General Meeting Minutes 10/5/21

Rattlesnake Elementary School Parent Teacher Association

Meeting Minutes for Tuesday October 5, 2021 from 8:15 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. 

Virtually Attended by Janel Chin, Dana Hupp, Shannon Murphy, Melody Nelsen, Christy Cheviron, Jennifer Oakland, Carrie Sweatland, Eliza Clayton, Molly Cottrell, Jen Sheldon, Hanna Lewis, Kim Shappee, Lee Martin, Molly Bradford

Welcome and Intros

  • Call for other items 
  • Principal and Teacher Updates
  • Committee Updates Reports
    • Battle of the Books (Dana): starts this week for 4th and 5th graders. Encourages reading and reading comprehension. Students read 12 books over the year. Once weekly meeting with a parent volunteer at 2nd half of lunchtime and through recess. Then in April, a student from Rattlesnake will be eligible to compete in full MCPS BOB.
    • Garden (Jessica)
      • Produce distribution on October 1st some volunteers reported that it was a lot of fun. Molly Cottrell said it was a big hit and all the vegetables were taken except for a few tomatoes.
    • ROC (Jen O.)
      • Celebration planned for Friday October 15th from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. Animal Wonders has  been invited to attend
        • Celebration and thank-yous for the first ½ hour – we hope to raise money to support future collaborations to install bird boxes, elk spotting binoculars and/or native plants or other outdoor education displays. Carrie Sweatland will work with some students to make thank you poster.
        • Animal Wonders’ live animal presentation scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m.
          • Masks will be required to protect those not eligible for vaccination yet which includes RE students and Animal Wonders’ animals!
        • Swag will not be available unless a volunteer is available to set-up, sell and take-down.
  • Teacher Appreciation (Lauren / Jen S.)
    • Jo Boyle donated scones which were distributed during the 3rd week of September– thank-you already done
    • Voted for using swag mugs for teacher appreciation this year, 40-50 mugs approved.
    • Lauren, Jen and Heidi assisted Sarah Smith with Picture Day yesterday — how’d it go?

Health and Safety Updates

  • Hospitals remain quite full in our community. Discussion of what we can do to help:
    • Make sure our students have clean, well fitting face coverings
      • There is a still a need for cloth face coverings that fit small faces, please consider making and donating to our school
    • Check our students for symptoms before sending them to school each morning
    • Use face coverings in settings with the potential for transmission
    • Keep our social circles small
    • Keep gatherings outside as much as possible
    • Encourage those who are eligible to get vaccinated to do so
    • Isolate after potential exposures
    • Report questionable situations related to the school day such as buses without windows cracked
    • The school is looking for a couple of noon duties to support teachers and staff with outdoor lunches, please consider applying if you have time between the hours of 10:45 a.m. and 1:15 p.m.
    • Discussion about lunch outside over winter. Comparison to MIS and Sussex. Our larger student population poses a significant challenge and we need to consider inclusion in terms of students who may not consistently come to school with appropriate clothing for outdoor lunch.
    • RE could also use more substitute teachers for those who have availability during the school day to work.
    • We are looking for a volunteer to coordinate communication regarding an outside, volunteer supervised option for students whose families may not want their students eating lunch indoors.
    • How else can we show appreciation for healthcare workers? Hannah Lewis working on gift card drive for CMC and St. Pats

Fundraising Updates

  • We are looking for volunteers to take pictures at events and help create a yearbook.
  • We have many items of swag that are available for sale, we are looking for volunteers to assist with potential future swag sales.
  • Sign-up genius is live for the Book Fair (November 9th-11th), please consider volunteering! Schedule may be adjusted b/c parent teacher conferences will be mostly virtual.
  • We hope to hold a salmon sale again at some point this fall (TBA) but without some of the complications that contactless delivery created.
  • We plan to hold our annual Direct Donate fundraiser in December.
  • We plan to hold an on-line auction again in April but will need volunteers to make that possible.

New Funding Requests

  1. Halloween Celebratory Funding.
    1. Last year Dana Hupp donated a healthy snack and small Halloween themed trinket to every RE student to minimize the pressure on teachers to celebrate during the unprecedented October we all experienced last school year. Principal Wright has asked if the PTA could do this again as it was VERY well received but more financial support is needed as our PTA does not budget for holiday celebrations.
      1. Dana estimates that with increased enrollment it will cost close to $800 to provide this once again (~$300 for popcorn, ~$264 for gummies, ~$200 for trinkets like the ‘color-yourself’ bracelet the 1st – 3rd graders received last year and/or the mechanical pencils the 4th & 5th graders received. We have raised around $200 so far.
    2. Dana has graciously offered to once again order and distribute in advance of Halloween. If parents want to contribute, they can drop off a check with secretary at entrance of the school to be placed in the PTA box. In memo write “for Halloween treats”. funding goal is 800 dollars. After discussion, PTA voted to cover this expense.
  2. Robin Nygren is hoping for some additional funds beyond her classroom grant to help her adjust to the new schedule for specialists this year. 
    1. She believes that the new schedule is conducive to incorporating STEM and literacy based learning centers into library time.
      1. She would like to purchase building sets and apps for the ipads (30 licenses), some listening center equipment and audio books and some think fun games
      2. She is happy to offer more specifics but asked for an idea of what kind of budget she could expect.

Funding Requests Granted:

  1. New kindergarten teacher Clarke McGibbens was granted $299 in academic enrichment funds for an area rug. These academic enrichment funds can not be reimbursed until Shannon receives receipt.
  2. Sara Ibis was granted $60 in academic enrichment funds for science related Professional Development
  3. The board approved a request for an additional $399 classroom grant for special educators at RE.
    1. Taylor Sanchez and Michelle Louquet have each requested $300 classroom grants. We only budgeted $300 to be split between special ed teachers but because they teach different grades (Michelle teaches 3rd – 5th graders and Taylor teaches K – 2nd graders). 
  4. Shannon asked but we had not yet heard back about Nicole Luther and if funds would be shared beyond the two special education teachers who have made this request.
  5. Many teachers have been using their $300 classroom grants to purchase books and other supplies for their classrooms.


  • The following events are in need of volunteer committees in order to occur, please let us know if you might be willing to help out with the:
    • Spring Auction
    • Bike Rodeo (tentatively planned for Friday April 29th) 
    • Running Club (tentatively planned for May 2021)
    • Fun Run (tentatively planned for June 9th or 10th)
  • The next PTA General Meeting is scheduled for Tuesday November 2nd at 8:15 a.m.
  • PTA Leadership meetings are generally held the first Thursday of each month from 4:30 – 5:30 p.m. Please let us know if you have a topic that you would like to present to the leadership board at one of our meetings. 

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