Avery PTO Meeting Minutes

Tuesday, May 10, 2011 7:00 PM Avery Media Center

  1. Volunteers for 2011-2012 Executive Committee (to be appointed by current EC pursuant to Article 7, Section 1 of PTO Bylaws-no written ballots required):
    1. President: Shannon Wright
    2. Vice President: Rachel Herrman
    3. Co-Secretaries: Denise Pearl/Kathleen Unwin
    4. Treasurer: Jeff Smith
    5. Upcoming PTO Events:
      1. Movie Night-May 13th on Avery Blacktop. Rain is forecasted. They will make a call about it Wed. afternoon—may delay until fall.
      2. BOGO Booksale-May 18th in front of school. This is a big “book raiser” for the school media center.
      3. Blacktop Ball-May 24th on Avery Blacktop.
      4. Treasurer’s Report-Current Budget $32,892 in checking, $10,400 in money market. Not all expenses and income have been closed out yet from spring events. Shannon calculated cash on hand estimated once all expenses go out, and estimates we need a cushion of about about $15K-$20K to get us through fall events until the Auction.
      5. Boy Scout Troop 303/Cub Scout Pack: Presentation of Charter Document
        1. Brad Schnell introduced other leaders on the Cub Scout committee including several parents/PTO meetings. Britt Kennedy is the Scout Master, Gary Johnson is the Committee Chair for the scouts. Charlie Brader is the Scout Executive. Kim Rensing is the Cub Scout Committee Chair. This is part of the team that helps fulfill the requirements set out in the charter.
        2. Cub Scouts focus on community-help with city work days, Scouting for food, leadership development, civic duty, personal growth. Boy scouts additionally focus on outdoor and live-saving skills. Have done beautification, set up playgrounds, served hot meals with Salvation Army after the Sunset Hills tornados. Adults go through CPR training. One parent-Kevin Erickson used this training to save a life.
        3. They presented the actual charter (framed) to PTO
        4. Rachel Vallenti gave an update for the PAC (Parent Advisory Council). They had an event on April 2nd. The event was collaboration between Webster and Kirkwood PAC’s. Identified parent needs and workshop topics that parents would like to see. Themes include inclusive education, managing specific behaviors, bullying, mental health and sibling relationships. There were in all 42 presenters and they were able to do it for no expense. They will do it again. Tomorrow night members will do a pot luck to plan for next year. Asked for our help in promoting it.
        5. Funding Requests
          1. Field Day-Food request $310 (adjust budget line item to correct miscalculation). Budget is set at $15 per classroom for 4 parties. When budget was set in July the budget did not reflect new teachers. No objections. Motion passed.
          2. Ms. Ely/Mrs. Imming-Request for $360 for two Investigations Teacher Access Packs for interactive white board. Second grade is asking for two programs that go with the current math curriculum. The math coordinator will purchase the other two if PTO will fund this request. It will save teachers a lot of time as the program is already in place. It is a six year subscription per teacher. Can be transferred if one leaves. Motion was moved and passed.
          3. Dr. Furjes-Request for $4,462 for math tutoring books and materials. The materials were already purchased. Because we did not qualify for AYP with MAP testing we are required to offer some supplemental instruction. All kids benefit from it. Many of the materials end up back in the classroom. Along with knowledge teacher gains, sharing ideas with teachers is a part of the package. They are kits—scripted with materials, lessons and monitoring, directions, CD’s etc. This will stay here in the Math program and it will be used year to year. Tudors are assigned based on three benchmark assessments done through the year to identify needs. It is prioritized. Typically it is children who do not have an IEP in math. It is in school pull out tutoring. Motion was moved and passed.
          4. Dr. Furjes-Request for $14,833 for seven (7) Smart Boards. The school still needs 9 to make every classroom have one. Right now it is possible that kids K-2 would not be exposed to this technology. Dr. Furjes asked for the PTO to support this to make it equitable. This directly benefits all kids. It will be put into their hands right away. They worked hard to get the best quote. Teachers agreed that they do really make a difference. Dr. Furjes is concerned about the rising cost of technology. He said he’ll be coming to us every year. Avery is a bit behind the district in this area. Parent voiced a concern as to whether the technology is becoming outdated. Teachers responded that this is a key tool for group instruction.  A smart board is like a chalk board used to be. Right now we can’t do what other schools do because we are so behind. We need to get over this hump to get up to speed. Dr. Furjes said we have great preventative maintenance and that librarian Cheryl Kanaan and her committee are very good stewards of the money. There was good discussion about whether there was a next gen thing we should look towards. The consensus was that this is a good and smart purchase even though technology changes. The updates and upgrades come through the technology of Smart Boards. A question was raised about paper and other resources that are scarce—shouldn’t PTO be helping with those line items? PTO committee stated that we hope to survey parents this fall about overall wishes and needs. Question about other sources of funding such as grants came up. The district is looking into hiring a grant writer. PTO went through the budget and we agreed that we are liquid enough to handle this expenditure. The EC is fine with the dollar amount this year. There was/is discussion about other needs. Next year Dr. Furjes anticipates the need for computer upgrades. We don’t get our rollover budgeted money from the tax levy for another year. Total purchase request is for 11 smart boards and LCD projectors when need to make complete rooms. Motion was moved and passed.
          5. There was some discussion about the timing of the auction. Shannon explained the cash flow makes it difficult to move it. The date next year is Nov. 12th.
          6. Dr. Furjes announced special PTO forum this Thursday night on the topic of bullying. This is designed to be a home/school connection piece to help identify the signs. 7 PM in the Media Room. At Avery our numbers in terms of bullying reports are low. We don’t deal with it as much here. There are tools that we can use right now as parents.
          7. PTO will be looking for topics that parents are interested in seeing presentations on from guest speakers or experts next year as a part of the “Proactive Parenting Series.” Ideas are welcome.



PTO Meeting Minutes –April 12, 2011, 7pm, Media Center

1.  Upcoming events
Razzmatazz—show is April 29.  Come & enjoy!  Thanks to Stacey Bacilek, Gena Castro,  and Lori Callendar for coordinating this event. 

Family Movie Night—scheduled for Friday, May 13   We will need volunteers for this.  Thanks to Mrs. Bennett for coordinating movie night again!

Blacktop Ball—will be on Tuesday, May 24 since the school year has been extended by one day.  Valerie Egel and her committee are already working to plan a fun event!

2.  PTO Leadership openings for next year:

Chairperson(s) needed for several events: 

Walking School Bus


 If you are interested in serving on the Executive Committee for the next year—express your interest in writing no later than April 26 in the PTO mailbox.  People can decide to be co-chairs for specific positions if more than one person is interested.  There also could be a written election at the May election if needed before appointments.  The current executive members for this year have already expressed their interest in continuing on for the next academic year. 

 3. Presentation on bullying and cyberbullying. Sydney Wilhelm (Avery Alumnus and current student at Hixson). 

Comes from a perspective of being a victim of bullying.  Spoke about the definition of bullying from the Webster Groves School Board Policies.  Bullying has taken on a new element due to technology.  Parents should take bullying serious if notice that their child has been bullied.  Bystanders should be encouraged to speak out about the bullying activities.  Founded a Facebook page “The Stand Against Bullying” to try to raise awareness and put a stop to bullying.  “Like It” on Facebook today!  Asking for support for Missouri House Bills  #273 and 829, regarding bullying.  She testified in support of this in Jefferson City last week.  She encouraged parents to write your representative in support of this bill.  Here is a link to her Bullying presentation.

 Dr. Furjes discussed that Avery takes a proactive stance on bullying but feels that brainstorming on what can be done at Avery to help educate students and parents about bullying will be a useful regarding this topic.  Anna Garwood, School Counselor, is a good resource to help with bullying.  One parent said that Mrs. Garwood did a presentation for a Brownie troupe on this topic of bullying.  Another parent said that this could be a productive community connections topic.  We will either put this on the agenda for the next Community Connections meeting or at the May 10th PTO Meeting.  Since the PTO meeting, a presentation about bullying has been scheduled for Thursday, May 12, at 7:00pm.  More details will be announced in Baseline News. 

 4.  Principal’s report

 Diane Broughton (new retirement announcement).  Progress has been made on filling the position for next year subject to approval from the board.  Marcia Faulhaber will also be leaving to pursue a new career in nursing. 

 5.  Dr. Sarah Riss—Open enrollment and unaccredited school districts and how this impacts the Webster Groves School District

 Dr. Riss started by describing the current situation of the district.  WGSD has received many achievements in the past few years including being a “District of Excellence” for the past 10 years.  Staff salaries at county median help to retain good quality staff. Class sizes have remained low compared to state standards, staying 10% below state minimums.  The district would love to offer full day kindergarten for all students but this would be a financial strain.  89% of district revenue comes from local tax base with most of the money allocated to staff salaries.  Enrollment has increased 1% to 1.5% in the last few years.  

 City of St. Louis and the Riverview Gardens School districts became unaccredited a few years ago and continue to be unaccredited.  The current state law says that if you are reside in an unaccredited school district (not necessarily attending an unaccredited school), you can choose a specific accredited school, not school district, even if schools are full (by the district’s standards).  Theoretically, then the school district where the child was leaving would pay the Webster School district $12,000 to educate the student.   Currently, Dr. Riss has denied about 50 requests to attend school in the district and currently is in a lawsuit for not granting the request.  

 This all started in July 2010 with the Turner vs. Clayton case. No one had taken this issue to court before this time.  In the Supreme Court, it was somewhat decided in support of the parents but put back to the lower courts to see how this can become a reality.  Avery Parents attending the meeting agreed that one of the reasons we moved to Webster was due to the public schools offered in the area.  We choose to pay a higher cost for property and taxes in a large part due to the area schools.  At least 1,000 students are on the waiting list for the county districts with students requesting to leave the city schools.  WGSD currently has over 40 students on a waiting list wanting to transfer to the district.  Dr. Riss is encouraging parents to write to Rep. Scott Dieckhaus encouraging support for the update to the Transfer Criteria Bill. 

 Legislation seems to be focused on getting students out of the city district instead of keeping them in and finding ways to be successful.  The House is having another hearing about this issue so it will at least get talked about.  St. Louis Post Dispatch proposed that each school district opens up and runs a school in the city.  In 1993 when the bill was initially written, no one probably thought that the St. of St. Louis would go unaccredited.  Now we have St. Louis Public Schools and Riverview Schools as unaccredited.  Voluntary Transfer Program is different since Dr. Riss gets to choose how many slots are available at what school in which grade level.  240 students come from the city currently in the WGSD. 

Open enrollment has been successful in some states but the state funding is over 30% versus the 8% that we currently get form the state.  No research exists that open enrollment improves student achievement.  Very similar to the unaccredited school legislation but schools do not need to be unaccredited. 

 Parents need to respond by:  writing letters to elected officials, making phone calls, invite elected officials to meeting with local residents, etc… Parents may view/download Dr. Riss’ presentation through the Webster Groves School District Main Page.  There is a link on top of the page entitled, “Click here for open enrollment and unaccredited school districts and the impact on the Webster Groves School District.”  There are also links for sample letters and contact information to write legislators about your concerns. 

 6.  Space concerns at Avery

 Several parents, teachers, Dr. Furjes & Dr. Riss debriefed after October meeting about concerns:  cafeteria space, outdoor traffic, some classroom spaces not being ideal, etc…  However, the quality of experience for children is still positive. Over the summer, the original library (on 2rd floor),–current location of Project +, reading specialists, etc… will be restructured to make better use of space. Currently there will be no new students to Avery outside of Avery boundaries; however, Dr. Riss  will not move current students that live outside of Avery boundaries.  Right now, will say “no” to younger siblings but can look at this in August right before school begins.  Building Advisory Committee has toured Avery but will not have any information until all the schools have been toured.  Approximately 100 students are choosing Avery as their choice school in Webster Groves. 

Next meeting is at 7:00pm on Tuesday, May 10th.  Will cover end-of the-year business including decisions about spending PTO revenue and appointing the Executive Committee for next year. 

