Columbia Secondary School ● Parent-Teacher Association

Minutes: January General Membership Meeting

Tuesday, 1/14/14, 6:00 PM; CSS Library, 3rd floor

Daisy Farina, Co-President Sean Stanton, Treasurer
E. Mark Lewis, Co-President Richard Rubin, Communications VP
Vickie Harcum, Fundraising Co-VP Kristin Penegor, Recording Secretary
Melissa Welsh, Fundraising Co-VP


I.      Welcome

II.      Principal Nightengale: Four-page Parent Updates handout provided! Highlights:

  1. News: Endowment fund begun with $1M donation!; continued $100K/yr college office donation; college acceptances
  2. Testing, Common Core: MS State Tests 4/1-4/3 (ELA), 4/30-5/2 (Math); new MSOL (Measures of Student Learning) tests help evaluate teachers; Common Core continued integration, info at
  3. Curricular updates: applied to be CTE school; new Columbia courses added; AP exams evolve & we monitor
  4. Calendar updates: CSS admission tests 2/2-2/3, Spring semester 2/4, electives 2/10, Musical 2/7-2/9 (need parents!), 8th grade Frost Valley 2/10-2/12, MS & HS Dress Down day 2/14, Black History Month Celebration 2/28
  5. Student Government: MS- Philippines hurricane relief, Valentine’s Day Message-Gram fundraiser; HS- Pride Fridays to wear CSS gear, funding lunches during Black History Month activities, lunch assemblies for student announcements
  6. Facilities: bathroom renovations by Nov 2014; PA system approved; cafeteria challenges; Lab safety
  7. Funding: Friends of CSS: funds electives ($100K/semester), textbooks for college courses, 8th grade Frost Valley trip, more; yet, only 15% of parents have contributed to Friends while programs utilized by >80% of students. Give what you can! Donate at or by check to school office, to “Friends of CSS”
  8. Mid-Terms: planned out, extended-time schedule, not too much at once, experience for extended AP and state tests

III.      Minutes Approval

IV.      Co-Presidents Report (E. Mark Lewis, Daisy Farina)

  1. Acknowledgements: Debbie (trees), Andi (all!), Leslie & Tina (bake sales, other), Alison (jazz)-Thank You!

V.      Treasurer’s Report (Sean Stanton)

  1. $16,250 in bank (about 13K in TD account, $837 in PayPal, $1,500 in Square)
  2. Paid last month: Jazz assembly support, soccer ref fees
  3. Fundraising is growing; bake sales 500-700/mo., but PTA dues about $4,000 – that’s less than last year.
  4. How to get more people giving? Even small donations? For grants, need high % of families giving
  5. Consider what to support, e.g., PTA bought ID machine, phone machine, supported sports teams. Need sound system work in auditorium, much advanced machinery installed, needs finishing…
  6. Walk-A-Thon; ensure we have support; need coordination, kids get donations, Earth Day tie-in
  7. Dollar donation day needs coordination, perhaps have parent sign to confirm family’s participation
  8. Parent request for locking cabinet in PTA room; find key & use existing black cabinet? Seek a donation, or purchase?

VI.      Old Business:

  1. Report incidents-CSS follows up; rarely are reported stolen items actually stolen, usually show up or shared lockers not properly locked; discussion of re-instituting Student Honor Court, to self-moderate
  2. Fundraising: Earth Day event needs committee, permit; Goals-Exec Board to meet with Admin, especially regarding J-Term, activities, find local organizations, be proactivre, start Community Bulletin Board for local happenings
  3. Parent Involvement: a parent has taken lead collecting contact info; enhance communication, we have 600+ families
    1. Next meeting, everyone bring one other parent!
    2. Ideas: guest speakers, AM meetings, Friday meeting + social event?, food, PTA cart at events, add’l options like quarterly meetings with Miriam, workshops “sponsored by PTA, please contribute & come to next meeting J”

VII.      New Business

  1. Middle School yearbook, previous efforts led by Professor & MS govt; parent committee now forming, tight timeline
  2. Admissions exam day, parents to interact, outreach with hopeful families
  3. Picture retakes to be announced shortly
  4. Black History Celebration: HS govt sponsors; series of lunchtime lectures, e.g. anthropologist; looking for performers
  5. Q&A: Issues with address, grades, school e-mail, etc. – please reach out to Andi, Daisy, Miriam; perhaps other parents share concerns, must be reported.

VIII.      AdjournmentMeeting adjourned; Next meeting Tuesday, February 11th, 6 PM