May 19

Information on transitioning kids to elementary, middle and high school

On May 8th the Citywide PTO hosted a presentation on:
Transitioning kids to elementary, middle and high school. Check out the presentation notes here.

 

Transition workshop

Permanent link to this article: http://www.squantumpto.com/information-transitioning-kids-elementary-middle-high-school/

May 19

QPS Parent Workshop

 

Between a Rock and a Hard Place:
(View flyer)


Effective Strategies for Students with Anxiety-Related Behavior

Presenter: Jessica Minahan, M.Ed, BCBA, Author, Special Educator

Monday, May 22, 2017

6:30 p.m.

Quincy High School

Adams Lecture Hall 100 Coddington Street, Quincy

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports that one in four thirteen-eighteen year olds has had an anxiety disorder in their lifetime.  Without intervention, these children are at risk for poor performance, diminished learning, and social/behavior problems in school. Understanding the role anxiety plays in a student’s behavior is crucial and using preventive strategies are key to successful intervention. Effective behavior plans for these students must avoid the reward and punishment-based consequences from traditional behavior plans and focus instead on the use of preventive strategies and on explicitly teaching coping skills, self-monitoring, and alternative responses.

Easy to implement preventive tools, strategies, and interventions for reducing anxiety, increasing self-regulation, executive functioning, and self-monitoring will be discussed.

 

Bio:

Jessica Minahan, MEd, BCBA, is a board certified behavior analyst and special educator and a consultant to schools nationwide (www.jessicaminahan.com). Jessica has over seventeen years of experience supporting students who exhibit challenging behavior in urban public school systems.  She is a blogger on The Huffington Post, as well as the author of The Behavior Code: A Practical Guide to Understanding and Teaching the Most Challenging Students, with Nancy Rappaport (Harvard Education Press, 2012) and author of The Behavior Code Companion: Strategies, Tools, and Interventions for Supporting Students with Anxiety-Related or Oppositional Behaviors (Harvard Education Press, 2014).

Permanent link to this article: http://www.squantumpto.com/qps-parent-workshop/

May 19

PTO Meeting Minutes – MAR

Squantum Elementary School PTO Meeting Minutes

March 21, 2017

 

Present: Principal Sylvia, Dr. Bloom, Kenda Coulter, Torrey Smith, Mrs. Kiley, and assembled parents.

Upcoming Events:

3/24        Spring Fling Dance, 6-8 pm in the gym

3/27        Report cards go home

4/3          MCAS 2.0 state test window opens

4/3          Red Sox Opening Day/Spirit Day/ Wear your favorite hat or jersey

4/4          Parent-teacher conferences (day & evening)

4/11        Parent-teacher conferences (afternoon)

4/27        Math & Science Night

4/27        PTO Meeting, 7 pm

5/1          Book Fair begins in media center

 

Presentation/Request for Funds by Student Council

  • Matthew Hollatz and Kyle Tolini did an excellent job of presenting the student council’s plan to get kids moving during recess. Dick’s Sporting Goods has already donated kick balls, and the council plans to host a fundraiser on April 3rd: kids can wear a hat or jersey from their favorite team ($1 donation suggested). The money will go toward purchase of new equipment for recess, including balls, jump ropes, hula hoops, sidewalk chalk, etc.
  • The PTO also approved $300 to go toward new sports equipment for recess.
  • Matthew and Kyle reminded us to please donate any gently used sports equipment to the school. Donations accepted through April vacation.

