PTO Meeting Minutes – Nov. 8, 2017

Principal : Karen Donato

Teacher’s Rep : Siobhan Foley

PTO Board

Co-presidents: Diana Trudell & Nandana Mewada

Vice-President: Yael Beals

Co-treasurers: Sara Wilkinson & Carolyn Schneyer

Co-secretaries: Emily Gauthier & Fiona Ehring

Fundraising: Juliet Moir

Arlington Community Card: Ashley Lorenz & Gaggi DeStefanis

Enrichment: Maf Terry & Tonja Bishop

Communications: Danielle Gottesman

Spirit & Appreciation: Judy Hu & Melissa Crowley

Room Parents: Sarah Gupta

Volunteers: Kate Murphy

Thompson Community

Diana Trudell, Nandana Mewada, Sara Wilkinson, Fiona Ehring, Christy Murphy-Macinta, Ashley Lorenz, Melissa Crowley, Kate Murphy, Judy Hu, Maf Terry, Juliet Moir, Gaggi DeStefanis, Sonia Valada, Lani Obermayer, Sarah Gupta


Guest Speaker – Lori Pescatore (AYCC) Arlington Youth Counseling Center, representing the Board of Youth Services

  • Helped create Holiday Help and Thanksgiving Basket programs in schools also Last Blast, Town Day
  • They provide child and adolescent health services in Arlington both in schools and at the Whittemore-Robbins House in Arlington Center
  • Yearly Gala is a fundraiser
  • Donations always welcome through the town website


Minutes approval – All

School Updates

  • Construction update – Opening Mon Nov 20, Volunteers needed to monitor kids and also move smaller items. Kate Murphy is creating a sign-up genius. 9-11 Third grade classrooms and one first grade (Caplan)

Ms. Foley speaking about the new Anti Bias and Cultural Competency initiative to be piloted.

  • Visions Co. to do teacher training made possible through an AEF grant to support Safe and Supportive Schools. Teachers and staff will be trained in anti-bias. Ms. Foley was also trained by Ed co.
  • Classroom libraries, reading groups, Bill Shea library, to include more diverse representations of culture and color.
  • How to increase number of books.
  • Possible PTO grant.
    • Wish Lists for Lit Week?
    • Lists, Shri Thumati working with Thompson Librarian; Look at Library and analyze needs.
    • Book rack to include more type books during book fair
    • How else to contribute?
    • Teachers look at enrichment activity to go along with this initiative. Ms Foley to look for Elem. Curriculum with this idea.
    • Preview possible? Volunteers to go to Public lib. and borrow books to preview. List from teachers of books they know they want. Ms. foley to Survey teachers and consolidate list. By end of next week.

Fundraising Update

  • Wrap up of Direct Donation- Juliet Moir
  • goal of 250 met, with 276 families participating for a total of $28,046 not including corporate match or monthly recurring donations.
  • Work to include corporate matching donation information and possibility to request a receipt with TIN # to submit.
  • If a receipt is needed Sara can help with that. Email to parents.
  • Idea sharing with Hardy. Incentives?
  • Guidelines of what the amount would pay for.
  • Add QR code to initial request sheet.
  • Needs; someone to follow up with matching donations
  • Thank you notes for all? Ms. O’Mahoney willing to have students write notes.
  • Fun run fundraising event possible? To be discussed at some point. Possibly for next year.

Holiday Programs

  • Spirit Wear- Judy Hu and Melissa Crowley, as of today 115 items ordered. One third of items purchased. $468 in sponsored. Extension until the end of next week (17th) Email through room parents with PDF order form attached.
  • Community Card- Ashley Lorenz, Gaggi Destefanis- All cards are signed out. 120 of 300 remaining sold. Last hundred will go to book rack. 32 sold at curriculum night. Menotomy 19 sold 20 more given out.
  • Facebook instagram and twitter?
  • Otto Fundraising night Monday Nov 13 5-9pm 8% of pizza sales to go to Thompson. Volunteers needed to stay at Otto sign up genius. Include a plug in room parent email.
  • Helena’s Fundraising Night – Dec 13 7-9pm mention Thompson for percentage.
  • Amazon – Need someone to monitor Amazon Associates. 5-10% FAQ to send out.

Enrichment Update – Maf Terry & Tonja Bishop

  • New Event; Dec. 1 Arabico Traditional Egyptian music and dance all school event, two performances

Volunteer Needs

  • Kate Murphy, where to list? Room parent emails work well. Ideas or feedback to Kate please.


