Thursday, April 6, 2006 at the Carver Educational Services Center

Officers: Cindy Kerr, April Keyes, Juan Johnson, Liz Wheeler, Sharon
St. Pierre, Jinhee Wilde
Area Vice Presidents and Cluster Coordinators: Phil Kaufman, Jane
deWinter, Steve Crowley, Marney Jacobs, Pam Moomau, Susan Joyce Thomas,
Lori Merrill, Sally Taber, Carroll Lovelace
Committee Chairs: Kay Romero, Anne Turner, Patti Twigg, Suzanne Weiss,
Shirley Brandman, Vicki Rafel, Meredith Walters
Visitor: Thomas Hearn Wood Acres Elementary School Delegate
Call to Order: MCCPTA President Cindy Kerr called the meeting to order
at 7:52PM.
Agenda: Added to the agenda were: Susan Thomas’ new business; Vicki
Rafel’s EPI, Inc. update; Marney Jacobs CIP report and Thomas Hearn’s
comments on the bylaws to be given during Cindy’s president’s report.
Meeting Minutes: The March 2, 2006 Board of Directors meeting minutes
were distributed. One correction was made for spelling. “It passed by a
voice vote” was added to the end of Ted Willard’s first motion. Added
to the Vice President- Administration report was, “A system has been in
place in the MCCPTA office to maintain these records, so information
could be produced at any time.” Suzanne Weiss questioned the statement
that the letter from Janis Sartucci to MD PTA was from the Churchill
cluster. The letter was distributed tonight and Cindy will give Suzanne
a copy of the e-mail, too. The minutes stand approved as amended.
Treasurer’s Report:
Juan Johnson distributed the profit and loss budget vs. actual report
for July 1, 2005 through April 6, 2006 and the balance sheet as of
April 6, 2006. In addition, he distributed a list of schools remaining
outstanding in dues and/or insurance payments as of April 6, 2006.
Currently we’re on track with the budget with about $5,000 tied up in
CDs until June, the transfer of money to the money market for next
year, and $13,000 left in the budget. The discrepancy in our
memberships between the state (50,000) and our records (49,000) at $.75
is now not as big a gap. More accurate information should be available
for the April delegate assembly. The 2004 and 2005 audits have been
sent to the finance committee. They will present them at the next Board
of Directors meeting. After that the audits will be filed. The
treasurer’s report will be filed for audit.
Correspondence will be shared at the May Board of Directors meeting.
As requested, Cindy distributed a copy of a letter sent to MD PTA and
their response. MD PTA is mailing Cindy a copy of the previous letter
that is referred to, also. Since our last meeting another letter has
been sent by Janis with an attachment from Suzanne, but Cindy hasn’t
seen it. Cindy recuses herself from anything that comes from Montgomery
when it comes into the state. MD PTA had a discussion with
National PTA and they said it’s considered done, so it comes back to
the council level. Tom Hearn, as an attorney, brought to Cindy’s
attention difficulties between the Maryland incorporation laws and the
National and MD PTA template. Cindy was not involved with the MD PTA
template or the vote. Tom doesn’t think it aligns with Maryland
incorporation. Tom brought up issues with removal of officers. MD PTA
will be working tomorrow with their attorneys and National PTA so we
can bring information back to the May meeting. It’s a state issue since
it’s a state template and therefore it has implications for all MD
councils. Tom has been very cooperative with Vicki and Cindy. If what
he says is true and is legitimate, then we have an issue to work on at
MD PTA and it will have to be corrected. Cindy will have answers in
May. Tom stated that the main issue is the rule added in January about
removal of a member of the board of directors by two thirds vote. He
brought copies of the 1999 MCCPTA articles of incorporation which
follows the state law and says that removal of a member of the board of
directors is by membership. Articles of incorporation overrule bylaws.
Cindy noted that MCCPTA is one of the few PTA councils that has never
removed officers. Vicki Rafel said that it does us a disservice not to
at least point out that there are other points of view re: Tom Hearn’s
issues and  that there’s additional information as it relates to our
bylaws, incorporation and the legal status of the group that votes to
remove a person from office. A board of directors or an executive board
has a different legal standing than a delegate assembly or a convention
body. Those issues need to be checked with other attorneys. It’s not a
matter of intentionally violating anyone’s rights or anyone’s bylaws.
