SLT Meeting Minutes, June 14, 2021

SLT Meeting – June 14, 2021

In Attendance: Angie Arlia (PA Chair), Diane Berman (Teacher), Monica Berry (Principal), Rita Kakati-Shah (PA Chair), Cindy Lachow (Teacher), Lauri Posner (Teacher, Union Rep), Jennifer Stark (Parent Coordinator), Kristin Meister (Parent), Jill Rackmill (Parent); Andrei Clark (Teacher), Barbara Kissane, Beatrice Yang (Guest Parent)

May Minutes

  • The parents expressed a thank you to all teachers and administrators of the school for this year.  Angie approved the Minutes and Lauri seconded them and they are so approved.

Principal’s Report – Monica

  • This was skipped until Monica arrived and the PA Update commenced.
  • Monica is trying to get budget information but she did not receive it before this meeting.  She will not get it until Friday.  The biggest question principals have is whether the 3 feet safety protocols will be in place such that they should plan for that.  It makes it difficult to figure out a Table of Organization.
  • The DOE gives the principals a number of kids and that dictates who comes off the wait list for admission.  The real issue is teachers and whether to hire or fire depends on the budget and number of kids.
  • There will be a lot of new funding that PS 87 will receive from the COVID money.
  • Currently there is little allocated to certain budget lines and we just do not have the information on it.
  • There hasn’t been a Budget Meeting yet but the schools will still get their budgets.
  • All schools were given an allocation for a summer school AP because they were all supposed to have a Summer Rising program but ours will not be held at PS 87.  We still keep that money apparently.
  • Monica is hoping that the federal government money does not get wasted.
  • Monica will keep the SLT posted on the budget issues.
  • For Summer Rising they are seeing more students show up on the list but not everyone who applied.  There are children who are registered for 3 different schools.  It updates every Tuesday.
  • They are registered at PS 191 and 145 in District 3, and in District 6 as well.  You can sign up for Summer Rising in different Districts.  PS 191 is at capacity already.
  • Monica will be assigned to PS 191.
  • The Chancellor has asked for Open Houses for kids working remotely.  Three families will be coming in to the school.  Many people are not here.
  • Monica is thinking for the end of the Summer if the building is open and empty people might be able to visit or have a gathering.
  • Kindergarten families have never seen the inside of the building potentially.
  • There is an added complication of the construction on site.  
  • There is an issue with respect to having the teachers be able to come in and get their rooms set up.
  • Construction workers said that they should be ready for people to come into the school by August 30th.
  • Jill suggested a walk and talk video for families that Monica could do.
  • Jill wrote to the Superintendent’s Office this week regarding recent videos of the schools where people were not wearing masks.  Jill has also heard that some parents are not wearing masks.  She will send the name to Monica so that she can look into it.  Also on Facebook there was a video about a teacher who said she was from PS 333 and it is unclear if she was a teacher but she was talking about vaccination issues.
  • Monica stated that it is important that the safety protocols are followed.
  • The current understanding is that elementary kids will still wear masks at school inside and outside.
  • Jill asked what the policy is if a teacher is not wearing a mask?  Lori doesn’t know because it hasn’t come up yet for a teacher.
  • School hours will go back to what they were pre-pandemic in the Fall.  It will not start at 9 AM but likely 8:40-2:40. 
  • Next year priorities are social-emotional learning for both children and adults.  There needs to be work on healing.
  • Next year it will not be as it was pre-pandemic.
  • We need to build back the community next year. 
  • Monica has been working with the PA regarding Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and getting a team up and running.  It is important to Monica that everyone feels like they belong in the community.  Rita will be helping with this.
  • The third aspect of next year’s focus is the Academics to figure out where kids are at this point and what do they know?
  • Jill is wondering if there is a way for federal money to be used for assessments.  Monica says there is lots of money coming but she is hearing rumblings about different asks for schools.  
  • We as a school community need to discuss what we want to do assessment-wise.
  • Monica said she believes that having smaller class size would help with social-emotional learning.
  • Jill noted that there have been parent advocacy options for that as well.
  • We hopefully will never go back to 10 kids in the classroom but the kids felt more comfortable and seen and heard with 10 kids.
  • Bea noted that Middle School is very worried about engagement with the kids in the remote classes.  The remote teachers on the meeting noted that some kids never handed in any work or didn’t come to Zooms.  The teachers said that what will help is being in person at school.
  • Bea asked if we could make after school a free option for kids to read with an adult or something else.
  • Monica said we hope to have parents as reading partners again next year but we don’t have the information on adults visiting the building.
  • Lauri noted that some of the kids that had problems will be fine once they get back in the building and might not need afterschool.
  • Cindy noted that these kids who were remote will be exhausted as they haven’t done it in a year.
  • Diane noted that the remote kids will be more behind and so a smaller class size can focus the help for them in class.
  • Bea asked if the PA could pay for enrichment teachers to do academic support.  Monica noted that the PA already pays for specialists.  Anyone who is not a classroom teacher the PA can pay for.
  • Monica noted that we have a Math Boost Up program for 2nd and 3rd grade. 1st grade has the reading program.
  • The PA dipped into the money in the bank a bit this year because they didn’t raise as much as they spent.
  • There will be a few years more likely where the PA will dip into their money in the bank.
  • We need to see what we need before we spend.
  • The DOE could be giving money for intervention – we just don’t know.
  • Monica said they got survey results about families returning.  She said they got a good number of responses.  
  • Bea asked if there will be virtual meetings next year.  Monica said that right now that is what they are saying will happen.  Parent/Teacher conferences will not be in person – they will be held remotely.  Monica thinks that things in the Fall will remain the same.
  • Jennifer said they had 330 responses to the “are you returning?” survey and 12% said they are not returning.
  • Monica said it is a little more than normal but not nearly as bad as last year.  It is not capturing the people who left but are returning.  This summer there will be more in and out than we have seen before.
  • UFT number for the class is 32 kids. If we have 28 kids in a class and someone from out of district applies we hold the seat in case more in district kids return because PS 87 has to take them.
  • Jill mentioned that there was a lot of talk of Middle School Wait Lists recently and how it is the Wild West with no official wait list.
  • Monica said that when the appeals time closed you do registration over the counter and now there is no appeals time.  Monica said it does not have to go through the Office of Enrollment.  These are “Over-the-Counter” kids.
  • You can go straight to the school for this.
  • Lauri asked for remote meetings what the policy will be – she would prefer to meet in person because it is far superior. Monica said it will likely be up to the staff who will make the decision as a group.
  • Monica said they can have it in person as well as virtual.

