Minutes recorded by:
Belinda Smith

DRAFT CSS-MSE
Parents Association Meeting MINUTES June 17, 2009
Parent Attendees recorded:
Miriam Hubbard, Stuart Aronson, Roland Hiller, Liz Duchovni, David Suker, Judith Pena-Rosario,Victor Acosta, Bingmei Zhang,Belinda Smith, Byron Davis. Sandra Echols

Agenda Items: SLT nominees and new PA Officer nominees

Meeting began at 6:20 pm.

Question was asked regarding the location of the PA bylaws and minutes. Answer was that both are posted on the CSS website. Attendance records for the PA meetings are kept downstairs.

Elections began at 6:30 pm.

Question raised by a parent: Swine flu plans for the fall 2009 – vaccinations within the public schools? Do schools need to be more active?

Answer: no interest has been indicated by any of the parents at CSS. For those in the identified risk groups, vaccinations will be made available in private doctor offices. Vaccinations on-site at CSS would be risky due to litigation. Private doctors and pediatricians have presented updates. Information is available on the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) website and the DOE (NYC Department of Education).

Perhaps a link to the CDC and the NYCDOE can be sent to parent?

Question raised: Regarding Dr. Maldonado’s recent email sent to parents about plans for the upper school (high school). “He’s working on it.” Concerns were made that plans need to be made now as the school readies itself for an eighth grade class and a ninth grade class for fall 2010. Dr. Maldonado did not make any specific comments regarding the schools transition to the upper school.

The real issue is the required grade point average of 79/80 to transition from the lower school to the upper school. CSS is committed to having most of the kids continue to the upper school. Less than 20 students will enter the upper school after the admissions cycle.

Another concern raised by a parent: there has been no discussion of a second class in the SLT meetings.

CSS will be doing everything to keep the students in the lower school to transition to the upper school. They anticipate 5,000 applications as the admissions cycle will include students from districts all over NYC. Every current eighth grader must complete an application. Elective courses will now be calculated as part of the grade average to boost the student’s overall average. This should significantly increase those eligible. They believe that less than 20 students from the eighth grade class will not move on. They have to keep admissions acceptances down for the upper school as there will be no new building.

Concerns: decisions being made in a vacuum; as a parent, not knowing what will happen. Parental involvement within PA and the SLT is tenuous at best. Information fed from the SLT to the PA needs to be strengthened. SLT meetings will now be held the same day as the PA meetings.

Elections – Two nominations for PA President: David Suker (sp?) and Jodi Blanco.

Question: is a ballot necessary? No, not required.

Motion was made to vote for David Suker and Jodi Blanco as Co-Presidents. Motion was seconded. Vote was unanimous. The new co-Presidents will transition in their roles by the end of July.

PA Vice President – two nominations
Having two Vice Presidents is a good idea; one Vice Chair can focus on improving volunteer resources. A motion was made to elect Liz Duchovny (sp??) and Stuart Aaronson (sp??) as Vice President. The motion was seconded, the vote was unanimous.

PA Treasurer
Tina Glover, formerly the financial secretary, working closely with Victor Acosta. A motion was made to elect Tina Glover as the new PA Treasurer. The motion was seconded, the vote unanimous.

Positions of PA Secretary and Financial Secretary are still open/vacant. Question was asked: what are the duties of the PA Secretary? Answer: the PA Secretary must be present at all meetings.

Patricia Lindemann nominated herself for PA Secretary. Patricia is the parent of a seventh grader. A motion was made to elect Patricia Lindemann as PA secretary. The motion was seconded, the vote unanimous.

The position of Financial Secretary will be filled in the fall.

SLT Elections
Wendy Katz, the parent of a seventh grader, and Victor Acosta, the parent of an eighth grader, nominated themselves to be part of the SLT.

It was noted that the number of parents must be equal to the number of faculty.

A motion was made to nominate the following to the SLT Team:

7th grade class: Jodi Blanco
Brian Davis

8th grade class: Victor Acosta
Sandra Echols
A motion was made to elect the above members to the new SLT team. The motion was seconded and the vote was unanimous.

The SLT team representing the 6th grade class will be made in the fall.

Concerns and Goals for the PA for 2009-10
Current seventh graders transitioning into the upper school. Identifying resources to assist students to help them achieve the necessary 79/80 grade average to be accepted into the upper school. Many students, it was noted by several parents, have unfulfilled potential. The majority of the seventh grade class fall in the middle of the academic scale.

Expectations are much higher at CSS.

Many non-tangible factors are part of the grading process: notebooks, behavior.

The question was raised if CSS is even considered a gifted and talented program? Or are we considered a specialized school?

Can other variables be considered as part of the admissions process to the upper school?

In terms of identifying resources to assist students, a point was made about needing workshops/seminars on study skills, organizational skills, and note-taking skills.

Each of the parents present was asked to state specifically what they feel the school could use and what their children could most benefit from. Statements follow:

– Volunteer coordinators for the events with different parents participated; not always the same parents
– The needs for a school counselor/therapist
– Events need to be more publicized by the PA to the parents and from CSS to the school population
– A cohesive element to communication
– “the kids should be allowed to be kids”; a social outlet and an energy outlet is very much needed
– A homework balance
– More effective teacher and parent communication
– Parents should not be told late and after the student is failing/has failed; the general consensus of the school is that “students should be advocates for themselves”; this may not always be the best practice
– Misconception that the after school programs are free – penalties should be enforced for parents who do not pay in a timely fashion
– J-Term payments should begin in May
– The idea was raised for a voucher system for the afterschool programs – six vouchers for $25
– More parental involvement – too many kids who don’t know where they stand and this should not be the responsibility of the teacher
– Computer software has been purchased to better track student’s progress
– More attention is being paid to results and not to the middle process – “the learning is as important and is gradual”.
– ASP tutoring should be made available to all students, not just those who need it but those who want it as well.