Rattlesnake Elementary School Parent Teacher Association – Meeting Minutes for Monday October 18, 2021

Attendees: Janel Chin, Dana Hupp, Shannon Murphy, Melody Nelsen, Pam Wright, Sarah Smith, Lucia Thorness

  • Welcome and call for other items 
  • Principal and Teacher Updates- staffing remains difficult, supply chain issues are problematic in the cafeteria. Some parent volunteers available, but more employees needed. 
  • Committee Updates
    • Battle of the Books (Dana)
      • Discussed a battle of the books informational meeting for parents prior to commitment.  70 kids have signed up so far. Kid will meet weekly until first Battle on Dec 16. 
    • Halloween (Dana) 
      • Treat bags: Big thanks to Kim Shappee for coordinating donations and to everyone who donated. Bags are assembled and ready to distribute.  
      • Discussion around minimizing disappointment for students who hoped to wear costumes to school but whose classes are doing a pajama day instead.  No costumes this year b/c disruptive and if they wore costumes for a portion of the day it is hard to have them all change and be covid safe. 
      • Probably going to not fund this year after year, and maybe work towards celebrating without treats and funding more activities like an art project.
  • Book Fair (Dana) 
    • Will be held in school library Tuesday through Thursday, November 9-11
    • Tuesday 3:15 – 6pm 
    • Wednesday 7:30- 8:30 and 3:15 – 6pm 
    • Thursday 7:30 -8:30 and then 11:00 to 12:00
    • Students and teachers will have the opportunity to complete book “wish lists” during the school day Tuesday. 
    • Rattlesnake swag, including new zip-up hoodies, will be available for sale. 
    • For 4th and 5th Grade families participating in Battle of the Books, the books on the reading list will be available for purchase or to order during Book Fair.
    • Molly Cottrell and Jen Lakatua will be helping Dana Hupp most days and other volunteers involved as well.
  • Garden – produce distributed, still need for a shed?
  • ROC Celebration Event re-cap: 
    • Have sponsors/donors/community partners been properly thanked?
    • Do we have funds available for future collaborations with area nonprofits and/or things like bird boxes, elk spotting binoculars, native plant displays, etc.?
  • Teacher Appreciation 
    • Jen S. is planning to stock the fridge/lounge for conferences 
    • Kim Shappee offered care packages to the teachers at some point 
    • Dana/Kim have offered extra funds raised for Halloween to be used for teacher appreciation
  • Recycling – Sam Boyd from Republic Services mentioned that as part of Missoula’s Zero waste by 2050 goal, they are offering a pilot program to schools this year for organic waste disposal. The program is free and allows for composting of cafeteria waste.It includes training, signage and 64 gallon carts with lids to place in the cafeteria for collection every Monday. Garden City Compost is handling the composting process. 

Health and Safety Updates

  • Hospitals remain quite full in our community. Discussion of what we can do to help:
    • Is there still a need for cloth face coverings that fit small faces?
    • Are students arriving symptom free and with clean face coverings?
    • How can we minimize ‘close contacts’ when a student does attend school with COVID?
      • Parents have been asking about whether students can sit with the same people at specials like art as they do in the classroom
    • Is help still needed at lunch? yes
    • Are more substitute teachers still needed? yes
    • Would overhead coverings and/or picnic tables allow an extension of outdoor lunches further into the fall/winter? Pam will check regarding square tables at Mt. Jumbo.
    • Hannah Hilley and Kim Shappee would like to communicate with others in the school community about a “FeedtheFrontline” gift card drive they hope to do for healthcare workers this fall. They are hoping to send a message asking for gift card donations and then set-up a table outside the school to collect the gift cards. Discussion of how this can be catered to fit within the PTA’s Mission. Pam will get back to Janel regarding setting up a table at school pick up time. 
    • Kim has presented the idea of privately funding rapid tests to be used weekly to test students as a risk mitigation strategy. Sensitivity and specificity of these tests not good enough for screening purposes. 

Funding Requests

  • The 4th grade team has requested up to $1,330 “as we deem appropriate” for an additional visiting poet so that each class has one as in years past through the Missoula Writing Collaborative. Discussed funding half of this cost and requesting other funds from writers collaborative.  Approved $700
    • The poet will introduce poetry through reading, writing, creating a book of class poetry and holding poetry readings.
    • Pam is willing to look for additional funding sources.
  • Robin Nygren is hoping for some additional funds beyond her classroom grant to help her adjust to the new schedule for specialists this year.  Approved $500
    • She believes that the new schedule is conducive to incorporating STEM and literacy based learning centers into library time.
      • 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
      • She is happy to offer more specifics but asked for an idea of what kind of budget she could expect.

– SPED request for air purifier for windowless classroom they use. approved

  • Pam was going to try and follow-up with RN Lisa Flanagan regarding the air quality monitor the PTA approved funds for last year so that we could have local outdoor air quality measures readily available to decide about students going outside on smokey days. Last we heard Lisa was trying to figure out what was compatible with the MCPS’s internet firewalls. Leigh has suggested that we move forward and install the monitor at a private residence nearby the school as we have a few who have volunteered to allow this.
  • Check-in on funds approved but that were not yet issued due to lack of receipts

Discussion of website and long term plan for future needed updates etc. It costs less than $20 per year to reserve rattlesnakepta.org as a domain name we can use but the larger question is if we should adjust web hosting to fit our current volunteer base.

Fundraising Updates

  • Salmon – Pope Ashworth indicated that Ash is interested in partnering again but I am waiting to hear back on details of when the salmon could be available and if we could offer the same pricing as last year with an added discount for folks who purchased an entire 25lb box
  • Book Fair – time adjustments needed based on most conferences being virtual? more volunteers needed?
  • Swag – will be for sale at the book fair and Dana is considering an additional sale date in December.
  • 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. Do we want to set a date for this?
  • We have a couple of volunteers but it would be good to have more folks taking pictures at events and someone to lead the editorial process for a yearbook. Can someone create a place where teachers/families could upload pictures?


  • The next PTA General Meeting is scheduled for Tuesday November 2nd at 8:15 a.m. ish – How do we feel about meeting in the FCC? We could also brave the weather and use the ROC and/or move onto Zoom again…
  • Bike Rodeo is tentatively planned for Friday April 29th
  • Running Club is tentatively planned for May 2021
  • Fun Run is tentatively planned for June 9th or 10th

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