Thompson School News : February 26, 2018

Save The Date

* New *

  • March 2, Friday Visit by author Jessica Garrett; All Grade Levels.
  • March 2, Friday 6 PM to 8 PM – Game Night
  • March 8, Thursday 6 PM to 7 PM, Arlington EATS Community Dinner
  • March 14, Wednesday 7 PM to 9 PM PTO Meeting (Parents Only)
  • March 16, Friday, 8.30 AM All School Spring Concert
  • March 17, Saturday 11 AM to 3 PM – Science EXPLO
  • March 26, Monday – Grade 3 -5 Enrichment, ImprovBoston Anti-Bullying Workshop

School Calendar

Click http://tinyurl.com/ndp8spb for Thompson’s Google Calendar to get school holidays, early release days, and PTO events on your own calendar. Click http://tinyurl.com/y7u5k2on for a printable version of this month’s calendar.

Principal’s Update

Dear Thompson Families,

I hope you had a wonderful week and were able to enjoy some of the gorgeous weather we had! My boys and I went to the Cape Codder in Hyannis for a couple of days where it was rainy and cool outside, but the water park and arcade inside were warm and toasty. Of course, those were the days where it was 70 and sunny back in Arlington! C’est la vie! All in all, it was a nice change of pace for our family, and I hope it was for yours as well.

I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge the horrific event that occurred in Parkland, Florida just before vacation. Like many of you, this shakes me to the core as both a parent and a school principal. Every day, the safety of our children is of the utmost of importance to Thompson Faculty and Staff. While we are always conscientious of not propping doors open, being aware of our surroundings, and student/staff/parent well being, I am asking for your assistance in these areas as well. Please encourage one another to be mindful of signing in at the main office, putting on a Visitor Badge, waiting for the door to close behind you as you enter, etc. We are always practicing, discussing, and re-evaluating our protocols, so please don’t hesitate to reach out.

I’ve seen quite a barrage of political discussions, cartoons, etc. on social media this week, and while I don’t typically engage in such discussions or postings, I feel very strongly about my responsibility to keep our Staff and Students safe. I firmly believe that having personal connections with each other, building a positive culture, and supporting each student emotionally, socially, and academically is paramount in keeping each other safe.

Please keep the families, staff, and students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in your thoughts and prayers.

Karen

Thompson News & Events

Winter Party Feedback Request

Party 01The Winter Party in January was a huge success! Thanks to YOU, our amazing Thompson community, for coming out and making it a super fun night. Gorgeous space, great conversations, lots of dancing, and even a $1,300 profit for the PTO Enrichment Fund! We are one of the few schools that puts on an parents-only social event like this, and we hope to continue this tradition for years to come. So that we can do that, kindly give us your feedback on the event at tinyurl.com/WinterParty2018Survey

Congrats again to our Raffle Winners!

  • Jaime Viteri: Original Cyanotype Artwork #1 by Sri Thumati
  • Yael Beals: Original Cyanotype Artwork #2 by Sri Thumati
  • Susan Zwick: Scutra dining certificate
  • Kristen Fritsch: 3 moths of Wine of the Month Club at Menotomy Beer and Wine
  • Sarah Mowbray: In-Home Dinner Party for 6 with JuliaCooks!
  • Kobie Cook: Kids cooking class with “Chopped Jr” Champion Charlotte Kilroy
  • Christy Murphy: Tennis Lesson with Jagat Adihya

Financial Assistance Available

The PTO would like to continue to support families who need assistance for the remainder of the 2017- 2018 school year. To help with this process, if your child/children would like financial assistance for any PTO related programs, please print and fill out the form found here and return it to Ms. Vicki or Karen Donato. All information provided will be kept confidential. It is the mission of the Thomson PTO to ensure that all students have the opportunity to participate alongside their peers in all Thompson events and initiatives. By filling out this form, you are helping the PTO make this possible.

Game Night is back!

Game NightFriday, March 2, 6 – 8 pm

Come with the kids and join the fun!

Local game company GAMEWRIGHT lends us demo games to try out and families are welcome to bring a favorite board game from home, set up a table, and teach a group of friends how to play it.

Plan to feed the kids before coming or bring a picnic style dinner to eat in the cafeteria. Additionally, we will have healthy snacks, baked treats, apple cider and hot cocoa.

