PC Minutes from October 13, 2017
ABS Parent Council Meeting Notes 10/13/2017 8:15-9:37
K-Kids Announcement: Sadie Blalock: Skate Night Party Thursday Oct 26th 6:30 pm at Skate Haven (off Country Club Rd) to raise money for hurricane relief. Challenge to parents to double the money raised. K-Kids sponsored by Kiwanis Club and purpose is to give back to the community.
Imprints: Betty West. Introduction of Team, Field Supervisors.
New Option for After School Care at ABS. Imprints Cares is a nonprofit in Forsyth County that works with families and strengthens families from prenatal through school. Funding comes from United Way, SmartStart and other grants. But 10 years ago decided they wanted something else to bring revenue into the organization to have more solid funding. Now Imprints offers after school care in 15 elementary, 1 middle and 1 charter school.
What sets Imprints apart?
- The after-care staff is dedicated to this program. We do not work in Imprints’ non-profit arena, we do strictly before and after school.
- You’ll always be able to talk to a person when you call.
- Mentoring and monitoring care workers.
- Hire and employ the teachers at your school. Do have a few college students but not high school students. If no teachers are interested (that’s never happened), there is a supply of teachers from other schools and college students who are ready to set up the program.
- Everyone comes from background of early childhood.
- 2 different programs: 1 elementary, 1 middle. Developmentally appropriate practice very important.
- Imprints does not have a mold and model for every school; they cater program to cater to needs of each individual school.
- Exclusive drop-in service as well up to 10x a month. Care on early release days. Care on some teacher workdays as well as other break days.
- They also pay rent to school.
Questions: Is this a change to current program? Robin and Betty met over the summer b/c several families asked if we could consider another after school program. IF there’s a collective “Yes” from parents we would start program in January. Remainder of year offer both YMCA and Imprints programs in January so as not to pull out rug under Y. Quite a few families that are not satisfied w/ programs already offered. Robin loves that Imprints is close philosophically w/ what kids get all day long here, nice continuity from their day.
- Is there a part time option? Yes, that is drop-in service.
- Rates? Rates are very close, but we also offer more care based on pricing. Mornings only $90/mo, Morning and afternoon $265, afternoon only $240. No extra for teacher workdays/early release. Drop in program: $14/pm, $8/am up to 10x per month.
- Summer options? Exclusive summer program. Almost tripled enrollment this summer.
- Cell phone philosophy? No cell phones. We provide cell phone for staff to use for emergencies. One of our strictest rules – we will fire staff for use of cell phones. They pay their staff well and expect them to be engaged w/ children.
- Summer program: planned to be between Meadowlark Elementary and Sherwood Forest Elementary. Knollwood Church on Fridays. Summer program in Kernersville at Union Cross Elementary.
Shutterfly Sites & Yearbook Pictures: If you are having trouble setting up site, please let Sherri Carter know. We want to make sure we have pictures loaded to the site so yearbook has examples from every class.
Book Fair: Catie Ayers and Rachel Wilson. Thank you to volunteers, we had very successful low problem book fair. Record sales of over $15,000 and we get to keep 55% which is over $8,000. Numbers from other years: 2014-15 $11K, last year close to $13K so we’ve increased. Open during Fall Fest helped both fairs. We’ll use that money to buy books for school libraries and classrooms.
ABS school day at Bookmarks downtown: Friday Dec 1 (Gallery Hop Night) 10% of purchases that day go back to ABS. Give them your receipt and they’ll put that in a special envelope. Encourage people in community to purchase that day. Kyle Webster, ABS dad and author/artist, will come back out to Bookmarks with a special drawing lesson and reading at 5:30 that day.
Bookmarks is putting together a flyer we’ll start advertising, will send out a graphic to share on Facebook, etc.
Ready to take donations for Summer Reading Swap NOW. (Swap is during Field Day in June) As you are cleaning out your house we will have donation box under table across from where you sign in in the morning (front outer office) Box in 7th St. library too.
No board books please! But elementary – middle school books.
Library at MLK building almost open too.
