December 2017 General PTA Meeting

Rattlesnake Elementary School Parent-Teacher Association Meeting
Agenda for December 6th, 2017 from 8:30am-9:00am
Meeting will be held in Family Connections Center

Please enter through the Main Entrance, walk straight down the main hall, and look for the FCC near the end of the hall on your left.

  • Welcome (5 minutes)
  • Funding Updates  (5 minutes)
    • Recent Grants
    • Budget
  • Fall/Winter Events (10 min)
    • Book Fair – Nov 30 to Dec 1 – Laurie and Becca
    • Direct Donate – Nov 20 to Dec 31 – Leigh and Maggie A
    • Spring Fling – March 16 – Auction co-lead & Activities Lead
  • FCC Update (5 min)
  • How you can help!  (5 min)
  • Adjourn!

Thanks to Black Coffee Roasting Company for donating this month’s coffee, and we will have scones from Scones by Jo!

Direct Donate Drive 2017

The Rattlesnake PTA works with the teachers, staff, and community of our school to provide both funding and in-person support for; special events, field trips, student and family support, classroom materials, and many types of educational enrichment. By directly donating to the Rattlesnake PTA this holiday season, your dollars go farther and everyone saves time and effort. Nothing to sell, nowhere to drive, nothing goes to waste- just direct support of the programs that matter to our students, staff, and community.

  • When: Donate from November 20th to December 31st if you want to ensure your donation is counted towards meeting the event’s annual goal. 
  • To donate online, visit:
  • To donate with cash or check: You will be receiving a pre-addressed bright green envelope in your child’s school folder, Donations can be either delivered to your child’s teacher in that envelope (just tuck it into your child’s homework folder), dropped off at the front desk of Rattlesnake, or mailed at your convenience. Checks should be made out to “Rattlesnake PTA.”
  • The suggested donation is $40 – this amount covers one child’s worth of PTA supported programs for the first half of the year.
  • Track our progress on Crowdrise! Visit the Direct Donate Tracking Page here!

Thank you for considering making a gift today.

Want more detailed information on this fundraiser? Read below!

The PTA’s Direct Donation fundraiser started in 2015, with the idea that many families were looking for a way to give money to the PTA without having to buy stuff or do something else they might not really want- like chocolates, wrapping paper, going door-to-door or office-to-office, and other common issues that come up with conventional fundraisers. Since that first year, the Direct Donate fundraiser has come to be the 2nd biggest annual fundraiser run by the Rattlesnake PTA. This speaks to the power of the simple and effective method of just asking for what people are willing to give. Learn more about the major fundraising and event schedule here.

We are committed to minimizing waste during this fundraising event. We’ll have a bare minimum number of handouts to remind people to donate, and all are welcome to return any unused green envelopes to your child’s teacher for reuse in 2018.

The net funds raised during the Direct Donation event in 2016 were $7620. The goal for 2017 is $8250, with a reach goal of $9000 if that seems achievable by mid December. Anyone can donate by check, cash, or online.

Donations by cash or check “go a little farther” because they do not have transaction fees subtracted from them, but the convenience of using a credit card (and the ability to send the direct link to relatives and friends) on Crowdrise is also very important. Donations via Crowdrise are charged as follows: there is a fee to use the online platform (6% of donation) and a separate credit card processing fee of 3- 4%, depending on size of donation. If you do not wish to pay these fees and instead want to maximize every penny of your donation, please consider sending a paper check instead. Make the check to “Rattlesnake PTA” and address to Rattlesnake PTA, 1220 Pineview Dr, Missoula MT 59802.

The PTA’s legal name as defined by the IRS may show up on your receipt for donating on Crowdrise- that name is the “MONTANA CONGRESS OF PARENTS TEACHERS STUDENTS.” We are sorry for any confusion that might cause. Your donation will reach us!

The Rattlesnake PTA is a 501(c)3 registered nonprofit, tax ID #81-0448185.

