HBSPA Meeting Minutes from September 13, 2012

If you couldn’t attend the most recent HBSPA meeting, take a look at the meeting minutes below for some important information.

Attendance: Johanna Petrara, Colin Remington, David Leveillee, Karen Ng, Kristen King, Jennifer Kane, Sandeep Jaiswal, Lori Jaiswal, Keri Layton, Melissa Kierman, Mach Millett, Michelle Millett, Hilal Kasapoglu, Susan Gunter, Kathleen Hughes, Cilla Donatelli, Josie Santilli, Nisha Trivedi, Sara DeMille, Elizabeth Zimmerman, Olivia Milonas, Ilyssa Grant, Brenda Shannon, Laura Phillips, Wendy Rodgers, Amy Kessler, Manuel Cordero, Joe Hoefferle, Tamara Gruber, Stephanie Avila, Kate Bosch, Nebyou Belay, Elizabeth Hopkins-Belay, Jessica Borges, Rachael Caiati, Kristen Libutti, Iris Tong, Kristen Garabedian, Janette Rey Todaro, Susan Lillsebbas, Lou Lloyd-Zannini

The meeting was opened with a warm welcome from President Mach Millett.  Parents and HBS faculty introduced themselves.

President Updates

A thank you was extended to those who attended and organized the Welcome Coffee.

Curriculum night was well attended and child care was arranged for 70 children.

Approximately $1000 Scholastic dollars earned from the Scholastic Company from book fairs held at HBS are available for faculty to use.  $500 of this will expire on October 1 and the other $500 on November 1.  Jessica Borges, faculty liaison, mentioned speaking with fellow faculty members about the Scholastic dollars available and they favor purchasing sets of guided reading books- levels A-Z, that would be available to all classrooms.

National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 to October 15) will be recognized through incorporation into the Spanish curriculum, as well as by HBSPA Global Awareness activities organized in conjunction with Pizza Night and RIC.

Budget updates were also offered by Mach Millett.  The HBSPA coffers currently hold sufficient funds to provide for the usually supported programs, activities and expenditures, but a combination of dues and fundraising will be necessary to maintain the current healthy fiscal situation. Plans for the 2012-2013 school year are to keep fundraising to a minimum as possible.  VP Rachael Caiaiti will be sending a letter to families regarding dues for the HBSPA.  Suggested dues are $75 per child, but any amount is appreciated and the most important goal is full participation.

Faculty Liaison Updates

Jessica Borges, first grade teacher, is our faculty liaison.  She mentioned that the all school calendar is posted in the Teachers Lounge.  Faculty and staff are encouraged to post important dates on these calendar pages.  Ms. Borges inquired if the HBSPA intended to distribute the $225 per teacher stipend this year.  These stipends will be distributed and teachers are asked to provide the PA with 1-2 sentences about how they intended to utilize this money.  Ms. Borges offered that last year she used her stipend to purchase the Razz Kids program for her class, some used bookshelves and organizing bins for the classroom.  In addition, Mach noted that it would be expected that the faculty expend the remaining Scholastic dollars before receiving their stipends.

Principal Updates

Lou Lloyd-Zannini, Principal, offered a hearty and enthusiastic “Welcome!” to all parents at HBS.  He mentioned that changes this summer were quieter than those seen last year, yet they were indicative of cooperation between HBS and RIC.  Plans are underway to address window replacement in classrooms at HBS and further updates to the unrenovated bathrooms.

Dr. Lou indicated that there were three main issues that have been raised by parents this fall and stated he would address each in turn.

Parking: Dr. Lou recognized and welcomed the significant number of emails received from parents expressing concern about the RIC parking policy as to HBS parents.  He assured us that those concerns are being communicated to and heard by RIC.  There is insufficient parking available to students, faculty and visitors at RIC. Currently RIC residential students are required to only park behind the residence halls and are not permitted to park elsewhere on campus.  Campus Police are issuing $50 parking tickets to drivers not in compliance with the new parking regulations.  The D parking lot, immediately opposite HBS, will soon be gated and require key card access.  HBS has tried to mitigate some of the issues that the new parking regulation have created, including the 9 spots available in the carport area and efforts are being made to keep traffic flowing through this area.  Dr. Lou is negotiating with the College for other solutions to the parking problem at HBS, suggesting that perhaps parents could be issued keycards that would allow swipe access to the D lot between 7:45-8:10 a.m. and 2:00-2:35.  The matter continues to be under discussion.  Every effort is being made to address the situation as soon as possible, with the further issues posed by the coming Winter weather in the forefront of everyone’s minds.

