PS 87 PARENTS ASSOCIATION GENERAL BOARD MEETING
September 13, 2019, 8:30AM
Board Members: Cheryl Bennett Davidowitz, Jenny Licht, Doug Creps, Kim Hausmann, Melisa Tezanos, Sejal Shah, Jen Hoke, Jill Rackmill, Gillian Mollod, Angie Arlia, Megan Hoffman, Jessica Stanco, Melissa Donovan, Nisha Lima, Lora Martinez, Amber Entenberg, Stacy Cousino, Michelle Brophy-Campbell, Leila Brahimi, Natalya Murakhver
Quorum was met
Called to order by Cheryl Bennett Davidowitz and Jenny Licht
As the first item of business, Jenny and Cheryl welcomed everyone to the first GPA meeting of the year and introduced Linda Rosenthal, Assemblywoman, as the next speaker.
Linda Rosenthal, Assemblywoman
As the second item of business, Linda Rosenthal spoke about her role in the community as assembly member. She discussed pushing for a ban on e-cigarettes and that kids must be taught about the dangers of e-cigarettes in school. She also expressed concerned about lead in the water and has asked Chancellor Carazza about who tests the lead in schools. She reminded parents that her office is located on 72nd Street between Broadway and West End Avenue, and that all are welcome to stop by anytime. A parent asked about the District 3 applications process and Linda mentioned that she has been advocating to have a new high-school on West End Avenue for many years now. She also mentioned that the DOE is moving away from district specific schools, but their timeline is still not determined.
As the third item of business, Monica Berry thanked Linda Rosenthal for joining the meeting and for all she does for PS87, including approving new windows and doors for the school. She announced the upcoming renovation and will meet with the school construction team in the Fall as well as speak to the block association regarding the scaffolding. This will all be presented to the PS 87 community so parents can discuss and ask questions regarding the renovation.
Monica addressed the following changes in school programming and staffing:
– Cara Beseda has returned from maternity leave
– Carmela Brodo will be teaching in the ICT class with Michael Ziemski
– Carly Castle is no longer teaching 1st Grade, she is now the IEP liason (Marie Mooney’s position)
– Paola Jeon is now teaching ICT with Elisa Rios
– Cathy Roblas is covering for Genie Charette (Dual Language) until December while she is on maternity leave
– one less ICT class
– Laura Scanlon will be working with Laura Tepper
– Robyn Kurzrok who previously taught with Laura Tepper, will be teaching 5th Grade
– There have been changes to the middle school process and there will be a presentation on September 20th after drop off. Instead of an appeals process, middle schools will now have a waitlist.
– parents should start going to middle schools’ websites to look for tours and also to the CEC website
– Lucy Formado, the art teacher, has been excessed
– in lieu of art, kids in K, 1st, 4th and 5th grades will have STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Arts and Math)
– 3rd grade will work with Symphony Space in lieu of art
– Rachel Genicoff is slated to come back in February to teach STEAM but is currently away on a health sabbatical and is unsure about definitely returning
– searching to have arts organizations come to the school in place of not having art
Monica announced that Christine Loughlin is the new superintendent of schools. Monica will invite her to meet with PS 87 parents. Violet will stay on as secretary to the superintendent and Tracy will continue to be the parent liaison.
A question was asked about the new math curriculum. Monica shared that the Envisions program has been replaced by Turk Investigations for K, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades because teachers had to supplement the Envisions curriculum quite a bit with additional materials. She believes Turk is more effective in teaching mathematical concepts that stick with the children and ultimately helps provide a better understanding of algebra. They are keeping the Envisions math curriculum for 4th and 5th grades because students will need to be able to do math operations and manipulate numbers for middle school, a strength of the Envisions curriculum.
Monica mentioned that they are starting a social-emotional program at PS 87 which is a 3-year program. It is the Sanford Harmony program where there will also be parent workshops in math and reading.
Lastly, she mentioned that PS 87 was awarded $100K in participatory budgeting for this year. PS 199 and some other schools also received a $100K grant. While they are still finalizing the way the grant will be spent, Monica anticipates the addition of more interactive white boards and laptops in the classrooms.
As the fourth item of business, Cheryl and Jenny announced Amy August and Julie Benesch as the appointed Kindergarten representatives. Jackie Dolson-Shewchuk was announced as the appointed 5th grade representative and Middle School representative.
Jenny announced that the PA is looking for a parent with a special needs child to chair the Special Education Support Committee, where he/she will work with Carly Castle as a liaison between parents and the IEP process. She also said they are looking for volunteers to sell PS 87 gear and to fill an admin position to help Sandra Guirguis with updating and maintaining the new A to Z Connect system.