PTO Meeting Minutes

Wednesday, March 09, 2011 7:00 PM  

  • Meeting was called to order by Shannon Wright.  
  • Budget Report: Treasurer Jeff Smith. Current checking account balance is $30,700; Money Market Balance is $10,400. We have about $13,000 in budgeted expenses that need to come out of that. Events and fundraisers are nearly complete with the exception of the play.
  • There was a funding request from Mrs. Bennett to purchase 4 iPod touches, 2 year ext warranty, docking station and charging station. This will be used in classroom centers for reading, books on tape, handwriting, number and letter recognitions, etc. Scholastic only sells CD’s and iPod downloads—no more tapes—so this will have to be phased out. So this would allow them to move around the room, be more comfortable while listening, etc. Can carry over into Math and other subject areas. This would be a pilot program. Total grant request is $1297. There was some discussion about the merits of iPad versus iPod. Grant was ultimately approved.
  • Kindergarten made a funding request for the specialized paper they use. They are out of it and do not have the budget to purchase more. They want to buy a case of paper for $40. Grant was approved.
  • May 13th is the spring movie night.  The price for projector, etc. is $650. Last time we used the Avery sound system. However, we need a higher powered projector this time. Movie TBD.
  • Fifth grade presentation on a Garden Club by Megan O’Linn and Alison Vedova. They would like to put in a flower garden inside the brinks up toward the building so they would not be stepped on. They asked about budget availability for this project. They have established an application system to recruit 4th graders to take care of it next year. Shannon suggested that this might come out of the beautification committee. Dr. Furjes said it would be $75 or less.  A motion was made to give the $50 out of budgeted beautification fund. Seconded and passed. Shelly Niemeyer is in charge of beautification and will work with the 5th graders on this project.
  • Restaurant Nights: McDonald’s Night (Old Orchard) next Tuesday (3/14) and a new fundraiser involving Dr. Jazz on Sunday 4/3.  They are going to open Dr. Jazz on a Sunday afternoon (when it is typically closed) from 1-6.  Made even more fun because we are going to solicit faculty and staff to “work” (e.g., wait tables, scoop ice cream).  We need teacher, staff and parent volunteers to work 1.5 hour shifts.     
  • Volunteers are still needed for Avery Play and Razzmatazz. Terri Thompson has asked for any parents with building skills to please consider helping out for a few hours this Saturday to work on sets. General volunteers are still needed as well. 
  • Razzmatazz act forms must be submitted by this Friday. Contact Stacey Basillek for more information. Volunteers are still needed to help with this event.  
  • Principal’s Report – Dr. Furjes gave a brief update on what is being done regarding the over-crowding at Avery.  WGSD recognizes the overcrowding issue as Avery. They are watching it closely. They met with Avery parents and school board members on March 8th. One solution being considered would be to have no entry of VTS (Voluntary Transfer Students) students to Avery—including siblings, staff, etc.  This is not official policy, but those are the types of things they are looking at to help relieve the stress on Avery. The provision allowing for staff to send their children to any WGSD school may change. Dr. Riss will have to make some tough decisions in the spring. They  need to look at KG enrollment, families leaving, etc. to make a final decision. No one is ever promised the waiver or guaranteed a spot year after year. The waiver process is a yearly request.
  • Cafeteria will be having some significant changes to increase space. Particians in back by the Adventure Club office will be removed to open up the space. 
  • Special School District Services and Mrs. Donnely are being moved to Clark.
  • Retirements-Mrs. Thumb has announced her retirement. As of right now, no other teachers have officially announced.  
  • Map testing is traditionally a three week process. The state has cut several of the tests out. This allows some flex in the window time. Avery will reduce the schedule down somewhat to reflect that. It impacts the whole school to accommodate those schedules.
  • Calendar Committee met recently. There is one make-up snow day needed. WGSD wants to make it up—even if the state waives the requirement. We will likely add a day, making May 24th the last day. Also, next year it is proposed that they will eliminate 4 of the half days.  
  • WG School Board candidates each spoke for 3 minutes and then opened up for questions and discussion.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

  1. Auction looking for a chairperson for the November 2011 event.  Shannon Wright will not be chairing the auction again next year. This is our bigget fundraiser of the year. Grab a friend and sign up!
  2. UPCOMING EVENTS–Staff dinner 2/28 (first night of Parent-Teacher Conferences).  Volunteers already received an e-mail about bringing food and helping with event.  Avery Play 4/8-9.  Razzmatazz moved to 4/29.  Spring movie night has a date of 5/13 and Mrs. Bennett will be chairing the event again.
  3. REQUEST FOR FUNDING—Abby Imming from the School Safety Committee is looking to provide school safety kits for each classroom.  Would like funding to purchase 40 safety kit bags for the school, which nets in a cost of $90.  The teachers will then ask for parent donations to fill the bags with needed safety supplies.  In the event of a fire, students need to go to Barnacle Park tennis courts.  Building was cleared during last drill in approximately 3 minutes.  $100 approved to purchase safety bag kits.
  4. BOY SCOUTS–Brad Schnell thanked PTO for chartering the boy scouts/cub scouts at Avery.  Committee chairs are in place to discuss scouts, approve leadership, etc…extensive checks are performed on leaders who go through various training modules.  Brad will periodically report to PTO.  Talked about pine wheel derby recent event.  85% participation from the scouts.  Blue and Gold banquet at Hixson on Friday night with a real live knight speaking about virtues of scouting.  Boy Scouts recently helped with tornado food relieve in Sunset Hills.  Avery can communicate on service projects and scouts may be able to assist due to service hour requirements. 
  5. Principal’S Report (STAFF CHANGES):  Mrs. Thum retiring this year.  This is an early announcement and applicants have already expressed interest.  Dr. Furjes feels that his most important role is hiring. Ruth Donnelly will be leaving Avery (works with a classroom within the school).  Room used to be all Avery students but now has students from all Webster schools.  This program is leaving and moving to Clark.
  6. Stranger Danger made the news.  Dr. Furjes turned down reporter requests for interviews.  Police are working on finding the suspect.  4th grade child involved in the incident will be speaking to kindergarten classes about strangers.  He is being commended for how he handled the situation.  Question about how long Avery staff are outside in the morning at drop off time.  No one is watching the doors after 8:30am.  Parents are encouraged to walk parents in.  K, 1st and 2nd grade teachers stay with them at dismissal time.  All staff (even substitutes) will have an Avery nametag.  Parents should educate children that an adult with an Avery nametag is an official representative of the school. 
  7. KINDERGARTEN ENROLLMENT:  Dr. Furjes is projecting a class size of 87, 64 students are already enrolled.  AM kindergarten filled. 
  8. SNOW DAYS--Custodians are the reasons that we have school since they were able to get snow cleared and pathways safe.  Be sure to thank them!  Area superintendents have periodic conference calls to discuss the weather and safety issues. We will probably need to add one day at the end of the school year for snow days.  If so, the date for Blacktop Ball needs to be adjusted.  If you are not receiving the automated phone calls from the school or district, check with the front office staff to insure that the phone numbers on file are correct.
  9. Next meeting Wednesday 3/9 @ 7:00pm.  School board candidates will be attending.
  10. Building Advisory Committee will be here on 2/15 @ 5:30 to tour building, assessing Avery needs.  Dr. Furjes will report back outcome and ideas from tour.  Parent in attendance at the PTO meeting broke up into smaller groups and brainstormed current needs for Avery and future wish lists. 

Special PTO Meeting

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Boy Scout Pack 303/Troop 303


Shannon Wright began the meeting by introducing the PTO executive Officers:  Rachel Herrman (Vice President), Jeff Smith (Treasurer) and Kathleen Unwin/Denise Pearl (Co-Secretaries)

Britt Kennedy was introduced as the Scoutmaster for Troop 303 and Bob Casey was introduced as the Assistant Scout Manager for Pack 303.  Myron Lofton introduced as the Director of Field Services – Greater St. Louis Area Boy Scout Council.

Shannon introduced the schedule for the evening, explaining the use of a paper ballot for the vote this evening.  Current Avery PTO members are allowed to vote and your blue card will get you a ballot when it is time to vote.  The ballot will be broken into 2 separate votes—Cub Scout 303 and Boy Scout Pac 303.  Rachel will count votes allowed and signing the charter will need a simple majority.

Kathleen Unwin introduced the concerns of the PTO Executive Board, emphasizing that the issue is not a value judgment on scouting, not wanting to attack Scouts.  Concerned about the liability issues involved in the charter.

Chris Wright introduced himself on why he was speaking to explain the legal issues involved in signing the charter.  Comes form the perspective of an Eagle Scout.  Current charter agreement was adopted in 1988.  Historically, PTO chartering organizations across the country were dropping agreements with Boy Scouts due to liability reasons.  At Avery, past PTO presidents have just simply signed the charter without following the charter.  We currently do not have a committee screening current Boy Scout leaders without discussion.  Is Avery PTO a proper organization since it is dynamic and people on the executive board may change every year?  PTO does not routinely complete any background checks.  A good example of this is that PTO used to provide childcare at PTO events but eliminated this after a child was injured last year.  PTO does not have the resources to screen parents to fill this childcare role.  The Boy Scouts have a chartered organization representative (John Christensen) but he currently is not a member of Avery PTO.  Annual charter agreement is a contract and if someone were to get hurt at a Boy Scout event, PTO would be liable if they are not following the charter.  Charter is not aimed at protecting Boy Scouts nor the PTO.  This contract aims at protecting third parties such as children although I understand that things can happen even though leaders have been screened.  Failure to uphold this contract can be detrimental to Scouts.  This exposes the PTO to civil and possible even criminal liability.  In Iowa, one of the Boy Scouts was killed in a tornado.  Did the Boy Scout leader receive information about the weather and disregarded the report and infringe on the safety of the troop members?  Boy Scouts of America (BSA) provides insurance but does not cover all acts such as punching someone or punitive damages.  If there is a lawsuit resulting in punitive damages against the PTO, PTO assets are at risk.  As a lawyer, I will continue to get money from the PTO year after year until the claim is filled.  The likelihood of a triggering event is relatively low; I do not have any hard data here.  The first item in the Boy Scout Law is TRUSTWORTHY and if we vote “yes”, we need to do what we say we are going to do:  select, screen, and investigate Boy Scout leaders.   This could certainly deter future parents for serving as PTO Presidents.  Is PTO the right organization to do this and how can we make sure we are following the bullets outlined in the charter?  For the comment session tonight, we need to keep comments friendly, courteous and kind.  We are all in this together as Avery parents. 

Britt Kennedy Scoutmaster for Troop 303 introduced Blake Kennedy who was elected from Troop 303 and currently running the organization.  PTO now is telling us that signing the charter are a liability issue after all the years.  Most of all, Boy Scout is a safe place to practice leadership skills.  We learn about values and get first-hand experience.  The PTO not chartering Troop303 is comparable to a high school not supporting their own football team.  The 28 Boys Scouts want to stay at Avery. 

I don’t know who said this??Director of Operations.  Everyone should have a copy of the charter agreement.  Began with addressing Chris in that is it very difficult to argue with an Eagle Scout.  Realized that it is a deep commitment for PTO to sign the charter.  I disagree slightly that PTO is responsible on doing background checks for the adults.  BSA does that.  Signing a charter is a serious responsibility since we live in a ‘suing society”.  We do stand by the PTO in spreading the mission of BSA.

Britt Kennedy has been leader for about 3 years.  We have lived in the Avery area for over 21 years.  Avery area is a great community and he has been impressed with the level of commitment form the parents in the area.  If you have supported the scouts in some way, even through a fundraiser, you have supported the scouts.  Approx 65 parents of Scouts are from the Avery PTO volunteering to help deliver the Scouting organization.  Cannot thank the parents enough for their support.  We do need to improve the communication, though, with the executive board and continue training adult leaders.  The troop needs the pack.  Without the pack, the troop would not have a flow of new scouts.  The older scouts often mentor the younger ones.  Here at Avery the pack and troop work hand and hand.  Avery is different from other schools in that it charters a pack and troop.  Avery is also unique in that it has the Avery Play.  Why should we consider another organization that doesn’t know us to charter us?  We have had their support for the past 65 years.  Thank you for your commitment to the youth at Avery.

