Monday, November 28, 2016

November meeting highlights:

  • Reflections update from Coordinator Edgar Tolentino:  Judging should be concluded by the end of the month and winners forwarded to the District Chair by December 9th.  The awards ceremony will be held January 18th at Washington-Lee High School.  Snowdate is January 25th.  Individual submissions should be returned to the schools by the first week in December.  
  • The CCPTA budget for 2016-2017 was passed.
  • Any PTAs that have not updated their information with the Virginia PTA should expect an e-mail from CCPTA Treasurer, Linley Mancilla, to remind them to update their current information.
  • CCPTA has received three requests for CPCI funding so far this year.  
  • Each PTA that has been "credited" proceeds from the pumpkin patch sales should contact Chris Ditta to indicate where they would like the proceeds to be forwarded.  Funds can be paid directly to the PTA or requested to be donated to the CCPTA's CPCI fund.   
  • SEPTA's grant cycle has ended.  Requests totaled $7,000 and there was $3,000 to give.  Somehow, all requests managed to be funded!  Drew Model School is still in need for additional funds for two smart boards.  Contributions are welcomed.
  • Rosa Briceno provided a presentation and update on the FACE (Family and Community Engagement) initiative.  FACE works to engage parents and the community to work together with schools.  CCPTA supports this initiative by providing resources for FACE activity/event food and childcare needs.
  • Dulce Carrillo is the new FACE Community Engagement Coordiantor.  Her role is to increase public participation in schools by creating two-way dialogues with organizations such as CCPTA and others with the community.  She works to engage the community in such issues as school boundary processes, the Drew visioning process, budget, the School Board's upcoming admissions and transfer policy review, etc.  She also will meet quarterly with Arlington County to coordinate with their community engagement efforts.
  • founder and Glebe Elementary School Spanish teacher Yanira Umana Ayala gave a presentation on the SharePlay service project now in its third year at Glebe.  The project aims to facilitate children helping other children in need and has raised money to provide a soccer field and the first inclusive playground for children with disabilities for schools in El Salvadore.  Currently in its third year, the goal is to get more schools involved and to provide a basketball court for a middle school in El Salvadore.
  • Education Theatre Company (ETC) Executive Director, Stan King gave a presentation on ETC's various programs and its efforts in Arlington schools.  Mr. King noted that their programs do well at schools that can afford them, but not as well at less affluent schools. Students at less affluent schools do not have the same access to the arts and ETC's programs. ETC is trying to bring-in more Title I schools through grants.  Similarly, ETC runs numerous summer camps for students pre-K through 12 and would like to provide one scholarship per camp.  They are looking for prospective scholarship students.
  • Dr. Barbara Kanninen was this month's school board representative.  
    • She spoke about Arlington Tech, noting that all 8th grade students have visited the facility and recruitment efforts continue to fill next year's class of 100 students.  
    • Also, the visioning process for Drew Elementary has begun and the community seems to have a good sense of the programming it would like to implement as the Montessori program moves to the current Patrick Henry facility when that school moves to their new site at TJMS/Community Center.  The next meeting for the Drew visioning is scheduled for December 8th.
    • The lease at the Syphax/Sequoia center is being finalized and the offices currently housed at the Ed Center will be relocating to that site.  It is still to be determined what will be done with the Ed Center building.
    • High school boundary adjustment process continues.  The School Board will take action on its decision at its December 1st meeting.
    • The process to fill positions for the Joint Facilities Advisory Committee (JFAC) continues.  About 50 applications have been received.
  • Superintendent's report by Dr. Murphy:
    • Dr. Murphy noted remarks by School Board Chair Nancy Van Doren and School Board member Emma Violand-Sanchez following the presidential election earlier this month.  He also noted that resources can be made available for schools wanting or needing them due to concerns following the national political debate.
    • Dr. Murphy noted Arlington schools' ratings in the Niche rankings.
    • Arlington Tech is accepting applications for the 2017-18 incoming freshman class.  Dr. Murphy noted that the program is suited for both college and non-college tracts with certifications making students job-ready at graduation and the ability to earn dual enrollment credits.
    • MLK Jr. essay contest submissions are due 5:00 p.m. Friday, December 9.
  • FAC report by Lois Koontz indicates all current projects on track.  Ms. Koontz also highlighted APS' efforts to change its method of construction contracting by using  a project management company to manage construction contracts.  APS does not have sufficient staff to oversee its multiple concurrent projects and using a project management company is fiscally efficient in the long term.
See you in December!

