PTO Meeting Minutes – Jan. 10, 2018


Karen Donato

Teacher’s Rep


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, Carolyn Schneyer

Introductions – All

Minutes approval – All

School updates: Principal – Ms. Donato

  • Moved into new space, some things remain to be done
  • Kids and teachers feeling good in their new classrooms
  • Working on pest (mice) issues on main floor
  • Dealing with snow/ice, parking issues
    • A concern was raised that no path was cleared from the Everett St. park entrance to the pineapple entrance.
    • Another concern, should we have indoor arrival in cases of excess snow? Also, how to communicate indoor arrival to parents. What are the criteria for indoor arrival?
  • School budget discussions, presentation to School Committee tomorrow (1/11)
    • Special request for an additional social worker to be in place before need becomes critical. This request will be prioritized over a request for another fourth grade teacher.
    • Adding full-time Kindergarten assistants.
  • Sarah Burd Guest Speaker- NANDANA
    • Sara Burd will speak in the multi-purpose room on 12/31/18 at 7:00pm- topics will include social and emotional direction for the school district.
  • PTO Sponsoring an Arlington EATS Community Meal (2/8)- DIANA
    • PTO presence to better get to know members of our in need population.
    • Recommend sponsoring a meal, $750 donation
      • Volunteers
      • Set-up
      • Serving
      • Eating
      • Clean-up
    • Usually serve 80-100 people
    • 2nd Thursday of each month
    • Half of the attendees are part of the Thompson community
    • Volunteers are encouraged to share in the meal (if desired, a donation may be made to defray the cost of the meal)
    • Send out a flyer/email asking for volunteers to sponsor the event and contributions
    • Decision made to go forward with this
  • Twinkie- SARA W.
    • Mrs. Foley’s 3rd grade class is requesting reimbursement for a vet bill to check out a tumor.
    • Decision made to go forward with this
    • Note: This is not a regular thing, don’t want to set a precedent.
  • School Council election (March- April for 2018-2019)
    • Regular meetings are not occuring because of scheduling issues. Morning meetings are not possible for some members.
    • Usual focus is advocating for building renovation/ improvement. There have not been any big issues to discuss so far this year.
    • Need new elections for new reps. PTO should handle the election process. (Look into how it was done in the past)
    • The council should also have a community rep.
      School council vets school improvement plans