Bob Casey, Assistant Scout Manger for the Pack.  The pack has been chartered for 70 years.  There are background checks and also references of people that have seen the scout leaders interact with children.  As far as setting up a committee to screen scout leaders, I gave Shannon documents that she has not seen before.  We haven’t been giving them all the information that the PTO Executive Board needs (guide to scouting, etc…)  There is a BSA checklist on what it means to be a committee member.   The council can provide more information.  He searched himself on the BSA council website.  John Christenson has been working with the Scouts for over 10 years and is not a current Avery parent.  We have a new parent (current Avery parent) that can fulfill this role.   The pack and troop really work together in a variety of activities including events sponsored by the PTO such as the Fall Festival. 

Adam Taussig from Troop 303 still active with Avery.  Emphasizing how troop and pack are connected.  My connection to the school is extremely important.  I am in the final stages of my Eagle Project and it would not have been the same if I were not involved with Avery.  Encourage us to continue on tradition.  Our partnership with the PTO can lead to a stronger organization. 

Clare Frey asked is Chris Wright he can reiterate liability issues. Doesn’t Boy Scouts cover the liability?  Chris read the bullet points included in the charter, clarifying the liability issues involved.  He clarified that he was not advocating for the PTO.  PTO and BSA SHARE in the approval process.  Myron clarified that once an application is signed by a chartering organization, it is then sent to LexisNexis for a criminal background check.  This is where the shared process comes into play.  If someone’s background it unsuitable, BSA will notify the chartering organization.  Claire clarified that the Executive Committee is concerned about bullet points 3 & 4 in the charter.  As a chartering organization, PTO should be the first line in screening leaders.  BSA insurance does not exempt PTO from being liable.

Dan Burn introduced himself that he had children at Avery and that his son was a Scout when he attended Avery.  He was quite concerned about the PTO not supporting the Scouts.  Now in college, this Eagle Scout believes that both Avery and the Scouts are doing the same thing.  Avery was more than a school to this young man and BOTH Avery and the Boy Scouts had an impact on him.  The PTO seems to be too concerned about the selection of leaders from the group.  When his son turned 18, he underwent criminal checks and his references were actually called.  Question of how the volunteers and leaders of the PTO are screened. 

Maureen Hoock spoke about her boys in 6th and 8th grade in the Boy Scout troop.  Asked about statistics or numbers on how often chartering organizations are sued.  Chris Wright responded that did not have scientific data and did not know of any litigations currently going on. 

Sarah Smith had the question about liability for the PTO exec members.  If PTO exec member are leaders in the Boy scout organization, they would be covered in a suit.  Yes, PTO executive members are covered under the liability coverage from the BSA.

Margaret Kirby asked Chris Wright if he found any litigations of chartering organizations.  Chris can only research in Missouri, Illinois, and Kansas.  Second question is if the PTO is covered under 501C2?  Personal liability is still an issue.  One of the PTO objections was about leadership selection.  Chris clarified that he is not advocating for or against anyone.  Across the country, many PTO/PTA are dealing with this issue.  In Webster school district only Hudson and Clarke are other elementary schools that are chartering their organizations.  Shannon responded that the PTO president or the Boy Scout Chartered representative can be responsible for approving the leadership.  Jon Christenson is currently filling that role but does not have a current student at Avery.  COR (Chartered Organization Representative) is still signing on behalf of the PTO and needs to be a current member of the PTO.

Ellen Keller feels that there is a lack of discussion about liability in all PTO sponsored events so why are the Boy Scouts being singles out?  Chris Wright responded that the difference between this and other PTO events is with the charter, there is a legal document.  There is not in a gray area.  Chris, as a lawyer, would use this as Exhibit 1.  However, falling on a cord at an event would not exempt us from liability.

Chuck Miller spoke that his son just made Eagle Scout and has been involved in scouting for 12 years.  He commented that Chris Wright has done an excellent job of relaying plantiff’s case but Chris just wanted to lay out the concerns.  He continued by asking Chris what he would do if he was defending the PTO.? Right now, the PTO cannot say that they have honored that side of the partnership.  If BSA rememdies the situation by appointing a committee representative and a committee, then this will follow with the charter.   It was clarified that the charter won’t be signed until people are filling these positions.  Shannon Wright has already met with Bob Casey and Britt Kennedy to discuss this.

Tina Kennedy, Advancement Chair for the Scout Troop stated that when boy scouts graduated from Avery, parents usually had younger siblings that are still members of the PTO to keep the communication flowing.  This has not been an intentional act on the part of the scouts but seems to be mainly a communication issue.  Shannon discussed this earlier with Bob and Britt.  Things that were being done at the Scout level were not communicated to the PTO.

David James introduced himself that he has 2 children (girls) here at Avery.  Question to Myron about the first bullet point in the charter.  He respects BSA as a whole but is wondering about the religious guidelines and sexual orientation policies for the Boy Scouts—concerned about this since Avery is a public, inclusive school.  Shannon remarked that we want to keep comments to the language of the charter.  Myron addressed that the Boy Scouts is a private organization.  Boy Scouts can run itself by a set of values and  want families that have similar values.   We have not looked at discrimination being an issue.  Parents seem to feel that discrimination is an issue involved in signing the charter.  With the school spending money and time against discrimination, why do we support an organization that discriminates?

Bret Care involved in Scouting for 12 years—tiger leader, sub leader, etc…applauded PTO to bringing this up.  There is always liability.  Each of us parents in uniform has accepted this liability—being in the woods with 20 children and only one other adult.  Boy Scouts do not preach discrimination.  Boy Scout program is instituted within the values of the community.

Ed Donnelly has been involved in an organization for 25 years. And took a rider out for liability.  Liability is everywhere and the rider is relatively cheap (only about $100).   Should PTO consider this?  He also thanked the executive committee for doing their job.

Ted Miller, former Scout of 303 and recent Eagle Scout remarked that Blake Kennedy is doing an excellent job.  Talked about the training her received as a Scout leader.  Spent weeks talking about safety, etc…

Kathleen Unwin has a question for Myron.  The Girl Scout are chartered in a different way.  Are there any other possible chartering options that will keep Avery students involved in chartering but maybe structured a little differently.  Bob Casey commented that there are other organizations that can charter but the hard part comes on keeping the Scouts at Avery.  If another organization signs the charter, odds are we would be meeting at that location (church, lion’s club, etc..)

Sue Taussig commented that the troop and pack can find another organization to charter but then we would be connected to that church.  It would be hard for parents to send their children to a setting for a scout meeting that is unfamiliar to them. 

Eric Young had 4 kids attend previously at Avery.  If the PTO does not take this chartering reponsibilty, would another organization take on this liability? Chris Wright said that his Boy Scouts charter was originally through the Oakville school but then troop went across the street to a church for chartering.  Eric said that Avery seems like a best choice. 

David James still had a religious question and homosexuality issue question that he feels is not addressed.  Myron, representing the BSA, cannot answer that.  The local organization makes their own policies.

Not sure who said this???  Believes that all boys should be in boy scouts.  His 6 year old has not been asked questions about religious affiliation or sexual orientation.  Not sure his son would know what that meant.  Should boy scouts change disorientation practices but boy need the scouting organization. 

Call to vote, seconded.   Written ballots were passed out to Avery PTO members (parents that have current students at Avery).  Parents were checked in upon arrival highlighting the roster if a parent had a current student at Avery.  55 ballots were passed out.  Jeff Smith assisted Rachel Herrman in reading the votes aloud. 

With a vote of 44 to11, the PTO voted to sign the charter.  Now the Boy Scouts have until December 15 to form a committee that will work with the PTO.  Thank you for coming!


Avery PTO

General Membership Meeting Minutes

Wednesday, November 10, 2010 @ 7:00pm


Reminders and Announcements

  1. The Scholastic Book Fair will be held next week during conferences.  Thanks to Shannon Davis and Sherry Taylor for coordinating this event.
  2. Tuesday, November 16th is the Teacher Appreciation Dinner—thanks to Christy Vogl and all the Avery All Star Cooks!!!
  3. Poinsettia order forms are due on 11/18.  Plants will be delivered the 1st week of December.
  4. Reminder that Auction/Trivia Night is on Saturday, November 20th.  Get your registration in ASAP.  The auction has received over 150 donations so far.  This will be Shannon Wright’s last year for coordinating the auction so consider if YOU can coordinate this event for the PTO next year!
  5. Jenny Weimer and Shannon Wright have created a giving tree that will be displayed on the PTO Bulletin Board following the auction through winter break.  Teachers have been asked to provide a “wish list” and parents can buy these items as a holiday gift.
  6. The Kingdom House Food Drive is currently taking place (organized by 6 Avery students).  Boxes for food donation items are outside of the Main Office and the Gym.  The food drive will take place until Friday, November 19th
  7. Over $900 worth of Box Tops was submitted from Avery this past week—thank you and keep on clipping!!
  8. Thank for to Jennifer Schaal for volunteering to coordinate the Avery PTO Restaurant Nights.


Budget Report from Jeff Smith

  1. The revenue from Fall Festival was around $6600—substantial increase from last year!
  2. The Fall Fundraiser also produced good revenue numbers.


Safety Committee

  1. Tammy Hoyt has been working with Dr. Furjes about options to help with after school pickup.
  2. Looking to use Ride Finders to organize carpooling.


Dr. Furjes Updates

  1. Lighting has been updated on the Blacktop and outside of Avery. 
  2. Avery is instituting a Positive Behavior Support discipline program, adding common verbiage to discipline issues.  Discipline incidents are being tracked; this information can be viewed in the Main Office Conference Room.
  3. 25 teachers had “Bagels with the School Board” this week.  Enrollment seemed to be a topic of concern.  The district is having a Building Advisory Board to come and tour Avery in January, giving suggestions about space issues, parking, etc…
  4. Dr. Furjes has enjoyed seeing the children motivated to organize community service events such as the collection for the dogs, the canned food drive, etc…
  5. Avery needs to purchase safety bags so they are prepared if a crisis would occur.  Items in safety bags would include water, flashlights, Band-Aids, etc…  Dr. Furjes will come up with a budget and request funding from PTO.  In inclement weather, students will be going to Barnacle Park and/or First United Methodist Church. 
  6. Dr. Furjes will also be putting together a budget in the spring to request funds for Technology and Tutoring needs.


Upcoming PTO Meetings

  1. A “special” PTO meeting and discussion about Avery PTO sponsoring the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts Charter will take place on Tuesday, 11/23 at 7:00pm in the Media Center.  Attend to express your opinion on the matter and to cast your vote.
  2. The next regularly scheduled PTO Meeting will take place in the Media Center on Tuesday, January 11, 2011 at 7:00pm.  Happy Holidays from the PTO!!!



Tuesday, October 5, 2010 7:00pm


Samanda Rossi/Kathleen Unwin/Denise Pearl:  Fall Festival still need volunteers for 8-9 shift; thanks to those who already have signed up to help.  Lights should help on Blacktop with safety.

Shannon Davis: The Scholastic Book Fair takes place during the week of Parent/Teacher conferences!  Please purchase books for the event.

Shannon Wright: Auction/Trivia Night tables (November 20) will seat 8 at each.  Start coordinating a group to attend.  Volunteers needed to set up that day starting at 1:30pm.  Clean up help is also needed after the event.  Help is always needed in soliciting donations.

Jeff Smith: Preliminary fundraiser numbers look to be around $6,000 in revenue.

Buzz book at budget around $1700.  Raised over $800 for Parents Night Out.

Rachel Herman: Friday, October 8 is the first walk to school day.  Parents will be leading various routes walking to school.  On the first day (10/8), all parents will walk with the group.  Right now, we just have volunteers to head walking to school one day per week.  Dutton/Marshall and Newport/Glen routes still need parent volunteers to lead the walking route. Information went home in last week’s backpack mail.  Possibility of Russ Carnahan walking with one of the groups on Friday, 10/8.  Police will be driving along routes and attempting to get the mayor involved in the walking school bus.

Tammy Hoyt: Reporting on the parking issue on behalf of the safety committee.  The committee brainstormed ideas to assist in the parking problem.  Use Avery webpage to organize carpools.  Petition to get the Bompart NO PARKING regulation changed to a 15-minute loading zone.  Idea of meeting your children at Margaret ParK fpr pick up.  Can we have walking school bus for dismissal time instead of arrival time to alleviate parking issue?  Staffing the walking route in the afternoon might be an issue.  Trailnet representative also attended the meeting with route maps available.  A school in California has a carpooling matching program that Avery may be able to replicate.  Suggestion made for the Safety Committee to put information to parents about parking in the Baseline News.

