9/18/2013 General Meeting Minutes

Sep 19, 2013 by

9/18/2013 General Meeting Minutes


Montclair PTA General Meeting

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


Montclair Multipurpose Room

No official sign-in was provided, but approximately 200 people assembled for the meeting.  Quorum is 20.  Quorum is present


Melissa Raymond called the meeting to order at 7:04pm.


Melissa reported on a few points of business:

  • Dad’s club movie night is this Friday, September 20th starting at 7:30.  Concessions will be available.
  • Volunteer orientations with Dr. Susan will be Tuesday, September 24th at 6:00pm and Wednesday morning, September 25th at 8:40am.  Both will be in the multipurpose room.**
  • Picture day will be Oct 1st and 3rd.
  • Oct 8th, 9th, and 10th are minimum days, dismissal will be at 1:30
  • Oct 11th no school
  • Oct 16th will be the next PTA meeting.  The topic will be on cyber safety. There will be a 3rd 4th and 5th grade assembly the next day.
  • Oct 19th Otter Walk.


**After the meeting, the volunteer orientation on Wednesday the 25th was moved to Thursday the 26th due to a kindergarten field study.


Michelle Branner, vice president of membership, encouraged the audience to join the PTA.  Your membership will benefit the kids and school as well as keep you connected.  Information is on the MES website.


Susan Terrill, Vice President of Fundraising, reported on the latest fundraising events.  Fundraising is all about inclusion and fun.  It takes about $800.00 per student to run all the programs here at MES.  The two main events that raise about 90% of annual funds is the Otter Walk and the Otter Ball:

  • Otter Walk is a walk-a-thon where money is raised for the school through pledges per kilo or flat rate.  Raffles and bid boards are a fundraising part of the event as well.
  • Otter Ball adult only event in the spring, money raised through tickets, local sponsors, pay-to-play events and live/silent auction events.

How can you contribute?  Get involved as a class parent, join a committee, donate items towards parties, or host bid board/pay-to-play events.  Does your company match monetary gifts?  Or just write a check.


Wonny Mullen, Exec. Vice President of Internal Affairs, reported on the volunteer positions available.  The Otter Walk and Otter Ball committee members are mostly made up of 5th grade parents, so replacements will be necessary after this year.  The Otter Ball co-chair is a 5th grade parent.  We need a shadow for her this year to take over her position next year.  Also, a non-event fundraising chair is needed to help organize fundraising events that are not related to a school event (i.e. box tops, etc.).


Nina Senn reported on Nutrition Services.  She first thanked OUSD for the food samples provided at the general meeting.  She has been an advocate for a cook-in kitchen at MES for 4 years.  She has been working with Jennifer LeBar, the OUSD rep for Nutrition Services in schools, to bring our cook-in kitchen to fruition.  The audience was able to sample examples of lunch items that will be offered to the students.  Jennifer gave the audience insight on the “locally grown concept” embraced by OUSD.  Tonight’s menu was an example of “California Thursdays.” All food items included were grown/baked in California:

  • Chorizo (locally produced) and Kale (locally grown) with whole grain pasta
  • Kung Pao chicken with antibiotic free, organic, free-range chicken from California on a bed of California grown whole grain rice.
  • Cheese or peperoni pizza with low-fat and nonfat cheese, sauce with no high fructose corn syrup and a whole grain crust.
  • Salad bar will be offered every day.

Measure J allowed for several kitchen renovations throughout the district. OUSD has pushed for changes in the sugar content in foods served across the district.  Nutrition Services offers a monthly newsletter for updated information, your can like them on Facebook or check out the Food Services link on OUSD’s website.  Jennifer also reported on the breakfast program.  It is up and running, and the district has been working diligently to smooth out the problems that occur with the start of any new program.   It is a district wide plan to provide student with proper nutrition before trying to learn.  It has been offered during class time due to students who aren’t able to make it to school early.  It also is a pilot, and we need as much participation as possible in order to keep the staff and the equipment and to keep federally funded portions of the program.  When the kitchen is up and running, PTA is offering 2 weeks of complimentary lunches for all students and staff. This will be offered after the kitchen staff has a chance to meet the beginning needs of the program.  Tentative date for the free lunch is the beginning of November.


A panel of experts in the field of education presented information on what the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are and how it is being applied to student learning.

1) Ken Sorey, MES parent and VP Educational Results Partnership, works with school districts on managing test scores and aids school districts in preparing students with college readiness skills.  He reported that the CCSS are common standards that raise the bar on student problem solving skills and higher level thinking abilities.  Ken explained how the standards work in relationship to test taking and how the CSTs will change as a result of the new standards.  He encourages the parents to get engaged in your student’s learning and to support students by providing real world learning opportunities at home.

2) Robin Lovell, OUSD Math Specialist, helps coordinate mathematics in the district.  She explains that the CCSS builds on prior learning and provides students opportunities to explain his/her thinking.  Test taking will be converted to an online program provided by Smarter Balance.  Robin feels that students need a steady diet of productive struggle, academic discourse and performance tasks requiring critical thinking skills.

3) Erin Cogan, OUSD Literacy Specialist, discussed the CCSS and literacy.  She spoke about students needing to:

  • Build strong content knowledge
  • Comprehend as well as critique
  • Respond to varying purposes and disciplines
  • Value evidence
  • Use technology and digital media strategically and capably
  • Come to understand other perspectives and cultures.

Lastly, student’s communication skills need to demonstrate their learning in societal situations.  (i.e. garden, computer lab, etc.)   We are hoping to be in a place where math, science and ELA converge in rigorous academic activities throughout the day.

4) Nancy Bloom, principal, seconded all the information Ken, Robin, and Erin have provided.  The teachers are embracing this movement and figuring out how to do this and do it well.  Nancy suggests that parents need to communicate with their child about justifying his/her thoughts, ideas, and answers.

5) Julie Chanter teaches 4th grade at MES.  Julie reported on how teachers are engaging in the CCSS movement.  Teachers are moving towards non-fiction texts, increasing the complexity of texts, and supporting answers with evidence.  Vocabulary is a huge component of the CCSS and students will be increasing exploration of deeper and more complexed vocabulary.


CSTs for this year will be based on Governor Brown’s signature to cancel testing this year in order to get ready for the Smarter Balance test in 2015.


Contact information for the above presenters:

Ken Sorey www.edresults.org

Robin Lovell  robin.lovell@ousd.k12.ca.us

Erin Cogan  erin.cogan@ousd.k12.ca.us

Nancy Bloom  nancy.bloom@ousd.k12.ca.us

Julie Chanter  juliechanter@aim.com


If you would like any of the handouts provided at this meeting, please contact the presenters or the school office.




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