Fall Fest: Well attended, made around $1400. Comparable to last year. It’s a lot of volunteer pressure, but such a boost to the book fair hopefully we can be willing to rally for that next year. Thanks to everyone who volunteered to pull that off.
Positive Discipline Workshop: Next weekend Oct 21st. Helpful to understand how Positive Discipline works in school, but gives you so many other tools to use at home. Incredibly helpful to deal w/ kids when they go through tough times and when they push back. $10/family. We’d like to provide childcare but need more parent volunteers. Event very interactive, playful, fun. Never had anyone that didn’t come out of it glad they had come. Sign up at front desk or email Robin. To volunteer send Julee or Joy a note. 3 hours volunteer time.
Typically workship is for ABS families, but nannies and babysitters can come. If you have a specific other family in mind Robin can include them, just let her know.
Gardening Plans & Volunteer Needs: Kristen Haaf. Has taken over from Matt Mayers who ran it for 9 years. He was in the garden every day, Kristen cannot be in the garden every day! Kristen is trying to advertise many work days and build up ambassadors for garden. Called Garden Gurus or Worker Bees. Knowledge not necessary. Kristen happy to train and direct. Some people are adopting specific spots around campus to maintain over the year. Talk to other people about garden and be excited about it, even if you aren’t a regular volunteer. Ex: beautiful butterfly garden that does attract many butterflies. Eventually add signage to identify native plants, etc. This afternoon is a workday. Next weekend during positive discipline workshop. 1 more of each. Trying to pack fall and spring w/ workdays so not much to do in winter months.
Traffic & Parking: Robin wants a chance to hear concerns and worries about parking/dropoff/pickup. Families in this room probably know exactly how it works, but others who are unable to attend Parent Council meetings may not.
If something is not working, it’s probably b/c they don’t understand it well enough. People are confused or unsure about how to do it. Most of the time that is the problem.
Recently FAQs sent out to go over specifics. Another challenge is we are an incredibly creative group of people. Sometimes people like to make up their own rules about what they can do. But we don’t want to get to the place where everyone is so frustrated it’s a problem.
Challenges: downtown school, no busing, all drivers, 21 different zip codes so not as many car pool opportunities as other schools where people are clustered together. We are now in a really hip part of town. (Wasn’t the case when we started – we were the only ones.) 520 kids, roughly 380 families. Slight shift over the years – we have a lot of single kid families now that increases # cars going through. Works better on Fridays b/c many parents get kids here for K-Kids and PC meeting. Between 7:45-8:10 hope is there is an equal distribution of people going through. She sees 7:45 line, then lull 7:47-7:58 nothing, then 8 am picks up and 8:13-15 is crazy.
Some suggestions presented:
- Carpooling, more formal system to help families find carpooling. More applicable to older students.
- Imprints idea of before and after school. MadScience and CrazyRunning really help the afternoon lines.
- Have a parent committee on it. Robin has wanted to make a video for families of how to go through line w/ a quick easy out. Parent committee could do this.
- Board member has met w/ new apt complex Goler. It is 40% occupied for now, may be some opportunity to share or rent for now if school pays $, but that would be temporary fix until they are full. Also that does not solve morning and afternoon, but does solve performance days and evening events.
- Most efficient way to get kids in and out of school is drop off line not walking in but we’d like to keep that as an option for families. If kid is old enough, best way is to go through line.
- Talked about satellite bus pickup spot. ex: Hanes Mall, bus brings children here. But they’d have to be there by 7:45. So what about location closer to campus. Maybe Downtown Health Plaza. But challenges: they’d have to get there and load by 8 am to get here and unload by 8:15. So that doesn’t really help. Not sure enough people would choose it anyway and hard to require it.
- Buying lot next door would love to happen, but next door neighbor has priced it very high. So not workable right now.
- Crosswalk on MLK state road? State says no. Busy thoroughfare, they won’t even put flashing signs. Only put school on the road. We remind everyone not to park across MLK and send children across. Traffic will only get worse when B-40 closes.
- If you want Robin to do something about a specific situation, tell Robin. She doesn’t go on Facebook. If she can get a fairly good description she can usually directly have a conversation with the family. Often it’s the nanny or grandparents that need more education.