Principal Sylvia’s Report

  • Principal Sylvia noted how much he enjoyed his recent talks with student council members about their ideas for SQU School, including fundraising for recess equipment, posting art work during the talent show, and freshening up our school sign out front.
  • MCAS update: 4th graders took a practice test on computers this week. All the mobile devices used for the MCAS will be hard-wired during testing to sidestep any connection problems.
  • All of the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade classes now are equipped with smart boards and projectors. Both teachers and parents who’ve volunteered as art docent commented what a difference the projectors make. The classes received these thanks to the city’s capital improvement program.
  • Sylvia congratulated the Squantum School Players on a great job. Thanks to Ms. Salas and all the parents who helped out with costumes and set. You can still catch the show on Channel 22 this week.
  • Quincy Officer Don Sautter met with 5th graders for the DARE program. There will be a DARE night for parents as well. Stay tuned.
  • Spring BOKS is up and running. Nearly 80 kids are participating!
  • Patrick’s Day assembly featured Irish step dancing, with dancers from various dance schools in Quincy. The whole school got to try their feet at step dancing!
  • Congratulations to Mrs. Kelley’s class, who won the free pizza party for raising the most money for Pennies for Patients. Thanks to all the students and families who donated change and/or helped with lugging change boxes to Coinstar. Squantum School raised a total of $651 for this organization that funds research for leukemia and lymphoma.
  • Author Melanie Gillespie (author of Darlene The Drama Queen Raises The Curtain on Confidence!) will be visiting K and 1st grade classes on Thursday, 3/23.
  • Our buddy reading program, where older students read to the younger grades, happens each Friday in honor of Read-Across-America month. This week’s reading is poetry.
  • Helpful links to information about MCAS and resource guides are available on the SQU School PTO Website at http://www.squantumpto.com/).
  • Learning-to-Read Parent Academy, Part 2, will be held at Central Middle School on Thursday night, 3/23.

Dave Blaton’s Citywide Report

  • Dave reported that the focus of this month’s meeting was on how to decrease stress among students, especially when it comes to testing.
  • There was discussion of “calm classes,” where students do stretching and meditation, a program which will be introduced at Beechwood Knoll. Principal Sylvia noted the program will be rolling into Quincy schools probably over the next year or so.
  • There was discussion at PTO meeting about what else we can be doing to help our kids with stress. Dave suggested the website org for helpful suggestions. Also, there was discussion re: What does it say about our nation’s testing system/curriculum expectations if even our grade school kids are stressed??

Update from Kenda:

  • PTO approved $400 toward providing dinner for teachers on April 4th during parent/teacher conference day. Mrs. Kiley to survey teachers for favorite restaurant pick.
  • In June, we’ll be hosting our annual Teacher Appreciation Luncheon. Volunteers needed for set-up, etc. Stay tuned for a date. PTO approved $650.
  • Fourth grade parents are busy helping plan a graduation event for fifth graders. Volunteers, food donations welcome.
  • Election for next year’s officers will be at the next meeting. A ballot with candidates will be circulating. We’re especially looking for a new treasurer, as our indefatigable SQU School supporter, Torrey Smith, will be stepping down from this position. She will be missed!
  • For discussion at next meeting: Spring Fun Fundraiser, Spring Movie Night, Family Fun Night (Zumba?, make sure date doesn’t conflict with afterschool art show in the gym.)
  • We’re always looking for donations of games, etc. for raffle baskets for Math & Science Night. Please let Kenda know if you have items you’d like to donate.
  • We need a few more volunteers to help with set-up/the Spring Fling dance on 3/24. Please let Kim Dailey know if you’re available to help.
  • Reading Counts and Art Docent programs are looking for a few more volunteers. There was discussion about kids not having enough time during the school day to take advantage of Reading Counts. Some discussion of opening Media Center for Reading Counts after school on Tuesdays, if we can get enough volunteers to help.

 

Torrey’s financial report.  

 

  • Total income (Papa John’s; Baystate Textiles; Panera Bread; Red Sox):$3,407
  • Total expenses (various): $7,911
  • Allocated funds:$2,851
  • Available PTO balance: $16,223 (after allocations)
  • Upcoming expenses: $6,960

Permanent link to this article: http://www.squantumpto.com/pto-meeting-minutes-mar/

May 19

PTO Meeting Minutes – FEB

Squantum Elementary School PTO Meeting Minutes

February 15, 2017

 

Present: Principal Sylvia, Dr. Bloom, Kenda Coulter, Sarah Wood, Torrey Smith, Mrs. Kiley, Mrs. Corwin, Mrs. White, and assembled parents.

