Report (Amy)
Annual fund – to date raised just over $2000; pretty much on budget halfway through the school year

4. Principal’s Report (Donna)
a. Portfolio events in progress, about 30% attendance in 5/6 (good for a snowy Monday morning) and 3/4 had very large numbers today. Kids showing others what they are learning and why. Real celebration of student work. Teams plan their events.

b. Reinstituted Big Buddies: designated time each month devoted to these activities

c. Assessments
Fountas and Pinnell: System based on reading levels, kids know what “just right” book is for them. Seen strong improvements in reading.
MAP: Computer adjusts to child’s level

d. School Budget out Feb 28. May get a 3-5% budget cut. Hope to maintain status quo, Donna will be asking community for feedback on priorities in case there are cuts. Student projections for next year are stable

e. Title I: Marcy gets $ to support all of our students. We look at the whole building and how can we best use the money. Most goes to staff, e.g. associate educators to support reading; this year we did not have enough $ for math. Looking next year for more support in math. Content Focus Coach, reading specialist for 6-8, ELL teacher also certified in reading. Also pay for Reading Corps people in the building. Pay for full time social worker (district covers half) and guidance counselor in middle school.

5. Plant sale pre-orders online (Katherine Tondra)
Advice is to talk to our contact Mark at RevTrak to determine how this could work

6. Special Requests
a. Diane Schmitz wants $300 for Peace Day, Pennies for Patients, Hats off for Patients)
b. Eve wants $342 for Battle of the Books – 4-6 and 7-8 graders (pizzas and prizes)
ACTION: Approved requests unanimously

c. Amy requested undetermined sum for carnations for African-American Parent Involvement Day, which is also Valentine’s Day when she typically sells flowers for a French Club fundraiser. However, Marcy will be marking AAPID on Feb 28, so we weren’t sure exactly how the flowers would work on Feb 28. Tabled request.

7. Music survey and report (Katherine Tondra and Elizabeth Hawley)
PROBLEM: In middle school, students are only pulled out of Social Studies, French and Science this year. Students are missing larger chunks of fewer classes. Only 12 middle schoolers currently in music, first time playing together was at the winter concert. South high music staff has raised concern that Marcy students aren’t prepared for high school music. Also, it is no longer possible to have one beginning band for 4th, 5th and 6th grades because scheduling mandates prevent students from all grades being pulled at the same time. Mike now must have a beginning band in 4th grade and another in 5/6. It has spread out Mike’s teaching time and diminished the program.
DISCUSSION: All present agree that instrumental music is an important part of our school. Survey of Marcy families shows same feeling.
Katherine and Elizabeth have proposed alternatives, such as an A/B schedule for centers in middle school. Issue: are there enough students to spread fairly across the specialists (e.g. 12 in band and 55 in gym). Setting up a schedule with electives could solve the problem, and would also require strong parental support.
We need to work on finding a creative solution – will take this up again at the next meeting.

Next meeting: Wednesday, March 2.

Meeting adjourned at 8:05 p.m.

Respectfully submitted, Lisa Hondros (serving as secretary)