If you have further questions about this fundraiser, please email the PTA at


Holiday Book Fair 2017

The annual Rattlesnake School Holiday Book Fair will be held November 29th, November 30th, and December 1st 2017 at Rattlesnake School.


  • 8am-7pm on Wednesday November 29th.
  • 8am-7pm on Thursday November 30th. Special kid-free shopping hour with coffee and baked goodies will be Thursday morning from 8:30-9:30am.
  • 8am-10:30am on Friday, December 1st.

Where: In the Rattlesnake School Library.
Who: All community members are invited.

Overview: Each year, the Rattlesnake School librarian Robin Nygren coordinates with school staff, PTA volunteers, and local downtown bookseller Fact & Fiction to offer an amazing selection of books to families for purchase just in time for the holidays. This book fair is a fundraiser – a portion of the proceeds supports Rattlesnake PTA and school library.

Details: Students will create and then bring home their own book wish lists on November 29th, to allow you to preview what you might want to purchase for them. Teachers will have their own wish lists at the Book Fair if you’d like to purchase a book for your child’s classroom. Fact & Fiction gift cards will also be available for purchase.

Rattlesnake hoodies, water bottles, and other spirit gear will be for sale as well.

THANK YOU to the parents that volunteer to plan and run the Holiday Book Fair!

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!

October 2017 Indoor Air Quality Public Interest Meeting

Report from Community Indoor Air Quality meeting, held 10/16/2017

In attendance:

  • Alison Reintjes: Parent at Paxson, contact person (330) 806-2478,
  • Sara Coefield: Missoula Air Quality Specialist
  • Amy Cilimburg: Climate Smart Missoula
  • Ronni Flannery: American Lung Association
  • Carissa Benjamin: Parent at Rattlesnake

Summary of the meeting:

  • What: Develop a specific “ask” for a district wide initiative to improve the indoor air quality during the winter months and wildfire season to create a “safe place” for our students
  • Why: To address health concerns for sensitive groups and all children in school. Our local pediatric Pulmonologist, Paul Smith, from Community Medical Center, reported that he is continuing to work with children experiencing asthma exacerbations secondary to poor air quality this summer/fall
  • How: Initial course of action will be to discuss with Mark Thane, superintendent of schools, how best to proceed with a specific “ask”
  • When: After Amy meets with Mark Thane and a specific “ask” has been determined, we will likely approach the School board at the next scheduled meeting
  • Other:
    • If you are interested in being involved, please contact Alison at the e-mail above
    • If you know people on the school board, discuss any concerns you may have with indoor air quality
    • If you have friends/ family who are familiar with the schools current HVAC system, retrofitting, filtration systems, etc. encourage them to attend our next meeting or contact Alison
    • If you know of a group that could possibly assist with funding/grants for this type of project, speak with them and put us in touch
    • If you know of an undergraduate or graduate student who may be interested in indoor air quality as a topic of research, introduce us to them!
    • Once a specific “ask” has been designated, we will ask for letters or support and attendance at the school board meeting to show support

Notes as taken by Carissa Benjamin. The Rattlesnake School PTA is grateful for Carissa’s willingness to take notes, be involved, and share this information with our community!

November 2017 General PTA Meeting

Rattlesnake Elementary School Parent-Teacher Association Meeting
Agenda for November 1st, 2017 from 8:30am-9:00am
Meeting will be held in Family Connections Center

Please enter through the Main Entrance, walk straight down the main hall, and look for the FCC near the end of the hall on your left.

  • Welcome (5 minutes)
  • Funding Updates  (5 minutes)
    • Recent Grants – Kindergarten field trips; Recycling; 5th grade field trip
    • Budget- Beef Jerky (thank you Alex, Becky, and Carissa)
  • Upcoming Events (10 min)
    • Teacher Appreciation –  Nov 8 – Jacqui
    • Book Fair – Nov 30 to Dec 1 – Laurie and Becca
    • Direct Donate – Nov 20 to Dec 31 – Leigh and Maggie A
    • Spring Fling – March 16 – Auction co-lead & Activities Lead
  • FCC Update (5 min)
  • How you can help!  (5 min)
    • Spring Fling Team
    • Focus Group (will be held at 9am after this meeting) what can go into a monthly newsletter?
  • Adjourn!