- Not sure how to fix mess on Chestnut b/c she can’t be there too. All staff has a post. Other than 1 person answering phone in office, everyone else is already out managing traffic. If you have specific questions please talk to Robin.
Question: What are recommendations for grandparents who would get flustered to go through line? Answer: Come when no one is at school and drive through routine with them. It’s hard to imagine what it’s like until those 1st few days when you go through the line.
Question: What is deal w/ 7th St being closed? Answer: Sinkhole under RR, RR won’t fix it, city is working on it, will take at least 2 months.
Do not park on 7th! Chestnut is a good exit normally, but construction on Chestnut has created a difficulty to get through. This may be the case for a long time.
Planning board says we are evolving into a downtown urban space. People who live here aren’t prepared for it. Now there is no place to put car when you drive downtown. Painful growing phase where people are not pedestrian yet. Eventually that will happen.
Comment that pickup has been great for 2nd pickup. 2:35. Robin says we start loading 2:25. Line starts queuing at 1:30. It takes her 10 minutes to load 1st group. 2:55 they are done. Comment that 2nd pickup is easy but 1st pickup is where problems happen.
Don’t feel like you have to be on white line to pickup, teachers will walk to you. Don’t turn around and fix your kid’s lunch box.
Question: Is this a few incidents? Or is this typical? A: Doesn’t take much to snarl up the line. In regards to morning where a parent parked and walked child in, another parent said they were in line by 8:03 but line just didn’t move that morning. By the time we got through close to drop off point at 8:11 the mom in front of her parked. Then that caused problems.
Comment: For Friday Sing or other events it is very difficult to come and be involved. Robin thinking about making Friday Sing a kids-only event. Maybe we could stream it. When we have a performance, we try to do one classroom at a time so we are only trying to accommodate 20 families instead of 60.
Question: Some parents ignore Thursday notes, is there a way to get more attention brought to certain info. Separate email, etc. Answer: try to balance not inundating with extra emails. So usually Thurs notes.
Comment/Question: Sometimes not easy to click link to Thursday notes to connect, maybe highlight things in email body that are timely or sensitive. Answer: We are about to change distribution and use MailChimp to make more graphics, more text in body of email, which should help.
Comment: We get here early enough, but for parking volunteers what time should we be here? 7:45 is ideal to arrive, but any time before 8. Having volunteer to let middle school parents come in line helps.
Comment: You get volunteer hours for helping with carpooling.
Handicapped spaces: we have students who NEED that spot. Paige looks at every car that parks and says something if someone that does not. Some people have a handicapped placard they can park there. Unfortunately that blocks people that need the spot to load their child. But if there is a placard there is nothing Paige can do. 7th Street: please do not park there, visibility greatly decreased if someone parks there. Paige does not yell and scream across the roads. Doesn’t want to make children feel badly about their parents. Paige tries to address it a different time.
Comment: 7th St closed helps with traffic flow.
Comment: Morning problem w/ light at Patterson it will stop morning traffic. Answer: Sometimes snake bites its tail so sometimes you have to wait. Exiting Chestnut helps, but that is hard b/c of construction down the street.
Comment: 2nd pickup sometimes starts early. 2nd pickup should not pull in until 2:40. If callers see you in middle of 1st pickup they will tell you to come later. Sometimes a murky in between. Another comment that it is hard to know when for that 2nd line to start on either end – sometimes it starts too late.
No cutting through apartment parking lot! Parent volunteer ideally would be posted at that area to block cutters and let 2nd line know when to start.
Imprints Question: will ABS teachers be interested? Answer: not sure about teachers as they are pretty tired end of day, but maybe some assistants b/c they are part time. Definite pilot in January, but come August we’ll choose which one. Y typically uses large gathering spaces (cafeteria, playground) Playground be shared but Imprints will use classrooms.
Comment: P8 lot in Innovation Quarter is a public lot – you can park there.
Comment: concern that Friday Sing might be closed. Robin hasn’t decided yet, used to have Friday Sing every Friday. Comment it is such a great reminder of why kids are here.
Comment: Give one another grace. They might not know.