      • School improvement plan is based on a district plan,
      • set goals in different areas and how to accomplish those goals
    • Enrichment
  • Grants- MEGHAN
    • YEAH!!! We got a grant! $595 4th Grade MFA field trip from the MA Cultural Council. Include mention of this in the newsletter.
    • Working on Bruins Foundation Grant to promote physical activity
      • Fit Girls
      • Yoga
    • It would be helpful to meet early in the year to make plans regarding grants
    • S.T.E.M. Grant 2.5K
      • Rolling quarterly applications
    • Need some ideas
  • Photos- If identifiable, need to check with the office before publishing
  • Enrichment 2018- MAF AND TONJA
    • Norah Dooley for K-2 storytelling, with focus on diversity/ tolerance. Including workshops for the 2nd grade
    • Improv Boston Anti-bullying program for grades 3-5
    • Kidstock for Kindergarteners
    • 1st grade weather program
    • Check on 3-D printing in the past
  • Communications: DANIELLE & RICH
    • Newsletter-
      • tweaking format for email version
      • Paper version monthly
      • emails go out via Mailchimp which collects data regarding how often the email is opened, read and or clicked through.
      • Last Winter the numbers were at about ⅓ opened, trended down after a while.
      • After email is sent, the newsletter is posted to the Thompson website, used to be auto fed to Twitter and Facebook. Due to parental protest regarding personal info being too public, it is now only on the website.
      • Revisit in one year, suggestions for changes/ improvements to the newsletter at that time.
        • Is Monday AM the best time to send it out?
        • Deadline for content is Thursday, editing and compiling typically happens over the weekend.
        • Possible to experiment with timing and get feedback via Mailchimp. Effort vs. reward?
        • Should use a consistent style for the newsletter, makes it easier to input content
          • This can be tabled for a smaller group discussion.
        • Link to newsletter should be tweeted/ posted on Facebook
        • PTO Google calendar is great!
    • Website
      • On WordPress platform
      • Goals
        • Keep costs down (now hosted on Amazon, free)
        • Secure: https
        • Simple and clean for easy maintenance
      • How to use it
        • Resource for incoming Kindergarten parents
        • Mirrors info in newsletter *need to update content- please take a look and give feedback on what needs to be done
      • Shopping cart tool- now using paypal (better option?)
      • Work on optimizing for mobile as well as computer. Multiple platforms make this a significant undertaking.
      • Decision that optimizing for mobile is a high priority.
  • Debrief:
    • Community Card Fall Sales- ASHLEY, GAGGI
      • Total sold is approx. 1600 out of 2000 printed (some were given away to new families)
      • 61% Town Day, 13% Family sales, 20% Book Rack, Other +/- 16% (School events, farmers market, etc.)
      • Spirit Wear- JUDY, MELISSA
        • Everything distributed, but still many to give away. (esp.Magnets)
        • For Next Time; possibly make smaller sizes available
        • Next Spirit Wear sale in 2 years, (same time frame as previous sale)
      • Holiday Help- DIANA
        • 2 families with 7 kids
        • Next year, possible request for gift cards for new families
      • Book Fair- DIANA
        • $2200 commission, $100 GF Book Rack, Ms Mak’s & Reading specialists list fulfilled. $1088 Sponsorship collected ($742 Spiritwear, $286 Book fair – covering 40 kids) $60.34 remaining.
      • Helena’s- DIANA – Very low attendance, consider doing it less frequently or at a different time of year. (Ie. just before Winter Party)
  • Winter Parent’s Party 1/27 Gaggi DeStefanis & Ashley Lorenz
    • Need volunteers for set-up/clean-up
    • Invites for teachers this week
    • Flyers next week
      • Paypal
      • cash/check
      • Sponsorship option
    • Room parent email next week
    • Email graphics via Karen
    • Reach out to alumni parents
    • Advertise via Arlington Family Connection and Arlington Parents List, Invite future Thompson parents
  • Game Night 3/2 Diana Trudell & Shauna Pellauer
    • Seeking volunteers
  • Science Explo. 3/17 Yael Beals & Chris Pacheco
    • Send email via room parents
    • Set up meeting for those interested in helping
  • Upcoming PTO meetings- Wednesday, February 14 from 7 to 9 pm, Thompson Library.

Thompson School News : January 2, 2018

In This Issue

  • Save the Date | School Calendar
  • PTO Update
  • Thompson News and Events
  • Community
  • Volunteer Opportunities
  • Connect with Us

Save The Date

* New *

  • January 4, Thursday, and January 5, Friday – Thompson Drama Auditions
  • January 4, Thursday, 7 – 9PM – AHS Building Project Kick-off Community Forum, Arlington Town Hall
  • January 10, Wednesday, 7 – 9 PM – PTO Meeting, Library, Parents Only
  • January 11, Thursday, 6PM – Arlington EATS Community Dinner
  • January 15, Monday – No School
  • January 26, Friday – Spirit Day, Color by Grade: K- purple, 1- green, 2- blue, 3- yellow, 4- red, 5- Rainbow-ALL the colors!
  • January 27 – Thompson Winter Parents Party

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.

PTO Update

Dear Families, Teachers, and Staff,


Diana and Nandana
PTO Co-presidents

Thompson News & Events


Thompson Drama Auditions This Week!!!

Theater 00

Calling all parents of actors in grades 3-5!
Auditions for the Thompson Drama Project are after school this Thursday, January 4 and Friday, January 5. There are still audition spots available, so sign up your child here.
Then sign up to volunteer to help at auditions here. Follow the links to officially register your actor and read over the TDP Ground Rules.
Questions? Contact Lise White and Karen Roth LoRusso at thompsondramaproject1@gmail. com.
Thank you! See you on the stage!


Thompson Winter Parents’ Party! – Saturday January 27th

Party 01The annual Thompson Winter Parents’ Party is coming up!

Held at Arlington’s beautiful and historic Town Hall, there will be a DJ, dancing, cash bar, social lounge for chilling out and recharging tired feet, and even some raffle items!  Advance purchase tickets available for $15 ($17 at the door). No kids. No agenda. Book a sitter and shine up your dancing shoes.  We hope to see you there!