Vicki is tired of having her integrity and competence impugned at least
once a month because of interpretations. We don’t have all the answers.
Tom said that he doesn’t question that this was done in good faith. MD
PTA is learning a lot and is looking to our area for help. National PTA
believed that they had covered these issues, but, since we raised the
issue we’ll get back to you. Tom encouraged our members to take copies
of the articles of incorporation. Vicki noted that the articles are MD
PTA’s own articles, so this is definitely a MD PTA issue. If they act
as our agent then it’s up to them to fix it not us.
Cindy will be asking for help with interview panels.
Cindy also announced that she’s changing her phone number and address
but, she still meets requirements to hold MCCPTA and state office and
will finish those terms.
Two weeks ago Cindy was told that on April 20 the Board of Education
will recognize the PTA for their many hours of volunteer work during
recognition for National Volunteer Week. Last year PTA was not
recognized. County council members told Cindy after testimony last
night that they want it publicly known, and for the Board of Education
to similarly acknowledge, that the council considers MCCPTA to be a
very strong, vocal force in advocacy before them, and that it has a
strong impact in their decision making. Mike Subin wanted this said
because of comments about MCCPTA no longer being held in respect.
Vice President – Legislation:
Jinhee Wilde reported that she is now a board member of Committee for
Montgomery. Committee for Montgomery is a group of business, community
and education representatives that deal with issues that impact
Montgomery County. Jinhee will be focusing on educational issues. She
reported on Committee for Montgomery’s legislative and budget
priorities for the 2006 legislative session (which ends tomorrow):
Early childhood education - public/private providers targeting programs
that impact children with the lowest school readiness
Elementary and secondary education (K to 12) - including GCEI; school
construction; full funding for MD teachers and employees pension
systems; professional development, retention and recruitment; and
opposition to funding for vouchers, technology and textbooks in private
Higher Education – expand capacity; limiting student tuition increase
in public and private school and increasing needs based scholarships;
extending resident tuition rates to immigrants who have graduated from
MD high schools; scholarships and financial aid to eligible students
who transfer from community colleges to four year MD programs and
funding for Montgomery College – Silver Spring expansion (Takoma Park),
new science center (Rockville) and Bioscience Center (Germantown)
Jinhee also listed bills supported by Committee for Montgomery:
HB 129 – adult education (remediation)
HB 301 – services for specials needs students
HB – community college funding formula adjustment
HB 988 – higher education work force grant
HB 1381 – restrictions on higher education tuition increases for fall
Prince George’s County and other MD jurisdictions offered a
“re-formula” to abolish Thornton by recommending more of a quick fix
that would result in $15 million more for Prince George’s as opposed to
receiving nothing now. Montgomery’s whole delegation will be blocking
all of the veto overrides. The relationship between the Prince George’s
County and Montgomery County delegation was discussed, including GCEI.
Baltimore will be losing money. The Montgomery delegation is firmly
united in their support of our MCCPTA position. If the take over of the
schools does not go through, then schools will lose federal funding.
Cindy added that HB 141 (parent with child in MD school on the state
board of education) was killed in committee, but MD PTA is going to try
to see if these qualifications could still be considered when
appointments are made. Cindy has talked with Washington County Council
of PTAs about their school board (all at large) being allowed to use
regions. Anne Arundel is trying to get an elected school board, too.
She noted that Montgomery County is one of the few counties to still
retain an elected school board.
Corresponding Secretary:
April Keyes reported that she’s been serving on a committee for
diversity training that meets quarterly. When the diversity training
video that the committee has developed gets approval from the Board of
Education, she’d like to show it at the delegate assembly and use it
for PTAs, too.
Vice President – Educational Issues:
Sharon St. Pierre has been doing site visits for the three candidates
for the Marian Greenblatt Award which is announced at the Champions for
Children gala April 19 at the Marriott Convention Center in Bethesda.