Kathleen Unwin and Phil Cryer will be putting information about updating the parent e-mail contact list the Baseline News.

Dr. Furjes commended that the educators that attended the meeting tonight (Mrs. Festerling, Mrs. Casey, Mrs. Bennett).  Several students have an APA Project going on so please consider donating to this cause.

Dr. Sarah Riss (District Superintendent)

Walking School Bus—Currently occurs at Hudson and Edgar—helps to build community.

Enrollment—District enrollment has gone up steadily since 2006, about 1% increase each year.  Economy has also played a role although voluntary transfer students have gone down in some degree within the district.  Avery enrollment has increased since 2006 with a big kindergarten class in 2009; not as many students left with small 5th grade class exiting to 6th grade last year.  Would like to reduce number of Avery sections from 26 to 24.  Desirable enrollment for Avery would be 450-516—current enrollment is 541 students.  Size of total school seems to be more of an issue than individual class size.  Only volunteer transfers that were added for the 2010-2011 school year were siblings.  Several students were denied access to Avery at the Kindergarten level due to enrollment concerns.  District will continue to deny staff requests for students that do not live in the district.  10-11% of Avery students do not live in the Avery area.  From now on, will not place voluntary transfer students at Avery even if they are siblings.  The District Building Advisory Committee will put Avery on the top of their list for Review in December. Redistricting is an option only to be used as a last report.  Saying NO to the school choice requests seems to be the best option.  This becomes difficult when families start at Avery and then move out of the Avery area but families want to stay at the same school.  Question about Avery having a larger number of IEP’s when compared to other schools due to services offered–Dr. Riss believes that this is a rumor.  Question about when district boundaries were last drawn (1982).  Suggestion made to look at projections of birth data to see if the enrollment at Avery is just a bubble or a long-term trend that needs to be addressed.  Teachers seem to feel that class enrollments are fine but the overall building issue feels cramped.  Mrs. Fasterling said that kindergarten and 1st grade health is not being taught this year because of the extra classes.  Classroom teachers are not assigned to teach specific grades and so teachers will likely move around grades to accommodate the large 1st grade class.  Avery is the school Dr. Riss watches most as far as overall enrollment.  Question about percentage of Webster tax payers that use schools (17%), pretty small number.  Results and ideas will be shared no later than April 2011 at a PTO meeting.

High school renovations to be completed in August 2012 include:

  • 12 science labs
  • new parking structure
  • new band/orchestra/choice rooms
  • new automotive lab
  • carpentry/electrical wiring area
  • social studies classrooms (at least shell finished as budget dictates)
  • building will be handicap accessible
  • outdoor planting experience/gardening space

Architecture blends with existing structure.  Architects working closely with teachers to design space.  Current Avery students will benefit from this addition.

Dr. Furjes thanked Mrs. Holiday and Dr. Riss for their time this evening.

Next meeting Wednesday, November 10 at 7:00pm

Avery PTO

General Membership Meeting Minutes

Tuesday, August 31, 2010 @ 7:00pm



A.  BOY SCOUTS–John and Charlie introduced Troop 303 sponsored by Avery PTO, thanking the PTO for their support. Boy Scouts are celebrating their 100th year anniversary this year. Scout Open House at Avery on 9/9 at 7:00pm—good opportunity to get children (ages 6-14) introduced to scouting. Girls are also welcome (ages 14-20) to participate in an adventure program. Question about what it means for PTO to support Boy Scouts—basically involves facility use. Shannon will follow up on this.


B. Shannon introduced officers:


Rachel Herrman (Vice President)

Jeff Smith (Treaurer)

Kathleen Unwin and Denise Pearl (Co-Secretaries)


C. Thanks to Mrs. Bennett and Mrs. Cox for the planning of Family Movie Night. Mrs. Bennett asked about interest to do another one in the Winter or the Spring. Concerns with bikes, skateboards, balls—need to promote that these are not allowed. More refreshments are needed. A suggestion was made to charge for the event.  Concerns about how dark the blacktops was toward to end of the movie. Reminder about the lights that are stored in the dungeon. Dr. Furjes is working on the lighting issue on the Blacktop and it should be taken care of ASAP. Popcorn could not keep up but Maggie Kelly is looking for a larger machine to purchase through an auction.


D. Thanks to all of the parent volunteers for the movie night and the picnic!!


E. HALLOWEEN PARADE. Parade is still occurring AFTER the Halloween parties and this will occur at dismissal time, allowing parents to take their children out of school if they do not want them participating. Mrs. Bennett says commented that this timing could be difficult due to the time needed to change the children into the costumes. Mrs. Bennett recommends to change into costumes BEFORE the parties to assist with timing.  Suggestion was made to ask parents that plan the party to help with costume changes. Let’s evaluate how this change in parade schedule works this year at the PTO meeting following Halloween.


F. FALL FUNDARAISER–rolling out this Thursday. Last year’s revenue was $6000. Still using vendor Innisbrook. It is OK if parents want to just write a check to PTO instead of participating in the Fundraiser.


G. Still have opportunities to volunteer for events. Restaurant Night still needs a chair.


H. Upcoming events


a. Accident in the Lab (Avery house band) on 9/11 at Llywelyn’s Pub in Webster. We get a portion of the restaurant sales from event.

b. Fall Festival needs over 120 volunteers so please help out!

c.  Auction needs help with set up and clean up during event. If have have contacts to request donations from that is also appreciated. Committee already has 300 letters out requesting donations and your help is needed in picking up donations.

d. Looking for another fundraiser idea—last year cookie dough made a fair amount of money and this year we are looking at purchasing poinsettias for a fundraiser. This will occur in November.


I. November, January, or February will be dedicated to a brainstorming meeting to generate fundraising ideas. Let Kathleen or Denise know if you have agenda items for future meetings. Other topics for future meetings include: Parking issues, Lights on the outside of the building, Teacher wish lists, and Number of student recesses.



Jeff presented the budget for review, explaining each line item. One parent mentioned that the 3rd grade Girl Scouts are doing a bulb project for beautification. Also mentioned was that PTO should use phone reminder system for events more often. On 9/28 all the Webster PACs are meeting at the high school commons at 5:30. This is a resource fair for families that have recently have an IEP or are new to Webster Groves. Mrs. Bennett asked about field trip funds since with the class sizes getting larger, it takes more buses to get the children to a field trip. Shannon suggested that this is dealt with on an individual basis. If a teacher/grade level needs extra funds for a bus, he/she could come to a meeting to request additional funds. Dr. Furjes is working on list of technology needs. Computers that used to be in the lab are temporarily not in use since this room was converted into the classroom. Dr. Furjes is working on getting these into use in classrooms. Motion to Approve budget. Budget approved.



A. Introduced Dr. Cindy Neu as Science/Social Studies Coordinator for the District and Assistant Principal for Avery. Question about how responsibilities are divided and Dr. Furjes presented the 4 “administrators” in the Main Office work as a team. Anna Garwood was introduced as the new School Counselor. Position does not get coverage for maternity leave.

B. There are 541 children at Avery. Question about how enrollment growth has been handled–Dr. Sarah Riss (Superintendent) makes the decision; now extreme circumstances are needed to come to Avery.

C. Brainstorming universal language (PBIS) that includes a reward system for Avery culture such as how to stand in line, how to eat in cafeteria, etc…As an example, the school earned an extra recess this upcoming Friday.

D. Discussion about MAP scores, disappointing but you now have a choice for schools and have access to both internal and external tutoring opportunities. 2 out of 5 subgroups in Math and Communication Arts did not make MAP score level. Avery has 5 subgroups, more than Bristol and Clarke. Overall MAP scores are much higher than other schools in the county.

E. Getting great feedback on new menu choices offered by cafeteria. Thank you to Kathleen Unwin and Sarah Smith!!

F. Safety committee needs some help—call Dr. Furjes if interested. Parking is part of this committee’s role. Contact Tammy Hoyt about concerns.

G. Dr. Furjes applauded Shannon’s organizational and student centered efforts.

H. Principal’s Coffee is Friday 9/3, 8:30-9:30—more of a Q & A session about concerns.



Next PTO meeting is Tuesday 10/5 @ 7:00pm

General Membership Meeting Minutes

Tuesday, May 11, 2010
The meeting was called to order by Secretary Shannon Wright. Treasurer Melissa
Hartrich and Auditor Jeff Smith were also in attendance. President Paul Winkelmann
and Vice-President Scott Campbell were not in attendance.
The first order of business was the appointment of the Executive Committee members
for the 2010-2011 school year. Pursuant to Article 7, Section 1 of the Avery Elementary
School PTO By-laws, because there was either one volunteer per position, or two
volunteers who agreed to share the responsibilities of a position, no written ballots were
Pursuant to the powers conferred upon the 2009-2010 Executive Committee by said
Article 7, Section 1 of the By-laws, the following volunteers were appointed in the noted
Executive Committee positions for the 2010-2011 school year:
Shannon Wright
Rachel Herrman
Lisa Liss**
Jeff Smith
Denise Pearl
Kathleen Unwin
**Secretary’s note: On May 26, 2010, Lisa Liss resigned her position as co-Vice
President for the 2010-2011 school year. Rachel Herrman will continue to serve
as sole Vice-President during that time.
Secretary’s Report –
a. The PTO is still looking for Committee Chairpersons for the following:
i. Assemblies
ii.Old Orchard Restaurant Nights
Blacktop Ball
b. Upcoming PTO events:
i. Razzmatazz – May 21st at Steger
ii.Blacktop Ball – May 25th on Avery Blacktop
Treasurer’s Report –
The current budget was presented to the membership, showing that the PTO checking
account balance was approximately $9,500.00, and the money market account had an
approximate balance of $10,515.00.
Trail Net Presentation:
Next year, Avery will begin participating in Trail Net, which is a local non-profit
which promotes “active living” by making communities more “walkable.” The goal is to
get more children walking to school by mapping safe routes to school, along with small
groups of other children, chaperoned by at least one parent (called the “walking school
Edgar Road is in its 5th year of this program, and Hudson is in its 3rd year, and its
working wonderfully. Watch for more information to come home soon in backpack mail.
Principal’s Report
Two staff members are retiring at the end of this year: Betty Goette and Sharon
Coccoran. Ms. Goette will be replaced as the school counselor by Anna Garwood.
Mrs. Coccoran will be replaced by reading specialist Michelle Ferber. We will miss
you Mrs. Goette and Mrs. Coccoran. Thank you for your many years of service!
Avery will have over 500 students next year, and when that happens we will need to
add an assistant principal. Cindy Nell will be joining the Avery team as a part-time
curriculum coordinator and a part-time assistant principal.
Malinda Ice will be leaving Avery at the end of this year to become an assistant
principal in the Parkway School District. Good luck Mrs. Ice; we’ll miss you!
In order to keep class sizes down, Avery will be hiring a new teacher for each of first
and fourth grade.
Request for Heart Rate Monitors:
Mrs. Fasterling presented a request to the PTO for funds to purchase additional
heart rate monitors for Avery’s health classes. Right now, she has seven monitors
(3 purchased with funds from the PTO; 3 purchased with funds received from the
Principal’s Fund; and one purchased with technology funds). She would like to
purchase additional monitors so that one half of her health class can wear and use the
heart rate monitors at a time (rather than one third of a class, which is what she does
The monitors will run approximately $211 each (after Mrs. Fasterling turns in old
monitors to get a discount). Mrs. Fasterling requested $944 (money for four monitors as
well as 20 chest bands to attach the monitors to the students). Her request was voted
upon and unanimously approved by all of the members present.
Family Movie Night
Mrs. Bennett attended the meeting to propose putting together a Family Movie Night
in September, 2011. Mrs. Bennett and other faculty members will be putting this event
together. More information to follow.
The meeting was then adjourned



Tuesday, March 9, 2010; 7:00 p.m.

The meeting was called to order by PTO Secretary, Shannon Wright. Dr. Furjes and eight general members were present at the meeting.