Upcoming Events:

2/16        School Fundraiser at Panera Bread (all day)

2/17        Squantum School hosts QPS Special Olympics @ 9 am in gym

Week of 2/20     Winter Recess (school closed)

3/2          Dr. Seuss Assembly, Wear Red-and-White Day to kick off annual Read-Across-America program

3/7          Kindergarten registration

3/9          SQU School Players perform @ 6 pm in the gym

3/17        Second Trimester ends

3/27        Report cards go home

4/3          MCAS 2.0 state test window opens

4/4          Parent-teacher conferences (day & evening)

4/11        Parent-teacher conferences (afternoon)

4/27        Poetry assembly

 

Updates

  • Thanks to Bill McGinnes of Quincy’s Papa John’s for providing pizzas at 40% off for the Kindergarten 100-Day Parade and the PTO meeting! Bill presented the possibility of a SQU School Fundraiser on the first Tuesday of every month, where parents/guardians can send in an order form/$$ that morning and pick up a hot pizza from school at dismissal time. 20% of sales will be donated to SQU School.  PTO agreed this would be a worthy and worthwhile fundraiser. Flyers to come.
  • Sweetheart Dance/Party Hearty has been postponed. We discussed new possible dates of 3/24 or 4/7 for a “Spring Fling” or a “Spring Soirée.” Kim will check with vendors on their availability. Stay tuned.
  • Official motion to host a “Fun Run” fundraiser next October at SQU School was approved by the PTO.

Principal Sylvia’s Report

  • Thanks to Mrs. Corwin and all the kindergarten teachers and parents who helped with the 100-Day Parade. It was a fun celebration, topped with crowns and “100-Day” sticker vests.
  • The new laminator is in – thank you to the PTO.
  • Student council summit meeting with reps will now be held on 3/9.
  • February PBIS honors Caring. Assembly on 2/17.
  • McKim will soon be leaving on maternity leave and Sarah Lane (who was the Math focus teacher at Lincoln Memorial) will take over Ms. McKim’s classes. Ms. McKim to return in April.
  • Afterschool MCAS tutoring continues. There was discussion of possibly offering more ELA tutoring for 4th and 5th Mr. Regan will be the Robotics coach for this year’s Lego Robotics competition for 5th graders. Sign-up notices will be going home shortly.
  • The BOKS program returns in March. Stay tuned for sign-up notices coming home in folders.
  • If your 3rd grader (now 4th grader) ranked in the top 20% of all QPS students on the 2016 MCAS, you should soon receive a letter informing you of this (letters go out on Friday). Mr. Sylvia notes that the Atlantic Middle School also now offers honors programs for sixth graders.
  • The rest of the evening’s presentation focused on the “next-generation” MCAS 2.0. A Parent Resource Guide is available on the main QPS website. It recommends helpful sites, such as com, where students can practice their typing skills. NB: All 4th Graders will be taking MCAS on the computer this year. 3rd and 5th graders will continue to take paper MCAS this year.
  • (PLEASE NOTE: Helpful links to information about MCAS and resource guides are also available on the SQU School PTO Website at http://www.squantumpto.com/).

KEY NOTES ON MCAS 2.0:

  • Includes old MCAS items, newly developed MCAS items, and PARCC items. Essentially a hybrid test.
  • 93% of schools in MA will be hosting MCAS on computers for their 4th graders this year.
  • By 2018, 4th and 5th graders will take MCAS on the computer.
  • By 2019, 3rd, 4th, and 5th will all take MCAS on the computer.
  • ELA will be 3 sessions (one a day) with recommended times of 60 mins/60 mins/45 mins. The test is untimed for all students, however, should they need more time to complete a section.
  • Math will be 2 sessions (roughly 65 minutes for each period for 3rd graders).
  • Science and Technology, 2 sessions, for 5th grade only.

WHAT’S DIFFERENT THIS YEAR?

The writing is integrated into the ELA sessions. There is no longer a separate composition test. 3rd graders will be expected to write shorter essays and one two-page essay. 4th/5th graders will also have shorter essays and be expected to write one 2-4 page essay. All told, there will be 5 open response questions (3 on one day; 2 on another day).

Kids will get scratch paper to map out essays, if they’d like. This includes the 4th graders taking the test on the computer.