Thanks to Drum Coffee on East Broadway for donating this month’s coffee!

Free Family Movie Night!

October 26th, 6-8 pm in the Rattlesnake Gym.

Join us Oct. 26 2017 for a free screening of a family-friendly Halloween theme film!*

Bring sleeping bags, pillows, and small camp chairs to cozy up in the gym.

Picnic dinners are welcome or purchase a slice of pizza, bag of popcorn and sweet treat from the concession stand brought to you by the PTA.  Each item will be approximately $1.00.  Cash is greatly appreciated.

This is not a drop off event.  All students must have an adult present with them.

Brought to you by the Family Connection Center and sponsored by the PTA!

movie night image

*we can’t include the name of the movie that we are showing on this website because that’d be against copyright laws. Scary! Look for the movie’s name instead in upcoming emails and/or handouts directly from school. And thanks for your understanding on this legal quirk.

October 2017 General PTA Minutes

October 4th, 2017 Rattlesnake Elementary School PTA Meeting minutes

Meeting attendance: Maggie Ward (P), Anne T (VP), Alex Stokman (T), Laura Fellin (S), Sarah Lee (Teacher Rep) + ~18 parents and guardians. It was a packed house!

Items as Discussed:

Funding Updates

  • Recent Grants
    • $1,850 – 2nd Grade Dance Program- integrates education and movement
    • $150 – 5th grade band instrument rentals for two students in need
    • $200 – new School Counselor request to use toward the purchase of an iPad
  • PTA Budget
    • $31,000 allocated for 2017 – 2018 school year
    • Goal to raise at least 5% more this year. Whatever is raised this year then forms the budget for 2018-2019

Event Updates and Needs

  • Open House – PTA table sold $750 of Rattlesnake spirit gear; FYI Rattlesnake gear is available for sale in the FCC on Mon, Wed, and Fri during school hours, or at any future school event that has a PTA info table. Great work on Open House, everyone!
  • Beef Jerky – Sales were up! 540 Units this year, which is 123 more than last year. Once the jerky arrives, several volunteers will be working during the day in the FCC to help organize it for distribution. Thanks to Alex and all the sorting/distributing volunteers- you make the first fundraiser of the year so successful!
  • Good Food Store Scrip, Fresh Market, Amazon Smile, Box Tops are ongoing all year – visit the Everyday Ways to Raise Money webpage for more info
  • Teacher liaison position – Jacqui Lloyd generously agreed to fill this position to focus on organizing events for teacher appreciation week, parent – teacher conference weeks (Nov 9-10/ Mar 8-9) and other monthly appreciation events. Her first event, which was donating tea on Open House day, was great! Thanks Jacqui. Volunteers would be appreciated for the monthly events, which will be the last Thursday of each month. An email announcement is forthcoming, or email the main PTA ( to volunteer to be part of Jacqui’s team.
  • Book Fair – Week following Thanksgiving, 2-3 days, more volunteers are needed. We partner with Fact and Fiction to support their local business. Kid request forms and teacher request forms will be available. The FCC will likely help purchase books for kids that do not have the means to buy their own, contact Jen Jencso to learn more about this. It was suggested that we advertise in our community for the book fair. Posters could go up in Rattlesnake Gardens, Drum Coffee, Riverside Coffee (E. Msla), MIS tackboard, CFS tackboard, and other bookish gathering places. Book Fair co-leads will pursue this idea.
  • Direct Donate – Leigh Greenwood and Maggie Angle will lead.  November 20 – December 31. We are making a fun giant thermometer so that we have a visual tool for the kids and neighborhood to monitor.  We raised $7620 last year. Our goal this year will be a bit higher. Billy Petrini offered to take on the giant thermometer project. 5th graders may be in charge of maintaining it for Meaningful Work. Jennifer Oakland suggested we remind people sometimes there is employee match for charitable donations, which is a good idea to increase giving. No keychains this year.
  • Spring Fling will be March 16th 2018. We are looking for volunteers to help out. The most pressing need is an auction co-leader and activities coordinator. The name “Spring Fling” reflects that we are moving away from carnival games; we’re looking for great ideas!