2010-2011 Executive Committee

The 2009-2010 Executive Committee is seeking volunteers for the 2010-2011 Executive Committee positions. Those positions are: President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer.

If you are interested in putting your name in for one of these officer positions, please let either Paul Winkelmann or Shannon Wright know by April 27th.

If only one person volunteers for a position, that person will be appointed by the current Executive Committee at the May 11th meeting. If two people volunteer for the same position, they may agree to serve as co-officers, or if they do not want to serve as co-officers, a written vote will decide the matter at the May 11th meeting.

If you have questions regarding what the duties of a particular position are, please see the copy of the PTO By-laws on the Avery PTO website, or you may ask Shannon Wright.

2010-2011 Committee Chair Positions

The following Committee Chair positions are available for the 2010-2011 school year:

  • Assemblies;
  • Blacktop Ball;
  • BOGO Bookfair (Co-Chair with Laura Puricelli);
  • Childcare;
  • Fall Fundraiser;
  • Staff Appreciation Dinners; and
  • Staff Appreciation Week

If you have questions as to the duties of a particular committee chair, or would like to volunteer, please contact Shannon Wright.

Upcoming Events:

There will be an information Razzmatazz meeting on Thursday, March 11th at 7pm in the Media Center. Contact Stacy Bacilek for more details.

The Avery Play will be held at Steger on March 12th and 13th at 7 PM.

Razzmatazz will be held at Steger on May 7th at 7 PM.

The final PTO meeting of the year will be Tuesday, May 11th at 7PM. Next year’s Executive Committee will be decided at this meeting.

Blacktop Ball will be held the evening of the last day of school.

PAC Presentation

Rachel Valenti and Lisa Liss presented information on the benefits of including disabled children in regular classrooms and the importance of “Educational Inclusion,” as well as the role of Avery’s para-professionals in the classroom. A detailed outline of the presentation can be found on the website.

Principal’s Report

  • After a long and productive career at Avery, Betty Goette is retiring. Avery is currently interviewing replacements.
  • There will be a Community Connection on March 30th at 6:30 PM.
  • Approximately 35% of Webster Households have been visited during canvassing thus far, and the school district is cautiously optimistic about the upcoming tax levy.

If you are interested in helping with canvassing, please contact Jerry Pinkner.

If you are interested in a yard sign for your yard, please contact Lisa Liss.

  • PTO will need to address the issue of potential liability associated with offering childcare for meetings. Liability exists for injuries occurring to children while in PTO care, as well as the potential liability related to actions of childcare providers.

Historically, this is a very difficult committee to fill. If there is no volunteer for the Childcare Chairperson position, the PTO will not be offering childcare next year.

In the event someone volunteers for the Childcare Chairperson position, we will need to address the possibility of paying Adventure Club employees to provide childcare either by themselves or along with parent volunteers. PTO discussed the possibility of charging parents for childcare to pay for these employees, as well as the possibility of offering childcare for conferences only (as no one at the subject PTO meeting had children in childcare).

This issue was tabled until it is determined if we will have a Childcare Committee next year.

  • The school requested additional funds for technology items (as presented at the August, 2009 meeting). A copy of the current PTO Budget was circulated, showing a checking account balance of $22,860.22 and a money market account balance of $10,013.36.

This matter was discussed at the 8/09 meeting, and the issue of “additional funds” was tabled until the monies from the Fall Festival and Auction were in hand. Please see the 8/09 Meeting Minutes for a re-cap of that discussion.

After taking into account the current bank balances, as well as the remaining outstanding items to be paid for, a motion was made to pay the school an additional $10,000 for technology needs. The motion was seconded and unanimously approved by the members present.

The meeting was then adjourned.





Tuesday, August 25, 2009; 7:00 p.m.

The meeting was called to order by Principal Don Furjes, and all guests were welcomed to the fourth and final meeting of the year.  The following Executive Committee members were present:  Paul Winkelmann (President); Scott Campbell (Vice-President); Shannon Wright (Secretary); Melissa Hartrich (Treasurer) and Jeff Smith (Auditor).  Additionally, thirty-one (31) general members were present.

Treasurer’s Report:

The approximate current bank balances for the PTO accounts are as follows:

$8,103.88 in Commerce checking account; and

$16,554.10 in Commerce money market account

The proposed PTO budget for the 2009-2010 school year was presented to the membership.  After some discussion, the membership voted unanimously to approve the proposed budget, as written.  A copy of the PTO budget for the 2009-2010 school year can be found on the PTO website.

Secretary’s Report:

Sign-up sheets for parent volunteers will be available after the PTO meeting and during Open House.  These will remain in the main hallway through the end of this week.

A list of upcoming PTO events was given.  These events, and their corresponding dates, can be found on the School Calendar, as well.

Principal’s Report:

Dr. Furjes informed parents that this year, we have 505 students at Avery.

School begins at 8:20 each morning.  Adult supervision will be provided in the gym for students arriving between 8:00 and 8:20.  Please do not bring your child before 8:00, as there will be no adult supervision before that time.

For your child’s safety, all doors except the front doors, will be locked at 8:30.  Be sure to go into the main office and sign-in if you are in the school building after that time.

Please do not bring dogs to pick-up and drop-off.  The children are drawn to the dogs, and even if your dog is friendly, having it around a bunch of strange children may cause issues that pose a hazard to both the children and your dog.

Dr. Furjes gave a general invitation to attend the Principal’s Coffee  and the ongoing, PTO-sponsored Community Connection meetings.  These meetings take place several times during the school year, and provide an invaluable insight into race and social issues affecting our community.  Childcare will be provided for these meetings, courtesy of the PTO.

We are looking into the possibility of using REACH with an email system, so that email alerts can be sent to parents instead of or in addition to the automated phone messages received.

Halloween Parade:

Dr. Furjes stated that this will be the final year for the Halloween Parade at Avery.  The cancellation is due to the fact that there are some students and their families who do not participate in the parade due to personal reasons (religious and otherwise).  Dr. Furjes stated that it was not right that these students are missing out on academic time because their parents are removing them from the school during the Halloween festivities.

After the membership present voiced concerns over the fact that a standing tradition at Avery was being cancelled, Dr. Furjes agreed to entertain alternatives.  Among the alternatives suggested was moving the parade to after the classroom parties, rather than having it before, so that children who did not want to participate in the parade could be dismissed without missing too much school.

Dr. Furjes is open to any/all alternatives.  Please contact him directly (not the PTO) if you would like to discuss this further, or have an alternative to suggest.

Back to School Picnic:

Christopher Wright and Scott Campbell, chairs for the Back To School Picnic, were present.  A call for volunteers was voiced.   This year’s picnic is to be held at Blackburn Park from 11-2 on August 29th.  Accident in the Lab will be playing from 12-2.

Technology Funds:

Dr. Furjes presented an itemized statement to the PTO for technology items for the school.  The money he receives from the District is not enough to cover these expenses, and he asked the PTO to release some of its funds to be used for these technology items.  A list of the technology items for which the money was requested can be found on the PTO website.  This list includes items such as SmartBoards for several more classrooms.

The proposed amounts to be paid from the PTO funds were:  (1) $3,103.88 from the PTO checking account – which would bring the balance down to $5,000; and (2) $6,554.10 from the PTO money market account, which would bring the balance down to $10,000.  The total payout to be used for the technology items was $9,657.98.

It was discussed among the membership that the purpose of the PTO was not to raise money to hoard money, but rather to raise money and pay the funds out in order to benefit our children.  No large expenditures were made last year, and no other requests for large sums of money have been made of the PTO.

It was discussed that over the past year, the balances of the bank accounts has not fluctuated much, due to the fact that the annual PTO fundraisers and events have raised enough money to cover the PTO’s annual expenses.  We have no reason to expect that this year will be any different.

The idea was presented from several members of the general membership that perhaps the PTO could pay out more than the proposed amounts.  Due to the fact that it was still early in the year, it was agreed that paying out more funds should be tabled until the March meeting, after we have a better idea of how much money PTO fundraisers like the Fall Festival and Auction/Trivia Night have made for the PTO.  At that meeting, we will address the possibility of paying more money out to be used by Dr. Furjes for his requested technology items.

The vote on the proposed distributions from the checking and money market accounts was then put to a vote.  Both were unanimously approved.

Next PTO Meeting:

The next PTO meeting will be held on Tuesday, November 3rd at 7:00 p.m.  Childcare will be provided, courtesy of the PTO.





Tuesday, May 12, 2009; 7:00 p.m.

The meeting was called to order by PTO President Paul Winkelmann, and all guests were welcomed to the fourth and final meeting of the year. Linda Fasterling was present as a faculty representative.

Treasurer’s Report:

The approximate current bank balances for the PTO accounts are as follows:

$8,700 in Commerce checking account; and

$16,500 in Commerce money market account

The bill for the REACH system next year is approximately $1,200. That is up several hundred dollars from last year. The cost of the REACH system is based on a per child basis.

The PTO is interested in using the REACH system to notify/remind parents of PTO events in the future.

Secretary’s Report:

At this time, all committee chair positions for the 2009-2010 school year have been filled. Thank you to all the parents who volunteered!

We are still looking for volunteers to assist with all of the PTO events throughout the year. If you are interested, please let Paul Winkelmann know, or watch for the sign-up sheets available at the Open House next fall.

Family Wellness Night:

Linda Fasterling presented the idea of hosting a family wellness night in the Avery gym that would be open to every family (parents must attend with their children). Ideas of things to include are: bike helmet safety; Zumba class for kids and their parents; information on exercise programs for children elementary age children.

Parent volunteers would be recruited, and the event would take place, likely during the late winter/early spring on a school night.

This idea was met with approval, and Mrs. Fasterling will be working on putting this together for next year. If you are interested in helping, please contact Mrs. Fasterling directly.

State of PTO Closet:

Vicki Conerly was present to report that the PTO closet is ridden with mice and bugs. Many supplies related to food service (paper plates, plastic utensils, etc.) had to be thrown away. In future, any food or food-related service items need to be stored in plastic bags before being placed on the closet shelves.

Additionally, a co-axial cable from Steger is missing after Razzmatazz. It was moved, and approved, that the PTO buy a replacement cable.

Further, the WGHS has purchased a new spotlight. It was moved and approved that Vicki Conerly would purchase the high school’s old spotlight on behalf of the PTO for $150-$200. This spotlight would then be available for use at all PTO functions, including the Avery Play and Razzmatazz.

Acoustic Tiles in Gym:

The issue was raised that the acoustic tiles in the gym need some work – it is very difficult to hear during programs held in the gym. This issue will be directed to the School Board, as there may be federal money available in the School Recoveries Act that might be able to be used for this purpose.

PTO By-Law Revisions:

The Revised PTO By-Laws were reviewed by the General Membership present at the meeting, and approved by a unanimous vote.

Principal’s Report:

Mark Barbre will be joining the Avery staff as a fourth grade teacher to balance class size. Welcome, Mr. Barbre!

The canned food drive has been very successful, and will continue through next week. Thank you Jennifer Moorehouse for the wonderful idea!

At the close of Dr. Furjes’ remarks, the meeting was adjourned.






Tuesday, March 3, 2008; 7:00 p.m.

The meeting was called to order by PTO President Paul Winkelmann, and all guests were welcomed to the third meeting of the year. Mr. Devlin, fourth grade teacher, was present, and welcomed as a faculty representative.

Treasurer’s Report:

Final numbers from the Fall Festival are in. This year’s event netted $5,420. Last year the net income from this fundraiser was $4,000.

The final numbers from the Fall Fundraiser show a profit of $8,660.

Final numbers from the Auction/Trivia Night show a profit of $12,054.

The PTO currently has approximately $16,000 in the Money Market account and $24,000 in the Commerce checking account.

Secretary’s Report:

We are currently working on filling committee chair positions for next year’s event. The Executive Committee has proposed that in the event that no parent volunteers step forward to help with open events/committees by the end of the school year (June 2nd), cancellation of that particular event/committee will be considered. The Committee suggested that for most events, we could leave it open for up to a month prior to the event, but for some of the larger events and in certain circumstances, an earlier cut-off date will need to implemented.

The Executive Committee recognizes and regrets that this may disappoint the students. However, some of the larger events that remain open at this time require extensive planning and volunteers. Logistically speaking, in most cases it is just not possible to get a group together a week before an event and pull it off, particularly a large event like the Fall Festival.

