Spoede Elementary School Association General Meeting Minutes
September 16, 2008

The meeting was called to order at 7:08 pm by Amy Rich.

In Attendance
SSA Executive Board
Stacey Acree, Connie Brawley, Jennifer Deutsch, Sarah Friesen, Rebecca Goldman, Jill Hunt, Charlotte Kelley, Susan Kemppainen, Maureen McGinnis, Amy Rich, Kari Vincent, Kristen Wild

Other Members Who Signed In
Please see “9/16/08 SSA GMM Attachment A” for the sign-in sheet

Rebecca Goldman moved that the minutes from the May 13, 2008 meeting be approved. Jennifer Deutsch seconded. The minutes were approved unanimously.

I. Principal’s Report – Connie Brawley
A. Connie welcomed everyone and said that the school year is off to a good start with a lot of positive energy.

B. So far construction is on schedule and the foundation should pour by the end of the week. We are on target to finish the new library by winter break with the hopes of moving in over winter break.

C. The teachers are very excited about all of the new technology. Dr. Benson recognized Spoede at the Ladue Education Foundation Breakfast as being a technology leader.

II. President’s Report – Amy Rich & Kristen Wild

A. Everyone should feel welcome to bring forward new ideas and feel free to approach anyone on the executive board with any suggestions.

B. The SSA Gazette is the voice of the SSA and will be moving to a bi-monthly format instead of weekly as there is only Sarah Martin producing it. If anyone is interested in helping Sarah, we may be able to go back to a weekly publication. Additionally, there was a computer issue last week and that is why it did not go home until Monday. We are attempting to keep fliers in Friday Folders to a minimum and put most information in the Gazette.

III. Vice President’s Report – Stacey Acree & Susan Kemppainen

A. Reminder that the Committee Chair meeting is scheduled for September 23 at 7:00 pm. All chairs will get their information folders then.

B. There are a few openings remaining: Passport Night (need one more); Winter Peace Celebration (need one – several teachers are involved but we need a parent to chair); Yearbook (need one – this year is different in that a parent is assigned for each class to take pictures and Wagner will be putting it together. A parent is needed to coordinate). Chairing and helping on committees are a great way to meet people and become involved with the school.

IV. Treasurer’s Report – Sarah Friesen & Maureen McGinnis

A. Sarah submitted the revised budget for approval (9/16/08 SSA GMM Attachment B”). We have two funds: one for the School and one for the Outdoor Learning Center. The budget is the working budget for the school year but does not include over $40,000 held in reserves. This budget is meant for revenues to equal expenses. Grants were higher than usual last year as the Parent Fundraiser did very well and we were able to purchase Promethean boards.

B. Points were clarified about the budget:

1. Schnucks e-Scrip Revenue. When parents (or grandparents, friends, etc.) use an E-Script card designated for Spoede, we receive a percentage of what that person spends in the store.
2. SSA dues may be paid to the SSA General Mailbox in the office.
3. We may need to amend the budget to include money for a magician at the Winter Peace Celebration. Tonight we will vote on the budget as submitted and amend it later if need be.
4. The Technology category has been changed to Teacher Grants.
5. Fifth Grade Party – Every year the Fifth Grade has an end-of-year celebration. When there is money left over it is often given to the SSA as a gift from the class. Extra funds from last
year’s Fifth Grade celebration was allocated to the Outdoor Learning Center.
6. Most programs (Parent-Child Breakfast for example) are break-even endeavors.

C. Daniel Spring moved to approve the budget (excluding Outdoor Learning Center) as submitted.  Kari Vincent seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

D. Outdoor Learning Center - Sharon Buchanan (Outdoor Learning Center co-chair with Sarah Martin) submitted a budget for the Outdoor Learning Center (see 9/16/08 SSA GMM Attachment C”) and spoke about the value of the program. Our garden is world class and many other youth gardens have come to visit. Our infrastructure is in place, now we must maximize learning. Sharon referenced a report extolling place-based education (available at www.PEECworks.org).  Vegetables grown in the garden are served on the cafeteria’s salad bar. This year we have an Outdoor Learning Center team of teachers giving their input. Learning “trunks” are being developed with topics, activities and tools (field guides, binoculars, etc.) as resources for classrooms. Sharon stressed the need for more parents to become involved. The total budget for the Outdoor Learning Center is $3700. Amy Rich thanked Sharon for all of her hard work. Sally Heller moved that the Outdoor Learning Center budget be approved. Nnena Achilefu seconded.  The motion passed unanimously.

V. Corresponding Secretary – Jennifer Deutsch

A. If anyone needs to be acknowledged or thanked, please contact Jennifer Deutsch.

B. The website has had some technical problems but progress is being made.

VI. PDC – Rebecca Goldman & Charlotte Kelley

A. Once a month the PDC reps meet with Dr. Benson and representatives from all of the schools including the Ladue Early Childhood Center. Report from the first meeting last week:

1. The District African American parent group and the Special School Advisory Committee are looking for more parents to become involved.
2. There are four board advisory committees: Curriculum & Instruction; Finances; Student Services; and Technology. If you are interested in serving they have copies of applications. A letter will be going home Friday as well.
3. Additional bus routes have been added affecting only Conway and Reed.
4. The Ladue Education Foundation Breakfast held last week is one way of raising private funds for needs in the district outside of the regular budget. Private schools do this as well. The Breakfast raised $26,000.
5. Spoede is a polling place for the November 4 Presidential Election. Dr. Benson wrote a letter to the Board of Elections requesting not to use the schools as polling places. The Board of Elections replied that this request would not be granted. There will be no school for students November 4. Requested that parents volunteer to be in the school that day to direct voters to the proper place and control traffic.
6. After this year, schools will now have to publish their own Buzz Books. Previously the District has done this. Recently the media has begun requesting Buzz Books as publici information. In order to protect the privacy of the students, the schools will have to pay their own publication costs. For Spoede this is estimated at $205 plus binding costs.
7. In the future class list postings will be held off until the Wednesday prior to the first day of school. The numbers and class distributions change up until the very end of summer.
8. If any Dads are interested in starting a Dad’s Club Charlotte Kelley has information.  Several of the schools do this and they have a website set up to share information.
9. A request came in from someone using a false name regarding the number of Muslim students enrolled at one of the schools. If anyone receives such a request, please refer
them to Dr. Brawley.

VII. Turtle Tribute Fund

A. Jennifer Deutsch reported that the Turtle Tribute Fund is a new way to donate funds to the SSA while paying tribute to or thanking someone. Notes explaining the program will go home in Friday Folders next week. Still waiting on the District to finish printing the tribute envelopes. An acknowledgement card gets sent to the designee and the donor receives a tax letter for their records. Donations may be anonymous and there is a $5 minimum. Once a month they will be published in the Gazette. Money will go to the SSA grant fund. Teachers write up proposals for the grant fund for things that they need in the classroom. The SSA board then votes on whether or not to fund each proposal. These grants cover little things such as battery chargers as well as big items such as Promethean Boards.

VIII. Miscellaneous

A. Volunteers are needed for Passport Night scheduled for January 23, 2009. There is a planning meeting October 1 for anyone interested in helping. Looking for volunteers and one more
chair. Contact Kathy Lang and Kathryn Lysinger. 

B. The winner of the Attendance Prize for the evening was Jan Picco’s class with the most parents in attendance. Her classroom will receive a $50 grant.

C. The next SSA General Meeting will be held Monday, November 17 at 7:00 pm.

The meeting adjourned at 8:14 pm