This post was updated on 1/15/16.
On Jan. 7th, I attended my first PTA meeting ever at the Davison Ave. school, as I transitioned to a higher grade. (After attending many meetings at M.W. Downing primary school previously). Davison Ave. school serves students in grades 3-5. It was not a totally strange environment, as I recognized few familiar and friendly faces.
Fair part of the meeting was dedicated to the upcoming Bingo and other fundraising activities. It was suggested that the mural painting on the side of the school is in need of a redo. When discussing the logistics when and how to do it, I suggested the students could take turns during those 3 testing days in April that governor Cuomo calls “practice testing” anyway. But I immediately realized it would not qualify as the “quiet reading,” the regulations specify as an alternative activity. So parents need to send books with their kids.
We also discussed the soccer program that Downing school is currently running. The DAV PTA is considering to bring it to Davison in spring. The language and chess clubs were discussed. There was some confusion about the origin of curriculum. First it was said that the state sends it to districts, later in discussion, it was said the curriculum is being developed locally, derived from the high school down to lower grades. This is exactly the approach educators have a problem with, as the curriculum is not age appropriate for students in lower grades and kindergarten.
I was lucky. The meeting served well our purpose. It was informative and we discussed various matters. We were not exposed to an hour-long presentation confusing the PTA meeting time with a parent academy. Unfortunately, a teacher’s voice was absent from the meeting. Two administrators were present, the building principal and his assistant.
Update: I was reminded that one important matter was discussed. On rare occasions, students are not able to go outside during the recess due to lack of an aide available. With so many involved parents, this should not be a reason. After a background check, any willing parent can become an aide. Some parents already passed the background check and could step up immediately. These are just rare occasions, not “regular shifts.”