Tuition The ten percent tuition increase was questioned by the RI Board of Governors.  RIC has the goal of HBS being financially independent.  HBS has a 1.2 million dollar deficit per year.  This amount has been decreased by 250K last year, by eliminating waste and a further 250K should be eliminated during the 2012-2013 school year.  The BOG is concerned about tuition increases and states that there will be further increases of no more than 7% per year.  Other tuition changes involve out of state students, as to whom RIC introduced a 50% higher tuition this year.  All current HBS out of state students have been grandfathered in and will pay the in state rate.  Concern about diverse demographics, the rationale underlying the policy and the advisability of alienating a potential revenue source were all raised in regard to such a difference in tuition.  The BOG meets again about tuition in late January and tuition recommendations will be made at that time.  New revenue streams are being pursued, with the goal to keep tuition under $10K.  Compensation received from the Providence Plan is also being reviewed.

Family Agreement was sent to HBS families over the summer.  Multiple issues are addressed in the agreement, and there have been some concerns raised by parents. Dr. Lou noted that the authorization for field trips and authorization for photographing students were both previously part of the emergency form.  Parents’ remaining concerns about the appropriate permission for and uses of photographs and film taken at the school were reiterated. The statement regarding timely payment of tuition is meant to address the issue of uncollected tuition debt. The RIC VP of Finance is pressing for HBS to require a tuition contract between HBS and parents.  Outstanding tuition debt amounting to $100K in 2011 and $187K in 2012 is currently being pursued in court.

Dr. Lou also discussed the larger classes in 4th grade (24 & 26, respectively). Additional work study students, assistant teacher support and provision of break time have been extended to teachers in the fourth grade.

The Spanish program was addressed.  There will be a sit down session with Dr. Lou, Sharon Hellman and a few parents to discuss expectations of the Spanish program. Mach Millett will coordinate the inclusion of the parents at the meeting.  Jessica Borges offered that Ms. Hellman has been coming in to her class for morning meeting several times a week and teaching a few words that can be reinforced during that week.  Other suggestions were including a Spanish speaking teaching assistant or student teacher to work during the Spanish classes, having after school “Spanish Club” or a listing of Spanish tutors that parents could hire to work with their children.  Please let Mach Millett know if you would like to be included in the group of parents being organized to pursue discussions about the Spanish program: machua.millett@gmail.com.

Notebook computers have been provided to all 4th grade students and will follow them to 5th grade.  Next year the program will include 3rd graders who will, in turn, utilize the notebooks in 4th and 5th grades.  The project came in under budget.  The HBSPA funded the software and licenses for the notebooks.

A broader concern was raised about the relationship between RIC and the Henry Barnard families, including a sense that RIC had made several changes recently that were unfavorable to a positive relationship.  Dr. Lou stated that he would raise that general concern with RIC in addition to the specific items noted above.

Mach Millett acknowledged the very positive efforts made by Mark Young to improve the Explorations after school program this year, including more consistent paperwork, greater communication and transparency, and efforts to better serve the needs of Kindergarten participants.  Dr. Lou noted that plans are underway for Explorations to come under the domain of HBS, rather than a department of RIC.
Committee Updates

Children’s activities is offering the next HBS community gathering.  The Book Fair will be presented at HBS October 1-4 and Pizza Night will be on Tuesday 10/2.  Flyers advertising this event have gone out via the backpacks.  Volunteers are needed to staff the book fair as well as work at Pizza Night.   There is a link to the Volunteer Spot at www.hbspa.org – while there you can subscribe to our PA site and receive notification when updates are made!  You can also address volunteer questions to Jannette Rey Todaro at  jrey@providencebehavioral.org.

Health and Wellness is planning a Walkathon fundraiser for October or early November.  Information TBA

Fundraising updates were provided by Kristen Libutti, Lori and Sandeep Jaiswal. There is no auction planned for this school year.  Plans are underway for an adult evening event for parents to get together and socialize.  Art to Remember, coordinated by Kate Bosch, will be offered again this fall, information will come home via the backpacks.

Family Activities is planning a variety of events for the year.  Both free and activities at cost will be offered and may include movie night, group attendance at RIC sporting events and the like.

A calendar of important dates and HBS events will be posted on our website:

www.hbspa.org

Please visit us on the website and sign up for updates, or like our new Facebook page: www.facebook.com/henrybardnardparentassociation !

The next HBSPA meeting will take place Thursday 11 October (time to be announced) in the Teachers Lounge – we hope to see you there!

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