September 2018 PTA Meeting Minutes

September 4th 2018 Rattlesnake Elementary School PTA Meeting minutes

Attendance: Leigh G (P), Molly C (P), Alex S (T), Stacy J (FCC), Amy H (Garden City Harvest) + about 20 more parents and grandparents

(Note: as this meeting was on the first day of Kindergarten, and out in the garden, we did not follow the typical agenda structure)


Two Notices about Open Positions

  • Vice President is open now, and we will vote for new VP at the October PTA General meeting (Tue Oct 2nd at 8:30 in the FCC). Everyone/anyone interested in this position should reach out to a current or former board member to talk about their intent and what is entailed. This can be a one year or two year term. The current board is hoping to create a list of general duties (like a job description) soon, and will post it to the PTA blog when ready.
  • Treasurer will complete term in May 2019. Shannon M said she was very interested in this position and wants to learn more- thank you Shannon! Other interested parties are absolutely welcome to also learn about this opportunity. It would help to have working knowledge of QuickBooks, as the treasurer position has a significant bookkeeping responsibility throughout the year.

Upcoming Events and Volunteering Needs

Open House is Sept 12th 5:30-6:30, we will staff a table and need a few volunteers. If you want to help with open house, please reach out to Erik F or Brittany H, or email the main PTA email at

Beef Jerky Fundraiser will start around Sept 13th (approx), we will need several helpers for handouts and sorting. Alex stated that she’d like the jerky to be distributed post-sale before October long weekend (that’s Oct 18-21) so getting started during the week of Sept 13th is preferred. Alex S has run this for several years and would like someone to help her co-lead it this year. Look for emails asking for specific dates and tasks, or email if you want to volunteer.

Bike Rodeo will be Sept 28th 5-7pm, we will need many helpers for stations and activities. Stacy J at the FCC is the point person for this event, so please email her at  <> if you want to volunteer either during the event, or as part of the planning committee. Leigh said she would like to make sure that Parks and Rec is able to give tours to families interested in the new Bike Park at Syringa (just north of Rattlesnake school, currently under construction) and would reach out to contacts at the city to involve them in planning.

Amy H from Garden City Harvest represented the Garden Committee and gave a brief intro. She would love more volunteers for several upcoming opportunities:

  • Garden Committee meeting is September 21st at 8am in the main entry conference room, all are welcome.
  • Produce Giveaway Table! This was a great idea last year that continues this year! Our garden is so productive that a fresh food giveaway is done at the end of several fall school days. The table can use a few more volunteers on Sept 19th 2:45-3:15 and Oct 3rd 3:15-3:45. Just show up at the Garden ready to rinse carrots and give them away to a bunch of awesome kids! Amy sent around a signup sheet and lots of folks were eager to help. To join our Garden specific mailing list, email and include a sentence about how you’d like to get periodic garden related emails.

Carissa from the Rattlesnake Wellness Committee gave a quick intro. The RWC welcomes all interested parents and guardians to learn more about their projects- better coordination with district wellness initiatives, the handwashing improvement work, and their recent success with working with the District and Climate Smart to improve the air filtration for indoor air in the school (learn more:

Jacqui with the Teacher Appreciation Committee is seeking more enthusiastic participants for their monthly teacher appreciation events. She said that their core participants last year were great and she is seeking more people to get involved, as “many hands make light work” when it comes to fun monthly teacher events. The teachers were incredibly appreciative of this project and please reach out to Jacqui (email and we’ll forward you right along to her!) if you want to be part of this great team.

May 2018 General PTA Minutes

May 2nd 2018 Rattlesnake Elementary School PTA Meeting minutes
Attendance: Leigh G (P), Molly C (P), Anne T (VP), Alex S (T), Matthew N (S), Jen J (FCC), + 7 parents


