PTA PTA Meeting Minutes School Seth Boyden News

Seth Boyden PTA General Meeting Minutes, Feb. 11, 2019

Seth Boyden PTA General Meeting

Monday, February 11, 2019

Seth Boyden Library

Discussion about 5th Grade Musical

How do we get kids excited about the musical? Hold an assembly/rally with Kelly Heinz and the 5th graders. [Follow-up: Rally held 2/22.]

Minutes approved from January’s meeting

Assistant Principal Ms. Murphy’s Update:

Ms. VanDoornik invites the school to attend concert in Livingston that she is performing in.

Homework Club will be starting using Title I funds

5th grade musical packets going home on Friday

Ukulele and African drumming class for 3rd graders. Ms. VanDoornik will be helping.

Black History Month Celebration will be until 8PM

Request has been made to find out dates for NJSLA (new PARCC)

PTA has granted money for revival of Boyden Buzz. Parent Kristen O’Connor has volunteered to edit it. 2 teachers may help as well, if their PTA teacher grant proposal for it is approved.

Eye Exam bus – 50 people needed for them to come to SB. It would be from 117 during and after school day, March 19. PTA volunteer help is needed.

Restorative Practices Workshop was good.  Theme of Restorative Practices:  Healing the community after bullying or other incident.

Parenting Center Committee Report from Katherine Gebremedhin:

District has chosen the Controlled Choice model for integrating the elementary schools.

A consultant was hired to work with district- Principals, Superintendent, Ann Bodnar and Elizabeth Aaron.

Karen Weiland (Parenting Center Director) is chairing this committee of parents- 4 representatives per school, as well as for special education and preschool. Not much can be discussed by the goal is for parents to inform.

Committee is looking for more zoned parents. They are open to having more than 4 reps and  volunteers will not have to attend every meeting, so the more there are the better. – Ways to get out word: flyer (also translated to Haitian Creole) to pass out at pickup and aftercare. Also via class captains. [Follow-up: Parenting Center Liaison Katherine Gebremedhin reports that SB now has 5 zoned and 2 opt-in families representing the school, as well as 2 other opt-in SB parents in different roles on the committee.]

International (now Global) Potluck Update from Katherine Gebremedhin:

Proposal: Date change to Friday, May 5th to make it easier for families to attend.  [Follow-up:  Proper parties consulted and date changed.]

Flyer will be sent home for families to fill out what they will bring. Sign-up genius will be available too.

Doesn’t have to just be a food dish. It could be facts shared, games or other items representing a country, culture, tradition, or part of the country.

Name is changed to Global Celebration Potluck.

Hoping to have some kind of performance- either have someone come in, or have kids perform. Idea to have the African drumming class perform.

PTA VP Alison Poe’s Report

Upcoming events:

Roller skating party- Tuesday, March 26th (half day). Optional fee of $10. Volunteers needed

Hip Hop Party- April 27th

Communications system changes for district buses:

GPS on busses

Buses in communication with Principals and Principals will communicate to parents. Parents will not have direct communication with buses.

2019-2020 PTA Board

Trying to generate interest in new families to volunteer for positions.

2-3 VPs next year may be considered, but would have to be voted on by quorum at PTA general meeting.  Attendee asked if 2 presidents would be possible; Alison indicated that the bylaws didn’t seem to allow for it, but promised to follow up.  [Follow-up:  President Olivia Yearns confirmed that it’s not possible to rewrite the bylaws to add another president.]

Get the word out

Assemblies board position?

Some board members have indicated that they’re willing to stay on next year, e.g. Charlie Hanger in Communications (but a new Communications person will be needed for the following year, 2020-21)

Teacher Liaison Role is needed – current longtime Teacher Liaisons both have children graduating, will pass the baton for 2019-20

Open Forum

Question asked about substitute shortage- are specials teachers covering classes? Answer from teacher- yes.  Substitute shortage is district-wide, and at least partly the result of poor pay.

Does Title I go away with controlled choice? Answer from others- it will potentially be same amount of funding but spread across district.

PTA PTA Meeting Minutes

Seth Boyden PTA General Meeting Minutes, Nov. 13, 2018

Meeting held in Seth Boyden cafeteria.

1. Presentation from Kelly Heinze, director of the Fifth-Grade Musical

Musical will be Beauty & the Beast with minor modifications to make it appropriate for contemporary audiences and SB’s diverse community. Official interest meeting will be in February. Rehearsals will be Monday, Wednesday, Friday starting in March, 3:30-5:30 pm. For 5th-graders, possibly 4th-graders as well, to prep them for next year, if the turnout from the 5th grade isn’t big enough.

Wants to get a team of volunteers in place now:

– Crew Head: Would like to have 4th-grade parent & theater veteran Holly Raye in this role.

+ Proposes paying Holly $1000 either through fundraising or through additional allocation of PTA funds.

+ Would manage what Kelly hopes will be large, inclusive group of students assisting backstage with sound board, lighting, curtain handling, etc.

– 2 parents to manage kids at each rehearsal

+ Could Columbia High School students be rehearsal managers instead?

– 4 parents to help during Tech Week (the week before the show)

– Costume helpers: 3-4 people to help Costume Head volunteer Susan Holtz

– Set builders: Woodworkers, maybe, who can leave behind a substantial set as a legacy?

– Props head

– Show-day coordinator to manage the volunteers in the rest of the list below

– Program coordinator

– Sponsorship coordinator

– Pre-show montage coordinator

– T-shirt coordinator

– Concessions volunteers

– Ushers

2. Presentation from Juvenile Detective Steve Gyimoty of Maplewood Police Department

Part of new Community Policing Unit created in April 2018. Juvenile Detective. “Anything that involves the schools, I take the call.”

