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SPS Parents' Association

Meeting Minutes

September 20, 2019 // Meeting Minutes

Introductions by co-Presidents: Michele Jensen & Kim Larkin


  • VP Upper School: Jodi Lokoff
  • VP Lower School: Rachel Iannotti
  • VP ECD: Lauren Lipani
  • Secretary: Giulia Sebring
  • Chairs:
    • Harvest Festival: Suzanne O’Brien
    • Teacher Appreciation Program (TAP): Christina Yorkston, Yang Pak & Susan Eizen
    • Scholastic Book Fair: Jodi Lokoff & Kim Larkin
    • Auction: Emily McHose & Lauren Cristella
  • Class Parents

PA Updates:

  • PA Welcome Cocktail Party: great success, a big thank you to Diane for organizing the event
  • SPS school gear: school gear will be available for sale for 3 weeks between 10/7-10/25 (week before and after Spirit Week/Calling of the Colors); link will go out in newsletter (thank you, Liz!)
  • SPS Newsletter: we encourage all parents to always check the newsletter which is emailed out each Thursday at 3pm – information about school events, academic calendar, days off, procedures, etc.
  • Blacktop: a reminder to all not to park in the school lot during pickup and drop-off, for the safety of the children
  • Sibling pick-up courtesy: If you have children in different divisions, you may arrange for your younger child to be dismissed to Aftercare (no charge) and wait to be picked up by the older sibling at the time of their dismissal. Contact Kate Seltzer.
  • Change of date for picture day: dates are Oct 2 and Oct 3
  • Surveys: volunteer survey will be sent out via email; surbey to gauge parent-driven topics of interest for PA meetings are available with Christine Giordano, we encourage any parents interested to fill them out and to please return to Christine.

Admissions Open House, Saturday 10/26 – Sandy Trezza

  • Please feel free to take lawn signs for windows, businesses, yards – they can be found in lobby or with Sandy
  • Tours of the school/admissions process has started already
  • Open House volunteers, Parent Ambassadors will be at Open House; Sandy will conduct a training session. Email has gone out to those signed up. We encourage all parents interested in becoming Parent Ambassadors or Open House volunteers to email Sandy

Harvest Festival, Friday 10/18 – Suzanne O’Brien

  • We are seeking volunteers to organize the bake sale and/or to bake; this year we are bringing back the popular baking contest; information will go out in an email; children get to judge the contest; Harvest Festival will take place on the blacktop; 8th grade, in their school leadership roles, will meet and determine what games, crafts and activities will take place; please feel free to bring forward clever ideas
  • Sign-up sheets will be placed in lobby so parents can volunteer for 45min shifts
  • **RAIN: should it rain, the event will take place at Old Pine Community Center.

TAP update – Christina Yorkston/Yang Pak

There are five events:

  • Breakfast for the teachers (first day of school, and was very much appreciated)
  • Fall theme
  • Valentines day
  • Teacher appreciation lunch
  • Staff appreciation lunch
  • 5$ in funds will come from each individual class fund, and there will also be additional fundraisers

Auction – Emily McHose/Lauren Cristella

  • Auction date & location have been set: the event will take place on April 3rd at Tendenza in Northern Liberties
  • Auction is St. Peter’s School’s biggest fundraiser
  • Work toward the auction has already begun
  • Information will be sent out for committee volunteers: there are many areas in which one can be involved (sponsor solicitation, item solicitation, organization, etc.)
  • Please feel free to reach out to Emily and Lauren if you wish to be involved

Faculty introduction: Briana Mahon, Director of Teaching and Learning

  • Prior to the position, Briana was learning specialist/academic support
  • This year, Briana will be working not just with students but also with teachers, to help them reach their goals, as partner and support system
  • This year the focus is on small group instruction and questioning in the class room
  • Teachers and specialist are now able to differentiate and meet needs of each learner; are able to have flexible student group, which allows children to learn with different peers and to move up and down levels, and interact with different classmates
  • Open-ended questions are being asked in class; teachers and specialist are being very intentional about what questions they ask
  • Another important focus has been on professional development; working on finding workshops, webinars, resources and opportunities for the teachers
  • As well as continuing to work with the students
  • Beth Andaloro is the learning support teacher and will be taking over more specific the one-on-one time with individual students

Closing Remarks from Matt Evans, Head of School

  • Great start to the year – many faculty meetings have taken place during the first three weeks of school, and many teachers benefitted from being able to access their classrooms prior to the school year, so we are looking for way to find a balance next year, when camp is back in session
  • Teachers this year were involved in some great ice breakers and get to know each other activities, and these events have yielded great results in and outside of classrooms; teachers also – like their students – respond well to being engaged; teachers were sent in groups on a scavenger hunt – great way for teachers to get to know each other and have some fun; the process was very intentional – a way of inserting play in the life of the school; research has shown that relationships are built this way, and create an environment that is better apt for learning (showing teachers in a personal way what this could mean if brought/translated to the classrooms)
  • Security update: the school hired a security consultant company to continue to study the school, and conduct training for teachers on safety; there are very structured protocols that would be followed in case of emergency
  • Director of Teaching and Learning is an important figure in a school: able to influence and expertly lead teachers; we have already had great feedback from teachers and administration
  • New shed has been built in the playground for storage and to hold equipment
  • Conversations have been had at length about the value and role of play in a classroom; teachers have been to a conference on play held at the University of the Arts; improvement to learning and for our children to be successful in the classroom; the school would like to continue these discussions and will continue to educate parents
  • Ongoing conversations: being mindful about our city location and resources available for play; homework; aftercare activities; food and food allergies; TALL (afterschool homework club); continued information on security; other topics to be suggested by faculty, parents, administration
  • There has been a lot of ticketing on Lombard so we encourage parents to be aware of the times that are allowed (drop-off, noon pickup, afternoon pickup); we will continue to work with the city
  • Faculty for Speech and OT in hiring process
  • Arts and Appreciation has extended to the Arts department to create many art/theatre/music trips in every grade – most are tied to the curriculum