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.


  • Student photos have gone home. If you’d like to order more, you may do so on the Hayward Photos website ( 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.