We will have new GAMEWRIGHT games and used games donated by Thompson families for sale. All profits go to the PTO. Consider buying a game from your teachers’ wish lists.

Come prepared to sit and play board games with the children, this is not a drop off event. If you are planning on attending, please consider helping us to make it a successful one, by collaborating in one of many ways.

Sign-up to Volunteer and/or donate snack items here: https://tinyurl.com/ThompsonGameNight

Textile Recycling Bin

Support Thompson while donating your unwanted clothing, shoes, linens, stuffed animals, and more (in any condition as long as they are clean and dry). Bay State Textiles gives the schools a share of their profit from the sale of these materials. The more you donate, the more the school will receive! The bin is located on the Everett Street side of the school, near the loading driveway.

You can learn more about the Bay State Textiles program at http://www.baystatetextiles.com/schools-box-program

See the acceptable items and other participating schools in the AHS Textile Recycling 2018 Flyer.

Enrichment – 5th grade

Grade 5 Enrichment 2018 02 bThe Museum of Science visited the 5th graders on Monday to discuss “States of Matter.” The presenter used liquid nitrogen and various other materials to demonstrate how physical matter transforms from solid to liquid to gas and back. The kids saw metal melt in water, and glycerin, water, and air become solid. They even saw super-heated water cause paper to burn.Grade 5 Enrichment 2018 02 a

Community

AHS Building Project News

Planning for the future rebuilt/renovated Arlington High School is underway and the AHS Building Committee invites the community to participate in the conversation.

Community Forums

Each forum will provide an opportunity for community feedback.

  • March 5, 7pm, AHS: tours of the building, discussion of design patterns for the future school
  • April 4, 7pm, Town Hall: update from HMFH Architects on potential building concepts
Resources

Web Site: updates, detailed information, events, blog
Facebook: updates, events
e-Bulletin: sign up to receive occasional email updates
Email the building committee with questions or feedback

The Town of Arlington has been invited into the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) process for the renovation/construction of Arlington High School. Acceptance to the MSBA program does not guarantee state funding. The MSBA approval process must be completed successfully for the state, via the MSBA, to provide significant financial assistance to the project. Local funding must also be assured through passage of a debt exclusion.

The AHS Building Committee

Upcoming School Committee Chats

When: 11 am to 12 noon on Saturday, on the first Saturday of each month

Why: Stop by and say hi to two School Committee members (look for the sign) to answer questions, collect concerns, listen to your ideas, and generally talk about the Arlington Public Schools.

Where:

  • March 3 at Whole Foods
  • April 7 at Caffe Nero
  • May 5 at Whole Foods
  • June 2 at Caffe NeroNo appointment necessary, simply stop by!

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.

Annual Picnic Organizers

Though it seems a long way off the planning for the annual June picnic is starting now. The PTO is seeking parent volunteers interested in taking an active role in planning to join the picnic organizing team.

Contact:  Kate Murphy, thompsonschoolvolunteers@gmail.com

Game Night – Friday March 2nd

Game Night is this Friday March 2nd! In addition to needing volunteers for Game Night itself – we need donated baked items and healthy snacks to sell as concessions. Take a look at the sign-up genius and let us know if you can help!

https://tinyurl.com/ThompsonGameNight

Science EXPLO – March 17th

One of the biggest PTO events of the year, the Science EXPLO requires many helping hands! The Explo runs from 11am-3pm, so it’s easy to both sign-up for an hour long volunteer shift and have time to enjoy the Explo too! Sign-up at the following link:

https://tinyurl.com/scienceexplo18

Thompson Parent Handbook Volunteer

The PTO is looking for a parent volunteer to put together an updated electronic Parent Handbook. There is a paper version from a few years back that needs updating with current information. This will be the place where parents can find useful information such as drop-off and pick-up procedures, contact information for teachers, field trip information and all the things you wish you knew as a new parent to Thompson. If you’d like to volunteer from the comfort of your own home doing some typing and copying and pasting – this is the project for you.

Contact:  Kate Murphy, thompsonschoolvolunteers@gmail.com

Join the Community Card Team!