Monday, November 7, 2016

October Minutes
To view the full minutes of the October 24th meeting, click on the link above.  Highlights from the October meeting include:

  • Swanson Middle School makes first CPCI donation for this school year!  Thank you, Swanson!
  • Peter Fallon and Monique O'Grady gave a presentation regarding the upcoming 2016 Bond.  The CCPTA voted to endorse the bond which will help fund multiple school construction and maintenance projects .
  • Linda Erdos gave an update on the high school boundary adjustment process.  The School Board will have a work session November 9th after receiving recommendations from the Superintendent at its November 3rd meeting.  A public hearing will be held TUESDAY, November 15th at 6:30 p.m.  The School Board will take action on a final decision December 1st.
  • Arlington Tech presentation, including remarks from one of the students from this year's inaugural class.  A parent information night is currently scheduled for November 15th - please note, this is the same night as the public hearing regarding high school boundaries.
  • Phoenix Bikes presentation by Executive Director, Meg Rapeley - highlighting partnerships with APS, celebrating Phoenix Bikes' tenth anniversary, and a potential relocation from Four Mile Run to the currently vacant retail space in Arlington Mill Community Center.
  • Bike Arlington, car-free diet presentation - emphasizing recent and ongoing efforts to reach out to students to get them to start thinking and using various transportation options, promoting good habits and a healthy environment.
  • Superintendent's highlights including, Drew visioning kick-off; stop arm bus cameras in effect; call for entires for aetv winter break greeting; and a new video series on "th Whole Child" and video series on the summer literacy project, "Boys of Color."
  • Dr. Emma Violand-Sanchez was the School Board representative.  She is seeking input as to how to identify more people to participate in APS working groups and committees and how to make committees more representative of the diversity in our community.
  • Committe updates from FAC, SEPTA, and ACI.  
  • ACI seeking feedback about high school models.
See you in November!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

A Reflections coordinator meeting preceded the opening of CCPTA's first meeting of the 2016-17 school year on Monday, September 26th.  The new Reflections Coordinator is Edgar Tolentino, parent at Barcroft Elementary School.

CCPTA kicked off the year with a packed agenda to include information from the Virginia PTA summer workshop, a presentation by Dr. Tara Natrass about the State of Virginia's work on the profile of a high school graduate and diploma requirements, and a presentation by Lisa Stengle and Linda Erdos about Arlington's current high school boundary refinement process for 2017 and APS' 3-5 year action plan.  Minutes from the September 24th meeting will be posted as soon as possible.

Superintendent's news and highlights provided by Cintia Johnson on behalf of Dr. Murphy:

September 29th: promoting literacy community book conversation with County Board Chair Libby Garvey and School Board Chair Nancy Van Doren

October 5th: Walk and Bike to School Day

October 14th: "Harvesting Dreams for Our Children" event at Kenmore Middle School

From the CCPTA President:

CCPTA President, Chris Ditta, will join school board member Dr. Barbara Kanninen and Superintendent Patrick Murphy as a panelist at the Committee of 100 meeting on October 19th.  The topic will be high schools and solutions for providing additional secondary seats.  If you have any thoughts or comments, please forward to Chris so that he can represent CCPTA's school community on this panel.

Thank you to all who came out for our kick-off meeting.  We look forward to seeing all new and returning CCPTA representatives at next month's meeting on October 24th.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

CCPTA Meeting Dates 2016-2017

*All meetings are at 7:00 p.m. at the Education Center by W-L High School in Rooms 101a-b unless otherwise noted.

