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October 19 Parent Council Meeting

Albemarle County Public Schools - Parent Council

October 19, 2011 Meeting Update

Sharing information and resources in support of better education for our students.



Representatives: Burley, Tara Mincer; Cale, Cathy Sanders; Crozet, DJ Stoeberl; Family Support, Debbie Chlebnikow; Greer, Dave Schrave; Henley, Randy Switz; Hollymead, Ceann Wombacher; Jouett, Lisa Brook; Meriwether-Lewis, Mary Huffard Kegley; Monticello, Kore Drummond; Murray Elem, Ann DeJong; Red Hill, Cathy von Storch; Stone-Robinson, Rhonda Angel; Stony Point, Kate Barrett; Sutherland, Mary Barrick; WAHS, Jane Kulow; Woodbrook, Lisa Brook

Staff & Guests: Pam Moran, Superintendent, ACPS; Matthew Haas, Interim Executive Director, ACPS; Billy Haun, Asst. Superintendent for Instruction, ACPS; Lisa Jones, Principal, Cale; Shannon Kontalonis, Librarian, Cale; June Jenkins, Safe Schools/Healthy Students; Marc Dawkins, SS/HS; Jenna Easton, SS/HS; Carol Fox, SS/HS; Duane Snow, Albemarle County Supervisor.

                                                                                                         Cale Media Center

Cale Principal, Lisa Jones, and Cale Librarian, Shannon Kontalonis, described the redesign and renovations made to the Cale Media Center, which have made it more adaptable and usable for more students (including multiple classrooms) and many different types of uses.  All responses to the new center have been positive; students want to be in the media center any opportunity they have. They also described additional changes to be made next summer; the renovations being made in two steps worked well for the center and the teachers’ use of it.


                                                                                             Standard Business Procedures

1.        Call to Order 7:00 pm by Jane Kulow

2.        Expectations for this meeting:  Mr. Strucko will not be here for the meeting. There will be questions about the Parent Portal and how it will work. Process observer:  Cathy Sanders.

                                                                                                         Lightning Round

All Parent Council representatives had opportunity to participate in Lightning Round, bringing news from school communities. Many who reported out shared recent events sponsored by their PTO/As. Reports included:

Murray:  Enriched learning typically piggy-backs onto math, remediation, enrichment activities.

Burley: Donation only fundraising expectations $15k, current total $18k.

Stony Point: Playground construction crew built two picnic benches; Barbara Linney book presentation brought in more parents. 76th annual PTO Auction will be November 11, 2011.

Hollymead:  Enrichment period not seen as useful by parents; PTO offering pizza party for classroom w/ most parents at meeting.

Henley: PTO able to offer funding + grant help to teachers from magazine earnings; working toward new sign for school.

Jouett: Parent working w/ UVA sororities to collect prom dresses; change in mtg schedule has more parents coming. Monthly dance profits used for class fun trips (7th grade going to Culpeper to roller skate.)

Family Support:  2nd grade student with incarcerated parents; living with grandparents, then with distant relative. Family support is providing tutoring, additional help from teachers and the guardian. Child has become active in drama and excelled, participated in Bee program with teacher’s recommendation (younger than standard age) and is feeling very successful and enjoying the program.

Meriwether-Lewis:  Preparing for Freaky Friday Fun Fair, community event, not a fundraiser.

Sutherland:  Seeing exceptional parent volunteering this year, sign-up genius has been very successful for volunteers.

Red Hill:  Preparing for major fundraiser this weekend for North Garden community. Kids Care Club trying to raise $1K for family with house fire.

Crozet:  PTO held very successful Fun Fair. Tax-exempt status submitted. Now getting ready to kick-off after-school program.

Cale:  Selling Attractions book, Cale 5K on 10/19; selling cookie dough.

Greer:  Fundraising a big challenge; 50% of funds raised in previous years, yet family and parent participation is up 100%. Planning for Fall festival; also excited about new addition:  6 classrooms, art studio, new outdoor space.

Woodbrook:  PTO offers grade-specific activity before PTO mtgs to increase attendance; working well. Kid Pan Alley this Friday. PTO has new website and FB connection.

MoHS:  Current school board candidates held form at the Monticello PTO meeting.

Stone Robinson:  PTO changed mtg schedule and has seen increased attendance. Fundraiser coming up at Glenmore. Raised garden built by Day of Caring volunteers.

WAHS:  Spirit week this week. Region 10 counselor in school available to all students (partly funded by SS/HS).