There was discussion about encouraging 4th grade students to type their open responses for homework to help them better prepare for the computerized MCAS. Agreed that it could be presented as an option, though not as a homework requirement necessarily.

All 4th graders at SQU School will be taking the test at the same time. That means one group will be in the computer lab and a few other groups will take the test on the mobile computer labs that the city provides for the test that week.

ELA Item Types:

Mrs. Kiley discussed the different kinds of questions on this year’s ELA:

  • Multiple-choice, as in last year’s.
  • Short Responses. Students asked to write a paragraph in response to something they read.
  • Narrative essay (in place of long comp). Students are expected to write a narrative essay based on a text given to them. For example, the reading passage might be about a boy who goes on a camping trip. Students will then be asked to write a journal entry that the boy might compose while at camp. 3rd graders expected to write 2 pages; 4th and 5th graders expected to write 4 pages (roughly 200 words a page).
  • Text-based essay. Students will be asked to read a passage and comment on its central theme. For example, there might be an essay about a girl who makes puppets and why she was so clever. Students expected to write one page.

 

Mrs. Kiley furthermore stressed that all SQU School kids have been working on these kinds of responses/essays throughout the year and should be well-prepared for the test. Mr. Sylvia also underscored that students have access to the computer lab, where many of them are already proficient at taking assessment tests on-line. Also good to keep in mind: Whatever changes may appear this year, the MCAS 2.0 are still testing for the same core standards that our teachers have been teaching our kids every year.

 

MATH ITEMS:  Dr. Bloom noted that these are fairly straightforward, with perhaps less writing than previous years’ tests.

 

  • Multiple Choice.
  • Multiple select, eg. Select the best TWO answers.
  • Short answer, fill in the blank.
  • Open-response.

 

Also available to all students: Tools like a straight-edge, a highlighter, some kind of tracking device or place marker, etc. If a student needs special accommodations, these will be noted ahead of time in a “test profile” that is created electronically for every SQU School student.

 

OTHER NEWS:

 

  • Sylvia reported on ongoing efforts to address traffic issues during drop-off and pick-up. A traffic engineer came to the school to observe traffic patterns and will be providing recommendations. Some ideas proposed were improved signage, rerouting, and new drop off/pickup practices. The community charm of meeting/greeting parents and chatting about upcoming events during these times is something to keep in mind. Please continue to avoid blocking neighbors’ driveways. Also mentioned was the need for removal of curbside snow banks across the street from the school. Currently, the city does not do this nor is it required to.

 

  • Torrey’s financial report.  Torrey advised we’ll be low on funds once the mobile cart funds are applied. She recommended we start putting together the Math and Science night and Multicultural night raffles and consider a spring fundraiser.

 

  • June 12th Red Sox game-flyer will go home shortly. 5th grade yearbooks are being prepared by class parents. Thank you!

Permanent link to this article: http://www.squantumpto.com/pto-meeting-minutes-feb/

Feb 10

MCAS 2.0 Parent Resources

Click here for the QPS MCAS 2.0 Parent Resource Guide.

 

For additional information available on the Quincy Public School website

At the December 12, 2016 Citywide Parent Council meeting, Senior Director of Curriculum Madeline Roy and Special Education Director Erin Perkins presented on the new MCAS 2.0 Assessment which will be administered to students in Grades 3-8 in 2017.  Students in Grades 4 and 8 will be taking MCAS 2.0 online; through the Mayor’s Capital Improvement Plan, technology upgrades are underway at all Quincy Public Schools to prepare for full implementation of online testing in 2019.  Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: http://www.squantumpto.com/mcas-2-0-parent-resources/

Dec 01

Disney Raffle fundraiser Update

Dear Squantum Families,

Students were given a packet for the Disney Raffle fundraiser.  Each student starter

packet contains 10 raffle tickets ($5.00 each) for a $5,000 Disney gift card! The lucky

winner will be able to use the gift card to enjoy a vacation at a popular Disney resort

(Orlando, Florida; California; Hawaii; Paris) or on a Disney Cruise (to Alaska, the

Bahamas, the Canadian Coast, the Caribbean, Europe, Mexico, or the Panama Canal).

