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PTA Meeting Minutes: 11/14/23

Whittier PTA Board Meeting
November 14, 2023
7:00pm In Person & Zoom
Meeting ID: 817 3911 8250
Passcode: wildcats


  • Renee Hartnett – Co-President
  • Courtney Sievers – Co-President
  • Jess Templeton – Vice President (running reflections contest)
  • Michelle Nemeth – Treasurer
  • Melissa Ivancevich – Co-Secretary (attended vida Zoom)
  • Emily Robertson – Co-Secretary
  • Kiana Swearingen – Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Chair
  • Ashley Schiavone – Fundraising Co-Chair
  • Leah Lansberry Austin – Volunteer Chair & Membership Chair
  • Anjean Vanden Bosch – Volunteer Chair & Membership Chair
  • Emily Schweiger – Family and Community Engagement – Outreach Chair
  • Jared Cortese – Programs Co-Chair
  • Jen Foreman – Programs Co-Chair
  • Laura Zingg – Programs Co-Chair; Student Directory
  • Jon Overman – Legislative Representative (primary) (attended via Zoom)
  • Kathleen Donahoe – Hospitality Co-Chair
  • Emily Grosse – Hospitality Co-Chair
  • Nicole Kaczmarek – Director at Large
  • Members at Large
    • Brie Gardner
    • Kellie Pecoraro

Non-Board Members in Attendance

  • John Shaw – Tech Support
  • David Peabody – Move-a-thon
  • Mendy Minjarez – Spirit Gear
  • Sara Lukas – Room Parent Coordinator

Community Members in Attendance

  • Emily Geyer
  • Maureen Nothum
  • Rachel Wold
  • Katie Stiver
  • Brianna Mercker
  • Liz Young
  • Jessica Young
  • Kate Scales
  • Will Scales
  • Sean Ritchie
  • Megan Herscher
  • Tony Toppenberg

● Meeting Called to Order / Land Acknowledgment at 7:01 PM
● Approval of September & October PTA Meeting minutes & May Community Meeting minutes
○ Kathleen motioned to approve, Sara Lukas seconded
■ Approved, no dissension

● Thank you’s:
○ Fall Festival
○ EDI Committee – Coordination of gender-diverse youth workshop
○ Fundraising – Annual Give
○ Hospitality – Monthly staff appreciation (Kathleen and Emily)

● Garden Beds, proposed by Elsie Smith, Ada Scales, and Rowan Ritchie (Poppy Tallarico Ross not
present) – $1300
○ Planter pots, flowers, wood chips, soil
■ Wood chips so it will be less muddy when it rains
■ 7 planters ($31.89/each from Home Depot) – 1 planter for each grade
● Will get plants/flowers (native focused) from Swansons Nursery
● Each class will get to pick 2 flowers for their planter box
● Resin planter boxes

■ Will take an aerial photo, then grid off, then cut out planter boxes to move
■ Will ask for volunteers to maintain plants
■ Would like to do in the spring
○ Old planter boxes removed
○ Conversation:
■ There may be some money in a conservation budget for the school that could be
used for this
■ Can also ask for a donation from Swanson’s
○ Vote to support this project, likely don’t need to provide any funds
● Gaga Ball Pit, proposed by Lucas Young-Frankowski, Theo Young-Frankowski, Denali Swearingen,
Ben Toppenberg, Henry Gudmastad, Nash Lyden
○ Explanation of how to play gaga ball
■ 15-20 students can play at a time
■ Use a kick ball type of ball
○ Inclusive, minimum equipment/maintenance needed
■ Whittier Kids also will benefit – Whittier Kids can no longer play using the
school’s mats because too destructive
■ No team picking; can quickly get back in the game
○ Would likely be in the top right (NE) corner of the blacktop
■ A concern expressed about location because the lower hoop better for smaller
kids is located there
○ Sweat equity & fundraisers
■ Going to explain to the other classrooms
■ The 6 students presenting will help build it
○ Two options (both have ADA access door & a soft base):
■ One: prefab, cut, ready to go
■ Two ($3500): purchase precut lumber, stain & build it
● Preference of the student group
● A dad is willing to do some fundraising
● Other parents will help build

○ Vote to fund the second option with a request that they fundraise $1000:
■ Approved, no dissension

● Opinion expressed that this bucket of money be prioritized for student-led efforts/requests
○ Cindy hasn’t heard anything else bubbling up from students
○ Feel a loyalty to the 5th graders after going through Covid

● Meeting Structure
○ Finding that we need more than an hour, but trying to keep it as short as possible
● Board Update

○ Two board members have had to resign: Joa Pope (Director at large) & Mandy Nelson
(Communications) – goal to fill these two positions by the end of the year