To purchase tickets in advance:
To lend a hand with set-up and overall party preparation:

Enrichment News

On January 8th and 10th, the 4th grade will travel to Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts to study Greek literature and art. Greek allusions are taught during the 4th grade’s traditional lit unit and this field trip will enhance the students’ understandings of ancient Greek life and the ways stories were passed on over the years.
On January 12th, Kindergarteners will enjoy Kidstock’s “Jingle the Jester” at school, a live audience interactive theater program on tolerance and diversity.
  On January 22nd, the Discovery Museum will bring its Traveling Science Workshop on weather to our 1st graders.  Students will become meteorologists who investigate and forecast the weather.

PTO Meeting – Wednesday, January 10, 7 – 9 pm, Library

All Thompson parents are welcome and encouraged to attend our monthly planning meetings. This month we will be making decisions regarding the Winter Parents Party (1/27), Game Night (3/3) and the Science Explo (3/17).


Arlington High School Building Project

Arlington High School 00

As many of you know, the town is beginning the process with the state to rebuild/renovate Arlington High School (AHS). One of the AHS Building Committee’s top goals is open communication and they have created numerous ways for residents to learn about the project and get engaged during this lengthy and complex process.

Thursday, January 4 AHS Building Project Kick-off Community Forum

This winter is the beginning of the AHS building project Feasibility Phase, and there are several ways the community can take part. First an initial forum to discuss the project schedule and study process. Representatives from HMFH and Skanska will be present. Following a half-hour presentation about the Feasibility process, there will be small group brainstorming discussions, and an opportunity to share the ideas developed in discussions with the whole group. This Community Kick-off event will be held:
Date:  Thursday, January 4
Time:  7:00-9:00 pm
Place:  Arlington Town Hall

Educational Visioning Committee Members Sought

The community is also invited to apply to be part of the Educational Visioning Committee that will focus on the courses and programs offered at the high school, and the vision for the future. Deadline to apply is January 7th. Please read additional details here.

Save the Dates for Future AHS Project Community Forums

The kick-off event will be followed by three more interactive Community Forums, addressing various aspects of the Feasibility Phase:
February 7, March 5, and April 4, 7:00-9:00 pm, Arlington Town Hall

If you cannot attend any of the forums, you will be able to provide your input in other ways, including electronically. To learn more about the project and to receive updates via email sign up here, or follow project updates on Facebook, or visit

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Observance, January 15, 2018

Light refreshments at 6:45 pm, Program at 7:30 pm, Robbins Memorial Town Hall • Arlington, MA

Keynote Speaker: Rev. Dr. Debora Jackson, Director of Lifelong Learning, Yale Divinity School
Special Performance by: Paul White & the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Chorus
Admission is free. Please consider bringing a non-perishable food item to donate.
Presented by the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Observance Committee

Arlington EATS

Arlington EATSJoin us at the table on Thursday, January 11, 6PM @ Thompson

Volunteer Opportunities

The Thompson PTO has many volunteer needs both small and big. If you’re looking for a way to give back to Thompson, here’s a list of ways you can help.

Winter Parent’s Party – Jan 27th

There are many things (both large and small)  that the planning committee needs help with, from running errands for supplies in the weeks approaching, to helping set up and break down on the day of the event.  Interested in helping?
Winter Party sign-up:
Contact: Kate Murphy at

Calling All Science Enthusiasts: Science Explo March 17th

Are you a professional in a scientific field or just a lover of all things science related? We need volunteers to set up and run interactive tables at the Explo in March! Let us know if you’re interested. Contact: Yael Beals at

Amazon Coordinator

The PTO needs someone to help promote the PTO/Amazon fundraising link. Thompson School earns 4-10% back on purchases made through the Thompson/Amazon page but shoppers must use the link on the PTO website.
Interested in helping get the word out?  Contact:  Kate Murphy at

Help Throughout the Year

To check all current volunteer opportunities:

Connect with Us


Nandana Mewada, Co-President
Diana Trudell, Co-President
Yael Beals, Vice-President
Danielle Gottesman, Communications Chair

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.