Sunday, October 26, 2014

Hunt PTO Update 10/26/14

Hey There Hunt Families - Lots of news district wide this past week - unfortunately, none of it reflects well upon us as a District.  I hope you will keep yourself informed and provide as much input as you can concerning your vision for our District. Here are a few things that I am thinking about this week in light of the news and announcements.

  •  What qualities do I think are important for a District Administrator (Superintendent)
  •  What rules of engagement do I support for School Board Members and District administration?
  • How much am I willing to pay in taxes vs. what items have to be cut from our School Budget (bus issue)

What are you thinking about?

Voice your Opinions/Concerns on the BSD website - Click on the Let's Talk button on the right side of the page     or contact your school board reps

Administrative Resignations - Message from School Board:  Dear PTO's,
  In light of today's administrative staff resignations, I would just like to say, that I have total confidence in the full Board of School Commissioners as a whole.  We have a group of highly skilled Commissioners who are determined to continue to educate Burlington's children in a school district that remains the envy of other school district's.  
  As of this moment, it would be inappropriate for me to say more.  I ask every resident of the City of Burlington to please do what you can to support the education of our children.  It takes an entire village.
   Thanks,  Commissioner Charlie Giannoni- Ward 3.

Superintendent Search Committee

Burlington Schools and Board Identifying Knowledge, Skills and Talents Required for 21st Century Superintendent
Burlington, Vermont - The Burlington School District and the Superintendent Search Advisory Committee (SSAC) of the Burlington School Board are convening three public forums as part of a collaborative effort to recruit and hire a new Superintendent by the end of the current school year. To facilitate the forums, the Burlington-based Partnership for Change, a grant-funded effort that supports innovation in the Burlington and Winooski Schools, has retained the Center for Secondary School Redesign (CSSR), a nationally known educational consulting firm.
CSSR is currently providing the District, the Board and SSAC with guidance in identifying the job requirements and qualifications for a superintendent in a system that is moving toward student-centered and proficiency-based practices.
“Research says that the single biggest predictor of job satisfaction and productivity is role clarity,” said Patrick Halladay, Chair of the Burlington School Board. “As schools are changing to meet the demands of a rapidly changing society, districts must carefully identify the knowledge, skills and talents needed in today’s school leaders.”
CSSR has found that most school systems in the country approach the hiring of a leader with only vague expectations in mind. The result is that schools often hire people who are good at getting a job, but not good at doing or keeping it. The extremely high rate of turnover in principals and superintendents across the country are evidence of this.
The public forums will engage school faculty and citizens in a process known as “position analysis,” whereby community stakeholders come together to look at a set of documents that describe the array of skills needed in a 21st Century school leader, and prioritize what they think are the most important for Burlington’s success.
The first forum was held on Saturday morning, September 27th, at the Sustainability Academy. Approximately 45 people attended the forum on a glorious fall morning.
Upcoming forums include the following:
October 30th, Burlington High School Cafeteria, 3:30-5:30PM (For BSD Faculty and Staff)
October 30th, Sustainability Academy, 6:30-8:30PM (Open to the public, child care and interpreters for the following languages will be provided: Maay Maay, Somali, French, Nepali, Burmese and Karen)
October 30th, J.J. Flynn Elementary School, 6:30-8:30PM (Open to the public, child care and interpreters for the following languages will be provided: Maay Maay, Somali, French, Nepali, Burmese and Karen)
Feedback from all of the forums will be incorporated into the final job description that will be given to the School Board.
“Especially as Burlington ‘remodels’ its education system to align with the needs of a rapidly changing society, we must find a leader who will fully embrace our vision of a student-centered system that benefits all kinds of learners,” said Hal Colston, Director of the Partnership for Change.
The Board has also retained Ray and Associates, an outside search firm, to identify specific superintendent candidates who will be interviewed, once the job description is finalized. Ray and Associates has prepared a survey to gather community input about the qualities desired in the new Superintendent. Please share your input by taking the online survey:

  • October 30 - Free Harvest Dinner 5:30pm-7:30pm - POSTPONED
  • October 31 - End of first Quarter (report cards will be a "trick or treat!")
  • November 3 - Afterschool Session 2 begins
  • November 7 - Report Cards go Home
  • November 14 - Hunt Dance - 7-9pm
  • November 17 - Bus Riders need a Bus Pass or pay per ride
  • November 20 - PTO Meeting 6:30-8pm
  • November 26-28 - Thanksgiving Break - No School

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Hunt PTO Update 10/19/14

Hey There Hunt Families - I don't know about you, but there is a definite slow down at my house with the end of Fall sports.  If your child suddenly has a lot of time on his/her hands, a new session of afterschool programs starts on November 3rd.  Letters went home at the end of last week and activities are first come, first served, so get those forms in ASAP!   

