PTO Meeting Notes

PTO Meeting Notes

Austin Jewish Academy Parent Teacher Organization Meeting

Wednesday,  January 9, 2019

Events happening in the month:

            Winter Wonderland Dance – January 20

            MLK Day – January 21 – Delayed Start @ 8:15


AGENDA – 11 in attendance

·    Room Parents

·    Faculty Lounge / Challah delivery/ Pizza Friday – check in – are all grades covered for their month

  4th – January/ 5th – February/ 6/7th – March/ 8th – April/ Kindergarten

·    Growth Committee Initiatives from AJA Staff

·       Growth Committees identify challenges and work as a team to fix them (ie – maker space, forging relationship with ECP)

·       ECP Relationship – Tacos for teachers; getting together with ECP classes

·       Want other ideas from parents for other areas that need growth/help

·       Parents can join committees

·       Other areas discussed: Marginalizing forms from k-8; communication between school and parents

·       ECP Ideas – invite them to holiday events, include pics and stories in daily email ; outlook articles; joint projects displayed in ECP lobbies ; ECP/AJA parent communications

·       Volunteer Committee – working to improve website w/ volunteer opportunities, have it viewed as calendar; looking at renweb opportunites; for 10 hrs mandatory next year – pink binder with every family page to sign in when volunteering

·       Would be great to have database with parent expertise and interest – google docs

·    Winter Bake Sale Recap

·      Made about $195       

·      Feedback? Suggestions for next time?

·       Kashrut issues – when its something kids can buy on their own, must be Kosher

·       Perhaps a discussion/vote in the future about changing Kashrut rules

·    PTO Dance – January 20, 5-7 pm, CAA – WINTER WONDERLAND

·      Spread the word; ticket purchases available online now  

·      Need volunteers to help out

·      Other Needs?

·       Sell raffle tickets – great prizes : hotel w/ bat watching cruise; much more

·       DJ , Candy bar, dinner, face painting, photo booth

·    Purim School Carnival

·      Date: March 21, 9:30-11am               

·      Need parents to sponsor/ run booths

·       Will have a list of possible booths and get parents/ classes to sponsor

·       Hoping for about 20 booths; whoever sponsors provides materials/prizes/ runs booth

·       Costume contest with ECP before hand

·    PTO Game Night

·      Date: March 24                      

·      Need co-chairs and volunteers

·      Theme, Tickets, Food, Drinks, Entertainment/Games, Decorations

·       MAY NEED TO CHANGE DATE since its’ so close to other events now

·       Will follow up with more info next meeting

·    PSIA – MARCH 15

·      Payments still needed; scheduling coaching

·      Too many students for some events; will do inhouse test

·      Need volunteers; will follow up with that

·    Other Comments/Concerns/Suggestions?

·      Talked about having another SHABBAT DINNER

·      Will follow up with more info on time/date



Austin Jewish Academy Parent Teacher Organization Meeting

                   Wednesday, December 5th, 2018

Events happening in the month:

            Portfolio Day  – December 14 – NO SCHOOL

            Professional Development Day – December 21 – NO SCHOOL

            PTO Winter Bake Sale – December 20

            Winter Break – December 24 – January 3 – NO SCHOOL

            Professional Development Day – January 4 – NO SCHOOL


AGENDA – 12 people in attendance

  • Room Parents
  • Faculty Lounge / Challah delivery/ Pizza Friday – check in – are all grades covered for their month

 3rd – December/ 4th – January/ 5th – February/ 6/7th – March/ 8th – April/ Kindergarten

  • Scholastic Book Fair
  • Feedback – Great Success; sold about $3000 in books; school got new materials and new books
  • What happened to NJHS doing it? NJHS had too many other events so they passed it on to 8th grade for fundraising
  • Should we still try to find a date for a TRIVIA night? Maybe we blend trivia night with game night ; might appeal to the older kids
  • PTO Dance – January 20, 5-7 pm, CAA – WINTER WONDERLAND
  • Save the date and spread the word            
  • Need volunteers to help out

Have candy bar, face painter, some decorations; Photo Booth – Alisa Marrow;

Looking for a 3rd co – chair if anyone is interested in helping out; There will be a sign up sheet for volunteers; looking for a raffle item.

