Meeting Notes – November 2018

Meeting Notes – November 2018

Horace Mann School PTA

November 8, 2018


  • The referendum passed, which is great news. Thank you to everyone who helped with advocating for the levy increase.
  • Thank you to everyone who joined the PTA – the money helps with public education advocacy.
  • Horace Mann yard signs are now available.

Teacher Representatives

  • Ms. Boos – the kids are progressing in reading. Each first grade classroom has been given $1,000 for books for their Level Library. The Level Library is great because it’s the same characters that they follow through the books.  In March there will be author resident who will help the kids write their own books.
  • Ms. Rice – the teachers are planning field trips to the Children’s Museum, and the Minneapolis Institute of Art. PTA funds would be used for a Steppingstone theater performance.
  • Ms. Tennyson – there is an apple representative who is coming in every few weeks and it’s been like having a genius bar right in the classroom. She’s helped with assessment tools and using Apple classroom where there are groups based on abilities to help the teachers individualize to the students.
  • Ms. Bosch – it’s been big shoes to fill to follow Mr. Olson. The kids have been great and are curious. She enjoys doing engineering projects with kids where they get to take the project home with them. She has geckos, a tree frog, a bearded dragon, a hermit crab, and a leopard frog,

PTA Purpose and Goals

The first purpose of the Horace Mann PTA is to support the school mission. We also support volunteers, families, and children. The full text of the PTA Purpose was included with the agenda. Our goal is to have a 3:1 ratio of free, fun, family events to fundraisers. Ideas for events, speakers, and activities people would like to see the PTA work on are always welcome.

Treasurer’s Report

Our bank balance decreased by approximately $10,000 from the end of September to the end of October.  We paid $3500 toward music residencies, over $3000 toward classroom supplies/libraries, $900 toward the buddy bench and $2000 toward Readathon supplies & prizes.  Expect a large jump in the balance during the month of November as Readathon donations are deposited.  If you are interested in more details of the PTA budget please contact Jackie Hippen directly at

Principal’s Report

There was a question about how quickly the referendum money will be going into the schools. Jim explained that next year’s budget should include the increased levy funding, but the state funding is a variable and hasn’t kept up with the rate of inflation.

District facilities is working on getting flags and flag holders into each classroom.

Previously Jim did all of the tours by himself, but about 5-6 years ago parent volunteers took it over since he’s the only administrator in the building and it was taking a lot of time. There is a parent group that’s evaluating the tours now that the school building is changed and looking at how to best serve all families looking at going to Horace Mann when they’re here to check out the school.

With improved and expanded space, Jim is looking at how to keep the small community feel. There are buddy classrooms, where old students are leaders and work with younger classrooms (i.e. reading buddies), and each classroom starts with a morning meeting. Teachers do a lot of teacher planning and professional development where each team really works together as a group for all the kids in the grade.  He’s thinking of ways to involve all families. Parents suggestion an international potluck, activities specifically for each grade or classroom, etc. Parents also really like the community feel, and that kids know the whole building and are comfortable and familiar with people and the place.

PTA/HM Committee Updates

Box Top Committee:

Collections from the end of the 2017-18 school year and early fall have been submitted for a total of $546.40.  We had a great interest from volunteers to assist with preparing the fall submission.  All of the volunteers made light work for everyone involved.   We will coordinate another submission prior to the March 1 deadline. If you have questions or would like to volunteer contact Heather Clark,

Family Volunteer Service Night:  

Family Volunteer Service Night is set for Feb. 22, 2019.  At this event Horace Mann families connect with community partners working with different populations in our city while working on service projects.  We have just started planning and welcome all volunteers.  Next meeting: Thursday Nov. 29 at 6:30 or contact Terri Shefelbine to get involved. 612-237-5959

Halloween Candy/Card Collection for Active Duty Military Service Members/Family Volunteer Service:  

Karla Lauerman Cummins:  Information: For the sixth year, The Family Volunteer Service Committee organizes a Halloween Candy/Card Collection for Active Duty Military Service Members in partnership with The Clark Extended Family.  Bring in any Halloween candy and/or card donations to the HM Main Office between November 1st-12th.  Veterans Day is November 11th and this is a great way to have a conversation about citizenship and service.  Requests/Input from attendee’s:  If you would like to help or have any suggestions to improve this activity please email Karla Lauerman Cummins at  Questions?

Say “Thank You” and Celebrate our Veterans/Family Volunteer Service:  

Information:  New this year…to celebrate Veteran’s Day, November 11th, we invite all members of the HM community to honor veterans and active duty service personnel (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Peace Corps, etc.) in your family (parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.) by writing their name on a paper star and hanging the star on the big Thank you sign located outside the main office. This is a great way to have a conversation about citizenship and service while celebrating family. Requests/Input from attendee’s:  If you would like to help or have any suggestions to improve this activity please email Karla Lauerman Cummins at Questions?

