Spoede Elementary School Association General Meeting Minutes
November 17, 2008

The meeting was called to order at 7:08 pm by Kristen Wild.

In Attendance
SSA Executive Board Members: Stacey Acree, Tony Arnold, Connie Brawley, Sarah Friesen, Jill Hunt, Charlotte Kelley, Susan Kemppainen, Maureen McGinnis, Amy Rich, Kristen Wild

Other Members Who Signed In
Please see “11/17/08 SSA GMM Attachment A” for the sign-in sheet

Marjie Chuchola moved that the minutes from the September 16, 2008 meeting be approved. Lisa Goebel seconded. The minutes were approved unanimously.

I. Principal’s Report – Connie Brawley & Tony Arnold

A. Construction is on target to be completed by winter break. Everything is enclosed so weather is no longer a concern.

B. Love & Logic. Love and Logic is a discipline we have added as a Spoede School best practice. It is about relationships and the way parents and teachers can speak to children. It also puts responsibility on the kids to help them make good decisions. The information is presented in an entertaining way. There will be a professional development day for teachers on February 13th where they will be listening to 2 Love and Logic speakers we have asked to come in. The speakers will be doing an earlier presentation the evening before (February 12) for parents. 10 teachers were trained this past summer and the feedback has been very good. Office referrals of kids behaving badly are way down. We would like to train an additional 10 teachers next summer. There are resource books and cds available in the office that parents may check out. Parents are welcome to check them out, make a copy for themselves and return them the next day.

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

A. Revision of SSA Bylaws. SSA Bylaws will be revised at the next SSA General Meeting. Copies of current bylaws are available on the website. If you would like to suggest any changes, please contact any member of the Executive Board.

B. Grants. The SSA has approved a grant proposed by Monica Casey for harmonicas for 5th graders. Additional grants will be discussed during the Treasurer’s Report.

C. Past Events

1. Family Fun Night. This was the first time the event was held off campus and it was very successful. Financially the event was on budget. $1,000 was budgeted and we raised $325 from the raffle, $400 from the flashlight sales and almost $100 from kiss the horse. Thies Farm gave us a good per person rate as we had a lot of concession sales.
2. Gift wrap sale. Lisa Goebel reported that $13,732 worth of wrap was sold and 147 students participated. We get to keep half of the proceeds and we sold a couple thousand more than last year. If anyone is interested in chairing the Gift Wrap committee next year please let her know.
3. Hospitality Committee. Laura Smock reported that the committee has held 2 events and the teachers were very appreciative of the meals. The menu has shifted to healthier choices at the request of the teachers. The first meal was sandwiches and salads and the second was soups. Both events stayed within budget. Next events will be held in January and March. If anyone would like to join the committee, please let them know.

D. Upcoming Events

1. Winter Party. To be held Friday, December 19. Frilly and Miller, a husband and wife singing team will perform. The performance will take place in the gym and then 5th grade students will deliver a special treat to the classrooms, probably from Chartwell’s. This will be a low-maintenance event and does not involve parents.
2. All-school Skate. To be held Friday, January 16 at the Creve Coeur ice skating rink until 3:00 pm. The SSA will cover the rink costs; individuals will cover their own skate rentals.
3. Passport Night. If anyone knows a new family who would like to share their culture, please have them contact the committee. Already have over 20 countries, 7 of them new this year. The group Afrikilolo will perform. They are composed of children and adults. They will dance, play drums and teach our students a few dance steps. Some of the new countries that will be represented this year include Iceland, Greece, Spain, Canada, Australia, Bangladesh and another country from south America. There will be another meeting of the committee in January.

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

A. Updated Treasurer’s Report is attached (see 11/17/08 SSA GMM Attachment “B”). A grant for $499 to cover expenses for the winter party has been approved by the Executive Board. That is only addition to the budget.

B. Fundraisers. All of the fundraisers held so far this year have done better than projected.

C. Grants

1. The SSA has already funded $610 in grants plus the attendance prize ($50 classroom grant) from the last General Meeting for Mrs. Picco’s class.
2. Additional grants that have been approved include a request by the K-1 class to cover the cost of equipment to allow them to listen to audio books on tape and a request for National Geographic subscriptions to help 4th grade students prepare for MAP testing.

