October 19, 2015 PTA Board Meeting Minutes

Meeting started: 6:36 p.m.

Present:
Voting Board Members:
Michele Weisman, Paul Radvany, Mary Czajkowski, Danny Chen, Ruth Firester, Ellie Chung Glus, Hayley Gorenberg, John Lei, Sam Maser, Nancy Pearson, Gila Ivey-Selicious, Natalya Shinderand Carin Barbanel

Non-voting Board Members, Representatives, Committee Chairs and Members, and Others:
Virginia Chang, Jodi Clyde-Ramos, Lisa Feller, Doyoung Kim, Yeonghee Lee, Anna Lehman, Anju Malhotra Gupta, Margaret Matthews, Deborah Matza, Mary Moule, Chi-Fong Lei, Frank Liu, Kathy Sandler, Kerri-Anne Scalia, Lucy Shi, Teresa Uthurralt, and Marc Zampetti.

Principal's Report:

General:

Some of the questions that were submitted by parents for department chairs to answer during the 9/30 PTA meeting were really more in the administration's wheelhouse. I have written answers to these questions, which will be posted on line shortly. This is the first time this has been done.

Physical Plant:

  • Courtyard will re-open in one to two weeks; very exciting!
  • Renovation of photography lab into a new art room is moving quickly. Site safety testing is complete.
  • We have a sufficient supply of renovated lockers.
  • Remaining lockers on 3rd and 4th floors will be replaced with something that reflects our current needs, perhaps built-in seating on 3rd floor, storage for art dept. on 4th floor. We are looking at what conforms to fire code, costs, and what our different options are.
  • There is a lavatory on the 1st floor labeled “Restroom.” Students who are not comfortable using gender-specific lavatories may use this facility. This restroom is not in response to the students’ petition for a multistall gender-neutral bathroom. We continue to work with Hunter College to create an official position on this issue. This is a lever-lockable bathroom, with a key available nearby should the need for such arise. The administration cares deeply that each student has an environment in which he, she, and they are comfortable. This bathroom is a reflection of the caring.
    Note: DOE is very clear that students choose which bathroom and locker room they select. The DOE is not asking for schools to create non-gender specific bathrooms.

Special Presentations:

Holocaust Commemoration ― In recognition of the 70th anniversary of the freeing of Nazi Concentration camps, a group of women who are both survivors and Hunter alumnae are coming to speak with interested faculty, the 10th grade, and a few select classes on 10/21. The talks will occur during 4th period and activities. While we cannot open this event to the entire HCHS community, the proceedings will be videoed courtesy of funds provided by interested alum.

TEDx HunterCCX conference ― The conference, themed ‘MIHI CURA FUTURI: The Care of the Future is Mine’, was fabulous. Video will be available shortly.

Minutes approved at 6:50 p.m.

Treasurer’s Report:

Revenues

Annual fund donations are arriving steadily, totaling $49,070.45 to date. Dues are coming in at a more robust pace. The response to Executive Class Rep’s emails was amazing.

Revenues:

Dues, our main focus at the moment, are on track at $52,970. Fall banquet insurance and food expenses have been paid, but revenue will soon shift that number into positive territory. All other income is flowing apace.

Expenses:

Sports Department is spending on uniforms and transportation for all of our teams. Calendar printing and postage for sending the directories have all been paid, as have ongoing Library and sheet music bills. We cannot save money by reusing sheet music since students take notes directly onto the pages.

The invoice for the piano has not yet arrived so that line remains unchanged. We have also paid out annual fee for Naviance.

Each year, the Treasury department and Neal Potter discuss which teams to field, outfit, and supply with new gear. Coach Potter continues to be clear eyed in assessing where funds should and should not go. His leadership of our Sports Department is stellar.

Counseling:

The November and January Wellness Workshops are scheduled as pre-meetings.  A third date will be finalized for a spring morning session.  The November 10th Counseling Coffee topic will be "Avoiding the college frenzy, what do parents need to know about the college process in grades 7-11.

Annual Fund:

Our first 2015-2016 annual fund letters will go out shortly. The strategy this year is to be sure each missive’s author communicates the reason he or she personally chose to give to HCHS. Keeping the message fresh will hopefully inspire parents to click through. We may contact some alumni/ae, asking them to reflect on how their enrichment at Hunter changed their life.

We continue to look at our other goal – increasing the number of families who donate. This goal speaks to the feeling of community Hunter hopes to inspire. Perhaps having a challenge on a class by class or grade by grade level might inspire an uptick in participation numbers.

We also hope to recruit families of younger students to our committee. To that end, we will attend the 8th grade potluck.

Programming:

We are assembling a panel to discuss “Students Online Life” for the November meeting. We are inviting a nice mix of speakers including students and professionals.

Anthony Becker will return to discuss financial planning for college at one of the November premeetings.  His presentation will focus on seniors and the FAFSA, though others are free to attend.If anyone would like to suggest other speakers, please email the speaker’s name and contact information if you have it to programming@hunterpta.org, with Premeeting in the subject line.
Note: HCHS does not endorse any presenter.

Our work with the Freedom Institute towards the goal of presenting dialogs around sexual consent to our student body during the January meeting is on track. We hope to prepare our kids to navigate what can be difficult situations with confidence.
Note: Freedom Institute is the same organization that surveyed our students about risky behaviors. A write-up of the results of that survey may be found here: https://www.hunterpta.org/pta-general-meeting-minutes-1-14-2015-0.

Special thanks to Dr. Fisher for getting all of the parents’ questions prior to the 9/30 PTA meeting, answering those that fell under administration’s purview, and forwarding the answers for posting. This information adds tremendous value to the already popular kick-off meeting, where department heads share information about their curriculum.