Wherever you imagine your family vacation, you can tailor-make it with the Disney gift

card!

Raffle sales will end on December 14 th, 2016.

The raffle drawing will be held December 16 th , 2016.

Please help Squantum School make this a record-breaking fundraiser. Another

neighboring school raised $20,000, and we think we can do even better!

With thanks in advance for your support,

The Squantum PTO

 

Frequently Asked Questions

When do we send back the sold tickets and the money? There are 4 white

envelopes in your student’s packet. Sold ticket stubs and the money should be returned

in the white envelopes either at the end of each week or earlier. Each week students

who return sold ticket envelopes will be entered into a seller prize drawing.  There will

be 4 drawings.

Can I post the raffle information on social media? Yes, social media like Facebook,

is a fast simple way to get the word out to friends and family. Check out Paypal.me as a

way to collect payments online for free.

What if we are ready for more tickets to sell? When you send in your tickets sold we

will supply you with more.  If you anticipate selling a bunch of tickets you can request a

specific number of tickets.

What if we run out of tickets? While you are waiting to get more tickets students can

continue to sell tickets by writing down names and phone numbers of their buyers. Once

more tickets are picked up at school, the names and number can be filled in on the

tickets.

What if I lose my ticket stub? It is not necessary to have the ticket stub to win.

What if we don’t sell all our tickets? Unsold ticket can be returned to the school.

Are there other prizes for the sellers? Yes, the student packets have a list of prizes

that will be award to students for selling tickets and an explanation on how they can be

won.

How will the winner be announced? On Friday, December 16 th , the school will hold a

drawing to select the winner of the $5,000 Disney Vacation. The winner will be

contacted directly

What if I don’t want my child to carry cash? Write a check to Squantum PTO for the

amount collected from sales and keep the cash or hand deliver your sold tickets and

money to the office.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.squantumpto.com/disney-raffle-fundraiser-update/

Dec 01

Squantum Polar Express Night

THE SQUANTUM EXPRESS!!

Celebrate the season riding aboard the

Squantum Express Trolley

Board at Squantum School December 2, 2016

Boarding times starting at 6:00pm

Tickets: $5.00 or

$20.00/Family

Pizza, Cookie Decorating and Festive

Movies

Children… wear your P.J s and bring along a parent/guardian.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.squantumpto.com/squantum-polar-express-night/

Dec 01

November PTO Meeting Minutes

Squantum Elementary School PTO Meeting Minutes

November 17, 2016

Present: Principal Sylvia, Dr. Bloom, Kenda Coulter, and assembled parents.

Upcoming Events:

  • 12/1 Thursday, ‘Tis The Season Concert (with ticket)
  • 12/2 Friday, Squantum Polar Express Night, 6-8 pm

 

  • 12/13 & 12/20 Tuesday, Parent-teacher conferences

 

  • 12/16, Thursday, Winter Concert in the gym at 8:45 a.m.
  • 12/24-1/2, Winter Recess

Principal Sylvia’s Report:

  • Update on MCAS transition to computers for 4th graders. 4th graders are working on writing prompts, math problems, etc. on the Parke website for practice. Mr. Sylvia will set a date for a parents’ meeting about the transition once we have a better idea of what the test will be like.
  • Update on the lead testing at Squantum School. Two of the drinking fountains were shut off at the school for high levels of lead. Sinks have been labeled “for handwashing only.” Fresh water is now available to students via a water cooler in the media center. Mr. Sylvia to look into getting the spigot for the outdoor garden hose tested as well.
  • Thanks to Jenn Bergin for the display of 500 flags in the school’s front yard for Veterans’ Day. We raised nearly $500, and profits will go to Quincy Veterans in the form of $50 Stop-n-Shop gift cards. Parents Mandy & Jason Oberton and Tony Wolowicz were honored at the Veterans’ Day assembly.
  • The student council Food Drive donated 10 boxes of canned goods to support local pantries. Thanks to our student council and Dr. Bloom for organizing and to all those families who donated.
  • This month’s character trait is Gratitude. Students will be honored at assembly on November 18th.
  • Earlier this month, Principal Sylvia presented our annual school improvement plan to the school district, which will be available on line as well.
  • By February vacation, we hope to have completed adding new InFocus projectors and ENO Smartboards to all the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade classrooms.
  • A guard fence around the solar box behind the school has been installed for safety purposes.
  • Our thanks to Kim Dailey for color-printing our Disney flyers and school newsletter.

