Creative Science School

critical thinkers, courageous problem-solvers, compassionate community builders

PTA Meeting Minutes 12/17/13

PTA Meeting Minutesbrittney

Meeting called to order by Chris at 6:40pm. A round of introductions!  


-       You do not have to be officially be part of the PTA organization as a paying member to participate in the PTA (only the board members have to officially join).

-       What we mean by PTA is that you are a part of the community at CSS and have a say in what we do, how we spend money, what we’re about.



-       Our top priority is to fill in the gaps that PPS does not fund or does not support

-       Currently we have $7806 unallocated

-       We spend about $4-5k per year on the garden

-       A large portion of our money goes to support teacher supply needs in the classroom

-       Another large portion of money supports consultation and mentoring by Jules and Deb (CSS founders and long-time teachers)

-       We always save $5k from previous year in case of a need the following year

-       We also fund the music program

-       Proposal is for $2200 to be used for Ada Dortch to implement the sexuality education program. Motion made, seconded, and approved unanimously.


Sexuality Education

-       Ada Dortch was in attendance and gave a brief overview of what we did at CSS last year. We did focus groups with the teachers, parents, and students and started a pilot program last year.

-       Ada is providing a proposal for this year in which she will provide support to Lynne and the teachers to be able to carry on with the program. We’d have a youth steering committee so that the students will be empowered and have a say in evaluating the program.

-       Program would be offered to 5-8th graders by Lynne with Ada’s assistance. Ada will also help support and educate teachers.

-       It’s a community approach to sexuality education.

-       Sexuality education has 7 components that make it comprehensive (it’s not just about sex). Those are relationships, violence, health, rights, diversity, self-esteem, and gender.

-       The curriculum is developed by the International Planned Parenthood organization in collaboration with Pop Council (youth rights organization), made specifically for children in schools.

-       If something comes up outside the curriculum, that can be added, as well.

-       Oregon state has some of the best policies surrounding sexuality education but there are problems with the implementation. Flash curriculum was advised but is not the required curriculum.





What do you want CSS to be? What’s important?

-       Afterschool enrichment program (and more options – maybe sports or more active activities)

-       Can we be a K-12?

-       Music

-       Choir (bring Crystal back!)

-       Band

-       Yoga


What do value now about CSS?

-       Camp out (community activities)

-       Garden

-       Music, yoga

-       Teacher support

-       Supply budget for teachers

-       Intentional community (we all chose to be here)

-       Constructivism

-       Support of our families (in need or otherwise)

-       Activism in community (there are people willing to speak up when things don’t seem right)

-       Community building (we know our children’s peers and families)

-       Many of us speak the same language (in terms of philosophy and expectations – safe, responsible, respectful)

-       Good communication

-       Parent involvement in classroom (respect of all parents by kids, as well)

-       Everyone is so good to each other


Volunteering and Involvement

-       This year we’ve had a hard time getting people to volunteer for specific, larger community needs. For instance, until a couple of weeks ago, we had no one to run the camp out this year. We also had trouble filling the roll of afterschool enrichment coordinator. Some of these positions seem overwhelming from the outside looking in.

-       We had very low attendance at what are traditionally our most well attended meetings (Jeff Creswell on Storyline and Jules Goodwin on constructivism, which were also the first two meetings of the year). This is what started some of the concern among the board about what was happening. The board wanted to talk to more people about the shift that was happening and what others’ perspective is.

-       What is the disconnect? How do we involve new families?

-       Is videoconferencing for meetings a possibility?

-       We do such a good job of communicating via email and other social media that if you read everything, you know everything, and may be less inclined to come to meetings.

-       Also, the school is now well-established and no longer in crisis mode. And we are also larger. It’s easier to sit back and let it go on without you, because it is just humming along.

-       Some parents feel that most of the needs we see are being met and aren’t feeling the same problems that the board has been feeling.

-       People liked Jarvis’s funny minutes.

-       People liked the Pitch In and the clear, concise volunteer needs.

-       Can we have volunteer interns to learn the tasks for the coming years?

-       Who wants to do it and who wants to learn it? Can we have this on the sign up sheet in the spring? Can we have the sign up sheet at every meeting?

-       Can we do a better job of making handbooks of tasks/events to be passed on to the next volunteers? Can this be a binder that grows and collects information from year to year?


How do we do things better?

-       What can we change so that we don’t wear people out who have been doing the larger things for a long time or on their own?

-       Is it ok for things to die and fade away if there is lack of interest?

-       Do we need to be less polite about asking for everyone to help out? (For instance, at the back to school night and other opportunities to address the larger parent community.)

-       Is there a disconnect between folks understanding what the staff/teachers do and what the PTA does (in terms of what is needed when and where in terms of involvement)?

-       There need to be clearly defined roles and expectations.

-       We need more people to show up. You make connections and form relationships in person.

-       More teams of people to take on tasks.

-       We need better organizational memory and support of new volunteers.

-       Can we assign various events to specific grades or classrooms? And can we pair two years together so that one takes the lead and one is an apprentice? Chris has presented this to Filip and he supports it.

-       Can each PTA meeting be focused on a specific grade attending and getting involved?

-       Can we do a better job of welcoming new people so they feel that they are really a part of what is already a very well established and tight community?

-       We need better follow through when people sign up for a task. Do not fail to respond to someone when they offer to help. Do not say no to new ideas.

-       Remember that we are all volunteers and do not run like a corporation. But we might get more people to volunteer and get involved if we had more instruction and contact information and support to begin with.

-       Break things up into smaller chunks.

-       Let people know more frequently about what is needed.

-       Thank people and let others know what is being done.

-       New ways of doing things need to be implemented after talking with the community and with respect.

-       Get the people in the jobs to start recruiting help immediately.

-       If we present the expectation that we need everyone to be involved, then we need to be very concrete and follow through.

-       We also want everyone to feel welcome and a part of the community even if they don’t have the money or time to be involved at times.

-       We need to be more direct with our asks and then follow through.

-       Some of the problem is transition and growing pains, and we have two more years of growth.

-       If we have specifics and we tell people what they need to be doing we can come together successfully.

-       Can the PTA board draft a document that lists all of the major activities that happen throughout the year with the tasks that need to happen? Can this proposal be for 2014-2015 and can we bring this proposal to the community?

-       Can we have volunteer appreciation week with flair that celebrates the jobs everyone is doing?

-       There are many clever ways to get people to rethink their personal responsibility.

-       How do we get people excited to be involved?


Meeting adjourned at 8:27pm.