Believe it or not, it’s time to start planning for the 2018-19 Community Card! The new card doesn’t come out until September, but here is our Early Spring plan:

  • get contracts signed
  • confirm our advertising plans
  • start planning for Town Day and beginning of new school year sales

We are looking for:

  • task-rabbits
  • brainstormers
  • AND a 3rd Co-Chair (shadow for a year and poise themselves to take over for Gaggi in 2020)

Whether you’re totally ready to take something on, or are just curious about what’s involved before committing to anything – please join us at the:

Spring Community Card Info Meeting

Thursday March 8th

8:30AM

Thompson School Cafeteria

FREE Coffee!

Can’t make it?

Need more info?

Get involved!

Send an email to Co-Chairs Ashley Lorenz (K,3,5) at ashley.e.lorenz@gmail.com or Gaggi DeStefanis (3) gaggi@rcn.com.

Help Throughout the Year

To check all current volunteer opportunities: http://tinyurl.com/ThompsonPTOVolunteers

Connect with Us

THOMPSON PTO BOARD

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 ThompsonPTOevents@gmail.com 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.

PTO Meeting Minutes – Feb. 14, 2018

Introductions – All

Minutes were approved

Family Folk Chorale: Elizabeth Rocco proposal

Family Folk Chorale has 75 members, their mission is to learn songs and sing with children/community. They have community sings at Kickstand Café and invite the public. Elizabeth wrote a grant in the fall for funds for teaching, singing together, and building community. She had MLK day in mind, was too late. She is interested in ideas from the Thompson community on how the FFC can do a community sing here. The Folk Chorale is trying to develop relationships. Some ideas – director teach everyone same song, have a picnic, everyone sings together. We could do this at end of year picnic. It would be fun idea like Ms. Brayfield used to teach everyone dance – build comradery. Parents could learn songs as well. Another idea was to do it at beginning of field day? Music class doesn’t allow time teach outside the curriculum. Could this be an idea for the international festival for next year? Songs from around the world etc. It was asked if the chorale could come sing at school during the day – yes, but school and work restraints. Another idea is to a dress rehearsal at Thompson or with Arlington Eats? 3rd option, director come in and do a sing-a-long at a community event. 5th grade worked with Ms. Havelin last year and did surprise sing at graduation, “Hey Jude,” parents joined in. Maybe start with 5th grade, more manageable? Please share any ideas you have with Elizabeth.

Financial Updates: Sara Wilkinson

  • We are under budget; revenue this year was exceptional with direct drive, around $30,000. Lots of families work for companies that match donations.
  • Kids wrote really nice thank you notes that got sent to people who paid on paypal and didn’t get a receipt. This would be nice to do for everyone. It would be nice to put one of the notes on social media.
  • Book fair earned $2,100. School pictures $1,500.
  • Helena’s earned $95, there was a conflict with Ottoson concert, women’s shelter fundraiser there a week before. Would it be a good idea to move to near Mother’s Day?
  • Amazon so far is $400, but does not include December yet.
  • We are still looking for someone to take over managing the Amazon marketing.
  • There was an idea to post a kid on social medial explaining Amazon, how to use etc.
  • On Facebook you can pay to boost a post. Shows up on friend’s feeds, gets the word out for events, community cards etc. Community outreach, Danielle and others using the boost, please let the treasurers know, they are trying to figuring out how to budget for this.

Enrichment Updates: Tonya

  • Need to pay for buses for some field trips, town buses were already book. PTO has room in the budget.
  • 3/2 Author visit – Jessica Garret “Oh, Ick” – science theme
    Karen asked for programs on Kindness, empathy, anti-bullying, and also community service
  • Nora Buly – author, appreciating differences, storytelling K-2
  • Improve Boston 3-5 anti-bullying
  • Think, give program – teacher driven, pushed to do something nice, up to you what you do.
  • PTO do a community service day – something to think about for next year. 5th grade did this last year, Gaggi, organized. Kids came up with ideas and they voted on. 5th graders made birthday cards for kids in a shelter. Were encouraged to do more.
  • Encourage Thompson to make a relationship with an organization for community service. Ideas discussed included Birthday Wishes – throws birthday parties for children in shelters. Kids understand/relate. Singing at the nursing homes. Food link has 4th and 5th graders do sorting. Animal shelters look for old blankets, no sew blankets etc.
  • Green team sometimes does Thompson trash pick up – grabbers are in the PTO room.
  • 3rd grade Colonial day – 3 days, each day a different topic, colonialist, slavery, Native American. Royal House will come and do a program. Tiffany to coordinate with teachers and room parents.