Additionally, the membership present at the meeting acknowledged that the same core group of parents is volunteering for events/fundraisers and are being used as last minute fill-ins for events/fundraisers where no one else volunteers. This leads to burn-out for these people who are constantly volunteering. Ideally, we would like to keep all of our volunteers happy and coming back each year, and spread the volunteering spirit past this core group of individuals. Ideas on how to do this are appreciated.

The events, which at this time, have open committee positions are:

  • Fall Festival (October, 2009) This includes the 5th Grade Haunted House.

  • Beautification – responsible for recruiting volunteers to help keep Avery looking great – inside and out.

  • Bulletin Boards – responsible for decorating the PTO bulletin boards to coincide with monthly or event themes.

  • Childcare – responsible for recruiting parents to provide childcare during teacher conferences, PTO meetings or Community Connection meetings.

  • Safety – meet with the administration to establish and resolve safety issues regarding our students.

  • Staff Appreciation Dinners – recruit parents to make food for teachers during conference, and coordinate delivery/service of same.

  • Staff Appreciation Week – recruit volunteers to assist with staff-related events during Staff Appreciation Week in the spring.

The possibility of recruiting volunteers during parent/teacher conference week was raised. It was proposed that sign up sheets be set out, with a sign of some sort notifying parents of the need for volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering for any of these committees, please let Paul Winkelmann know.

Upcoming Events:

The Avery Play and Razzmatazz still need volunteers. If you are interested, please contact Terri Thompson (thompsonmlt@sbcglobal.net) and Stacy Bacilek (stacy.bacilek@purina.nestle.com) respectively.

It was also suggested that the PTO starts using the REACH system to send reminders to parents about upcoming PTO events.

Canned Food Drive:

Jennifer Moorehouse presented the possibility of doing a canned food drive to benefit the Avery and surrounding community. The idea was very well received by the PTO membership present at the meeting. Donations received will be given to the Webster Rock Hill Ministries, which serves the Webster Groves and Rockhill communities.

The possibility was discussed that we collect canned items for the period of one week, with tallies being kept for each grade/classroom. Dr. Furjes will promote the food drive during the morning meeting with donation boxes for each grade being present in the Multi Purpose Room foyer for easy access during drop-off in the morning. At the end of the week, the grade with the highest donation level will win some sort of “party” or treat. Dr. Furjes will be contacting the teachers about this. Any ideas should be directed to Jennifer Moorehouse.

Ice-Cream Social: Sheila Burkett, chairperson of the Welcoming Committee, is interested in that committee hosting an Ice-Cream social before school starts next Fall. This event would be an opportunity for students to meet their teachers before the first day of school, and also to socialize with their peers. It was suggested that this event take place on the Thursday evening before school starts, at Avery. Any with ideas or interested in volunteering to help with the planning of this event should contact Sheila.

Principal’s Report:

Kindergarten Registration: March 2nd marked the first day of kindergarten registration. The administration projected 78 kindergarteners in all. On March 2nd, 72 kindergartners were registered. Traditionally, the administration receives registration for approximately 20-25 more over the summer. If that is the case this year, the administration will be forced (due to space and faculty issues) to limit enrollment to only those children within Avery’s boundaries.

There are 91 projected 4th graders. The 5th Grade is the only grade that will stay with 3 sections, all others will have 4 sections.

Math Jam is coming up again on 3/10/09 after school. This is designed for children in third through fifth grade and is a parent/child event. At this event, there will be a basketball game between the staff and the 5th graders. Childcare will be provided.

Russ Carnahan visited our school due to his interest in the social justice work Avery is doing. He was very impressed with our students!

Construction: This summer, the downstairs bathrooms, as well as those in the cafeteria, will be re-done and updated. That is the only project on tap.

The next PTO meeting will be held Tuesday, May 12th at 7:00 pm.




Tuesday, November 25, 2008; 7:00 p.m.

The meeting was called to order by PTO President Paul Winkelmann, and all guests were welcomed to the second meeting of the year.

Fall Festival:

Right now, the books show that the Fall Festival netted approximately $5.400. Last year the net income from this fundraiser was $4,000.

The current committee responsible for planning the Fall Festival is retiring this year. The PTO is looking for people interested in chairing this event or working on the committee next year. Please contact Paul Winkelmann if you are interested.

Scholastic Book Fair:

This year’s book fair was very successful. Right now, the working budget shows approximately $3,900. However, we are still waiting for some expenses to be paid out, namely the invoice for the purchase of all of the books that were sold. We expect the book fair to net approximately one-half of the $3,900 showing once all expenses are paid out.

Auction & Trivia Night:

The Auction & Trivia Night was a huge success. The working budget shows income of $8,936, but this does not reflect table registrations received before the event date, nor does it reflect credit card purchases made at the event. When the credit card purchases show up on the school district’s statement in December, the district will write a check to the PTO. Once all of the income is recorded in the working budget, the event is on track to net approximately $12,000.

Shannon Wright will be chairing the event again next year. An event date of Saturday, November 21, 2009 has been set, and we will be using the Cardinal Rigali Center as a venue again. Anyone interested in working on the event planning or auction acquisitions, please contact Shannon Wright.

Fall Fundraiser:

The Fall Fundraiser is on track to net approximately $5,000. Again, the working budget currently shows $8,660.95 as actual income, but there are considerable expenses yet to be paid (namely, the cost of the items sold).

The membership-at-large requested that from this point forward, the “expenses” on the budget reflect the cost of the items sold. A concern was raised that the way the current working budget is set forth could lead to confusion among the membership regarding the actual income expected from events where the purchase of items sold is not reflected in the expense column. It was agreed that the working budget “expense” figures would be changed to reflect the cost of items sold.

The overall net income from the Fall Fundraiser has been steadily declining over the past several years. It was raised that perhaps it was time to do something different for a fall fundraiser, or perhaps scrap the fall fundraiser altogether. It was raised that perhaps we needed to sell a new product or look at different companies that offer a different selection of items to sell.

The PTO will be approaching Phil Cryer about conducting a survey through the website regarding what items the membership-at-large has an interest in selling for the Fall Fundraiser.

Chaney Hagemann and Stephanie Rhea agreed to co-chair the Fall Fundraiser for the 2009-2010 school year.

McDonald’s Night

The first McDonald’s Night was a success, generating approximately $300 of income for the PTO. Claire Frey, chair of the event, stated that there needs to be more advertisement of the event beforehand. It was discussed that a half-sheet should go home in backpack mail the week before the event, to alert parents to the event date.

Claire reported that it has been difficult generating any interest among the Old Orchard restaurants to do an “Old Orchard Night” as opposed to only a “McDonald’s Night.” She is still trying to get some restaurants on board, namely Weber’s Front Row Grill.

The PTO will be trying a fundraiser through California Pizza Kitchen at the Galleria Mall – date TBD. A flyer will go out in the backpack mail regarding the event. On the determined event date, when a family dines at CPK and presents the flyer, Avery will receive 20% of the tab.

Night Out With Accident in the Lab:

The event will take place March 7, 2009 at Llewelyn’s Pub in Old Webster. The PTO is still determining whether to pre-sell tickets to the event, or just collect a cover charge at the door. Any money generated through either of these methods goes directly to the PTO.

Other Possible Fundraisers:

The possibility of working a concession stand at one of the professional sports venues was raised. While this would be a good way to generate income for the PTO, it would also be very labor- and time-intensive, as we would be required to work many games over the course of the season.

The possibility of collecting recipes and compiling an Avery cookbook was presented. Shannon Wright will be collecting recipes in January and early-February to be compiled in a soft-back cookbook. This cookbook will be pre-sold only, and any profit made from the sale of these cookbooks will go directly to the Teacher’s Fund to be divided equally among the teachers.


Ellen Keller reported that the eScript figure was ahead of last year’s. Continue to use your eScript card – this is “free” money for the school.

Technology/Communication Fund:

Paul Winkelmann stated that the cost of the REACH system (the telephone calling system used to notify parents of snow days, etc.) has increased considerably over what we paid last year. It was suggested that this figure might include outstanding charges from last year. The matter was tabled until it can be determined if the current charges are for this year only, or include charges yet unpaid from last year.

A question was raised about a $400 bill for batteries presented to the PTO for allocation to the Communication Fund. Dr. Furjes clarified that these batteries were for the walkie-talkies, all of which have three-year batteries, all of which expired this year. These walkie-talkies are necessary for playground supervision during recess.

Membership Issues:

A flyer has been handed out in front of the school claiming that the school’s math program was insufficient. Dr. Furjes explained that a committee of approximately 50 people has been looking at our district’s math program and comparing/contrasting with math programs throughout the St. Louis area and the country. Our school’s math program is NOT insufficient, but the committee is looking at changing the current curriculum to include not only an “everyday math program” but also an “investigations” segment which teaches the children to approach math problems in a different way.

Additionally, an issue has been raised about the level of mulch on the playground. Dr. Furjes explained that this was not a budgeting issue – the school district pays for the mulch. The issue is that our playground is going to be torn up over the summer to address drainage issues. Any new mulch added to the playground will just be wasted once the playground is torn up. The playground is constantly evaluated for safety, and the level of mulch on the playground is at a safe level.

Principal’s Report:

Dr. Furjes presented several upcoming events to the membership-at-large:

On Thursday, December 11th, Avery will hold a kid-friendly and parent-friendly “Math Jam” that reinforces that learning math is fun. The children participating will stay after school, and beginning at 3:15, fun events will take place in the multi-purpose room (including Dr. Furjes on roller skates). Parents will arrive between 4 and 4:15, and proceed to the classrooms with their children. There, they will be instructed as to what questions to ask their children when they are working on their homework and how to make working on math homework more enjoyable for their children. All parents are encouraged to attend this event.

The next Community Connection meeting will be Tuesday, December 2nd at 7:00 pm. The focus will be issues related to the recent presidential election. Childcare will be provided.

On December 4th, the students will have early dismissal but the teachers and staff will stay at school to watch a focus group of fifteen diverse Webster Groves High School students talking about social justice.

The next PTO meeting will be Tuesday, March 9, 2009 at 7:00 pm.




Tuesday, September 9, 2008; 7:00 p.m.

The meeting was called to order by immediate past Co-President Deni Fuller, and all guests were welcomed to the first meeting of the year.  The 2008-2009 Executive Committee members were introduced:

President:  Paul Winkelmann

Vice-President:  Scott Campbell

Recording Secretary:  Shannon Wright

Treasurer:  Melissa Hartrich

Auditor/Corresponding Secretary:  Claire Frye

A motion was made to approve their appointment as the 2008-2009 Executive Committee members, said motion was approved by the PTO members present, and the ceremonial gavel was passed from Deni Fuller to Paul Winkelmann.

Boy Scouts:

John Christenson with the Boy Scouts was present and publicly thanked the PTO and Avery Community in general for their continued support of the Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts and Adventure Club.

Webster Groves School District Foundation:

Jerry Pinkner was present and provided information regarding the WGSD Foundation and its purpose.  The WGSD Foundation is independent of the school district, and its purpose is to collect money and give it back to the school district.  The WGSD Foundation assists teachers in writing grants requesting money that goes right back to the teachers.

The WGSD Foundation has several upcoming fundraisers:

    • The Ivory Crockett Run 4 Webster;
    • Food 4 Thought at Cyranno’s; and
    • Annual Fund drive around Christmas, where people can give donations in a teacher’s name.

Information regarding the WGSD Foundation and its fundraisers was available at the meeting.  Contact Jerry Pinkner if you have questions or are interested in volunteering.

Special School District:

Lisa Liss, the SSD liaison, introduced herself and gave an overview of the services provided by the SSD.  Watch the Baseline News for more information.

2008-2009 Budget:

The 2008-2009 was presented by Melissa Hartrich for review, discussion and questions.

There was one new item added to the budget from last year:  childcare expenses.  Beautification was put back in the budget after being removed last year due to construction.

The category named “Communication” includes the REACH automated phone tree, and the cost to update the REACH system each year.

A note was made that the cash balances reflected $3,000 that was ear-marked for the payment of a potential tax issue that arose last year.  The tax issue never materialized, so the ear-mark has been removed.