● Communication Plan for Board (Konstella owned by individuals)
○ In the meantime, Courtney monitoring communication requests coming in
○ Ask that the roles post Konstella announcements
■ Make Communications an owner of the message as well
○ Request for guide on how to post on Konstella and what is acceptable to post on the
various channels/guide on the role for Communications

● Standing rules updates
○ Going to share more broadly and then vote in January
● Insurance (Emily Robertson)
○ Unless any objections, going to add a media liability endorsement in amount of $25k,
adds $70 to our annual premium
○ Motion on vote to approve
■ Kathleen motioned, seconded by Jared
■ Approved, no dissension

● NomComm – VOTE on Committee for 2024: Jess Templeton, David Peabody, Kathleen Donahoe,
Mendy Minjarez
○ Approved, no dissension

● Legislative assembly update – Jon Overman & Molly Firth
○ Entirely virtual, Jon & Molly split attendance
○ Two issues, six resolutions discussed to vote on
■ Two issues:
● K-12 education funding
○ Included language about PTA’s not using funds to augment staff

● Traumatic brain injuries – a proposal on a ban on helmets used
■ Two issues & two resolutions were passed with amendments
■ Four resolutions that weren’t debated at all but passed
○ Next year will be the full resetting of priorities, so hoping it will be in-person
○ There will be a focus on legislative/advocacy in January/February
● Annual Give – Glenda & Ashley
○ Have a little over $54k (~60% of the goal, ~50% participation)
○ A comment that there should still be an opportunity
● Membership Goals – Anjean & Leah
○ Next year will start the membership drive (a 4-week “information campaign”) earlier (in
June) so it doesn’t overlap with Annual Give

○ Started out communications with what does it mean to be a PTA member, then what is
the value/why the PTA? Next week will be what does the PTA actually do.
■ Up to 115 members (started out with 77)
■ It was really effective to just remind people that they have to sign up again every

○ Going to send out more emails to just members about what we’re voting on at upcoming
■ Maybe have “PTA spotlights” – who they’re here and why they’re here
■ Add a “membership corner” or a “membership spotlight”
○ Want to be able to offer scholarships to families to be able to offer memberships to a
certain number of families
● Outreach – Helping Hands, Emily Schweiger
○ Helping Hands gift card drive starts tomorrow
● Room rep & holiday gifts – Sara Lukas
○ Would like ideas about text to send to the room reps
○ Need to determine if/how to give to all staff
● Program’s
○ This is Jared’s last day/meeting as Program’s co-chair

TREASURER’S REPORT (Michelle Nemeth)
● Review of Financial Reports from October 2023
○ Income: $32,786.75
○ Expenses: $34,743.54
■ Paid for $17,003.89 grant for school
■ Paid $5,516.61 for instructional support
■ Paid $2,800 for curriculum enrichment
○ Need to add a line item for Mr. Buck for money for bookmarks
○ Need to add a line item (~$2000) to pay for our 990 (reports our income & expenses)
■ Vote to approve, seconded by Jared
● Approved, no abstentions

● Really crowded 3rd & 4th grade classrooms
○ They only made staffing adjustments at schools that needed two or more teachers and
we only needed one
○ Question from a parent: how can we better support the 3rd & 4th grade classes?
■ Not sure, don’t have an answer yet
■ There aren’t IAs for gen ed kids, so can’t use IAs to do small cohort work

● Math agency has kicked off, serving ~30 kids
● Need to convey that we have a responsibility to fund intervention and that new cuts shouldn’t
be layered on schools who have already experienced cuts
○ We’re seeing a shift in the student/family makeup of Whittier due to upzoning
● We’re doing more inclusion at our school than the majority of any other school

○ Spending a majority of their time in the gen ed session instead of independently in their
own classroom

● Want to know from the district, what is the floor for our school – what is the minimum amount
of support/etc. we will have?
● No resources being provided for advanced learners
○ Trying to push the math agency to explore this
○ Ms. Trillby trying to provide some support to 3rd grade
● Would like to add student representation/participation in PTA events
○ Cindy making sure activities are occurring during the school day at the school so that no
one is excluded

● Cindy working on a presentation that could be shared with the PTA to help with the
○ Letter writing to our school board (before budget season that starts in February)
○ If we have contacts in the media to help get the message out/tell our story that
resonates and doesn’t disenfranchise other schools/families

● Sped classroom rep
● Reflections Art Contest Committee
○ Theme: “I am hopeful because”
○ Request to get students involved – no submissions yet
■ Submissions due this Friday

● Nominating committee
● Science Fair/STEM Night Coordinator
● Spring Fling Co-Chairs
● Tax person
Meeting Adjourned 9:14 PM