Runs LEAD = Law Enforcement Against Drugs (formerly DARE), which gives presentations about bullying, social media safety, drinking, smoking, drugs, even crosswalk safety to SOMA kids, especially 5th- & 7th-graders & CHS students.

Trained in restorative practices. Trying to keep kids “out of the system.” Can intervene with the local courts on behalf of kids in trouble. Sits down with kids & families.

Encourages families to reach out to him if we need anything.

Q&A: Sally Unsworth: Status of, PD’s involvement in formal district security plan?

Gyimoty: PD not directly involved. SOMSD Director of Safety Tom Shea has the most information.

PD has started training in de-escalation tactics.

Olivia Yearns: Nixle alert emails will now let Nixle subscribers know that a drill or an active shooter situation is happening. Call police department to sign up.

Gyimoty: Alertus also being adopted to deal with crises in real time. Cameras will show different parts of school. Will allow PD to identify, isolate locations of intruders, potentially allowing evacuation of other parts of building. Staff will be trained. SOMSD may be first K-12 district to use it; precedents are on college campuses.

Rebecca Barbacci: How to ensure safety at drop-off & pick-up in SB driveway?

Gyimoty: PD patrols can only be occasional. “We don’t have enough manpower” to enforce the rules every morning. Whenever crossing guards call out sick, police have to cover.

But is working with schools to help figure out long-term solution for safer traffic flow. LEAD program teaches kids to be aware of their surroundings, both for traffic safety and to protect from strangers. Maybe a safety presentation to 3rd- to 5th-graders (the kids who can walk to school) would be a good idea?

Principal Glander: Will follow up to schedule a presentation.

3. Presentation from Principal Glander

School has four required Code Red/Active Shooter/Lockdown drills for the year (all names for the same thing). Following a request from some families, Ms. G will send email blasts after drills to let families know. She has reached out to SOMSD Elementary School Social Worker & Field Supervisor Karen Weiland to work on district-wide talking points for families to address the drills with their kids.

Thanks to the PTA for the PTA Teacher Grants awarded earlier this month!

Title I funding updates:

– Surplus from last year has provided for…

+ 10-week after-school homework club 3 days/wk

+ 2 additional professional development training days for teachers

+ Access to additional online learning resources, e.g. Raz Kids reading site for whole school. If the resources work well with the curriculum, they’ll be added to the Title I budget for next year.

– Upcoming: Title I Night, Wednesday 12/12, 6:30-8:30, community event with Maplewood Middle School. Will start with a dinner.

Grant opportunity from National Council of Jewish Women to create emergency closet of clothing, underwear, cold-weather accessories at school. Council would build it, then stock it. School staff would be trained to identify needs without compromising students’ dignity.

Black History Month programming being discussed with faculty now, may include different cycles/themes. It’s possible that Ms. G may reach out to the PTA for some funding for books or other resources to support.

4. Presentation from PTA President Olivia Yearns

A) October 2018 PTA General Meeting minutes approved.

B) PTA Assemblies Chair Susanna Einstein is looking for SB community members who are engaging speakers and have interesting jobs that they’d like to talk about for a career day assembly sometime later this year.

C) Updates from October 2018 SOMSD PTA Presidents Council meeting:

– Board of Education Chair Elizabeth Baker reported that interviews for the new SOMSD superintendent will begin early next year after the newly elected BoE members are sworn in. An offer will go out in March or April. If the right candidate isn’t found, the BoE will look for another interim candidate.

Baker urges SOMSD families to refrain from posting contentious comments to social media about the district, because it might deter an excellent potential superintendent candidate from accepting the post.

– The BoE will approve the K-5 redistricting option, meaning that the elementary schools will remain K-5 and the middle schools grades 6-8 as space is expanded for the larger district student population and as an equitable socioeconomic distribution is reached across the district. This plan will be brought in December to the Board of School Estimate for Maplewood-South Orange, a six-person committee made up of Maplewood Mayor Vic DeLuca, South Orange Village President Sheena Collum, and two members each from the Maplewood and South Orange town councils.

– The BoE is seeking public feedback on the extras in the Long-Range Facilities Plan.

– Registration is not going to be online for the next school year. The plan is to create an online system in time for registration for the following year, 2020-21.

– Next year, the directory of school families will be online. It should therefore arrive much earlier in the school year than it did this year.

A revised PTA calendar will go out in December.

D) SOMSD Director of Technology Keith Bonds has let the PTA’s PARCC Score Errors Special Committee know that he 2017-18 PARCC scores of SB opt-in students have now been correctly assigned to SB. SB teachers will now be evaluated on the basis of correct data. Teacher and meeting attendee Shayna Sackett-Gable confirmed that the NJEA Union has been informed.

Unfortunately, the New Jersey Department of Education has told Mr. Bonds that the scores cannot be changed in the state-level system.

In Q&A of current meeting, PTA members suggested that the committee reach out again to Mr. Bonds both now and as this year’s standardized tests approach to remind him to make sure that measures are in place to prevent the errors from happening again.


  • Denise Anderson
  • David Cinotti
  • Nadine Etienne
  • Sally Unsworth
  • Holly Raye
  • Jane Buchanan
  • Shayna Sackett-Gable
  • Molly Goldstein
  • Stacy Merriweather Fontil
  • Alison Poe
  • Rebecca Barbacci
PTA Meeting Minutes Seth Boyden News

Oct. 6, 2018, PTA Meeting Minutes

Read the general meeting minutes from our meeting on Oct. 6, 2018.

PTA PTA Meeting Minutes Seth Boyden News

Sept. 6, 2018, PTA Meeting Minutes

Read the general meeting minutes from our meeting on Sept. 6, 2018.