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 : November 20, 2017

In This Issue

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

Save The Date

* New *

  • November 20 – Thompson extension opens!
  • November 22 – Early dismissal 12:00 pm
  • November 23 and 24 – No school, Thanksgiving Break
  • November 27 – Picture retake day
  • December 1 – Arabiqa enrichment featuring Arab music, dance and culture
  • December 5, 12, & 14 – Parent-Teacher Conferences
  • December 5-8 – Science Camp 5th Grade
  • December 6, 7-9 pm – PTO Meeting (NOTE: not the regular schedule)
  • December 11-15 –Book Fair
  • December 12 – Literacy Night, 6 -7.30pm
  • December 13 – Helena’s Hang with Friends & Light Refreshments, 7-9pm

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.

Principal’s Update

Dear Thompson Community,

The time has finally arrived….we are open in the gorgeous addition to Thompson! It has taken longer than we expected and would have liked, but I know it will all be worth it to have us all under ONE roof once again. I am already thinking ahead to next year, and how awesome it will be to have the modular classrooms gone, and everyone in their space – our “new normal” from Day 1 so to speak!

During this season of gratitude, I would be remiss if I didn’t take this opportunity to extend my sincerest thanks to so many.

Thank you to our staff – those who moved classrooms, those who gave up their space, those who didn’t have a space, those who were flexible with their space, those who created new phone lists and fire drill routes, those who hung them up, and those who pitched in in any way big or small.

Thank you to our Tech. Department, Facilities Department, Custodial Department – we had a major push last week to be sure that Tech was up and running, iPad Carts could be moved, soap and paper towel dispensers were installed, barrels were delivered, extra custodial staff was on site, and Janeil, Brahim and Steve worked their behinds off as they moved furniture, swapped old for new, delivered materials, responded to calls as needed, and got what is now our ENTIRE school, ready for our kids tomorrow morning.

Thank you to our students – you’ve been flexible as we used one staircase, had limited playground space, helped your teachers pack and move some belongings, and given all of us the “WHY” behind we do what we do.

Thank you to our parents – to those who began this entire process by advocating for what we needed and deserve, those who attended countless meetings to see it through, those who gave words of encouragement and offered their expertise along the way, and those who volunteered to help in classrooms and monitor students as we reached the finish line.

Thank you to Dr. Bodie, Mr. MacNeal, the Staff on the 6th Floor who answered all my questions, School Committee, and Permanent Town Building Committee. Thank you to PMA Associates Staff Burt Barachowitz, Brian DeFilippis, and Kevin Nigro, and GTC Site Superintendent Steve Witherell – it was a long haul, but we made it over the finish line!

During the 1st week of December we will have times for the Community to take a walk through the addition. Please allow the students and staff to adjust to their new spaces these next few days.

Wishing you all a wonderful and restful Thanksgiving holiday and break!

With Deepest Gratitude,


PTO Update

The Holiday Season is approaching and we want to share with you several easy-ways to help the Thompson PTO during this time.

  • Helena’s – Wednesday, December 13th. All day 10% of sales go to Thompson PTO, if you mention our organization. Light refreshments and a fun chance to get together with friends between 7 and 9 pm.Helena's 00
  • Maxima’s – Are you aware that anytime you make a purchase and mention Thompson School, a percentage of your purchase goes to us?Maxima 00
  • Looking for stocking stuffers? Teachers, coaches or babysitter’s gifts? Buy an Arlington Community Card.Community Card 2017 2018
  • And of course, there’s AMAZON!
    • The more purchases, the higher the percentage we get from them.
    • Use the Amazon Associate Program NOT Amazon Smiles.
    • Click on the Amazon banner on our website and then shop as usual.
    • Still confused? No worries. Here are the details December Amazon Flyer.Support PTO



Arabiqa 2017 11We are pleased to bring Egyptian-American Karim Nagi to Thompson on Friday, December 1. Karim will introduce all students to Arab dance and Arab music in a high-energy performance featuring exciting traditional dances, and soulful folk music played on a variety of traditional instruments. Karim uses authentic costumes, maps, Arabic language, lots of audience participation, and humor, as he enlightens his audience about a captivating world beyond the headlines. Students will clap unique rhythms, dance, and celebrate as they learn about these ancient cultural traditions.