Dave Blaton’s Citywide Report

Various schools reported that students have voiced concerns about the election. Superintendent DeCristofaro will be sending out a letter that addresses the importance of acceptance in our schools.

There was further discussion of adding time to recess and lunch. Also talk of ensuring that there is an ever-ready pool of paraprofessionals for students.

Reminders:

  • Student photos have gone home. If you’d like to order more, you may do so on the Hayward Photos website (www.haywardphotography.com). We raised $1,800! Thanks to parent volunteers who helped out on picture day. Make-up photos will be in the first week of December.
  • Square One Art orders are due back. You can order up till November 20th online.
  • Book fair will be held all next week. Please let Moi Blaton know if you’d like to volunteer.
  • Please note that the first trimester ends on Thursday, December 1. Report cards go out on Monday, December 12 (also available online). Parent-teacher conferences will be held on December 13th  (day and evening) and December 20th (evening only) this year.
  • Please continue to send in your BoxTops. Congratulations to Dr. Bloom’s class who had the most BoxTops for the month of October.
  • We are still looking for more art docent volunteers and a few more volunteers for Reading Counts.
  • January 3rd will be the first day of school after winter break.
  • On March 2nd, there will be a Cat in the Hat assembly.
  • On April 27th, there will be a poetry assembly.

Upcoming Events:   

The Squantum Polar Express is coming to town on Friday, December 2nd! We are still looking for volunteers for set-up and clean-up in the gym. There will be a movie, cookie-decorating, and a trolley ride around Squantum to see the lights (6-8). Kids, wear your PJs! Rides begin at 6 o’clock. ($5/person; $20/family.)  Thanks to Beth and Trish Vacca for organizing. Peggy Ronan also offered to research prices for a Christmas train for comparison.

Get your green on for the Celtics game!! 165 tickets are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Firm deadline is January 3rd. Flyers will be going home. $20 per ticket.

Disney Raffle Update

The Raffle is going strong! We’ve already made up the $5,000 needed for the Disney gift card and then some. Please keep selling those tickets ($5 each). Every little bit helps our school. Thanks to Sarah Wood, who has been spearheading this fundraiser. The Disney flyer will also be translated into Mandarin for any parent who would like it. Raffle drawing will be held on Friday, December 16th. Get your tickets ready!

Treasurer’s Report:

 

  • Available PTO balance after allocations: $10,032.

 

  • We raised $2,014 for baked goods from the Election Day bake sale! Thanks to all our volunteers. We also raised $1,900 on Election Day for the Disney Raffle.

Other items discussed:

 

  • The possibility of installing fans in the gym for cooling purposes during concerts, etc. was discussed. Principal Sylvia to investigate.
  • Some concern about the Veterans’ flags not being recycled appropriately by the kids (note for next year: maybe recycle all the flags instead of sending some home?).

 

  • The PTO voted to approve providing dinner on December 13th for the teachers on the night of parent-teacher conferences.
  • PTO approved Katherine O’Connor’s request for a new I-Pad for student use (up to $400).
  • PTO approved a school subscription to an art history magazine.
  • Peggy and Kim raised idea of launching a Valentine Day/Sweetheart Dance in February for a fundraiser. Kids could dress up. Talk of renting a photo both. More to come.  