Monday, Aug 29 
Monday, Sep 26 - Reflections pre-meeting at 6:00 p.m.
Monday, Oct 24
Monday, Nov 21
Monday, Dec 19
Monday, Jan 30
Monday, Feb 27
Monday, Mar 27
Monday, Apr 24
Monday, May 22

APS 101 Information and Training for PTA officers:  
Monday, June 12 at Wakefield H.S. cafeteria

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Congratulations to our new officers!

On May 23, 2016, the CCPTA elected the new officers for the 2016-2017 school year:

Chris Ditta, President
Lisa Sockett, Vice President
Evan Thomas, VP Communications
Don Weinstein, Vice President
Maura McMahon, Secretary
Lilly Mancilla, Treasurer
Lavonne Stewart, Dues Chair

We look forward to an exciting year!

Monday, April 11, 2016

How Are We Doing?

With the arrival of Spring, and as the third quarter of the 2015-16 School Year comes to a close, it is time to assess where the CCPTA is in terms of meeting some of the goals we have set for ourselves this year.

In July 2015, the new CCPTA Executive Board, under the leadership of new President, Chris Ditta, met to discuss the main focus of the coming year. We wanted to build on the strengths of past initiatives, and provide a real opportunity for sharing ideas and success stories between and among the PTAs in Arlington.

At that meeting, we set the following goals for the 2015-16 School Year:

a) Facilitating successful school-school and school-community partnerships;

b) Communicating PTA best practices and success stories regarding the use of technology and differentiated learning;

c) Promoting family engagement and inclusive parent leadership opportunities; and

d) Continuing to support CCPTA and APS activities in the arts, after-school enrichment, summer opportunity, and fundraising for scholarship awards.

We changed how we open our meetings, asking a specific question of the PTA representatives around an area of success - in March, the question was what new idea or method have PTAs used to communicate better with parents? A trend was the growing use of social media; PTAs have taken to twitter, and Drew Elementary has been a pioneer on Periscope. Swanson indicated that they email the daily school announcements to parents, which is a way for them to hear the school news their students hear each morning. The APS Communications team talked about Peach Jar, the new electronic method of distributing backpack mail to parents.

This year was our second year promoting Family Engagement initiatives. We continued to help fund the training program run by APS coordinator Dr. Rosa Briceno to build capacity and identify leaders from among our minority parents in the schools. Thanks to such programs, we have had strong leaders emerge to start Latino Parent groups at Claremont, Kenmore and Washington-Lee High School, and one Latina leadership graduate now serves on the CCPTA Executive Board!

We have continued our traditional activities, like running the County-wide Reflections contest and awards ceremony, putting on the Summer Activities Fair with APS and participating in the Go Gaga for Green Operation Rainbarrel event with George Mason University (coming up on April 30th at 5:30 pm - see the events calendar). The latter two events raise money for the scholarships that the CCPTA funds jointly with the Arlington Retired Teachers' Association, and awards annually in May to graduating seniors who plan to enter the teaching profession (awards this year will be on May 16th).

Perhaps the most significant development this year is our CPCI program, which recognizes and attempts to address the disparities in fund-raising capacity among our PTAs. This program is designed for PTAs from around the County to donate to a central CCPTA fund, and other county PTAs can apply for grants to fund specific initiatives at their schools. Our intent this year is to promote literacy initiatives, but we are willing to fund any activity that supports learning for a group of students. We have had four generous schools contribute to the fund this year, and are please to announce we recently awarded our first grant to Hoffman-Boston Elementary, to help fund buses for the 4th grade trip to Jamestown in May. Participation in this program is strictly voluntary, but we encourage other PTAs to donate, if they can.

How do you think the CCPTA has been doing this year? Are there some things we can do better? Please contact one of the board members - we want to know what you think.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

April Newsletter from the School Board

The Arlington School Board has started producing a monthly newsletter!

Read the April 2016 issue.

Pictured at right are the APS School Board members (from left to right): Mr. James Lander, Ms. Nancy Van Doren, Dr. Emma Violand-Sanchez, Dr. Barbara Kanninen and Mr. Reid Goldstein.

Photo courtesy of Arlington Public Schools