  • Welcome and Call for Additional Agenda Items: What’s for lunch group requested time for item
  • April Funding Requests Update:
    • Renie Gibson (music) – $400, misc – Granted pending clarifications
    • K-Team $150 NHC buses, $150 Ag farm, WFF bus $75 – Granted as written
    • Lisa Thomas (K) -$301.28 new classroom rug from academic enrichment  – Granted as written
  • Past Event Updates:
    • Spring Fling: Raised approx $9k Gross, final tally TBD.
    • Garden Clean Up:
      • Thursday garden cleanup didn’t have as much attendance as expected
      • Future events might need better promotion and/or timing
      • Long term plan for ADA accessible garden surface- gravel is no good for wheelchairs
      • Yes, produce will be given away this fall like last year
      • All garden updates will be on the website like last year
  • Upcoming Events and Volunteer Recruitment:
    • K Roundup is May 18th 2018. Email to volunteer.
      • Additional volunteers are needed for Round-up.  2x per session
      • Additional needed for the table outside in 3x 1-hour shifts.
      • Children are welcome considering parents may not have child care, just be mindful that they are not a disruption to the Round-up events going on.
    • Family Fun Night in East Missoula will be Tuesday, June 5, 2018 
      • River of Life Church is providing their food truck
      • No additional volunteers are needed at this time
      • Will have pizza provided
      • Weather permitting, will include family portraits
      • Maddie Delaney from PE will help with kickball and other events
    • Running club has begun. Please email Emily,, to volunteer.
    • Teacher Appreciation week is May 7-11. Email Jacqui, to volunteer, Fruit platters and as well as chips other appreciated incentives.
    • Staff Appreciation Thursday for May is the 31st. Email Jacqui, to volunteer.
    • Fun Run is June 6th at 12:55-2:30, with course setup likely starting closer to 9:00am. You don’t need to be a runner to help- this event needs a wide variety of volunteers, from orange slicers to race course pointers! Email Emily,, to volunteer.Find more info on our Fun Run event page
      • Last year needed additional volunteers for the course
      • Also more water needs to be available for walkers.  A refill may be necessary.
      • Letting the kids vote on popsicle flavors has been positive.
      • There was some discussion of headbands vs shirts, for 2018 we considered doing “buff” style headbands to keep cost and time manageable, currently the prices is $3 per 450 kids for buffs, we’d need more sponsors approx $2k total generally for the $100 to $500 variety and their logos need to be sent to exact image.
  • Additional Item for Agenda: Nutrition for school “What’s for Lunch” committee (Carissa B)
    • Will review food choices pertaining to Lunch and Breakfast.
    • Pam will be meeting w/ Community to talk over ideas May 9th
    • Open to more parties at certain point but there is a desire to keep the group relatively small and manageable.  Suggested to bring in PE and Health teachers when ready
    • Would like to review if there are policies related to nutrition that already exist.
    • Do other schools have programs that we could copy?
    • Should also be tied to handwashing and hygiene initiatives.
    • Will the program be tied to a reward vs nutrition only?
    • Discussion was spearheaded by Carissa, Becky, Jen O, and Keila.
  • PTA New/Incoming Roles
    • Web design: Jen P has accepted request to take over website maintenance 2018-2019, will be training in May and June 2018
    • Swag: Brittney H has accepted request to take over swag 2018-2019
    • Volunteer Coordinator: Vacant, Janel will be finishing up term in June 2018, if you are interested please reach out to someone on PTA leadership
  • FCC Update by Jen J
    • New FCC Coordinator will be needed for next year as Jen will be resigning.

Our next meeting is June 6th, 2018, at 8:30am in the FCC. Hope to see you there!


April 2018 General PTA Minutes

April 4th 2018 Rattlesnake Elementary School PTA Meeting minutes
Attendance: Maggie W (P), Anne T (VP), Alex S (T), Jen J (FCC), + 11 parents


  • Funding Updates: March funding request for novels submitted by Ms Dombrowski, funding was granted. No other funding requests this month.
  • Events:
    • Spring Fling feedback– thanks everyone! We talked about how busy the cakewalk was, and discussed maybe charging $1/head to limit it a bit. Anne said the Basket Team was amazing this year- kudos! Just one item didn’t receive any bids, which is a pretty awesome result.
    • Teacher conference feedback– food was great, teachers said they really appreciated the sandwiches, chips, etc. Nice that they can take it in hand and run, if needed.
    • K Roundup is May 18th 2018.
      • Remember, NO SCHOOL for current K’s
      • The K parents will sign up for sessions, likely all in the morning
      • Need a few volunteers for Q&A and swag sales
      • Will need to update handouts, do inventory on magnets
    • Fun Run is June 6th 2018. Find more info on our Fun Run event page
      • Glitter pops is the idea again for treats. The kids might get to vote on the flavor (lemonade vs strawberry or similar).
      • Our Fun Run lead will be Emily L again- thanks Emily!
      • Fun Run will need volunteers for both the run (June 6 in the afternoon) and the training runs (Wed and Fri mornings at 8am, Tu and Fri afternoon recess, starting April 24)
  • How you can help:
    • Teacher appreciation week is coming up (May 7-11), Jacqui needs volunteers. Jacqui expressed concern her teacher appreciation volunteers may be stretched thin, maybe we need to pace ourselves better or get more participants. Michelle N volunteered to help get popcorn in the future from Kornutopia.
  • Leadership Positions
    • Amended charter by vote to allow for co-presidents by motion and vote.
    • Leigh G and Molly C voted in as co-presidents. Thank you Leigh and Molly!
    • Voted Matthew N in as secretary. Thank you Matthew!
  • FCC Update by Jen J
    • Special note: Bike Rodeo will be moved back to a FALL event, will not be this spring. Date in the fall TBD
    • East Missoula night- end of May, exact date TBD. Likely to be something like softball, with a local food truck.
    • Contra (Folk) Dance Night – May 4th, will include a dinner, Jen J and Renie will lead.
  • General discussion
    • Need to update the 2018-2019 PTA general calendar to include our first day coffee social on the lawn, this was a very popular event!

