Rattlesnake Elementary School Parent Teacher Association Meeting Minutes for Tuesday January 4, 2022

Attendees: Janel Chin, Dana Hupp, Shannon Murphy, Melody Nelsen, Lucia Thorness, Jen Sheldon, Jen Oakland, Pam Wright

8:15 a.m. – Welcome,  Intros and Call for other items 

8:20 a.m. Presentation of Standing Rules for adoption, deferring until next meeting

8:25 a.m. – Principal and Teacher Updates

  • Group picture day will be in March, PTA liaison Sarah Smith has coordinated the last several pictures days and asked to try a Corvallis company, Double Exposure this year as Washington Middle School used them last fall and the experience was preferable to what Sarah has experienced using Lifetouch at RE in the past.

8:30 a.m. Funding Requests

  • The garden has been hoping to get a new shed for over a year because the existing shed is too small to hold the garden cart, sink or trellising material to protect them during the winter month. It is also hard to organize the hand tools, irrigation equipment, shovels and rakes in the existing shed due to cramping. A larger shed would allow communal teaching supplies and subby spaces and/or shelves for the teachers to use. The hope is that the garden would then be more welcoming for teachers as well as students who could start being in the shed with the adult weighing their harvested produce.
  • Jen Oakland will apply for a grant for next year and she will talk with Lori to hire someone to build a shed. Approved 2000 for funding this.

– There are great garden sheds at Lowell and Paxson if anyone is interested in seeing what they have.

– ideally something in the neighborhood of 7’x10′ or 70 square ft. which is estimated to cost $2,000 unless someone is interested in donating the materials and/or building it themselves.

  • The kiln at RE is in a state of disrepair (has been since a near fir 4 years ago), a series of band-aid fixes have kept it limping along but art teacher Monica Thompson is hoping to secure $3,000 in funding to replace it. If we aren’t able to fully fund this request Monica is open to the idea of a specific capital campaign like selling cards of kids artwork, or something like that…  Pam will check with district to ask if there is any funding available for this. Jen oakland forwarded Monica a grant for this yesterday that is due in mid March. Janel Chin will help with the grant application.

8:40 a.m. – Committee Updates/Reports

  • ROC – $2,284 in ‘Neighborhood’ grant from the city needs to be spent before June 1st of this year. Ideas of things that would be utilized well include a podium/lectern for teachers at the front of the amphitheater, picnic tables in the area above the amphitheater, bird boxes, binoculars to spot elk and other wildlife on Mount Jumbo and/or native plant displays. We need a volunteer to spearhead communications with teachers and staff to choose a top priority and execute plans to carry it out in the next few months.
  • Discussed buying table basis and Becky with heritage has donated the wood and we could coordinate getting volunteers to build the tables.
  • Jen oakland will talk to audubon society about bird boxes. And heritage timber may have bird box kits to donate
  • Teacher Appreciation – smoothies  (Lauren / Jen S. )
  • MCT directors are working with all RE students this week. Big thanks to Dana for coordinating this and Worden and Thane for sponsoring it financially.
  • “Montana Shakes” which is Montana Shakespeare in the Parks’ elementary school program is coming to RE on March 15th to do an age appropriate performance (interpretation of the classic A Midsummer Night’s Dream called Bottom’s Dream by Matt Foss) for all RE students.

– Battle of the Books update (Dana). 4th graders are liking having lunch together while prepping for battle of the books. Next battle end of February

– There has been interest in forming a Lego Robotics club at RE, SpectrUM is interested in supporting this and some ATG employees may be interested as part of their community volunteer program as well. There would be costs for a coach (unless a volunteer is found) and for the lego sets. Pam will check with staff to see if there is a teacher who wants to coach.  

– Let us know if you are interested in either an afterschool First Lego robotics program at RE or the public library (it is for 2nd through 5th graders https://www.firstinspires.org/robotics/fll/what-is-first-lego-league and this year’s theme is related to transportation: https://www.firstinspires.org/robotics/fll/game-and-season) although it may be too late to organize for this year…  Registration for next school year is due my mid-May…

– Big thanks to Melody for her work coordinating Direct Donate this winter– we raised enough to cover classroom grants next year!

8:50 a.m. – More fundraisers will be needed this winter and/or spring  in order to budget for things like the school garden, early literacy intervention, recycling and academic enrichment such as the MCT residencies occurring this week. 

  • Spring Auction Canceled unless volunteers emerge in the next week or so to solicit donations as well as a volunteer to coordinate the listing of items on an on-line platform for bidding.

– Our community’s generous anonymous donor has committed several thousand dollars in funding on a matching basis for an in-person event this spring so we are looking for volunteers to plan this in March, April, May or June. We could add a fundraising element to a recurring event that the bike rodeo or running club/fun run or we could plan something completely new. Lots of opportunities!! But we need volunteers!!!

  – Fun Run is scheduled for Thursday June 9th and is usually preceded by a running club (tentatively planned for May 2022) prior to 2020 & 21 COVID cancellations running club was held on Tuesday and Thursdays in May and the first part of June both before school and during afternoon recesses. Students could be asked to gather donations in April to support their efforts running in May and June. Past coordinators have led students through some warm-up drills followed by a short run/walk on the trails out by the PEAS farm and/or around the school yard.

– Prior to COVID some years a bike rodeo event has been held at RE in conjunction with Parks n’ Rec, Missoula In Motion and other community partners who may be willing to be involved and potentially add a fundraising element.

-Jen Sheldon brought up the idea of school supplies packaging as a fundraiser. Janel will forward the companies to Jen. 

9:00 a.m. – RE saw unprecedented levels of COVID last month and numbers remain records settingly high throughout our community. Let’s all do our part to support the healthcare community that is struggling to keep up with the influx of unvaccinated individuals. Things RE families can do to help:

  • Get vaccinated and encourage others to do the same!!! Let us know if you need information about why COVID-19 vaccinations are recommended or need assistance scheduling your family’s vaccinations.
  • Check students for symptoms and make sure their face covering is clean and well fitting before sending them to school each morning and keep students home even if symptoms are only mild.
  • Use face coverings in settings with the potential for transmission. If your student needs a reusable cloth face covering, let us know as we received another recent donation.
  • Keep our social circles small and outside as much as possible
  • When your students are healthy and able to attend school, be consistent with attendance as non-COVID related absences are creating extra work for teachers in terms of preparation and planning. Please be respectful of our teachers’ time and grateful for the extra work they put in to catch students up when they miss school. 

9:05 a.m. – Announcements

  • If you see out-of-date information on our website, please let us know!
  • The next PTA General Meeting is scheduled for Tuesday March 1st after drop-off (8:15 a.m. ish) but we are open to a change in meeting time if needed to include as many folks as possible– suggestions welcome! 
  • Our Board is looking for new members and volunteers, please consider reaching out to learn more.

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