April 26, 2013 HBSPA Meeting Minutes

Attendees: Molly Mazer, Bethany Sutton, Rema Tomka, Kristin Libutti, Tamara Gruber, Jessica Borges, Susan Gunter, Kathleen Hughes,  Machua Millett, Michelle Millett, Dave Leverless, Susan Lillsebbas, Kristen Garabedian, Olivia Milonas, Laura Phillips, Brenda Shannon, O’rya Hyde-Keller, Randi Simon, Neha Raukar

Nancy Martin, who recently joined Rhode Island College to lead Communications, Alumni and Fundraising made a presentation to the HBSPA.  She introduced herself, her role, and explained her interest in setting up an alumni association for Henry Barnard.  She is hiring staff now and will work on putting together a strategy over the summer.  Her goal is to work with HBS and the HBSPA to put together an alumni list in time for an annual campaign mailing in Spring 2014.  Mach will work with Nancy to form a committee to coordinate efforts.  

O’rya Hyde-Keller discussed the plans for Teacher Appreciation Week.  The committee has planned breakfast, lunch, and foot massages for the teachers.  A budget of $750 was approved, with an emphasis on recruiting parent volunteers to help supply food.  If any parents are available to help staff or provide desserts, etc. please contact O’rya at oryahk@gmail.com.

Dr. Lou provided his Principal’s Update:

  • Parent volunteer and physician Neha Raukar has reviewed the school’s emergency and health policies and procedures.
  • The RIC finance committee is looking for a five percent tuition increase.  They were first seeking a seven percent increase but that has been reduced as a result of $700K in deficit reductions over the past year.
  • The hallways bathrooms in the lower school wing will be renovated during the summer of 2014
  • Also during the summer of 2014 all windows, external walls, and air conditioning units will be replaced, along with outside doors and the glass block in the gym.
  • The 2013-2014 academic calendar is still undecided.  HBS faculty must attend attend two RIC faculty days that occur the last week of August.  To avoid starting school for 1-2 days, then being off for 2 days, then having the long weekend for Labor Day, the calendar committee is considering starting the day after Labor Day.  This would put the end date around June 18-20th depending on storm days used and how many days are allotted for winter vacation.  Based on the results of the survey, the administration understands that the parents would prefer to start school in late August and get out in mid-June, with a February and April break maintained.  Dr. Lou hopes to have this resolved my mid-May.  Parents expressed concerns based on this schedule due to the timing of the Rosh Hoshanah Jewish holiday, which would cause some Jewish kids to come back to school for one day and then miss one to two days for religious observances. The majority of parents in attendance did not object to getting out in mid-to-late June.
  • Thank you to everyone involved in running the 4th grade Pasta night and the school dance.
  • Concerns were raised regarding the selection of chaperones for the 4th grade field trip and the lack of information and advance notice provided to parents.
  • The Providence Plan is continuing for the 2013-2014 school year.
  • Student behavior policies for Anti-bullying and anti-harassment are in legal review. An anti-violence policy is in development to reinforce that aggressive behavior will not be tolerated and to outline a range of consequences based on frequency and intensity.

Committee Updates:

  • Field Day is Friday, May 31st.  Parent volunteers will be needed to serve food and assist with activities.
  • Fun Day is June 5th
  • PawSox tickets are sold out from our pre-purchased block but parents can still get the discounted rate by contacting the box office.  See Kristin King for details.  If parents of children in the chorus want their child to sit with them (and not alone and unchaperoned) they need to purchase a ticket for that child.
  • Family dance was a huge success – many thanks to Kristen Libutti, Lori and Sandeep Jaiswal!
  • Parents expressed an interest in holding another open coffee.  The Family Activities committee will try to reserve a date.
  • Board nominations will be held at the next meeting for anyone interested in getting more involved.

Any other business:

  • Brenda Shannon expressed an interest in coordinating improvements to the upper school playground.  Need to determine any college roadblocks and discuss possible funding sources including grants, HBSPA, and private donations.

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