Our next meeting is May 2nd, 2018, at 8:30am in the FCC. Hope to see you there!

March 2018 General PTA Minutes

March 7th, 2018 Rattlesnake Elementary School PTA Meeting minutes

Attendance: Maggie W (P), Anne T (VP), Alex S (T), Jen J (FCC), Molly Kast (Teacher Rep) + 6 parents/guardians


  • Funding Updates: No funding requests or updates this meeting
  • Upcoming Events: Spring Fling is coming up on March 16th with theme “Hoe Down!” Discussion was held about the grade-level baskets and the suggestion was made to make a comprehensive guide for the volunteers who head this up next year. Group also discussed the bid sheets and increment levels. The basket committee used a formula of starting bids at 25-30% of value and increasing in increments of 10% of value (this was later changed to increasing bid levels at $5 increments for items with a value under $70 and $10 increments for items with a value over $70). The Buy it Now price was placed at 25% over value. It was also suggested that we encourage people who win baskets to consider giving them back to the school. A few baskets and other items will be pulled out for a raffle. Jen J. showed the committee examples of decorations that fit with the theme. Alex shared that the food will include pulled pork sandwiches or corn dogs both served with baked beans, chips and a pickle. Catering will be done by Masala. Group discussed activities, including a cake walk, bingo in the library and dancing with Ms. Gibson and Miss Delaney.
  • PTA Leadership: The current President (Maggie W) and Secretary (Laura) will complete their 2 year terms this June. Please let us know if you are interested in a leadership position with the PTA. We will be looking for nominations from now until April 3rd. The in-person voting on positions will be at the April meeting (8:30am on April 4th). In May, the new leadership and former leadership will work to finalize and vote in the annual budget for the 2018-2019 school year. To learn more about this process, or to nominate yourself for an open position, please email

Next month’s PTA Meeting will be April 4th 2018, at 8:30am in the FCC. Hope to see you there! 

February 2018 General PTA Minutes

February 7th, 2018 Rattlesnake Elementary School PTA Meeting minutes

Attendance: Maggie W (P), Anne T (VP), Alex S (T), Laura F (S), Jen J (FCC), Molly Kast (Teacher Rep) + 8 parents/guardians


  • Funding Updates: January the PTA granted three funding requests- the 5th Grade Roxy/SPARK Arts mystery movie project; the 5th grade book set (The Inuit Thought of It); and the 3rd Grade “Olympic” Field Trip to Glacier Ice Rink.
  • FCC Update: Jen talked about  upcoming Family Jump Rope night on February 15th (see Event Listing). Jen said the Box Tops were going well. Group discussed whether the box tops money goes to each grade as the money is raised, or if it goes to the PTA to later disburse, or what is best. PTA board will discuss at their upcoming meeting.
  • Teacher Update from Molly Kast: Teachers are collecting basket items for Spring Fling thru Feb 23rd. They are sending out reminders via their classroom newsletters. Additional signage to remind folks about Spring Fling baskets may be up soon- sandwich board, posters, etc. They have been very thankful for the teacher appreciation days this year- congrats to Jacqui and her Teacher Appreciation crew!
  • Upcoming Events: Spring Fling is coming up on March 16th (see Event Listing) with theme “Hoe Down!” Planning updates- need about a total of 16 volunteers per hour to make it all work smoothly. Please consider volunteering for an hour! Link to sign up for volunteering is: The more volunteers the event has, the more potential activities that the Spring Fling can offer. There will be Bingo, hay bales for dance floor, line dancing, cake walk, “snake” walk, face painting, photo booth. Food choices will include fair themed food. Raffle is planned. Remember, this is a free community event. Invite your friends and family!
  • Discussion of forming a new “What’s for lunch” food committee in the PTA dedicated to improving the menu at Rattlesnake in general.
  • Fun Run is planned June 5. PTA will be asking the same person to run it as last year (it was great!). Running practices will likely be Friday before school and recesses on Friday, but that is not yet set in stone.
  • PTA Leadership – please let us know if you are interested in a leadership position with the PTA. The current President (Maggie W) and Secretary (Laura) will complete their 2 year terms this June. We will be looking for nominations from now until the start of April. The in-person voting on positions will be at the April meeting (8:30am, April 4th). In May, the new leadership and former leadership will work to finalize and vote in the annual budget for the 2018-2019 school year. To learn more about this process, or to nominate yourself for an open position, please email