Sharon was also on the selection committee for the administrator of the
year award to be given that same night to Dr. Robert Bastress, director
for the elementary and secondary development leadership team. The PTA
program award winner is Stedwick Elementary School. Stedwick ES will
attend, too, and they’ve been given a free table for 10 by MCBRE and a
$1,000 award. All ten of the MCCPTA slots have been filled. MCCPTA does
ticketing, registration and centerpieces in return for our table. Paula
Robinson has been making sixty centerpieces and they’ll be used for the
presidents and principals dinner, too. Presidents and principals dinner
will be held for the last year at Indian Springs Country Club on May
24. Invitations have been sent out.
Sharon attended MD PTA and has passed along the training handbook for
councils and power point materials to Meredith Walters to train the
locals. Local PTA candidates can find definitions of PTA jobs on the
website. At MD PTA she discussed “Building Successful Partnerships”
(parent involvement) and will share what is passed down from National
PTA for this to locals.
The Reflections Award Ceremony is April 26 at Loiederman Middle School.
Special Education Recognition Ceremony is at Rockville High School on
May 8. Speaking for Ted Willard, she noted that the program on family
involvement at the last delegate assembly went well and we had
increased attendance. Ted, Sharon, Jody Leleck and Betsy Brown are
working on the math curriculum review process. Suzanne Weiss noted
during last night’s Operating Budget testimony there were complaints of
the “push down” of algebra. Sharon said that they’ve not had that
discussion, yet, but parents should voice their opinions. Drilling of
math facts (multiplication tables) and certification of teachers was
discussed. Juan Johnson mentioned that he brings up the topic of
pushing math down levels at middle school reform steering committee
meetings. Victor Salazar, Pam Moomau and Sharon are on the Safe School
Steering Committee (meeting monthly for two years) working on fact
finding on issues including: drugs, alcohol, weapons, bullying, and
gangs. Pam added that there is a separate internal MCPS committee
working on revising discipline regulations. Major changes have been
made for the level of sanctions for certain activities, for example,
those that involve mandatory suspension. It is posted on the website.
Pam said that this is a contentious issue. Discussion on this topic
included: zero tolerance; in school and out of school suspension;
suspension reports (mandatory and discretionary suspensions); not
reporting suspensions; reports showing needs of a community to use as
advocacy regardless of the enrollment figures; and that principals have
been told to cut the number of suspensions; breakdown of suspensions by
gender, race and violations. Cindy said that the state bullying report
is out. Frederick County reported the most incidents and the most
action on it. Montgomery County has not reported actions taken
following the reporting. Montgomery County may not be able to report
accurately because they have no single definition of bullying. We need
a standard state definition of bullying to interpret results.
Champions for Children:
Sharon St. Pierre reported Paula Robinson has said that printing cost
for the PTA programs booklet (including a brief description and school
contact information) to be distributed at the Champions for Children
dinner is lowest at Staples of four companies. It would cost about $500
to make 800 4 to 5 page booklets.
Sharon St. Pierre made a motion to spend $500 for the cost of 800 PTA
programs booklets to be presented at
the presidents and principals dinner and other areas, so they’re all
distributed. It was seconded. It passed by a voice vote.
Discussion included: Ted Willard is still discussing a printing
sponsorship with the Discovery Channel, but if that doesn’t happen
we’ll use these funds instead. Champions for Children is before the
presidents and principals dinner, but the booklets won’t be distributed
there, since that’s MCBRE’s gala. Juan said that money for printing can
be taken from the general administrative funds. The booklet information
will be put on our website, too. In addition, Sharon said that MCBRE
has increased the number of centerpieces needed for the Champions for
Children gala from last year’s 45 to 60 within the past few days.
    Sharon St. Pierre made a motion that we spend an additional $100 to
pay for the extra cost incurred due to the increase in
    centerpieces requested by MCBRE. It was seconded. It passed by a voice
Discussion: The money could be taken from the presidents and principals
MCCPTA EPI, Inc. update:
Vicki Rafel, head of EPI, reported that it’s been decided not to
continue to offer Hands on Science (HOS) to local PTAs next year. HOS
had been offered for 25 years, so it wasn’t an easy decision, but costs
were too high to pass on to local PTAs. Local PTAs will be informed
that HOS won’t be part of EPI. Locals would have to get their own
contract, insurance and pay ICB. EPI still has FLES and the showcases.