Debrief:

Winter Party – Ashley & Gaggi

  • Bigger team next year 4-5 people.
  • What is realistic to budget? Do every other year? It is a lot of work. Little money, no rules at ACC to more money and rules at Town Hall. Planning began in October, driven by Gaggi and Ashely.
  • Turnout was around 130. Crowd felt bigger than last year. We lowered the ticket price to try to get more people to come, charged for drinks.
  • We will have a budgeting conversation at the next board meeting on the party
  • Online survey will be sent to parents with targeted questions.
  • There were 11 sponsored tickets purchased, 2 claimed.
  • Spent $3,200, profit of $1,386
  • Should we consider having an off year or having smaller event in the “underground” at the Regent – only 100 tickets/capacity?
  • Kuddos to Jodie for her help, donated time.
  • It was a success!

Community Card Fall Sales – Ashley & Gaggi

  • Starting to think of contracts for next year. Who will resign? If there is room on the card, closed business, look for new businesses.
  • Looking for someone to shadow Gaggi and Ashely and take over eventually. Put a note in the newsletter calling for someone interested. Someone interested in talking to businesses, building relationships.
    March 8 informational meeting in the morning.
  • Put up a poster before the science explo.
  • Sold around 1,600 cards and ordered 2,000. It has been our best year.

Spirit Wear – Judy

  • 414 items sold – $1,324 profit
  • there are extra t shirts ordered by the pto for those who couldn’t afford it, 12 extra – wait and see if people respond to hand out
  • Should we put in newsletter that are available for sale?
  • Or give t shirt to new families who move to Thompson in the middle of the year? Goes with community card? Or give car magnet?
  • Idea of doing every other year

Sponsored funds

  • We need to think about keeping track of sponsorship funds, have a sponsorship pool
  • Spirit wear, 9 extra tickets from parents’ party etc.
  • Extra money from spirit wear went to sponsoring books at book fair.
  • Message to parents on how PTO spends funds. A blurb in weekly email about March events sponsored by PTO. Do every couple of months? Not being asked to pay for fieldtrips, enrichment. Teachers blog, tweet about events.
  • Idea that we should keep movie night free, don’t charge admission, just popcorn pizza. Idea of having an outdoor movie night.

Sarah Burd Guest Speaker – Nandana

  • Gave a talk on social and emotional learning at the last meeting. She would love to hear from parents.

PTO Sponsoring an Arlington EATS Community Meal – Nandana

  • We raised $150 from the community, PTO matched contributions for a total of $300.
  • 82 meals served
  • Other schools want to do something similar
  • For next year the idea is for a PTO sponsored meal around October and another later in the year. Keep a line item for this going forward.
  • Idea of kids doing a change drive, having older kids help at EATS meal.

Teacher Survey & Teacher Help Program – Nandana

  • Survey was sent to teachers asking how they spend stipend, enrichment feedback, identify 3-5 items needed in the classroom
  • PTO will do a drive for teachers for new supplies, teachers help program, similar to holiday help.
  • Will this be part of spirit and appreciation?

Volunteer Needs – Kate

  • PTO parent handbook coordinator (digital copy), community card, teacher wish list coordinator, game night, science explo. Put out on Facebook and twitter after the break.

Calendar:

Ice Skating Party April (yes or no?)

  • Do we want to do it this year? Budget about $600, Rink charges $400. We sell pizza. Not a big turn out last year, it was Good Friday. Year before, better turn out. They give us one date.

Not Your Average Joe’s (yes or no?)

  • Who wants to lead?
  • We need to advertise to public to mention “Thompson PTO” at night. We raised $300-$400 last year. Tuesdays of a month (June) people mention Thompson, PTO gets 10%, can also use community card 10% discount.
  • Advertise to do a graduation night dinner- meet friends there?
  • Maybe Christy would be interested in running? Ashely will call about availability.

End of the Year Picnic

  • Who wants to lead? Sarah Gupta stepping down, Danielle doesn’t want to have the lead.
  • Proposal to add a program (Knucklebones)
  • Advertise after explo. Try to get one person from each grade. Hard to schedule that many people to meet?