This month featured a new PTA coffee maker, to decrease driving and be more efficient!

Next month’s PTA Meeting will be March 7th 2018, at 8:30am in the FCC. Hope to see you there! 


January 2018 General PTA Minutes

January 3rd 2018 Rattlesnake Elementary School PTA Meeting minutes

Attendance: Anne T (VP), Alex S (T), Jen J (FCC), + 6 parents/guardians 

Items as discussed:

New “Everyday Way to Raise Money” Program

Mabel’s Labels is a year round fundraising opportunity that sells sticky and sew-on style personalized clothing and gear labels. Cassidy has set up an account so that we can get a portion of sales as a fundraiser. We’ll be promoting it during key times such as January (after Xmas), May (prep for summer camp, plus Kinder Roundup), and Sept (start of school). The labels help reduce load in the Lost and Found in school, summer camp, etc. Discussion that we need to add link to website page for fundraising. Link to use is and select Rattlesnake Elementary from the drop-down school menu, to ensure that funds come back to our school.

Direct Donate Final Tallies

Direct Donate was a successful fundraiser again this year. Total net funds raised was approx $8800. Many thanks to Leigh and Maggie A, plus also Billy P for his awesome thermometer and keeping it up to date even in the snow and rain! We exceeded our goal ($8250), which is excellent. We received fewer number of donations this year, but a greater total value, confirming that the keychains/ giveaways from 2016 were probably not a good use of our time in 2016 and that the 2017 decision to skip it was not damaging to the fundraising total. Janel said the handouts were well written. Leigh said she’d be happy to co-lead it again with someone in 2018, will ask Maggie A if she’s willing for a second year. Janel mentioned it is nice to not need lots of volunteers, as recruiting that time of year is very hard. All agreed it is good to take pressure off the Spring Fling via the direct donation effort plus the successes of Beef Jerky.

SPRING FLING will be March 16th 2018 (this replaces the Spring Carnival)

Spring Fling will be March 16th from 5:30-7:30 and the theme is “Hoe Down!” Event teams are forming and there is lots of need for help with currently in progress teams.

Classroom Baskets Team: Carissa, Maggie A, Becky K- The new classroom basket signup sheet allows teachers in grade level groups to pick a theme and self-assign. They can also pick their own theme if needed. There will be an option to have parent opt out of donating an item and instead donate a small amount of money for a “PTA shopper” to buy stuff for the basket.

Auction Team: Anne T, Molly C, Maggie W, and Alex S, Erin S said she’d help with online donations but would like to skip cold calling, Carissa mentioned that Matthew N would make a great auction power hour worker. This group will have another donation “power hour” on a Tuesday from 2-3 in January, and maybe another one in early Feb (?). Jen O suggested more out of state/region donation requests because local businesses are so tapped out from people asking for donations. Idea also to go to chain stores with local presence, i.e. Cabelas, to help avoid the donation fatigue in local businesses, and also because they have online forms that can make it easy to ask for donations. Idea to ask Logjam Presents / Checota for Golden Ticket to raffle. Idea to avoid Gift Certs because they are not very fun, instead focus on gender and size neutral stuff (like hats, or mugs, or foods). Pitfall mentioned of auctioning single items when a pair is more practical was discussed. Idea to raffle a few fun items was discussed. Pitfall of having the kids really want the raffle items, and then be very disappointed, was discussed and it was agreed that considering only more family/adult kinda things for raffle, rather than toys/etc, might help temper meltdowns. Anne T mentioned last year we thanked donors via Facebook throughout the Spring, which got a bit overwhelming, maybe we can strategize this better this year. On-site Auction Caller still needed, was not discussed.