Full day kindergarten has wiped out the kindergarten enrichment
program. There will probably be a summit this fall for local PTAs to
talk about after school programs. We’ll be exploring a set of after
school programs that rotate art, music and language. Vicki is concerned
about how locals are handling insurance for other after school programs
that they may offer. Insurance and ICB rates vary depending on if it’s
run by volunteers or paid employees. HOS is a non-profit organization.
ICB will check local PTAs websites to determine if their permits were
completed properly. Locals need to know that they need riders on their
insurance policy. These issues will be part of the fall summit.
Susan Thomas testified on behalf of the Kennedy cluster last night at
the county council operating budget testimony. One of her statements
was that 30% of the incoming 9th grade class was reading at 4th grade
or below. Steve Bedford, community superintendent, spoke with Susan and
several of her counterparts at other schools afterwards concerning
those statistics. Today, the Kennedy principal sent Susan information
that this year 30% of the 9th grade class was reading 2 to 4 years
below grade level (meaning 5th to 7th grade). I will send a correction
to the county council. Nonetheless, we have increasing rates of
illiteracy and academic ineligibility. Susan was directed to contact
Don Kress and Frieda Lacey regarding data.
Grading and Reporting:
Shirley Brandman, committee chair, said the Grading and Reporting
Committee will be meeting April 20 at 7:30 PM in the Carver auditorium.
MCPS’s latest information is their definite plan to implement, as a
package, Pinnacle (an electronic grade book) and EDline (software to
allow students and parents to monitor and track student progress;
teachers to post assignments and links to resources) next fall at
middle schools and high schools. Some schools have been piloting these
two systems. Shirley was told issues were being worked out for how
these programs communicate with each other. Deeva Garel, from the MCPS
technology office heads new Edline advisory group. She wants parent
feedback at meetings or through e-mail (contact Shirley for Deeva’s
contact information) to design the system to be as user friendly as
possible. Training will be done this summer, but Shirley doesn’t know
how it will be done. Principals have talked about putting it on their
computer systems. Juan added that Pinnacle will be available over the
internet, so teachers don’t need to be in the building to do training.
Now Pinnacle isn’t on the internet, but it should be in schools before
school finishes. The grade 1 and 2 elementary pilot report card will
not expand next year beyond the 17 schools using it now and 2 new
elementary schools who’ve agreed to use it. MCPS is still struggling to
make report card effective and meaningful. This will delay the roll out
by at least one year. They’re still at the early stages of the grade 3
report card and they’ve not decided if this is where to transition from
numbers to grades. There will be changes to report cards next year, but
Shirley hasn’t seen the drafts. The department of shared accountability
has tabulated the first survey results from principals and
teachers, but not from parent focus groups, yet. They looked at how
people got information, how it was communicated and how changes were
understood. Next year they’ll look at actual system limitations. The
first surveys, that aren’t public yet, but will be soon, showed that
much was lacking. The grading and
reporting committee has been asked to present to Board of Education
June and August. The June presentation will be an explanation of what
will happen next year, and August will be an actual analysis of how
grades have changed, if at all under the new system. They’ve definitely
heard the parent concern that the new grade 1 and 2 reports cards don’t
have a place for narrative teacher comments, but Shirley doesn’t know
if this will change.
Operating Budget:
Jane de Winter reported that financially nothing has changed with the
operating budget since last month. She distributed a draft MCCPTA FY
2008 operating budget input local PTA worksheet. Our advocacy efforts
are off cycle from when the school system is actually developing the
operating budget. MCCPTA doesn’t have positions in September and
October when the budget is being made. This draft is trying to have the
local PTAs tie operating budget with the CIP, so by fall we have a
summary of priorities ready. Jane developed this draft list of what’s
relevant, including space for comments, and asked for feedback on the
format, and who it should go to – one per local and/or Board of
Directors, and if both, should they have equal weight. Marney Jacobs
mentioned that the CIP committee will tag team with the operating
budget committee. There is a cluster comments workshop on April 26 with
Adrienne Karamihas during which Marney and Jim will talk about how
comments are done and Jane can explain the survey on how to develop
advocacy priorities for the operating budget. We should have the
delegates involved, too. Jane will send the survey out and would like
it due by May 15th, or possibly the end of the month. Discussion
included: including the board of directors; to focus on funding issues;
to develop the compact earlier and narrow it down, so we have
specifics; to have the operating budget mirror the CIP’s broad outline
for guidance and then go to the locals at the same time they’re doing
their CIP letter; local summaries could be drilled down for specifics
in areas of common concern; separate worksheets for Board of Directors
and locals (shorter for locals); both detail and overview are needed,
so major headings could be used with details added under those; adding
a column for things that are extraneous or wasteful (less funding
column is already there, but it could be more explicit); and using
cluster coordinators. Jane will pony directly to PTA president’s
address first. Jane thinks that the Board of Directors can fill out the
draft. She’ll work on the categories, a cover sheet and ask for
comments in broad categories from the locals.
