Rattlesnake Elementary School Parent Teacher Association Meeting Minutes for Tuesday November 2, 2021

Attendees: Janel Chin, Shannon Murphy, Melody Nelsen, Molly Cottrell, Gillian Glaes, Mark Steelquist, Jen Sheldon, Lauren Sheetz, Molly Bradford, Pam Wright

Welcome,  Intros and Call for other items 

Committee Updates Reports

  • Book Fair (Dana)
    • Please support our school by shopping on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday (November 9th – 11th) for books and/or swag (new hoodies). 
      • Tuesday 3:15 – 6pm 
      • Wednesday 7:30- 8:30 and 3:15 – 6pm 
      • Thursday 7:30 -8:30 and then 11:05 to 12:05
    • Look for ‘wish lists’ that students and teachers will have the opportunity to complete during the school day Tuesday. 
  • Books will also be available online for purchase at http://www.factandfictionbooks.com and use the coupon/promo code “Rattlesnake” so that PTA receives a percentage of the sale. This is available for the month of November.
  • 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
  • Battle of the Books (Dana) – record numbers of students are participating, in the future an informational meeting should be held to make sure that we know how many students are committing and how many need assistance with obtaining books. Discussed a battle of the books informational meeting for parents prior to commitment.  Participants (~70 students) will meet weekly until the first Battle on Dec 16. Given limited time available during lunch, considering some after school time.
  • ROC (Jen O.)Thanks to everyone who attended the celebration with Animal Wonders. We are still accepting donations for future enhancements to that space such as bird boxes, elk spotting binoculars and/or native plant displays.  Discussed maybe partnering with animal wonders for future educational events.
    • Teachers and staff have indicated that picnic tables would be helpful towards extending their ability to use that area as the weather gets colder and the ground remains wet more of the time.  Talked about prioritizing tables over a cover over the ROC
  • Teacher Appreciation (Lauren / Jen S. )- Because conferences are being held via zoom this fall, we are stocking the fridge with easy to grab snacks on Monday November 8th to keep teachers fueled for the busy days ahead. Will post this signup on facebook.
    • If you would like to contribute to the effort please see the signup genius and leave your donated items at the front desk with Julie and Erin by Monday, November 8th or coordinate with Jen/Lauren in advance (jenrsheldon@gmail.com or laurencav@msn.com)

– Dana/Kim have offered extra funds raised for Halloween to be used for teacher appreciation

  • School garden is hoping for a new, larger shed if anyone wants to support this, let us know.  Janel will get Lori to connect with Molly Bradford to check with Hellgate High School Shop class or facebook sale page/craigslist.

Principal and Teacher Updates

  • Supply chain issues have caused some disruptions in the cafeteria
  • More employees needed at lunch (10:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.), during the school day (i.e. substitute teachers) and before and after school helping students safely cross Rattlesnake Drive at the crosswalk. (grandparents/grandfriends could be a good resource.)

Future Fundraising

  • Yearbook – we are looking for pictures and help assembling and distributing in the spring. Molly Bradford and Jessica Carver may be working on this? Consider google drive for photos to organize them so there is one person who can collect and categorize photos.  Molly Bradford can organize this. Social media person, Melody Nelsen, can be involved with this too.
  • Swag – we need volunteers to assist with potential future swag sales.
  • Salmon Sale- 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
  • Direct Donate – once again planned for December but we accept donations throughout the year. Melody Nelsen
  • Spring Auction – we hope to hold an on-line auction again in April but will need volunteers to make that possible.

Funding Request Updates

  1. Big thanks to those who donated to support Halloween treat bags for every student. The PTA is not planning to fund this in future years but does want to support inclusive non-food based celebrations in the future.  An idea of a communal art project has been proposed.
  2. The board approved funding up to $700 for a visiting poet through the Missoula Writing Collaborative so that each 4th grade class can have a poet work with students as they have in past years. Pam is exploring additional funding sources to fully fund this as the cost is $1,330.
  3. The board approved $500 for resources for the library. Robin Nygren is hoping that building sets, listening centers, audio books and licenses for apps will allow her to offer STEM and literacy based learning centers to student’s library time.
  4. The board approved $130 for the Special Education teachers to purchase an air purifier for the windowless space that they use to educate students.
  5. 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.

Health and Safety Updates

  • Hospitals remain quite full in our community. Discussion of what we can do to help:
    • 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
    • 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

– Discussion Items: 

  1. How can we minimize ‘close contacts’ when a student does attend school with COVID? Are seating arrangements consistent between the classroom, lunch and specials?
  2. Would overhead coverings and/or picnic tables allow an extension of outdoor lunches further into the fall/winter?


  • 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:
    • We need help identifying outdated pages on our website (rattlensnakepta.org) 
    • 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 December 7th at 8:15 a.m. is
  • Our Board is starting the process of recruiting new members, please consider reaching out to learn more
  • Desire for a cub scout troop at RE as the closest option right now is at Lewis and Clark Elementary school and Mark Steelquist is willing to spearhead a group

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