Category Archives: PTO Meeting Minutes

PTO Meeting Minutes 10/16/2013

Thanks to all who attended the first PTO meeting of the year last week – I think we had a record turnout! For those that weren’t able to make it, the meeting minutes are below.

The next PTO meeting will be on Thursday November 21st at 7:30pm – hope to see many of you there!

PTO meeting notes, Wednesday, October 16, 7:30pm

Over 50 people attended, all PTO Board members in attendance except Karen Walsh, Jamie Martin, and Erica Terk

Welcome and Introductions

Liz Marshall kicked the meeting off with an energizing icebreaker “Concentric Circles” which had us mixing and mingling and getting to know a few new people.

Julie Pinto welcomed new and returning families and introduced PTO board members.


Julie gave a rundown of the many ways to communicate within the PTO and Franklin community:

  • PTO meetings
  • PTO announcement and parent discussion email lists
  • PTO website
  • The Franklin Connection newsletter published every other Friday
  • The new on-line directory (next month the hard copy will be distributed to all who have paid PTO dues)
  • Amy Kelly’s blog on the Franklin school website
  • At the Principal’s Coffee on the first Friday of each month

We have one more committee chair needed – Safe Routes to School Coordinator – contact Julie Pinto for more information.

Past and upcoming events

Thank you to Lauren Walsh for running the first BOKS session.  Thank you to Seema Brodie and Leslie Maxwell for a successful Halloween costume drive.  19 bags of costumes went to Cradles to Crayons.

Bob Zuckernick listed 10 compelling reasons to attend School Appreciation Day on Saturday and Linda Hanusaik implored everyone to volunteer for the Halloween Bash on Saturday Oct 26.

Julie reminded everyone about Artsonia the website for your child’s artwork.  Marysol Masse-Makimura is the contact if you have questions.


Michelle Marini, PTO Treasurer, presented the annual budget.  It was voted on and unanimously approved.


Deb Rooney listed the many opportunities to contribute funds to the PTO and Franklin community:

  • Stop & Shop  – register your rewards card and when you use it funds are paid to Franklin
  • Amazon – shop via the link on the PTO website
  •  Box Tops for Education – a collection box is outside the window of the main office.  Fill it out with your teacher’s name
  • The on-line auction – Franklin’s largest fundraiser – will be held in March
  • Garden City Kindergarten Soccer – Saturday soccer at Burr for pre-K and K students
  • Circus Smirkus – a week-long circus school for 3rd, 4th & 5th graders
  • BOKS
  • Trivia night at the end of February – this year we show up Burr Elementary with how much trivial knowledge Franklin parents have
  • Viridian – Eric Friedberg gave a convincing presentation for enrolling in this energy supply option – it is simple to sign-up for and raises funds for Franklin.  We are the #1 school in the state for the number of meters and we have a goal to sign up 50 more families this year

Keynote speakers

Terri Bancroft and Kara Temple presented information about the new school-wide behavioral plan based on the principals of the responsive classroom.  Franklin is the first school in Newton to implement this.  More information can be found on the Franklin website.

School Council

Amy Kelly requested volunteers for the school council which is an advisory board to the Principal made up of an even number of teachers and parent volunteers.  Topics of focus include school improvement plans, the discretionary school budget, building related issues, and fostering parent involvement.  School Council meets five times per year after school and is a 2-year commitment.  Five people expressed initial interest in participating.

The meeting ended at around 9:00.