Hoe Down Activities Team: Maggie W, Anne G, Erin B, Becky K, Martha – This group was not present at the meeting today. Jen J volunteered to join the group. Talked about how the line for face painting was too long next year, could use more face painters and generally better crowd management.

Food Team: Alex S, Eric F – Hoe Down Food Theme was presented, to much amusement. Idea to have corn dogs and other Fair kinda food. Idea to have cotton candy. Erin S mentioned the line for cotton candy at E Msla Egg Hunt is always very very long- suggested we rent several machines and make it cash only. Leigh and Alex mentioned cash only worked well last year, i.e. put cotton candy plus soda cans and LaCroix on the other side of the gym from hot foods for crowd management and make everything $1 or $2 in that line. Discussion that cotton candy obviously isn’t healthy, but at least it is very fun plus doesn’t include any likely allergens.

Box Tops- Classroom Competition in January

Box Tops will be for about 2 weeks – official dates are January 29- February 9. Party themes are not yet decided. The question of whether or not teachers can/should/do collect box tops all year round was brought up; it is up to the teachers to either do this, or not, according to their personal preferences. Reminder that healthy inter-class competition on the Box Tops leads to more money for PTA funded school needs. Find more information at: 

Proposed Event – Skippers Night

Super Skippers may donate a Skip Night to the FCC as a Family Fun Night in February. Details to be fleshed out by Jen J, ASAP.  (Note: event date has now been set for Feb. 15th 2018. This event will be free for Rattlesnake families, and designed to learn ways to incorporate skipping into your family life. More info found here: ).

“Science with Mr G” Assembly

This event is now scheduled, but the date is exact date is unknown, probably in late Jan or early Feb. Whether or not the event will include a third, evening, show is still up in the air. (Updated 1/22/2018 to add: No third show is being planned at this time. The date is now set as Feb. 15th 2018: First show is 9:30am-10:15am for grades 3-5, second show is 10:25am-11:05am grade K-2.)

General Q&A

Discussion of a community information board was discussed. Pros/Cons of creating a Rattlesnake Parent group to share community resource leads. PTA board may want to discuss involvement at the next executive board meeting.

A question was posed as how best to contact PTA for general questions.
The PTA email ( is monitored daily. If the question can not be addressed by a member, or is more appropriate for administration, the email will be forwarded to the right person.

Next meeting will be Feb 7 2018, 8:30am in the FCC. 

BIG THANKS TO BERNICE’S BAKERY for the donation of delicious coffee and muffins for this meeting!


December 2017 General PTA Minutes

December 6th, 2017 Rattlesnake Elementary School PTA Meeting minutes

Meeting attendance: Maggie Ward (P), Anne T (VP), Alex Stokman (T), Laura Fellin (S), Jen J (FCC) + 9 parents and guardians.

Items as Discussed:

Funding Updates:

  • Approved $100 for several custom made class project books for kids in Ms Walsh’s class for kids who could not afford them.
  • Approved $150 to cover books for kids in need at the Book Fair.
  • Approved funds for a local Missoula Science show (“Mr. G”) that will happen in February 2018 to get kids excited about science. The show is normally twice in one day- we had an additional discussion about a 3rd show possibly being done during the Spring Fling or in the evening of another day. This needs to be decided at a later date.


  • Fall Conferences: Teacher conferences went well – thanks to Jacqui and everyone who provided food and helped with cleanup!
  • Book Fair: Thanks to Becca and Laurie and Fact & Fiction – book fair made $10,000 gross, which means about $3000 will go to the PTA. Discussion about inventory and getting more stock of certain titles so that there are enough to sell to all the excited kids – a number of the most popular books ran out on the first day. An idea was proposed that volunteers could put a post-it on the last copy so that parents can still see the title and see if they were happy special ordering it. It was mentioned that the gift wrapping station was really great and we should do that again next year. Learn more:
  • Direct Donate update: Over $4500 gross right now and balloons went on the thermometer outside to mark the passing of the halfway mark! Goal is $8000 by December 31, 2017. All were encouraged to share Facebook posts and remind neighbors about Direct Donate. Learn more: 
  • Spring Fling: Looking for some teacher liaisons to help with classroom basket strategy and planning- probably need 2-3 people. Becky, Maggie A, and Carissa volunteered to spearhead baskets – yay! Need people to make calls, too. Matt has offered to make calls, Molly has volunteered to call and email for more donations. We need an activities team, as well- Erin has volunteered. “Hoe down” is probably our theme as it is fun and simple. Jeans and plaid and you’re done. Activities ideas included pig calling contest, sack races, silly photo booths w hay bales, electric bull riding, others. Idea to sell custom themed bandanas. Maybe we can raise money by getting Pam to have lunch with parents and then that becomes an auction item.