Upcoming Events (BREAKOUT GROUPS)

Game Night: March 2nd, Diana Trudell & Shauna Pellauer

  • We are currently collecting used games – donation bin in lobby.
  • Rooms? We need the cafeteria and gym, do we want to use the multipurpose room?
  • There will be baked goods and hot coco for sale.

Spring concert morning of Friday, March 16

Science EXPLO!: March 17th, Yael Beals & Chris Pacheco

  • There are still a lot of volunteer spots that need to be filled.
  • We have been getting donations from MIT museum, Science museum for baskets.
  • Catered food, but no dessert. Thinking of having a bake sale.
  • Science week, science facts on morning announcements, “Oh Ick” author coming in, talk to teachers about parents coming in to do science experiments?
  • Add “Saturday” to Science explo announcements
  • Huge push for volunteers after break

Upcoming PTO meetings- Wednesday, March 14th from 7 to 9 pm, Thompson Library.

  • Guest: Kirsi Allison Ampe , School Committee Budget Presentation

PTO Meeting Minutes – Nov. 27, 2017

Decisions

  • Winter Party Proposal Update
    1/27
    Price based on choice of caterer and venue. Budget to be clarified by next meeting.
  • Science Explo Date will be 3/17
    Food, donations from families or vendors? Check with Arlington eats regarding current regulations.
  • December Meeting will be 12/15 @ 8:15am
  • Calendar
    Game Night 3/2/18

General

Spending Guidelines

  • Examples: laminator, Ms. Foley’s proposal
  • As the PTO grows, how are spending guidelines to be created?
  • AEF process as an example, broad approach
  • Create a proposal form,
  • Possible criteria;
  • Ties to curriculum
  • Innovative
  • Not politically motivated
  • Supporting families in need
  • Must apply to at least one grade
  • Promotes learning ( ie. wobble seats)
  • Enrichment guidelines
  • ? how do you think this meets the needs of the Thompson community?
  • Analysis, Working backwards to evaluate. Send feedback forms to Teacher (and Parent volunteers?) for field trips and enrichment activities
  • Other ideas: Create a line item in the annual budget with a set allocation.
  • If the teacher stipend were increased ($250?) would this minmize requests?
  • Create a wishlist for specific classroom items.
  • Verify that the requested item is not covered by the school/ town budget.
  • Teacher feedback, online survey.
  • Fund mini grants in the spring of 2018.
  • Voting protocol

Cyber attacks

  • PSA @ the beginning of each school year to promote awareness.
  • Are there easy protective measures that could be put in place? Check in with Hardy PTO

School Council

  • PTO runs the school council election. There is a conflict of scheduling and the members have not been able to meet, are reelections nesc? Do the members want to continue? Two members have children who will be graduating so changeover will happen next year anyway. Would a council parent like to
    attend the next PTO meeting?

Status of our In need community

  • : Discussion; Mtg with Ms. Donato, guidelines, Spirit Wear. What else can we do to make it more efficient?
  • Extra money for shirts, where is it used? Books? Surplus items to be sold, given away, added to raffle baskets? Book vouchers @ the book fair or from a list?
  • Communicate to event chairs that need in the moment will be answered with a yes.

Enrichment

  • Nandana & Maf: Big Picture framework: How do we decide this program over another? So we do any activity teachers suggest or do we have a say? Continue designing the protocol: feedback form (Jessica), end of the year discussion with teachers, proposal for any new programs.
  • How to make the process streamlined.
  • In the future, teacher surveys after events. What works one year may not work the next.
  • As grades gain or change teachers how can enrichment events be communicated between teachers.
  • Can we have a repository of information, times to schedule, contact numbers etc.
  • How to incorporate 3D printer into an enrichment curriculum? Science Explo?

Communications

Following up with thank yous and newsletter posts

Spirit & Appreciations

  • Spirit Wear Wrap up- How to handle the surplus?
    Extra money for shirts, where is it used? Books? Surplus items to be sold, given away, added to raffle baskets?
  • How is approval handled? Easiest way to communicate? CC Karen with a request to respond, place a notice in the teachers room.
  • Spirit days
    Pineapple day? (Wait for spirit wear to be in.)
    Community meeting “Wear a Crown”
    Staff appreciation days each year?
    Each grade could write thank you notes to specific members of staff. Cafeteria workers, nurse etc.