Teacher Updates

  • Teachers can utilize their class newsletters and weekly emails to share PTA information. Ms Lee requested some additional information for her to share out to teachers. Top Ways to Reach PTA was the #1 request, to increase efficient communications. Here is what we sent out for her to use:
    • Email the PTA at
    • Find us on Facebook for lots of updates, information, and event listings:
    • Visit the PTA’s website to learn about what we do, how you can help, and use our school and community quick reference pages:
    • Come to our monthly meetings from 8:30am-9am, first Wednesday of each month, held in the FCC room within Rattlesnake School.

FCC Announcements

  • Fall Family Movie Night is planned for Oct 26th 6-8pm. This is a family event, not a drop off event.  Volunteers will be needed for concessions- sign up here: Donations are welcome to cover the main expense: $175 licensing fee for one time showing, or we may opt for a $480 unlimited licensing fee for the year.  PTA will also discuss this as a grant request in its next session.
  • Family Fun Game Night, pizza, and family portraits in East Missoula will be this winter, date TBD.

Coffee this month was donated by Black Coffee Roasting Company. Thank you BCRC!

The next monthly meeting is November 1st 2017, Wednesday, from 8:30-9am in the FCC. Hope to see you then!

October 2017 General PTA Agenda

Rattlesnake Elementary School Parent-Teacher Association Meeting
Agenda for October 4th, 2017 from 8:30am-9:00am
Meeting will be held in Family Connections Center

Please enter through the Main Entrance, walk straight down the main hall, and look for the FCC near the end of the hall on your left.


  • Welcome (5 minutes)
  • Funding Updates (5 minutes)
    • Recent Grants
    • Budget status
  • Fall/Winter Events (10 min)
    • Open House – Sept 28 – Thanks to Molly, Alex, Erin, and Jen!
    • Beef Jerky – Oct 17 – 12:30-3p – Volunteers needed to help sort/distribute
    • GFS Scrip Accounts – Ongoing – Shannon
    • Teacher Appreciation – Ongoing – Jacqui
    • Book Fair- Nov 30-Dec 1 – Laurie and Becca
    • Direct Donate – Nov 20-Dec 31 – Leigh and Maggie A
    • Spring Fling- March 16 – Auction co-lead & Activities Lead needed
  • FCC Update (5 min)
  • How you can help! (5 min)
    • Vision screening could use a few volunteers (Oct 24)


Thanks to Black Coffee Roasting Company for donating this month’s coffee!

Rattlesnake’s Semi-Annual Food Drive

Oct. 9-13th

From time to time, Rattlesnake families experience unexpected life events that may leave them struggling to provide enough food for their family.  In an attempt to help with their immediate basic needs, the FCC would like to have a supply of non-perishable goods to donate.

At this time, we are asking just the Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grades to participate and to donate within specific categories:

  • Kindergarten: Canned Soup
  • 1st Grade: Non Perishable Protein (i.e. canned tuna/chicken, peanut butter, beans, nuts etc.)
  • 2nd Grade: Healthy Snacks (granola bars, cereal bars, applesauce, etc.).

We believe the food within these three categories has a high impact on nutritional needs, a family’s food budget, and is easy to prepare/eat.

Grades 3, 4 & 5 will participate in our spring food drive.

Please contact Jen Jencso in the FCC with questions or concerns. Donations can be sent in with your student, or dropped off either in the FCC or at the front desk.

Thank you for your generosity!