Franklin PTO Meeting Minutes

Date, Time and Location:  Oct. 4, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. in the Library

Introductions and Event Reminders:

PTO 2017-2018 Budget:

  • Megan Reilly, PTO Treasurer, presented a proposed budget for the PTO’s Fiscal Year 2018; membership present at the meeting approved it unanimously.
  • Principal Joel Jocelyn reported results of Franklin Parents’ Survey.
  • The school is trying to figure out ways to support parents of METCO children. Specifically, how can we do a better job of bringing them into the Franklin community?

Successes:

  • Overall student and behavior climate has improved significantly at the school.
    • This is a result of Responsive Classroom Initiatives which include interactive modeling and practice of student behavior expectations.
    • Principal Joel has tried to make himself more present in all areas of the school.
    • Teachers and Staff have been participating in professional development focused on the importance of building relationships with students.
    • The school tries to match students with behavior difficulties to a specific adult in the building as a “daily check” in person. The adults help to nurture and build student relationships.
  • Improved Classroom Instruction
    • Focus on how to we push high achieving students?
    • Franklin piloted a “Walk to Learn” program (students are grouped based on ability and receive instruction from various teachers and in various classrooms based on student need) in grade one during the 2016-2017 school year. Grade 1 teachers met with grade 2 teachers and the program will be implemented in grade 2 this school year.
    • Principal Joel is meeting with the district math coach to find ways to challenge higher achieving students.

Challenges:

  • Cafeteria/Lunch
    • Kids are not finishing their lunches on time.
    • Expectations for staff were unclear and inconsistent.
    • Inadequate human resources to serve lunches.
    • Some cafeteria expectations for students were unrealistic. This issue is being addressed in the following ways:
      • Increased cafeteria lunch time for second grade students (this grade level was having the most difficulty) by five minutes.
      • Staff is giving students warning signals to finish lunches when there is 5 and 2 minutes left in the lunch period.
      • Cafeteria staff was relieved of some duties.
      • Additional trainings were provided for cafeteria staff.
      • Principal Joel clarified cafeteria student expectations for lunch staff.
    • An unresolved challenge related to the cafeteria is that there is limited staff- only one cafeteria manager and two lunch monitors.
    • Principal Joel asked the PTO if they could create a fund for students who can’t afford lunch. Parents at the meeting proposed a few different ideas for such a fund, and the PTO will continue to address this need.
  • Building
    • 1/3 of gymnasium has been inaccessible since the start of the school year. Gym repairs are expected to be completed by the end of October.
    • Some of the Kindergarten school doors are not functioning properly.
    • Franklin’s senior custodian has been offered a promotion and is leaving the building. Principal Joel has completed interviews and reviewed evaluations for a potential new custodian. He will complete sight visits for a potential hire next week.
    • New lights have been added to the building.
  • Audience (Parents) Q & A at the meeting:
    • Parents asked about how the new district drop off policy is going at Franklin. Principal Joel reported that the system is working very well for both staff and students.
    • Parents asked that 3rd graders have separate arrival and dismissal doors. Principal Joel is considering this proposal.
    • Parents asked about 2016-2017 MCAS scores. The test that was administered last year was a pilot exam entitled Next Generation Exam (a hybrid between former MCAS and Park Exams). Due to it being a pilot year, schools were only required to report completion rates (not scores)-Franklin had a 100% participation rate. Parents will most likely get individual student scores but school wide scores will not be reported. Principal Joel mentioned that Franklin overall scored well on the exam and is considered a Level I School.
    • Parents asked about a library staff person being unable to teach classes in the basement due to asthma. Principal Joel said the library has been inspected and determined safe for students and staff. This is just an isolated issue with one employee.  He is in the process of working through a solution where there is a balance between addressing the medical need of the staff member and the needs of children having library class in the library (currently classes are being held in the classroom for some classes).
    • Parents expressed concerns about people making u-turns on Derby Street near the Blue Zone. Posting a “no-u-turn” sign in this area is on the docket at the next Newton Traffic Council Meeting.
    • Parents discussed the idea of no parking on one side of Pershing Street to help make it easier for parking on this street.
  • Staff Requests:
    • No parents and/or students should be cutting through the staff parking lot at dismissal time. This creates a dangerous situation with a potential for pedestrians to be hit by cars in the lot.