With respect to the 5th Grade Party and Camp Wyman, the dollar amount was not increased from last year.  Members were urged to keep this in perspective, as there are fewer 5th graders this year and the dollar amount per capita is actually increasing.  Additionally, 5th Graders are responsible for the Haunted House at the Fall Festival, the proceeds of which are applied directly to the expenses of the 5th Grade Party.

A copy of the definitions of each category will be posted in the office and on the PTO website.

By-Law Revision:

The old PTO By-Laws have been revised, and a proposed version will be posted on the website and made available in the office for those without web access.  The proposed changes will be discussed at the November meeting.

A special thank you to Cheri, Yael and their By-Law Revision Committee for all their time and hard work.


There are currently 29 PTO committees, many of which still need help.  Each committee sign-up sheet includes a general definition of what is involved with each committee and an estimate of the time involved.

It was suggested that the eScript and/or Box Tops committees have a competition among the grades to see which grade could earn the most money for Avery using these tools.

It was also suggested that the PTO engage a focus group on funding with the purpose of increasing out-of-pocket monetary donations directly to the PTO.  People were also reminded to check with employers, as some employers match donations made to certain organizations.   The use of a Teacher Connection Fund was also presented, wherein teachers would create a wish list of items, directly toward which parents would make monetary donations.   Ultimately, it was agreed that this issue should be discussed and clarified by the Executive Committee before presenting it to the membership at large for general discussion.

Principal’s Report:

Dr. Furjes thanked head custodian Lester Jones for his hard work over the summer in getting Avery ready to open on the first day of school.   It was suggested by the PTO membership that a special gift for Lester for all his hard work might be warranted.

The morning student community meetings prior to starting class are going well.  Eventually, we may see a school television station produced “by kids, for kids.”

Dr. Furjes noted that our office finally looks out directly to the front door of the school.  Sitting at the front desk are both Lori Medlin, school secretary, and Treniece King.  Welcome to both.  The front door remains open during the school day, and all visitors need to check in with the office.  The side doors are locked from 8:45 am – 2:45 pm.

The following fundraisers are principal fundraisers:  Entertainment Books, Papa John Pizza Nights, and Target cards.   The money raised from these fundraisers is not a “slush fund” for Dr. Furjes.  Rather the money is transferred to an Avery “Activity Fund” that is housed at WG High School.  Dr. Furjes then requests money from the Activity Fund be distributed as determined in his discretion.  All of the proposed distributions must be justified and are meticulously accounted for.

Calendar Issues:

September 11, 2008 – Response to Intervention, which establishes an achievement baseline for kids in certain school subjects.  This helps determine which children may need more help in certain subjects.

September 13, 2008 – Back-to-School Picnic at Shrewsbury Park.  Ivory Crockett Park was already booked on this date, so the picnic was moved to Shrewsbury Park.  We still need lots of volunteers for this event.

September 19, 2008 – Picture Day.  Pictures will take place before lunch.

September 24, 2008 – Breakfast of Leaders.  This honors area leaders, business owners, pastors, etc. at our school.  This is part of Avery’s Community Connection, and the purpose of which is to allow our students to honor a group of deserving people who may not have been otherwise honored by their community.

We still need district level representatives to meet with other district members and aid in evaluating the math and music curriculum at district schools.

A focus group met on September 8th with respect to finding a new superintendant.  A survey of important qualifications is available online at the district’s web-site.  The field should be narrowed sometime in October, and it is the district’s intention to have a new superintendant named in December.

The school year’s first Community Connection meeting will be on October 7, 2008.


A motion was made to approve the 2008-2009 Budget, as written, and said motion was approved by a majority of the members present.

A motion was made that the $3,000 previously ear-marked for the potential tax issue be contributed to the Computer Lab Fund, and said motion was approved by a majority of the members present.

After noting that the next PTO meeting will be Tuesday, November 25, 2008 at 7:00 pm, the meeting was adjourned.





Wednesday, August 20, 2008; 7:00 p.m.

Members present:  Immediate past PTO Co-Presidents, Deni Fuller and Ellen Keller and the following 2008-2009 PTO Executive Committee (the “Committee” members:  Co-Presidents Scott Campbell and Paul Winkelmann, Secretary Shannon Wright and Treasurer Melissa Hartrich.

The meeting was called to order by PTO co-president Paul Winkelmann, with the sole purpose of establishing an Avery PTO operating budget for the 2008-2009 school year.  Said budget will be presented to the Avery PTO membership-at-large for approval at the first meeting set for Tuesday, September 9, 2008 at 7:00 p.m. in the Avery Elementary multi-purpose room.

Initially, the dates for the four PTO meetings were confirmed by the PTO Co-Presidents.  The dates for these meetings are: Tuesday, September 9, 2008 at 7:00 p.m.; Tuesday, November 25, 2008 at 7:00 p.m.; Tuesday, March 3, 2009 at 7:00 p.m.; and Tuesday May 12, 2009 at 7:00 p.m.  Unless another location is stated, these meetings will take place in the multi-purpose room at Avery Elementary.

A proposed revision of the PTO’s constitution and by-laws was circulated among the Committee members for their review.  The Committee anticipates presenting these proposed revisions to the PTO membership-at-large for its approval at the November PTO meeting.

The Committee then turned to the issue of establishing a proposed PTO budget for the 2008-2009 school year.  The initial starting balance of the PTO’s checking account is $4,980.43; the starting balance of the PTO’s money market account is $16,520.97.  Three thousand of these dollars were ear-marked for the payment of a potential IRS liability that arose during the 2007-2008 school year, which never materialized.  Therefore, the PTO is considering contributing this money to the Avery Computer Lab fund.

The proposed expenditures for the 2008-2009 were set as follows:

  • $200 for PTO supplies (including things such as postage, checks, state registration fees);
  • $3,400 for school assemblies and art activities that provide enrichment for the entire Avery student body;
  • $4,500 to be used to offset the Camp Wyman costs for all Avery fifth graders and to provide scholarships for camp expenses to fifth graders as needed;
  • $150 to be used to pay $10.00 per hour for two hour shifts, five times a year to an Adventure Club employee who will assist in supervising children at PTO-offered childcare during certain school events.  A sandwich and a drink, at a total cost of $7.50 for each of the five evenings, will also be provided;
  • $400 to be used by school clubs for expenses such as application fees, etc.;
  • $600 to be used toward the annual renewal fee regarding the REACH system (telephone system used during bad weather to notify of school closings);
  • $1,300 to be used toward the copier expenses related to the Baseline News and other PTO-related copying needs;
  • $350 to be split equally among Avery’s custodians for Custodian Appreciation Day, recognizing their contributions to Avery;
  • $2,400 to be divided among all grades to help with expenses associated with class fieldtrips; including transportation costs and admission fees;
  • $500 to be applied to the cost of the Fifth Grade party, and it was noted that the Fifth Graders could perhaps work to fund a portion of their party this year with a fifth-grade fundraiser;
  • $200 as the Avery PTO’s contribution to the Webster Groves School District Foundation;
  • $200 toward the upkeep of the memorial/acknowledgment area around the flag pole;
  • $1,380 to underwrite class parties throughout the school year, paying each classroom $15 per party;
  • $600 to fund Staff Appreciation Week activities and Staff Appreciation dinners;
  • $6,420 to be distributed equally to the Avery teachers to be spent on classroom activities and supplies, determined in the recipient teacher’s discretion;
  • $2,000 as the Avery PTO’s contribution toward the maintenance of the school’s technology resources; and
  • $300 to be used at the discretion of the Beautification Committee to maintain the exterior school landscaping.

The total proposed PTO expenditures for the 2008-2009 school year are $24,900.

With regard to PTO events during the 2008-2009 school year:

  • It is anticipated that the Avery Play will generate $1,500 of income with $1,100 in expenses for a net income of $400.
  • It is anticipated that the Avery Bingo Night will generate no income, and will cost $200 for a net expense of $200.
  • It is anticipated that The Blacktop Ball will generate $2,750 of income with $2,100 in expenses resulting in a net income of $650.
  • It is anticipated that the Avery Buzz Book will generate $1,400 in income, and cost $600 to produce, for a net income of $800.
  • It is anticipated that the Community Connection meetings will not generate any income and will cost the PTO $2,000 for a net expense of $2,000.
  • It is anticipated that the Fall Festival will generate $7,500 in income and will cost the PTO $3,000, for net income of $4,500.
  • It is anticipated that the Back To School Picnic will cost the PTO $500 while generating no income, for a net expense of $500.
  • It is anticipated that Razzmatazz will generate $1,000 in income and cost $400 to produce, for net income of $400.

The total anticipated income generated from the above Avery events is $14,150; the total anticipated expenses associated with the above Avery events is $10,100 resulting in a net income of $4,050.

With regard to PTO fundraisers for the 2008-2009 school year:

  • It is anticipated that the Avery Auction/Trivia Night will generate $13,000 in income with $3,000 in expenses, resulting in a net income of $10,000.
  • It is anticipated that Night Out with Accident in the Lab will generate $1,000 with no expenses for a net income of $1.000.
  • It is anticipated that the fall Scholastic Book Fair will generate $3,900 in income with $2,100 in expenses resulting in a net income of $1,800.
  • It is anticipated that BoxTops for Education will generate $950 in income with $50 in expenses, resulting in a net income of $900;
  • It is anticipated that the PTO will receive $100 in miscellaneous donations.
  • It is anticipated that the e-Scrip cards will generate $3,100 in income, with $100 in expenses (providing four $25 gift cards to be raffled among e-Scrip users on a quarterly basis) for a net income of $3,000.
  • It is anticipated that the Fall Gift Wrap Sale will generate $7,250 in income with $250 in expenses for a net income of $7,000.
  • It is anticipated that McDonald’s / Old Orchard Nights will generate $600 in income with no expenses for a net income of $600.

It should be noted that the following fundraisers are not PTO fundraisers, but rather directly fund the Principal’s Discretionary Fund:  Entertainment Books; Papa John’s Pizza Night; and money from the Target cards.  None of the funds from these fundraisers are co-mingled with PTO funds, and the PTO has no input on how these funds are used.

The total anticipated income from the 2008-2009 school fundraisers is $29,900.  The total anticipated expenses of the 2008-2009 school fundraisers is $5,500.  The anticipated net income from the 2008-2009 school fundraisers is $24,400.

There are several “accommodation transactions” recorded on the proposed 2008-2009 PTO budget.  These transactions generate expenses equal to the income they create, resulting in a financial “wash” to the PTO.  The accommodation transactions proposed on the 2008-2009 PTO Budget are:  the spring BOGO Book Fair; the Fifth Grade Buddy t-shirts; the School Tool Boxes; and the Avery Yearbooks.

The grand total of the income anticipated by the PTO during the 2008-2009 is $44,050, and the grand total of the expenses expected during the 2008-2009 school year is $40,500, resulting in a grand net income of $3,550.

After agreeing that the 2008-2009 proposed budget was complete, accurate and ready to be presented to the PTO community-at-large for approval, the meeting was adjourned.





The meeting was called to order and all present were welcomed.  The unfortunate conflict with the 4th grade music program was acknowledged and it was understood that most 4th grade parents were unable to attend.

Special School District Inter-District Parent Advisory Council (SSD-IPAC)

 The Webster Groves School District representative on this council was introduced; she is also an Avery parent.  She asked that parents contact her if they need more information or have questions about Special School District and its services.  This council has meetings at the SSD offices the third Wednesday of every month that are open to the public.  The principal stated that 30% of students at Avery receive special school district services.

This council is supporting a national movement called People First Language within the schools, the goal of which is to refer to the person first and the disability second.  A flyer describing the People First movement and examples of language guidelines was distributed.  Information from the SSD-IPAC will be going home to all Avery students in the near future.

New Avery PTO Website:  www.averypto.org

There is a new Avery PTO website.  It contains basic PTO information and is still in the development stages. The site is being undertaken by an Avery parent volunteer.  He stated he would be open to ideas and suggestions for improvements and additions to the site.  Currently the site has a calendar or events, announcements, meeting minutes, and eScrip information.  You can subscribe to the site and receive an automatic e-mail whenever the site is updated.

