2017-18 School Year Changes: there are presently 21 general education classrooms and they are all at maximum or over max capacity. The 2017-18 school year will have the following 23 general education classrooms with the following configurations: 4 kindergartens, 4 first grades, 3 second grades, 3 third grades, 1 2/3 combined grade classroom (Jen Greenstein), 4 fourth grades, and 4 fifth grades.
In order to accommodate the two additional classes, the following moves will be made. In the first grade wing, a classroom currently used by 3 ELL (or other specialist?) teachers will be made into another first grade classroom, with those three teachers moving to a smaller space.
The music room will be moving upstairs to the teacher’s lounge/lunch room, and the teacher’s room will move to a smaller space by the gymnasium.
Superintendent Mary Czajkowski is carefully tracking enrollment across the district and assigning incoming families to schools that have space for those particular grade levels so that any one classroom at a given school isn’t burdened with being over capacity. This will continue moving forward.
Multi-grade class, grades 2 and 3: Jen Greenstein is a seasoned teacher and has taught a multi-grade classroom before. There will be 10/10 configuration of 2nd graders and 3rd graders. There have been other successful multi-grade classrooms in the district in the past, at Hastings, Bridge, and Bowman. The measures of success will be the same as always, looking at growth, confidence in students, etc. The 2/3 combined classroom may or may not continue into the new Hastings building.
Letters were sent to all 1st grade parents and all of Jen Greenstin’s current student’s parents to inform them of the new configuration and to allow them to opt out. The response deadline is Tuesday, May 2. There will be a range of learners in the classroom, though not an incredibly wide range. Science and social studies curriculum will alternate between second and third grade, with the class being taught 3rd grade topics first, and the following year, 2nd grade topics. There will be a lot of small group instruction for math and ELA. This model will provide the opportunity to not only have the same teacher, but facilitate small group learning and cater to those who will benefit from upper grade curriculum and lower grade curriculum. Recess will include both 2nd and 3rd grades (longer recess and lunch with third grade, shorter recess combined with second and third) so kids can see their grade-level friends. Field trips go along with the curriculum, so this year the class would likely attend the third grade field trip destinations.
Executive Committee Elections:
Co-Presidents, Nicola Rinaldi and Kate Criniti
Secretary, Candice Dancer
Treasurer, Julia Weng
VP Planning & Board Development, Amee Desjourdy
VP Communications, Audra Myerberg
VP Technology, Mahesh Kulkarni
VP Fundraising, Elizabeth Lin
Voting: all unanimously voted in
Outdoor storage shed: presently not large enough to hold supplies for the annual Halloween party, BBY, Harvest Run, etc. Also, the shed is falling apart and animals are getting in, leaving waste, etc. Further, a lot of stuff (about 20%) is lost each year due to the changing of hands, etc. A new shed is needed and the land has to be prepared (leveled, etc). With the new Hastings being underway, it’s a good time to put aside space for the footprint of the new shed. The cost will likely be somewhere between $6,000-8,000 for a 20×24 shed. Should there be a dedicated fundraiser for this? One to two volunteers are needed spearhead the project.
Voted unanimously for the PTA to undertake the new shed project.
Sidewalk on Lincoln Street (Hastings and Bridge districts): A group is supporting the construction of a sidewalk on Lincoln St. south of Marrett Rd. and the organizers of the project have asked for our PTA support. During discussion, points were made that more information is needed. For example, we should have someone from the Sidewalk Committee give a presentation. The Hastings Site Council has two members who have a wealth of information on sidewalks that we could contact. We should become more informed before agreeing to provide our support since it is a town-wide issue and impacts many residents. (There are also groups supporting sidewalks for both Cedar Street and Hill Street.) Concerns were raised about getting involved in a political issue.
Voted unanimously to indefinitely postpone discussion of Hastings’ PTA support of sidewalk projects.
PTA versus PTO: PTA dues are approximately $1,500 per year and we don’t utilize the services provided, essentially paying in solely for the PTA to cover us a non-profit for our tax exemption. There is a cost associated with the transition to PTO and we have to file independently to become a non-profit entity for tax exemption. Other schools in the district are PTOs (LHS and Fiske included). The transition money has already been budgeted. The paperwork process takes about one month to complete and will be done by Kate Criniti. According to our by-laws, the EC has to vote to dissolve the PTA and then issue a 30-day notice to all PTA members to vote whether or not to dissolve the PTA and transition to a PTO. Nicola will email all EC members for the initial vote.