Air Quality Updates:

  • Maggie W: No word yet on the grant proposal. We’ll let everyone know when we learn the timeline (edited to add: we were notified 12/11/2017 that the grant proposal was not funded. Darn!)
  • Carissa: Notes from the indoor air quality meeting she attended is on the PTA website:  New step is to secure a grad/intern/student that will work with the schools to determine needs in all buildings, and then make a presentation to the School Board. Carissa will follow up when she hears more.

FCC Update:

  • Box Tops start in January. Jen will need help cut and count box tops. We usually get 12,000 box tops which is $1,200 donated. Idea was suggested to tell parents about the need to trim them cleaner to make life easier at FCC. Jen will throw class parties for top 3 box top classes.
  • Jen would like to do a Super Skippers themed Family Fun Night in January or February. Everyone said that sounds like a great idea.

Many thanks to Black Coffee Roasting Company for the donation of hot coffee, and Scones by Jo for providing fresh baked excellent scones!

The next monthly meeting is January 3rd 2018, Wednesday, from 8:30-9am in the FCC. Bernice’s Bakery will be our coffee and baked goods donor of the month. Hope to see you then!

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 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!

September 2017 General PTA Minutes

September 6th, 2017 Rattlesnake Elementary School PTA Meeting minutes

Meeting attendance: Maggie Ward (P), Anne T (VP), Alex Stokman (T), Jen Jencso (FCC) + 24 parents and guardians

Items as Discussed

What brought you here today:

Attendees were asked to fill out cards to explain why they were at the PTA meeting, and what was most important to them. Most of the cards indicated that attendees wanted greater connection, a sense of community, knowledge on things that were going on, and opportunities that might arise to help the school. A few people also mentioned a desire to help directly with fundraising and grant writing. These ideas were discussed. Staying connected was explored: a combination of the PTA website, PTA Facebook profiles, handouts in Boom Folders, emails, and meetings was suggested. Greater connection was explored: annual community events, classroom volunteering starts generally in October, become part of the Garden committee, go on field trips with your child’s classroom.

PTA Basics:

Maggie shared how the PTA aims to (1) foster a sense of community; (2) support our teachers/staff; (3) support the safety/welfare of our kids; and (4) enrich our kids’ academic experience.  She also covered the basic school year schedule, detailing that the PTA covers both fundraising events, and community events, and one event that is both (the Spring Fling). The current PTA budget for this school year (2017-2018), is $32,000. Money raised during this school year becomes the budget for next year (2018-2019). Our fundraising goal for this year is $35,000.  The PTA has elected officers, some of which are up for election this winter, and some this spring, due to the term limits in the charter. Lastly, the PTA is a member of the state PTA and the national PTA, and it was mentioned that it might make sense to create connections with other MCPS elementary school PTAs if they are willing/able, for growth and community.

How you can help!:

The PTA has a busy September and October with brief volunteer needs for many single-day events. Events discussed are as follows:

  • Sept 15: SPARK Arts School Garden Party will be from 3:30-5:30. No volunteers needed for this party, this is a community event.
  • Sept 20: Beef Jerky fundraising forms due to teachers. Volunteers will be needed in October to support this fundraiser, see below.
  • Sept 20: Individual School Pictures. 1- 2 volunteers needed to usher kids to their spots.
  • Sept 22: Hearing Screening: 1- 2 volunteers needed to help keep screening running smoothly.
  • Sept 28: Open House from 5-6pm. PTA will have an info table and apparel for sale.
  • Oct 10+11: Beef Jerky Fundraiser. 1-2 volunteers needed to help sort and collate beef jerky orders for distribution.
  • November (exact date TBD): Book Fair!  2-4 volunteers to help our librarian with the annual book fair.

To volunteer for any of these opportunities, please email

Other business as discussed:

The school garden has a lot of produce to give away. It will be given away to students at the end of a school day once a week (originally Thursday, was shifted to Wednesday) by parent volunteers, until the produce is done- around mid October depending on the weather. The schedule of giveaway will rotate to ensure it covers most classes/days/schedules. To volunteer to help with produce giveaways, see:

Funding Requests:

No new funding requests brought up at this meeting.

Adjourned at 9:00am

Thank You to Hygge Coffee for hot delicious coffee for our meeting!

The next PTA meeting will be at 8:30am October 4th in the Family Connections Center (near the old gym).