PTA Jan 2016 Minutes

Helman Elementary PTO

January 2015 General Meeting Minutes

Date, Time, Location: Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016 at 6:00 p.m. in the library

Meeting called to order by President Sheri Cellini at 6:08 p.m.

Attendance: Sheri Cellini, Michelle Cuddeback, Anne Robison, John Williams, Mia Driscoll, Camille Siders, Avril Betoushana, Mary Snowden, Jessica Bendaw, Arianna Van Heusen, Phyllis Cooley

Introductions were made.

Minutes: The meeting minutes of 12/1/2015 were read and approved.

Old Business:

TGA Golf and Tennis-

  • This program has been adopted by Helman Elementary and will begin in February.
  • Mia made a motion Not to advertise TGA on our PTA website because we don’t advertise any other non-PTA sponsored events on that website. Avril seconds the motion. Everyone is in favor.

Giving Snowflake wrap up- given by Mia Driscoll

  • Went very well, ran smoothly. Children and parents were happy.
  • No gifts were donated to the Maslow Project
  • All snowflakes were fulfilled.
  • Requests foe snowflakes were low.
  • Worked great for the snowflakes to be hung in the office and to have the sign out sheet for snowflakes at Malinda’s desk. This was good to ensure organization of the process.
  • Big Thank you’s to Tia McClean, Mia Driscoll, Daisy Herring and Malinda Wood!

Ashland Pond Days wrap up-

  • Due to heavy winds, some classes have not gone yet. They are rescheduled to go January 13th.
  • All groups who have gone at this point were successful and had fun.

Sand Box Project- given by Mia Driscoll

  • Mia bought one small truck- load of sand to make sure it stays full enough. She also thinks a small amount of sand will need to be added every year to maintain adequate sand levels.
  • The tarp cover is working well. Playground Aids have been doing a great job ensuring the sand box is covered and uncovered.
  • Kids continue to love it.

Garden Project- Garden space in the Field- given by Mia Driscoll

  • Mia will be planting garlic with her class in the playground garden boxes.
  • Mia has a sink and a stipend given to her by Farm to School to install the sink in the garden area. Initial washing of the vegetables before they enter the cafeteria is a part of the rule structure of the cafeteria. So this is a great step towards having more garden- grown food in our cafeteria salad bar!
  • John raised the question of planting fruit trees in the field. Maintenance has a problem with having to mow around them as well as dealing with pest management. This would have to be a School Board decision. We at the meeting would love this to happen in the future. John will raise this idea with the school board.

Open Items:

Sound Boards-

  • For sale ad will be posted in Jan. newsletter.
  • No interested from Craig’s List ad

Stories Alive-

  • Sheri will contact Jeanne Renaux this month with our questions, as she did not do that last month.


  • Begins Feb. 18th
  • Jennifer will be invited to our February PTA meeting to share updates on this event.

Talent Show-

  • Takes place March 11th 6-8 p.m.
  • Stacy Poole will be invited to the Feb. PTA meeting to share updates on this event.
  • Sheri suggested selling tee shirts and also having a bake sale before the event. Her idea is to have the bake sale in order to offset the cost of the pizza purchased for the dress rehearsal the night before. Baked goods donated by participating families.

Tee Shirt Updates- given by Arianna Van Heusen

  • New shirts are ordered.
  • 50th Anniversary tee shirts: A design has to be decided on by the Anniversary Committee and printed by March

50th Anniversary Committee-

  • Michelle, Phyllis, Mia, and Malinda have volunteered to be on the committee so far.
  • Michelle will solicit more volunteers in the Jan. newsletter.
  • Committee business: party planning, tee shirt design approval, Alumni outreach and invitations, videographer solicitation, Helman History quiz creation, date and time setting, etc.

Student Council- given by Michelle Cuddeback

  • Meeting Monday, will plan on when to paint the “Buddy Bench” and have targeted a wall by the Music Room for the location of the “Work it Out Wall”. Still need to plan what the wall will look like.
  • In years past there were 2 student council groups, one in Fall and one in Spring. This year, she will stay with the one group all year in order to complete the projects that they have set out to do.

Guest speaker Dino Cellini presenting an idea for his senior class project-

  • He would like to create a 15-minute presentation on climate change and recycling to bring to students in each classroom. It may include a stewardship component such as student trash pick-up.
  • Suggestions were made for him to solicit nonprofit organizations for “freebies” to give to students.
  • He will be back at the next meeting to present the PTA with his final plan.
  • Mia Driscoll will be his Teacher mentor. Dino will contact her.

Teacher Update-given by Mary Snowden

  • Mark Sherbow will be submitting a request for $100-$200 to repair 40 4th grade bicycles next month.
  • Thank you from Kari Smith to the PTA for purchasing glazes. In regards to the Art after School program and instructors: better communication needs to occur to the instructors of the program about proper use of the kiln as well as better supervision of the children of the program when they are on the playground.
  • We are still in need of a Coordinator for the Art after School program in order for it to run this year. Meredith Page has all the information on the program and Sheri will be in contact with her.

Valentine’s Day Assembly-

  • Do we want The Taiko Drumming Group or “Tone Deaf” to perform? Teachers will decide at their staff meeting.

Committee Reports:

Treasury Report- given by Anne Robison

  • 3 tee shirts sold at the Holiday Performance
  • Sheri made the suggestion to sell tee shirts at the Talent show, 30 minutes before the program starts. Arianna will find volunteers to sell tee shirts for this event.
  • Teachers continue to submit receipts for classroom supplies grant reimbursement.
  • Playground improvement is in the budget as “Pilot Project 2”
  • At their staff meeting, teachers reviewed their classroom supplies list receipts to ensure accuracy. All is accurate and up to date.
  • Changing “Andy Strange” to “Carley Beilfuss” in the teacher class supply list.

School Board Update- given by John Williams

  • 2nd Monday of the Month a Public meeting is held in the Public Chambers that can be streamed off the school board website and is broadcast on public TV. These are intended for public viewing and not public participation. During these meetings, there is a public forum for 2-minute comments from individuals. If you would like more time, you may ask the board to be put on the agenda of the work meetings.
  • Budget meetings will begin and there will be discussions on how to spend the $25 million budget for next year.
  • High School Distinctions: H.S. won Jefferson State Scavenger Hunt; Middle school won 2nd place for this event. Winter Arts Festival raised $10,000.
  • The interim principal has become the permanent principal of the High School
  • Becky DeSalvo was instrumental in acquiring a $50,000 grant for Alternative Leadership, teaches and staff exploring running a school in a non-traditional ways.
  • Debate Team won a $60,000 grant from the Gardner Grout Foundation.
  • Starting this year, weighted grades will be added to students GPA so they may qualify for financial aid.
  • Current debate about allowing private transportation during school field trips throughout the district. Trying to craft a new policy to maintain parent drivers during field trips
  • Voted to create the “Facilities Planning Committee”. In 2018 Ashland citizens will vote on the next school bond, which results in millions of dollars for school facility upgrades. This committee will include staff and community members to start the conversation on these upgrades. If you are interested in being on the committee, email john Williams (
  • Looking at the school calendar for next year. There is talk about the board’s continued interest in shortening the summer vacation. A large amount of data shows that a shorter summer is better for children’s learning.

Next meeting is at 6pm February 2nd 2016 in the school library

Meeting adjourned at 7:53 p.m. by Sheri Cellini

Minutes compiled by Jessica Bendaw, Recording Secretary