Ideas for Dance: Stem Challenge, Cookie Decorating

  • PTO Game Night
  • Date: March 24            
  • Need co-chairs and volunteers
  • Theme, Tickets, Food, Drinks, Entertainment/Games, Decorations

Find out about possibility of having virtual reality company and crane like last year


No DI team – not enough kids interested; PSIA – still looking for teacher/parent mentors ; reach out to Stacey if you are interested in mentoring; coaching will start after winter break

  • Holiday Bake Sale – December 20, 3:30-4:30
    • Need people to donate baked goods (must be kosher)

May correlate with 8th Grade Fundraiser – Hot chocolate;

Ideas – tip jar for those who just want to support;

Kosher baked goods can be purchased at Heb, Randalls, Trader Joes, Whole Foods…)

Or you can bake them in the AJA kitchen (but need to reserve the space with Stacey first)

There will be a signup for baked goods going out soon.

  • PTO Meeting Times

In order to give different people opportunity to attend meetings, going forward we will alternate between morning and evening meetings each month. 

  • Volunteer of the Month

Everyone must sign in when volunteering (must sign in anytime you come to building);

Need to come up with online system or google docs to keep track of volunteer hours;

For now, you can email Rachel at with off campus volunteer hours and she will write them down on an off campus volunteer log that will be in the volunteering binder.

  • Other Comments/Concerns/Suggestions?

Ms. Hidalgo spoke of the teacher’s growth committees – specifically of the maker space, which is for grades K-5 to encourage STEM activities; they are gathering stuff and organizing it ; always looking for donations for it – bottles, stickes, dowels, buttons, ornaments, tops, canisters – anything that can be used to create – “one mans trash is another mans treasure”.

Also looking to build up tool section – hammers, screwdrivers, etc.




Austin Jewish Academy Parent Teacher Organization Meeting

 October 3, 2018

 Events happening in the month:

            Community Wide Shabbat Dinner – October 12

            MS BOY Trip – October 15-19

            Taste of AJA Middle School for 4th/5th grade parents & students – October 24

            High School Info Night for 8th Grade parents – October 29

                       Early Release Days – Nov. 6 – Student Led Conferences



·     Introductions – 23 attended

·     Room Parents

·    Faculty Lounge / Challah delivery/ Pizza Friday – check in – are all grades covered for their month

·              2nd – October/ 1st – November/ 3rd – December/ 4th – January/

                 5th – February/ 6/7th – March/ 8th – April/ Kindergarten – May

·     First PTO event – Community Wide Shabbat Dinner

·         October 12th, 6-7 PM, CAA Social Hall

·         Ticket sales –                    

o   $6 for kids (2nd grade and under) and $15 for adults and kids 3rd grade and up

·         Volunteers needed for set-up

·         Ideas to Promote Event

·         Teachers – how to get older kids involved and helping out

Low ticket sales as of today – need 20-25 families at least so we can break even. Get classroom parents to try and get 2-3 families to join them; get kids involved – NJHS will be waiters ; Heather and Carly will make a promo video; Rachael and Sarah will try to sell Friday morning before and after Kabbalat Shabbat.

·     PTO Trivia Chanukah Event

·        Date: December 2nd

·        Theme: Chanukah                 

·        Need co-chairs and volunteers

·        Tickets, Food, Drinks, Entertainment/Games, Decorations

Date may be changing. Idea to merge it with the NJHS Bingo Night and let the kids take more ownership of it.  

·     PTO Dance

·        Date: January 20                     

·        Need co-chairs and volunteers

·        Theme, Tickets, Food, Drinks, Entertainment/Games, Decorations

Talk of having a middle school dance as well; This dance would be more k-5th but can maybe have the middle school kids helping out;

·     PTO Game Night

·        Date: March 24                      

·        Need co-chairs and volunteers

·        Theme, Tickets, Food, Drinks, Entertainment/Games, Decorations

Coach Bull said she would help out

·     PTO Chair Letter

·        List of Volunteer Interests and Skills

Karen and Noa had started a list of skills; maybe have list and space to write what people are passionate about; find a way to merge it with the website volunteer section.

Maybe have volunteer time slots , so people can sign up that way. Be sure there is a to do list of what needs to be done when volunteers arrive.

Would be nice if when someone signed up for something online, it could go back to their google calendar for ease of scheduling and reminders.




Other Comments made:

BOOK DRIVENov. 11-16; Enchanted Forest theme – Garden of Reading;

Will need help unpacking books and setting up, decorating, selling books;

Affordable pricepoints; Will try to incorporate JCC seniors to volunteer and help as well.

PSIA– PSIA is for 1st – 8th; – contests; sign up sheets are up now; we are hosting so we want lots of kids participating; event is on MARCH 15th.