Thompson News & Events

Boys in Motion 2017

Boys in Motion 2017 11Congrats to all our 4th and 5th graders who participated in Boys in Motion this year. Boys in Motion is a non-competitive fitness initiative that inspires active lifestyles, friendships, personal growth, and the confidence that comes from working toward and achieving goals. Ms. Brayfield and Mr. Allen coached these boys through eight weeks of team building, strength training and training runs. On November 18th, the boys had the chance to participate in a local Turkey Trot 5k!!! Thank you to the coaches for another incredible season and congrats to all the boys on this huge achievement.

Lost & Found

Last call! Check the Lost and Found by Tuesday morning. We’re donating all items to The Little Fox Shop before the holiday break. You may be surprised that you’ll find things! One mom’s account:

“Just last week I found two sweatshirts and a winter coat I didn’t even know was missing!”

Picture Retake Day – November 27th!

Let your child’s teacher know if you would like to have their picture retaken. CoffeePond has a retake form available online. If your child was absent on picture day their picture will be taken on retake day. Send in their original order form or a printout of an online form. Contact Kate Murphy ( or Ema Rodrigues ( with questions.

Tell Your Teachers They Are STARS! Deadline: Friday, December 1

AEF 01The Arlington Education Foundation STARS (School Teachers are Really Special) program is a way to say, “Thank you for all you do!” For a donation of $20 or more, the teacher of your choice will receive a certificate that honors him or her with a gift in his or her name. You will receive a receipt for your tax-deductible donation.

STARS donations go back into our schools as funding for AEF grants both large and small. Read more on our website about projects that have been funded by AEF grants.

Give your STARS Online:

Parent Teacher Conferences

To sign up for Parent Teacher Conferences go to Thompson School Fall Conference Sign Up Links

Community Card

Arlington Community Card sales are breaking records!

Community Card 2017 2018

Approximately 1,450 cards sold to-date, and if you haven’t heard, we’re 400 cards AHEAD of the game overall compared to this time last year. We might even sell out if it keeps up – keep talkin’ up the card, and tell people to get ’em while they last! Cards can be purchased anytime from Family Sales parents, Book Rack, Menotomy Beer and Wine, or online at


Follow us at @ArlCommCard on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and like/commment on any posts that inspire you. The more activity we get, the more we can leverage these platforms now and in the future to further promote the card, the deals, and where to buy it.

Any questions? Contact

Literacy Night – December 12th

Literacy Night 2017 11 aMark your calendars for Literacy Night on December 12th from 6pm-7:30pm! This year, Literacy night is inspired by Graphic Novels and illustration. For activity details, learn more here. Literacy Night will showcase graphic novels created by Thompson students. This project is open to all grades and abilities.

Your child can partner up with a friend, or be author and illustrator of a story they’re longing to tell.

The drawings can be monochromatic or in color, the comics can be in the form of booklets or pamphlets. The only rule is to run with it and have fun! The deadline for submissions is December 8th at the latest. Please drop off at the front office. Each child will receive 1 raffle ticket for their submission.

Volunteer Opportunities

The Thompson PTO is always in need of helping hands for all sorts of tasks.

Book Fair & Literacy Night (Dec. 11th-15th)

Literacy Week is right around the corner and we need a lot of volunteers to make it run smoothly! Sign-Up here to help with the Book Fair or on Literacy Night (Dec. 12th):

Amazon Coordinator

The PTO needs someone to help promote the PTO / Amazon Fundraising link. Interested in helping to get the word out?

Yearbook Design

Do you love to lay-out photo books? The PTO is looking for someone to help with yearbook design.

Community Card Sales

  • Community Card seeks a volunteer to do a small data entry project, using google sheets. Can be done on your own time. Email if you can help.
  • Fall Family Sales continue through December 8th! To sign out cards, fill out this form.

Check all current volunteer opportunities here:

Help Throughout the Year

To check all current volunteer opportunities:

Community News & Events


#SmallBusinessSaturday Nov 25th

Nov 25th is Small Business Saturday. While we can’t find EVERYTHING we need in Arlington, each time we do, we put 20% more income into our local economy. Many of Arlington’s unique shops and restaurants are Community Card partners too. Don’t forget to put your card in your wallet/purse this weekend! #Arlington #holidaygifts #economicvitality #shopsavesupport

AEF District Investment Grant

The Arlington Education Foundation (AEF) has committed to awarding the Arlington Public Schools $200,000 over the next 3 years to support the district’s ‘Safe & Supportive Schools’ initiative to create a comprehensive behavioral health program. A $100,485 grant in the first year will fund:

  • Youth Mental Health First Aid certification for 300 staff
  • Ongoing work on ‘Safe & Supportive Schools’ action plans for each school

Visit here for more in-depth information.

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)
Judy 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.