There is also an e-mail list created by Avery parents, to which parents can subscribe.  Information and subscription instructions can be found on the Avery Parents site. This e-mail list has no connection to Avery PTO.

National City Bank Turkey Day Promotion

 National City Bank is holding a promotion to benefit Webster Groves School District Foundation and Kirkwood Schools.    Each school will get points for new bank accounts opened at their WG and Kirkwood locations.  $5,000 will be donated to the school with the most points.  The second place school district will receive $2500.  Those opening new accounts will get a free Turkey Day commemorative fleece blanket.

Hixson House Tour, Sunday December 2nd

 The Hixson PTO house tour fundraiser will be held Sunday December 2nd. Tickets can be purchased in the Avery office.  Avery will get $2.00 for each ticket sold from our office.


 The treasurer’s report was given.  Copies of the report and the 2007/08 budget were handed out. Fall Festival exceeded income expectations, but also had some greater costs due to the use of Steger, such as paying overtime to the Steger custodians, hiring security, paying for county inspections for the rides (bounce house and slide) and new equipment needed to meet inspection requirements.

    The fall fundraiser (gift wrap sales) has so far grossed about $16,000.  However, the gift wrap has not yet been

paid for (this is the reason for the artificially high account balance in the checking account).  Net proceeds are expected to be approximately $6000.

Fifth Grade Party Funds

The PTO informed those present that in past years there has been a 5th grade party planned by 5th grade parents and supported by PTO funds, as an item in the PTO budget.  Last year the 5th grade used the funds ($545 from the PTO) for a trip to the City Museum.  This year during the budget process it was decided, by the PTO Executive Board,   that funding for the 5th grade end of the year party would be eliminated.  Many reasons for this decision were raised that were outlined in a letter to 5th grade parents in October.  Briefly, budget concerns were noted,1) stemming from current construction at Avery, likely to have an affect on the outcome of Fall Festival, 2) new leadership on the Auction committee, and 3) the change from Scrip to eScrip.  4) It was also felt that use of PTO funds to benefit one Avery subgroup, may be seen as a skewed distribution of funds, especially considering the large portion of PTO funds that goes to help offset costs of the Camp Wyman experience for 5th grade students. 5) Additionally, it was thought that having 5th graders raise funds for their party would give them more ownership, meaning and pride surrounding it.

This budget was taken to the general PTO membership at the first PTO meeting in September, was voted on, and approved.   It was noted, however, that last year’s budget was not made available at the vote, nor was it communicated to 5th grade parents, that the funds were being eliminated from this year’s budget.  As a result, many were not aware that the funds were eliminated, prior to budget approval.

A number of fifth grade parents have raised concern over removal of the funds from the PTO budget, and the process that was undertaken to do so, and would like the decision to be reviewed.   One attendee submitted a petition for a special PTO meeting to be held to address this issue.  There was some discussion whether this petition requires the meeting to be held within the next two weeks. Another attendee proposed that proceeds from the Haunted House be used for a celebration, since 5th graders themselves are involved in this undertaking.

It was announced that there is currently a meeting of concerned fifth grade parents (present and future) scheduled for next Tuesday, November 20th, to discuss the fifth grade party funds issue.  This meeting had been scheduled for an earlier date, and then postponed, due to the organizer’s illness.

The principal and PTO officers will meet to form a resolution, and if necessary, will schedule a special PTO meeting.  If a special meeting is scheduled, it will be announced by week’s end.

Fall Fundraiser – The Mr. Z’s Gift Wrap sales participation increased over last year, however total sales were down. Water bottles given to those who participated, received positive remarks, as did the lack of incentive prizes. Many heard remarks that people wished that we had sold Sally Foster products.
Back to School Picnic – A success.  The picnic brought out a lot of Avery families from the Bell Park neighborhood, which has been a goal for the past few years.

Fall Festival – The festival was a great success and all comments have been positive.  The Treasurer’s Report reflects that it netted $6532.00.  The income was greater but this festival had more expenses due to holding the event at Steger.

Buzz Books – The Buzz Book committee chairman is looking for feedback on how to improve the format and content. There are some Buzz Books left to sell in the office.  An attendee asked if e-mail addresses could be included in the future.
McDonald’s Night – The first McDonald’s night, of this school year resulted in $370 income.  The next McDonald’s night will be in February.  An attendee asked whether there has been any discussion on looking into other fundraisers using local restaurants, maybe healthier options.  The PTO responded that this has been brought up, and would welcome people exploring other options for fundraisers.

Staff Appreciation Dinner – Over 32 Avery families contributed to the meal for Avery staff, during parent-teacher conferences.  As always, this was greatly appreciated by staff members.

Scholastic Book Fair – Sales were decreased from last year.  The Book Fair net income was $1815, which was less than budgeted.  There were however, more purchases made than last year, but the purchases were in smaller amounts.
Night Out with the Avery Play Band – This was a successful and fun event for Avery Parents.  Space for the event was donated by Weber’s Grill and music was provided by “Accident in the Lab”.  The event brought in $1071 for the PTO.

PTO Childcare – The PTO still needs volunteers to staff childcare during meetings.  The PTO asked that if you use childcare, to please volunteer at least once, to help with childcare during a meeting.
Arts Partners – This month the school had a presentation of “Music Traditions from the Middle East” and on January 10th, the “Spoon Man” is scheduled to do a presentation on respecting yourself and others.   Parents are welcome to attend the assemblies.

Avery Auction – The committee reported that it was on track getting donations, but can always use more.  They need help with set-up, clean-up, bartenders and runners during the event on Dec. 7th.  November 30th is the deadline for buying advanced tickets.
Trivia Night – The PTO is planning for a trivia night in February 2008 and the committee is currently checking into possible locations.

Bingo Night – PTO would like to plan a no-cost family event, such as a Bingo Night, but is looking for a committee chair.  Another option was a Get Movin’ Night.

Avery Play – The play is planned for March 2008.  This will be the 59th year that Avery parents and staff have put on a play.  The play is currently being written and readings will begin in January 2008.  As always, the committee is looking for cast and crew members.
 Multi-purpose building construction is ahead of schedule.  The glaziers are almost finished with glass work, and drywall work is almost complete.

 Playground safety concerns have resulted in some indoor recesses, as all blacktop area on the playground is temporarily unavailable, due to construction.  Some of the older classes have been walking to Barnickle or Margaret Parks.  There is plentiful staff supervision on the walks, and these recesses are slightly lengthened to accommodate walking time.

 The principal stated that he has faith that the Avery parents will come to a rational solution for the fifth grade party funds issue.  He thanked the PTO presidents for their efforts and time spent on this issue.

The principal also noted that the new report cards and conferences were a huge success.  It was a huge undertaking to change report cards, but comments have been positive from teachers and parents.
It was noted that shrubs, plants and bulbs are being trampled, due to dismissal of everyone through the front doors.  It would be desirable to keep students out of those areas.  Signs or temporary fencing was suggested.

Avery Elementary PTO Meeting Minutes
September 11, 2007
Avery Gym

The meeting was opened by the last year’s Avery PTO President. Officer introductions were made, including the 2007-08 Avery PTO Co-Presidents, Recording Secretary, and Auditor. Opening welcome statements were made. Improved communication was stated as a goal of this year’s PTO, based on a survey of parents and teachers, completed in the 2006-07 school year. Improved communication will be addressed via the following means:

  • Baseline News
  • PTO Website (currently under construction)
  • REACH (phone message system)

Treasurer Report/2007-8 Budget Approval
The proposed 2007-08 PTO budget was reviewed. A question about the absence of money, in the budget, from Papa John’s Nights was raised. It was noted that this money goes to the Principal’s Fund, instead of the PTO. A question regarding the destination of funds from Target Visa cards was raised. It was noted that these funds go to a general activity fund for the school, and not to PTO. A question was raised regarding the need for the considerable balance in the PTO money market account. It was stated that these funds provide a cushion for activities/fundraisers that do not meet budgeted income goals. It was also stated that a portion of the funds in the PTO money market account are currently earmarked for purchase of a portable stage, for the new multipurpose room. The topic of healthier restaurant alternatives and support of small local business, for school fundraisers, was brought to attention. It was noted that this subject warrants further discussion and organization. The 2007-08 Budget was approved by a vote of the PTO members present.

Committee Reports
Box Tops
Money raised by Box Tops has increased in the last 3 years. The use of collection sheets makes the difficult job of counting much easier. More information will be available on the PTO Website

Back to School Picnic
The Back to School Picnic will be this Saturday, September 15 at Ivory Crockett Park from 11:00am to 2:00pm. Please bring a dish to share. There will be food and games.

WGSD Foundation Ivory Crocket Run
The WGSD Foundation is sponsoring a run on Saturday, October 6. Last year Avery had the most students that participated, and won a cash award. This year Ivory Crockett will visit the winning school. The WGSD Foundation is separate from the school district, but directly supports the district by providing grants. Volunteers are needed for the Board and committees.

Boy Scouts
Avery PTO was thanked for their continued support. The Avery PTO holds the Charter for Pack 303.

Projects are on hold due to construction. There is an $800 credit to Avery following removal of trees. Use of this money will be discussed in the spring.
Community Connection

Community Connection is in its 3rd year at Avery, and is supported by PTO funds. There will be four meetings this year. It is a forum lead by two facilitators, to discuss social justice issues. The Breakfast of Leaders will be held at Avery, September 26. Local leaders have been invited and they will be recognized for their support of our children. The first Community Connection meeting will be Tuesday, October 9 in the gym, 6:30-8:00pm with childcare provided.

Gift Wrap Fundraiser (Fall Fundraiser)
Dates for the Gift Wrap Fundraiser are September 13 to September 28. Packets will come home on Thursday. Each student is encouraged to sell at least one item. All those who participate will receive an Avery All Star water bottle. Donations will also be accepted, and count toward participation.

E-scrip involves signing up for a card to be scanned at Schnucks with each purchase. A percentage of each purchase automatically goes to Avery PTO. Request forms for e-scrip cards were sent home in backpack mail the first week of school, and are now available online on the PTO wesite. 50-60 families have signed up in response. 80 families signed up last year. Please sign up for this easy fundraiser, if you haven’t already. Continued Scrip involvement with other stores was considered, but was deemed not cost effective (Dierbergs, Whole Foods), or not available (Trader Joes).
Fall Festival

Fall Festival will be Friday, October 12 at Steger, due to construction. The 5th grade will also have their haunted house at Steger. An organizational meeting will be held September 19 at 7:00pm in the cafeteria for 5th grade students and parents. Sign up sheets for Fall Festival volunteers are available. A popcorn chair is still needed. Raffle tickets, to sell, will go home September 21.

Staff Appreciation Dinner
Volunteers are needed for the Fall Conference Staff Appreciation Dinner October 29.

Scholastic Book Fair
Volunteers are need for the Book Fair during fall conferences, October 29-30.

Night Out with the Avery Play Band
The four Avery parents that made up at last year’s Avery Spring Play Band have formed their own band, “Accident in the Lab”, and are planning an Avery fundraiser. Weber’s Front Row has donated their facility Friday, November 2 from 9:00pm-1:00am. Accident in the Lab will perform, and all proceeds will go to the Avery PTO. Tickets will be $8 in advance and $10 at the door. Volunteers are needed for this event.

Principal’s Report
A moment of silence was taken to reflect upon how our lives have been affected globally, since the events of September 11, 2001.

Ongoing communication with the construction crew is necessary to maintain security and safety. The hard work and persistence of the crossing guards at Marshall and Kirkham was acknowledged. Large equipment is not in use when students are on school grounds. Background checks on construction workers have been made, and workers are not inside the school when children are present. The multipurpose room is projected to be finished in December

Students are dismissed by grade, with kindergarten dismissed 15 minutes early. Parents were thanked for their help. It was reminded that:

  • Atalanta is not a drop off lane.
  • Arrival should be 8:10-8:15, so that it is not too early for the teachers.

There are two new fifth grade teachers this year. All new aides, except one, are certified teachers. The staff consists of 81 committed individuals.

Future PTO events this calendar year include the Avery Auction in December, as well as a Trivia Night and Family Bingo Night that are in the planning stages for early 2008.

This year’s PTO Corresponding Secretary, was introduced.

Minutes submitted by the PTO Recording Secretary