Permanent link to this article: http://www.squantumpto.com/november-pto-meeting-minutes/

Nov 07

Bake Sale Volunteers Needed

please reach out to us at volunteers@squantumpto.com

Permanent link to this article: http://www.squantumpto.com/bake-sale-volunteers-needed/

Nov 02

Squantum PTO Meeting Minutes: Oct 26 2016

Squantum Elementary School PTO Meeting Minutes
October 26, 2016

Present: Principal Sylvia, Dr. Bloom, Mrs. Kiley, Kenda Coulter, Sarah Wood, Torrey Smith, and assembled parents. Introductions were made around the room.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

11/8 Tuesday, Election Day Bake Sale (NO SCHOOL)
11/10 Uno’s Restaurant Night Fundraiser (Braintree)
11/11 Friday, Veterans’ Day (NO SCHOOL)
11/17 PTO Meeting, 7 pm (media center)
12/1 ‘Tis The Season Concert
12/2 Polar Express Night, 6-8 pm
12/13 & 12/20 Parent-teacher conferences

PRINCIPAL SYLVIA’S REPORT:

* Thanks to all the parent volunteers, especially Peggy Ronan, Moi Blaton, & Heather Morkan, for a fantastic Monster Mash! We raised $1,586 and the kids had a great time.

* Principal Sylvia, Dave Blaton, and Peggy Ronan met with district adviser to determine that Squantum School does have 501C3 status when applying for grants. This will help us as we go forward with our fundraising efforts.

* Congratulations to our seven teachers who applied for and won mini-grants for the school (average grant was $300)! Teachers will be recognized in early November.

* We discussed thanking our generous donors (such as Carmine’s) by posting thank you “ads” in programs like our monthly school newsletter. Stay tuned.

* Thanks to Mrs. Curtin, we are offering a typing program for fourth graders after school. There will be a second session to come.

* Principal Sylvia spoke briefly about Squantum’s “School Report Card,” which is available on line (at http://bit.ly/2eeDOhJ) and where we performed as a “strong level 2 school.” MCAS were recently mailed home, and Principal Sylvia and teachers are happy to meet with any parents who might have questions about the test.

* This year, for the first time, 4th GRADERS ONLY will be taking MCAS 2.0 on computers in the spring (3rd and 5th graders will continue to take MCAS as a paper test). There was discussion about preparing our kids for this transition and making sure all students who need access to computers for practice will have access. Sarah suggested a parent/teacher meeting to help educate parents about the switch to computers. Principal Sylvia noted that there are sample tests available on the Parke website, and we’ll be sending information on this link home shortly. Stay tuned for a meeting time with 4th grade teachers re: MCAS.

* The MCAS “window” for 2017 goes from April 3rd to May 26th. Grades 3 through 5 will have various portions of the test administered during some point in that window.

* Principal Sylvia reported that he’ll soon be presenting Squantum’s “School Improvement Plan” to the city, which is based on an assessment team’s recommendation of areas where our school might do better.

* Dr. Bloom reports that the Student Council is already hard at work on Unicef, a canned food drive, and various presentations at school assemblies.

* The Garden Club met twice this fall and made pizza topped by vegetables from the classroom garden and pesto sauce from the garden basil. Thanks to Ms. Cordero, Ms. Griffith, and Ms. LaRose for coordinating this fun group.

* Ms. Salas’s drama club will be performing the Wizard of Oz in March.

* 300 cookies have been ordered for our annual trip to the ‘Tis The Season concert at Quincy High on Thursday, December 1st. The Polar Express event (movies and a trolley ride around Squantum) will be the following night, Friday, December 2nd.

* Mr. Sylvia reported that there are new street signs up around the school, marking drivers’ speed, and also in back of the school, where buses need to turn into.

REMINDERS:

* THERE WILL BE NO SCHOOL ON ELECTION DAY, Tuesday, November 8th, and NO SCHOOL ON VETERANS’ DAY, Friday, November 11th.

* On Election Day, the gym will be open for voting and for our annual bake sale. Please let Sarah Wood (swood5944@gmail.com) know if you’re available to volunteer time or treats on November 8th.

* Jenn Bergin talked about our “Flags for Squantum” veterans’ drive. Our goal is to have 500 flags flying in the school’s front lawn for Election Day in honor of our veterans. Flags will be available for purchase on Election Day; students will also have a chance to buy a flag for $1. All proceeds go toward helping local veterans. The PTO approved an advance of $170 to order flags in time for Election Day.