Our Hunt kids are so lucky.

  1.  We have Kathy Olwell putting together so many diverse afterschool options for our kids.  
  2. All programs are FREE - many of these programs would be several hundred dollars/session if your child participated in them out side of Hunt (Sailing, robotics, bowling, rock climbing, pottery)
  3. Middle School is a great time to try out a variety of different programs and explore interests not connected to academic classes.  Maybe your child will discover a new talent or passion.  Because the programs are free and for a limited time, there is nothing to lose!
  4. It is great to have our kids involved in an activity with supervision and caring adults - left to their own devices, many kids would go home to TV, electronics and an empty house.  You know what they say about when the cat is away...

Pay it forward at Hunt  Our annual appeal letter goes home with students this week.   In case papers don't make it home in your child's backpack (a mystery akin to socks disappearing in the dryer...) the letter is also included at the end of this post.  Your donations mean less fundraising and all Hunt students benefit from your generosity.  

PTO Meeting Minutes from the October meeting can be found at the end of this post.

Dance this Friday from 7-9pm.   This dance is sponsored by the Student Council and parent chaperones are still needed!  You can sign up for 7-8, 8-9, or 7-9. Please call the office and leave your name, your child's name phone number with Ms. Virun and you will be contacted.  Office # is 864-8469.   Thank you so much!

Harvest Dinner countdown  This free event should definitely be on your calendar. (10/30)  Hunt students and faculty have been working hard harvesting root veggies, menu planning, practicing songs to entertain you and completing projects focusing on food to be highlighted at this dinner. Bring your family and friends and help us celebrate the Harvest - in past years, estimated attendance has been over 800!  Would you like to volunteer some time helping make this event a success?  Looking for help serving, supervising vegetable chopping, clean-up in the kitchen and serving dessert - volunteers only work part of the time, so there is plenty of time to eat and visit with Hunt families.  To volunteer, call or Email Michelle Virun in the front office or 864-8469.

Save the Date!
  • October 24 - Hunt Dance - 7-9pm
  • October 30 - Free Harvest Dinner 5:30pm-7:30pm
  • October 31 - End of first Quarter (report cards will be a "trick or treat!")
  • November 7 - Report Cards go Home
  • November 26-28 - Thanksgiving Break - No School

Pay It Forward for HUNT

Would you pay ONLY .50cents/week to help make the following amazing events, enrichment and activities happen at Hunt

• School events: Community Harvest Dinner, The Hunt Gardens, 6th grade open house, 8th grade graduation

• Student enrichment: Junior Iron Chef, Hunt Play, Assembly Fees (such as anti-bullying speakers or the Chinese Acrobats)

• Team activities: Team grants for field trips, bus fees, etc.

• School Improvements - Examples of completed school improvements 2013/14 include- Video equipment,landscaping & front-entrance renovations, stone circle.

That is all it would take!! If .50cents/week/student is paid for the 40 weeks of school, we could accomplish all of the above.

We need $8000 to make this happen. There are 400 students at Hunt. That equals $20/student for the year or .50cents/week.

$20/year - That’s just one less time a year eating out, or 1 less pack of gum a week, or a few less coffees a month.

You can send in the $20 all at once or pay a few dollars each month, or any amount that works for you. Whatever method works best for you, is greatly appreciated and utilized by our students and staff!!

The PTO raises $8,000 annually to support activities outside the school’s budget, as listed above. Our goal is to supplement and strengthen the curriculum offered by the school’s faculty, staff and administration to the benefit of all of our students.

Typically we do that by hosting three primary fundraisers each year, which are:

• Holiday wreath sale (October-November)

• Silent Auction & Pancake Breakfast (March)

• Plant & Yard Sale (end of May)

HOWEVER, This year the Fundraising Chair position is still vacant. So, as of now our biggest fundraiser is The Pay It Forward campaign. Unfortunately, due to the lack of leadership, we have had to cancel the Annual Wreath Sale, which typically generates $4200. That’s 1⁄2 our budget that we no longer have. Thus, we had to pare down the things that the PTO can help support. On the back of this letter is the budget and the things we, at this point, can’t commit to. We are hoping to get enough people together to continue to offer the Pancake Breakfast and Silent Auction, as it is a fabulous community builder

We would love if all families contributed to the Pay It Forward. Every bit helps. Please help support your PTO in raising the $8,000. We need to continue bringing our children high quality enrichment programs and fun-filled activities. (Read more at the PTO blog:

If you are interested in becoming part of the fundraising team at Hunt, we welcome your participation and support. Please contact Tammy Kuypers at We can’t do it without you!

Each dollar you give will go directly to supporting the students at Hunt Middle School.

