November 13, 2013 Minutes

Sloan PTO General Membership Meeting

November 13, 2013

9:30 AM –Sloan Elementary LGI

The meeting was called to order at 9:40 AM by President Jennifer Taylor.

Attendance:  The meeting was attended by all 4 Executive Board Members, Principal Tina Burns, Assistant Superintendent Mary Catherine Reljac, and 11 PTO Members.

Minutes:  Motion to approve the Minutes from the September 10, 2013 meeting was made by Principal Burns and Lori Henninger, seconded by Vice President Pam Rowell, and favored by all.

Vacancy:  Due to the mid-year vacancy created when Co-Secretary Wendy Lindeman stepped down, the Board appointed Megan Ciaramitaro to serve as Co-Secretary with existing Co-Secretary Debby Rhea.

Vice President’s Report:   Pam Rowell presented information about the following assemblies:

·          Josh and Gab – This interactive musical/comedy assembly, with an anti-bullying focus, was brought back to Sloan for the second year in a row in September.  It was a phenomenal hit with the students.

·         WTAE/Carnegie Science Center – Meteorologist Mike Harvey and the Carnegie Science Center were presenting a joint assembly about weather on the afternoon of this meeting.  Donations for Project Bundle-Up were solicited from Sloan families in advance of the assembly.  $785 was collected for presentation to Mike Harvey.

·         Carnegie Science Center Space Encounters – This assembly will take place on November 27 and present students with information and interactive experiences about topics such as life aboard the Space Station, walking on the moon, comets, and vacuums.

·         Wild About Reading – This assembly will take place on January 29 and will offer students a chance to meet and have (safe) hands-on interaction with animals from different countries and ecosystems.

·         Tom Diez – This traditional Field Day assembly has not yet been confirmed, as Mr. Diez is recovering from back surgery.

Principal Burns commended Pam Rowell for her work with the Sloan Administrative Team in selecting cost-effective assemblies that directly correlate with the curriculum.

Treasurer’s Report:  Nancy Golembiewski provided copies of the 2013-2014 Budget to Date and provided the following information about some of the PTO’s recent fundraisers:

·         Kid Stuff Books sales resulted in revenue of $2850 for our Sloan PTO.

·         Bake Sales were projected to earn $625 for the year and brought in $856.84 from the first sale during Open House Nights.  Three additional sales are scheduled for later this year.

·         The Fall Book Fair earned $2327.28 for the PTO, with an anticipated year-end total revenue of $5000 following the Spring Book Fair in 2014.

·         Clothing Sales earned $596 for the PTO, which was $96 above the anticipated income of $500.

·         The Student Directory was projected to earn $800 for the PTO and brought in $521.23, after expenses.

Budget Decisions/Grants:  Jennifer Taylor explained to those in attendance that this year’s budget for teacher/school grants was reduced to $500 due to the large, Membership-approved expenditures made to update the side playground and install a basketball court in the front of the building.  Some of this year’s grant money has already been earmarked.  The AV department will receive $150 for the purchase of classroom CD players to replace broken ones so that students can listen to Story Town lessons and passages.  Additionally, $200 has been set aside for use to offset the loss of district funding for the kindergarten orientation program.  This will likely become a permanent line item in the budget in upcoming years.  Anyone with questions about grants may contact Jennifer Taylor at

Fundraiser Ideas:  The following family-friendly/community building ideas were discussed to raise funds for the PTO:

·          Zumbathon – Nancy Golembiewski has a friend who will conduct a Zumba class for kids at Sloan and give the registration fees directly to the PTO.  The class will likely be held on a Friday evening in January.  Those in attendance suggested that perhaps a combined parent and kid’s class could be presented instead.

·         Hoss’s – Pam Rowell presented information about hosting a Hoss’s fundraiser.   PTO supporters would need only to take a flyer with our PTO’s account/code on it with them to dine Hoss’s on a designated day (likely a Saturday or Sunday in December, when shoppers are out).  Once $300 in food sales has been accrued, 20% of every meal tab (pre-tax and gratuity) thereafter would go directly to the PTO.

·         Chuck E Cheese – Chuck E Cheese offers a fundraiser that the PTO Board will look into.

·         Bingo Night – This was suggested as a fun, easy, and family friendly way to raise money for the PTO and will be investigated/considered.

·         Five Below – As with Hoss’s, Five Below will allow the PTO to designate one day for Sloan families to shop, with their official PTO flyers in tow, to earn us 10% cash back in sales.  If pursued, suggested time frames for making the most of this opportunity were before Easter and near the end of the school year, when shoppers are purchasing supplies for summer fun and travels.

·         Others – Anyone with fundraising ideas is welcome to submit them to Jennifer Taylor at 

Recent Events:  The following recent events were recapped:

·          Fall Family Movie and Fun Night – Because there were no Chairs for Fall Family Fun Night this year, Movie Night Chair Arin Keough agreed to merge the two together and did an amazing job.  The children had a wonderful time!

·         Excess for Recess – Chairs Laura Pasqualini and Pam Zimmerman said that the event was a success, but noted that only about ½ of the teachers patronized the “store.”  This may have been due to limited time available for them to shop or to reluctance to take advantage of the event.  Therefore, the possibility of opening the shop up earlier next time (2 years from now) and leaving the room open for teachers to shop at the end of the day was suggested.  Laura and Pam reported that Half Price Books donated 5 boxes of books to the event, many of which were taken by the Library.  They also reported that the itinerant (Occupational and Physical Therapy) and special education teachers were especially appreciative of their new-to-them materials.  Principal Burns echoed that sentiment and added that all of the teachers who partook were very happy with their finds.  Leftover supplies were donated to the Westmoreland County Intermediate Unit.  For the future, a request for materials that could be used during outside recess will be considered.

