PTA Meeting Notes – Apr 20, 2021

PTA Meeting Notes – Apr 20, 2021

Agenda Item:
Welcome and IntroductionsJen
Guiding goals for 2020-21: Transparent, Supportive, Responsible.
We encourage and invite youth participation in all PTA meetings, committee’s, and events to provide greater student voice and leadership opportunities.
We seek ways for the HM PTA to support the co-curricular activities (Girls on the Run, Scouts, Anti-Bullying Club, etc.) that directly benefit the HM community.
HM PTA website (see below)
HM PTA FB page (see below)
HM PTA  Employer match and Amazon Smile (see below)
HM PTA FB page guideline reminder (see below)
HM PTA Directory guideline reminder (see below)

See Below.
New Business
HM license to show movies paid for thru 3/2024.
Budget discussions for 21-22 are underway.  Please share any ideas/opinions you may have in this meeting or in writing to
Chat for new ideas.
Karla-Requested feedback/ideas/opinions as the PTA board is creating a budget for 21-22Amy K-Focus on re-establishing the HM community with community eventsPlan is to have budget ready for May PTA meeting.
Treasurer’s Report (see below)Dan or MikeDan-Financially PTA is doing very well.  Silent Auction raised just under $30,000.  Expenses were to Silent Auction costs and Mr. Dutcher’s salaryKindergarten request for microscopes to explore silk worms-was granted.  
Old Business
2020-21 Questions/Answers (see below)
Leadership and Volunteer Opportunities (see below)
Volunteering (see below)
Past Announcements/Updates (see below)
KarlaAnswers to Questions-music concerts will not occur this year.
Teacher appreciation will be gift cards to Storied Owl
School Pictures-(Mr. Litwin) No, these will not occur. Lifetouch is booking up and school does not have permission to bring them in.
Enrollment-(Mr. Litwin) letters just went out, it will be several weeks to have final enrollment numbers.  Projected numbers from the superintendent are 385 for next year. Currently at 284 in-person and 94 VLS.
District has determined that there will be no more students switching between VLS and in-person.
Eagle Bluff-for 25 years students have gone to the camp and have had a variety of hands-on activities.  Is a culminating experience for fifth grade students.  Had to cancel last year and this year.  Eagle Bluff came and conducted ½ day activities with fifth grade students. And learned about indiginous people and a sport with a bow and spear-learned about prehistoric life in MN.
Does SPPS have new guidelines regarding people other than employees in building?  No-Eagle Bluff event was held outside.-Mr. Litwin
Staff is fully vaccinated-Mr. Litwin
Principal Report
SPPS plans for summer opportunities.
Mr. LitwinParents have asked SPPS how schools will fill in gaps in student learning.  Elementary teachers are always figuring out gaps/holes and will continue to do this work.  6-7 weeks into in-person there are some social/emotional challenges that are starting to arise.  These things are developmentally appropriate and staff are encouraged to spend the time working on kids developing good character and relationships with each other and with staff. Looking forward to a time when there can be buddy classes and assemblies for the school community to connect.
Would like to bring the MAP (Measures of Academic Progress) assessment back to the building.  It is an adaptive assessment that gives detailed information about what students know and what they are missing as well as steps to help them reach academic standards.  Assessments take about an hour each for reading and math.  This has not been discussed with staff at this time.School improvement plan- May be end of May or June before they are working on this.  Guides focus for staff and professional development.  Will be looking for parents to provide input.
PTA Committee Updates (see below)
Auction Committee
Family Volunteer Service Committee
Take It , Make It Committee
Committee chairs
Allison-Auction report-Proud of the participation in the auction.  ½ of revenue was direct donations, ½ was bidding on items.  Many new business relationships were made.  In the Fall, will be seeking feedback about having an in-person event or continuing the online event which has very low cost and good equity.  Looking for more people to co-chair on the auction committee. Please reach out with any questions.
Julie-Family volunteer service-very successful.  Distributed 85 packets with supplies for projects.  5 car loads of food shelf donations were collected. 
Grace-Take it, Make it-did not use much of budget in the winter–just used up supplies in the Winter.  Along with third grade service group have assembled kids for every HM student.  Will distribute at school for in-person students and set up pick-up time for VLS students.  Will be fun activities-distributed the week of May 3rd.  
AdjournKarlaAmy K-comment at the amazing job everyone has done to make things work in the current situation.  She is impressed with the resiliency of her students and their ability to adapt and thrive.  Speaks to our HM community.  Thanks to everyone at home for everything they have done for these students.
Karla-Call for volunteers to join PTA board or volunteer for any committee.