Please send your tax-deductible donation made out to Hunt Middle School PTO, to your student’s classroom teacher, the front office or via mail to Hunt Middle School PTO, 1364 North Ave., Burlington, VT

The Hunt Middle School PTO is a recognized 501c (3) charitable organization. Your donation is tax deductible. A receipt is available upon request. In addition, many companies will provide a dollar-to-dollar match. Check with your human resources department for their policy. Every dollar counts.

See Finance Report below to see which items do not currently have funding
Hunt PTO Finance Report 2014-15

Checkbook balance 10/8/2014$15,444.37$15,444.37
Restricted Funds
Carryover for Entrance Project$2,011.73$1,797.03
Entrance Project 2014/15-included above$600.00$214.70
Bullying Assembly from 2013/14$200.00$200.00
Healthy city garden grant$1,500.00$0.00
Hunt Athletics$2,500.00$0.00
Team Nova grant$1,000.00$0.00
Team Synergy grant$1,000.00$0.00
Team Oasis grant$1,000.00$0.00
Team Phoenix leftover grant$200.00$0.00
West side story PTO donation$400.00$0.00
Hunt store - Ms Daigle$200.00$0.00
Minimum balance to keep in the account$2,000.00$2,000.00
Total Restricted Funds$12,011.73$12,011.73
Unrestricted balance$3,432.64$3,432.64
Harvest Dinner donations$300.00$0.00
Donations from annual appeal$350.00$0.00
Plant Sale$0.000.00
Yard Sale$0.000.00
Silent Auction$3,750.00$0.00
Wreath Sale Profit$0.00$0.00
Pancake Breakfast$450.00$0.00
Total Income$4,850.00$0.00
Total Income plus Unrestricted$8,282.64$3,432.64
Assembly Fees$1,200.00$0.00
Harvest Dinner$1,000.00$0.00
Graduation 2014$400.00$0.00
Iron Chef$400.00$0.00
Bullying Assembly (2015)$200.00$0.00
Special Projects (paint for lockers)$400.00$434.00
Expenses Subtotal$3,600.00$434.00
Expenses Unable to finance w/o fundraising
6th Grade Orientation Social$100.00$0.00
8th Grade Field Trip$200.00$0.00
International Taste Test$0.00$0.00
Team Funds$2,000.00$0.00
Family Traditions Dinner$0.00$0.00
Healthy City Garden$0.00$0.00
Intergenerational Service Project$0.00$0.00
Food Baskets$0.00$0.00
Hunt Drama Program$400.00$0.00
Staff appreciation$70.00$0.00
Total Expenses$6,370.00$434.00
Income over expenses$1,912.64$2,998.64
Total with no fundraising 2014/15-$2,937.36
Highlighted yellow - Jen Sutton community outreach projects

October 09, 2014, 6:30-8:30pm
(Minutes taken by; Karen Berghorst,
PTO Secretary)

Homework: Parental concerns on homework consistencies were expressed. Some teams seem to either have a ton of homework or absolutely nothing. Me. Phelan also agrees that we need to establish more consistency with teams and maybe even more consistency between the middle schools(Edmunds). The solution, Mr. Phelan had brought up was that all teachers are a part of a content team and the matter would be discussed there. They are currently working at getting the sixth grade team involved too. Mr. Phelan also emphasized that because we are a school in restriction and along with the common core standards, this should also automatically assist in correcting the homework issue. He also expressed the importance that homework help is available for those children who require assistance in getting it done and that teachers have been promoting it within the classroom. A parent did share however, that the solstice team seems to be doing a great job with balance in homework. And another parent suggested that there should be a overall school standard to have the teachers sign the planners to ensure that the pertinent information in the planner going home. Mr. Phelan said that he would follow up on that possibility as well.

PTO leadership:
We are currently looking for fundraising team members and a president. A separate email will be sent out to express the void in these areas.

Treasurer Report:
Unfinished business from last year was discussed.
  • Discussion is still being made with teams that they have the extra money from last year to be figured in by this November. An email will be sent out in regards to this.
  • Clarification of the entrance projects project was that $2011.73 will most likely be spread out over a few years.
  • Follow up for the Healthy City Garden grants is needed. After having extra money left over from last year (in April 2014) we gave them the money but they never received it. We called and left messages.  
  • Receipts were just turned in from last years painting. Labor was donated however $434 for paint, paint thinner and rollers (and such) were just returned to us. It was agreed, that even though it was from last year, that a check be cut to fulfill this obligation. We did however conclude that painting projects are done for this year. The B wing just got painted which is the seventh and eighth grade wing. All classroom wings are now complete