  • Include in Facebook and Twitter or not? Tabled until next month

PTO Debrief

  • Picture Day 10/12- Kate Murphy retake Nov 27th. Possible to change venders due to restrictions on outdoor photos.

Upcoming Events

  • Book Fair 12/11-15 Shri Thumati & Christy Murphy
  • Literacy Night 12/12 illustration theme.
    • Graphic novel station in classrooms leading up to LN. Coordinate with Ms. Campagna.
    • Raffle baskets more discrete prizes for more winners? Comicazi, Blank books Illustration kits, Graphic novels, Younger and older.
    • Food, Pizza and snacks.
    • Multi purpose room to be used as well as music room. How to create flow between book sale and downstairs events
    • How many kids can participate in each 20 minute Comic/Graphic Novel workshop?
  • Winter Parents Party- 1/27/18 Gaggi DeStephanis & Ashley Lorenz
    • Town Hall is chosen venue
    • Look into catering and other costs to determine ticket price.


  • Notes: Abby Matheson a writer from the Arlington Advocate joined the meeting for the first 30 minutes. Her contact info is: (781)674-7734
  • Time constraints prevented continuation. The following to be addressed next month.
  • Teachers Breakfast 11/2-
  • Movie Night 10/13 – Meghan Ostrander, Fiona Ehring
  • Science Explo Date?

Thompson School News : October 30, 2017


The Thompson PTO is always in need of helping hands for all sorts of tasks. From selling community cards to helping clean-up after movie night to helping plan one of our many events: the link below lists all of the many ways you can give of your time to help your Thompson Community.

Is there an accountant in the house?

As a 501(c)(3) registered charity, the PTO is seeking the assistance of a CPA to prepare our form 990-EZ for FY17. If you or a family member are a CPA who would like to make an in-kind donation of free or reduced-rate tax preparation, please contact us at

In This Issue

  • Save the Date | School Calendar
  • Highlight of the Month
  • Principal’s Update
  • Thompson News and Events
  • Community News and Events
  • PTO Fundraising
  • Connect with Us

Save The Date

  • November 1 – No school, Professional Development Day
  • November 8, 7-9 pm – PTO meeting, Special speaker: Lori Pescatore AYCC Arlington Youth Counseling Center)
  • November 9 – Arlington EATS Community Dinner
  • November 10 – No school, Veterans Day
  • November 22 – Early dismissal 12:00 pm
  • November 23 and 24 – No school, Thanksgiving Break

School Calendar

Click for Thompson’s Google Calendar to get school holidays, early release days, and PTO events on your own calendar. Click for a printable version of this month’s calendar.

Highlight of the Month

Direct Donation Drive

Only 38 more families needed to reach our participation goal!!!

The Direct Donation Drive is coming to an end in 2 days! So far, 212 families have participated, and we need only 38 additional families to meet our 250 family participation goal! If you have been putting off making a contribution, NOW is the time to act! Send a check in your kid’s backpack or make a contribution online. Click here to DONATE NOW! No donation is too small.

100% of your donation goes toward enriching your child’s educational experience. The Thompson PTO is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, so your contribution is tax deductible! Check with your employer to see if you have a matching gift program; many of these programs match contributions dollar for dollar, and some will even double or triple the amount of your gift!

Email friends and family to help us meet our goal by making a donation in your child’s name.

Principal’s Update

Dear Thompson Families,

Well, it looks like the end is in sight and a new beginning is on the horizon! With the installation of the required fireproof windows last week, the major requirements are in place and the General Contractor can petition for a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy. Right now there is not a firm date of when we will open in the new space, but I am shooting for the Monday after Veteran’s Day. I will have more information in the coming days, but wanted to give your this brief update as soon as possible.

We will likely put a call out for parent assistance with moving, so please stay tuned for more on that.

A few reminders:

I also wanted to ask for your help with the ongoing parking space issue on North Union. I am asking that if you “see something, say something.” Parents continue to park in teacher spots and it is causing much disruption to the start of the day. If you see someone pulling in to one of those spots, please either remind them that they are not drop off spots, or take down the license plate number so that I can ask APD for their assistance.

Lost and found continues to multiply! Please check the rack outside of the cafeteria if you are missing something, and even just stop by to double check that you are not! We will be donating all that’s left during the Thanksgiving Break. (Did I really just say that Thanksgiving is coming?!) Please, please, please label every little bit of belongings with your child’s name – even their gloves, hats and boots!