D. An additional grant for $1600 would be for all 2nd grade classrooms to receive 2 iPod Nanos (for a total of 10) to complement existing digital streaming curriculum for literacy. Would help students having trouble grasping concepts, reinforce curriculum and may also be used with audio books. Promethean flip charts may also be put on the iPods. At times the teachers may opt to pool all of the iPods together so that one class may use all 10 at once. The Executive Board has approved this grant, however, as it is for over $500 it must be voted on at a General Meeting by everyone in attendance. These iPods are for students to watch educational clips (such as Schoolhouse Rock), not movies. Mr. Arnold added that many of the schools already have these and as we are considered a technology leader we need to seriously consider funding this grant. Kristen mentioned that both Dr. Brawley and Mr. Arnold approve these grants before they are considered by the Executive Board. Marjie Chuchola made a motion to approve the grant, Lisa Goebel seconded. The motion passed unanimously.

E. Tax Exempt Letters. Committee chairs should use tax exempt letters. Some of the larger retailers can be sticklers so note that we are registered with Lowes and Home Depot. The retailers can check their system – provide them with the school phone number. If anyone pushes back, let Sarah Friesen or Maureen McGinnis know and they can take care of it as we should not be paying sales tax.

IV. Corresponding Secretary – Amy Rich reporting for Jennifer Deutsch

A. Thank you notes. Many have been received from the teachers for the hospitality committee meals. They will be posted on the website.

B. Turtle Tribute Fund. The fund has received $165, and that amount will be published in the next issue of the Gazette.

C. Website. Jennifer is interested in recruiting people to help us set up our own SSA website. We would like to have a link to a separate SSA website that can be updated by parents (as opposed to Trina Petty-Rice) up and running by December. We would like to be able to keep the SSA portion more current without taking up Trina’s time.

V. Parent District Council Representative – Charlotte Kelley

A. Construction update. District-wide we are on schedule. Due to construction, Ladue High School graduation will be held off-site at St. Louis University. The Ladue Early Childhood Center needs an $11 million renovation. Meetings are being held to discuss options.

B. Higher Education for Teachers. There is a new policy that all teachers K-12 will need to earn a master’s degree within 10 years. If a teacher has already been with the district for 10 years the deadline is 4 years. This is to stay competitive with other districts.

C. Research Project. Our district is involved in a national research project studying high performing school districts with regards to college readiness. Focus groups will be held during winter break comparing graduates from Ladue High School with research from Washington University. Research has also been done to determine what makes a good district and they have found 3 key elements: 1) hire good people; 2) develop them; 3) pay them better. These three points support the decision to require that teachers earn their master’s degrees.

D. Ladue Education Foundation Grants. $20,000 is available through the Ladue Education Foundation. Grants focus on all grade levels and academic areas. Parent associations (like SSA)
are eligible to write grant requests. The deadline for the proposals is February 1, 2009. This past year Spoede received a grant for “Study Island” software aimed at narrowing the gap between math and reading skills.

E. External Partnership Advisory Council. This council will be formed in 2009. The council will create a database of Ladue School District parents who are willing to speak to classes about their particular areas of expertise.

F. Infinite Campus. The district is gathering information to determine if it is beneficial to extend Infinite Campus to elementary schools (especially 4th and 5th grade students).

G. Bus Routes. Dr. Benson is looking into combining the high school and middle school bus routes. This would make the high school start time 20 minutes later.

H. General Election Holidays. In the future, school will most likely be closed on days that general elections are held as so many of the schools are polling places.

VI. Miscellaneous

A. Spirit Wear. For sale on the table after the meeting. See Kathy Karasick. New this year is plaid pants, fleece jackets and fleece blankets.

B. Amy Rich reported that Janie Spirtas requests feedback on pre-ordering schools supplies. Parents can order at the end of the year and then the supplies get delivered to the classroom at the ice cream social. With same company as last year. The only complaint was with the glue sticks and the company did replace them. Show of hands to see if we want to continue the program and most people raised hands.

C. Chess Club – June Lee said that many kids signed up and a lot could not get in and wanted to know why the numbers were limited. Dr. Brawley answered that they didn’t have the space this year due to the library renovation. Maybe next year it can go back in the library.

D. Kathryn Lysinger wanted to know if we would be having another early start day (as opposed to early release). Calendars are set two years in advance and then published. It was done as a trial so was only put in once.

E. Parent Fundraiser. The chairs are going to have a planning meeting the first week in December for the parent fundraiser to be held April 3.

F. Teacher Attendance Prize. There were 41 people in attendance and the teacher with most parents was a tie. Mrs. Picco and Ms. Eilermann’s classrooms will both receive $50 grants.

G. The next General SSA Meeting will be held February 2, 2009.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:00 pm.