Irving PTO February Meeting Minutes

Irving School PTO February 5, 2015 6:30PM

Irving Media Center/Library

  1. Welcome and Introductions
  2. Health and Wellness Committee (HAWC) Presentation

Ms. Hiolski shared a slide show and the Student HAWC Committee members presented on activities of the past few months, including selling cider to raise money for the Red Cross for Illinois tornado victims, Pacers competition among classes, and posting photos outside of the gym of teachers doing healthy activities. Now the committee is focusing on sleep with a graph outside of the gym showing how much sleep students are getting. This will eventually hang outside the office with facts/tips on the importance of sleep.

  1. Principal’s Report
  • Nine classes hosted Japanese exchange students and OPRF students.
  • 1/27 – Mr. Baker hosted a falconer who visited third grade classrooms.
  • Recently practiced an emergency/lockdown drill with local beat officer, Mr.
Rumero. Kids were aware of the drill and did a good job. Mr. Hodge
stressed the drill was not scary.
  • 2/5 – School hosted BMX bike professional Matt Wilhelm for the second
year in a row. Wilhelm performed and brought anti-bullying/perseverance
message to school assembly.
  • 3/20 4:00 p.m. and 3/21 – 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. – Looking for parent
volunteers to help with lunchroom mural painting, a 5th grade send-off
  • Hodge refers to weather chart (attached) in deciding whether to send
kids out for recess. There is an indoor recess schedule, which includes two options for up to 11 indoor recesses between Dec. 1 and Mar. 1. First option: rotation of homeroom, art room, community room or auditorium activities; option two: multiple homerooms participate in activities in the gym. Ms. Creehan is working on numbers to spread kids out. Hallway movies may be possible. Kindergarteners go to Ms. Parkinson’s room to watch scholastic book videos.
  • 5 Essentials Survey discussed at last meeting. More information on the survey from the University of Chicago can be found at An email went
out to parents today regarding participation. Deadline to complete the survey is 3/13. School-level reports are generated only if at
least 20% of parents/guardians participate. There has been enough participation from teachers. The 2014 survey says Irving is
organized for improvement. Parent/teacher trust received 93%. Parent involvement in school, 91%. Based on teacher response, need to work on more principal involvement in planning with teachers and more principal presence in classrooms. Curriculum, instruction and learning materials should be better coordinated across the district. Staff felt they could do better supporting ALL 500 students, not just the kids in their class. Question raised as to whether it would be good to hire consultant to help with Common Core curriculum/materials. D97 has two curriculum coordinators.
  1. Pearsons’ online PARCC practice test was administered to grades 3 and up to see if servers had capacity to handle that many students at once. There were glitches. Tested the equipment, not the students this time. When students are tested, one class will be in computer lab, others will use Chrome or MacBooks. Kids struggle with typing. Originally there were going to be four assessments, down to two. May be able to do paper and pencil test ($3 charge for this), rather than on computer. Need to demonstrate a deficiency of technology to do this. More info to come.

4. Chat with D97 Board Member Jim Gates. 
The PARCC test is more rigorous than the ISATs were, the Lexile level is at least one year higher. This is the first time state test requires responding to reading in writing. March test will be all writing. May test will be multiple choice. Part of State network (not Federal) and is required by law. Tests take place over a month-long period. Keyboard skills will be a big issue. Kids should have time to finish but may not have time to go back and edit. Jim feels it would be wise to have typing tutorials in second grade. It was pointed out that Hatch/ Whittier is doing after school typing classes and anyone could sign up, not just students of those schools. Jim attended meeting as an observer. The D97 Superintendent is retiring. Board elections are in April. There is a potential new administration building. 
 The Board hired a search team (HYA) for the superintendent. Should have five finalists by 4/27 and hope to hire a new superintendent by June 2015. There will be two public forums: 2/9 at Julian and 2/11 at Brooks. Received feedback from more than 330 community members in online survey about preferred attributes in new superintendent. Each board member will meet with HYA to discuss what they would like in new superintendent. Jim is looking for communication skills, strong education experience, trustworthy, innovative, willing to take responsibility. 
 Jim is serving his 6th year as a board member. Over the years he has seen the biggest changes in teacher evaluation, middle school International Baccalaureate program, updated technology, more data-driven decision making (instruction, purchasing). Suggested being wary of single or double issue candidates. 
 (Laura Crawford stated there will be at least four forums in March for candidates. On March 26th, SEOPCO will host one at Irving.)
 Jim said the Common Core is more rigorous, kids will be working hard.
 Snow days are determined by bus companies. Dr. Roberts makes the call but if buses can’t be there, can’t have school.

  1. Treasurer’s Report (attached). 
 Lynn shared that Treasurers are in the process of converting PTO financial records/activities to Quickbook.
  1. Fundraising Updates
  • Silent Auction – 2/21. Jessica Flannery stated the donation deadline
is this Saturday. Online options include tickets, parties. Will be promoted on Facebook. Have 85 items right now. Planning to grow the thank you process. Working with Hilary Klein on the Fun Fair AND Silent Auction as one event. Parties include Cards Against Humanity, Tacos and Tequila, Just Dance party at Empty Bottle. 13 teacher parties so far. More items in online auction than last year.
  • Fun Fair – 2/21. Hilary Klein said event will be similar to last year. There will be a photo booth, hockey game/activity, Facepainters, duct tape a teacher to the wall, Bingo. (Mr. Sak and Mrs. Sak have volunteered).
  1. Committee Updates
  1. Event a. b. c. d.

World Language Program – Coordinator not present. Nothing to report.


Jack Frost Jam (attached from Gloria Marin Cockerill) Craft Fair

Cookie Crumble (attached from Sue Kehias)

5th Grade Send-off (attached from Gloria Marin Cockerill)

  1. Eagle – Laura Crawford is looking into online systems. Working on having online registration and/or online payment for spring registration. Would still be able to pay by check if preferred.
  1. Approval of Funds
  • Cultural Enrichment Bagpiper Visit – Bagpiper will do education component
with kindergarteners, performance for everyone. Event to take place in
March, still deciding on the date. $150. Vote. Approved.
  • Eagle Extras Policies – Add class credit as perk for parent volunteer.
Include language that parent volunteers who serve as committee chairs would get credit for one class for each session. Vote at next meeting.
  1. Approve Meeting Minutes from December 
 Eduardo de Santiago to make revisions to minutes regarding date of Silent Auction/Fun Fair and rate of bagpiper to $150 to include more time.
  1. All Other Business Jim Gates announced that Vex Robotics competition is this Saturday at Julian. 9:30 a.m. – Schedule on Julian website.

Meeting adjourned at 8:35 p.m.

Handouts: Meeting Agenda, Treasurer’s Report, December 2014 Meeting Minutes Eagle Extras Policy addition language

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