Hunt Athletics:
  • The school budget covered new uniforms for both basketball ($600)and baseball ($473).  
  • Concern was made that the girls soccer field area contains a lot of glass and is in awful condition overall.  It is recommended that irrigation, new seed and topsoil be placed. We can visit this option later depending on funds available.
Assembly funds:  in the past, Speaker John Halligan seemed to be a favorite. He was a little bit a little bit more expensive than our past assemblies however, parents did express their opinion that he was worth it. If fundraising efforts are successful this year (depending on if we have a fundraising team or not) we may want to consider getting him back again.  However, at the same time, it was agreed that we do cut back, overall, on at the assemblies for now from $2000.00 to $1200.00.
Harvest Dinner: It was suggested that we rethink the avenue we take with the harvest dinner next year, as far as PTO involvement. For this year however it was brought up that it would be a good idea to raffle off a basket with donated goods. A parent will be going to Roxy to ask for donations for tickets to include in the basket.
PTO Appeal: A letter will be going home to parents asking for a donation of $20. This is in lieu of fundraising due to no fundraising team to coordinate events. It was suggested at the harvest dinner that announcement be made just to give a heads up to parents about the letter of appeal going home, providing the status of the PTO. An idea was also brought up to put up pictures on a TV screen to promote the status and what the future support of the PTO could provide, based on past projects. These pictures would show what the PTO has supported in the past. Mr. Phelan will send out teachers a email looking for pictures of things that the PTO has supported in the past such as field trips and equipment,  etc. A parent also agreed to follow up with the video club to see if they would want to support this project of the video being played at the harvest dinner.

Grounds/Digital Sign future expenses:
  • It was  brought up that if we do not do something to cover expenses for protection of the new digital sign,  erosion will occur over time. Repairing the sign from the erosion would be quite costly, so preventative measures should be taken sooner than later. This will be followed up on to see if the trade program within the high school would be interested in completing a project like this, to build some sort of protective barricade around the sign.
  • Concern was made that the girls soccer field area contains a lot of glass and is in awful condition overall.  It is recommended that irrigation, new seed and topsoil be placed. (Also addressed above as a possible future expense for athletics)

Iron Chef. We believe this to be a very valuable involvement for our children. However, since being on the topic of cuts (again, due to lack if fundraising PTO involvement), we need clarification on what the $400 covers. A parent volunteer will follow up the director of the after school program for additional details and to see if additional assistance to head up the program can be obtained through them.

Principals Corner:
  • Mr. Phelan discussed that we have to finish the auditorium yet, as a part of scheduled maintenance.
  • On Saturday, October 4 at around 6 PM a leak was discovered in the middle section of the gym during a routine building check. Head of property services called Servpro to come, cleansed  pump air into the floor boards and under the bleachers. Locker rooms are currently out of commission. There is a priority to get at least the locker rooms back in. The district electrician is to come in and change out all the outlets completely. Air-quality testing will be done to assure that there is no mold.

Conferences: A parent expressed a concern that in the future, that parent teacher conferences should not be encouraged JUST to parents of high risk students. But to promote that they are available to anyone and everyone regardless of those scheduled time slots. Mr. Phelan stressed that individual conferences can be made at any time regardless of the specific allotted time spots. He stressed that the time provided for teacher attention to students is more important not just during the conferences. It was noted that this practice, in getting all parents and students involved in conferences, has changed in a positive way, from how it use to be.

Lunch Time: Parents expressed concern to Mr Phelan about the 1st lunch time slot of 10:45am. That by the time these children eat again, there would be several hours that have past.  Mr Phalen addressed that because of the growing school (and district overall) there are plans to work on resolving this issue of having so many split lunches, as the current cafeteria can only hold so many. This would be done (eventually) with modifications to the current school and/or the possibility of an additional school all together. Although, while this is a long term possibility, Mr Phelan stated that to resolve the current situation at hand, an idea would be to offer an additional food option into the day, outside what is already offered after school, with the after school programs.

Harvest Dinner:Mr. Phelan said that the parent volunteer Coordinator for the harvest dinner will be sending out emails to all parent volunteers to very soon.

  • It was also brought up that the kids keep touching the gardens and we need to perhaps come up with some ideas on how to keep them out. Children need to be more respectful of these areas and the overall school grounds. Perhaps with the garden areas, to create signs to remind them to keep out. It was also agreed upon that there needs to be some sort of accountability plan established to help with liter. By doing so, have classes on a scheduled rotation to go out and pick up litter from the grounds? Mr Phelan  said that he plans on adding the issue of litter to his announcements to the students. Especially making note of the bus stop.
  • Access to water is needed on the Auditorium side of the school in order to water plants. Mr. Phelan said that he would look into plumbing options for this within the school district.
  • Clean up and bringing planters was discussed.
  • The three trees around the digital sign will be removed and replanted (somewhere along North Ave) for free.
Next Meeting: 11/20/14
Since we have no PTO President , a parent thankfully stepped up to the plate to facilitate the next meeting in November.
Kate Belluche (former PTO President), said she would put together an agenda for November.