September 10, 2013 Minutes

General Membership Meeting

September 10, 2013

6:30PM – Sloan Elementary School LGI

The meeting was called to order at 6:37pm by President Jennifer Taylor.

Attendance:  18 PTO Members, 4 Executive Board Members, Principal Mrs. Burns, and our new Superintendent Dr. Piraino were present at the meeting.

Welcome – Jennifer Taylor introduced the new Executive Board to the General Membership:

Jennifer Taylor, President –

Pam Rowell, Vice President –

Michelle McFall, Interim Treasurer –

Debby Rhea, Co-Secretary – – (absent due to attendance at Middle School Open House)

Wendy Lindeman, Co-Secretary –

Year Ahead: 

The Science & Art Fair still needs a Committee Chair. 

The Volunteer Recruitment Committee, lead by Harmony Torsell, will be a good point of contact if you are looking for a volunteer opportunity.  Harmony passed around a clipboard for anyone interested in learning more about volunteer opportunities with the PTO. 

The Bake Sale is set for next week at Open House.  They are looking for a few volunteers, as well as donations of baked  items. 

Spirit Sales started Wednesday, September 11th.  Wednesday’s sale is for K and 1st; Thursday’s sale is for 2nd and 3rd; and Friday’s sale is for 4th and 5th. 

Sign up for the Electronic News on the website:

Bylaws Changes: 

The Bylaw changes were discussed and copies were distributed to the Membership for review.  Michelle McFall moved to approve the changes, and the changes were unanimously approved.

2013-2014 Budget:

Jennifer Taylor recapped this year’s budget.  Our budget projects an income of $78.625, with estimated expenses of $78.600.  Mrs. Burns moved to approve the budget, and it was approved by the Membership.

Treasurer Nomination:

Jennifer Taylor nominated Nancy Golembiewski for the position of Treasurer.  Michelle McFall, and Theresa Gutierrez seconded.  Nancy was unanimously elected to the office of Treasurer.


Mrs. Burns:

As a result of the events that took place last December, the school buildings within the entire Franklin Regional School district were upgraded with new security procedures.  Mrs. Burns explained the new visitor check in process in the lobby.  All visitors must check in at the window in the lobby, and after check in, the building Greeter will use the recently installed buzzers to grant access to the building.

The Franklin Regional K, 1st, and 2nd graders will be participating in a Pilot Video program produced by the Rainbow Valley Fire Dept.  The videos are going to teach children about fire safety.   Officer Buzz Yakshe (the FR School Resource Officer) and Mrs. Shaneyfelt (the interim Middle School Principal and Director of Instructional Services at FR) were instrumental in bringing this program to our school.  The video program will also be supplemented with the Blackburn Center program, which we have been using for several years. 

Guest Speaker:  Jennifer Taylor introduced the new Superintendent of Schools for Franklin Regional, Dr. Gennaro Piraino at 6:55pm. 

Dr. Piraino grew up in Latrobe, Pennsylvania.  He attended Lock Haven University, receiving his degree in Special Education.  After graduating from the University, he accepted a position in York, PA and was employed there for 1 ½ years.  He then was offered a position in the Latrobe Area School District in the Jr. High Learning Support Department.  Shortly after, he was offered the position of Assistant High School Principal in Latrobe.  Later, he became the Assistant Superintendent in the Latrobe Area School District. 

This past year, Dr. Piraino was offered, and accepted, the Superintendent position here at Franklin Regional School District.  Currently, his wife and five children are looking to purchase a home here in Murrysville. 

Dr. Piraino accepted this new position because of Franklin’s community values in education.  This community wants what is best for our students and wants a true partnership between the school and home.  Franklin is also one of the top 10 school districts, and he wants to pursue a “Where do we go from here?” climate and focus on how we can improve so that other districts compare themselves to our high standards.

Dr. Piraino’s vision to accomplish our district’s improvement includes more technology in the classroom.  The jobs of the future will be different then they are today, and that will require our students to be educated in the ways technology can be used.  Our students cannot just be a test score.

There are 3 ways that our students need to utilize technology:

1)      Consumers of technology – to go beyond the walls of the school and use it for real time learning.  They need to be taught how to use it.

2)      Technology is used for production – Almost all job applications are submitted online now.  Students need to be able to demonstrate that they can use technology to apply for future positions.

3)      Collaboration – Social Media is a whole different world.  Twitter can be used as a tool to keep current on what your leaders and peers are doing in their careers.  Students can work together on projects without being in the same physical location using Google Docs.  Students can produce documents using Smartphones now.

What do we do to educate students with this ever changing technology?

1)      Smart Boards – such as promethium boards at the elementary school level to initiate an interactive response.

2)      Invest in technology behind the scenes.  Install wireless networks, virtual desktops, etc.

3)      Reinvest in our people – Attend conferences to keep current.  Offer differentiated instruction in the classroom, and bring that idea to the next level.  Our elementary schools are doing a good job with this.  At the High School level, build in more opportunities for partnerships and internships.

Develop a common vision of, “Where we can go?” and “How do we get there?”

We don’t want our community to experience the “brain drain.”  Instead, build opportunities so that our students can find opportunities and employment here in our own community.   To do this we need to build and foster community relationships.


Michelle McFall – What is the status of full day kindergarten?

Dr. Piraino – The community isn’t opposed to full day kindergarten any longer. The first 9 years are among the most important, and the impact of full day kindergarten is immeasurable.

Theresa Gutierrez– Are we still going to have High School books, or are they all online?

Dr. Piraino – A little of both.  There is a cost differential that needs to be considered.  We need technology to support development of electronic books or a BYOD(bring your own device) program.

There are several options to consider with the BYOD policy.  Some families can’t or won’t send in a device for various reasons. A self-sustaining program is needed.  A lease program is one option.

Harmony  Torsell– With your special education background, how do we help students with a diagnosis within the classroom?   There appears to be no way to help them right now.

Dr. Piraino – Mr. Regelski is a great resource.  We need training.  Teachers, support staff, and other students can learn to adapt to assist other students.  It needs to be a multi-layered approach.  Teachers need to be provided with professional development, as well as the Learning Support teachers helping colleagues understand the students’ needs.  There also needs to be a partnership between the teachers and home.

Michelle McFall – Are there big issues that the PTO and parents can help the district with?

Dr. Piraino – Many want to help the district through donations.  We welcome those discussions.  We need to work together to ensure that the foundations and groups offering those donations can be supported within our technology department.

Another way to help the district is by being champions for what we are doing.  Work with us to make the district better.  Negativity devalues the FR diploma.

7:35pm Dr. Piraino thanked the audience for coming.

The next meeting is scheduled for November 13, 2013 at 9:30am in the LGI.

Harmony Torsell moved to close the meeting, and Michelle McFall seconded it.  The meeting was adjourned at 7:40 p.m.

Sep 15, 2013 | Category: minutes, Uncategorized | Comments: none