Scholastic Book Fair:  

The Scholastic Book Fair is coming to Horace Mann the week of November 12th!  We need volunteers to make this year’s Book Fair a huge success! We have spots on Monday (set up), Tuesday (during the Fair, Thursday (during the Fair), and Friday (the Fair + take-down) to fill. Kids are welcome to help out as well, if you want to plan around your conference times. Even if you can’t volunteer, be sure to visit the Book Fair – with your kids or without! It’s a great way to get a start on holiday shopping, or continue the excitement about reading now that the Read-a-thon is over. Also, don’t forget to bring your Read-a-thon coupon if your child earned one!  Hours are as follows: November 13 (3-8pm), November 15 (3-8pm), or November 16 (8am-1pm). Finally, we are looking for a few new volunteers to take over the management of the Book Fair for the next two years, as our two-year term is up! Please let one of us know if you’re interested – it’s fun and fairly straight-forward.  Britt Moore , Annie Deneen , Christina Connelly  

Sign up here:

Silent Auction:  Karla Lauerman Cummins: The Silent Auction is our largest PTA fundraiser of the year!  Money raised will fund all of the wonderful PTA enrichment programs and activities that benefit our kids:  including vocal music & band instruction, library and classroom library books,grade level enrichment programs and much more!  The Auction is a fun adults only night out which is held every March, featuring appetizers, drinks and many silent and live auction items.  With various planning subcommittees, there are many ways to help!  Please attend a meeting November 20th at 6:30. Questions?  Please contact Anne Pavlis  Hope to see you!

Business Partnerships:  Karla Lauerman Cummins:

****Give to the Max Day 2018 is November 15th

Support enrichment programs for our students:  give to the Horace Mann PTA on Give to the Max Day:  Visit

ON November 15th!

****Amazon Smile:  Amazon will donate .5% of your purchases to our school.  Logon to []  and designate ‘PTA Minnesota Congress 008740 Horace Mann PTA’ as your charity of choice.  When you shop for birthdays or the holidays, Horace Mann will benefit.  It’s that easy!

****Company Match

Many employers match charitable contributions.  Check with your employer to see if the Horace Mann PTA could benefit from your company’s matching funds program.

Please remember these easy ways to support our school, and consider forwarding the links and asking friends & family to do the same!

2018 Read-a-thon – Magic of Reading: Alex Kotze and Karie Johnson:

The 2018 Read-a-thon was a HUGE success! Thank you to all those who read and donated to the month long event. Students and teachers got into the fun by decorating classroom doors and student lockers. Students turned in their reading sheets and donations the week of Oct. 29. They even got a visit from the Menchie’s mascot. The total minutes read was over our goal of 600,000 and we received nearly $27,000 in donations/pledges! We had the closing ceremony on Wednesday, November 7 and Mr. Litwin was covered in “Troll Snot” (glitter slime) as his principal challenge. Students should have received their prizes, including book fair coupons, on Wednesday. Students can still turn in calendars and donations and we will work to get the prizes delivered as soon as possible. We will have a net total amount raised for the next meeting but it looks like we made our budget! Please let us know if there are any questions

Follow up/Responses from September/October Meeting

In addition to the teachers getting classroom money, the PTA also gives money to specialists for their classrooms. Jim also explained that within the overall school budget there are funds for non-instructional needs (supplies). However, over the past years of budget cuts a lot of those funds were shifted to the PTA in order to keep as much instructional money as possible (teachers, specialists, aides, and other people in the building). There is some carryover funding that the school will get this year, and that will be used mostly for specialist classrooms and some of the remaining will be set aside for emergency use this year in the new building.

The Wetterling Foundation has been contacted and will hopefully be coming to an upcoming meeting. A psychologist has also been contacted to come speak on how not to overindulge children. Once confirmed, the PTA will be sending out a Save the Date to let parents know.

PTA Board members:

Co-President-Nikki Mechelke,  

Co-President -Karla Lauerman Cummins,

Treasurer-Jackie Hippen,

Teacher Representative-Amy Kortuem,

Co-Communications Secretary-Allison Litzenberg,

Co-Communications Secretary-Libby Stanton,

Recording Secretary-Melanie McMahon,

Co-Volunteer Coordinator-Katie Sexe,

Co-Volunteer Coordinator-Tracy Riekenberg,

Attendance: Jim Litwin, Jackie Hippen, Kathy Hedin, Karla Lauerman Cummins, Melanie McMahon, Ms. Rice, Nikki Mechelke, Britt Moore, Katie Sexe, Aaron Litzenberg, Celeste Kopacek, Sarah Bosch, Jill Mack, Libby Stanton, Nate Willson, Catherine Guglielme, Stephanie Taggart, Katherine Drake, Laura Baerthel, Deline Ferfon

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