Safe Schools / Healthy Students work in the Schools

June Jenkins provided an overview of the Safe Schools/ Healthy Students program, a four-year program funded through a $6 million federal grant. Types of services: responsive classroom programs and training, middle school Second Step anti-bullying program, high school counselors – now more than 20 Region 10 counselors in the HS and MS. June introduced the project leaders for each feeder pattern:  Jenna Easton, AHS, with background in probation, truancy, community practice lead for responsive classrooms; Carol Fox, MoHS, preK and early learning practices and intervention; Marc Dawkins, WAHS, leading gang awareness.

Ms. Jenkins provided handouts and contact information and the SS/HS website. The project leaders are very interested in speaking in the schools for PTO meetings, conferences, etc. Carol Fox indicated that last fall there was a workshop at MHS and they partnered with Charlottesville agencies about healthy relationships – dating and friendship.  This was fairly well attended and the program leaders would love to do it again. Details are posted on the website.

Division Report:  Parent Portal

Dr. Billy Haun presented information on the Parent Portal provided by PowerSchool (the new student scheduling and grading system). He provided cards for questions and comments from representatives about what parents want/need and what they can and cannot do within the Portal. The functionality includes:

  • Real-time data and grades. Dr. Haun asked parents to consider what might be a reasonable timeline for grades to be posted after an assignment or test.
  • Attendance records.
  • Elective choices can be made online at the middle and high school levels in early January 2012.

The timeline for implementing the Parent Portal:

1st Quarter:  Dr. Haun providing information to advisory councils, schools, parents, and staff on expectations.

2nd Quarter:  Students with parents who work in the ACPS division (46 students in 3 high schools and 3 middle schools) will pilot the portal.

2nd Semester:  All parents and students will be provided access codes and will be able to use the portal for attendance and scheduling features. Four schools will be selected as pilots for the full functionality (1 HS, 1 MS, and 2 elementary schools, one large and one small) by the 4th Quarter.

Fall 2012:  All schools will have full access.

Other notes:  the elementary school level adds a layer of complication because no letter grades are given in K-2 and 4-5 has more re-grouping and multiple teachers. Expectations from the grading system is very important. Teachers feel they are posting grades in a reasonable timeframe; Dr. Haun does not want the new system to affect how we teach our students or change how they make this work with the flow of instruction. It is still to be determined if pass codes will be mailed or parents will be required to pick them up at the school. The access goal date for scheduling and attendance is January 23rd. Parents will be able to request grade updates by email. Parents without access will receive paper reporting. Dr. Moran added that studies show many parents without PCs have smart phones and can access them via their phones.

WAHS parent  and PTO board member, Mike Gallagher spoke about his own parent portal experiences in Ann Arbor, MI. He appreciated most the real-time data; teachers and students could check that everything was recorded; planners, including course assignments, were helpful; the time for recording grades was not a huge problem. At WAHS the parents to a great job of keeping up their homework websites, but the portal was an easy one-stop shop for the student.

ACPS Goals and Priorites – what they mean to parents

Dr Haas distributed a quiz for representatives to complete, to see how closely reps could match ACPS goals and descriptive language together from the objectives accessible online. Discussion of the goals followed.

School Board Meeting report

Kate Barrett presented information from the September 23rd School Board work session. The meeting focused on facilities planning with three break-out sessions regarding facilities needs from perspectives of teachers, architects, and librarians. Teachers, school based administrators, and students also participated in the discussions.

Jane Kulow presented information from the October 8th School Board meeting. Information was presented on the half vs. full credits for high school courses, the time line for Power School as well as the number of records the division maintains for students (26.8 million).


Q & A with the Superintendent

Dr. Moran opened by asking representatives to discuss school goals with their communities, in order to contribute feedback for the funding request she will be preparing for the School Board. Specifically, what school programs or initiatives do parents consider important to keep, be taken out, or be amended. Dr. Moran also discussed the division’s goal for extended learning time, as well as the importance of making every minute count.

President’s Report (process observer’s report)

PTO Presidents meeting, 7 pm, Oct 24th in Burley’s library; information will be sent via email on RideShare’s SchoolPool efforts. Please submit $50 dues from each school. PC has prepared helpful information about parent-teacher conference, send out information to all PC reps; our next PC meeting will be held Wednesday, Nov. 16, in room 320, County Office Building.

As process observer, Cathy Sanders, reported that the meeting achieved all expectations.



The meeting was adjourned around 9 P.M. Respectfully submitted by Kate Barrett.