Cheryl and Jenny also announced changes to the Backpack News cycle. BPN will come out on Mondays this year and parents must submit items by Tuesday for inclusion in the following week’s publication. This year, parents will receive a hard copy in the home folders every other week. During the “off weeks” they will still receive an electronic copy in their email, which is now known as “Inbox News” (formerly the PA Newsletter).
As the fifth item of business, Melissa Donovan thanked PS 87 parents for all of their support throughout the year to help raise funds for PS 87. She encouraged parents to volunteer, even if they are only able to devote 15 minutes of their time, as anything and everything helps.
As the sixth item of business, Doug Creps provided an update on the budget as of August 31, 2019 (see Exhibit A attached). Doug also presented a report of the PA operating budget for the 2019-2020 school year (which starts July 1, 2019), which was initially presented at the June 2019 General PA meeting. He explained that the PA budget operates on a deficit in order to constructively spend the current surplus. The budget is structured to anticipate shortfalls (e.g., Auction is cancelled or Spring Fair is rained out) so that historically our income is often higher than budgeted. As such, the PA typically ends up spending 6% of the surplus each year, which will allow for sustainable and stable spending. Doug explained that the Galaxy payments in the budget is the money the PA provides to Monica to add to the school account.
He noted that all fundraising goals were met for the 2018-2019 school year.
A question was asked about the lack of an art teacher this year, and if parents can compensate with teacher funding. Doug reported that the art teacher it is a DOE-funded position, which can’t be subsidized with PA money.
A question was asked about the lack of Teacher’s Assistants in some of the K and 1st grade classes. Doug and Jackie Dolson-Shewchuk explained that some of the TA’s quit over the summer and the administration is working to find replacements.
A question was asked about why there was no crossing-guard in the mornings. Cheryl explained that it was an NYPD decision and encouraged parents to call the 20th precinct.
As the seventh item of business, Lisa Procopio reported that many of the expenses for our school are not covered by the DOE. For example, the library, assistants in kindergarten and 1st grade, computers, Boost Up literacy and math program, the 4th grade trip to Philadelphia, Lice checks, recess monitors and enrichment classes. She reported that PS 87’s largest expense is on Teacher’s Asssitants. If we had to rely only on city funding our school would look very different. The Family Giving money is not earmarked for any specific funding, rather it is included in the overall PA operating budget.
The suggested donation has remained the same at $960, however any amount is appreciated and it is participation, not the amount, which sets our school apart. She also suggested that people ask whether their company supports corporate matching for school donations and explained the concept of “Giving Tuesday”. She also reminded parents that there is the option of joining a monthly payment program on the website so parents don’t have to give one lump sum.
As the eighth item of business, Amber Entenberg announced that Harvest Fest will be on Saturday, October 25th. She gave an update that there will be a haunted house again this year and they are trying to dial-up the “Fall” component of Harvest Fest so that it’s not just focused on Halloween. She announced that they are looking for volunteers to staff the gym and to help with the bake sale. She reported that a Sign-Up Genius link will be in the September 23rd edition of BPN.
As the ninth item of business, Megan Hoffman reported that Enrichment programs are fully paid by PA funds and provide arts and music appreciation education to all students. The main programs are as follows:
- National Dance Institute: Kindergarten and 1st grade
- Chess: 2nd and 3rd grade
- Center for Architecture: 2nd and 5th grade
- Symphony Space: 3rd grade
- Ribbon Dancing: 3rd grade
- Ballroom dancing: 4th grade
- Jazz at Lincoln Center: 5th grade
Megan also said that they are looking into additional ways to introduce art programming, given the loss of our art teacher this year.
As the tenth item of business, Wilson Cano reported that there are still spots available in the Afterschool program, and an email will be sent soon regarding the next Family Fun Night.
As the eleventh item of business, Regine Vincent Bonet announced that she helps run the Culture and Community Committee. There will be an Internation Dinner Dance next Friday, September 20th. She also explained that the Culture and Community Committee is in charge of many other events throughout the year, such as the Winter Holiday Show, Pan Asian Festival, and Black History Celebration.
Heather Widensky reported that Broadway Night will be March 7th and requested that parents share any Broadway connections and/or stage management expertise. Corey Klid shared that NYRRC Rising Runners program is open for participation for both boys and girls in 3rd-5th grades.
As the twelfth item of business, a motion was made by Jenny requested that the June 2019 General Parent’s Association minutes be approved. Jackie Dolson-Shewchuk approved and Kelly Ramot seconded
Meeting Adjourned at 9:58am.