black bear looking over a fence

November 2017 General PTA Minutes

November 1st, 2017 Rattlesnake Elementary School PTA Meeting minutes

Meeting attendance: Maggie Ward (P), Anne T (VP), Alex Stokman (T), Sarah Lee (Teacher Rep), Jen J (FCC) + 14 parents and guardians.

Items as Discussed:

Funding Updates   

  • Recent Grants –
    • $535 funding was granted for Kindergarten field trips to Montana Natural History Museum, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and for a Bear Aware session
    • $40/month continued payment of the recycling bills for school
    • $180 for 5th grade field trip to the UM Planetarium
  • Budget note – Beef Jerky is done! Many thanks to Alex, Becky, and Carissa.  All the Jerky has now been distributed to students/families and the Limo ride was a big success for all 26 kids that earned it!

Upcoming Events

  • Teacher Appreciation – Nov 8 – Jacqui: Teacher conferences food this year will be a variety of hot chili and soup. Some vegetarian options will be offered. Jacqui will purchase some basic sides from Costco (i.e. tortilla chips) and parents that do not wish to commit to a full pot of chili can bring cookies or other smaller treats. Food will be focused from 3pm-8pm Wednesday the 8th November. If you wish to make either a big crock pot of soup or chili, or to bring a smaller side like cookies, please contact Jacqui or email the general PTA inbox,  Calls for volunteers will be going out soon via email as well.
  • Book Fair – Nov 29th – Dec 1st – Laurie and Becca. The book fair is coming up! Schedule will be: Nov 29th 8am-7pm; Nov 30 8am-7pm, Dec 1st: 8-10:30am. Volunteers will be needed to do book sales throughout these days. An additional volunteer for PTA swag (hoodies, water bottles, etc) will also be needed for peak times. Kid Wish Lists will be generated by your kid(s) and then sent home Wednesday after school, if timing works out. Classroom wish lists will be available for anyone that wants to buy a book for their child’s teacher. Fact and Fiction is the supporting bookstore again this year, which is a great local business to support. There will be a parent social “coffee and shop” event Thursday morning from 8:30am to 9:30am to allow parents to shop kid-free (great for if you wish to buy a holiday present without them seeing you.) For more information you can reach out to Laurie (, or email the general PTA inbox, Calls for volunteers will be going out soon via email as well.
  • Direct Donate – November 20th through Dec 31st – Leigh and Maggie A. The Direct Donate event this year will follow the same format as last year in most regards. We will not be handing out keychains this year (did not have the popularity we hoped for last year, and were tough logistically). We will have bright grassy green donation envelopes to help parents see and notice the envelopes in their kid(s) folders. Direct donate is scheduled to start just prior to Thanksgiving in order to allow for asking grandparents/aunts/uncles/friends to donate if that is desired. Donations should be sent in via USPS in the envelopes, via the online donation platform with a credit card, or sent in with students in their folders in the green envelopes. This year we will have a big thermometer-style donation painted leaderboard out front by the intersection of Pineview and Rattlesnake Drive. Thanks to Billy Petrini for making the thermometer. No additional volunteers are needed for this event at this time. Goal for fundraising to modestly exceed the net of 2016’s event ($7620) so a reasonable goal may be net $8250, reach goal of $9000. Laurie mentioned that promoting what the PTA does as part of the pitch on Facebook could be compelling to readers. Sarah mentioned that communicating the Direct Donate event with the teachers more directly could help prevent lost envelopes and confused families.
  • Spring Fling- March 16 2018 – Seeking Auction co-leads team members & Activities Leadsteam members. Now recruiting for auction and activities leads! dynamic teams!  Join the effort – we could use your ideas, time, and/or donated items!   By starting now, the PTA hopes to have a less hectic February and March in prep for the event. Goal for net is not set in stone, will vary on Direct Donate’s net funds raised.  We will not be doing carnival games. We are not thinking we will do a band in 2018. Interactive activities will be the most likely choice. We will likely do classroom theme baskets. Donations from private businesses will be more focused on family friendly items, to cater more closely to the attendees. We may consider raffles, ideally three large fun items. For more information you can email the general PTA inbox, Calls for volunteers will be going out soon via email as well.

FCC Update – Jen Jensco

  • Thanks to all who donated to the food drive, it was a great success and the school emergency pantry is looking great. Next food drive will be in the spring.
  • Movie night was a huge hit- best attendance ever at around 200 people! – and all the volunteers were extremely helpful. Thanks to all that helped with that. Jen is undecided on if we’ll do a movie night in the spring or not, it depends a lot on the scheduling of other community and school based events.

Other discussion:

  • Our teacher rep, Sarah Lee, will need to cease attending when her student teacher is done for the fall. Can we recruit another teacher with available time? Is there another teacher with a student teacher, or perhaps we could aim for someone that isn’t classroom based (i.e. Tingley, Petrini, others).
  • Sarah also mentioned minutes should be sent directly out to her, and Principal Wright, to ensure they are read promptly. 

(Formal Meeting Adjourn)

Newsletter focus group!

  • About half the attendees were able to stay for the focus group. Topics explored were as follows, with comments on each.
    • Should we do a newsletter? In what physical format? Opinions varied: No, we should focus on Facebook more as that is so accessible to parents on their phones in their daily lives. Yes, and it should be a monthly email. Yes, and it should be a monthly email with paper copies available in the lobby for anyone that wants them. Yes, and it should be only paper and going out monthly in kid folders so that parents can put it on the fridge as a reference. Yes, but monthly is too ambitious so maybe like some months but not other months.
    • If we did a newsletter, what would it include? Events and school updates. Teacher of the month highlight. FCC features. Kids writing parts (upper grades). Art from kids (lower grades). Community reminders like when to sign up for summer camps. Topics that are NOT the same as what we cover on Facebook. Art enrichment updates. Stories/anecdotes on parenting that would engage people in reading it. Kid spotlight for an outstanding activity outside school. Reminders on little PTA things like GFS scrips and when a fundraiser is starting.
    • Pitfalls were explored! Maybe this is too much work? Could we keep it ADA compliant? Would paper cost too much? Who would write this? Would it complement or compete with Facebook and email? Why do we no longer get paper newsletters from the school anyways? Jen J addressed this question- paperless school effort began when we received the Green Ribbon School award. We wanted to reduce the amount of paper being sent home and switched to emailed versions of classroom newsletters and website mentions to upcoming dates/deadlines, important events at school. Parents felt there was just too much stuff being sent home in folders. This was also supposed to steer parents towards two major sources for information -teacher communications and our school website.

Coffee this month was donated by Drum Coffee on East Broadway. Thank you Drum Coffee!

The next monthly meeting is December 6th 2017, Wednesday, from 8:30-9am in the FCC. Hope to see you then!

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