PA Update – Angie

  • They are focused on getting ready for the Fall and getting the calendar of events ready.  They are working on having an event to welcome the entire school back rather than new people.
  • They are focusing on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion work.
  • They are hoping for more social engagement in the Fall.
  • This Friday at dismissal in lieu of the Spring Fair there will be bags given out to students as they leave.  If teachers are in the building they should duck out quickly as there are water toys in there.
  • There was a Garden Party on Friday.  At the end of the year it is an event to say goodbye and to thank active members of the Parent Association.  It was mixed from last year’s which was canceled.
  • Wednesday evening is PA drinks at Da Capo.
  • With respect to Afterschool it is still being put together but it will happen in the Fall.  The contract has not yet been signed by the new Director.  There were 3 very good candidates.
  • A number of PA committee members have elected to step down so there will be elections in September. There will be a new Communications and Auction Chair.
  • Jill gave an update at the recent PA meeting with respect to middle school and diversity.  District 3 Middle School Diversity Initiative had numbers that went up with respect to free or reduced lunch.
  • Lauri said that this year Middle School admissions looked no different from previous years.  It is the same schools that PS 87 kids have traditionally gone to.  It is unclear that the new approach will further diversity goals.
  • Families put more school choices down this year for Middle School.  It could have been due to virtual forums.
  • Lauri noted that school size matters – for example Booker T is very large.