Are you looking for part-time job? Do you like working with children and even seeing your own during the school day? Well, we are in need of additional lunch and recess staff! The hours are 10:30-1:30 each day, and I am open to having people work even 2-3 days/week if that’s what works for them. Please spread the word and anyone interested should contact me.

Looking forward to a strong start to November!


Thompson News & Events

Field Trips

Kindergarten – Pumpkin Picking

Pumpkin PickingThe kindergarten enjoyed a beautiful day on Friday October 27th during their field trip to Crescent Farms in Haverhill, MA. The children took a hayride past cornfields and grazing cows to the pumpkin patch, and each child got to pick their own pumpkin to bring home. They also got to see ducks, rabbits, sheep and goats and enjoyed a snack of apples and pop corners. It was a great fall day on a working New England farm.

4th Grade – Habitat, Mass Audubon

On October 23rd the students in 4th grade visited MassAudubon’s Habitat Education & Wildlife Sanctuary. It was wonderful for them to be outside in the warm autumn sunshine, while learning about soil ecosystems from Habitat’s resident ecologists. The students learned that on each fallen twig, under every log, and in each pile of leaves, there are animals and other important living things. Students explored this “hidden” habitat and discovered the decomposers that are constantly working out of sight. This field trip directly ties to the in-classroom learning that took place this fall around soil and soil ecosystems. And, this enrichment opportunity was funded through the Thompson community via its support of the PTO. Thank you!
Thompson Staff Appreciation Breakfast

As a thank you to the Thompson teachers and staff for their continued patience with the ongoing construction, the Thompson Community will host a staff appreciation breakfast on Thursday, November 2nd. To help, please sign up here:

Thompson Staff Appreciation Breakfast

As a thank you to the Thompson teachers and staff for their continued patience with the ongoing construction, the Thompson Community will host a staff appreciation breakfast on Thursday, November 2nd. To help, please sign up here:

Thompson Staff Appreciation Breakfast


Lost & FoundOur lost and found is overflowing. Stop by and you may find your lost treasures!



Community Card

Fall Family Sales

Community Card 2017 2018Fall Family Sales continue through December 8th. With the holiday season approaching, keep the “makes for great holiday gifts!” pitch on your mind as you are chatting up the card – especially to folks with teenagers! What teen wouldn’t love free popcorn at the Capitol and discounts at Chilly Cow, La Victoria, Andrina’s etc. To sell cards, fill out this form.

Other Ways to Help Boost Card Marketing Efforts
  • Please “Like” our Community Card Facebook page!
  • Follow us on Twitter at @ArlCommCard
  • Post your own visits to, and/or savings experiences at, participating Community Card businesses to Facebook or Twitter, and reference #ArlCommCard.

Any questions? Contact

Flu Clinic

Flu ShotThe Arlington Board of Health will be hosting a flu clinic for the students and staff of Thompson Elementary on November 15th from 7:45 AM to 9:45 AM. Mrs. Donato will be sending out a link from the Board of Health to register your child for the clinic over the next few weeks. Paper forms will also go home in the next few weeks as well. In addition, November 16th will the general clinic for Arlington children 6 months – 18 years at Ottoson Middle School, 63 Acton Street (5 PM to 7 PM) where parents are welcome to attend with their child.


Community News & Events

Halloween Event at Waldo Park, Tuesday, October 31st

HalloweenAll are invited to the 12th annual Waldo Park Halloween Party on Tuesday the 31st. We’ll gather at the Park beginning at 4 pm, and we’ll have a costume “fashion show” that’ll start around 4:30 – 4:45 pm. A light dinner (hot dogs and veggie items) will be served after the fashion show, so that all who wish can eat a meal before trick-or-treating. (Waldo Park is located at the end of Waldo Road, off Cleveland Street, between Mass Ave and Broadway).

– Alex Hoffinger, Friends of Waldo Park


Community Dance Night

Thursday, November 2

6:30-8:30 pm

Arlington High School

Come dance, sing, and create community, all in the space of one short evening. Join us—alone, or with family or friends—and transport yourself to cultures far away. We’ll try contra dancing from New England and French Canada, plus international folk dancing from places as far-flung as Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Tahiti, and Africa. Escape into a world of dance as others around the world have done for years, decades, and sometimes centuries. The nature of this dance is traditional, participatory and inter-generational. If you can get yourself to Arlington High School, we can get you dancing and laughing! For ages 8+, $10 at the door.