HM PTA website  If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions please email 

Facebook HM Family “private” group

Employer match and Amazon Smile

We also encourage families to check with their employers as many offer a company match to the cash donations made by their employees and if you are an Amazon user, go to and search for “PTA Minnesota Congress 008740 Horace Mann PTA” and designate HM PTA as your charitable organization.

Facebook HM PTA Guidelines

This “Horace Mann School & PTA” group exists to build community among current Horace Mann families. This group forum is to share information about Horace Mann School PTA and community events, to help facilitate dialogue among the HMS community, and to showcase the achievements of students, teachers, parents, and other HMS community members.

Community Rules

  • We encourage you to ask questions and share information. We request that you keep discussions focused directly concerning our school community.
  • We encourage posts that highlight our community’s accomplishments and constructively raise issues for discussion.
  • When posting, please use appropriate language.
  • If you choose, you can post photos of your children at school events. Do not post photos of other children. If you have any questions about posting a particular photo, please check with the Facebook page (group) administrator.
  • Do not post about concerns, problems, or conflicts with individual teachers, administrators, students, or parents. We will immediately delete posts that in any way put down or discriminate against individuals.
  • Online threats will be taken seriously, and proper authorities will be immediately notified.
  • Do not post information commonly understood as confidential, such as student grades.
  • Any inflammatory statements that make allegations against individuals or organizations will be deleted.
  • Keep in mind what you post is public to all members of the group.
  • Any advertising for businesses is not allowed.
  • Do not publish content as your own that has been created by others
  • The PTA board and PTA Facebook administrators reserve the right to delete comments and block users who are not following the rules stated above.
  • Postings on this page are the sole responsibility of the person posting and do not reflect the views of Horace Mann School, Horace Mann School PTA, or St. Paul Public Schools. 

HM PTA Directory Guidelines

The HM PTA directory is produced by a committee of volunteers as a service for school families to be able to contact students’ friends, classmates, and teachers. The directory is not to be used for outside interests such as political or business mailing or any other purposes which are not approved by the Horace Mann School Administration and HM PTA.  Please contact the HM PTA President at for more information regarding appropriate use if you are interested.

New Business

Treasurer’s Report Fiscal Report for March/April 2021

Dan Dressler, Mike Axtell

YTD Total Revenue: $78,053
YTD Total Expenses: $38,640
YTD  Revenue subtract Expenses: $39,413                                                                                                                                  Bank Account Balance as of 4/18/2021: $137,784.96
March 2021 Revenue: $30,395
March  2021 Expenses: $9,581
March Revenue subtract Expenses: +$20,815

*Our YTD is August 2020-July 2021 

If you are interested in more details of the PTA budget please contact Dan or Mike directly at

Old Business

2020-21 Questions/Requests at prior PTA Meetings In Process:

  • Q:Will we have vocal music concerts this year?  A: At this point SPPS will not be allowing any musical performances at this time.  Perhaps a virtual concert or outdoors, maybe a virtual family sing along with Mr. Dutcher. Will wait to hear from Mr. Litwin about music and the in-person school plan.  At this point we are not anticipating in-person music or music concerts this school year.
  • Q: Could we have a Business Partnership  (BP) with Storied Owl to support them? A: BP have decided to only host BP if approached by the business this year to ensure it is to the business benefit.  We can connect in the spring. 
  • Q: To Mr. Litwin, Will Lifetouch or another option be taking school pictures this year?  A:  I have no idea.
  • Q: To Mr. Litwin, What are the current enrollment numbers at HM and when will you know enrollment for 21-22? A:  I do not know either answer.
  • Q: To Mr. Litwin, How many HM students have had to quarantine or been suspect Covid in February/March/April? A: 
  • Q: To Mr. Litwin, Does HM and/or SPPS  have plans for outdoor classes this spring? A:
  • Q: To Mr. Litwin, What will happen when more VLS students want to return to in-person than allowed with the class caps? A: I do not know. It is possible that the teachers will allow more than the classroom cap with a meeting but it might depend on vaccinations and social distancing suggestions.  The current cap is 26-K, 27 for grades 1-3, 29 for grades 4-5.
  • Q:To Mr. Litwin, Will 5th grade go to Eagle Bluff this year?  It is still on the HM calendar.  A: They will have an Eagle Bluff experience but not at Eagle Bluff.  More information soon.
  • Q: To Mr. Litwin, When will all staff that want to be vaccinated be vaccinated at HM?  A: Not sure but hoping by the end of March/April.

2020-21 Questions/Requests at prior PTA Meetings Resolved

Q: What was the auction revenue last year? A: $40,375.00 revenue. $2,899.00 expenses. $37,476 net income.

Q: Free Family Fun Night Ideas? A: Email: Alex Kotze. 

Q: Can the Scholastic Book Fair information be on the HM PTA website. A: Yes and done. 

Q: Can the PTA assist with the school supplies delivery for those families that did not pick up? A: Yes, we emailed all families that did not pick up and offered to deliver.  

Q: Can siblings get a MITI bag? A: We are just trying to figure out how many to make.  Will try to give all projects in the bag so the siblings can all have something. 

Q: Can PTA send flowers to Mr. Mike’s funeral?A: Yes and sent.

Q: Will Mr. Dutcher continue to provide music for the VLS? A: Mr. Dutcher is under contract to provide music to all HM students for the remainder of the year.  At this time, Mr. Dutcher will continue to provide music with video presentations per grade level.  If HM students in VLS are transferred to a different school/teacher we will investigate how to provide the lessons directly to those students via email.

Questions to Principal Litwin: Will DC be allowed to be in the building during hybrid learning during the school day? A.  It is not decided but I do not think so.  Plus, Tier 1 care will increase when teachers return.  Will wait to hear from Mr. Litwin about DC and the in-person school plan.  DC will return to HM with in-person learning as of 1/5/2021.

Questions to Principal Litwin: Hybrid question and answer meeting with Mr. Litwin please?  A: postponed but Mr. Litwin will schedule his own meeting to answer hybrid questions.  Mr. Litwin will use the PTA meeting link in January.

Q: Could the HM PTA pay for air purifiers for the staff at HM like they are doing in the western suburbs?  Also, to purchase them for other SPPS elementary schools that cannot afford them to ensure equity?  A: With our school’s recent remodeling, a new mechanical system was installed for the entire building, which results in air purifiers being largely unnecessary.  A HEPA air purifier would have limited impact in our well-ventilated classrooms, because the air handlers on our new HVAC system exchange the air at such a frequency that an individual air purifier in a classroom makes little to no impact on particle counts.

If there are buildings in the district where the air handlers are not doing their job, or there are other factors at play that cause a room to lack sufficient ventilation, then an air purifier may provide some benefit. For those spaces, the District is providing air purifiers to provide additional filtration.