* The 5th graders will have science “Pumpkin Day” on Thursday, October 27th.

* Please note that the first trimester ends on Thursday, December 1. Report cards go out on Monday, December 12. Parent-teacher conferences will be held on December 13th and December 20th (evening) this year.

* Thanks to the Quincy Elks Club, who donated dictionaries to all the third graders in our school!

* Information will be going home about the American Education Week Essay contest (optional).

* Submissions for the annual holiday poster contest will be due on November 10th. Information will be going home soon.

DISNEY RAFFLE FUNDRAISER!!!

* Sarah Wood presented her idea for a Disney raffle, which was greeted enthusiastically around the room. Based on a neighboring PTO’s success with this fundraiser, Squantum School will launch its own raffle for a family to win a $5,000 trip to Disney!!!

~Raffle tickets ($5 each) will be available for purchase at the school bake sale on Election Day (November 8th).
~Students will also have the option to sell tickets in packets of 10 or more.
~ We hope this will be our biggest fundraiser yet! (Another school raised nearly $20,000).

҉ Ideas were discussed re: how to promote raffle to other local schools/neighborhoods.

~ A banner at the bake sale to advertise. Will also post a banner at the intersection of Quincy Shore Drive and Furnace Brook Parkway.
~Discussed publicizing via flyers and on social media (Nextdoor Squantum, PTO website and Facebook page, twitter, etc.).
~ Sarah to investigate a PayPal link so people can purchase raffle tickets on line as well.
~The PTO approved money to buy raffle tickets in advance.
~ Also discussed awards such as $100 gift certificate for student who sells the most tickets and a prize (pizza party?) for class that sells the most tickets.
~ We discussed when to draw/announce winner’s ticket (maybe on the day before December vacation?).

CITYWIDE REPORT from Dave Blaton:
Dave reported that the last meeting covered:

* Concern over the only 15 minutes that kids currently get for lunch, then recess (1/2 hour total). Discussion about how Quincy might extend both lunch and recess by 5 minutes. Principal Sylvia noted that Squantum School now lets the 4th and 5th graders go out for recess before lunch, which cuts down on the wait line for hot lunch for grades K-3.

*The possibility of hosting a “Parent Academy,” so parents and educators can discuss how to better meet the needs of students in special education classes.

*The ongoing need to address the amazing diversity in our schools and how to ensure every child feels as if he or she is being treated equally.

*Making sure people know that district meetings and Squantum School meeting minutes are available on-line; parents/guardians can select to read them in their preferred language.

*General concerns over moving the 4th grade MCAS to the computers were discussed as was making sure that every student has the computer access he or she needs to practice/train for this transition.

* Quincy school water is being tested for lead; results will be available in early November.

REPORT FROM THE TREASURER:
Torrey gave a financial update.

* The PTO has raised $7,298 to date. Thank you!
* Available balance after allocations: $6,856.86
* Thanks to all who purchased/sold Kidstuff Coupon Books, which has brought in $3,355 to date (the school gets half of that ($1677.50)).
* The Kindergarteners will have a special presentation, “The Lifecycle of Raptors” 🙂 (funds allocated)
* On March 2nd, there will be A Cat in the Hat assembly (funds allocated)
*On April 27th, there will be a poetry assembly (funds allocated)

OTHER ITEMS DISCUSSED:

* We discussed the need to reinstate “room parents,” one or two volunteers who would be willing to reach out to their child’s teacher/other classroom parents regarding volunteer opportunities/PTO ideas. There was talk of how important it is to expand our volunteer list this year, as many of our dedicated volunteers will soon be leaving when their children graduate.

* We discussed possible fundraisers for specific grades or classrooms. The point was made that it can be motivating to know that your dollars go straight to your child’s class or grade. Targeted fundraisers might also better meet teachers’ specific needs.

* We discussed promoting school events and fundraisers through avenues beyond social media. It was suggested that a large white board easel be set out front (by Squantum School sign) to announce upcoming events and meetings.

* Kenda adjourned the meeting and thanked everyone for their great ideas and enthusiasm.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.squantumpto.com/squantum-pto-meeting-minutes-oct-26-2016/

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