Arlington Orthodontics

Annual Halloween
Candy Buy Back Event: November 3rd & 4th

Arlington Orthodontics is gearing up for the Annual Halloween Candy Buy Back Event to benefit Arlington Elementary School PTOs and our troops serving abroad! Children / Parents are invited to drop off their leftover Halloween Candy at their office November 3th and 4th. They will give the child or parent $2 / lb (max $10) as well as make a matching donation to the child’s school PTO. All candy is shipped to troops serving over seas!

Last year, we sent over 1000 lbs of candy to our troops and raised over $1800 for Arlington Elementary School PTOs! We had a great showing from all 7 of the Arlington Elementary schools.

Arlington Orthodontics
800 Massachusetts Ave, #1 (781) 777-2559

The Privates Rule

The Privates RuleJoin Dr. Nora Shine, child psychologist, at Ottoson Middle School on November 7th in a warm and engaging talk about keeping children safe from sexual abuse. “The Privates Rule” teaches empowerment, sexual abuse information and strategies. This talk will show a framework for integrating abuse prevention into good parenting and teaching practices by calming and confidently addressing concerns. You will learn how to recognize adult behavior that should raise concern and you will leave feeling informed, empowered, and eager to use strategies outlined in her presentation.

Annual Thanksgiving Food Drive

Happy ThanksgivingThe Board of Youth Services (BYS) is once again organizing the Annual Thanksgiving Food Drive to provide Thanksgiving food and food staples to families in need during this time of year. Families with school-aged children in Arlington are welcome to participate. If you would like to receive extra food for the holiday please use following link to register: If you have trouble with this link you may email: The deadline for signing up is Friday, November 10th. Sign up today. The BYS is also coordinating a gift card drive, and it is our hope to distribute grocery store gift cards to each of the families who have signed up to receive food. Distribution of gift cards will take place on Monday 11/20 and Tuesday 11/21. We will contact registered families via email by Friday 11/17 to confirm the location and time of gift card distribution. Food will be distributed on Saturday, November 18th from 9:30am – 3:30pm at the Arlington Food Pantry,117 Broadway. If you have any questions please contact the Arlington Board of Youth Services at:

PTO Fundraising


Support PTO

Shopping at Click the Amazon link from the Thompson PTO website and a share of your purchase will help the Thompson PTO.

Stop&Shop A+ Bonus Bucks Program

Thompson is participating in Stop&Shop A+ Bonus Bucks Program, in which our school receives a check based on the amount of purchases made by people with Stop&Shop cards. Enroll your Stop&Shop card. with Thompson’s school code: 07331.

Connect with Us


Nandana Mewada, Co-President (Mom to Eshaan, 3rd)
Diana Trudell, Co-President (Mom to Matilda, 4rd and Joaquin, 1st)
Yael Beals, Vice-President (Mom to Annabella, 2nd)
Carolyn Schneyer, Co-Treasurer (Mom to Leah, 4th)
Sara Wilkinson, Co-Treasurer (Mom to Ezra, 4th, and Amelia, 1st)
Emily Gauthier, Co-Secretary (Mom to Sophia, 5th)
Fiona Ehring, Co-Secretary (Mom to Emma, 4th and Elise, K)
Danielle Gottesman, Communications Chair (Mom to Oliver, 3rd, and Penny, 1st)
Melissa Crowley, Spirit and Appreciation Co-Chair (Mom to Joseph, 1st)
Judu Hu, Spirit & Appreciation Co-Chair (Mom to Sofia, 1st)
Sarah Gupta, Room-Parent Chair (Mom to Norah, 3rd, and Meena, 1st)
Juliet Moir, Fundraising Chair (Mom to Jack, 5th, and Eva, 2nd)
Maf Terry, Enrichment Co-Chair (Mom to John, 5th)
Tonja Bishop, Enrichment Co-Chair (Mom to Ellen, 2nd and Neil, K)
Ashley Lorenz, Community Card Chair (Mom to Oliver, 5th, Melanie, 3rd, and Peter, K)
Gaggi DeStefanis, Community Card Chair (Mom to Sofia, 3rd)

If you have news to share with the community, please email by Thursday at 12 noon to be included in the next newsletter.

Please note that we will only include news from the Thompson School and Town of Arlington. Announcements of interest to the Thompson community from other non-profit organizations may be included at our discretion.