PC Minutes from December 11, 2015

Parent Council Meeting from Friday, December 11, 2015

*Approximately 35 people in attendance

Michelle Hopkins Lawrence
Lindsay Deibler
PC Co-Chairs

Lisa Ransom thanks everyone for the big donations of Box Tops this fall, our largest in five years.  Collect over the Holiday Break!  When visiting family, ask them to contribute their box tops.  January 11th will be our next collection date.

• Mast General Store Fundraiser
Lindsay Deibler
We have filled the volunteer spots at this time.  We can always use more help if anyone wants to join in.  We have two types of paper to use.  Wrapping tables are near the front door.  The wrapping is done for donations.  A sign for ABS will be up with information about our school.  Zach Lail is the general manager and ABS parent and is very excited.  He would like to see this as an annual event at the store.  Next year we can build this up even more, if possible.

• January Jam
Ryan Leigh Runyon
*Friday, January 15 2:30-4:30
*Reminder that this is a fun event for the students.
*One event at MLK and one at 7th Street on the same day= Big event- need a lot of volunteers.
*If anyone would be willing, we could use another leader at the 7th St. building.
*This is a dance with a DJ, lights out, disco ball kind of thing with loud music and lots of loud fun!  If your little one is sensitive to sound, this may not be the activity for him/her.

• Annual Giving
Frances Beasley
*The Annual Fund Campaign is in place of any door-to-door fundraising.
*This campaign is moving to a February start date.  This time frame is changing so we don’t bump into end-of-year activities and Teacher Appreciation time.
*There will be 2 training sessions for Class Reps.
*There is no competition among parents or classrooms.
*We stress that every gift matters.  100% participation is our goal!  Donating ANY AMOUNT is the goal so that ABS can show high support when applying for grants, etc.
*Amy and Frances are so appreciative of the help from Class Reps. for the work they do and the “cheerleading” they do for this campaign.
A parent asked if this was a campaign focused on families.  Frances explained that this is an event to reach out to family and community for support.  There will be a focus on how to do this as part of the training.
*Class Rep. training sessions:
Evening Jan. 28  5:30-6:30pm
Morning Jan. 29  8:15-9:15am
fbeasley@oldsalem.org for more information

•    How 5th – 8th grades work at ABS
Paige Raper- Assistant Principal
A few parents requested some information about the 7th St. Bldg.  Paige gave an overview of several important points:
*5th & 6th grades are similar to K-4: one teacher, same class all year, same specialists, etc.
The biggest differences:  6th graders get letter grades and a lot of work goes into helping students understand this.
*6th -8th grades take: Drama, music, visual art,
*5th & 6th  everyone takes band
*7th -8th are able to choose between band and chorus
*Dance is not scheduled every day like with K-5.  7Th and 8th graders have other electives at times other than dance.  Dance comes with various projects and performances for 7th and 8th graders off and on throughout the year.
*7th & 8th grade, students take a foreign language course- this course varies this year between American Sign Language, German, etc. so that students get a sampling of different languages before heading to high school.  This exposure has been exciting to the students participating in each of these classes.  A parent asked if this type of instruction transfers to a higher level of foreign language in high school.  Paige explained that students who go through this survey class will not have enough “seat hours” to qualify for a higher level of foreign language.  WSFCS Foreign Lang. Head explained that most times, “seat time” isn’t enough exposure for accelerating through foreign language courses.
*A parent explained that her high school student has seen several freshmen in high school struggle with higher levels of foreign language.
*A parent asked if this system would stay in place for foreign language instruction.  Robin explained that this has not been decided.  The chorus/band choice is new this year so this foreign language system works now.  All feedback received has been positive because students enjoy each class without the pressure of making high grades, etc.  Paige spoke to the success with students also gaining a higher level of understanding of various cultures with each of these studies.
*A parent asked where Farsi teacher was found.  Paige explained that she was a WFU former professor.
*A parent asked how feedback was being taken to measure the success in this foreign language plan.  She explained that parents share verbal, informal feedback at this point.  More detailed questions will be taken with student & parent surveys at the end of the year.
*PE is another class that 5th–8th grade takes at least weekly.
*7th-8th grades, even when they travel to each class, they travel with teacher management from place to place instead of a bell system.
*There are more advanced math classes offered for 7th and 8th graders depending on need, so those students may be pulled out for a different class for math time.  Math 1 is an advanced math class that is offered to 7th & 8th grade students who test in.  This information is used for math placement in high school.
*Paige pointed out that ABS still functions as one school K-8.  We don’t want each part of the school to feel separate.  However, we are aware of the difference in population developmentally in the two buildings.  For example, the same disciplinary form is used in both places- positive discipline, finding a place of solution, etc.  Paige wanted to point out that disciplinary actions are taken when necessary.  Disciplinary actions are taken confidentially so that is why it will not be an “advertised event”.
*There is another Positive Discipline workshop planned for next year.
*A 4th grade parent asked about how the transition to 5th happens.  Paige explained that at the end of the school year, she will hold an informational session for the 4th graders at the MLK Bldg.  There is still Open House & Special Visits for MLK bldg.
*Paige pointed out that there are a lot of occasions with students coming down to the 7th St. Bldg but the meeting with 4th graders will be more focused on their transitions.
*Robin spoke about a book called Yard Sticks that is helpful to understanding the phases of middle school-aged children.
*Paige explained that social studies and language arts are integrated and taught cohesively.
*Robin pointed out that ABS is different and that they constantly look to other schools to be sure our curriculum and expectations match other offerings.  This is a school of choice and if it is not suiting what you feel your student needs, there are other options.  ABS may not match what other schools offer.  Some parents want to see worksheets and more homework instead of dancing the life-cycle of a sunflower.
*A parent pointed out that parents are concerned about being prepared for high school and that is why they question.
*Paige explained that in the late winter, high schools come to ABS to showcase offerings and explain differences.  She explained that ABS consistently points out that we are a school of choice so that parents recognize the true options they have.

•    School Report Card
Robin Hollis- Principal
*There are some gaps in the information that the state has left open for various reasons.  This year our school is a “B”.  Last year it was a C because scales changed so this letter changes.  These numbers are important because they are published about our school. We work to meet the measures they set for us but we want to point out that ABS students get much more than other tested schools.  All of our Math1 students were proficient but the findings are changed by formulas in the state.

*We have the full spectrum of learners in our building and we embrace them all and engage them all.  We focus on emphasizing the aspects of education that create a full learner instead of prepping for EOG tests.

*Normally this information comes out in the fall because the state wanted to have more data and they really didn’t have that measure.

•    ABS Board of Directors Meeting: Tuesday, February 9, 5:45-7:00 pm, 7th Street Building
•    Parent Council: Friday, February 12, 8:15-9:15 am, Resource Room in MLK Building

Submitted by April C. Greenwood
December 14, 2015