External Affairs:

HCHS received a grant from City Council Member Daniel Garodnick’s office last year. After more than a year, we were able to collect it and it was spent to purchase six computers for the Social Studies Department. The computer cart is now fully stocked with good computers.

This year’s ask will be for the English Dept. (as we have a rotation among the departments).  We will ask both Queens (Queens council members for districts 20 and 22, Peter Koo and Costa Constantinides) and Manhattan (Garodnick) for grants from their discretionary spending.

Additionally, the school through HC, will request $1,000,000 from Manhattan’s Borough President for capital improvements.

 

We are considering making an independent request from the Queens BP for capital improvements.  At this point, I have a meeting scheduled with Dean Ketchum to coordinate and get the blessing from HC, as we must for this kind of ask.  Since HC makes applications for BP funding and uses some of the proceeds for HCCS, we must coordinate every ask with the college.  Two prior major PTA requests from Queens BP were denied not because we overlapped (we did not, and our ask was sanctioned by Jennifer Raab), but because the Queens BP knew that Manhattan gave substantially and Queens then decided to prefer local hospitals over us.  This may very well happen again.

 Along with submitting our grant proposals in writing we will:

  • Maintain our connections with council members Koo and Garodnick’s offices and staff.
  • If we repeat visits, this typically works best with three Hunter PTA members in attendance.
  • External Affairs will work closely with CAPA and KAPA to find parents who are able to attend Queens Meetings.
  • Demonstrate the need for funds.
  •  Work closely with Dean Ketchum and Hunter College.

(Copy graciously provided by Ruth Firester)

Grade Reports:

12th Grade Report — Everyone is busy, parents, teachers, counselors, and most especially our students as college application deadlines approach. Our job is to communicate clearly so everyone is aware of all deadline dates well in advance.

We are thinking about the senior gift and senior party. Our next meeting will include Michele Weisman, as we are aware of the push to realize the presentation of the actual senior gift while the class is still on the HCHS campus. We hope to connect with our Junior class counterparts shortly, including the person we have asked to run the senior reception.

11th Grade Report — Parents who attended open school day enjoyed seeing their students' classes.

10th Grade Report — Students are settling into the school year. There is some expressed desire that HCHS administration give new teachers more support. We will bring this to Dr. Fisher’s attention at the upcoming Principal’s Coffee on 10/28.

­9th Grade Report — Students met with counselors. Our potluck is scheduled for 11/5.

8th Grade Report — Parents who attended open school day enjoyed seeing their students' classes. Potluck is 10/21, parents are urged to come. Many travel classes are having travel class potlucks.

7th Grade Report — Travel classes are enjoying potlucks. Many parents were able to attend open school day. Fewer and fewer questions are being asked, a good sign that everyone has the information they need.

 PAAC:

  • 35-40 people attended PAAC’s 9/25 Welcome picnic.
  • Found new co-chair, Kindergarten parent.
  • Community service event on 12/12 will be open to entire school.
    • Serve meal to group of individuals in need.
    • Kids can get community service hours for this.
    • More to come as the date approaches.

Mosaic

Community service family event will take place on 10/20. Exciting as it’s bigger than ever before :

  • Mosaic cast a wide net. 15 organizations of different types are coming.
  • Organizations will have tables with sign-ups so families can sign on to undertake community service projects
  • Found ways for everyone to participate.
  • Past recipients are coming to speak about what it has meant to them to receive this help.

To advertise future events, Mosaic will connect with Lisa Seigmann to get permission to hang flyers around the campus.

KAPA:

Almost ready for Fall banquet.

  • Liability insurance is our final outstanding item of site preparation. Site costs are almost as low as costs were in 2013.
  • Food has been ordered.
  • Performances are set.
    • Manhattan’s Korean Cultural Center has confirmed that they will perform dances accented by traditional instruments.
    • Students have been practicing drumming and K-Pop dance every Saturday.
  • The order of activities has been planned
  • Gifts are almost all wrapped. First prize is outstanding.
  • More than 20 people have requested spots to help.
  • Huge thanks to Danny Chen and the Technology team.
    • The website is ready with a button for ticket purchasing on hunterpta.org.
    • Email blast is ready for ticket selling in one or two days.
  • Bus service will run from HCHS campus to the event. Drop off will be done at various locations.

Technology:

Team completed three major tasks.

  • Directory production went much more smoothly than last year. Vadim Kagan and Lewis Liu were key to this success.
  • Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificate. We contracted for a lower price and added features. Lucy installed the upgrade.
  • We are conforming our credit card processing to updated norms. This process is one that evolves constantly, we continue to evolve with it.

Auction:

Library:

Our first meeting will be held 10/21, just before 8th grade potluck. We will address Phase 2 of library renovation. Some goals are to:

  • Improve lighting.
  • Design and install new circulation desk.
  • Perhaps update window treatments and furniture.
  • Partner with Sustainability and Environmental Action (SEA) where possible.
  • Consider asking PTA for additional funding.

Sports:

  • Middle school parents really stepped up:
    •  17 of 18 Fall teams have reps.
    • For winter season, only Boys Middle School Basketball does not have a rep. If anyone wants to volunteer for this high profile team, please email sports@hunterpta.org.
  • Every Fall varsity team earned a playoff berth; we will go over budget for busses to and from playoff games.
  • Winter tryouts start next month. A blast will be sent to announce the particulars.

CAPA:

We’d like the 3/30/16 Queens PTA meeting to discuss several financial topics:

  • Financial planning for parents of students in grades 9-12.
  • How do we talk about money with our kids, whether daily expenses or college tuition?

Meeting adjourned at 8:03

Minutes respectfully submitted by Carin Barbanel