The District is using their most recent Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) surveys to determine which spaces would need air purifiers. The most recent IAQ at Horace Mann was in 2019, after the renovation, and indicated that all classrooms are well ventilated. Therefore, the District is not providing air purifiers for classrooms in our building. However, the District has identified a need for an air purifier in the isolation room (formerly Mr. Litwin’s office) since the ventilation is turned off in that room to limit any potential viral spread if a student needs to wait in there for a parent to pick them up. The District will be providing Horace Mann with an air purifier for this room.

Additionally, the District has taken extra measures to improve the air quality in our facilities. The filtration in all air handling systems was increased to a baseline Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) of at least 11 and facilities is in the process of installing higher-level filtration (MERV 13) filters where possible. Additionally, the programming for the air handlers was adjusted to run extended hours to pre-flush the buildings before occupancy and post-flush the buildings at the end of each weekday, and the air handlers have been programmed to bring in extra outside air when outdoor conditions allow.

With the information we have learned about the quality of our recently installed new HVAC system, the IAQ testing of our site, and the District providing an air purifier for the space identified as potentially needing it, we have determined that the PTA will not be purchasing air purifiers for individual classrooms in our buildings this year.

Please feel free to reach out to the PTA President with any questions you may have:

Questions to Principal Litwin:  Do you think morning announcements can return by the Principal? A: No, although I will do announcements for large school events and I have a plan for birthdays. Principal Litwin did not announce birthdays.

Q: Could the PTA organize drivers for delivery again for SPPS?  A: Yes if SPPS/HM would like us to do it.  Email sent to Principal Litwin November 2020.  Mr. Litwin let us know that the next school supply delivery is scheduled for January 21 and 22 2021 so we would like to deliver all things not picked up the week of January 25th-30th. Prior we could investigate the best dates and times and also coordinate addresses for efficiency.  Abby M. offered to help with spreadsheets.  Allison L. reminded us to text/call first or connect with SPPS student support to use expertise/ideas of what would work best for families. Will wait to hear from Mr. Litwin about any delivery needs and the in-person school plan and VLS.

Q: Could SPPS/HM help families with DL, technology, etc.?  A: Forwarded to Mr. Litwin November 2020. Will wait to hear from Mr. Litwin about this and the in-person school plan.

Q: Could you send out a Band Director description?  A:  Posted it on the HM PTA website and in the Perspectives.  job description from 2019-2020 

Q: Could you share the Volunteer Committee Descriptions?  A: Posted it on the HM PTA website and in the Perspectives. 20-21 PTA Volunteer Programs and Event Descriptions 

Q: To Mr. Litwin, Will SPPS or HM provide any information about Covid testing since MDH is asking all in-person families to test every 2 weeks. A: I did receive an email from SPPS today and I will share the information in Perspectives. Shared on the website and Perspectives.

Q: To Mr. Litwin, Who will provide more masks for students? A: We have enough and then Ms. Litwin can request some more from facilities when HM needs more.  Mr. Litwin will not say no to donations but he does not need them.

Leadership and Volunteer Opportunities

  • Board Shadowing 2021-22
  • Board positions 2021-23 
  • MITI  (1 needed) co-chair 2021-22
  • Scholastic Book Fair (both needed) co-chair 2021-22
  • Free Family Fun Nights (both needed) co-chair 2021-22
  • Business Partnerships (both needed) co-chair 2021-22
  • Yearbook (1 needed) co-chair 2021-22
  • Carnival (1 needed) co-chair 2021-22
  • Family Volunteer Service committee members 2020-21
  • Yearbook committee members 2020-22
  • Read-a-thon committee members 
  • Free Family Fun Nights committee members
  • Carnival committee members 


Please consider volunteering this year.  No experience necessary? All are welcome.  Complete the Volunteer Form: 2020-2021 Volunteer Form. You can find more information about the PTA Committees and other volunteer opportunities at  20-21 PTA Volunteer Programs and Event Descriptions This 2020-2021 Volunteer Form replaces the paper copy that we have distributed in past years.  It will take less than a minute. Questions?  Please contact Volunteer Coordinators Jill Mack and Karen Vander Sanden at