New Business

  • Jill asked if we were supposed to be doing a CEP.  Bea looked and didn’t see it on the site.
  • Monica has access to it but it would be very difficult for us to do it as we have no test score data, etc. and without a budget it is hard.  She will check the boxes that we did it and then work on it in the Fall.  This is how it works normally anyway.  The work will be done in the Fall.
  • Monica and Angie’s points already discussed are for the Fall Lauri noted – social-emotional learning, etc.
  • Bea noted that the staff don’t need the CEP to do their job.
  • Bea was wondering if we should add a line about inclusivity to the by-laws in the Fall.  She thinks it is more important in the PA by-laws.
  • Bea will share potential language with Monica.
  • Bea said our school is diverse and it is nice to have it in writing.
  • Lauri said that SLT decisions are by consensus and we don’t vote.  Angie said that for the PA the by-laws would need to be a vote and presented in Executive Meeting and then presented at the next meeting.
  • This can be on New SLT Business for the Fall.
  • Monica thinks that having it in writing assists with getting it done.
  • Monica has a meeting with principals tomorrow who have RULER in place.  We might not be able to get in until December for training given how booked up they are.  Monica will send us information so that we can hit the ground running in the Fall.
  • Monica did not realize that the Superintendent took them through something based in RULER earlier.
  • There was a lot of North versus South issues when the new Chancellor came in and a lot of it had to do with race as well as geography for District 3.
  • The new Chancellor said she wants schools to use what they want but she used RULER a lot in her meetings.
  • Rita said via Zoom chat that we can have a “to do” as part of the new DEI Task Force to update the bylaws and she would suggest we also include something in the yet to be written Afterschool ones as well.
  • Bea asked when we would know about what teachers are teaching what class.  Monica said we would find out in August.  Lauri said the teachers probably won’t even know until August.
  • There was a discussion about “looping.”  
  • Lauri asked about safety protocols such as surfaces.  
  • Cindy said that a lot of the Department of Health schools pre-K and younger require a mask but they are still playing with each other and sharing materials.  The DOE and DOH guidance was different in some areas.
  • The DOE is not giving Monica a second pre-K but she did ask for it.  They did not give it because there are some schools out there (not ours) that would not be able to accommodate all of the students if you keep the 3 feet distance so there was a decision that schools need all the space they can have to accommodate 3 feet.
  • There has not been a desire by the DOE to make exceptions during the pandemic.
  • Monica might ask again later about the extra pre-K class.
  • Cindy noted that a 3-K would present problems.
  • There are 18 pre-K kids.  Cindy’s granddaughter applied and she was number 114 on PS 87’s waitlist.
  • Monica said that she thinks lots of protocols will be loosened up for next year.  Even last week they received notification from the state about kids not having to wear masks outside the school but the DOE did not change their policy yet.
  • Lauri asked if it was necessary for the rooms to be sprayed all the time.  Monica asked the Deputy Supervisor for Facilities and they are still told to spray but they noted that an individual asks them not to spray they wouldn’t know about it.
  • Monica discussed the unions and how some of these are part of the collective bargaining agreement.  Districts will write letters to the head of the union to note that discussions should include this issue.
  • Lauri noted that the netting with the construction (dark green) should be lighter in color as they go up it so it is not so dark inside.  Monica said they were told that it would be white netting for higher up.  She said it is very dark down there.  The projected end date is two years at best.  When they started it was 33 months and they haven’t changed the end date.  They said they will try to work around the clock to end on time.  Monica said that she does think they will do that because our previous meeting on these issues is often referenced when discussing requests.  
  • There are 3 people who are meeting with the Project Director for the construction if they have issues.  The biggest thing has been noise at night for the neighborhood.  Monica sometimes said they were going late.  They are going to be able to get the abatement done in the building which is good.  They are going to be working around the clock to get it done over the summer.
  • There will be no SLT Meetings in the summer unless there is an emergency.

Adjourned 5:32 PM