Marney Jacobs distributed a flyer for the CIP cluster comment workshop
on April 26 from 7:30 to 9 in the Carver cafeteria. She can revise the
flyer to show Jane’s discussion, too. Since there are other conflicts
with that night’s scheduling, Marney is asking cluster coordinators to
make sure that someone is there. We are anticipating getting full
funding for CIP from the county council. Full funding still doesn’t
mean that projects will be done because the bids are coming in
extremely high (almost double), so please stay aware of what’s
happening.  We’re hoping that the state will give up to $41 million.
Please keep saying “thank you.”
Sharon St. Pierre made a motion (on behalf of Neal Myerson, Reflections
chair) that we appropriate up to $750 for the MCCPTA Reflections Award
Ceremony on April 26 (to cover costs of certificates, printing the
program, refreshments, miscellaneous and purchasing awards). It passed
by a voice vote.
Discussion included: $180 spent so far; last year’s ceremony cost about
$500, but more awards will be given this year; attendance about 200 to
250; and committees budgeted as one lump sum.
Spring training will be held on June 7 at Rockville High School. Sharon
St. Pierre said that the training committee had discussed broadening
our scope to include neighboring counties (Frederick, Prince George’s
and Howard).  Our county has the most extensive training, so we’d like
to offer free training to hopefully build good relationships. Sharon
doesn’t expect many participants from other counties. Meredith Walters
said there’s about $1,000 in the budget for training. We’d reassess
after this year to see how costs were affected by offering them
training. At the state level we’d like to partner with other counties.
Vicki said last year’s training also included the fall cluster
coordinators and AVPS training. Spring training was about $800 for 200
people. Cindy thought that the cost of the handbooks could be covered
by the state PTA. Suzanne still wants our county to meet their own
county counterparts. Sitting by cluster and name tags could further
Meredith Walters made a motion to invite neighboring county PTAs
(Howard, Frederick and Prince George’s) to attend spring training, June
7, on a trial basis. It passed by a voice vote.
    Meredith Walters made a motion to allow the training committee to
spend up to $1200 on the spring training event for
    materials, school rental and refreshments. It passed by a voice vote.
List Serv:
Patti Twigg discussed changing the name of the executive board list
serv to reflect the name change to the Board of Directors. Suggestions
given were: MCCPTA_Board, BoD, BdofDir, and Board.
Patti Twigg made a motion that we change the name of the Executive
Board list serv from ExecBd list serv to a Board of Directors list serv
name (to be determined) now. The motion passed by a voice vote.
Discussion: If messages are sent to the list, then you would have to
change the address that you send it to.
Patti Twigg made a motion to change the name from the
MCCPTA_ExecBd@yahoogroups.com to MCCPTA_Board@yahoogroups.com. It
passed by a voice vote.
Susan Thomas was asked to hold her idea for a new list serv of news
articles of interest for the new administration.
Pam Moomau apologized for reporting late for the safety committee.
There’s some legislation at the state level to appoint a statewide task
force to do a survey on environmental conditions within school
classrooms, and report back best practices for addressing them. This
was generated by the mold problem at Bells Mill Elementary School. Pam

was asked to get the word out to
locals to send e-mails out since this issue is stuck in committee. It
was noted that the legislative session ends tomorrow, so it may be too
ADJOURNMENT: The meeting was adjourned at 9:43 PM.