PTA Board Updates/Announcements

The PTA Board met on Monday, February 8th. Regarding activities for the rest of the year, at the advice of the National PTA Council, we will continue to give our teachers the funds they need to serve our students on all learning platforms in the most equitable way we can. The PTA treasurers have sent out budget updates to all teachers/specialists letting them know about allocated discretionary funds still available and also about the additional special request fund. The PTA has also requested input from all the HM teachers/specialists regarding support they might need for the 2021-22 school year so we can include it in our preliminary budget. The HM PTA will amend any proposed budget over the summer taking into account teacher/specialist input as we approach next fall and know more about any SPPS decisions about staffing.  

Also, the HM PTA will not be hosting/sponsoring any in-person activities for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year. This decision was based on advice from the National PTA Council to ensure the health and safety of our school community and equity between the differing learning models.  This spring the PTA is hoping to host the Virtual Silent Auction, a Drop-Off Family Volunteer Service Night, a Virtual Family Fun Night, a Remote Make It, Take It , and Outside Spring Plant Sale Pick-Up. You can find details about any general PTA meeting on the Horace Mann PTA website. or contact via email

Asking for budget input for 2020-21. Send any ideas/comments/questions to the president or treasurer emails listed at the end of the agenda.

The PTA funded the Spelling Bee but it did not get hosted due to transitions to in-person. PTA will provide treats for all HM staff weekly vs. a lunch in May.  We are searching for a 4th/5th Grade Band Director 2021-22.  Here is the description from prior years:

Committee Reports

Auction Committee

Allison Broughton/Amy Colaizy Hannigan

The 2021 auction was a great success under continued challenging circumstances, surpassing $33,000 in total contributions during the virtual event on Friday, March 12 and exceeding our goal of $25,000.  Cheers to the school community for making it happen!  Notably, the dollars raised this year were roughly half direct donations and half auction sale proceeds.  Event sponsorships from local businesses and sale of gala bags also made a significant impact on progress toward the goal.  Additional data on the outcomes of the event is available through reports from the auction website, and a summary document will be prepared for PTA records and to inform planning for next year’s event.  Planning conversations for next year will include pros/cons of maintaining an online component as part of the auction’s fundraising efforts. To learn more, please contact Allison Broughton and Amy Colaizy Hannigan at

Take It, Make It Committee

Grace Hanson

We had such a great success with our Winter Take It, Make It format that we decided to put together a spring version with the remaining funds. We’ve expanded the number of kits for the spring event so we can incorporate all Horace Mann students both in person and VLS. Teachers will be distributing kits to in-person students during the week of May 3. We plan to host a pick up time on May 4th from 3:30-5:00 for our VLS families to pick up kits. Each kit has three spring themed activities. Special thanks to our 3rd grade service group and the 2nd/3rd Grade HM  Girls Scouts for helping to assemble 1,000+ individual kits! Please contact Grace Hanson if you have any questions or would like to join this committee.

Family Volunteer Service Committee

Julie Steiner/Chandra Kilgriff

Please contact Chandra Kilgriff or Julie Clark Steiner with any questions, and watch Perspectives for more details. or

President: Karla Lauerman Cummins

Vice President: Jen Williams

Treasurers: Dan Dressler and Mike Axtel

Teacher Representative: Amy Kortuem

Communications: Laura Willson and Melanie McMahon

Catherine Guglieimo: Recording Secretary:

Karen Vander Sanden and Jill Mack: Volunteer Coordinator:

In Attendance

  • Catherine Guglielmo
  • Allison Broughton
  • Amy Korteum
  • Andrew Mons
  • Dan Dressler
  • Grace Hanson
  • James Litwin
  • Jeff Davidson
  • Jennifer Williams
  • Jill Mack
  • Joy Collman
  • Julie Steiner
  • Karla Cummins
  • Laura Wilson
  • Mike Axell
  • Prev Post
  • Next Post