Meeting Notes – April 2019

Meeting Notes – April 2019

Horace Mann PTA Meeting Minutes
April 10, 2019

I. Welcome and Introductions
II. Announcements and Good News Minutes
Allison Litzenberg reminded those in attendance that they can still purchase yard signs for $10. Reach
out to if interested.
III. Teacher Representatives
Debbie Thompson pointed out that because of PTA, they have gone on lots of field trips without asking
parents for money. She also appreciates classroom library donations (book clubs, full sets, 5-6 copies of
each book now). She thanked parents on behalf of the staff for all the wonderful meals at conference.
Amy talked about upcoming mini-courses (i.e. parents, grandparents come in to teach classes in a small
group setting). When asked to talk about how 4th grade is such a big transition year, Amy replied that
learning styles and organizations skills develop, they really enforce the use of a planner and there is a
gradual release of dependence on the teachers. Finally, another parent asked if 4th graders would have
mini-society this year?Amy described what mini-society is (students design, build, market and sell a
product)…and she said 4th graders might be experiencing “new and improved” ideas.
IV. New Business
A. Amy talked about the upcoming speaker. She is intrigued by handouts about “overindulged
children” and the role we as adults play in helping our kids. This is the first time Horace Mann invited
other schools within our community to attend. PTA Minnesota is encouraging schools to also focus on
their community, so we invited them as an outreach. All families in the neighborhood welcome to attend.
B. PTA Budget discussions are starting. If anyone has questions, requests, concerns or
suggestions…let us know.
C. Aaron Litzenberg is helping us put together our own website. As part of Minnesota PTA’s
new mission, they are encouraging us to have our own website…a separate entity. Aaron said he wants to
create something that will work for the entire community, allowing people to contribute, a single place to
have portable information so it’s accessible and manageable for the PTA. Karla likened it to
Perspectives…that the information is accessible. She asked what parents would like to see. Responses
included: a public calendar of events, committee chairs’ contact information, links to sign-up sheets,
descriptions of all the events, what we have budgeted for events, average costs for attending events,
photos from events, maybe teachers could list wants and needs, maybe list WHY we do events, and a link
to Amazon Smile. Finally, Aaron mentioned the idea is also to have a google drive where we can hold all
the past documents. PTA board members will also have their own email address so we don’t have to use
personal accounts anymore.
V. Treasurer’s Report
YTD Total Revenue: $102,223
YTD Total Expenses: $85, 113
YTD Revenue subract Expenses: $17,120
Bank Account Balance as of 3/31/19: $93, 870

If you are interested in more details of the PTA Budget please contact Jackie Hippen directly at
VI. Principal’s Report
For a copy of Jim’s presentation, go to:
The presentation included the following information:
A. School district’s strategic plan, which is the guide for the next five years. The district
assembled 10 action teams with 120 members, including partners from different organizations in the city.
The district took what they had to say, as well as community input and best practices…and came up with
this strategic plan.
Mission: Inspire students to think critically
Horace Mann Mission: falls under district mission and should apply to all of us no matter the role
Guiding Values: achievement, communications, continuous improvement, etc.
Stakeholder engagement: engagement during the planning process, ongoing engagement variable
and fixed strategies. Board of Education will receive an annual report.
Long-term Student Outcomes. need to be measured
SPPS Achieves Strategic Plan—see handout*
We’re in phase 1 right now. We are starting with part of it based on urgency…First phase is a
plan for three years. You can go to the website and dive into it even deeper. School district is looking at
priorities. Academic department a huge part of what we do: multilingual learning, personalized learning,
school improvement, specialized services (special ed, counseling, etc). Strategic plan leads to resource
allocation, which leads to school budgeting process.
B. Horace Mann’s 2019-2020 Budget

  1. Projected Enrollment: 427
  2. District Allocations
    .5 ELL Teacher/ cut .5 ELL EA
    .2 Special Education Teachers
    .5 Social Worker (increase of .1)
    1 speech pathologist
    1 Special Ed TA/ cut 1 SpED TA
    .2 School Nurse
    .75 Health Assistant/cut .19 Health Assistant
    Enrollment Cap Adjustment $34,140
    *Note: this year numbers were rounded numbers UP (i.e., no more “2.7” positions, which is good news)
  3. Building Allocations: $2,417,250
    a. General Fund $1.8 million

b. Compensatory Education $421.884
c. The successful referendum was a huge help for us as we don’t have to cut
supplies and teachers.
Jim provided a breakdown/projections: We are back to having 3 regular TA’s (lots more support for
students and help in library and office). $24,161 for non-instructional. Jim will not have to ask for PTA
support (supplies and copier). He then gave a breakdown of planned expenditures. Science, art and
Special Ed and ELL will get money, unlike the past.

  1. Next Steps: hiring, discussions with PTA leadership (school level enrichment and
    staff level enrichment)
    C. School’s Comprehensive Improvement Planning. Can we line up what the district and we
    (HM) are saying is important? We want to build an inclusive environment. We still need to encourage
    legislative support and Dr. Gothard wants to keep boosting enrollment.
    Question: If we received more funding, what would be on your wish list?
    Jim: More teaching assistants, adding back academic support teacher, adding back gifted and talented,
    adding back music teacher. He would love to get back what we’ve lost over the years.
    Question: What have we been doing for gifted and talented?
    Jim: subject level skipping and grade level skipping, small group instruction, staff always looking for
    things where kids can go as high as they want to: e.g. mini-courses, alphabet research. We try to model
    ourselves after gifted and talented programs. We are fortunate to have large population of students who
    are gifted or motivated so we can push at a higher level, but it’s challenging to not forget about the others.
    Lego program huge. Looks for parents, little and different things to with which to supplement.
    VII. PTA/HMCommittee Updates
    Drew from Yoga Calm Committee:
    Asked if anyone familiar with it. Focus and social development for kids. Teachers have been trained.
    Committee helps teachers pair up and set up residencies for 2 parents and a staff member. It’s ongoing.
    Drew gave a “shout out” to Lalitha Belur who has been a “force” for Yoga Calm, she’s a wonderful part
    of the community. Drew looking for a co-chair. If interested in parent-teacher training, let him know.
    We are listed as a Yoga Calm school. Spread the good news.
    Question: Are they getting to all the classrooms?
    Drew: Yes, almost every classroom have it
    VII. Closing Remarks
    Karla remindind everyone about the upcoming plant sale. She talked briefly about the 2019-2020 PTA
    board openings, and committee chair openings. We have a lot of graduating 5th grade parents. We
    always need help in other areas, lots of different ways. If interested talk to us today. You can get
    involved as much or as little as you want.
    Attendees: Debbie Thompson, Amy Kortuem, Drew Johnson, Nikki Mechelke, Jill Mack, Jackie Hippen,
    Karla Lauerman Cummins, Sarah Emrick, Katherine Drake, Katie Sexe, Celeste Kopacek, Stephanie
    Taggart, Laura Willson, Shahveer Press, Megan Press, Natalie Mogilevski, Laura VanderWegen, Amy
    Hannigan, Lisa Destabramlet, Allison Litzenberg, Aaron Litzenberg, Jim Litwin, Brandon Mason

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,

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