·         After School Programs – Debby Rhea reported that the first session of Lab Ratz is coming to a close and that the first Crafty Shack class of the year (a pumpkin plate) was a success.  Efforts are in the works to schedule another Crafty Shack class, as well as a class from Cookies and Canvases, for December.  Informational flyers about future Lab Ratz sessions will be sent home by Lab Ratz staff to each child in the school.  Information about Crafty Shack and Cookies and Canvases classes will only be available in PTO E-News Updates and E-Newsletters.

·         Wear a Hat for Cancer Day – Sloan families raised $1140.35 for the Hematology and Oncology Department at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh in September.  Asking for a small fee to wear hats may be considered as a way to raise additional funds for childhood cancer, funds for other charities, or funds for the PTO.

Upcoming Events:

·          Staff Holiday Luncheon – This soup and salad bar themed treat for our Sloan staff will take place on Wednesday, December 4th.  Help will be needed all day.  Look for information about food donations and volunteer sign up to come home soon. 

·         Holiday Shop – Classrooms will shop Monday – Thursday, December 9-12.  Help will be needed on Friday, December 6 for set up, during shopping hours December 9-12, and on Friday, December 13 for clean up.  Look for more information to be coming home soon.

·         Student Art Show – Mrs. Hartman will be showcasing student artwork the evening of January 21.  The PTO supports this event with a donation.  This year’s donation will go toward providing beverages.  The PTO will also be holding a Bake Sale that evening.

·         Talent Show – A Student Talent Show is scheduled for January 24 in the Senior High School Auditorium.  Originally, the idea was to have a virtual talent show where students would submit brief videos to be compiled into one video that would be shown as an assembly.  However, after a casual poll on the Sloan PTO Facebook page about a virtual versus live format, the majority of respondents were in favor of a live show.  In order to pull it together, several volunteers to serve as committee members would be required.  At this meeting, there was support for a virtual format, which Mrs. Burns explained would be easy to produce using iMovie software and also easy to showcase, as students could watch the show in their classrooms using technology already present in each room.  This technology would also offer teachers the chance to schedule the viewing at a time that’s convenient for them and to show the video as many times as they’d like.  A suggestion was also made to consider making copies for the DVD to be sold as a fundraiser for the PTO.  Much discussion was had, but a final consensus was not reached.

·         Basketball Court Opening – Construction of the PTO-funded basketball court began this past summer, but was halted due to staffing issues with the district’s grounds crew.  Every effort to restart the project at the end of this month and see it to completion will be made.  As per Mrs. Burns in response to a Member question, removal of snow on the court will be the responsibility of the custodial staff, who we are so fortunate to have working with us.

Guest Speaker – Assistant Superintendent Mary Catherine Reljac

                Mrs. Reljac was hired in June and began serving as our Assistant Superintendent in August.  She has been a resident of Western Pennsylvania all of her life and has served in various administrative capacities in several other school districts (North Allegheny, Hempfield, Gateway, and most recently, Pine Richland).  Mrs. Reljac began her career as a music teacher, having graduated from IUP with a degree in music instruction.  She served on the Board of the Pittsburgh Symphony and occasionally substitutes as a church pianist.  Mrs. Reljac received her Principal’s Certification from Carlow College and her Superintendent’s Eligibility from California University of Pennsylvania.  She is currently enrolled at Pitt as a doctoral student and plans to complete her dissertation within a year.  Mrs. Reljac resides in Aspinwall.

                Mrs. Reljac’s position with Franklin Regional School District is multi-faceted.  She is in charge of curriculum, instructional programs, English as a Second Language programming, Title I programming, home-bound instruction, and home-schooled students.  Assessment programming, public relations, professional development for the district’s staff members, and new teacher induction also fall under her purview.

                Mrs. Reljac shared several key ideas that she and Dr. Piraino are working on together as they collaborate with district personnel, district families, and community members.  The main focus is on the question of, “Where do we want to go as a school district from here?” and on “visioning” – determining, together, how we get there.  Tying in nicely with this goal is the fact that the district’s Comprehensive Plan is due to be completed by this spring for approval next fall. This affords an excellent opportunity to involve and bring everyone together to reshape where the district is going.  Another goal is to focus on instructional programming from K-12 that creates core experiences which focus on deep, meaningful, real-life tasks.  Part of the district’s vision is also to develop more partnerships within the community, higher learning institutions, and businesses and to begin to lay the groundwork for career development as early as the elementary school years.  Efforts to our support and enhance the skills of our greatest resource, our teachers, will continue through investment in ongoing professional development.  This year’s theme is writing.  Through teacher-led writing workshops, Franklin Regional teachers will learn techniques for fostering student writing across curricula and grade levels.

                Prior to wrapping up her presentation, Mrs. Reljac touched upon the new School Performance Profile which replaces AYP (Academic Yearly Progress).  Pennsylvania applied for a waiver to be exempt from the No Child Left Behind Act’s requirements, which set the standard for all students to be 100% proficient.  Most other states also applied for the waiver.  The new method for assessing districts’ performance is the School Performance Profile, which takes into account more than standardized state assessment scores, as was the case before.  The School Performance Profile considers student achievement, student growth, the number and types of programs offered, enrollment numbers, and more.  It is very new assessment method and interpretation of numbers/rankings is an evolving work in progress.  Mrs. Reljac noted that Sloan’s overall score was very good and that Franklin Regional’s was one of the highest in the county.  In closing, Mrs. Reljac stated her earnest desire for dialogue with parents and community members.  She welcomes feedback, whether positive or negative, and new ideas.

Adjournment:  The meeting concluded at 11:00 AM.

Nov 14, 2013 | Category: minutes | Comments: none