DI – Destination Imagination is a team based competition; Kinder – 2nd is noncompetitive; 3rd and up is competitive; different topics; contact Stacey or Lillian or Dana if interested in participating. Team will meet once a week until competition date on FEB. 23rd.


Door Prize Winners – Heather Kantrowitz- jars of Honey from Israel; Sara Poirier – Hebrew Alphabet Tea Towel.



Thank you very much to everyone who attended!


                   Wednesday, September 5, 2018


    Events happening in the month:

            Days off for Jewish Holidays/ School Holidays

          Sept. 3 Labor Day 10-11 Rosh Hashana – School Closed

          Sept. 19 Yom Kippur – School Closed

          Sept. 24-25 Sukkot – School Closed

          Oct. 1 Sh’mini Atzaret – School Closed

          Oct. 2 Simchat Torah – School Closed

        Early Dismissal – Sept. 18 Yom Kippur Eve



·     Introductions – 28 people attended

·     Room Parents

·  Reimbursements – fill out form in office and attach receipt, preferably within 30 days

·  Faculty Lounge / Challah delivery/ Pizza Friday

·              PTO – Aug/Sept; 2nd – October; 1st – November; 3rd – December; 4th – January;

                 5th – February; 6/7th – March; 8th – April; Kindergarten – May

·                “My Favorite Things” teacher sheets – we’ll get by Friday and give to Room Parents so

if you want a treat for your teacher, you can find out their favorites…

·     First PTO event – Community Wide Shabbat Dinner

·         October 12th – CAA, 6pm

·         Need Co-Chairs

·         How do we get people to attend? Have kids involved – presentation or display;

Kid Activities?

Ideas from attendants: Let people know well ahead of time; reach out to synagogues and ECP, CDC; Shalom Austin – ebulletin; teachers mention it in den blogs; have middle school volunteer

Servers, NJHS can serve; have students lead some songs/activities; have kids tables overseen by middle school students ; art/craft activity? ; Reach out to Alumni; Ask Ms. Slom about decorations

For tables; Picture Montage/ Picture Collage AJA; check timing for Shabbat allowances – once Shabbat starts, no electricity, certain crafts aren’t allowed, etc.

·     Other PTO Events

·         Trivia Fun Day (12/2); Winter Dance (1/20); Game Night (3/24) ; Book Swap Drive

·         Co-chairs  & volunteers needed


·        Immediate Volunteer Opportunities

·         Put up a new bulletin board for teacher’s birthdays

·         Help Package Honey Cakes for AJA Families and Partners in Community

·         Art Room Parent request from Ms. Slom

·         Challah Delivery – pick up Challahs at Randalls on Balcones/2222, bring to school, put stickers with names on them, deliver to classroom (30-45 min)

·         Pizza Friday – pick up salad and fruit, help during lunch time

·         Important Topics to Discuss

·         ECP discount/relationship

Kathy talked about the Teachers Growth Committees (Partnering with ECP, Curate Student work throughout School, Elementary Science lab and Makers Space, Parent Volunteer program and PTO)

Because we have cut down a lot on administration , teachers are stepping up and creating opportunities to help grow school. For ECP for instance, teachers will develop programs, opportunities for programs with the kids (and parents).

Other ideas: have AJA kids working with ECP kids; have 8th grade kids at events to show people the impact AJA makes; Tacos for Teachers – partnering with ECP teachers; involve ECP teachers in progress

Co Sponsor something with PJ Library – maybe book swap?


·         Water Fountain – Stacey will follow up; will be a bottle filler water fountain

·         How to structure meeting when we have surprises for the teachers –just kick them out 😉

·         New PTO mission statement – embellish on Parent Volunteer program Growth Committee –

Parents and teachers partner together to advance school initiatives.

·         2019/2020 10 hours volunteering mandatory – lots of opportunities , at home and at school;

Research shows that Parent volunteering strongly linked to success in schools and students

·         Thoughts on BTSN – everyone liked the day in the life


·         Ideas for 2018

·         Positive teacher/staff notes

Stacey and Chris have already started discussing that AJA will be a Jewish resource for the city.

Reach out to Seniors (Shalom Austin programs) for volunteering opportunities – challah delivery; library readers, etc.


·         Other

·      Need empty water bottles for middle school elective

·      Need plastic snack bags for 5th grade

·      Noa Levy – on RER committee (Recruitment, Enrollment, and Retention) ; parents of ECP children or those who want to reach out to community wanted on board



Thank you so much to all the parents and teachers that attended! Was a fabulous 1st meeting!

Congrats to our Door Prize Winners: Meredith January, Sharon Yam Sananes, Suzanne Sloan