PTO Meeting Minutes January 19, 2012

Prior to the main PTO meeting, Liz Marshall met with all the room parents to review the status of classroom holiday gifts and volunteering in the classroom. Most room parents reported that their rooms were very generous and that they were able to purchase many items on their teachers’ holiday wish lists. On the subject of parent volunteers in the classroom, most room parents agreed that, while there seemed to be a sufficient number of volunteers in general, additional messages from Amy Kelly and the room parents to the Franklin community would help encourage more parent engagement during the school day. Particular concern about parent volunteers for Franklin specialists was noted.
Following the room parent meeting, the main PTO meeting started off with an icebreaker based on “time and space” from Liz Marshall.
Deb Rooney then reviewed the PTO budget year to date. The budget is in “very good shape” so far, having collected over $12k in PTO dues and being generally on target with expenses. The dues overage, combined with a surplus from prior years, a $10k anonymous donation from a Franklin family, and a $10k contribution from last year’s 5th grade has allowed the PTO to contribute $40k to technology at Franklin.
A review of the PTO business also included a debrief on Circus Smirkus by Gail Guerrero, which successfully performed at Day Middle School on January 13th to a nearly sold-out audience. Liz Marshall talked about Multicultural Night, which was originally scheduled for March 6th but will need to be rescheduled due to an election day conflict. The new date for Multicultural Night will be announced in the coming weeks.
Alyce Kukilinski updated everyone on the Spring Auction, which is to be held on March 31st at the Post 440. Auction fundraising is currently underway and communications to the Franklin community, as well as the ‘Bidding for Good’ online auction will be coming in early February. This year’s auction will most likely include a Casino Night type of event, in addition to the traditional silent and live auctions from past years.
Following the conclusion of the PTO business, Trish Kelleher, Franklin’s IT Specialist, and Leo Brehm, Director of Institutional Technology for Newton, gave presentations  on how technology is used in Franklin and other Newton schools and on the state of the Newton schools technology funding.
Trish presented an impromptu video of Franklin teachers and students talking about how technology is used in Franklin classrooms and what it means to them. Highlights included:
  • Using technology in the classroom teaches kids independence
  • Having laptop carts in the classroom every day gives teachers a resource they can depend on
  • Technology adds excitement and interest to math and writing
  • Laptops and software provides additional resources for struggling students
  • “ELMO” document cameras allow teachers to share student work on the fly
  • Computers teach kids organizational skills and allow them to work at their own pace
Leo gave a talk on his role in the Newton schools and discussed the state of technology at Franklin, his plans for the future, and the budget. Key points included:
  • Introducing technology into schools is about “developing a teaching and learning plan that includes integration with technology, not a technology plan”
  • Working with technology at the elementary level builds good habits that are reflected later in students’ lives
  • 85% of technology in Newton schools comes from PTO budgets
  • The Newton IT budget cannot make up the gap between the financially well and less endowed Newton schools
  • Leo’s department is developing a 3 year plan to try to address the technology needs of Newton’s least equipped schools
  • The high level goal is to put audio, video and computer/tablet equipment in each classroom
  • Part of the IT plan includes standardizing and streamlining infrastructure in order to squeeze more money out of the budget

PTO Meeting Minutes 10/5/2011

Hello Franklin families

Thank you to all those who attended our first PTO meeting of the year on Wednesday night. We had a great turnout and a very informative meeting that covered the PTO priorities and budget for the year, as well as a Math curriculum presentation by Robin Moriarty. For those that couldn’t make it, meeting notes are below and will also be posted shortly on We hope to see many of you at our next meeting on Tuesday November 15th at 7:30pm (7pm for Room Parents).

Have a safe and wonderful long weekend.

– The PTO Board
Amika Brewster, Angela Galbraith, Carolyn Craven, Deb Rooney, Gail Guerrero, Geri Russillo,
Julia Wolfe, Liz Marshall, Marysol Masse-Makimura, Steven Mucci, Sue Membrino, Susan Boyer


PTO Meeting Notes – Wednesday October 5, 2011

The first PTO meeting of the year was held on October 5, 2011 from 7-8:30 in the Franklin School cafeteria and was attended by Ms. Kelly, the PTO Board and Teacher Reps, and several dozen Franklin families.

Pre-Meeting Activities
The meeting started at 7pm with a fifteen minute mingling session to give families a chance to meet this year’s committee chairs and sign up to volunteer for various PTO event committees.

During the mingling session, Liz Marshall held the first room parent meeting of the year to welcome new room parents and discuss room parent responsibilities and guidelines. Some of the responsibilities discussed were:
· Welcoming new families

· Serving as a liaison between the PTO and parents

· Assisting the classroom teachers as they need/request

· Coordinating donations and volunteers for school celebrations, events or projects
(gifts for the classroom as a whole, not for individual teachers)

· Organizing parent helpers for the classroom, as requested by teachers

Following the mingling session and the room parent meeting, everyone came together in the cafeteria. The meeting started with a math-inspired “Guess Your Neighbor’s Birthday” icebreaker led by Math Coach Robin Moriarty.

PTO Priorities, Budget, and Upcoming Events
The PTO Board then introduced themselves and PTO Co-President, Marysol Masse-Makimura, discussed the PTO’s main priorities for the 2011-2012 school year. Highlights included:

· Last year’s feedback from families is driving many of the decisions and spending priorities this year. Examples include a new, more readable format for the Franklin Connection and more guidance and better communication for room parents.

· The PTO Dues Drive is ongoing and remains a top priority because it directly impacts spending and the amount of revenue that needs to be raised by subsequent fundraisers. As of October 5th, over 120 Franklin families had donated in excess of $8,000. Also discussed was the fact that contributions from every family will lessen the need for fundraising throughout the year and will provide additional funds for PTO events and contributions to the school.

· The PTO is committed to raising additional funds for technology this year. There is no formal technology drive, but the plan is to funnel funds raised in excess of the budget to computer purchases for the school.

Following the review of this year’s priorities, Deb Rooney, PTO Treasurer, reviewed the 2011-2012 budget and the PTO Board and families who were present voted on and approved the budget. Highlights from this year’s budget discussion were:

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